Bra Fitting Part Two: The Truth is Out There (now…thanks to me)

I wanted to do a quick follow up to my first bra fitting post, as there are a few things I should have mentioned. And splitting it in to two blog posts makes me feel like I’m being super productive! Do you like the title? I wanted the whimsy you’d expect of a 90s sci-fi/fantasy TV show nerd, with a side of loveable bigheadedness. I recently saw an Instagram bio which stated “humble with a hint of Yoncé”, and I think that’s how I’m going to live my life from now on.

MOVING ON. One of the main important points I missed in my previous posts is that boobs are uneven. ALL BOOBS ARE UNEVEN. They are asymmetrical, just like most things about our bodies. It is TOTALLY normal. As a bra fitter, it is one of the many things you repeat twenty million times on the daily. Some women seem to think it’s a huge deal, and that their lives are ruined and they’ll never find a bra that works for them (I’m not making fun of these women, society (and poorly trained ‘fitters’) has induced this state of panic in them). All ya gots ta do is figure out which boob is bigger and fit to that side. Yeah, if it’s quite a sizeable difference, you may notice it, but it’s just another one of those bra compromises you have to make. Of course, if you’d rather have a lil double boob on one side so the smaller boob isn’t swimming in a cup slightly too big, you do your thang, boo. Some bras will disguise the difference quite well, and some will emphasise it. I’ve found that heavily moulded/padded bras make it more noticeable as the stiffness of the cups won’t mould to your shape. The stretch lace styles from Panache however, seem to work well as the stretchiness moves with you instead of catching like a normal non-stretchy bra cup.

While we’re on the subject of uneven boobs, I want to share a horrible story about a young woman I fitted WAY BACK in the early days of my fitting career. I’d got over the nerves of my first couple of weeks fitting when I wanted to be really technically perfect every single time, and was still getting my head around the fact that not every fit will be perfect or life-changing. I was realising my passion and wanted to give 100000% to every single woman I fitted (WHICH IS HOW IT SHOULD BE). But I was still sort of in this mindset that as a fitter, I should also be a “fixer”, and felt like it was up to me personally to be a body coach, life coach, motivator, therapist, best friend etc to all my customers, and it was exhausting, but also meant I usually spent way longer than I needed to which meant other customers had to wait. I wish I could just be a freelance lingerie consultant (this is honestly something I’m thinking about seriously and in the very SMALL BABY SEEDLING stages of STARTING to THINK about PLANNING) so I could give each customer as long as they want of my time (within reason). BUT ANYWAY OKAY. This gal came in and she was in tears because she’d just been “fitted” in Ann Summer’s. Normally, I would not name and shame places cuz nothing bad has really happened to me personally (except all those times I was fitted incorrectly in my formative, tender, teenage years and had to suffer the judge-y eyes doing a quick up-down over my body, BUT WHATEVS) (SO MANY TANGENTS), but this just really took me to the fair (hey, Fiona xo). This young woman, who was also the exact same age as me so I think that’s partly why I got so involved, was devastated because the assistant at  Ann Summer’s told her they “couldn’t fit her” because of her uneven boobs and that the only way to “fix it” would be to GET PLASTIC SURGERY. It’s been over two years since this happened and it still makes me shake with anger to this day. I took her into the fitting room and she immediately whipped off her top AND bra and pointed at her chest crying and saying “look at them, they’re awful”. And I was like, sweet baby girl there is nothing wrong with you. To be honest, I was expecting her to have a noticeable difference, because some women do have a difference of a couple of cup sizes so it can make fitting a little but more difficult, but this girl was practically perfectly symmetrical. I couldn’t understand how the person who fitted her at Ann Summer’s could have said something so disgustingly, dangerously unprofessional. Even if she did have a big difference between her boobs, HOW VERY DARE YOU??? It is so not the place of someone like that to comment, it’s not anybody’s business to point something like that out and then to suggest something as drastic as plastic surgery. Especially when somebody has gone to you because they trust that you’re going to be able to give them the right advice. They’ve chosen to take their top off and be very vulnerable in front of you, a stranger, and all you can say is “can’t help, soz, get plastic surgery”?? I never have and never will shop at Ann Summer’s because of this (and other reasons like they don’t do my size and it’s just not my jam), and also because when I got home from work still in a rage, I phoned their customer services to complain and the person I spoke to said “oh no, I’ll put it on file” but basically said they couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t the customer, but that she’d certainly make a note of it. NAH, RETRAIN YOUR STAFF TO FIT PROPERLY AND HAVE A LITTLE EMPATHY. Long story short, I fitted the woman perfectly with the first bra I put on her (I still remember exactly what it was, size, colour, everything), but she had such bad body image and probably dysmorphia that she just couldn’t see that there was nothing wrong with her and had decided that she was already going to get plastic surgery. Which is fine, I don’t judge anyone who wants to do that. But there are so many factors which contributed to this beautiful young woman reaching this point, mainly society and it’s massively fucked up beauty standards. I still think about her a lot and hope she’s okay and that she’s found some sort of peace with herself. Man, just DON’T TALK ABOUT PEOPLE’S BODIES.

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Niamh says NO to bodyshaming (wearing Andorra from Panahce, an example of one of the stretch lace styles mentioned below!) So smooth, so balanced.
SECONDLY. And sort of related and I can’t believe I skipped this one out too -BOOB SHAPE. Finding the correct size is sometimes the easiest part for the fitter. Just because you figure out the correct size though doesn’t always mean you’ve immediately found the perfect bra. The shape of your boobs plays a big part in what style of bras will work for you. For example, I’m shallow on top due to my “drastic” weight loss (I say drastic because it was quite a lot, I guess, and it happened relatively quickly). This means that I no longer have a fullness on top which is generally expected of boobs (again, those dratted beauty standards). This is why I love Cleo bras so much. The shape of their wires does something magical to me and lifts everything in just the right way so it looks like I have full, round boobers again. I therefore tend to find it hard to stray from these styles, as I never like the shape just as much. I do own some Freya and Bravissimo styles, because they’re pretty and I’m a fool with money, but I never wear them as often as I don’t love the shape. The wires are wider so they give a more east-west look which just doesn’t do it for me, and because the lift isn’t as good, I just sort of “sit” in the cups and don’t have the same round shape on top. It’s just personal preference, yo. There’s no reason for me not to wear other styles if they’re comfortable. I just prefer certain shapes over others. Figuring out your boob shape can be more awkward, but I’ve found through trying on loads of different brands and styles, it becomes more obvious after really analysing the shape they give me and how my breast tissue sits in the cups and is lifted and such.

 

Thirdly, I think it’s important to briefly point out that the way you put on your bra can help significantly with making sure all dat boob is in the right place, but also with prolonging the life of your bras. I am fully aware that for some people, there is no way to change the way you put on your bras. Issues such as arthritis, frozen shoulders, and mobility problems associated with different disabilities mean that it makes it more difficult to put your bra on a certain way. But, if you are able, do try and put it on front ways. Put your arms through the straps and lift them up to your shoulders, lean forwards as far as you can holding the bottom of the cups so your boobs fall into them, stand up and hook up the clasps, then make any other adjustments you need to. Yeah, it looks weird and it may be awkward if you’re not used to reaching back to do up the clasps, but this is the best way to protect the elastic and wires in your bras. Clasping a bra at the front and swivelling it around can actually twist and distort the wires. I may make a really awkward video of me doing it if you really, really need to see it. How else am I going to get famous?

 

Finally, and very quickly, please please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease handwash your bras and airdry them away from direct heat aka NO RADIATORS OR TUMBLE DRYERS. Hot hot heat is a bra’s worst enemy, as it can wear out the elastic and distort the wires. Do you ever have a brand new bra which gets destroyed after the first wash and dry? Yeah, it’s cuz you shoved it in the washing machine EVEN THOUGH THE LABEL EXPLICITLY SAYS HAND WASH ONLY. Those labels aren’t there just for the craic. It’s very easy to handwash bras too. Just use whichever detergent you would normally use, swish it around in some water, give a lil extra love and scrubbing to the bits that might get more gross aka armpit area, and either hang it up on the washing line or dry it flat on a towel. Mmmmmmkay?

 

You know you love me,

XOXO Bra Girl