Last weekend I decided to head off to Rigby and Peller to stock up on some bras that actually fit me properly.
Because we all need support, right? I can’t think of a single scenario in which we don’t need support to do what we do. And in order to do what we do we need to feel comfortable. That has to start with the basics I believe, like our underwear (and is why you’ll never find me in a thong. But that is a whole other story).
The first question that you are asked after arriving in Rigby and Peller for your fitting is if you would like a cup of tea. As a bra is the a good foundation for the clothes that go over the top, and the ultimate in support, a cup of a tea is the perfect foundation on which any shopping trip should be based.
I had made my fitting appointment online the day before and it is really important to do this as the appointment is slot is 45 minutes so you don’t want to arrive and be disappointed by there being nobody free, or have to hang around for an appointment. So tea made Irene showed me to a fitting room and asked me what I wanted out of the fitting. It is easy to assume that it’s obvious what I want. I just want a bra that fits properly, right? Well yes but Rigby & Peller take on board that actually you might want something that isn’t immediately obvious, maybe you are about to have a mastectomy and want some advice. Maybe you have had one and want something that supports you post surgery. Or you always wear a bra with an underwire and want something without. The list is endless and they never assume which I love. They also don’t judge as you stand there having a hot flush on a warm afternoon with your boobs in your waist band looking distinctly unlike any bra model you have ever seen in a glossy ad.
They also don’t talk numbers. You aren’t measured here, you are fitted. There is no tape measure, there is no discussion about inches and cup sizes. In fact it wasn’t until I got home that I realised I had no idea what the new bras I had bought actually were. All fitting is done by eye, and it is carefully explained to you that 80% of the support your bra gives you comes from the back strap, with 10% coming from the shoulder straps, and 10% from the front panels or underwire. I had always assumed it was the underwire and the shoulder straps that did all the work but once Irene had told me that it made much more sense.
The lingerie stylists are trained for up to six months so they can expertly fit and style each client. They can therefore make sure that it not only fits to perfection but works with your shape, your lifestyle and the clothes you wear.
Once we had found a design that fitted me perfectly I could then play around with styles and colours if I wanted to but there was no pressure to buy more than one, or indeed any at all. Though obviously I did. Four of them in fact.
I was also given information on how to care for my bra, not putting them in the washing machine or tumble drier but hand washing them after each wear. That might sound a bit of a faff but they sell something called “Soak” (stupidly I saw it and thought it was bubble bath. It had been a long morning) which you just squirt into a sink of warm water and dunk your bra for 15 minutes. A squeeze out of the water later, leave it to dry and then your bra is as good as new and you haven’t felt like you have spent hours hand washing it every other day.
Spending a significant amount of money on a bra might seem like a waste of money, after all you can get them for a few quid in the nearest supermarket. The trouble is cheap bras don’t work for me. I have big boobs and cheap bras just don’t work. I would have to buy one a week, so i would rather buy a more expensive one and wear it for years. This is something I wrote about on Ranty Friday six years ago if you fancy a read.
All of it done before my cup of tea was finished. And indeed the second cup of tea made for Mr B who had been invited to sit on the comfy chairs with a pile of magazines.
They even let me leave wearing my new bra, and wrapped my old one in tissue paper. Though when I got home it was promptly consigned to the bin.