Thursday, July 22, 2010

Susan Nethero: The Bra Whisperer

I've never seen The Horse Whisperer, but from what I hear, it's an inspiring film about a man who has a keen understanding of horses. If all this is true, then Susan Nethero has certainly earned her moniker, "the Bra Whisperer." Nethero trained under the Queen of England's royal bra fitter, and has helped over 100,00 women find the right bra size for their unique shape. She's been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and has made a host of other T.V. appearances.

[Susan at {intimacy} in South Coast Plaza]

Did you know that 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size? I certainly didn't realize this until last week, when I was invited to meet Susan at the new {intimacy} boutique at South Coast Plaza and she told me this unfortunate percentage. 85%! I was there to receive a fitting (always complimentary at {intimacy}) and see if I might be among the unnecessarily uncomfortable majority.

I was a little worried about meeting Susan - anyone who's been on Oprah's show more than once is sort of other-worldly in my mind - but her smile and warm demeanor calmed my apprehension immediately. I was also nervous about baring all for our fitting, but Susan was professional, respectful, and put me at ease by standing behind me between bras. The purpose of my fitting - other than finding the right bra size for me - was to demonstrate the process that all of {intimacy}'s highly-trained (they attend "bra boot camp" before they're qualified!) fitters go through with each guest to the store.

Susan explained to me, once in our lavender and gold private fitting room, that they do not use tape measures at {intimacy}. No tape measures? This is revolutionary! She told me that rather than fitting me to a bra, they fit a bra to me. For this reason, {intimacy} carries over 90 sizes of bras, ranging in cup size from A through K. If you're like me, the existence of any sizes beyond D comes as a big surprise. What's more, the bandwidth sizes available go all the way up to 45! On the wall in my fitting room at {intimacy} was a plaque encouraging me that "Your body is perfect." {intimacy} aims to dispel the rumor that if you have bra issues, your body is the problem. Not so!

Back to my size: I was wearing the wrong one. I walked in wearing a 34B, and Susan fit me to a 32C. It seems that my whole life, I had fallen into one of the common bra fitting traps- going for comfort over proper fit. Susan told me that many women are wearing a bandwidth that is too large for their frame, and as a result, the bra band slips up in the back, creating back fat for many women and decreasing support in front.
"A bra is like a seesaw," Susan said, "When the back goes up, the front goes down."
When the bandwidth is snugger, the support is stronger. Susan also told me that the straps are not meant to be constantly fussed with. The straps should be adjusted initially to fit you proportionately. 90% of the support in a bra comes from the bandwidth, so it's of highest importance that you're wearing the correct size.

Did you know that the correct bra size can make you look 10-15 pounds slimmer? Susan showed me that the correct size will lift and shape your breasts and make you look taller, perkier, and thinner!
{intimacy} at South Coast Plaza recently opened their doors, becoming the first OC location (they have stores in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and several others across the U.S.), and at this conveniently local spot you can receive a complimentary fitting to find your correct size (or, if you're of the wise 15%, to confirm it)! Fittings are always complimentary, and always thorough. {intimacy} offers an impressive selection of high-quality, European brand bras, such as Simone Perele, Chantelle, La Perla, Aubade, and Prima Donna. The boutique also carries everything else you could need before you put on your clothes - Spanx, Embrace, nighties, travel cases, and panties galore.

 [Just like I said: Panties galore!]

 [The 'gold'-gilded bra bank/wall]

[Susan told me that she and I are new "breast friends"]

Quick and helpful list of the Top Ten Mistakes Women Make When Buying a Bra (provided by Susan herself):

1 - Baggy Back = Too Much Slack: The back band provides most of the support, so the fit should be firm yet comfortable. When the band is too loose, the back rises up, causing breasts to sag. This "see-saw" effect can also emphasize what every woman wants to hide: unsightly back fat. 
2 - Resisting Revolution: As we age, things change. Thanks to weight loss and gain, nursing and hormonal changes, a bust line can change at least six times throughout a woman's life. Susan recommends getting fitted yearly. 
3 - There is No Perfect Bra: Buying a new bra takes time. Don't just get the one your friend raves about- everyone's body is unique. To find the best fit, try on several styles. 
4 - Don't Be a Softy: Most women find underwire bras to be uncomfortable, so they make the mistake of wearing a soft, non-underwire cup. The problem is that there's not enough support, especially for fuller-figured women. A properly fitted underwire bra should fit comfortably against your rib cage with a soft cotton casing. The result is superior support and comfort. 
5 - The Big Bind: Minimizing bras actually bind and compress breast tissue, resulting in a loss of firmness. To appear taller, smaller-breasted and even pounds slimmer, voluptuous women should stick with bras that lift and center the bust line.
6 - Confusing Cups: Wearing the wrong cup size is a common mistake. The result is that breasts that spill over, or worse yet, breasts don't fill out the cups (resulting in wrinkles). Ideally, cup size should be proportional to the body frame.
7 - You Get What You Pay For: Department and speciality stores often carry low-quality, poorly made bras that fit badly. Higher quality brands, which offer more size options, are designed for real women's shapes.
8 - Self Service Slip Up: Don't sacrifice service, style, and comfort because you're embarrassed to ask for help when buying a bra. 
9 - Compressed Breasts: Athletic women often rely on sports bras which compress rather than support A sports bra with seam, shape, and cup depth will prevent jiggling while jogging. 
10 - Forever Free of Seams: While seamless bras are comfortable and look smooth under clothing, wearing them daily is a bad idea. Give your girls the support they need!

Happy fitting! :)

-Blythe

on my iTunes: Feist's "My Moon, My Man"

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