There have been two ladies that stood out recently to my staff and I. The bra they were wearing was not only uncomfortable but damaging to their self esteem.
Lady number 1
A young girl, fitted locally at a well known large department store. Explained that she was experiencing discomfort in her fitted bras so had taken to wearing her sports bra as it "squashed her breasts and made them look smaller".
Rachael (one of my fitting staff) invited her in for a fitting to find out the exact manner of the problems with the bra. The young lady was anxious about her body image, she apologised for her "fat body" and other perceived problem areas.
Rachael ascertained that the young lady was in fact wearing a 38DD contraption of a sports bra. Her breasts were spilling from the top and sides, the back band was almost between the shoulder blades and possibly the most uncomfortable looking bra we had seen in a while!
During this time more apologies came, "Sorry, my back is enormous, I have to loose some weight". The young lady had come along with a very lovely friend who chirped up with "Nonsense, you are no bigger than me".
We love a good friend with positive words!
Rachael commenced fitting asking questions as to which styles and colours the young lady liked. This is important to us, as we want each lady to leave with a bra she not only looks good in but feels good in.
The end result was that this young lady was actually stood in a very well fitted 34G. An astonishing size change! Boobs not squashed, boobs contained in the cups, back band down where it should be, no discomfort...
...and one happy young lady! Her whole body was relaxed, she couldn't believe her boobs could look so fantastic.
Above all else she was excited that she was a 34 back band, she asked several times that it was actually a 34?
Her words changed from negative self damning to "so I haven't got a fat back, I'm just a normal size?"
Her good friend chirped up again with "That's the size I am, see I said we were the same!" (I love this friend).
Smiles all round.
Lady number 2
"I know what size I am, just show me the ones you have, I'm a 42E".
Ok, so this lady is not a 42 or an E and I have to tackle this with great care as she might not want to be fitted or told she is not either of those sizes on any chart anywhere in any country (just how did she get to be in that size?).
I didn't ask but I got the answer to the question in my head, (yes you have guessed) a well known department store.
So, I asked if I could help her with styling for her new bra in the hope of not offending her by saying she was a good few sizes out!
Hoorah, she was happy for me to help. I was shocked to find the 42E bra under great strain and boobs perched in some form of hammock. This fit was among the worst I've seen. The fitting commenced, we hoisted and scooped and lifted and holstered.
The end result was incredible, this lady looked so different, her waist appeared more narrow her body more upright and her boobs were at last where they belong, above the line of the elbows, lifted and separated!
My job was done, until she asked "So, what size am I?"
"Erm, actually quite a difference in what you were wearing to what you are now wearing - 38J".
A brief silence followed by a small giggle from the lovely lady, Rachael and I stood wondering if this was in fact going to be a giggle followed by tears or smiles? The lady put her clothing on over the bra and looked at herself again and then smiled the biggest smile I've seen in ages!
Size does matter, both of these ladies thought they were huge and overweight, voicing their negative feelings about their (beautiful) bodies because of a back band measurement that was incorrect!
Fitting a bra does not start or end with a tape measure. A bra fitting comes with knowledge of how a bra should fit and the relationship between bra and body, experience, a good eye for detail, product knowledge and having compassion for the lady stood in front of you.
Listening to what she wants and needs and guiding her through the confusing world of bras.