PROFESSIONAL BRA FITTERS. WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT IS THEIR SKILL? Written by Anna Reid
While the bra fitting concept is relatively new to us in Australia, it is far more familiar in Europe, where for many women visiting their bra fitter at least once a year is as much of a routine as visiting their dentist. So, what is a professional bra fitter?
Professional bra fitters are sales assistants with knowledge and experience around the following topics:
- Sizing in products with cups (bras, bikini tops etc). Where most people mistakenly assume that a woman with a bra size 10DD has larger breasts than a woman with bra size 14C, the bra fitter knows better.
- Different breasts and body shapes and which bra shapes suit them.
- Product features. This includes size conversions, the fit of a particular brand compared to others, special features and benefits of different products etc.
- Lingerie trouble shooting. Bra fitters translate your bra grievances into solutions. Commenting on this experience many women admit they had no idea such products and solutions existed, and they should have turned to a bra fitter years ago to spare themselves unnecessary pain and discomfort.
- Various bra needs throughout women’s lives. Whether you are buying the first bra for your teenage daughter, a sexy set for a date night, a maternity, or a post-surgery bra, you will deal with a person who has served many women with the same need and understands where you are coming from. Expect no judgement, the bra fitters are there to help and they love doing it!
How and where do you learn bra fittings?
Like with many other skills, the theory only forms a small part of it, it is the experience that makes you a pro in this field.
You can undertake a formal bra fitting course, which usually goes for a day or two and is offered by several lingerie suppliers. Many bra fitters have no formal knowledge, they simply learnt the skill on the shop floor with the help of more experienced staff.
Are all bra fitters the same? And how to know if you got a good one?
Firstly, let me debunk a common myth – if the bra fitter isn’t carrying a measuring tape around, it is NOT a sign of unprofessionalism, in fact it is potentially the opposite. In our blog about online shopping, we have explained how only some body parameters can be tape measured but many cannot. The bra fitter may or may not use the tape – neither tells you anything about her skill. So, what does?
From my experience, a good bra fitter displays the following qualities and skills:
- She is a good listener to start with. Before suggesting anything to you she will ask you several questions to help her identify your needs and problems with your current bra, if any. Experienced bra fitters will often correctly guess your bra size while you are still clothed but, in any case, you will be invited to the fitting room to try on several bras.
- She will offer you as much privacy as you need and will not run into the fitting room without asking your permission first. She will often ask you questions about what is acceptable for you (i.e. Can she enter the fitting room once you confirm you have the bra on? Can she adjust the straps of the bra on you?).
- If you are after a particular bra, she would usually nail it in no more than three-four bra changes. Given bra fitting takes a bit of time and is often a destination shopping, most women buy more than one product at a time. A good bra fitter will often surprise you with something you wouldn’t pick yourself but LOVED it once you had it on!
- She will ALWAYS ask you about how the bra feels for you. To a degree, bra fitting is subjective, and your comfort plays a major role in helping your bra fitter to determine whether it is the right bra for you or not. If she doesn’t take this into account, I wouldn’t be confident in her skill.
- She prioritises the perfect fit to an immediate sale. If after the fitting she has a perfect product for you in mind but at that moment she doesn’t have your size in stock, she will be honest about it and will suggest the best way to get it to you quickly instead of trying to sell something that doesn’t suit your need.
Over the years our team has done a lot of mystery shopping at stores advertising bra fittings as part of their service. Truly, it can be hit and miss. Some bra fitters do not seem to understand the broader concept, rather they are familiar with the styles on the shop floor and are simply helping customers to find one that fits better than others and does not perfectly answers the need of the consumer. A good (and unfortunately too common example) is when a customer comes in asking for a supportive bra but leaves with a bra two band sizes larger than she needs, because it was the only bra with a large enough cup to cover her full bust.
The best fitting and product knowledge is usually found in the staff of independent, specialized lingerie boutiques, you can find many of them among our stockists.