Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lift and separate

If there were ever an event that might have convinced me to Tweet, it would have been my session with the certified bra fitter.

This is one of those things Oprah is always on about.  She is such a bully.   I don't know if it is one of the things I "LLLoooovve, People!"  I'm not even sure it was such a great idea.  But I know you want to know what goes down in there before you do it yourself.

You know the Certified Fitters of  N**trom.  After shoes, and a possibly apocryphal story about tires, certified fitting is one of their hallmarks.  Don't set aside an afternoon for it or anything.  Don't try to make a "girls' day" out of it.  It is better to put it on a list of things you will never do after work one of these days, then plunge in one rainy night because you have just cut off about 5 inches of hair and you don't want to lose the Verve of Reinvention.

Do not be shy about asking for a fitting.  Do not be shy about anything in N**trom.  They smell your fear.   Just request whoever is on duty.

Let me get to your main question: will I be topless with this certified fitter?
Yes, of course you will.  This store is founded by Swedes.  Get over yourself.

But first... you will be measured.  And this will be in your horrible dingy sad stretched-to-its-limit Sears bra that they will spot a mile away and politely pretend is not happening.  My fitter was a petite young woman in Smart Girl glasses, with the Drew Barrymore accent of her generationnnnn......?  One can't duplicate it in print.  It has to be texted.  Don't tell her what size you think you are; if you knew you wouldn't need her.  She knows it, you know it, the American people know it....

I have long considered myself a 38; Drew believes that a bra should, in fact, fit like a corset.  She explains that she will bring back samples they use for fitting (think of the "get one free" choice of frames at the optometrist's office) then we will work on cup.  While I wait, I think that the self-appointed arbiter of ladies' supports would have a special fitting room for this purpose that would already have bras in it.  But I think this is supposed to feel like European style shopping.  In which case, spice cookies and tea should really be served.  Stupid Swedes.

When Drew returns with the samples is when you go knockers out and let another woman put a bra on you.  This is like letting another woman shave you:  you will learn a lot about the finer points of personal habit.  I have never been a front-in, reverse-vest, hook behind you dresser.  I hook in front, twist around and lift.  This probably ruins the shape of my bra more than my breasts do.  rim-shot.  But, ow, it hurts my shoulders to do it Drew's way.  Fortunately, she is going to valet me from behind (excuse me?)

I want to complete the picture here by revealing (or reminding) that my skirt rarely fits correctly either, and is generally held in place with a safety pin.  I have yet to prototype the perfect skirt clip, but I know how it would work.  Tonight, though, I hadn't even bothered with the safety pin, so I am in too tight a bra, too loose a skirt, too short a haircut, and no sense of shame at all. 

The most valuable bra fitting tip I have for you is that once you are strapped in, you are supposed to dig in, ("scoop," Drew delicately put it) and shape everything into the cup where so that it makes some kind of sense.  And you can give a quick exam while you're in there.  Perhaps this is the training that should come with the first bra.  Try it at home, and your own bra may actually fit better.

Drew does not care for the way that the sternum area (where the bumble bee used to be embroidered) will not lie flush to my actual sternum.  This is part of her Ahab-like obsession with the ever-tighter band size.  I said, "well, I hear you, Drew.  But I'll tell you that I hate that far less than I hate this overhang.  Because I don't care for that at all."

Fellas, I could not even find a picture of overhang to explain it to you.  We are so horrified by it we don't even allow it on the Internet.  We will tolerate it when we are 80.  But until then... uh. no. 

Once you have a size you can both agree on (read: someone gives in to), your fitter will disappear again for much longer and come back with every style of bra in the place that is more expensive than you would believe.  We also had to rule out a lot of bra designs that probably make Drew's job fun for her.  Again, I am reminded of my optician.  I said, "black, white, ivory.  That's what we're here for."

And a little more coverage, please, if you don't mind.  Less lace - I am just going to ruin that.  Can you find straps that adjust in the front?
I'm not really bitchy.  After all, I'm the one 3/4 naked (counting the skirt that is falling off) and she's the one doing all the running around.

So we find a style that is not at all adorable and exactly what you would expect someone who walked in wearing a Sears bra to walk out in.  And I get to say, "now let's come down in price by half."  Oh, yes, I did - in ever-lovin' N**strom. 
She, like, totally wanted me to try this other awesome style, which I did in lieu of tipping her, but I will not pay more for my underwear than I just did for a haircut.  And I pay pretty high for the haircut.  I pretended for a minute to decide whether I was buying 2 of the Amish bra or 1 of the totally awesome one (which I thought gave me Lana Turner Breasts - nice enough on some, but nothing I could live up to) and watched Drew calculate her commission.  I said if she could find the Amish in black (you would think... after all....) then I would get both of those.

Fun fact of the Bay State: bras are clothing.  No tax.
They did not have the black in-store, but being the Kings of Kustomer Service, they ordered it shipped (n/c) to my home.

I'll let you know how it turns out.  Or other people will, when they try to figure out what... what's... did you cut your hair?  Yep.  Yeh, that's what's different.   


  1. Your entire post kept me giggling. I did that just recently at B**the due to a gift certificate at Christmas. When I remarked that the fitter would likely laugh at what I was wearing, her response was "We are not here to judge, only to help." Very reassuring, but with the price of those bras that's a LOT of help. As for overhang - I'm a few years from 80 but since it is covered up with outer wear I don't care so much. I don't like bras that fit like corsets!! M

  2. F-ing brilliant. And so timely, as I made Augusta endure about an hour of bra shopping just yesterday, while I complained about how much I HATE bra shopping! And as for the certified fit, wait till I tell you how they do it in Florence. Hint: you are not capable of scooping yourself.

  3. too incredibly funny. have watch oprah three times and rachel once so tackled my own fitting. clearly not good enough. but that scooping thing does seem to work in one's "old" bras. all three of you ladies are stronger than I am!!


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