Courtney, how did you get started in all of this?
When I was in college back in 2006 I needed a job so I applied at Nordstrom. They had an opening in the lingerie department and I got into and quickly discovered I had a real love for it. I really felt like this was my calling in life, I was naturally good at it and had a passion for it. Once I got more experience, I quickly became a certified bra fitting specialist. I felt like I was people’s Fairy Godmother – teaching them what their Mom should have taught them about how their bras should properly fit.
I worked at Nordstrom for 4 years and I loved it. I was changing people’s lives. It’s not like an exercise program where you have to work for weeks to see progress – getting a good fitting bra is an immediate difference. I’m helping women find confidence in their skin and I feel like that’s such a gift to help people see, so that’s why I love what I do. I help women take their boobs and help them look amazing.
People don’t realize that having a properly fitting bra makes a big difference. It can make you more comfortable, take weight off of you, make you more comfortable. It really just is such a fantastic, simple, immediate thing.
What are some of the pain points are in this industry?
The biggest pain point is the media’s influence on what bras are supposed to look like and how misleading it all is. We’re seeing a very narrow mindset on what women should look like and how bras should fit. For the last 25+ years Victoria’s Secret has been the biggest influencer in how bras should fit and what they should look like. Lot’s of push-up. Lots of jiggle and cleavage.
There’s 2 things contributing to this narrow mindset. It’s very male-dominated and it’s males making the decisions about what women should look like. The frustrating thing is that bras are not just for sex. They’re something you wear everyday, and should be purchased that way! Not just for sexiness.
There’s also a lack of availability in size ranges. It’s expensive to carry over 130 different bra sizes so most big box stores don’t. They also don’t have a trained professional to help you fit a bra either and all of this adds to the misconceptions. People think a D is big and I laugh because I consider that a smaller size and is one of the most common sizes I fit!
But the media is such a problem. One of the biggest things I do is educate about this. I love showing different pictures of models in bras on social media or websites and pointing out how their bra does or does not fit them. Retailers don’t seem to care whether or not your bra fits, they just want to push sex or whatever they think is going to sell.
Our generation is over it and we’re starting to see changes finally. Victoria’s Secret is suffering from a lot of backlash because they don’t show a full range of women’s bodies, they don’t carry a full range of bra sizes and we’re all done with it.
I was a die hard for Victoria’s Secret and the lack of inclusivity was the last nail in the coffin for me.
People are starting to better understand that they don’t want to support brands that don’t share the same values as they do. Why give money to a brand that isn’t inclusive? And doesn’t carry a wide enough size range? This might be a crazy prediction, but if VS doesn’t do some soul-searching and changing, they’re going to be out of business in a few years.
I love that I’m seeing more and more diversity in bra sizes and representation.
Here in my shop I carry more than 130 different sizes so I can actually find you your true size instead of a pseudo size that is close enough. I think that the lingerie industry has been making major changes in the last 15 years and they have more sizes and brands than ever before.
When I was working at Nordstrom back in 2006 the trends were different with breasts. Everyone wanted high and tight and round looking augmented looking breasts. Lingerie trends these days are enhancing and embracing your natural shape. I feel like I’m almost seeing that with breast implants – we’ve gone from low profile and round to a more tear drop shape.
What are the most common problems that you’re seeing as women come in with their bras?
One of the most common things I see is that women are wearing too big of a band size. Many think that if you want it to be more comfortable, it needs to be bigger. The band is where your support comes from, so if you want it to fit right, it needs to sit low and snug. We always go down at least 1, sometimes up to 3 band sizes. A larger band puts a lot of work on the straps, the bra constantly needs adjusting, and it ultimately leaves your breasts lower. This can cause strain on the neck and shoulders, indents on your shoulders from the straps, and pain overall.
Walk me through a bra fitting:
Because I’ve been doing this for 13 years, I can just look at people and see how their bra is fitting them and what needs to be fixed. Based on how the bra is not fitting you, I can guess what size we need to move you into. If you go down a band size, you need to go up a cup size. Bigger cup sizes don’t necessarily even mean that you’re bigger, but it could be that you’re not getting full coverage all the way out to the sides like you need to.
I hadn’t realized until coming and getting fitted by Courtney that different brands have different styles of cups! In the past in order to have a cup big enough to cover my entire breast, I also had gaping at the top because I couldn’t quite fill out the profile. The new brand I tried accommodates my broad chest and low profile breasts with a larger cup size. I hadn’t realized that my breast shape was just meant for a different brand.
That’s why bra shopping can be so difficult. There’s just not as much availability in most box stores like what I can do in my shop. Each brand fits different shapes and needs. Your breast shape and size will determine what brand will fit best for you.
Bra size doesn’t matter.
People get so worried about the label of bra size. It’s just a size, it doesn’t mean anything. I like to tell people what their size is to educate them. It’s so important to make peace with your body and just love what you have, because once you do that you’ll just look for what fits instead of worrying what the actual size is.
The thing I tell a lot of ladies is that if you had small feet you would still look for shoes that fit your small feet. Even if you’re not a large cup size, you still need to wear a bra that fits your body.
Body Love. What do you have to say about it?
I tell people that I’m not a plastic surgeon. There’s only so much bras can do. I talk to a lot that are considering breast reduction/augmentation and I tell them to get a bra that fits them properly first and then see if they still want to do it. There’s no bra out there that’s going to fill your breast back up or move them up higher. I take what you have and enhance what’s naturally there. Getting a bra that fits can help take what you have and make you fall in love with yourself again.
If you don’t live in Salt Lake, or Utah and we don’t have in person access to you, what can we do?
If you’re in town, I have a schedule and I’d love to see you! I always think it’s worth the time and the drive to be fitted by us professionally.
If you can’t come to us, we have an online shop called bosombesties.com. We’ve used all of the data from fitting bras for years and created an algorithm to help find you a bra online! The thing that’s unique about our shop specifically is we’re not a brand, we have 9 different brands and we do free shipping and returns. We have fantastic customer service and help because we want to make sure we fit you correctly. We also carry some swimsuits!
So Courtney, what is your favorite way to manage your period?
I don’t have a period right now because of the IUD, so nothing? I like the IUD.