Bra Shopping in Melbourne - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A quick lowdown of three places to buy bras in Melbourne - if you're one of the two thirds of people who don't fit in the sizes most bra shops sell, or you just want somewhere to give you a good fitting, this is the post to read. Apologies for the lack of photos of the fittings, my phone was broken.

The Good - Brava

Brava exterior
Brava's exterior


When I walked into Brava, it had a chill atmosphere - clean white walls with lots of bras on. The shop was smaller than the others I visited but they used the space wisely to show an extensive range, generally grouped by brand. The fitting room was large, tidy and well-lit, with a large, clean mirror.

Something that stood out to me was that the wall in the fitting room had a sign on it that said something along the lines of "take your bras home and wear them for a few hours - you can return them if they're uncomfortable", which I found very reassuring and shows how understanding the business is.

Brava Interior
Brava's interior


They had a large variety of brands, UK staples like Panache, Freya, Elomi, to French brands like Empreinte, US like Goddess and Polish like Ewa Michalak and Corin! They sell 6-22 (UK 28-44) bands and D to K cups, I know that they definitely had larger cups on 6s instore but I don't know if they had all of that range instore. However, and this is a big however, these bras are pricey! It's understandable with import costs, but if you ever go in, be prepared for $150 bras.

Fitting Experience:

The fitter was friendly but not overly upbeat, which came across to me as genuine and I found her easy to talk to. She didn't use a tape measure, instead opting to ask for my current size. I didn't actually know the size of the bra that I was wearing (secondhand EM, tagless), which is what I told her. She asked for my clothes size which I believe she used for my initial band size, which annoyed me slightly.

She ended up eyeballing me at an 8H (30H). She asked me what styles I wanted, and though I said anything, I was given three plain, moulded bras - a Freya Deco, a Panache Porcelain (Elan?) and a Fantasie Smoothing Balconette.

She left the room while I tried the bras on, which while respectful, I found annoying after a while because she often left for quite a long time and I had to awkwardly peek my head out of the curtain. She often brought multiple bras at a time and then left again, which made the process drag out much more than it should have.

She established that the 8s were too large in the band, but did not seem to notice that I continued to put the 6s on the tightest hooks. She also did not take away bras when it became apparent that they would be the wrong size, which was quite confusing despite how familiar I was with them!

The fitter did not instruct me to scoop and swoop, but instead lean forwards while putting the bra on. I just don't find this method to be good enough for getting tissue situated naturally (it tends to conform more to the shape of the bra, and isn't great for getting bras up in your IMF). I was later told to pull the wires up to my IMF (because this method just doesn't work).

All in all, she brought me a great deal of bras. However I think her and I had a fundamental differing of opinion as to what constituted a good fit. I tried on a Panache Tango II Balconette, and complained about the pointy, east-west shape it gave me (my boobs are naturally very centre full so don't like going east-west!). I told her it was forcing my boobs into a shape they didn't want to be, she said "that's what bras are for!". The Tango also had lots of space at the bottom of the cup, when this was pointed out she told me that it would "soften up" and that my boobs would "drop" into the cup. When I told her I didn't want my boobs to drop she was like "oh I mean that space will go away". I still don't really know what she meant by that.

I ended up in 6Hs (which I believe is fundamentally the wrong size for me but is the size that is most likely to fit in real bras) so it was a good fitting. However, I didn't feel 100% about the fitting - I was told that I would never have a tacking gore despite that not being the case (thank you Marcie!), and sometimes I felt that my personal issues were being ignored (for instance, when I said that a bra felt uncomfortable in the middle, it was brushed aside a bit).

Last but not least, I was given a slip with my size on it on the way out, the fitter having decided Cleo Kali was the best fit for me (a proper S&S revealed tissue coming out of the top, the leaning forwards technique didn't) - however, she wrote Cleo *Marcie* as the bra that fitted me best! That was a fairly egregious error, particularly since a Marcie was brought in to try and then taken out before I had the chance to. Marcie is my current best fitting UK bra so that was a shame!

I tried on so many bras - aside from the 3 mentioned earlier, I tried the Curvy Kate Portia (wow what a short bra!), Freya Pulse, a brand I didn't recognise which was strange, a Freya Hero, Panache Andorra and even a Masquerade bra.


I would say it was a pretty good fitting, some questionable things were said, but the main issue is how long I spent waiting to get her opinion!

The Bad - Bras N Things (Melbourne Central)


Bras N Things Exterior
Bras N Things Exterior


The shop was a large but otherwise pretty standard bra shop, I felt comfortable walking around in there but what immediately concerned me was how all of the bras on display were moulded cups. The shop was spacious and tidy, with lots of bras on display.


All of the bras on display were in matrix sizes, larger cup sizes were nowhere to be found. There were quite a few spacer bras, but mostly the bras on display were traditional foam moulded cups. There was also swimwear and more boudoir-oriented lingerie.

Fitting Experience:

When I enquired with an employee about a fitting, she immediately led me to a small but tidy and well-lit fitting room. She was really friendly and I immediately felt at ease around her. However, she measured me over my clothes, not checking the fit of my current bra. She +4ed me into a 10G (UK 32FF), which is technically a sister size to my current size but strangely enough, the cups were too small in the bras she initially brought me. She wanted to size me up in the cups to a 10H but they don't stock that, so she suggested I go to Brava instead.

In the bras she brought me, she did not recognise wires riding down as a problem, and said that I was the kind of person who would never get a tacking gore which, while difficult for me, is not impossible. She was helping someone else at the same time as me but she was attentive and brought me things quickly.

She brought me a few different styles, some moulded, one unlined. However the unlined bra was incredibly tall, wide and shallow. I have very tall roots but they had space even on me! They would be a great option for very shallow people in E-FF sizes who may struggle to find shallow, unpadded bras. The bra was a full cup in construction but had only vertical seams - it was very strange. All in all, it smashed my boobs down, the gore floated like nobody's business and gave me no support, truly a boob hat.

One thing that was a little strange to me was that the fitter didn't seem to know what the word unlined was... she sort of just called it the "cup".


This shop is a pretty standard "matrix+" shop, with poorly designed bras at the ends of their size range. The fitter was very amicable but her knowledge wasn't incredible, I did think it was very nice of her to recommend visiting Brava though because she knew the bras they had wouldn't work for me.

The Ugly - Cotton On Body (Melbourne Central)


Cotton On Body Interior
While not the location I went in, this is the typical Cotton On decor - though the shop  went into didn't have as many lotions


This was a typical "mall shop", aimed at younger people. It was bright inside and not decorated particularly memorably - and it was a bit worn down, I felt like it needed a bit of sprucing up.


Cotton On had lots of bralettes, but unfortunately none of them were bra sized. The bras were basically entirely moulded cups, and there were lots of push up bras - only up to DD that I could see, though I saw a few nursing bras up to F.

Fitting Experience:

I went in and saw a big painted sign on the wall advertising fittings, so I went up to the desk and enquired about them. The woman at the desk didn't seem to be doing anything vital, just looking at a sheet of paper. She said she could do one immediately and led me to a fitting room. I went inside and there were lots of clothes in there, both on the rail and on the floor, and measured me over my thick hoodie. She +4ed me and declared me a 10E (32E). She asked me what I wanted, and after I said "just bring me anything", she brought a single moulded plunge. As I went to take off my clothes, I noted that there was a large peephole in the door with a rotating circle inside, which you could close or open. But this peephole had no mechanism to keep it closed so anyone could have just opened it and if I wasn't facing that way, I wouldn't have noticed. Creepy!

I tried the bra on and it was much too small. But... the fitter didn't come back. I waited and waited. She just... was gone. I awkwardly put my clothes back on and walked out of the shop, and she was back at the till with the piece of paper and didn't look up as I walked past.


It was a kinda surreal experience if I'm honest. I can't recommend this shop for fittings or for any range in their bras.


  1. Australia is not great for bras... They also have a a Brava in Sydney which I visited, and the fitter was really nice but she did also say some questionable things. Both times I went they also didn't really have anything in my size that I would like. I think there's just not enough interest / knowledge about well fitting bras here. And they are so much more expensive!!!


Post a Comment