Soma Intimates. My Fitting Experience
Over the weekend my husband and I went to Destin, Florida. Living in small town Alabama really limits the options for a bra fitting. I have not been to Soma before so it had to be worth a try. Their bras range from a 32-44 A-DD, with some going to a DDD and a US G, depending on the style.
The Soma was located in the Destin outdoor mall. They had a sign up outside the door that stated they were offering free bra fittings and a $10 off bra coupon. That sign right there put me off a bit. A proper bra fitting should be a free service to your customers, advertising that with a discount seems kind of tasteless to me. But I went in any way, now just thinking I’d look around and maybe even try their fitting service.
On entering the store we were immediately greeted by a sales associate/fitter. There was no immediate pounce with a sizing offer. We browsed around for a bit and she approached again asking if there was something she could help with. I mentioned wanting a strapless bra for summer (which I really do need). She took one look at me, and said she probably would not have anything that would work for me, but took me to see what they had to offer. There was no offer to measure. She told me the smallest bandsize they offer is a 32, but they do offer one bra (not strapless) that comes up to a US 32G. It is online only, so she offered to pull in up on their website so I could see it, stating that the bra was specially designed for a smaller bandsize with a larger bustline. This bra is called the Emerson, and is listed as a “New Item” on their website. She also grabbed a 32 band for me to try, just in case the band was slightly small.
I do find it kind of laughable that a 32G bra is one that is specially designed for a smaller bandsize with a larger bust line. I have a 26 inch ribcage, that band would have to be a VERY small 32 in order to fit me. I tried it on anyway, just to check the band not the cups. Even on the tightest hooks I could still fit both hands (in a fist) and pull out a good 4 inches.
So what can I say about my experience? Obviously they did not have anything close to something that would work. But the fitter at least tried to work with me, not against me. She did not even try to measure or throw me into whatever bra she could as long as the cups fit. She did tell me that the addition of a G cup (UK F) is fairly new and that they are getting more and more women that they measure to be a 30 bandsize. So it sounds like they are considering smaller band sizes.
Moving from my store experience, I’d like to talk about their website. What I find laughable is their measuring instructions listed on the website and their size guide. They recommend three measurements, under the bust, over the bust, and around the bust. Their sizing recommendation is based on these measurements. For a 32DD the size chart lists measurements of 27″ under bust, 32 over bust, and 36-37″ around the bust. The over bust measurement with every size corresponds to the bandsize and the under bust measurement is 5″ smaller than the bandsize given.
They do have a calculator as part of their fit guide. But what is odd about this is that the calculator does not request your over bust measurement, just under bust and around the breast. Based on their fitting instructions I used 26″ for my 25.5″ ribcage and a more firm measurement then normal, 37.5″ for my bust. The calculator recommended a 30G (in US sizing I’m assuming), and offered to link me to bras in my size. It linked me to bras available in a 32DDD, one bandsize up and one cupsize down.
Next I’ll move on to their fit tips with pictures and descriptions. You are given a “Check This” and the correction. First tip, the right size around the body. This is demonstrated by a visual of a band riding up the woman’s back, stating that the band should fit snug against your back and not feel loose. The correction is Hook It On the Center, with the following instructions, “Ideally, you should always be able to hook your bra on the center hook. If it feels loose when it’s fastened at the center hook, try a smaller band size. The band should rest just below your shoulder blades. Can you slip 2 fingers between the band and the side of your rib cage with no more than 1″ of stretch? Then your band width is fab.” Why on the center hook and not the loosest? No explanation for this. There has only been two times that I have seen this piece of advice given, for teen girls or asthmatics. Because they are growing, putting the band on the center hook allows for rib cage growth in the off-chance they experience growth there with no breast changes. For asthmatics it is so they can loosen the bra if it feels constricting when they experience and attack. I’m not an expert on either of these, so I’m not sure how true that is.
Second is overflowing cups. Soma suggestions that you correct any spillage by changing the style of cup you are wearing, choosing something with more coverage. Umm…. What about trying to go up a cupsize to correct muffin boob? No, they just want you to get a full coverage bra instead of a demi style. While a full coverage my correct the visual problem, it does not solve the fact that the cups is still too small for your bust. But in the fourth fit tip they suggestion going up a cupsize if the wires are not sitting flat on your chest, stating the cup is too small. Well, we got one right at least.
OK, I’ll stop there because I’m sure you get the point. Their fit guide needs some major work. A guide can be the most useful tool to the online shopper, if it is correct. Bits and pieces of correct information mixed in with bad makes the entire guide useless! How does the shopper know what is correct and what is not? Especially when you have bra photos that show models with incorrect sizing to begin with! Just a few examples,the Vanishing Back Full-Coverage, the Push Up Holly, Ciao Bella Roma Demi (look at that armpit boob!), and Demi Desiree Satin Bra. That is not going into the fact that the models are probably not a 32 band, the underwires sitting on the sides of breasts, the obvious photoshop jobs, the too high bands, and the breasts that are so smooshed together that they probably ache after a few hours.
I find that my decent experience in their store was completely ruined by the website. The one thing I took from the in store experience was the effort put into see if something MAY work, but with out pushing a bad fit. I never felt pressured to buy a thing, the associate was just there to do what she could for me. And when that turned out to be nothing she wished me luck and a good day.