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Fit to Bust

Felicity Clarke asks: are you wearing the right size bra?

Published on September 4th 2008.

Fit to Bust

The bra. Invented by man, worn by woman. As garments go it's a politically, sexually and fashion charged one, veering from incineration as part of women's lib to Madonna's scary pointy Blonde Ambition tour get up to the Hello Boys push-em-up-and-in Wonderbra. These are the dramatic plot points in the story of the bra, less sensational is the fundamental everyday factor that all women wear them, and the vast majority of us wear them wrong.

Standing fully topless as another woman looks at you is initially deeply uncomfortable, but Justine and her training assistant Jennie combine assertive professional know-how with genuine friendliness in the same way that has made Gok Wan every woman's desired gay best friend

“I'd say 95% of the women that come in are wearing totally the wrong bra for them, probably more” says Justine Shaw, a bra fitting wonder woman at Fit to Bust, a bra boutique and fitting service in Chapel Allerton. Her statement is alarming. Over 95% of us are wearing the wrong bra?! This cannot be true. Surely the female population are not so thoroughly inept at how to properly look after their breasts?

I decided to put myself to the test on this and visited Fit to Bust for the full fitting treatment. Located in the centre of Chapel Allerton, it's a cosy little shop femininely styled with draping fabrics, fairy lights, corseted mannequins and a big leather sofa. A couple of cute white wardrobes house a collection of beautiful brassieres, corsets and knickers. “This isn't anywhere near our full stock. We only put a selection out because we don't sell off the peg. We only sell to fit” Justine tells me as she leads me behind the private curtained area for my fitting.

I take my top off and am immediately berated for my shameful off white t-shirt bra. “Oh no. It's just sitting on your breasts and the back strap is too high. It should follow at the same level all the way round. This isn't supporting you at all. And it's the wrong size”. This comes as a shock. I was measured not long ago but unlike the department store I visited, Fit to Bust don't use tape measures. They just look at you. This may sound unreliable but lengthy training, bra fitting courses and years of experiences mean these ladies know their way round a pair of boobs.

Standing fully topless as another woman looks at you is initially deeply uncomfortable, but Justine and her training assistant Jennie combine assertive professional know-how with genuine friendliness in the same way that has made Gok Wan every woman's desired gay best friend.

Their warm reassurances that they really have seen it all before in every possible shape and size, soon put you at ease.

With gentle authority and a sisterly manner, Justine takes me through a detailed tour of my chest. She starts by identifying which breast is slightly bigger, something I've never done, and goes on to talk me through the anatomy of women's chests explaining exactly how and why a bra needs to fit. Her thorough analysis is peppered with compliments which together work to eliminate feeling conscious of my semi-nudity and keep my focus solely on soaking up the education in breast care.

Next comes the fun bit: beautiful, proper fitting bras. Fit to Bust stock high standard garments by corsettiere companies such as Marie Jo, Prima Donna and Lejaby that fuse proper supportive functionality with sexiness. I try on several gorgeous lace creations that Justine and Jennie expertly select for my shape and fall hard for a bright pink number that fits in a way I have never ever known from a bra.

They don't come cheap. Bras range from £45 to £85 but as Gok and any other stylist worth their sartorial salt will tell you, the secret to looking and feeling great is in the underwear and when it supports and feels this right, it seems a small price to pay. As I pay up, Justine tells me of the many women she has fitted whose body confidence has taken a battering from weight gain, breast cancer, philandering menfolk and post pregnancy amongst other things and how the right bra can have such transforming positive effect. I can believe it, but I also suspect their exemplary service has a significant part to play in this too.

I leave Fit to Bust with a new bra, a new bra size and new appreciation of my lovely lady lumps, as Fergie so eloquently calls them. I will definitely be back, just after I've burnt all my old bras.

Fit to Bust
6 Steinbeck Corner
Chapel Allerton
0113 307 0011

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Shepperton Tonks esqSeptember 4th 2008.

I run a bespoke sock fitting service. It really is amazing how many people, normal, decent people out there are wearing the wrong size socks. We offer a very calm environment, ask people to remove their shoes and socks and in seconds we know exactly the size they want. People's lives have been transformed by simply having the right inner footwear. And the left - ho, ho. You can find us on the Footrow, Leeds, and Clarke Street, Manchester. Or at http://www.socksareus.com

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2008.

Good artice about bra fitting. More a good Manchester lingerie boutique try Lucile, on Police Street, they have some amazing brands and good fitters. Love the Myla knickers.

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