With 18 years of experience under her belt – errr, could I say bra? – Mona Jackson knows a thing or two about bra fittings. I can say with confidence that she’s a pro. The owner of Coeur Boutique here in Philadelphia, she has helped many women, local and not, find the right bra size. Truly, she is an amazing and inspiring woman who through her example, pushes and cheers me on in my own lingerie adventures. She’s extremely modest too. She doesn’t crave the limelight, she just wants to help women.
It is my pleasure (and honor) to have her share tidbits about a bra fitting – the process, what you should expect and more. Thank you Mona! Muchos besos!
What me through a bra fitting:
The fitting starts in the dressing room. The customer gets undressed from the waist up and the first thing I do is school them on how a bra should fit. The most important part is the back band – it should adhere to the back and be snug. Many women think that as long as the boobs fit into the cups, that the bra fits. They neglect to consider the back band. But the cups pretty much just give coverage; the back band does all the work. Both young and old women can be reluctant to having a tight back band because they feel that it will cut into their skin and make it look like they have back fat, even if they don’t. A bra is mostly elastic, so we know that it is going to give. In order for a bra to adhere to the back and do it’s job, it has to be snug. I go through this whole song + dance from the beginning because if I don’t, the customer will think the bra is too tight.
Once I get her into the right size bra, I then turn her around and look at the cups. I take the breast tissue that is under the arm and pull it over and into the cups. You don’t want to push the breasts into the bra, but just make sure that the breast tissue is at the bottom of the cups. Last come the straps. The straps lift the bra, not just the breasts. You want to make sure that the straps are comfortable in the shoulder and aren’t digging into the skin.
Length of a Bra Fitting
It could take 5 minutes or 45 minutes. It really ranges. Women usually come to me when they’re desperate; they find Coeur when they’re in their dire need. The norm is between 5-10 minutes. An example of it taking longer – one women tried on 4-5 bras, none of which she liked, and refused to leave without something that fit. It was late in the day and my patience was running low. We kept at it and 45 minutes later, she walked out with exactly what she came in for – a bra that fit.
I don’t take measurements because every bra is sized differently. There is no consistency in sizing from brand to brand. Even bras from the same label differ due to different fabrics, cuts, silhouettes. So I stress to women that they need to try on a bra to determine if it fits. Just because you’re a 34B at Victoria Secret doesn’t mean you’re a 34B at Chantelle.
Frequency of Bra Fittings
I believe women should have a bra fitting every 7-8 months. Our bodies change on a daily basis, especially from season to season. During the winter, we stay inside and may eat a little more. I had a women come in who bought a bra that was a 36D a few months ago, but was a 36E today.
Small chested and larger chested women experience the same problem – limited sizing. It’s just as hard for a woman with a 28 band to find a bra as it is a woman with G cups. Because stores usually sell the middle range of sizes, women at the end of the spectrum succumb to fitting into a bra that doesn’t fit. What’s worse is that if they believe that this is their size. When these women come into Coeur, they’re stunned to find a bra with a 28 band or a G cup and how it should fit.
Also, bras for smaller and larger chested women are engineered differently. Larger chested women need sturdy fabric, thick straps and a wide back band. Smaller chested women can get away with thinner, stretchier fabrics, thin straps and a narrower back band.
Washing + Storing Intimates
I believe that’s a personal preference. I tell my customers how I wash my own bras and panties – I reserve it for Sundays. I use Tocca’s Delicate Wash, all of them smell great, and machine was on the delicate cycle (if it’s a really dainty bra, don’t put it in the machine – wash it in your sink). I don’t use a special bag because I like my lingerie to circulate in the water. I hang to dry and never put it in the dryer.
For storing, I lay my bras flat in a drawer. Don’t put one cup into another. That will ruin the filler in the cups and decrease the lifespan of a bra. I tell customers that if they don’t have room in their drawers for a bra, to hang it from the straps on a hanger.