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.
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.