Spotlight

Bravo to Bravissimo

Image credit: Sian Hopkins

Interview conducted by Hope Docherty

I had been trying to guess and shop for my own bra size before I finally made time to get properly fitted in Bravissimo, Cardiff. The last time I had been fitted was when I was 16, and I was now 21. During this first experience at 16, the person fitting me had seen my bare breasts and I had felt so uncomfortable.

My experience with Bravissimo was nothing like this and I admired the inclusive sizing range alongside the option for some eco-friendly materials. I am thankful to the staff for helping my breasts and I out and for answering some well needed fitting questions:

Would you rather someone booked or are walk ins’ suitable?

We offer a walk in service which tends to be our most popular but anyone is welcome to call and book an appointment on: 02920231266.

If it’s a large group then some advance warning would be great, we have a lovely large waiting area with lots of seating which is a great space if anyone wants us to hold  an event. For example, if the Hockey team wanted to all come in together and get fitted for sports bras.

Do you agree that getting fitted is a huge part of ‘self-care’ and wellbeing?

Absolutely! I’ve personally been working in Bravissimo for 14 years and over that time I’ve heard thousands (and I’m not exaggerating) of people tell me that their fitting experience with us has made them feel better and more comfortable. It changes the way you feel, the way you hold yourself and gives your confidence a boost (as well as your boobs!)

Can you tell a little about yourself and why you became interested in lingerie? Were you always wearing the correct bra?

I had very little interest in lingerie before I started, I saw an advert in the paper (yes, we found jobs in the paper back then) and it just sounded like such a rewarding job making people feel confident within themselves.

Before my training with Bravissimo, I was nervous and body conscious. I have small boobs and didn’t think I would fit into Bravissimo sizes, but people’s perceptions of bra sizes are just not right. The person training/ fitting me took great care of me, made me feel comfortable throughout and I really got to experience what a customer might be feeling when they go for a fitting. When I came home from my training, I tried to wear one of my old bras and it was so awful and unsupportive I had to throw it away. I threw all my bras away!

I actually fit people everywhere I go now, whether it’s a family gathering, a holiday or in the night club toilets, I just know how much better it feels when you’re in the right size and there are so many people who don’t realize they are in the wrong size

What advice would you give to someone who is nervous to come into the shop?

First of all you are not on your own, there are so many people who are nervous to come in, some of our customers have anxiety, we have some who have been through surgery, we have trans customers having their first fitting and lots of customers who feel body conscious and are just really nervous to stand there half naked.

‘there are so many people who are nervous to come in, some of our customers have anxiety, we have some who have been through surgery, we have trans customers having their first fitting and lots of customers who feel body conscious’

Letting us know you’re nervous is good, we can make sure we understand your needs better. I just want to be clear too that we don’t need to see you without a bra on and we don’t need to be in the room with you whilst you are changing into bras.

We’ve even attempted fittings in the past with a closed door whilst just asking questions for those who have been too nervous to show us how the bra fits. It’s better than not getting a fitting at all. 

(I loved how consensual my visit was, I was asked “can I touch here” before anyone did) Could you expand on this? Is it in your training to know to ask before touching/ adjusting during fittings?

Yes we train our staff to ask the customer questions to learn more about they might be feeling about the fitting. Not everyone likes to be touched and even more so now in the midst of a pandemic and it’s really important that our customers are comfortable.

What is the biggest misconception you encounter with regards to bra sizing?

The biggest misconception is that a DD cup is massive, it’s not, it’s lower than average and a 28DD for example is way smaller in the cup than a 40DD. I’m not sure that it’s well enough known that if you go up in the back the cup will get bigger. People might often be spilling over the cup of a bra but instead of going up in the cup they go up a back size.

What makes the perfect fit?

Most importantly the perfect fit is a bra that makes you feel supported, confident and comfortable, one person’s perfect fit might be a nightmare to someone else. Ideally you want to be able to pull the back band out a little, but it should be firm and not ride up your back.

The centre of the bra in between your bust should be flat against your breastbone, not poking out and as little wrinkling in the cups as possible.

No question is too ‘taboo’! How would you respond to questions such as:  my breasts are different sizes, what should I do?

I hear this question daily and my response is the same to everyone. So are mine, my left boob is a good cup size bigger than my right. Everyone has one bigger than the other, some a little and some a bit more. Stretch lace bras are good for this. Some people like to fit the bigger boob and some feel more confident fitting the smaller one.

Would you say your size range is inclusive? Do you cater to all ages and sizes?

Absolutely, we have customers who have just started secondary school all the way up as far as ages go. But it’s really important for us not to assume that 90 year old Val wouldn’t want a sexy plunge bra because trust me, I’ve had customers surprising me time and time again with their choices!

But we do a big range of shapes, prints , sizes and styles and we always capture feedback from our customers for anything that’s missing from our range.

A last fun one, could you guess two celebrities’ bra size?

  • Megan Fox
  • Miley Cyrus

I need to get google images out a second…….I’d say Megan fox is around a 28GG and Miley Cyrus a 30DD.

Thank you to Claire for such inclusive and informative answers!


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