Friday’s Fab Find: PrimaDonna Bras

PrimaDonna Bras Okay, I have a confession that is a little embarrassing to admit as a style expert who dresses women for a living: I’m really bad at fitting women for bras.  It’s just not my area of expertise and I usually source this task out to other experts.   Therefore, it will probably come of no surprise to you that I have been wearing the wrong bra size for years now.

A recent trip to Lee Lee’s Valise, the world renowned Brooklyn boutique that exclusively caters to women sizes 10-28 and sells lingerie in bra sizes all the way up to the letter i, taught me that I’m not the 34D/DD, the bra size I’d been wearing for years, I’m actually a 34G!  Owner of Lee Lee’s Valise, my friend Lisa Dolan, should be called the bra whisperer.  One look at me and she nailed my size and threw me into the dressing room to try on a PrimaDonna bra, the only brand she sells in her store because she believes in in them so strongly.  The second I tried on the PrimaDonna bra, in the size she hand selected for me on sight alone,  it fit like a glove.   Amazed by how well it fit and felt, I actually came out of the dressing room to show it off.  Lisa looked at me and just said, “Once you go PrimaDonna, you never go back.”  She’s right, and it’s why I am featuring PrimaDonna bras for Friday’s Fab find.

If you’re unfamiliar with PrimaDonna bras, there are a few reasons why they are superior to all other bras out there.  PrimaDonna’s undisputed expertise in luxury lingerie for larger cup sizes, that go all the way up to a size i, began in Germany in 1865, came to Belgium in 1990 and was transmitted from one generation to the next.

PrimaDonna Bras
Photos courtesy of Primadonna

All PrimaDonna bras are handmade in Belgium (everything good always comes from Belgium, doesn’t it?), and requires a far greater proportion of manual work than their competitors.  Each PrimaDonna bra requires between 40 and 50 different stages of assembly and they have rigorous testing on all components of their bras.  Before a bra is dispatched, it goes through two rounds of testing by hand and there are components to the bra that other bra companies don’t do, like encasing underwiring in rubber for added comfort.  Lastly, the bras aren’t fit on models or dummies, but a panel of customers, all who represent a variety of sizes that PrimaDonna caters to.   Currently, PrimaDonna ships to 4,000 specialty lingerie retailers all over the world and choose to only sell to these types of stores because they believe in the importance of individualized and personal advice when shopping for a bra.

Now, I’m not going to lie, PrimaDonna bras will set you back a bit as the average price for their styles are around $130 but, as a recent convert, I will tell you the price tag is more than worth it.  For me, especially as a larger busted woman, I’d rather have fewer well made, better fitting bras than a bunch of junky, ill-fitting bras that feel like I’m wearing a hammock or a slingshot.  Plus, if you care for a bra like this the investment will pay for itself over time.  Sure, $130 may be expensive for a bra, but if it lasts five times longer than a bra you pay a fraction of the price for the PrimaDonna bra will actually be the better bargain.

PrimaDonna Bras
Left: PrimaDonna’s Deauville Bra, their most popular style. They sell one every two minutes! Middle: The Couture Bra, the style I currently am wearing. Right: The Happiness Bra from PrimaDonna’s retro Twist Collection.

I should also point out that I have been sized in the past, other fitters have been the ones to put me into a 34DD or a 36C, however, as I learned from my friend Lisa over at Lee Lee’s Valise, often a bra fitter at a less reputable lingerie shop or department store will try to work you into a bra that they have stock of on hand.  Due to the fact that few stores offer much above a size DD, they will often just increase the band size instead of the cup to accomodate.

For more bra fitting advice, watch this video featuring PrimaDonna bras my friend Lisa Dolan.  I will warn you, the first two minutes of the video isn’t worth watching, so watch from two minutes on to see Lisa share her bra knowledge.

If you’re in the NYC area, I highly recommend you have the Bra Whisperer, Lisa Dolan fit you for a PrimaDonna bra at her store Lee Lee’s Valise, however, if you are not in the area, you can also check out PrimaDonna for retailers near you.

  • Cheryl Schwarz

    Bridgette, you keep inspiring me to look and feel better.

    I spent an hour today trying on new bras…I had been wearing a 38C, but should have been wearing a 36DD !! What ??!! Maybe a larger chest is supposed to be compensation for “hot flashes” LOL.

    But of course the fitting doesn’t stop with a “size”…I think I tried on 2 dozen different styles and brands to find TWO styles of Wacoal bras that fit perfectly. And of course, the store only had ONE of my size in each one, so I had to order more to be mailed to me. AAAARRGGHH…is lingerie shopping supposed to be fun, or is agony the norm?? No way I could buy a bra without trying it on first, they are all so different.

    Thanks for the push for new undies..sigh..

    • Hi Cheryl! This is so nice to hear!!! Have you tried PrimaDonna bras? Seriously, I am a total convert! Well, if it makes you feel any better about your new size, technically the cup of the 38C and the 36DD are about the same because by going down one strap size (the number) the cup size increases, so the 38C and the 36DD even out. The problem with your original size of 38C was that it wasn’t offering you the proper support because the band was too big. Now that you are in a 36DD the band should fit you better and the bra will be more supportive, even though the cup size is about the same. It’s sort of like the woman who buys a 42C, even though I am a 34G her cups are technically bigger than mine, but because my back size is so small and my chest so big my letter is higher.

      But, yes, as far as it being an arduous experience, this is why you need a very skilled fitter. If you have a larger chest, you can’t just stroll into a Victoria’s Secret, for example, and expect good service. Even I have found department store fitters to be questionable. Like I said in my blog, I was fit by my friend who owns the plus size boutique in my neighborhood and she is so good that she didn’t even have to measure me. She just threw a bra size and me into the dressing room and I was shocked. All these years I had been sized into a 34DD and I’m a freaking G!!!! If you ever get a chance to try on PrimaDonna definitely try one on. But, I warn you, you’ll NEVER go back! Haha!

      • Cheryl Schwarz

        I’ll be sure to see if any stores carry PrimaDonna when I travel to bigger cities, so I can get fitted, try them on in person. I am going to Minneapolis in October, so maybe there will be an opportunity then.

        • Very awesome! They will become an expensive addiction once you start, but well worth it. My boobs are very grateful!!!

        • Oh, here you go-

          LA BRATIQUE
          5007 FRANCE AVENUE S.,STE.1EDINA

          • Cheryl Schwarz

            Sweet !! I’ll be sure to update you in October.

  • Anne Glover

    Stumbled on your site, as you do, and thought I could have written exactly the same story, even to the same sizing. I ride horses and need a sports bra but my prima donna fits so amazingly I am going to try riding in it. I have never felt so good in my clothes.

    • Ugh, is it not impossible to find a sportsbra when you have a large chest? I think you are best off with a PrimaDonna bra! for sure! I am glad you found these bras too! Now if only PrimaDonna made sportsbras

      • Michelle

        Freya makes sports bras in bra sizes. Goddess makes sports bras. Enell is another brand. Search for your size in sports bras on a site like bare necessities, her room, or big girls bras, and you may be able to find something. I’m a 32F and I run in a Freya underwire sports bra.

  • DoBetter

    Went to a boutique and was introduced to the Prima Donna brand (I had been wearing Wacoal) and although the brand was an instant hit, I don’t think I left out with the best choice for me. Will be returning, now that I know a little bit more about the brand. Thanks for this info and I enjoyed the video from your friend.

  • Sandra

    Bridgette, I have been wearing Wacoal for years. Living in Germany for 3 months and have been walking by this lingerie store for the past 7 weeks. Finally went in because I’m in desperate need of a new bra. All they sell is Prima Donna and I remembered your article. The woman didn’t even measure me. She felt under my breasts threw me in the dressing room and handed me a bra. Tried it on and it was perfect! The First Lady from Prima Donna. I also bought the Deauville. I will never wear another style! Planning on stocking up before I leave! Costs a lot less than the US!

    • I LOVE this story! I am so glad you are a convert! Once you go PrimaDonna you never go back! Thanks for sharing!

  • Betty

    Thank you for this. I have trouble finding bras in my size (Bravissimo put me in a 30E/F when I was in the UK), and have been looking for a good bra that I can buy in Belgium. It looks like there are three shops in my town that sell PrimaDonna.

    In your experience, have you found any model over the others that is better for breathability or wicking in hot weather? I’m usually on my bicycle, and I would like a bra that doesn’t cause me to sweat.