Japanese bras are cute. Guys, you know what I’m talking about. Also, you should probably stop reading now, since I doubt this will interest you. Girls, you also know what I’m talking about. Every time I go to Japanese Onsen, (or sleepover) everything is always freakishly matching, very padded, and looks like something tween Barbie would wear.
Every time I pass a bra shop, I always peer in, mystified at all the colors (mostly pale pink, pale green, or white, with an amazing amount of lace) and fascinated by the sheer “girliness” of it all. Eventually I decided I couldn’t leave Japan without buying a “famous” Japanese bra, so I set out to go bra shopping.
So if you want to go bra shopping in Japan (but are terrified of the prospect), here is my step by step guide for trying on a bra in Japan:
1. Measure yourself online
Naturally, American and Japanese bras are different sizes. Asian women are typically “less endowed” than white or black women; Japanese women are often also a great deal skinnier (which means smaller boobs).
To check your Japanese bra size, click here.
I went from a 32B to a 70D. I’m a D cup in Japan. That’s awesome.
2. Find a bra shop
Bra shops are everywhere. They are these tiny little botiques that look like the Sugarplum fairies house from the game Candy Land. If you want, use GoogleMaps to find a bra shop. Or, you could just go to basically any shopping mall or shopping district – there are bound to be bra shops.
3. Bring a friend
In both the bra shops we went to, a majority of the patrons were couples. For some reason no one thought it was weird or embarrassing to bring a boyfriend bra shopping in Japan. None of the men (or women) looked uncomfortable – at all. We only saw one (older) woman shopping alone and one group of three girls shopping together.
4. Find a bra that doesn’t freak you out
Japanese style is very chic – but it is also very “effeminate.” With multiple layers of lace, fluff, opaque tights, and ribbons, fashion in Japan is far too “girly” for me. Bras are no exception. Because of the extensive ribbon and lace, most bras end up looking bumpy under the shirt (hence the multiple layers).
In the first shop I couldn’t find anything that was my color (not pink or pale green/baby blue) or style (no lace, no ribbon, not “bumpy” or over the top). The second shops Tutuanna (a socks, tights, and bra shop), had a couple styles I liked.
5. Go to the Fitting Room
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to try the bras on (I didn’t quite trust the online converter). My fears were unfounded. The fitting room had two rooms and three attendants. All the attendants were wearing short, white gloves, a black shirt, and blue jeans – giving off the vague “butler” style. One poor boyfriend was awkwardly waiting outside (playing on his phone) while his girlfriend (or sister, friend, etc) was trying bras on.
As soon as one of the attendants saw me waiting, she ushered me into one of the fitting rooms – taking my purchases away to “fix” them for me. The fitting room was poorly lit with soft, yellow light. It had three heavy maroon curtains (two drawing from right to left, one drawing from left to right) to make sure I was completely protected. After unclipping the bras from their matching underwear sets (I couldn’t find any “single” bras), a single white glove passed through the curtain.
By the way, don’t forget to take your shoes off before you enter the fitting room. For more Tips for Trying on Clothes in Japan, check out this article.
6. Laugh at the step-by-step trying on a bra guide
One of the first things I noticed in the fitting room was this poster:
The attendant asked if I needed help trying on the bras. I was like “no…?” and sent her away (I’m pretty sure everyone knows how to put a bra on, right?). But just in case I was lost, they had a nice step-by-step guide that incorporated how padded Japanese bras are.
7. Try on the bra
It was cute. I liked it. Even though I picked some of the “less” padded bras, it was still the most padding I have ever seen in a bra. Ever. My boobs looked great.
8. Marvel at the amount of padding
Seriously. I can’t believe how much was in there.
9. Refuse help from attendants
About halfway through, one of the attendants asked if I needed help. I turned her away. She came back two minutes later and asked again. I turned her away.
10. Wait for the attendant to finish re-attaching the matching bra and underwear set
We had to hang around the shop for an extra five minutes while the attendant re-attached the matching bra and underwear sets. She gave me a little Tutuanna bra bag (opaque bag to keep my bras in while shopping, just in case I got embarrassed). The poor boyfriend from earlier was still waiting for his girlfriend; two attendants were inside her fitting room (I could tell by the shoes and voices), helping her try on bras.
12. Pay and leave
Japanese bras are expensive, but not too expensive. Bras typically run around the $10 – $30 (1,000 – 3,000 yen).
13. Repeat as necessary. Also, tell all your friends about how cool/weird trying on clothes in Japan can be.