Becki DeGeest, MSUM, Multimedia Journalism
You’re a woman looking for a new bra; something that’s going to fit well, be comfortable, look good and isn’t going to fall apart. Where do you go? Victoria’s Secret? Macy’s? Target? Herbergers? Is there anywhere else?
According to statistics given by professional bra specialists, bra fitters and local bra boutique owner Heather Swenson, up to 85 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size.
Bra boutiques are very popular in big cities, but are rare in smaller cities like Fargo-Moorhead. After being fed up with not finding good-fitting bras, Swenson started selling her own bras. She first started selling out of her home in 2009, but later created The Crystal Corset, which is located in Downtown Fargo, at 114 North Broadway and has been successful ever since.
Swenson could be your “breast” friend when it comes to bras, fittings and all other bra-related things. She earned two bra-fitting certifications from The Fabfit Academy and Leading Lady’s Certified Bra Fitter Program, has been fitting for nearly 5 years. When it comes to her job she has one true goal in mind to help women, which is to help them find their true size in bras.
“I was frustrated myself, I’m a g-cup and they don’t have g-cups anywhere around here,” Swenson said. “Stores don’t usually carry sizes over 40DDD and I needed to find bras that fit better. In 2005, I saw an Oprah show; they had an introduction of the Le Mystére T-shirt bra and that was the first style that I got in, and it’s still my favorite.
Offering a wide range of bras sizes from 24A to 54N, change can be an overwhelming experience to customers who have always stuck with their average 36C bra size.
“Just the other day I had a lady come in and she picked out her usual 36C and said ‘I’m going to go try these ones,’ and I just kind of smiled. And she ended up walking out being a 36F,” Swenson said. “The thing with a bra size is, you’re not a size, because with each brand you could be a different size. It could be different from bra to bra, and even within the same brand or style.”
How women can find the perfect fit
When choosing a bra, Swenson typically uses the Three F System: fit, flatter and feel good.
“I would want to wear it myself,” Swenson said about picking bras for her downtown boutique. “It has to be comfortable, and has good material. I’ve had too many bras that have fallen apart and the bras that I have are a little more upscale and they do last.”
Swenson says that one of the biggest mistakes women make when buying bras is band tightness.
“The number one mistake women make is going bigger in the band to get the cup size to fit and then it gets too big and rides up in the back and you use all your lift,” Swenson said. “It’s like a teeter-totter when the band is down in the back it keeps the front fold up and that is where you get the lift from.”
What makes The Crystal Corset so special is Swenson’s personality, character and the fact that she truly cares about the comfort of women everywhere.
Since the opening of The Crystal Corset Swenson has built up a wide-ranging client base and has recently hired two more employees to help her run the boutique. A lady walking by the store was heard saying to her friend, “You have to go to her sometime. She’s the best.”
Overall, The Crystal Corset is the place to shop if you’re looking for all things related to bras in Fargo. From the time you enter and see the fun bright colored walls and pretty products to when you receive your first fitting. Whether you walk out with a new bra or empty handed each person walks away with something like the enjoyment of a relaxed atmosphere.
Bra Tips from Swenson and bra professionals:
- Never put your bra in the dryer, because heat kills elastic. Use a lingerie bag (The Crystal’s Corset sells these)
- If you use regular laundry soap that is petroleum based it will dry out the elastic, and your bra will lose its support faster
- Never use fabric softener it also dries out elastic on bras
- If your cups run over, it’s time to go up a cup size. If your cups dimple, it’s time to go down a cup size
- If your strap falls down, that means your bra band is riding up and you probably need to go down a band size
- Finding the right fit is not only important physically, so your shoulders, back and ribs don’t hurt, but mentally as well. When you are wearing a good fitting bra, you feel good about the way you look and your confidence increase
(Edited by Jessica Jasperson, MSUM Mass Communications and English Major)