Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 Ways to Spot a Bad Bra Fitter [Guest Post by Susannah Perez]

Today's guest post is by the lovely Susannah Perez, an experienced fitter and lingerie fanatic who wants women to recognize when they’re not getting the fitting service they deserve! You can read more of her thoughts on TwitterFor more posts from good bra fitters, check out "The Dos and Don'ts of a Bra Fitting" from A Sophisticated Pair and "Is Your Professional Bra Fitter Giving You the Right Size" by Butterfly Collection, and take a look at druber & drunter's thoughts on "The Best Fitting Experience".

It’s a sad fact that a lot of lingerie stores and departments don’t ensure that all of their staff are well trained at bra fitting, or provide them with a set of out of date skills so they simply don’t have the knowledge to get women into the right fit. Almost every woman who has ever been fitted on the high street has had at least one experience where they walked away from the store unhappy with the service they received.

Unfortunately, if you’re not 100% sure of what you should expect in a bra fitting – other than walking away with a comfortable, well fitting bra – it can be really difficult to know whether you’ve had a good fitting or simply been conned into buying the wrong bra.

So, here’s a checklist from a bra fitter that cares: here’s exactly how to spot a bad bra fitter.

Everything is done by the tape measure.
Bra fitting is hardly anything to do with what a tape measure says – it should only be used to provide a starting point for the fitting (if your bra fitter isn’t working by sight), and should not be treated as a rule. It’s only rarely that the first bra you put on during a fitting will fit perfectly.

They only try you in the one size.
Following on from the first point, a good bra fitter should try you in several different sizes to be sure you get the perfect fit – not just try to squeeze you into whatever size they’ve measured you as – they should know that numbers and letters are simply guidelines!

They only try you in one style.
Even if you’re looking for a particular style, your fitter should be honest about whether this will work for you or not, and if not, which style will. Every woman is shaped differently, and has different needs to cater to: no one style will work for everyone.

They only look, don’t touch. 
A good bra fitter will adjust the straps to the optimum length for you, fix the band on the loosest hook, pull gently on the back to check it’s the right tightness, and will check how the central gore and wires sit. You can’t tell simply from looking if a bra is completely the right fit.

They use the +4 method. 
+4 is an old fitting method that is no longer applicable to the stretchier materials bras are made of today. If your fitter adds anything to your initial band measurement, then they will not be calculating your true size and you will most likely end up in an ill fitting bra.

They take the band measurement by measuring over your bust.
This practice is typically used by companies that try to size you between a 32A and 38DD, like Victoria’s Secret. This practice is completely nonsensical and will land you in an entirely inaccurate size – after all, why would your band size be anything other than the measurement of where your band would sit?

They try to size you up or down to fit you into ‘conventional’ sizes.
If your bra fitter tries you in a bra size completely different from your initial measurement as they’ve sized you up or down to fit you into the store’s size range, call foul play. No good fitter will put you in the wrong sized bra simply to get a sale – if you’re measured 28-36, they should be trying you in a 28G/H, not a 32D.

They don’t ask you how the bra feels.
Bad bra fitters will often assume that because a bra looks half decent, it feels okay too – which is simply a sign of negligence. Your fitter should make sure you’re comfortable in the bra, and if you’re not, they should try you in others.

They don’t address your concerns.
If your fitter doesn’t care or know what to do about any concerns you have with the fit, walk out of there. Though a well-fitting bra can feel tight if you’re not used to wearing your correct size, anything from digging in or falling out to space in the cups or wires sitting away from your torso should be addressed and rectified with either another size or style.

They’re not dedicated to finding the right bra.
If you aren’t happy with the fit of the bra they put you in, they should try you in different styles and sizes until they find one that you love – and if this isn’t possible, offer to order bras in for you or recommend another store that may be able to service your needs better. Every woman has the potential and right to sexy and amazing lingerie that fits exceptionally and makes you feel fabulous, and your fitter should embody that promise – if they try to fob you off with a “that’s as good as it’s going to get” attitude, leave!

Do you have any more pointers on how to spot a bad bra fitter? Do you have any fitting horror stories to share?

14 comments:

  1. This is a brilliant check list! Very well written Susannah xx

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  2. Excellent post, and thanks for linking to us! I think one of the hardest things for fitters to do is admit when there's nothing in the store that will help. Sometimes we just don't have what a woman needs, and in those cases, I will take the woman's name and email address along with the info on what they want. Then, I'll do some independent research to see if I can find it elsewhere. I'd rather you leave with a positive experience of the store but not buy anything instead of buying something you don't really love and feeling pressured. It's better from a moral and business perspective to help a woman get exactly what she wants.

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    1. I used to do exactly the same - take the customers' details and try to find them something that will work, or if that's impossible, recommend a place where they can get something. I completely agree with being honest and them not buying anything, than trying to force them to buy something that doesn't fit.

      Susannah xx

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  3. I went to a place I thought was good (they have an amazing stock!), and the woman offered to fit me. I was pretty stoked, and said I liked 28bands. She raised an eyebrow, and any feelings of enthusiasm I had evaporated the instant she measured my ribcage and said "27 inches? That puts you right at 32. You could maybe try a 30 if you like really tight bands." She then assessed me in the 30F I had grabbed off the shelf. My boobs are two different sizes, with righty 1.5 cups smaller. I normally pad the right side, but hadn't cared to do it that day. She only looked at my right boob and pronounced my bra way way too big. I had to point out that it fit my left boob perfectly, and going down in size would create a double boob. She seemed flustered when I said this.

    She grabbed me some bras in a 30E (still convinced I should go down a size) and then had me try them on. I tried the panache tango II plunge, and it was too small in the cup, and was riding up my back and was a poor fit for my shape. She called it perfect, but suggested I try another one. It was some Fantasie bra, and was complete full coverage and beige, with NO adornment or anything. In short, it was hideous and something I would never wear even when I get to be 90. I wonder why she thought huge, solid and beige would appeal to a 23 year old, especially one who came in wearing a purple leopard print bra... She then had me try another one (50% off! which was nice) but it fit terribly. She pointed this out, saying "oh. well that one only works if you're really firm. And you're not." My breasts aren't the firmest in the world, but they're definitely not as soft as she implied. And even if they were, she could have pointed that out with much more tact. She also failed to talk about breast shape, and the brands that would work best for me. She then tried to talk me into the hideous beige one again...

    I left feeling incredibly frustrated and insecure. I felt like she denied my own knowledge of my body, and implied that the only thing that would fit me and my uneven, unfirm breasts were full coverage, plain bras. And she was colossally insensitive.

    I felt a little shaken for a while, but I have since gotten a Cleo Meg and a Cleo Marcie, and I love them!! See, crazy fitter lady? Two 28FFs that fit, flatter, give me great cleavage, and are colorful.

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    1. This is mad - I'm so glad you completely ignored everything this woman said, because you're completely right. Good fitters will ALWAYS fit the lager breast (most women have a bit of difference) and then if the customer wants, pad the other cup.

      That was indeed one crazy fitter lady.

      Susannah xx

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  4. Great article. There have been times when I've had to tell customers I wasn't prepared to sell them anything as I didn't have anything in stock that fit correctly. I totally agree with Sophisticated Pair. I'd rather get back to the customer with something that suits than send them away unhappy, uncomfortable and feeling bad about themselves.

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    1. If only all bra fitters had this attitude! I wish more would put themselves in the customer's place - I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate being pressured into buying an ill fitting bra and made to feel like their breasts were in some way 'not normal'!!

      Susannah xx

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  5. This is a really good list, and I can favourably compare the fitter I had in a wonderful bra store on Sunday. She was wonderfully professional, knew her stuff and left me feeling secure and happy. I wish more people could fit like her.

    I wonder if it would be considered rude or helpful if I printed off this list and dropped it off at the bra stores around where I live.

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    1. So glad you've had a great experience with fitting - it's fabulous when that happens!

      Haha, I'm almost considering doing the same around my area - especially at the repeat offending chains! Maybe we should start a campaign?!

      Susannah xx

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  6. I can tell a lot of stories about bad fitters. I'm 30.5" underbust and 38-38.5" bust (it can vary during the cycle), but they often try to fit me in B cups, I was talked to 38C push up in bra boutique ("you can take in the band, it's easy fix"), I was told that if bra rode up when I put my hands up then cups were two big (LoL, what?), so I really appriciate that there are fitters like you, or Erica from Sophisticated Pair, or Clair from Butterfly Collection, you are really making this world a better place!
    Malica

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    1. Thanks Malica. :) That really is some of the most bizarre fitting 'advice' I've ever heard! Just shows how uneducated a lot of so-called fitters actually are.

      Susannah xx

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  7. Its sad that the worst bra fitters are usually in the biggest underwear instertutions.

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  8. They make slightly rude remarks about your size

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