The Fitting Touch- my first true professional fitting

Along with the majority of women across the US I have never had a real bra fitting, until recently. I have been fit in places that tried tout me in the wrong size, places that use the plus four method (or even plus six!), places where the “fitter” did not actually do anything to fit. Until this point I have always fit my bras myself using what I have learned from blogs (major credit to Eternal*Voyageur).

By lucky chance I came upon a lingerie boutique in Birmingham, Alabama. My husband and I were driving to the Apple store, a three-hour trek. We were already going to be at the mall so I figured I’d look to see what it had to offer. To my great surprise there was a lingerie boutique! To Google I went and found that they carry the Eveden brands and Panache, but the website listed their size range as starting at a 30. A second look after my fitting found that they list 28 bands on their website, I had just missed it.

So after we finished at the Apple store we headed over to check them out. I did not call ahead or make any appointment. This was no problem. As we parked in front of the store the first thing I noticed was the bright display of bikinis in the front windows. There is some promise right there! I wish I had taken some pictures.  So in we went. There were two employees, both working. No standing around chit chatting like you see in so many places. Even though they were working we were immediately greeted, the employee put aside the items she was stocking and came to see what we needed.

As we walked in the door my eyes were immediately drawn to a display of Freya bras. Because of this I don’t really remember what I first said to the employee. It was something about their website mentioning 30 bands and needing a 28. She immediately assured me that they did have 28 bands in store. So I started my explanation for why I was there. I told her that I was pregnant and having issues with bra discomfort (with my husband shouting in the background that I needed to get a fitting). I told her that I was having pain under the breasts from the underwire. Immediately she offered a fitting.

She guided me to the fitting rooms in the back. We walked through a good sized store, well organized and uncluttered. To my left I spot one of my favorite bras, the Masquerade Rhea, in Mulberry hanging with a rack of other Panache bras. She offered my husband a seat in some comfortable looking chairs next to some men’s underwear products. I know most men would appreciate this, but not mine. He would have been happier looking at bras then men’s boxer briefs.

In the fitting room she introduced herself to me as Michelle and asked me how far along in pregnancy I was. This is important because your bra needs will change in pregnancy. I was 13 weeks at the time. She started by assessing my current bra, the Rhea in a 28H. At this point I also told her that I have implants. Not even a blink! Some fitters have an attitude change when you mention implants. There was no change in how I was fitted. Michelle gave me directions so she could measure me, ribcage and fullest bust. She said my current bra was still in good shape, and said she be right back with a bra to try. No mention of size. To me this is a good thing because some women will immediately go into cupsize denial.

Michelle returned with the Panache Andorra. I don’t usually wear Panache because of the wider cups. But the Andorra has a deeper cup design with an internal sling at the outside of the cup. She helped me into the bra and adjusted the fit. She grabbed my husband to come take a look, and even he noticed right off the bat that the center gore sat flat. The size, 28HH, one up from the size I was wearing. At this point she explained why the Andorra is perfect for women experiencing breast changes, whether they are pregnancy related, menopause related, or just related to your cycle. The Andorra has very stretchy material at the top of the cup. It is a soft lace material, smooth feeling both inside the cup and outside the cup. She also recommended a second fitting at the 8 month mark.

Panache Andorra 28HH, taken at 15 weeks pregnant, 3 weeks after my fitting

Unfortunately that was the only bra they had in my size. Contrary to some fitters advice to size up in that particular bra, she did not offer me any 28H bras. She did not offer anything outside a 28 even though they had a selection of 30s in the sister size. She specifically stated that there was no way I could go up from the 28 band. I absolutely love this because many fitters will try to fit you in a sister size. Michelle did show me the Panache catalog and showed me what they could order in for me. And I wouldn’t have to drive up, they can ship to me for $2.

Done with the fitting, Michelle offered to let me wear the bra out of the store. She wrapped my old bra and checked us out. Here my husband and I chatted with her and the other employee, both of which were extremely friendly. My husband called me out as having a blog (bad husband!!) and told them that this was the first time I had been to a store and been fitted correctly. Still no change, same friendly chit-chat. I left the store as a very happy camper and with a bra for the first time ever.

I really think it is important to share stories like this. So many women have horrible fitting experiences. I know I have. But it is still worth a try! You never know when you will find that gold mine and get a great fit. Everywhere I go I look for a boutique for a fitting. Look around you when you go somewhere new. You may be surprised and walk out a happy customer just like I did.

If you are even close to this boutique I’d recommend giving them a try. Check out their Facebook Page to see advertised specials and events.

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15 Comments

  1. callie

    I love the Panache Andorra! I have two in Purple and one coming in the mail in Bright Pink. What is the color you’re wearing? It looks nude, but I haven’t been able to find a nude colored Panache Andorra.

    • It’s an ivory color. I’m just very pale and yellow based so it looks nude on me. A nude bra usually looks too brown on me. I’d love a pink or purple one! I think I’ll do purple for my next one. It is just so comfortable, even to nap in.

    • Danielle

      The color she is wearing is called pearl. Unfortunately its not available in nude, but the pearl color shouldnt show under most clothes

  2. AMB

    That’s great that you go a good fitting! I dream of the day I might experience it! The only time I have been treated well by a fitter, was when they had to reach the conclusion that I was out of range (in my country, an FF is the biggest you can come across), so even that didn’t give many results. Yesterday I went into a store, to check if size-range had expanded. It hadn’t, but they asked what size I was wearing, I answered 34HH, to which they responded “I don’t think so” and that I would need at least a 38 (Guess I am defying physics with all my 34 bands. Even though I measure 33-34″), so they gave me a 38E (Obviously, I must be lying about everything when I said that my current bra was a pretty good fit). After the whole team had been called together to deal with this unusual problem (my breasts), they gave in to giving me a 38FF, the biggest size possible, telling me that there could be no bigger, so I should fit. (though when I showed them the loose band, they literally turned around without answering. Outright refused to let me try other sizes), and after failing with that one as well, proudly told me about sister-sizes, so my true size would of course be a 42FF, and they would order those right away. When I reminded them that it would be 8″ bigger than the 34 bands I had happily worn, they audibly scoffed at me. I left in tears. Made me feel like such a freak and a fraud. This is pretty much how it turns out most the time I got to fitters (why do I do it?).
    I thought the US was just as bad, but it seems you can be lucky to find a good spot!
    Right after I went to another store, Change Lingerie, which has the “freaky sizes” (other people’s words) up to H. Though I usually have bad experiences there too, there was a new team there, and they didn’t even flinch when I asked for 36H (knowing they didn’t have 34HH), and agreed with me when I said that their brand runs a bit loose in the band and small in the cup (they didn’t fit me, they only had one bra in 36H, so really no point) and they agreed that since the 36H was like that, I would probably need 34J or 32JJ, and then we had a long talk of how different brands fit, and how important it is for a store to have a wide size range if they want what is best for their customers (Change has 28 bands as the only one in the country to go below 32), and they strongly urged me to write to the company headquarters to let them know that there is a marked for H+ :) So some good things here as well!

  3. What a lovely review!
    Now, how to suggest to the women in my boyfriend’s family that they might want to take a drive to see this place…Maybe gift certificates once I get a better job, or if anyone remarks this summer how they’ve never seen bra-sized swimwear (like I got for the trip).

  4. That’s great, it’s always so good to hear about a place that actually carries 28 bands!!! Actually, I think this is the second place I’ve heard that carries 28 bands in the US (the first being A Sophisticated Pair).

    • There are two places in Portland, Oregon that do: The Pencil Test and Just Like a Woman.

      • I wonder if we can get a list together to share with other small band ladies. This would be a great addition to the Bra Band Project facebook page!

  5. I love the Andorra! I know, you’re getting a lil desperate right now, but, I think that Andorra is too big for you. It is a narrower offering from Panache, and the wires shouldn’t come back so far.

    • The wires are most definitely too wide for me. But already the gore is starting to lift from my sternum. You are right, I’m definitely going with what I can get, I really truly need something with a deeper cup and probably a 26 band.
      Once the baby is born and my size stabilizes I want to try some of the Bravissimo styles that I have read are much more narrow wire and more cup depth. Maybe the Curvy Kate regular line as well. I have a few Showgirl bras that are almost as wide as the Andorra. I’m all forward boob and no sideboob, not something found in bras. I’d like to think that I could downsize the cup size by a few letters if I could just get that depth!

      • I find the Andorra works because it is tall and deep, so it moves breast tissue upward to the top of the cup. With implants, though, your breasts are a lot less flexible so I am sure you have a hard time with fit. I can imagine that the Rhea and the Showgirls work because they are open on top, so there’s no attempt to compress the implants.

  6. I had the chance to swing by this place recently. We were doing a road trip to visit friends, and originally I was going to visit both The Fitting Touch and the Intimacy in Atlanta. I didn’t have quite as positive an experience as you did, but think it might just be the fitter and me, not the store: http://domesticoutlet.tumblr.com/post/31229883234/bra-store-review-the-fitting-touch-birmingham-al

Trackbacks

  1. Friday Favorites | miss underpinnings
  2. Bra Fitting During Pregnancy: Keeping Up With All That Change! | StackDD+
  3. Pregnancy with implants, 24 week update « By Baby's Rules

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