This article was commissioned by Intimate Apparel to give the perspective of a professional bra fitter in a lingerie shop and we hope it gives an idea of the many issues relating to bras, their fitting and purchase. Professional bra fitting is an important part of the bra buying process but many people bypass it, in favour of a cheaper, quicker option. It’s essential that if you’re a lingerie specialist, your staff are fully trained. It’s also important if you’re buying a bra that you can get the best possible fit, which is why we offer bra fitting course to lingerie shops and businesses, so that their customers get a better fitting bra.
A day in the life of a bra fitter
As soon as the door of the lingerie shop opens at 10am, I know what type of day it’s going to be, busy or quiet. On an average day I will do 15 fittings per day and out of those, 14 out of the 15 customers will be wearing the wrong size bra! Pretty high statistics and sadly they haven’t improved over the last 25 years, even with all the information about fitting bras and access to bra fitting services out there. The last bra that most customers purchased is either from a high street department store or supermarket!
Where does a bra fitter start?
I generally start with questions such as “when was the last time you were fitted? What size are you wearing? The most common reply to the first question is “err, I can’t remember.”
So then I suggest that they might need a bra fitting and I Invite the client into the fitting room and ask her to remove her top but keep her bra on. Bra fitters do this to assess how well or badly the customer’s current bra fits and the shape of bra she likes to wear.
I generally keep chatting away, trying to get more information and to relax the client if she is a little uncomfortable. Customer’s comments range from“last time I was fitted was 3 years ago and I’ve had a baby since then” or “I have lost/gained a lot of weight recently,” “I have never been fitted” or “I’m too embarrassed” and “I had such a bad experience and it’s put me off being fitted”
Although I often take the tape measure into the room with me, I will also be using my eye to assess the customer’s bra size, as I have many years of experience. The most common things I see are women that look like they’ve got four breasts, bras that ride up the back, bra straps that fall off the shoulders and bras that look uncomfortable, but the list is much much longer.
Once I have made my assessment, I then have to make my product selections allowing for different bras to fit my customer’s body shape. Sadly what the customer thinks she likes often isn’t the best shape/style for her. I will take two different sizes in together to ensure the perfect fit and on my return I ask permission to make the fitting and ask her to face the mirror, ask her to remove her bra and place the new bra in front and fit her with the bra to get the perfect fit.
Why you should buy your bra from a specialist Lingerie shop
I am often asked “why can’t I buy my size bra at the supermarket?” I reply “when you think of what a supermarket sells best what come into your mind first?” FOOD is the answer, you buy your groceries at the supermarket and you should buy your bras in a lingerie shop! Supermarkets may be a cheaper place to buy your bra but you’re never going to get the same fit as you will with a quality branded bra. Also, when you go to a lingerie shop, you’ll get the invaluable experience and product knowledge of an experienced bra fitting professional along with a great choice of quality bras.
Department store staff can often move between departments so the lady working in the lingerie and bra department might not have expert training in bra fitting, so again you might not always get the expert bra fitting services you need in a department store.
The best part of fitting a bra
So finally, we come to the best part of being a bra fitter, when my customer and I are both happy with the bra and I can ask her how she feels and then get her to put her top on again to see the difference the bra has made. That’s what a properly fitted bra can do for you. Customers get to see the results for themselves and their pleasure in the improved look is my reward. This makes being a bra fitter really worthwhile.