So if you have been following me on Twitter or Facebook then you will have seen that today was the day I finally dragged my hungover arse (and tits) out of bed for a high street fitting challenge!
I decided to wear an ill fitting bra to do this…however I don’t own anything that could have fooled them enough! So I went for this look…

My perfectly fitted 34J Tease Me with the straps as loose as possible to give me that saggilicious look and my boyfriend’s hoodie on top to disguise it. Not that I should have bothered…

Now I know it’s silly season. The shops are heaving, the staff are harassed and a few things get overlooked. A correctly fitted bra should NOT be one of them.

The first shop I went to was John Lewis.

I made my way over to the fairly extensive bra collection and spent about five minutes browsing, during which time I was offered no assistance. I therefore ended up taking a 40GG Fantasie bra to the changing room to “try on”. Force of habit meant I popped it straight onto the tightest hook before finally cornering an assistant who called another assistant over to fit me. She looked at the back band an explained how as I was straight on the tightest hook I should go for a 38 back as if I put my bras straight onto the tightest hook right away they would stretch and be useless. I was impressed and amazed and also a little upset – was my challenge going to come to nothing, had the lingerie world suddenly evolved into this tape measure burning fabulous advice giving well oiled machine?
She returned with a 38GG and left me to put it on. Despite the fact that I could have put it onto the tightest hook again I restrained and waited in anticipation for the fitter’s verdict. She had a look, asked if I felt comfy and declared that 38GG was my size. Erm, hang on, what? She hadn’t touched the bra, the shoulder straps were completely untightened, the band pulled away from me easily and the central gore stuck out away from my chest…I was left with mixed feelings, she had come so close to being an amazing fitter but fell short. Poor show John Lewis.

Next up was…La Senza!

Again I stood browsing for a little while and again I was ignored until I entered the changing room with a 38FF bra and asked an assistant to fit me. She told me to put the bra on and she would fit me from there. I put it on and found it insanely tight in the band due to the fact that the bra was so small in the cups and it sat on my breast tissue.

After several minutes I went out and asked the fitter to come and check my bra. She also proclaimed it too tight, whipped out the trusty tape measure and told me I’d need a 40 backed bra. She brought me a 40FF to try first:

And proclaimed it too small in the cup and then brought me a 40GG, the biggest bra in the store incidentally enough:

I made sure that I left the shoulder straps extremely loose. Once again I found that the fitter made no attempt to pull on the band or adjust the straps – if she had have done that she would possibly noticed how the band was not the best fit on me but my boobs would have looked less droopy. She then told me how I was a 40GG in La Senza but advised I may find myself needing a different size in other stores which I found to be very good advice! She also recommended that I stick to balconnette bras rather than plunges for my chest size.

The next store was The Bentalls Centre.

I saw a lot of staff by the till and so went straight up and asked for a fitting. I told the lady I was a 38FF and she told me that they did not stock beyond a 36 band and that the best thing to do would be to try to find a style a liked and she would fit me into it. I chose a 36F Freya bra and another fitter checked how I looked, PULLED ON THE BAND!! and said she would fetch me a 36G as the band was fine, the cup not so much.

She then observed, without tightening the straps, how I would probably need a 36GG, she said they may stock some in the shop and told me to go and have a look, she didn’t bother to find any herself so she could fit me into them which irritated me so much that I just left without staying to humour her any further. I was a bit shocked at the fact that they had such a meagre bra selection and that they expected women to just make do.

The last stop was of course Marks and Spencers! When I arrived in the fitting rooms clutching a 40FF bra I was confronted with two members of staff who didn’t seem particularly busy. I asked for a fitting and I was told ‘none left today’. I asked her to reiterate and she told me that all the bra fitting appointments had been filled, she didn’t apologise or ask if I wanted to book in for another day. I went into the changing room with my bra, stood there for a few minutes and heard the two women chattering and laughing. When I exited with the bra one asked me ‘Was it ok?’ and I replied ‘Well I don’t know’ and she simply took the bra from me without a word. I was almost grateful that I didn’t get a fitting from them as I have never been treated so indifferently!

Yes it is a busy time of year but that does not excuse any sort of decline in the level of customer service. And what scares me is that some places were adamant that they had put me into the right sized bra and if I was the me of 3 years ago I would be in those bras convinced that they were supporting me and that it was just a fact that my boobs looked saggy or bulged over. The high street is failing large breasted women and making them think that they have to make do with bras that don’t quite work and these bras are not being explained to them fully.  The women feel abnormal as they are not being catered for properly or as well as their smaller chested friends.  Bravissimo and Leia are my bra fitting heroines and I almost feel spoilt due to the fact that they have fitted me and taught me the ways, it makes me appreciate just how trained fitters operate and how much they value, well, your breasts! As I have said in previous posts a bad fitting bra costs you your health in so many ways and high street fitters need to be aware of what they are doing. If you don’t stock the size needed for a customer then tell them, be honest, don’t try to shoehorn them into the closest thing and learn how to fit women properly.  Pull the bra, adjust it, explain it, spend time with those women, provide a service not a quick fix.

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