I had an appointment near La Petite Coquette on Wednesday, so I decided to see how this famous store’s fitters would approach my search for the Prima Donna Madison.  After being told on Monday that 34 is too tight on me, I also had a new burning question:  Is it better to wear a tight band that may show back flab in order to get the best support, or is it better to wear a band that’s slightly loose for a smooth back?  When I asked my fitter Jeanine (not her real name), she said, “Neither.  You should be able to find a bra that gives you support and a smooth back.”  I liked that answer.

I also liked Jeanine’s approach to the process–at the beginning.   She suspected that I was a 36G, so she put me in the Prima Donna Satin, a bra I’m used to, to confirm.  It fit great–great support and no back flab.  Since they didn’t have the Madison in a 36G, she brought the Prima Donna Menton, the Empreinte Melody, and a handful of Chantelles to my dressing room.  I felt that Jeanine respected my bra knowledge and I appreciated the way she left me on my own–until she disappeared to the other side of the store.  I couldn’t find her even when I put my tee shirt back on to go looking for her!

Thankfully, another bra fitter, Mary (also not her real name) was nearby to answer my questions.  I thought the $175 Melody fit perfectly and felt great, but I needed someone to confirm.  Mary agreed that it fit perfectly, but she wanted to make sure that I liked the more rounded look of a seamless bra.  She explained that even though they’re pointier from the side, some women prefer seamed bras because they push you up and to the center and make you look slimmer from the frontOH!  I never understood this before, despite all my past bra fitters who have insisted that seamed bras give a better lift.  So I tried the Menton.

The pictures after the jump convinced me that Mary was right. 
That’s the Melody on the left and the Menton on the right.  If it doesn’t look persuasive on this page, I promise it looked persuasive on my camera screen in the store!

However, something about the Menton didn’t seem right.  Mary agreed.  She pointed out that, as a plunge bra, she didn’t think it gave enough support.  I managed to catch Jeanine when she passed my dressing room.  She thought the Menton was great, until I pointed out that there was a slight puffiness above the left breast.  She decided the cup was actually too small and brought a Madison in 36H for me to try before disappearing again.

I loved the Madison in 36H.  I hunted Jeanine down once more to get her confirmation, although after her immediate buy-in of the Menton, I was no longer sure I could trust her.  Also, after looking at the pictures below, it seems like the Menton (on the left) is more slimming than the Madison.  So even though it’s killing me to continue to wear my stretched-out bras, I’m not going to wear my Madison until I’ve had a chance to try it in 36G or to get yet another bra fitter’s opinion.  I can’t afford to make a $127 (with tax) mistake on this.

However, I did trust one point that Jeanine made about the Madison.  She said that it really didn’t look as pointy as I felt it did.  Here’s the proof.

I’m also going to test it under a few more knits at home to see if I can live with the seams.

So it really does take a village to buy a bra.  It took me three fitters to get to the 36H Madison, and it’ll take one more for me to be sure.  Plus, if it weren’t for Iris, I wouldn’t have known that Chantelles are too shallow for me (I confirmed this again in the La Petite Coquette dressing room).  Jeanine was very young and had only been working at the store for a month, so she’ll need a lot more experience to gain the wisdom of an Iris or a Linda.

I heard the “village effect”–and more–happening in another dressing room on Wednesday afternoon as well.  A customer was looking for a supportive strapless bra, and Mary sized her as a 34K.  La Petite Coquette doesn’t carry strapless bras in a K, so she told the customer to call Orchard Corset on her cell phone “and ask them if they have anything that big.”  Sigh.  It’s great that Mary could point her to another resource (and Orchard Corset told her they did have a strapless in a 34K), but really, Mary, “anything that big”?  Really?  It’s probably hard when you work with so many women’s bodies in a given day to remember to treat each woman with respect and sensitivity, but a refresher course on polite language may be in order here.  (I wanted to suggest Bra Tenders to the customer, but I’ve learned to bite my tongue in these situations.)

After I got home on Wednesday, I saw a tweet from La Petite Coquette that Jennifer Connelly had been shopping there that afternoon.  I wonder if I saw her?  They also sent out a tweet that they’re hiring.  Based on my experience with the busy Jeanine, I hope they find someone to help out soon!