What size had you been wearing previously? What size are you wearing now after being re-measured?
I started out wearing a 44DD and 46D in a bra that I had been fitted into when I was 16. It was a wireless bra that ran large in the cup. It was a good fit for my shape and when my breasts grew and the band started to feel tight I just went up in band size.
My biggest struggle then was that I knew I needed a larger size, but 44DD was the largest I could find that didn't have underwires. I hated underwires with a passion, bras with wires never quite fit me right and were uncomfortable as hell. Small wonder, I was trying on the wrong sizes and wrong shapes for me. Wish I could go back and tell my younger me to try bras with wires in much larger sizes.
Now I wear a 40H UK in Elomi and a 40K US in Goddess.
What is your most frequent struggle with bras? (straps, padding, etc)
Wire width. I have an extremely wide root, all the bras I have found so far have too narrow wires for me.
I normally wear a 40H UK, but to get the correct wire width I would need to wear a 40J/JJ UK. The cups in these sizes are too large though. So I make do with wires that sit on breast tissue.
My best-fitting bra at the moment is the Elomi Maggie, the wires are relatively soft and hurt me the least. With a tight band I can even pull them almost as wide as I need them. I am just not too happy with the shape it gives me.
Tell us about your ideal bra shopping experience.
A shop that has bras in my size in stock would be a good start.
Failing that, I expect ethics: I want a shop assistant to be honest and tell me that the largest bra they have is too small and that I need to order online. I have been crammed into whatever the largest they had far too often and been told it was good. 50C, 50DD, 46FF, 44FF, 42C (don't ask!!), 44DD, 42FF, 42E, 40F - all were supposedly the perfect fit for me and I felt subtly pressured to buy them. It annoys me to no end.
What do you like most about a bra? What do you like least?
I like colourful bras. Turquoise, purple, blue, coral, apple-green, ... I am in love with a lot of designs on the Cleo bras, sadly they don't fit me. I am still hoping and praying to the Elomi designers for an apple-green bra with purple lace in my size though.
What I like the least is that most bras don't come in my size. And that if they do, the matching panties don't come in my size. Bra manufacturers don't seem to get that if you have a bust circumference of 52 inches and hips to match, there is no freaking chance that you are going to fit into size 20 (UK) panties.
What type of bras do you like to wear?
Bras that fit me. :)
Any other input/advice/rants?
If you like to travel, use your passion for that to check out bra stores elsewhere.
I wish this had occurred to me earlier. I have struggled with bras all my life, yet I have been to New York City, London, Moscow, Warsaw and various big cities all over Europe without ever going bra shopping there. It just did not occur to me that in a big city I might have more options available to me than in my small provincial hometown.
Heck, I was in London in front of Bravissimo, considered going in and then turned away because the sign said "28-40 A-K". I was so used to bra boutiques charging high prices (80+ EUR/110+ USD/ 70+ GBP) and not having anything past a 40 band, I did not bother to enter. I had been told several times that I needed to loose weight to find a fitting bra and I was not willing to deal with that spiel again.
Came to bite me in the arse 3 weeks later when I started a new job and really needed new bras. I went online and searched the net and came across the German forum busenfreundinnen.net. The rest is history.