5 Red and Green Flags when going for a bra fitting

Having been a bra fitter and having been to many different bra fittings, I've both experienced a relatively full gamut of how bra fitters can treat people and what they're doing behind the curtain. However I also recognise that as a thin, white, young, visibly able cis woman it's essentially impossible for me to be actively discriminated against by a bra fitter; these experiences, while they break my heart whenever I read about them, are ultimately foreign to me and I cannot usefully advise on how to avoid them. 

While there's loads of bra fitting information to be found online, an in-person appointment where you get to try on bras instantly can be a lot more convenient (and come with a lot less reading). With that being said, there are some behaviours and attitudes that show a bra fitter isn't looking out for your best needs - and I'm not talking about adding inches to your underbust!

A good bra fitter needs 3 key qualities:

  1. They are knowledgeable in your size and shape range
  2. They care about your comfort and wellbeing
  3. They know how to use their knowledge, taking into account your comfort, to help you find a solution that works best for you.

While these may seem simple, in my experience, a vanishingly small number of bra fitters actually manage all three. Bra fitters are primarily salespeople, and they are often trained with a big emphasis on sales, the methods of which can sometimes conflict with your needs as a bra user (rather than a bra consumer). Lots of customers have walked away from bra fittings in bras that they don't love, and it's because the fitter has lacked one of these qualities. So here's a list I drew up of how to tell if a fitter has these qualities, and what to do if they don't.

First of all - there are two things that a bra fitter should NEVER do. 

  • Body shame you
  • Enter the fitting room or touch you without permission. 

It's one thing to suggest certain types of bra may be better for your breast shape, but another thing entirely to make comments like "if only you weren't so... " or "the problem is ... ", or worse, make direct comments about your appearance. The problem is always the bra, not you. Whatever you look like and whoever you are, you deserve a bra that you love. 

And walking in on you while changing or touching you without permission? It shouldn't need to be said that these can make people feel extremely uncomfortable and yet I have witnessed both. I think both of these should be absolute dealbreakers, but there are other clues that can suggest if the fitter has those three desirable qualities.

Red and green flags that can suggest how the fitting might go

🚩The fitter seems shocked at your current size, a bra size you suggest, or any other information you give them. The fitter may even say that a certain size doesn't exist.

🟒 A fitter should be educated, experienced, and professional enough to understand how easy it is to wear sizes that fit you poorly. They should also know just how much is out there in the world of bras! 

Scoffing or other reactions of disbelief not only show a lack of knowledge, but also a disregard for your wellbeing by being dismissive in a field that is personal and intimate. 


🚩The fitter doesn't explain how the fitting process will go, leaves you stranded, or otherwise acts like you're an inconvenience

🟒 A fitter should explain what they're doing - and are happy to change anything they do, based on your comfort. 

I've awkwardly poked my head out of too many changing rooms in my lifetime! Avoiding "difficult" customers rather than engaging with them shows that the fitter just wants to do their job of selling you a bra and if they sense you are unhappy with the process, they want you gone - they may not be trained well enough to know what to do.


🚩 The fitter doesn't open a dialogue with you, just takes your measurements and goes off to get some bras 

🟒 A fitter should ask you what your current issues are, what you're looking for, and what your budget is.

Lingerie can be very pricey and a fitter should be able to advise if they have something that fits within your budget - if not, they should be able to point you to somewhere that does. Asking you what you want is also super important, as they should be knowledgeable enough to tailor their recommendations and fitting style to your personal needs.

🚩 The fitter pronounces a size, but then brings you bras that are not actually that size

🟒 If the shop doesn't have a good selection in your size, a fitter should explain that and offer places that do, in addition to any in-store solutions like sister sizing.

You shouldn't be made to feel like this one shop is your only option! While sister sizing can be a useful tool, it should never be offered as the only way you can find bras that fit you. Implying that it is is a sales mindset rather than a caring mindset.

🚩 The fitter says certain bras fit well and poorly without explaining why

🟒 A fitter should be able to tell you what they do and don't like about each bra, and ask you how you feel about each one

Being unable to communicate their thoughts and opinions can betray a lack of knowledge on the fitter's part. Involving your thoughts in an evaluation is a very important part of fitting - a fitter cannot tell for certain when a bra is uncomfortable unless they ask you! There may also be fit issues which are minor in their eyes but are big problems for you, which a good fitter should be able to accommodate.

REMEMBER: you are free to leave a fitting at any time. if someone says something hurtful or pressures you to buy an uncomfortable bra, you can just walk out. Even if it was something unintentionally hurtful, or if you're having a body image moment and you need to leave, please do so.

If someone gets angry at you for exercising your right to leave, tell them to send a formal complaint to hugsforyourjugs@gmail.com. 

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