Here at Frankie & Ruby we offer a members club for clients who like ongoing contact, tips, ideas, and for us to be finding second hand treasures for them. Recently, one member asked about where to go for a bra fitting, and so I decided to head to our local town so I could report back to members on which shops in my opinion offered the best bra fitting service.
It was a disaster.
In the first department store I was told no-one was available to help me as the lady trained in fitting was off sick and they had no idea when she’d be back to work. I left with the words “maybe pop back in and try next Thursday” echoing in my ears. My second shop I had high hopes for, having had fittings there in the past. The bra fitting lady in this store was apparently at lunch and as they’d started an appointment system, wouldn’t be able to see me until 3pm – and it was 12 noon.
I tried one more department store, and when I asked at the till if someone was available to offer a fitting, the lady sighed heavily and said she’d do it. I followed her in to the changing rooms, where I was treated very efficiently to a cold tape measure and told I was wearing the right size. I asked if they had a bra without wires I could try, and she nodded and left, promptly returning with a bra I was told would not fit me as it was too small, but I could try it on anyway to get an idea and then order it online when I got home! Nothing about trying on a too small bra is an incentive for placing an online order. Nothing.
Needless to say, my trip was unsuccessful. Shortly after, I met Billy of the gorgeously named “Up Front and Personal”, a bra fitting specialist based in Burbage. I was intrigued after my high street fitting experience and so we chatted over coffee about what an independent fitter can offer: “Department stores offer their brands,” explained Billy, “but I can offer many different brands to make sure I find a bra that is exactly the right fit.” Interestingly Billy doesn’t fit by measuring a client, she fits by, well – fitting. “Different bra styles and different brands will fit in different ways, so it’s never really about the size on the label, but how it feels on the body and how good the fit is.”
According to the stats, 80% of women are wearing the wrong size of bra, with over ¼ of all women not having been for a fitting in 20 years! Based on my experience, I could see why a lot of women might feel they’re better off making a best guess and trying to figure out the right size for themselves.
I asked Billy what we should look for if we are left to our own devices in the changing room and trying on bras without expert help. “Try a size up and down from the one you think you are, and be prepared to try on lots of different styles. Try adjusting the shoulder straps to make sure the cups sit correctly. The back strap shouldn’t be riding up, and the front lower seam should sit flat on the breast bone. The cups shouldn’t be baggy, and equally you don’t want any bulging over the cups. When you’re in the changing room, move around. Try sitting, stretching and make sure the bra stays in place and feels comfortable.”
Why do we need a good fitting bra? Well, a bra is the ultimate wardrobe foundation, and a good shape bra can improve how clothes look on the body, and even change the shape of the body. With a well fitting bra, the chest can appear more lifted, creating more length and shape through the waist. Clothes fit better as darts are more likely to be in the right place, and it can even improve your posture. Billy tells me that the weight of the average chest is 500g on each side – that’s an average of a kilo in weight that needs to be supported in a way that feels comfortable. Billy says it’s all about confidence, “When you’re wearing a well fitting bra, everything changes. The way someone stands and moves is so much more confident when we find a comfortable bra that works for them.” And, as we know, when you feel more confident, other people start to notice.
I was impressed with Billy’s wealth of knowledge on fitting women, from teenagers to those who are elderly or immobile, Billy can find a bra that works. She showed me a range for ladies going through surgery, maternity and reconstruction operations. Plus sizes and even strapless bras that actually hold everything in place didn’t phase Billy. Before I left, I asked the one piece of advice I should share with my members “Invest in your chest!” she smiled, “It’s all about how comfortable you feel and how confidently you wear your clothes in a good fitting bra.” Well, I can’t argue with that.
Billy Morrison from Up Front & Personal can be contacted on 07766 706772 or visit www.upfrontandpersonal.co.uk.