Bras are a contentious topic. Finding ones that fit, understanding sizing and measurement, lack of resources, and many other factors mean that whenever we talk bras around here, hackles raise. I’m sure this time will be no exception, but hopefully, even if you aren’t able to take advantage of this particular resource, you’ll find my experience there interesting. And/or have the chance to gawk at me wearing a bra and a skirt. (Speaking of which, the remainder of this post is decidedly NOT safe for work. You’ve been warned!)
La Bratique is a specialty boutique in Edina, MN, that caters to a specific set of bra sizes: 30D to 40K. The shop used to carry smaller and larger cup and band sizes, but found that the bulk of their business came from women with band sizes under 40 and cup sizes of D or larger. For whatever reason, that was the niche they occupied, and the owner – the fantastically knowledgeable Tracy Anderson – decided to focus on gaining deep, detailed knowledge of the brands and styles that worked best for women within that size range. She’s been in business for four and a half years, and researches, tests, and investigates the best quality bras to fit her customers. She’s an absolute joy to work with.
La Bratique is an appointment only shop since the staff will work with one customer at a time only. The shop is cozy and intimate, but absolutely loaded to the brim with gorgeous bras.Owner Tracy (left) with her associate, the equally knowledgeable Jackie Wallin.
I went in believing myself to be a 34B, though the style I wore to my appointment was a 34C. It looked like this:
Tracy said that I could certainly take a 36B in some styles, but that for the most part I was a true 34C. Now, people, that may be meaningless to you but let me tell you something: I have small boobs. They do not have any real roundness, heft, or drape to them at all. They are compact and perky and I went through most of my life believing I was an A cup. To be fitted in a half dozen 34C bras and have them feel completely perfect was dumbfounding. Even after being fitted just last year.
Since La Bratique once stocked a larger size range, they had a handful of bras that would fit me. To prove how important a proper size AND style can be, Tracy gave me a size 34B push-up bra with a narrow back band. It looked like this:
You can’t see it all that well in these photos, but after moving some of the breast tissue from the sides of my upper chest into the cups …
… it fit a bit better. But still absolutely un-wearable. This is what an ill-fitting bra looks like on me:
I also tried on a variety of other styles, from fancy but beautifully constructed sheers to legendary styles like the Oprah-endorsed Le Mystère Tisha (the black one below). Lots of the Chantelle de Paris models fit me beautifully, including the nude one directly below.
It was absolutely amazing to see how different my breasts and figure looked in these bras. Tracy pointed out that different bras will do different things to your anatomy, so while shape may be a priority for everyday wear, lift may be key to make a formal gown look its best. She said that certain styles could add more visible side-curves to the bust area for a more hourglass-y look, while others would bring the breasts more front and center. It’s all about physics, incredibly complex, and utterly impossible to summarize.
Again, this specialty shop keeps the focus on a fairly narrow size range so that they can be experts on fit and comfort, and guarantee fit to their customers. They can’t fit everyone, but those they can will be absolutely amazed by their depth of knowledge. Tracy does point out, however, that many women may be uncertain what a D cup or bigger really look likes and recommends that anyone wearing a C cup and above consider a fitting at La Bratique. Most C cups tend to be D cups or above in the correct band and cup size, she says, and the U.S. average cup size is D/DD.
La Bratique is offering 15% off to any new customers who mention hearing about the shop through Already Pretty. So if you’re somewhere in the 30D to 40K range and you live in the area, set up an appointment and hustle on down to La Bratique. They will take good care of you. And your girls. Discount valid through August 31.