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28 February 2008 @ 04:12 am
Let's go shopping! Spotlight: Bravissimo  
Ok! Here we go! For the next few weeks I will be spotlighting different online stores and resellers of large-cup bras. I'm going to start with the best all-around (and unfortunately, also the most expensive-- in some cases, you really do get what you pay for) and work my way around to sellers that serve different niches.

So, without further ado: Bravissimo!

Images from bravissimo.com

Bravissimo is a retailer in the UK, that sells online to most countries via mail order. Started in the 1990s by a woman displeased with the lack of larger-cup bras in pretty styes, Bravissimo serves an important function by not just selling these bras but also lobbying manufacturers to make larger-cup bras in pretty and comfortable styles. Because Bravissimo can use its clout as a buyer to change what manufacturers offer in this size range, it's an important player and even if you never buy from them, you have been helped by their tenacious pursuit of their mission to bring better large-cup bras to market.

Bravissimo, as can be expected, sells mostly British bras. British lingerie is known the world over for its quality and craftsmanship, and even though they are more expensive, they are undoubtedly worth it if you have the money. Bravissimo's prices are in British pounds (although I believe they may have recently added an option to show a conversion to American dollars). In general, given the poor state of our economy, there are roughly 2 dollars to every pound nowadays, so double the prices on Bravissimo to get an estimate of the price in dollars.

Although Bravissimo's shipping cost to the US is relatively high if you only buy one bra (I believe it starts at 7.50 GBP), this also covers the shipping for any other items you ask them to ship back to you in exchange. That is, if one of the bras you've ordered doesn't fit, you have to pay to ship it back to them, but they will ship a replacement out in a different size to you without any additional shipping charges, and will continue to do so until you find your size. While shipping back and forth can get pricy, Bravissimo's free "exchange shipping" helps a lot, and this, along with their very large stock of many bra brands and styles, makes them a good place to turn to if you need to try to "fit yourself by mail." If you are ever in the UK for a visit, they have stores in most of the major cities, and you can go in for a very relaxed fitting. They don't use a tape measure, they just guide you along while bringing you bras in different sizes and styles til you find one that works. I've personally been there many times and the staff are VERY nice in general.

They also have a clearance section where you can occasionally snag a deal, especially if you wear an unusual size, but those items go FAST!

Bravissimo sells bras in back size 28 to 40, cups D through L (though not all styles go up to L). In addition to bras, they also sell some terrific bra-sized swimwear (both bikinis and one-pieces), and even have a line of semi-tailored clothing made to accommodate women with large busts and relatively smaller waists. They also sell those spaghetti-strap tops with integrated bras and recently, they added a line of nightwear with built-in support.

Brands available include: Freya, Panache (and their higher-end sub-label Masquerade), Miss Mandelay, Ultimo, Fantasie, Bacirbacuti, Ballet, Kalyani, Young Attitude, Lepel, Eda, and more. I'm partial to Panache, which seems to give a rounder, more lifted look in general (not pointy) but have also purchased and been quite pleased with Kalyani, Ultimo, and Freya as well. Use the zoom feature (where offered) to check out the seam pattern on the cups and refer back to the 2nd post and your helpful friends in the Frankenbra Posse for guidance on how the bra you are considering buying will likely fit.

I have ordered from Bravissimo (as well as visited in person) many times in the past, and have always had a positive experience.

Happy shopping! And tell me what you think of Bravissimo (or if there's anything you'd like to know that I may have left out) in the comments. You can also sign up to get Bravissimo's glossy quarterly catalog sent to you free if you prefer to browse that way.

Browse Bravissimo.com

Kimberley: Big American Beautykimbari on February 28th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Well, this one lets me out. :( My back is 42.

I just joined Weight Watchers (for the second time), so hopefully I shrink down to their size range... And I do have extenders. ;)
boobiusmaximusboobiusmaximus on February 28th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of changing the clothes to fit the people, not the other way around. If you like their selection, maybe drop them a line by email and ask if they plan to carry more sizes/suggest they should?

One really common problem with bra fitting though is that people tend to wear a larger band size than they should and a smaller cup size than they should because of what's easily available. Perhaps if you do a fitting for yourself (see my previous post on the topic) you might find your band size is actually smaller than what you are wearing now. If not though, I'm sure I'll be covering some sites that do include your size :)
Kimberleykimbari on February 28th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a fan of changing the clothes to fit the people, too. But I weighed 305.6 pounds last week and it's just getting ridiculous, especially after losing 110 a couple of years ago.

I'm short waisted and have narrow shoulders. My ideal back size is 34. At my smallest, I weighed 180 and wore a 34DD (my breasts looked like deflated balloons, but that's neither here nor there; I'm over 50; it's par for the course :). I've gone up to at least a 42; a 40 is very uncomfortable without an extender but the cups fit better than with a 42.

Your bra fitting scheme is brilliant. I'd stumbled into something like that (except I was *buying* the bras, d'oh!) over the years.