My bra shopping pretty much remained the same from the time I was a preteen getting my first training bra until now. I go to a store, grab a few that I think look promising in a size I think I am or have been wearing and try them on. If they “work” (read: lift, support, make things perky that are no longer quite so perky), then I buy. If they’re uncomfortable or not flattering, they go back on the rack.
I’ve been truly fitted for a bra only twice in my life. The first time was shortly after graduating college at a well known store where I felt like the girl (not woman, girl) knew less than I did. I saw no need for future fittings until around three years ago when I had my second fitting by a knowledgeable assistant who actually taught me a whole lot about bras – and the bra I bought then is still my favorite bra today. And yes, it’s sadly nearing retirement.
This is of course perfect timing for Jockey to open a store in Woodfield near me. And not just any store, but a Jockey bra store that sells only their bras with a revolutionized sizing and fit system that was eight years in the making and includes 26 patents. Forget underwires and A/B/C/D cups. It’s all new, and it’s definitely different.
Walking into the store, you know it’s different. There are no racks and racks of displays with different colors and sizes and patterns and designs and products far outside bras. Instead, it’s an incredibly clean look to the store that showcases the five bra fit options offered, each of which come in white, nude, and black.
The Classic Soft Cup has a wider band at the bottom and thicker straps and comes in both classic (which has a foam pad lining) and double lined (which has no foam padding). The Contour design also comes in classic and double lined that has a full coverage and in classic for their tailored version that has a sweetheart cut to it. These also have a thinner strap that is more elasticized to help keep your bra strap where it belongs (so happy to hear from Sue that I am far from alone in issues with my bra strap constantly sliding down).
After gawking and the clean open lines of the store, my assistant for the morning Sue brought me to a fitting room to begin the process. And by fitting room, I mean “my new home” where I planned to stay and live forever. I’ve never been in such a beautiful and peaceful fitting room before. It had exactly what you needed from a bench to rest to a robe to put on while trying on various bras (thank you for the nod to modesty!), a mirror, shelve to place your clothing and other items, and it was peaceful and restful. My friend pretty much had to drag me out of there once we were done.
She explained the process, and it’s so simple, I can’t believe it took 80 years to come up with this concept. Of course, the fact that this hasn’t existed before now does explain why 85% of women are wearing the wrong size bra (ahem, me included). Instead of doing the tape measure around your chest and tape measure around your breasts, and figuring out your measurement based on a formula, there are fitting cups.
Yes, you measure the volume of your larger breast based on the cup sizes (usually the one opposite your dominant hand). That tissue doesn’t change size regardless of the band you require. If you’re a 1 (the smallest size), you’re a 1 whether you’re a size 30 band or a size 40 band. If you’re a 10 (currently the largest size and equivalent to about a DD but larger sizes are coming), you’re a 10 regardless of your band size. It makes intuitive sense, of course. And using the cups, it’s super easy to tell what fits and what doesn’t fit. Even better, with 10 cup sizes instead of the traditional 7, you can get much closer to your true size which Sue mentioned has helped a lot of women who have breasts that are different sizes find a far better fit.
With complete respect for my modesty and privacy, Sue helped me figure out the right cup size then measured my band for me over my robe. Easy peasy we figured out what size I should be wearing and she returned with my shoeboxes of bra styles to try on. I found it very interesting that the bras as packaged in shoeboxes, but it definitely adds a sense of uniqueness and style to them.
Lucky me, the first bra I tried on – the tailored contour bra – was a great fit. It was the right size and was comfortable. I could feel the support throughout but didn’t feel any pulling or tugging like I do often with my current bras. I did think that it was a bit minimizing for me, but I’m ok with that given my stature. It was also definitely perky, moving back what nature intended. There was no double bubble, no gaps, and the back didn’t try to ride up.
Sue explained that one of the biggest problems she sees is that women wear bras where the band is too large. That causes it to slide up in the back and have all the support go to the shoulder straps, which causes them to dig in and everything to slide forward and down. It isn’t a pretty picture. Literally. The right size bra should stay in place when you lift your arms over your head. She also recommends that you buy a bra that fits on the loosest or middle strap so that as it stretches with age, it doesn’t become too big.
It’s a little hard to get used to. In fact, the woman who was in the fitting room when we got there measured as a 32 band. She insisted that she should be wearing a 40 because that’s what she was used to and what was comfortable for her. Sue showed her how the band rode up in the back when she did that, but the woman just wasn’t comfortable in a 32 because she’d worn the wrong size for so long. In the end, she was one of the few people who can wear a Jockey bra who walk out not buying one.
The Jockey bra sizing currently fits 85% of women. The Jockey bra store sells to between 70 and 80% of the women who walk into the store, an amazing feat and something that tells you about the bras. They truly are revolutionary, and I’m hooked – no pun intended.
As this is a brand new concept, they are still rolling things out. There are larger sizes yet to come. And there are no strapless bras, something I was disappointed by, as this is my biggest challenge and something I desperately need. I also would have loved to see some – just complementary to the bras in the store – of the underwear I love from Jockey. Those are definitely minor quibbles, and I know I’ll be back soon!
The customer service (not just for me but what I overheard and observed while in the store) is outstanding. The women have been incredibly well trained and are very discreet when doing measurements. They are engaging, and I still love Sue’s story about a 70 or so year old woman who came into the store who explained that her bosoms were “all the way down here.” And when Sue went to help her measure, they really were all the way down there. After chatting with her, she mentioned that she had a certain song going through her head. The 70 year old customer then sang along to “Do Your Ears Hang Low” – and I’m still giggling about that picture.
Not lucky enough to live near Chicago? That’s ok. The #JockeyBra is also available online and in the Jockey outlet stores for the same $60 pricetag. They don’t offer fittings there, but you can order a fit kit for $19.99 that includes the 10 cup sizes to figure out what you should wear, the tape measure to get your band size, a lingerie wash bag, and a $20 coupon towards your bra purchase.
Once you buy one, Jockey is certain that you’ll love it. In fact, they offer a fit guarantee. Wear it. Wash it. Wear it. If you decide it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it, you can return it and get your money back or find a better fit or style. This is one of the few stores that has no return policy, and that’s a huge selling point for me.
On top of that, Jockey encourages your loyalty with their Jockey Rewards program. For every $1 you spend online, at Jockey outlets, or in the Jockey bra store, you earn 1 point. Each time you reach 100 points, you receive a $10 certificate that is valid for 6 months. And of course they have special birthday offers, special double points periods, and more. You have to love free programs like that, right?
So yes, I’m thrilled with my new bra. And so is my friend. Like all bras, they don’t always look perfect when you first put them on. You have to break them in, just like a new pair of jeans. And you have to put them on with clothing so you can see what they do for you rather than staring at that gob of fat just under your arm that never used to be there and obsessing over it – not that I’ve ever personally had that experience, of course. These bras? They worked for both of us. They are a great fit, and they bring back that perky look that nature has long since stolen. My friend before (on the left, still wearing a good bra) and after (on the right, in a tailored contour bra).
Want one of your own? If you happen to be in the Chicago area, I have four bras to give away to lucky readers. These certificates have to be redeemed in the Woodfield store and expire at the end of August, so keep that in mind. But yay! A chance for a free $60 bra that fits and feels great is definitely something to get excited about, right?