If you’re familiar with guilty pleasure TV, you already know of the lovely ladies of Double Divas, a Lifetime reality series. It chronicles the hilarious lives of the women at LiviRae Lingerie, a lingerie store in Georgia, as they help women find the right fit “one breast at a time.” (The name “LiviRae Lingerie” comes from a combination of Cynthia Decker’s and Molly Hopkin’s daughters’ names: Olivia and Rainey. Cynthia and Molly each have over 20 years of experience in bra fitting!)
Their slogan, “No Breast Too Big or Small,” embodies the accepting attitude of the staff and their general approach to fitting undergarments. LiviRae uses the UK size scale, which is much more expansive than its US counterpart. And, they don’t charge more for their larger sizes in stock; unlike other stores, there is no size discrimination at LiviRae.
A fan of the show, I checked out their website and saw that they offer Virtual Fittings, because they know not everyone in need of their services can make it to their Georgia location. After losing 100 pounds over the last year, I was definitely in need of a few new foundational undergarments, and, like most women, I wasn’t entirely sure what my new size was.
“We all think we are two sizes bigger around with no bust,” said Autumn, an 11-year veteran bra-fitter at LiviRae. “It’s our psyche; we’re just our own worst critic. So we think we’re big around with no boobs.”
According to LiviRae, 85% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. (Yes, you read that right.) I was surprised to learn that 90% of the fit of a bra is in the band, the remaining 10% in the straps. And, in general, we all make the same mistake – we choose a bra 2 band sizes too big, and 2 cup sizes too small.
Signing up for a Virtual Fitting couldn’t have been easier on their website, and only a few short days later I had my fitting with Autumn. All you need is a tape measure and Skype!
Autumn was a ton of fun and immediately made me feel at ease. That is one of the best parts of the Virtual Fitting experience – how comfortable the staff makes you feel. Sitting in front of a webcam without your shirt on can be awkward enough, but Autumn had me laughing the entire time. (Michelle also joined us at one point and was just as approachable.) I joked that we should have been doing this over cocktails, to which Autumn responded that LiviRae has actually had people suggest that in the past. What a great idea for a girls night!?!
The caliber of the staff is unparalleled. I’ve been fitted for bras several times – often at that chain lingerie store in every mall. Those fittings were always over my clothes while still wearing another bra. After investing in a bra, I would leave the store liking the fit for the first week, only to be disappointed a month or so later when it was already too big to really do anything for “the girls.” Six months down the line, an underwire would pop out, or something similar, and in the trash it would go, only to be replaced with another equally expensive one.
Before LiviRae, I thought that was just the cost of doing business, so to speak, but Autumn quickly educated me. She has had some bras for more than 9 years, a true testament to what a good bra can do. Also, LiviRae offers a service that exponentially extends the life of your bra as long as it is in good condition, which I discuss below.
After a quick visual assessment and fitting – I’ve was originally a 38DD, but I’m now a 32D – Autumn did a pull of the store’s inventory to see what they had in my size. (As a side note, I was fit two months ago at that chain lingerie store and was told that I was a 34D. Never before would I have thought that I should go for a 32!)
Autumn gave me a ton of options to choose from – everyday, sports bra, lingerie, etc. – and did an amazing job explaining the features of each bra and how they fit. For example, one of the bras’ cup size tends to run small, so she recommended I get the 32DD. These helpful fitting hints are also on the website.
And, you don’t have to be worried about buying your bra online, because you set up a second Virtual Fitting after you get your purchase in the mail to ensure the fit is on point.
I chose a black everyday bra (pictured above) that gives amazing cleavage due to an inside bump and a gunmetal high-impact sports bra. In total, I spent just under $100 for these two bras and some Lasting Care lingerie wash.
I took the sports bra for a test run at CrossFit this weekend for the annual Super Bowl Sunday workout – a notoriously killer workout. This year’s version included running, jumping, planks, weights… basically the perfect test run to really see what this bra could do. The entire workout, I felt locked and loaded. I was able to sprint without the uncomfortable bouncing feeling, and for the first time ever, the straps remained up and comfortable the entire time. The sports bra I chose also has venting holes in the band, so I was cool in that area despite sweating bullets pretty much everywhere else.
In terms of sports bras, I asked Autumn what women should look for. It turns out I was making the same mistake most women do.
“You are the most wide at your shoulder blades, much wider than you are at your rib cage,” Autumn said. “You don’t want to pull it over, because it won’t do anything once you get it on.
“You want it to be a back closure with at least 3 hooks that you can move in. Anything that has seam structure will evenly distribute the weight of the breast tissue… and [impact] the support that you get. The more seam structure, the more construction, the higher the impact.”
She also gave some fantastic advice for people like me that are in the process of their weight loss journey. Generally speaking, she recommended waiting until you get to your goal weight to invest in a wardrobe. From LiviRae’s experience working with weight loss clients, you can go down a cup size with every ten pounds you lose.
“However,” she continued, “if you’re working out, you still need at least two sports bras and two t-shirt bras to get you through your daily life… You always want to have at least 4 bras in your rotation.”
Wondering what to look for in a bra? Here are some of the top tips for bra fitting that I learned from my Virtual Fitting with LiviRae.
- “The biggest thing is having the band firm,” Autumn said. “90 percent of the fit is in the band.” To get the most for your money, you should start with the band firm on the loosest hook. As the band begins to stretch, you will move to the tighter hooks.
- Rotating your bras. The fibers of the bra will stretch as you wear it, so rotating your bras gives the fibers a chance to retract. You should have at least 3 to 4 bras in your rotation, and the goal is to build to 7 bras within the span of a year.
- Wash your bras minimally, in cold water, using a lingerie wash. Hand washing is better, although you can use your machine with a lingerie bag. Also, never use the dryer; lay flat to dry or hang dry over a hanger – not by the straps, or it will stretch out the undergarment. LiviRae also sells something called Lasting Care, which shocks the fibers of the elastic, doubling the life of your bra.
One surprising service I learned about during my Virtual Fitting was the option to send the bra back after the band gets stretched out. As long as the bra is in good condition, they will alter it for free, tightening the band by moving the hooks and giving you another round with the bra! This is an amazing way to get the most for the money and a service I absolutely plan to take advantage of.
You can also set up Virtual Shopping sessions for everything else they have in stock! For example, if you are looking for some Valentine’s Day lingerie – they have an incredible corset selection – you can book a session and send them an e-mail to give a heads up about what you are looking for, so that they can pre-pull items that would work for you. My anniversary is in September, and I already have this service in mind to get something special for my husband.
Besides being amazing with weight loss clients like me, they also offer nursing and mastectomy bras – in addition to the normal lingerie assortment – and can customize/alter your bras to fit your personal needs. Plus, they have a fantastic selection of lingerie in all sizes, so no matter what curves you have, you can flaunt your assets.
I saved the best for last: LiviRae has graciously offered to allow SavvySleever readers the opportunity to experience a Virtual Fitting for free using the code “LIVFIT1” – first-time customers usually pay $49.00, which is applied to a future purchase at LiviRae.
And, as always, you can check out everything they have at their website, plus get tips straight from Molly and Cynthia on their YouTube Channel. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye out: They might also be coming to a city near you soon!
xoxo – SavvySleever