I Finally Went to a Bra Store That Has Bigger Sizes, And I’m Never Going Back to You-Know-Where

My friend Emily took me to her favorite shop, Journelle, which sells sizes up to a J cup.
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Kim
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My friend Emily took me to her favorite shop, Journelle, which sells sizes up to a J cup.

After writing about my recent Victoria's Secret experience, I was inundated with sympathetic and supportive comments from you genius readers. People wrote on my Instagram and even found me on Facebook to suggest new ways of purchasing effectively and efficiently. Suddenly, a whole new bra world was opened up to me.

I also sent the article to my friend Emily, who I knew would totally understand my bra woes. Emily told me that the last time she went to Victoria's Secret, they told her she was a DD – the same size I had previously been. I nearly passed out from lack of oxygen by the time I finally picked my jaw up off the floor and returned to breathing regularly.

Emily and I together, for comparison purposes.

Emily and I together, for comparison purposes.

Some people had mentioned in the comments that Victoria's Secret had mis-measured them before, but this? This was ridiculous. 

After reading the article, Em asked me if I had ever been to Journelle, which is her personal favorite NYC bra store.

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Once I got over the immediate rush of sparkling, white-hot anger I felt toward her for hiding such a place from me for so long, we planned a time to go.

The following Monday, Emily and I met in Union Square here in New York City to visit their 17th Street location.

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The store smelled like sugar, spice, and everything nice (though I later discovered it was really Tocca candles). It looked like the inside of Paris Hilton's walk-in closet mixed with modern Parisienne vibes. Plush, creamy settees with purple pillows were arranged at the center of the room, while bras of all shapes, sizes, elegant colors, and materials lined the walls. 

Emily immediately pointed out her favorite bra style, Addiction's Nouvelle Contour, of which she owns about eight. As Emily rummaged through the drawers looking for a strapless bra in her size, I shyly tried to make eye contact with the sales associate to signal that I needed major help.

After about five minutes in the near-empty store (it was a Monday afternoon, after all), I finally sauntered up to the counter and expressed my confusion and my dire need for assistance. The sales clerk held up a neatly manicured finger and let me know she'd be with me once her colleague emerged from the stock room.

A few moments later, she walked me to a softly lit, equally plush dressing room and told me to "take my top off." She then asked me if I wanted any water or chocolates, but I was taken so nervous, I said no. I HAVE NEVER SAID NO TO CHOCOLATE IN MY LIFE.

I hate getting undressed in situations like this, even at the doctor's. I'm probably too modest for my own good. I hopefully assumed she meant for me to take off just my shirt. Unfortunately, I was wearing a black shirt-dress that day, which made this act a bit more difficult. I had to shimmy out of the top part of my dress, creating a bulky, high-waisted pencil skirt situation. (Pro tip: If you're going bra shopping, wear an easily removable top.)

When she came back, she measured me with my old, ratty, Victoria's Secret bra on. She took twice as many measurements than they had at VS (I couldn't tell you exactly what they were, but she took four). She announced that I was a 34 G, and asked me what type of bra I was looking for. I said,"Ya know, just the causal everyday sort."

She returned with three bras, which she left me to try on.

I was Ravenlocks and the Three Bras, you guys. The first was too bland, the second was too translucent, but the third was juuuuuuuust right. Well, almost.

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The third was a black, semi-sheer, full-cup Chantelle bra that looked very Dita Von Teese on me (which is really always the goal). The cup felt like a breath of fresh air... for my boobs. They fit perfectly. There were no angry little red lines cutting my breasts in half where the cup ended but my boobs continued on. I never knew a cup could fit this well — but the band was a little too tight in the back.

The sales associate returned to ask how the trial had went. I expressed to her how much I loved the third option, and she agreed. She explained that the full cup looks better on me because of the way my breasts are shaped. Demi cups (which had been what I wore up to this point) are great for more pear-shaped breasts, but because mine are more round, with a bit more volume at the sides and top, a full cup is more flattering. I had stayed away from full cups in the past because I never found one that was cute, but this one made me look like the burlesque star I had always dreamed of being.

Before she went to the stock room to find a bigger band size, she explained that "sometimes" black bras run a bit smaller than nude bras. I guess due to the dye used...? Still not sure about this, but I'll take her word for it. While she was grabbing the correct bra, Emily came to check in on me and grabbed me some chocolates because that's what friends are for.

The associate returned with the bra in a 36G, which fit beautifully in terms of aesthetics, but was a weeeeee bit tight in the band still. The clerk had to help me clasp it in the back (Pro tip 2: Do not go bra shopping on steamy, humid, NYC summer day). She insisted that the bra was a perfect fit. Since I (clearly) know nothing about bras, I trusted her judgement.

 I guess they go by European sizing? The American alphabet stops at D, apparently.

 I guess they go by European sizing? The American alphabet stops at D, apparently.

I shuddered a bit at the $72 price tag, but I saw it as an investment. If my boobs are happy, I'm happy (right)? I winced as I ran my card, promising myself that I deserved to buy something nice (though really I probably would have preferred to get myself $72 worth of sour straws from the Dylan's Candy Bar next door). 

She waved us off, and Em and I left to go buy wine from Trader Joe's before watching/screaming at The Bachelorette on TV with our friends (which is perhaps the most satisfying way to spend a Monday night).

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I do absolutely love the bra. I've worn it most days since. I still think the band is a little too tight. It looks great — I don't look like a lumpy garbage bag in my shirts, like I do with some other bras), but it gets a little uncomfy by the end of the day. I debated exchanging it, but I'm waiting another week to see if it stretches out a bit. We shall see. 

My boobs do look more supported with this new bra, and they definitely feel much more sturdy, even though the fabric is light and airy. (I was going to make a gif out of doing the bounce test, but decided not to for fear of it winding up on the weird part of the Internet where memes go to die.)

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Overall, I'd say it was a worthy purchase. I'm still reeling over having to pay $72 on a clothing item that isn't even overtly seen in public (90% of my clothing items are from thrift stores, Forever 21, or H&M), but maybe this is just part of being an adult  — spending more money on the things that you don't necessarily want to buy.

  • Have you been to Journelle? 
  • It seems a lot of bra experts insist on a really tight band. What's up with that? 
  • Are you nervous getting naked in front of people who professionally look at naked people?