Nestled at 560 Bloor St. W in Toronto sits the quaint little bra fitting boutique, Secrets From Your Sister. The name was prophetic in my case. Realizing I was having trouble finding a bra that actually supported and shaped my mammoth breasts instead of merely just containing them, my sister shared her undergarment secret with me.
For my 29th birthday, she gave me the gift of lift and separate and took me for a bra fitting.
I had no idea what I’d been missing. My sister warned me that once I went there, I would never be able to go back to buying off the rack bras at big box stores, and dammit, she was right. The difference between a bra fitted specifically to you, and a generic one, is monumental. But why is it so important?
“We see the bra as a foundation garment,” explains Jennifer from Secrets From Your Sister. “A well-fitted bra looks good, makes you feel great, and allows your garments to look good on your body. Everyone has different needs for bras. Some prioritize comfort, some shape or seamlessness, many want sexy, pretty, or fun…Regardless, the result that is important is the woman feeling confident in her skin.”
I can attest to this feeling personally. When I walked out of the boutique with my first ever properly fitting bra, I strutted confidently, chest held high—literally. I felt like I had lost 10 pounds and was showing off my new body. This effect is hard to achieve when you buy a boxed bra.
“With way over 150 sizes in bras and at least six common different sizing systems in place, buying off the rack is almost pointless unless you are a D cup or smaller, or really patient,” says Jennifer. “The problem is there are no standards in our industry and this requires a lot of trial and error trying bras on. A bra fitter takes all that trial and error out of bra shopping. Or at least narrows the time down immensely.”
Are you starting to see why I can never go back? I asked Jennifer what clients can expect when they come to SFYS for a fitting. “An associate who has no less than five months of intensive training will work with you to help you find a bra wardrobe that best suits your needs. It is a collaboration! Together you will find the best bras for you in the shortest amount of time.”
In terms of the fitting process, Jennifer explains, “A new customer can expect to be introduced to our process. Following that we will try her in a fitting bra to establish her size, body type, and discuss her needs. She will then have bras brought to her to try on. Each of which we will adjust to her body and do a series of tests to get a good impression of how the bra will feel when worn. We like to show our customers what to look for when looking for bras so they can take that knowledge with them wherever they shop. We talk about bra care, bra wardrobe…things that allow your investment to last longer!”
I will admit, as someone with discomfort over bearing my body, the idea of a bra fitting had me very uncomfortable. I never would have made this appointment myself. I was amazed how quickly I felt at home, and how willing I was to stand shirtless in front of a stranger. Indeed, making women feel good about their bodies is what SFYS is all about. The company’s mission statement is “To be a one-on-one service that offers a variety of great bras to as many women as possible regardless of their shape or size!”
And they back up this statement with gusto. During one of my visits, a trans women who had just begun physically transitioning came for her first bra fitting. By her own admission, there wasn’t “much to work with yet.” But the ladies there brought her back for a fitting, and helped her find a bra that she felt good in. No matter the size of the woman or the breasts, SFYS has you covered without judgment or awkwardness.
Their commitment to body diversity and representation is immediately obvious with one peek at their Facebook page. Modeling the amazing products are bodies in every shape and size. Not only is it helpful to see how the bras look on bodies like your own, but seeing a variety of bodies showcased is incredibly empowering. Representation matters, and SFYS is nailing it.
“We believe in respect in our shop,” prides Jennifer. “We recognize that we are all different and have individual needs. Bras are needed by many women and we do not fit into a cookie cutter silhouette. This is not an industry where you can meet the needs of women by trying to save money and mass produce for only a small segment of women.”
On why representation is so important, Jennifer states, “We need to show the many varieties of bodies to normalize them. Everyone always talks about ‘the standard’ but there is no standard. The more we show body diversity and show that there are bras for those women’s bodies, our population will start accepting themselves as they are in their individual state. It’s healthy. It’s good for our youth, it’s good for everyone.”
On a personal note, Jennifer adds, “As a child, I was always very self-conscious of my body. I did not have internet and did not have access to view all the many types of women’s bodies that existed. I would have felt a lot better knowing that we are all so different and that is normal.”
Jennifer does not advocate for making every clothing design available in every size. “A size 00 and a 24 are two entirely different shapes. Both deserve something that is specifically designed for their size.” Instead, she wishes for more variety in specialty sizing. “Here I mean having more variety in designers who cater to specific size ranges…I think if you specialize in something you can give women better what they want and you can do it right.”
I long for the day that designing for women outside the “typical” range becomes more attractive to fashion moguls. The market is there. Jennifer assures, “Fashion is moving this way…albeit slowly, but it is adapting.”
Jennifer and her company are helping with this shift. When clients leave the shop, she hopes they walk away feeling good. “I love when a customer comes to the front and has learned a lot. I love when she is excited and can’t wait to wear her bras. It’s amazing to be on the receiving end of women being satisfied and content. It is important that a customer feels like we did our best to help her. Not every woman wears a bra. Not every woman wants or needs to. When you come to a point where you are uncomfortable in your bra of self-conscious in your skin, try going to a quality bra shop and take some time for you. We, as women, will benefit from taking time to care for ourselves.”
To book an appointment with Secrets From Your Sister, visit secretsfromyoursister.com or call them at 416-538-1234 or 1-888-868-8007.