As a female leader in lingerie retail, I seriously hear it all from my clients. “I’m so fat,” “I need to lose weight,” “I don’t like seeing myself in a mirror.” If you can think of the worst thing to say about yourself, I guarantee I’ve heard it ten times over.
I often wonder to myself… why are we, as women, like this? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Between societal pressures to be lingerie models, pressures from friends and family to be a career woman, a mom, the foundation to all our relationships, I can totally understand why someone would not want to look at herself in the mirror. It’s just one more proof that we’ve failed or fallen short of some outside influence.
The buck stops here, ladies.
I drank the Kool-Aid and I’m here to tell you that something as simple as a proper bra fitting can change your life. Seriously.
For years, we’ve put up with overly padded, terrible quality, ill-fitting foundation pieces. Why? Because most of us think there isn’t anything better out there, so we settle for less and then don’t understand why we don’t feel good about the clothes we’re putting on top. Most big-box department stores don’t even carry a size range wide enough to fit the average woman! Even a store, who advertises as being plus-size friendly, doesn’t carry a variety of underwire profiles for the women who shop there.
There’s just a terrible combination of improper training, poor quality, and too many overhead costs to carry the sizes needed to help women of all shapes. So many retailers cut corners, to cut costs, and then provide their shoppers with second-best service and product.
Now I, being in this industry, have tested the waters. I’ve gone to my competitors, acted as a regular shopper, and have asked for a simple bra fitting. These poor girls have not had the training to suffice in an industry where “image is everything.” I had one “bra fit specialist,” who measured me (in the middle of the store rather than a fitting room), question me and ask what size I think I am. Um…lady…you’re the professional; you should be telling me what size I am, and then bring options to me that will fit well.
We, as a society, need to stop worrying so much about brand names. Yes, my competitors have created a brand for themselves; and I’ll hand it to you, I know how marketing works. If my television, magazines, and radio stations are flooded with the same commercials, faces, and names, then yes…that creates brand awareness and exposure. But, we need to stop comparing ourselves to the magazines. We need to stop thinking, “If I buy that product, then I’ll look like that.” I hate to say it, but there aren’t many of us women who actually fit into that “Angel” mold. We don’t need to be pushed up, pushed together, padded, poked, and prodded.
Now, I’m not here writing this to bash the competition. That is not my intent. The point I’m trying to get across is that we, as women in this society, need to start being nicer to ourselves. It’s about damn time we start being proud of ourselves as we are. Of our own bodies. Of our own accomplishments. Of our own goals. Of how we look in the mirror, even if we aren’t a size 2. Fit the body you have, not the body you think you should have.
Much of my time spent in those fitting rooms is telling a woman that she is beautiful, she looks great. I’ve often said to a woman, “While I’m gone, I want you to say two nice things about yourself, and when I get back, I want to hear what it was that you said.” The mood completely changes. Finally, a little support from another woman. No more judgement. Sometimes that’s all we need.
And guess what? When you’re wearing a bra that fits well, it changes the way your clothes fit. It changes your mood. It changes how you stand, how you walk. I’ve said it’s the “easiest way to lose ten pounds.” When you start embracing the body you have rather than “fake it until you make it,” I promise it will be noticed by everyone around you.
So let’s all make a promise to ourselves.
Now is the time to stop worrying about all the pressures. Find your local lingerie store that specializes (actually specializes) in bra fitting, and tell that fitter that you want to try on every bra in your size; lacy, molded, full-coverage, demi, push up, spacer material, lightly-padded. I want you to go out there and try all your options. Really look at yourself in that mirror and say, “You know what? I’m not perfect, but I’m at least going to look my best and feel my best!” And once you have found that perfect foundation piece for YOUR body, treat yourself. Take care of yourself. Know what a properly-fitting bra feels like, and then let that be the springboard to change your life!
Allure Intimate Apparel District manager