Elisabeth Dale is one of the most badass women I've had the good fortune to meet in the lingerie industry. Founder of The Breast Life, Elisabeth is a leading breast expert in the United States, and she's bringing her lingerie expertise to all of us with her epic new book, The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Size, Style, and Support.
I had the chance to interview Elisabeth about her wonderful new book, and am thrilled that Elisabeth is giving away one free copy of The Bra Zone to a Bluestockings reader! Details on how to enter below.
1. Where did you get the idea for The Bra Zone?
I was attending a women’s writing retreat in Taos, NM about a year and a half ago. When everyone found out about my work and website, they immediately started asking me where to find or buy bras, or bra sizing/fit questions. They spanned all ages and backgrounds. It seemed ridiculous that not one of them had a clue where to shop for or how to purchase this basic piece of clothing.
I had this “ah ha” moment where I thought people needed to know that they fit more into a “zone” of bra sizes and personal styles. That might help consumers feel better about the bra buying experience and understand the complexities of bra manufacturing and sizing.
2. What is your take on the state of general consumer education around bra fitting? What are the most common questions you're asked at The Breast Life?
There seems to be zero consumer education around bras, except to blame/shame women into buying new foundations by telling them they are “in the wrong size.” The big fat lie that gets repeated is that “85% — or more of us — don’t wear the right size.” There’s no science behind this statistic and no mention that all brands have different fit standards.
Plus, wearing a bra is about so much more than a letter/number combination. I’m always shocked that people think there are only a few sizes (A though D) and they have no clue that there’s an international world of bra buying possibilities — a multitude of brands and styles from which to choose.
3. What did you learn about bras (and/or bra sizing/fitting) while writing this book?
It doesn’t bother me that there’s no standardized bra fitting system, since no two bras are manufactured the exact same way. But new brands keep adding even more unique sizing systems. It makes it even harder for consumers to know what works for them. None of the international bra conversion charts I found provided identical information, so clearly its a worldwide problem. All the “sizing” and “fit” stuff can be overwhelming and confusing.
Most of us need to look at buying bras the way we do shoes or jeans: we’ll find favorite brands that fit better than others and we’ll change our fashion tastes over time. That said, writing the book gave me a greater appreciation for what it takes to design and make a fabulous wired or seamed cup bra.
4. What do you hope readers take away from The Bra Zone?
That the book gives them the enough practical information that they can trust their own judgment when it comes to finding the bras that fit and feel the best on their bodies. Also, I’m hoping consumers discover new lingerie brands and indie designers and learn about all the lingerie bloggers---who are also a great resource.