Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shopping Obstacles

Its been a while now since I've started bringing friends and family to Nordstrom's.  I'm usually met by the "Fitting Consultants" with varying degrees of friendliness and understanding.  This weekend, I had the pleasure of helping an old friend out.  We were met there by a fitting consultant who fit me for a bra about 10 years ago.  Usually, when they realize that I actually know what I'm talking about, they tell me to find them if I need any sizes from the back.  This time, she proceeded to ask us if we'd ever been fitted.  I made a general comment about how they don't carry my 28HH size, and she looked me up and down in disbelief.  Normally, I expect that from people not in the fitting business, or from a store that only carries the typical 32DD as their lowest band/highest cup size, but I certainly wasn't expecting it from the Nordstrom's most senior fitter.  She did tell me that when the 28 bands came out they did stock them, but there was no demand for them.  I hate when I hear that!!

Regardless, I went back to helping my friend find the styles and sizes we were looking for.  But the consultant didn't leave us alone.  She stood there while I explained that Freya bands tended to be looser than the Panache, etc.  Of course, then I was questioned as to how I know all of what I know about bra fitting.  I explained how I started a Facebook Group and blog about bra fitting. I was then told by the consultant that "You should never buy bras online!"  My first reaction was to laugh.  I told her that no stores carry my size, so I have to get mine online and it's not as bad as she might think.  My second reaction, which I kept in my head, was that if more people bought bras online, then she would be losing out on her commission.   But honestly, if it wasn't for online shopping, I would be in badly fitting bras and hating my body.  Online shopping has been a blessing for me and many other women I know.

The consultant did check on us a few times, and we had her swap out some sizes.  In addition to the ones I'd asked her to bring, she also brought in some others she thought would work- those didn't work whatsoever. My friend was trying on 30/32 E/F and she brought us 32DD with a super loose band.  Needless to say, the fitter's suggestions didn't work.  The price of the bras she suggested were $30 more than the ones we were looking at.  Yes, I guess I sound jaded, but being the victim of getting fitted in the wrong size for the sake of a sale just kind of makes me that way. 

I had the chance to run out once for another size trade, and all of a sudden, there was the consultant! She threw out some advice to me- that not all bras fit the same way.  Different styles fit differently.  Yes, I know.  I asked her to find a certain size for me in a new style, because the center gore wasn't laying flat.  She asked why, if I know so much, don't I work there?  I told her the truth- I don't want to work in a store that refuses to carry my size.  Gosh, I would even work there if they carried any 28 bands.  I don't want to work in a store that I can't purchase from.  I don't think management would be happy with me when I refuse to sell someone a size that doesn't work- just for the sake of the sale.  I would be sending them to the online shops that I buy my own bras from. 

She told me that I am doing her job for her. I told her not to worry- we'd give her the credit. 

But all of this was said by her in a sort of disbelieving disdain.   She even went so far as to give my friend her card upon checking out (three bras were bought), and told her to find her if she ever came "without the personal fitter."  

So, was I being paranoid in thinking this fitter wasn't a fan?  Meanwhile, while we were at the checkout desk, one of the younger consultants I've worked with before smiled at me, waved, and said"Hi Laura!"  I say "worked with" in the general sense that the fitter lets me do the fitting and they just run in the back if I need a size they don't have on the floor.  But there does seem to be a generational divide when it comes to acceptance of someone like me.  The last fitter I'd worked with, who no longer works there, was in between the ages of both the consultants I encountered this weekend.  Although she wasn't as friendly as the young fitter, she wasn't as disdainful as the older fitter.  And the Nordstrom's Corporate Fit Consultant is pretty close to my age. She is super nice, but either refuses, or has no power to change the Nordy's system. 

Is there a chance that I could start as a fitter there and change the system on the inside?  Or would I just be reprimanded for not doing things their way?  I also wish they carried more stock of Freya, Fantasie, Panache.  Those brands are very good quality, but they only carry four or five styles of each.  I guess that could seem like a lot, but that is only until you see the twenty styles of Betsey Johnson they have (nothing against Betsey- they are fine bras, if not a little cheaply made).

Anyway, the reason why I stress bra education so much is because I want each and every one of you to learn how a bra is supposed to fit is so when you are in the room with a fitter- no matter what they put you in- no matter what they try to convince you "fits"- no matter what they try to get you to buy- that you know which bras fit and which bras don't.  Don't let someone talk you into a bra that you neither like, nor fit in to, because you will be wasting your money.  And remember, not every bra that fits you will offer a shape that you like and will wear.  It's okay to be discerning when picking out a bra for yourself!


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