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Thoughts on Buying a Bra

For single Dads, there are some times where we find ourselves confronted with things that we have absolutely no knowledge about. Buying a bra (or brassiere if you prefer), is one of those things. Having read all of the books I gave my daughter didn’t help. I covered these books in an earlier blog post: On Sex Education – and the Single Dad.

I should also mention that my nearest family is 500 miles away. And even though my sister and mom visit multiple time each year, she is not a resource you can go to for in-person help whenever the need arises.

My first bra buying experience occurred when my Darling Daughter entered what I now know is called Stage 1. This was well before I was on Twitter or any social networking media. My sister suggested we start with a sports bra. So off to the department store we went. Assigning her twin brother a separate task in the store, my daughter and I headed over to the unmentionables. That is when I realized that I had absolutely no idea of how to figure out what size was the right size to buy.

I learned a long time ago that I cannot be timid when I need help. I starting trying to stop women in the store that were in the vicinity of this department. Of course, not wanting to be smacked, I didn’t try to ask the gorgeous young women who went by. Instead, I asked those closer to my own age with a more matronly appearance. You’ve never seen women scurry away so fast!! Honestly though, I don’t think they actually took the time to hear what I was saying. I tried the next best thing and said to the next woman “ExcuseMeButI’mASingleDadAndINeedHelpGettingTheCorrectSizeBraForMyDaughter” as fast as I could get it out.

Fortunately, she stopped, looked at me, then looked at my daughter. Then, she walked over to my daughter, put her hand on her shoulder and turning to the display rack, asked “Which one do you like, sweetie?” Salvation!

Simple steps: remove the sports bra from the hangar and holding the bra upside down, place the band of the bra against the ribs (under the breasts) without stretching it. If it aligns with the midpoint of the sides of the ribs, it’s good. Otherwise, try the next larger / smaller size.

That worked as long as there was no cup size involved. Add in cup size, and the ball game changes! I told my daughter that we would go to Victoria’s Secret so that they could help fit her correctly. The women I checked with said that was a good plan; but, that idea didn’t go over very well at all with my daughter! She was not comfortable with the idea having someone ‘see her’.

Plan B (always have to have a Plan B!) said that we would measure her ourselves. Okay, actually she would measure. The books said: place a tape measure around the ribs below the breasts, keeping it level front to back rounding the measurement to the next larger inch. Add five inches; if the result is an odd number, add one inch. Then, repeat the measurement this time over the fullest part of the breast. The difference between the two measurements yields the cup size. However, that cup size differs in different countries. Here in the States, it starts as 1″ = A, 2″ = B, etc.

But, the women I checked with said NO! Measure above the breasts and round up to the next even number; no addition. That will give a more reliable measurement.

With the measurements, my sister offered to order some and have them sent to the house. My daughter was a lot happier with that idea and eagerly awaited their arrival. When they came, I laughed and explained to my daughter that these had more coverage than the bikini style bathing suit I had refused to buy her in the spring.

She eagerly went to her bedroom to try them on starting with the plaid. Absolutely loved the plaid.

And it was too tight. On the outmost hooks, it was too tight.

So my mission today after work is to stop at the store and exchange these for the next larger size. And I’d better get a plaid.

Update 20 August 2010:

I went to JC Penney after work and went to the women’s lingerie department with the package of bras that I wanted to exchange for the larger size. I saw a staffer at the checkout register waiting on another customer so I got in line because I knew I needed help.

While waiting, I saw another employee with an apron with the logo Bra Fit Specialist on her apron. So I got out of line and walked up to her and told her she was exactly what I needed (have I mentioned I’m no longer shy?) She looked at what I had and we spent a half hour going through the department picking replacements. They have tons of bras there – I never would have found what I was looking for! She had exact replacements for all but one of the bras I had. The only one not in store stock – the plaid! So, down to the catalog department to order the replacement for the plaid. I was actually happy with the estimated 5 day delivery to the house!

Bringing home the replacements, my daughter took them upstairs to try them on. I could tell by the grin on her face that she was happy with the new fit. But, not happy with the missing plaid. When the plaid showed up in the mail, on time, she was totally happy.

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  • MamaOnDaGo

    OMG! Was that rocket science calculations foe bra fitting? I’m glad you’ve sucked it up and know when to ask for help. If it makes you feel better, there are women out there who still wear the wrong bra size.

  • Bob Snitchler

    I’ve been a single dad for 10 years now (I should write about that!) and I have encountered so many things which the prior 50 years didn’t prepare me for! Thanks for reading.

  • Toostormy

    Actually inspired me to measure myself & order some new – Darling Daughter’s not the only one who loves plaid. I think it was very brave of you to tackle fitting specialist on your own. Such a nice dad!

  • James Fowlkes

    Good stuff, Bob! Now I just have to file this away somewhere so that in 10 years when I have to do the same thing I’ll know what to do! Thanks!

  • Kini

    I normally get turned off by long posts…but you are fabulous. Kudos to you for helping your girl get her first bra and all the trauma you had to endure. You got it now. But, um, there’s still more to come. Take it from a single mother with a teenager. Some topics are still tough for me.

  • Veronica

    I remember shopping for my first bra, I went with my grandmother. I was lucky enough to have that option! After that, I knew roughly what size I was and was able to try them on myself.

    You did well!

  • Anonymous

    My brother is a single dad to four boys – reading this makes me realize it’s probably a good thing he doesn’t have a girl! Much as he’d love to have a daughter, I can’t imagine how traumatizing it would be for him to help buy a bra. Then again, maybe like you, he’d be able to get over it and ask for help.

    Found you via problogger/twitter. 🙂

  • Bob Snitchler

    I’ve now written my 10th Anniversary post. You can find it at Thanks so much for reading!!

  • Bob Snitchler

    During the process, I learned that every woman should measure themselves every year, whether there has been a change such as pregnancy, end of pregnancy, weight gain or weight loss. This is the only way to ensure a continuing good fit.

  • Bob Snitchler

    Thank you, Veronica! The grandmothers are also 500 miles away in different directions.

  • Single Dad

    I normally get turned off by long posts…..But you are fabulous…Thanks!