Here’s something you probably have never considered: our bodies are changing all the time. Age, circumstances, age, eating habits, environment, age—all of these factors impact our bodies and our bodies respond accordingly. We are never the exact same size and shape our whole lives. There’s nothing wrong with this picture; it is just fact. Because our body is ever in a flux, for one, we shouldn’t assume that the bra size we wore in our younger, child bearing days, is the same size we require today. That is why I decided to take a field trip to Creative Woman – The Wizard of Bras Since 1975 in Monrovia, California to see what I have been missing in how to have the right (and current) bra size for me in 2011. I wanted to share my experience with you, my devoted reader, in hopes you will find out some pertinent information to help you in your quest as well (I bet you didn’t think you needed this kind of quest. Ha!)
To get started, I arranged a meeting with the owner of The Wizard of Bras, Bonnie Kaufman. I was curious as to how she got in to the business of bras and other women’s “unmentionables.” Bonnie began her career as a designer of custom clothing. As she met with all kinds of women, she often heard the same complaint, “Where can I find a bra that fits?” Bonnie had very strong feelings for the status of women and how they felt about themselves which led her to specialize in designing bras. She began her company in 1973 in Duarte, California and two years later moved to her current location in Monrovia. It is a forward thinking company that keeps modern and current in all aspects of the business from the latest styles and trends of undergarments and swim suits to installing solar tubing and water efficient restrooms. Bonnie, a widow, spends 60 – 70 hours a week developing her business and loves what she does.
It is all about service with Bonnie. Bonnie and her custom fitters truly believe that the customer comes first and that a bra shopping experience should be fun. They feel that their number one job is to inform and educate women about their bodies and the choices that are out there for everyone. The problem with department stores is that they don’t offer enough variety for all of the variety of women’s bodies. The Wizard of Bras stocks 17,000 different sizes and styles of bras, representing 49 brands which range in size from a 28 to 58 band and from a AA to N cup. (Did you know that cup sizes continue way past a double D? I sure didn’t. Not that I would ever need one of those. But good to know information for those hard to fit women).
Bonnie reviewed with me the procedures the fitters follow which each customer when they first enter the store from signing in to being assigned a fitter and a dressing room to the initial measuring. There are two important measurements: across the top of the chest for the band
size and then across the fullest area of the breast for the cup size. The most important feature for a bra is the band fit. Support for your breasts come from the band fit, not from your shoulders. Therefore, straps should not be adjusted to make your bra fit better. Instead, focus on the band fit. It should fit as low on the back as possible for the proper fit and wear. Never pull down on the band but rather adjust it at your waistline and then pull the bra up by the straps.
Bonnie had to leave for a lunch date with her contractor (She is putting in new flooring at the shop). So, she turned me over to Sandra, a fitter with 17 years experience, and another delightful employee. Sandra said one of the biggest hangups for women is being fixed on the letters and numbers of a particular bra size. She said a good bra is all about the fit, not what size it is. Sandra educated and helped me with the proper way to put on a bra and how to effectively get my breast tissue in to each cup. Did you know that breast tissue is distributed from the front of your chest all the way to your back? For a proper fit, you need to pull all that tissue from the back to the front and wa la…anyone can have some pretty impressive cleavage. Even me. Based on my measurements, Sandra brought me several types and styles to try on to see which one fit the best. I finally settled on a mocha-tan, under wire, slightly padded with lace sides. Sandra didn’t let me see the size until I was ready to purchase it: a 32 C. Who would have thought? I originally came in with a 34 A. What a difference the right fit made.
Sandra stressed that women should be properly fitted for their bra every couple of years due to their body changes. I highly recommend giving The Wizard of Bras a try. If it isn’t convenient for you to pop in, check out their web site for a complete tutorial to get a great fit on your own.
One more helpful hint: never put your bra in a washer or dryer. Hand wash and hang dry to extend its life.
All in all, it was a fun and enlightening experience. A big thank you to Bonnie, Sandra, and The Wizard of Bras for helping me be informed and feel comfortable about my bra choice.