This past week, after seeing on their website that they offered 28-band bras, I decided to make a trek out to The Enchantress bra boutique.
True to the website, this cute little store offered many choices in Freya, Panache, Fantasie, Hotmilk, and several other well-known brands. I eagerly browsed the racks, noticing many sizes offered that I had never seen before in U.S. stores (like 28E and 28DD!). However, my excitement waned a bit when one of the ladies working there told me that she didn’t think they had any 28GG’s. I was disappointed, but I must admit that this wasn’t entirely their fault. They did stock many Freya choices, and many of those particular bras did only go up to 28G (but up to GG+ in other band sizes), if they came in a 28 band at all. I must credit the store, then, for stocking all or most of the size choices for many of the lines that they did carry (unlike Nordstrom, who I’ve never seen carry 28 bands, even though they carry lines that come in that size).
Despite the lack of 28GG+ bras, I decided to make the most of my visit by trying on the luscious red Freya Deco in a 28G (too small in the cup) and a 30G (too small in the cup, too big in the band). The shop didn’t have a 30GG in the red Deco, but they pulled a 30GG for me in a similar Freya Ashlee, which turned out to also be too small in the cup and too big in the band (surprising, as a regular 30GG Deco I had tried a few weeks before at Nordstrom seemed to fit well in the cups. Maybe the Ashlee runs smaller than the Deco in the cup?).
Things went a little downhill after that. The lady who had been helping me (I believe she was the owner) instructed the other worker/fitter to “find her some 30H’s.” Neither the Ashlee or the Deco comes in an H cup, but the second fitter brought me some mesh-cup Freya and Fantasie bras in a 30GG, which, as I expected, were too big in the cup for me (plunge bras like the Deco tend to run smaller in the cup), and I was fastening up the back all the way as I had been doing with the Decos. The fitter then somehow became convinced that I must be a 30G or 30FF, or perhaps even an F or DDD (what.). She then proceeded to move rapid-pace, bringing in handfuls of bras and almost throwing them onto me. I barely had time to notice which bras I was trying on and didn’t feel I could evaluate their fit at all well with her standing there and declaring they were “perfectly” fitting or not and then rushing me to try on more. I found myself not wanting to try on any more bras, but feeling almost powerless to escape! Of the ones I can remember that I tried (and I tried on several besides these), I was given:
Freya Daphne in a 30G – band much too loose (and the cups would be too small if the band tight enough), and I didn’t like the color anyway. I tried this on before the fitter came back. This bra doesn’t come in a 28 band at all and only goes up to a G cup.
Panache Tango II in a 30GG and 30G – nothing new here, as I’ve owned several colors of this same bra in a 30G before. I currently own a 28GG that’s too small in the cup and possibly the band. I was hoping to try this bra in a 28H, but apparently they didn’t have it (or I was never offered it).
Freya Beau (I’m fairly sure) in a 30G – band loose, cups seemed to fit mostly okay, though a little sagging because of the loose band. The 30G was declared “perfect” by the fitter and she wanted me to buy it. In addition to the band feeling too loose, the shape was a tad pointy for my taste (I’m very anti-pointy, and this shape may have been fixed if I wore it in a 28GG). I did like the color and would be willing to try it out in a different size.
This bra does come in a 28 band and up to an H cup, but apparently the store did not carry it in a 28, or if they did, I was never offered it.
The last bra I was in was a 30FF Fantasie Esme, which she was declaring a “perfect” fit. I wasn’t sure how to tell her what I was thinking. The band only felt okay only because the cups were too small and flattening my breasts – I felt smooshed. The shape was a flattened, spread-out shape, which I don’t prefer. I didn’t want to buy the bra, but I felt that she was pressuring me to do so. I also felt she had been rushing me through trying on a bunch of bras and thus I felt obligated to buy something.
Nearer to the beginning, I had fastened one (30G, I think) bra all the way up as I usually do automatically with 30 bands, and when she came in, she said, “No, no, you need to have it fastened on the loosest. Always the loosest. It can’t be too tight or otherwise you’ll get marks” as she moved the hooks to loosest setting. It’s true that a bra should fit well on the loosest hook, but I feel she should have perhaps considered that the band might be too big if I was able to fasten it all the way up straight away. I tried to say something to that effect, and noted that I always get marks from all my clothing anyway and that I usually wear 28 bands, but I found it hard to explain anything (there was a bit of a language barrier, so that probably didn’t help), and I didn’t feel she was really listening. With a different bra, I tried to show her why I felt the band was too loose (by putting my fingers under the center gore), but she merely pulled on the back band (which I would be able to fit my hand under) and declared, “No, see, this is perfect.”
Now, I do realize that “reverse letter phobia” (wearing too-small backs with too-big cups rather than the usual problem of too-large backs and too-small cups) can be a problem if we’re not careful, and I hope I would be the first to acknowledge if I needed a bigger band in a particular bra, but I didn’t feel that this was the case for the bras I was trying on, especially since I could tighten up bands all the way provided that the cups were big enough
In the end, I ended up buying (read: felt guilted into buying) a Panache Tango II in a 30G – a “safe” choice for my desperate-for-bras current state, since I had owned several before. Overall, through the last half of my time there, I felt very rushed and flustered. I didn’t feel that the fitter was listening to me, and they didn’t really carry my exact size range (though they had several things that were “close”). When bra shopping, I prefer to go at my own pace, take my time to evaluate each choice, and not feel forced to try on bras that a fitter brings me. I declined to try the several of the same bras in different colors and a 32DDD bra that the fitter brought me, and she seemed disappointed that I did so. I felt like she was trying to get me into as small of a cup as possible by increasing the band. I don’t want a bra that’s a “sister size” or “kind of close,” though – I want a bra that will fit well! I also had wanted to spend more time looking through swimwear and other bras that they had (as well as what looked like a good selection of lingerie-care type items), but by the time I got out of the fitting room, I was so flustered that I was just ready to leave. I’m not a very assertive person by nature, so perhaps a less shy person could’ve saved herself a lot of trouble in the beginning by simply telling the fitter that they didn’t really need the help, but I never brought myself to do it! I also felt that, while the first lady/owner listened to me and what I felt I needed, the second fitter ignored what I had to say and made her own conclusions.
However, despite my not-so-great experience with the one fitter, I would still recommend the shop for anyone in the area who may need a size that even Nordstrom doesn’t carry (particularly the 30 band and 28D-G group, as 30-28 bands are VERY difficult to find in-store in the U.S.). The selection overall was really the best I’ve ever seen in a U.S. store, the atmosphere was pleasant, the workers had a helpful attitude in general, and overall I think it would’ve been a good experience apart from the second fitter. Since The Enchantress started out as a bridal lingerie-type store, they had a good selection of strapless bras and bustiers for wedding gowns. I wished I’d known about the shop back when I was looking everywhere for a bustier that was at all close to my size for my wedding dress!
Have you ever been to a bra boutique shop? What was your experience like? As this was really the only boutique shop I’ve ever been to that stocked anything close to my size, I’m curious!