Wow. So, I keep telling y’all to stand your ground in lingerie shops and demand your size or demand pretty things in your size, and I just went into a boutique on my lunch break and totally bombed.
Very Nice Store Representative: Can I help you find anything today?
Sweets: No thanks I’m just browsing?
VNSR: Okay, well let me know if you need anything.
Sweets: [aimlessly wanders teeny-tiny store, glancing at labels and tags.]
VNSR: Are you sure there’s nothing I can help you with?
Sweets: Um, well, um, I guess I was wondering if . . . um, you guys were going to bring back any full-bust sizes? Because I bought my favorite bra ever from you all a few years ago and you don’t seem to carry it anymore? Could I sound any more sheepish?
VNSR: Oh, um, well, uh, what’s your size?
Sweets: [Size, but with lots of apologetic question marks]
VNSR: Oh. Well, um, yeah, we have these over here. [Goes to drawer with 1 style of beige molded cup bra]
Sweets: Oh, that’s okay, really, that style doesn’t fit me very well . . . I was kind of hoping you had, um, some Claudette and Mimi Holliday? Because both those brands make full-bust sizes, and I want to try them on?
VNSR: Have you looked online?
Oy. This happens all the time. The store representative can’t help it that they don’t stock my size, but I know she feels badly, and she wants to offer me something, anything. She sees my disappointment, and she wants to offer me a balm. But it’s a SUCKY one. I don’t want beige! I don’t want shipping charges and uncertainty! I want the pretty shiny lacy silky things! I want to grab my size off the wall and ask “May I try this on?” and have options. This VNSR gets extra brownies points because, unlike one of her predecessors on a previous shopping trip, she didn’t suggest I try on two band sizes bigger and two cups smaller, because “it would probably fit.”
So what to do in this situation? What to do if, like me, you know what you’re looking for and you don’t see it? Well, look, you’re not gonna get an answer that minute. You may even get a polite but firm “we have no plans to expand our size/brand range at this time.” But what the VNSR eventually offered me was a spot on their mailing list, confirmation that they’d be expanding their online retail presence, and assurance that if there was anything I wanted to see, I’d be welcome to contact the store via their website and request it. I think that’s a great response, because it speaks to the store’s flexibility and interest in their customers. She wasn’t a manager or owner, so she couldn’t answer my questions, but she directed me towards people who could. Thanks, VNSR!
I don’t know why I still get sheepish in lingerie shops, but it can feel overwhelmingly embarrassing to have to ask for your size, no matter which end of the spectrum: petite, small-bust, full-bust, full-figure, basically any size that deviates from the Standard Sixteen. Here’s how I’m trying to look at it: how will the store know what its customers want if the customers don’t ask? For every person who sticks to her guns and asks, there could be countless women who didn’t. Also, every time I step up and ask for my size, my brands, my choices, it gets easier and less mortifying. I am not my boobs, and I am not my bra size. I just want to take care of them and dress them well. A good store will be there to help me.