Shopping for the right bra can easily turn into an horrific task. From getting topless in front of a sales associate whose demeanor is as icy as her cold fingertips and measuring tape, to trying on bra after bra because — even though you've just been fitted — the still don't actually fit, bra shopping would be a hell of a lot easier if we could get this all done from home. Thankfully, until 3D body-scanning technology reaches its apex in, well, scanning our apexes, there are some apps to help with the process. Here is LadyBits' list of five forward-thinking companies using technology to make the process a little less of a pain-in-the-bust.
As techie ladies, we appreciate a company that's thorough. HerRoom's Know Your Breasts Bra Finder is based on an illustrated, 15-question quiz. Where others just measure for your band and cup size, HerRoom asks about breast fullness, separation shape, nipple prominence, areola size, shoulder shape, breast bone prominence, and spine curvature. HerRoom tailors its bra recommendations to your individual quiz results. Included on each product page are several photos (including one with a ruler guide), a short product video, an incredibly detailed description providing a number of measurements, a fabric content and care guide, customer reviews, and links to similar items. There's also a sidebar that lets you see the bra under a variety of shirt silhouettes.
Furthermore, HerRoom offers a bra size calculator; a fit checklist, tips, tests and solutions; a guide to the pros and cons of different bra styles; and a six-point system to understanding how the shape of your breasts can affect what style will work best for you. We'll admit: We learned more in five minutes here than we ever did in a decade-plus of department store shopping.
True&Co quizzes you about the fit of your current bras and uses your responses to tailor recommendations. After a 12-question quiz, True&Co builds you a store of bras available in your size. The site also offers a simple home try-on program: for a $45 deposit, True&Co will send you five bras in your size, give you a week to pick your faves, and apply the $45 toward your purchases. Give True&Co feedback about any of the bras you'll be returning, and one of their fit experts will help you find the right garment. If you decide not to keep any of them, True&Co promises that your $45 is totally refundable.
At Brayola.com, start by specifying the brand, style, and size of your best-fitting bra. Using the details from two or more faves already in your dresser drawer, Brayola builds your personal shop. There is no measuring and no fit quiz here. With Brayola, your fitting is social. Brave souls submit photographs to the site's Fit or Not page and get a crowd-sourced verdict. (If you're apprehensive about this method, refer to Refinery 29’s trusty and thorough fit guide here.)
Rather than maintaining an inventory and operating as an independent retailer, Brayola links to affiliates like Nordstrom and HerRoom to complete the transaction, offering access to more than 300 brands. Think of them as the delivery.com of intimate apparel: Purchasing through Brayola, or even pinning favorites to your shop, earns you points. Rack up 100 points, and you've earned a free brassiere, which Brayola selects from your personal shop.
Big-busted babes know that all bets are off when it comes to sizing above a D cup. Manufacturers have regulated cup sizes A-D, but beyond that there isn't much rhyme or reason to the difference between a 38DDD or 38F. Jockey throws all that guess work out the window with its new Volumetric Fit System. Visit the JockeyBra site to request a Fit Kit, and 10 differently-sized fit cups plus color-coded measuring tape will be delivered to your door. Perform your fit test in the privacy of your own home, determine your unique Jockey bust size, then order directly from the site. These no-nonsense bras — available in white, black, and neutral — may not be as frilly or delicate as other brands, but the precise, contoured fit means no need for an underwire, and Jockey promises consistent sizing in styles that won't be discontinued.
Use your iPhone 4 or higher to send ThirdLove two selfies in your best-fitting bra (you can keep on a camisole) and the app will size you up faster than a saleswoman at an upscale lingerie shop — and without the haute attitude or saccharine sales pitch. In less than five minutes ThirdLove calculates your unique TL bra size and curates a collection for you, and of course you can shop right from your phone. Not convinced an app can size you up so accurately, even if it was engineered by a NASA scientist? No problem — ThirdLove offers free returns and exchanges on its bras and camis. An Android version of the app is coming soon.
This post was authored by Katie DeRogatis.