a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Aug, 2009

Does this bra make me look taller?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!|Ottawa

Our 11th wedding anniversary was on August 7th. We had dinner and spent the night at Brookstreet Hotel while the girls had a sleepover at Nana and Papa’s house.

I got my hair cut/coloured/superstraightened for the occasion and although I had a brief and fleeting issue about what to wear I settled on a favourite dress. (I look at that photo now and wonder why I didn’t crop the toilet paper out. Gah!) I wore a pair of black heels that made me 6ft tall. (I love being tall!) 

It was right before we went out that I read Dani’s post about bra shopping. Her post inspired me to get measured by a professional. I am a firm believer in foundation garments. Good underwear and a great bra can make a huge difference. But like every mom who’s breastfed, gained wait and lost weight again, my bra size has been anything than constant. I was a C-cup before we got married and DD when I was 200-pounds of pregnant with Emma. Subsequent weight loss has had an effect too. And since it’d been a couple years since I went shopping for underthings I figured it was high time to suck it up and do it again.

My intention was to go to BraChic here in Westboro but unfortunately it’s beyond my budget. So I went to Marianne’s at Westgate instead, a place which was recommended to me many times over. I wasn’t disappointed! The store is big, larger than I expected. It’s divided into three main sections: swimwear, sleepwear, and bras (although they also carry a lot of other things like summer hats, flipflops, cover-ups etc.). The staff person who helped me was extremely courteous and professional. I was really impressed.

I wasn’t expecting my measurements to be too far off from what I was already wearing. I thought I was a 36 and somewhere between an A and a B cup. My salesperson didn’t even measure me. She took one look and proclaimed me to be a 34. I was right about being an inbetweener. With cup-style bras I’m a B, with sports bras and other similar fabric/no-cup style bras I am indeed an A. (I had to laugh because I’ve been inwardly referring to myself a B-minus.)

I walked out with two everyday bras and one sports bra which totaled $150.

Armed with my proper size I finally felt comfortable returning to a store I hadn’t been to for many years – Jacob. I heard that Jacob Lingerie store at Bayshore was having a huge end-of-season sale and I took the opportunity to stock up on several of the cutest bras I’ve ever laid eyes on, in colours and styles I haven’t owned since I was dating (HELLO HOT PINK). I hadn’t worn matching tops and bottoms in YEARS, so I picked up some sets. There’s a lot to be said for the matchy matchy look. AM I RIGHT?

My new bras make me look totally stacked. I think I look taller too. (!) It feels great to be such a hawt mamma!  ;)

Anyway, all this time, effort and money was totally worth it. It’s been a real boost (ha, no pun intended). I wish I’d done this ages ago.

I beg you. If you want to make yourself feel great, get over the discomfort of getting a proper bra fitting and buy yourself some fabulous lingerie. You won’t be sorry you did.

22 Responses to "Does this bra make me look taller?"

1 | DaniGirl

August 17th, 2009 at 6:24 am


YAY!!! Hooray for uplifting (snicker) bra experiences!! I think we should start a “reclaim your bra” movement… I swear, I’m a better person since I started wearing undergarments that (a) fit properly and (b) do their job.

(I’m a little jealous that you can shop at Jacob Lingerie, too. I don’t imagine they carry too many 32F…)

2 | plastikgyrl

August 17th, 2009 at 6:30 am



I’ve been (rightfully!) accused of attempting to convert the masses to bras that fit. It’s amazing the conversations I’ve had with staff at La Senza and Jacob who don’t believe me when I tell them (while buying underpants) that they don’t carry bras that fit me. “Do you have really big cup sizes with really small band sizes?” (I’m a 32 FF/G, depending on the cut) “Well, no, but you could probably get away with a slightly larger band size and slightly smaller cup size…” Um. Why would I buy something that only sort of fits, isn’t flattering, doesn’t provide adequate support, rides up, and creates uniboob, or worse, quadraboob?

Of course, as a result, your three bras = my one bra, after tax. Sometimes almost 2, if I’m really really lucky. Which is obnoxious, really. I honestly believe that if more women were properly fitted, the “less common” sizes would start going down in cost and be more available in department stores and mall-based boutiques. Consumer pressure works, but women have to be willing to get past the near-fear of the higher AND lower letters of the alphabet, and stop settling for a fit that’s “good enough.”


3 | Lala

August 17th, 2009 at 7:33 am


I’ll head over to Marianne’s as soon as I get a job and lose 10 lbs!

4 | Shannon

August 17th, 2009 at 8:07 am


It’s funny that women will drop $50 (or more!!) on a pair of shoe no problem yet complain about buying expensive bras when they make such a big difference in our day to day comfort!! Once this baby comes and is done bf’ing, I’ll head to that store. Thanks for the reminder! I’ve heard of it before but always thought of it as an old lady store!! :)

5 | Soire

August 17th, 2009 at 8:42 am


Shannon! Marianne’s has GREAT nursing bras, and they’re a little less expensive than Milkface! They’re AWESOME.

I also really like Bravissimo (www.bravissimo.com) they’re UK, but when you’re a larger/awkward size, finding a local bra can be a task and a half. I’m a 32H (currently), so it’s tricky for me to find nursing bras that are comfy.

6 | KJT

August 17th, 2009 at 8:57 am


I love Marianne’s! It’s the classic bra store – discreet and helpful service given by lovely, older European women with soft, cool hands. I won’t go anywhere else even though I’ve moved from Ottawa.

7 | julie

August 17th, 2009 at 9:43 am


I know, I know! I’ll go bra shopping soon. Or at least before my birthday in October. (Are you going to tell us more about Brookstreet? – I hear it’s a beautiful hotel.)

8 | Jennifer

August 17th, 2009 at 10:18 am


I’m a big fan of Marianne and proper fitting bras too. Recommended to me years ago by my large cup neighbours I decided to try the store and was finally delighted with bra shopping.

Sadly small cuppers have trouble finding bras that fit too but Marianne must carry a large selection because they found several for me to choose from.

I love your added idea to head over to Jacobs for a splash of colour. mmm Im feeling the urge to go shopping.

9 | Brie

August 17th, 2009 at 12:41 pm


I love Marianne’s. That were I bought my first bras after weaning. There is nothing like a good fit.

10 | Miss Vicky

August 17th, 2009 at 1:09 pm


There is indeed nothing like a good fit. I’m glad you had a good experience.

Sadly, my Marianne’s experience was not so good, resulting in the purchase of a nursing bra that has never and will never fit. Argh. Since there’s not really any such thing as an inexpensive, good bra for an F-cupper like me, I stick to Brachic, where I’ve never been disappointed. They’ve helped me make some smart choices, too – like the purchase of a relatively inexpensive sports bra to give me a no-wire but supportive alternative during pregnancy (rather than buying a nursing bra that may or may not fit after your milk comes in).

Actually, I’m due for a fitting and a new nursing bra or two. Thanks for the reminder!

11 | milkfacemama

August 17th, 2009 at 4:42 pm


Aren’t good fitting bras so awesome?! Pretty much everyone who comes into our store is wearing the wrong size bra and it’s so fun to get them into something that actually fits – their face just lights up! Wearing the right size bra is crucial – I find it makes me walk taller, look skinnier (and bustier!) and my clothes fit better :) It’s all good.

And you look fantastic in your favourite dress, Andrea! Hope you had a great time.

12 | porter

August 17th, 2009 at 5:49 pm


Yes, a good fitting bra makes a huge difference. I hate spending money on bras but Shannon is right, women think nothing of spending on shoes or purses yet bras are way more important.

13 | LO

August 17th, 2009 at 9:56 pm


Brachic saved my figure:) Expensive but worth it for those of us hard to fit gals:):):):) Expensive? Yes, but i protect the investment to last. Can’t go back to the Bay for a bra…evah!

14 | Chantal

August 18th, 2009 at 8:04 am


Just this morning I was looking at my nasty maternity underwear and I promised myself I would get some nice ones after this baby is born. It will be my treat to myself!

15 | Hellcat13

August 18th, 2009 at 9:03 am


I’m slowly moving into hard-to-fit territory too. If I lose anymore weight, I will officially be into training bra territory. I’m sporting a 34A right now, and I’m struggling to fill that out. I used to be a solid 36B, so never really had an issue. I’m starting to sympathize with you ladies!

I think the problem with the cost of bras is that I don’t see how it can possibly cost that much for a few scraps of fabric, two underwires, and a few plastic clasps.

16 | Melissa

August 18th, 2009 at 9:39 am


I hear you on the well-fitted bra thing. I am between 32F/34E, but years of nursing have left me sadly lopsided with an almost two cup difference between the sides. I’d love to be able to shop in a regular store for bras, but have been brought over to the correct way of thinking: why spend the money on something that only sort of fits? ;)

Well worth the cash, IMO. I have to say, though, that it took me a week or so to stop feeling like a porn star with my “new” boobs. ;)

17 | Tali

August 18th, 2009 at 2:15 pm


So they have small sizes, too? I am a 34A or B depending on the bra, and my breasts are the first place I lose weight. It’s very hard to find a bra that doesn’t have EXTREME padding, but yet puts all the loose skin (yes, that’s pretty much what it is now) into a breast shape. Embarrassingly enough, I stopped nursing a few months ago, lost ten pounds, and am now wearing ill-fitting nursing bras and cotton sports bras from giant tiger. So bad, I know.

18 | andrea

August 18th, 2009 at 2:30 pm


At Marianne’s? If so, yes. Almost all of the ones I tried on were B cup and they seemed to have a lot of styles to choose from, at least in everyday kind of bras.

19 | Carla

August 18th, 2009 at 8:49 pm


I confess that the first time I ever got fitted for a bra was after wearing ill fitting nursing bras with my first kid for about three months. NOthing fit, it drove me nuts. I went to Bravissimo in Leeds,UK (we lived nearby at the time) and found one great bra and the idea of getting fitted has cemented itself in my brain. I wish Marianne’s had had my size – I went about 3 months ago and they had nothing in my size. The best nursing bra I’ve found is Elle McPherson at the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe, uplifting and no seams across the nipple (hate those!), and sexy-ish.

20 | Rebecca

August 20th, 2009 at 10:32 am


Great post! We often forget to invest in this very important part of our anatomy.

Thanks for the tip re: Marianne’s and bathing suits. I’ll have to check it out.

ps: you look awesome in that dress!

21 | Sexy Nursing Bras

August 21st, 2009 at 1:40 pm


Some fantastic sexy nursing bras from HOTmilk are available now with huge discounts at Hermama. Just Google Hermama to find a bargain while stocks last.

22 | Support the joggers! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 13th, 2010 at 7:47 am


[…] why I invested in a proper sports bra some time ago during my last bra-related shopping spree, even though the bounciest I get nowadays is on the elliptical trainer at the gym (which results […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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