Monday, March 16, 2015

How to buy bras (for less)

More often than not, I hear many women complain that bras are expensive. "I pay $100 for one bra. That's so expensive! Who can afford more than a few bras at a time!?" and ooooooh, do I sympathize. In college, I had one bra that fit and I wore it so frequently that it wore out quickly. If you're on a budget (or maybe you like variety that won't break the bank), then there are definitely options beyond the general department store in town.
How to Buy
  • Consider prior seasons: Just like normal clothing fashion, lingerie companies release new items twice a year (once for Fall/Winter and again for Spring/Summer). Usually these items are shifted to other stores (for example, Nordstrom to Nordstrom Rack) or even to different chains, such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I have seen a Panache T-Shirt bra that regularly retails at $56 be $10.
  • Ugly bras are still good bras: Items that don't move quickly are more often moved to the sales/clearance section before more popular items. For example, I don't prefer the Freya Tabitha (below) and wouldn't choose to buy it normally. HOWEVER, if the fit works (and this one didn't on me), then heck yes! Buy it! It's under your clothes, so does it really matter? P.S. You can totally buy this bra for (at this moment) $18 under retail!
  • Sister sizes are your friends: If you are in-between band sizes then sister-sizing is your friend! Are you a 32FF? Maybe you could slide into a 34F or a 30G. Sizes that move more slowly (namely small band/large cup) can be found in sales/clearance sections. If you're right on the border line of easy to find bras (around a D cup), then you have a lot of flexibility in finding brands that can fit you, too. Orlinas has a quick run-down of sister sizes.
  • SALES, SALES, SALES: The best time to look for a bra is right before it goes on sale. Know your size and have a lot of patience. Sign up for online newsletters for the companies you prefer and they will email you when there are sales or offers.,, and more will let you know when the game is on.
  • Exchange Rates: When the exchange rate swings into your favor, then take advantage! Although it's not often, you can get a great deal. For example, if you're in the US and buying from Canada, the exchange rate might work out. Pay attention to shipping, though! That might mean you lose out in the end if you pay a lot for shipping.
  • Price Matching: Nordstrom has a new policy where they will match Amazon prices. You might have to check with floor managers to make sure it applies in your store, but it is a guaranteed match online!
Where to Buy
Discount Stores
Zulily, Gilt, and RueLaLa are fashion stores that feature prior seasons of lingerie/swimwear. Common brands are Kris Line, Curvy Kate, Chantelle and more. You can sign up and be alerted when there will be a sale.

Online Stores
Amazon: Brand names sell direct through Amazon. Usually they have discounts, too!
eBay: Know your size or even specifically the exact bra you want, you can swing a great deal.

Specialty Online Stores
Figleaves: Cheaper house brand AND great sales prices. Figleaves is a great place to stop.
BraStop: There is a large selection of prior seasons of bras available!

Bratabase: You can buy or exchange new/used/well-loved bras from Bratabase. In addition, you can get actual bra measurements to make sure it fits. The reviews are also incredibly helpful.

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