Bra fitter: “What are you looking for today?”
Customer: “A bra.”
Sometimes this happens. I will ask a customer what she is looking for and she will reply “a bra.” She may say this with a little exasperation, perhaps wondering if I have fallen asleep on the job. Then comes the gentle process of extracting information to finally find out that what she really wants not just any bra, but a black bra with thin straps, a rounded cup shape and a little bit of pretty detail!
While some shoppers are immediately able to verbalize what it is they want, other take a little time to figure this out. And that’s okay. Bra shopping can be overwhelming! Although the basics of bra fitting are fairly simple, navigating different styles, shapes and brands can be confusing. That’s why many women prefer to work with a bra fitter. A (good) professional bra fitter has intensive product knowledge and experience working with a range of different breast and body types that can allow for an in-person fitting to be more simple and satisfactory than doing it on your own.* But the bra fitter is only one part of the equation. A bra fitter can help you navigate sizing and educate you on the intricacies of technical fit but she will never be able to choose the right bra for you. That’s where YOU come in. If you want to find the right bra, there are a 6 questions you should ask yourself.
1) Why do you need this bra?
Are you buying a bra to wear everyday? Do you want something for a sexy photoshoot? Is this bra to wear under a particular dress? No one bra can do all things – so figuring out the primary purpose of your bra can help you select the best bra for the job.
2) Do you have a budget?
A good bra can cost between $60-$250. The cost will depend on the quality, detail and manufacturer of the bra. If there is a maximum price you can pay for a bra, letting your fitter know from the start will save you the hassle of trying on that $200 beauty that you absolutely love, but absolutely cannot afford right now. But don’t be afraid to try on something a little over your maximum price range. Sometimes actually feeling and seeing a slightly more expensive bra on your body is enough for to you to spend an extra $10.
3) What don’t you like?
Do you hate it when a bra’s seams show through your shirt? Do you find underwires torturous? Letting your fitter know what you’re not keen on allows her to narrow down your selection to what is most likely to work for you. During a fitting I usually will not bring in every single bra in a person’s size because I don’t want to waste their time by trying on a bra that I know they’ll dislike.
4) And more importantly what DO you like?
Is it important to you that the bra you wear looks good, or is it just there to do a job? Do you like to feel “locked and loaded” or do you prefer a more easy-breezy bra? Do you want to feel like a classic 1950s pinup or a sleek futuristic crime fighter? By letting your fitter know what you like she can do a better job of bringing you bras that will be potential contenders. And because a good fitter will have a keen knowledge of the fit, feel and shape of each bra, she may be able to bring you styles you wouldn’t have considered otherwise!
5) How do you feel?
Move your arms back and forth- does the bra dig in under your arms? Lean forward and stand back up – do your breasts spill out of the cups? Have a seat – how are the wires? Do they poke under your arms or dig into your ribcage? A bra fitter will never be able to experience how a bra feels on your own unique body, so it’s up to you to try to figure this out. Doing some everyday motions like sitting down and moving around will help you to determine your comfort in the bra.
A good bra fitting will always be a collaboration between the fitter and client. You have the knowledge of your needs, wants and limits and she has the knowledge of the shape, sizing, fit quirks and price range of the bras. But in the end, it’s up to you to make the final decision. By asking yourself these 6 questions before you go bra shopping you’ll be on the right path to finding the right bra for you!
*I know that not everyone has the ability/desire to work with a bra fitter. And that’s totally okay! You can also use these tips to help streamline your solo bra shopping experience.