Buying bras for the broke: "unusual" sizes on Ebay

If you have broken out of the Bra Matrix, you know that very few women should wear the few bra sizes available in most stores (bands 70-90, cups A to D). Your correct size may fall anywhere from band size 55 to 100, cup size AAA to K. There is a large number of online stores that sells these "unusual sizes" (which are actually so usual: according to surveys, the most common correct bra size seems to be British 65FF !)
But let's face it: not everyone can afford to pay 30 Euros for a bra -- even though I assure you it's an absolutely worthwhile investment: you get a great fit, a gorgeous bra that lasts for years, and beautiful breasts as you age.
So this guide is for those that need to have sizes not typically sold in stores, and wish to shell out as little as possible on it.

How to get it cheap:

* is the place to be: this is the best place for buying cheap bras from quality brands like Panache, Elle Macpherson, La Senza, etc. I have got good quality bras for as little as 5 Euros (inclusive shipping to continental Europe).

* Ask for lower shipping rates:
regardless whether the seller shows the shipping rates or not, I ask them about the rates for shipping by surface mail. It takes longer (up to 10 days to the rest of Europe) but is way cheaper. A couple of times sellers asked only for 1,80 pounds for surface mail shipping to continental Europe ! Remember: it's important to write that you know that surface mail takes longer and that you do not give lower rating for shipping speed because of this. If you remember to tell that to the seller, they will be less hesitant to agree to surface mail. Also, stuff does get lost sometimes, but that happens rarely: it happened just once to me although I have got like 25 packages from the UK.
If you (or the seller) prefer to go for Air mail -- or you live overseas -- be sure that you are paying the right amount. I prefer standard air mail without frills and ruffles. i refuse to pay 6 pounds for signed postage when the bra that is being shipped costs 2 punds !

* Ask if they accept returns:
If it is a private seller they probably won't. Also, if you bought the whole thing for 3 pounds, shipping it back might not be worth it. However e-bay sellers with stores usually do refund/exchange items happily. Be sure to ask before bidding.

* Combine shipping:
Find a seller with a couple of items you might be interested in, and ask them how much they charge for the shipping of each additional item. If they are nice, it should be around a pound or so. When you win an item, you can ask them to keep it on hold and post it with other items after you win them. Most sellers do not mind doing this. Some will ask for immediate payment for the first item, while some are content to wait till you have finished bidding for all the stuff that you are interested in. Don't forget to ask for a combined invoice when you are done with the bidding !

* It's also about the size:
 Unfortunately the "rarer" the size is, the harder it is to find on Ebay, and the less bargains you will see. For example band size UK 30(65) abound on Ebay, but band size 28(60) is hard to find. So if your band size is supposed to be 18(60) but you absolutely cannot find anything in your size, try finding a bra model in size 30(65) that has a tight, non-stretchy band: for example most bras from Elle Macpherson and La Senza (in this case avoid the usually very stretchy Freyas)

How to get it right:

*Beginners, attention please ! Please read How to buy your first right-sized bra for great tips on choosing the right first bra !

* Make sure you are going for a quality brand: A bra from a good brand will last much longer and will offer much better shape and support than a bad brand. Panache  bras have recieved many awards for the best bras. Freyas are gorgeous and offer a good support, but unfortuantely their bands do stretch out with time (hope you know how to tighten that band with a needle and thread !) While M&S will not deliver quality, their soft bras seem to be not to bad, as compared to their awful padded bras.

The following brands are known to offer quality and a good size range:
Melissa, Freya, Panache, Ava, Pour Moi, Alles, Konrad, Marks & Spencer, Kinga, Rubypink, Triumph, Avocado, Fayreform, Just Peachy, Gossard, Curvy Kate, Kalyani, Playtex, Gorsenia, Gaia, Virginia, Lepel, La Senza, Comexim, Ultimo, Lupo, Wies-Mann, Mardo, Elle Macpherson Intimates, Lisca, Adore, Miss Mandalay, Calvin Klein.

* Take your time, and look for the pearls: it's not easy to find THE stunner bra models for cheap on Ebay, but if you take some time, you may do it. Time here means weeks. I won a gorgeous Panache Venus bra for dirt cheap, just because the seller didn't put the name "Venus" in the item description, only "Panache Bra": they may have had no idea what model the bra was anyway. Tip: create the perfect search, and the subscribe to the RSS (the button is on the bottom of the page).

* Ask the seller for details:
How long are the underwires ?
How wide they are they ? (the distance between the two tips of one "U")
How fas does the band stretch ?

* Gather information about the bra model:
Unfortunately certain brands or models have tighter/looser bra bands, or bigger/smaller cups than normal. While buying from online stores you have the option of ordering a bunch of sizes, trying them all on, and sending back the ones that don't fit; but on Ebay you rarely have that possibility. It's a bit of a gamble. So you need to inform yourself: Does the bra have standard size cups, or are they bigger/smaller ? (click *here* for bra cups table)  Is the band normal, stretchy or tight ? Are the underwires narrow or wide ? Does the bra give a nice shape to the breasts, or are they flattened/pointy ? Is the part under the armpit high (broad) or low (narrow) ? 

Sometimes the sellers do not list the name of the model, often they have no idea what it is. In that case run a Google image search of the brand name or visit the web page of the brand, and try to identify the bra !

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