How I Shop For Bras, Part 2: The Buying


     Last week I talked about how I research and choose bras when shopping online. Today I will describe the actual buying, which isn't always so straightforward. I will talk about I choose an online store, as well as shipping, returns and buying second hand, and will share a couple of special tips. I hope that you will also share your tips and your favourite places to buy bras, in the comments.

Finding stores

      I use google search (buy + bra name + bra siza), google shopping, and also try all the bra stores that I can think of. I always try Brastop, because the often have really good deals. I also try Ebay: many people don't realise that a lot of reputable online stores also have an ebay outlets, sometimes with slightly cheaper prices or slightly different items or sizes may be in stock. For best results enable worldwide location, sort by price + shipping, and always check the exchange policy.

Store criteria:

      When choosing a store I first look for the following things:
* Payment options -- I don't own a credit card, so I usually pay with Paypal when buying from overseas. If I buy from a German site I have more paying options.
* Shipping charges -- free shipping sounds like the best thing, however this often means that you have to pay for shipping the stuff back yourself. So I prefer to pay 5€ shipping and get free return shipping, than get free shipping and have to pay 8€ return shipping. Websites rarely mention who will pay for return shipping, sometimes you can find it in the fine print, and other times you either contact them or just try your luck.
* Return policy -- how much time you get to ship the items back? Two weeks is standard, but 30 days is preferable if long distances are involved. It is often possible to mail smaller businesses and ask them for a longer time period if you live far away.
  An important tip: it is better to assume that returns or exchanges will be involved, otherwise you might end up with half-hearted purchases.

 Picking the right store:

    The price is very important, and it is worth checking the deals not only in your country, but also neighbouring countries and the UK. I usually buy British lingerie directly from UK stores, since the prices are usually much lower than in German online stores. Also, it is much easier to find the items on sale in UK stores.
     I rarely narrow down my wishlist to just one bra; I usually choose a couple that sound like they might work and order them all to try on. I keep only the winner, the rest gets shipped back -- I feel like this way I get my money's worth, even if I do end up paying a couple of Euros extra for shipping costs.
    Even when I want to order just one item, I order a couple of other interesting pieces anyway, to compare, for future reference, or just to get to know a new brand or model. These end up getting returned. (Warning: this might seriously backfire if you have problems letting stuff go).
    Often I can't find everything I want in the same store, and I have to poke around to find a place that carries all the items. Sometimes I have to resort to workarounds: recently I wanted to order a couple of different swimwear pieces. Bras and Honey had everything I wanted, except the Panache Veronica bikini set in my size and in red. I ended up ordering the bikini bottom in purple paisley, and the top in blue and a cup size too small. That was I'd get an idea if the set works for me and how the sizing runs, and if I really liked it I could buy the right size and colour elsewhere. I would be ordering several other swimsuits, so returns were inevitable.

   If you want to order from a store that looks a bit shady, you can always check its reputation on bra-fitting forums like r/ABraThatFits, Busenfreundinnen or Bratabase.
   And here is a secret tip: if you check out, enter your email, but don't actually complete the transaction (you don't actually buy and pay for the stuff in your shopping cart), often you get an email with a discount code sent to you. Not all stores do this, but it also works with many non-lingerie online stores.

Trying on and returns

   I recommend trying on the items after showering, but before applying any kind of body moisturiser or even deodorant. Bikini bottoms, panties or one-piece swimsuits should always be tried on over clean panties. Remember that returns will not be accepted if the piece is not clean or if it smells.
   I take my time to decide which bras I want to keep and which not. Always remember to take a look of how the bra looks under clothes. I often take photos or ask a friend if I can't make up my mind. You can wear the bra for 15 minutes or so, to check if it is comfortable. Do pack the items to be returned carefully, as bras can lose their shape when squashed.

Buying secondhand

   You can often get amazing deals if you buy secondhand. I usually do this if I am sure of the size and fit of the bra that I want. Ebay is a great place, so it Bratabase listings and r/Braswap. Also check local clothes swapping / selling sites. Private sellers rarely accept returns, but they are usually happy to oblige with extra photos or measurements if you ask.

   This is how my process usually looks like. It might sound tedious, but I do like to take a little extra time to make sure I get exactly what I want for my money. Also, there are times when I know exactly what I want and where I can buy it (like in the case of Ewa Michalak bras), then it literally takes just a few minutes to place my order. If you'd like to see other posts that i wrote about bra shopping, check out the label bra buying guides.

   I'd love to know how shopping for bras looks like for you. Do you prefer to research or are you more spontaneous?

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