What better way to kick off Women's History Month than by paying homage to what should be every woman's best friend - a good fitting bra!
Why is it that the one thing women should be able to count on to lift us up, often lets us down? If a dog is man’s best friend, then a bra ought to be a woman’s breast friend. But for an estimated 70 to 80 percent of us, it’s not. Bad bra wearing is so rampant that media mogul Oprah Winfrey, has devoted time and attention including a bra revolution and intervention to help address this sagging issue.
A yahoo search for bra fitting yielded 77,900,000 thousand hits in less than 1/10th of a second and yet despite Oprah’s dedication and the influence of the World Wide Web, the majority of us are not wearing bras that are right for us. How can you tell? Here’s how. Have you ever seen a woman whose bra band is so far up her back that she looks like she’s about to parachute out of a plane? Or what about the woman who looks like she has four breasts or even six as she spills over the top and out of the sides of the bra cup? Susan Nethero, a professional fitter, who gives bra fitting tips on Oprah.com, offers other signs that your bras is the wrong size: cups that dimple and straps that fall down. Nethero says that exposure of the dreaded back fat can also be attributed to a bad fitting bra.
How hard is it to buy a bra? A 36C is a 36C right? Wrong! And therein lies the problem: the bra industry does not have standard sizes, so a woman who thinks she’s a 36C maybe a 36C in one brand but wears another size in a different brand or even style of bra. Cayla Bender and Avis Zimbler, professional fitters and owners of Sally Ann Corset Shop have been in business since 1973, and they understand that the biggest misconception women have about bras is size which is especially problematic in an industry that does not have uniformity. Size is not a good gage for fit because size varies based on manufacturer, fabric, cut or style. “Size is relative to the bra. You can buy three bras in three sizes and they’ll all fit,” says Zimbler. “But everybody thinks they can have a generic fit and find the same size everywhere and it will fit.”
First located in Bridgeport, they moved to the Beverly Morgan Park Area in 1999, and business is doing well; it’s up 67 percent with one manufacturer. The seldom quiet chimes signal a steady flow of regular, new, and potential customers during the week, and on Saturdays the four dressing rooms are revolving doors for women looking for a good fit. The women crowd into the small space and wait patiently as the sisters promise to service each of them bringing bra after bra after bra, taking their time to help their customers find the right fit. “We don’t talk size, we talk fit,” Zimbler quips.
Another problem women face with buying bras is how they’re made. Quality matters. “Good bras are engineered, Bender says."Places like the big box stores sell bras that just look pretty hanging on the hangers -- fit doesn't take first place." Bender and Zimbler say they’re part of a dying breed. “We’re like dinosaurs. There are very few of us left,” Bender says. And that’s unfortunate because wearing an improperly fitted bra is not just a matter of style; it benefits our health as well.
Charles Newman, a professional massage therapist can tell if a client wears ill fitting bras. “When I see or feel deep underwire indentions, or deep ridges from shoulder straps and redness or red lines around the back, I suspect an improperly fitted bra.” Newman also says that wearing bras that are too tight do not allow the breasts to breathe. “A good fitting bra does not impede circulation and lymphatic drainage.”
Our breasts change as we change, so we needed to be fitted regularly. “The best sag and drag prevention is a well fitted bra,” says Newman.
Sally Ann Corset Shop 10501 S. Western. 773-298-1031. www.sallyanncorsetshop.