How To Become A Bra Fitter

Jan 26, 2024 | Business, Outside | 0 comments

Did you know that finding a bra for someone is a real career? Yep! I started as a bra fitter back in 2005 when I was desperate for a job that paid more than $7/hour in NYC. And now, 19 years later, it’s changed my life in many ways. I’ve taught bra fitting in Paris, NY, LA, and more. I’ve taught bra basics to consumers all over my social media, on TV (like Rachael Ray 10 times, or The Marilyn Denis Show 13 times, or even TODAY 5 times and counting!) and every time I do, there are more and more people that say “I never knew that!”. This is what keeps me going. This is what reminds me that there is more work to do. And, I can’t do it all alone. The world needs awesome bra fitters. Is that you?

If you’re wondering if learning to be a bra fitter, or perhaps finally formally training as one is for you, keep reading. I’m proud to share the pathway to fitting, including the past way, the future, and why people need fitters in the first place. Plus, I’ll introduce you to a bra fitter certification that is changing the game. Ready? Read on!

What is a bra fitter?

The technical definition of a bra fitter is a trained professional who measures or assesses the best undergarment size and fit per style on an individual, in order to help them with their specific needs and desired level of shape, support, and comfort. 

That’s true.

The way I look at it, a bra fitter also collaborates with someone to support them with a very precious, vulnerable, and sacred area of the body, right over the heart. Bra fitters offer support in more than one way.

Why do we need bra fitters?

Have you ever gone bra shopping and come out of the process feeling supported, encouraged, empowered, and at ease? Was the process simple and did you feel you had a great grasp on how to look through the bra racks and pick the size, style, and color that would work best for your unique bust and body shape, and wardrobe needs? Unfortunately, probably not. I’ve been working for nearly 2 decades to help educate the masses on bra buying and fit basics. We all need this information! But where do we learn it? It’s not taught in schools, and our guardians are passing down the same wrong information over and over again. We’re left to read short magazine articles, watch TikToks, or Google our bra questions. 

I’m all about that education being accessible and it’s really important to work with a professional when we can. A great bra fitter is like a great mechanic, doctor, or lawyer. They are skilled and know their trade well. While we can consult Dr. Google for some basic health information, we seek out trained physicians and practitioners to really support our health. We might watch a YouTube on how to change our car oil, but we bring it to a mechanic when the issue is beyond our reach. We can read a quick article on law advice, but when it really comes to making sure we’re legally protected, we call in the pros. 

The same is true for bra fitting. It’s so important for each person to know the basics and how to care well for their own body and undergarments, and it’s not necessary for them to know every single bra style number or how each cup compares in coverage. That’s what a bra fitter is for. 

On top of that, bra fitters: 

  • Cut through bra sizing and style confusion
  • Provide empathy and understanding for a very sacred part of the body
  • Act as an expert guide in the bra buying process
  • Help folks release fears about sizes that might seem foreign 
  • Showcase styles and brands beyond those with a heavy ad spend
  • Educate and inform their clients on how to wear and care for their bras 

There is so much to being a bra specialist and fitter, and I wonder if this job is right for you.

Who should train to be a bra fitter?

Bra fitters come in many forms and come from various backgrounds, oftentimes retail, fashion, or personal styling. But I’ve seen fitters rise up from previous careers in health, teaching, photography, tech, or writing. Some get sparked to become one because they had a life changing experience in a bra fitting room, and realized they want to help others feel the same. In the end, no matter where they start, they often share some similar qualities. 

The most common qualities I see in a great bra fitter are: 

  • Willingness to support others and help them learn to love who they see in the mirror 
  • Great problem-solving skills and love a great challenge
  • Really love people and working with them on a one-to-one basis 
  • Understand that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and each is worthy of support, comfort, and confidence 
  • Are eager to learn and even nerd out on a topic 
  • Can create a safe space filled with understanding, no judgment, and room for exploration 
  • They might love fashion and gorgeous lingerie, but truly understand that undergarments must also fit well in order to feel good  
  • And here’s the biggest: they can tap into their empathy and truly feel what their client might be feeling, without inserting their own story or projecting their own judgements 

That said, I feel training as a bra fitter can both turn into your full-time career, or compliment one you already have. Personal stylists who already take folks shopping for clothes can totally benefit from bra fitter training. They can add on an entire part of their service! The same is true for boudoir photographers who might help their clients shop for well-fitting undergarments before their shoot. And I highly suggest that bra designers, custom bra makers, and bra marketers train as well. They might not want to go onto certification status, but the training itself is invaluable to truly understand what goes on in the fitting room and how their product impacts someone’s life.  

I also feel that even those who have been working in bra shops or departments for years can benefit from bra fit training. Fitting folks in person is honestly the best way to learn, and our industry is currently the Wild West. We’ve been piecing together knowledge here and there. Having a baseline of the fundamentals or even a refresh is key to continuing the journey of fitting well and with empathy in a more modern way than before.

Past pathway to bra fitting

In the past, the best and most common pathway to becoming a bra fitter was to work at a lingerie boutique or in the bra department at a large store. There, you might encounter some form of training with the owner of the shop, or the manager of the bra department. Sometimes you’d be trained by a representative of one of the bra brands. This training would include some bra fit explanations, shadowing and following by example, and perhaps even a test. 

This is actually how I learned to fit! I shadowed the owner of a shop in NYC. I’m so thankful for that experience, and I’m proud of how I learned because I went on years later to train others that way at the same shop once I became a manager. I offered up all of the experience I had from fitting folks in person over and over again. Bra fitting truly is both a science and an art form that has been passed down from master to apprentice, time and time again. That tradition of bra fitting is fascinating and rich with history. And, there’s a new way to train. 

Changing Up the Bra Fitting Industry

While the passing down of bra fitting has been working for years, it’s become a limited manner of teaching for many reasons. 

First, you’re learning from just one person. As mentioned, bra fitting is both a science and an art form, so learning from just one person can corner someone into thinking that their way is the only way to do it. What works now is learning in a collaborative space with a facilitator and then group sharing, feedback, and support. What this creates is a co-creation experience where the collective creates standards that they can stand behind. 

Second, in the past the best way to claim authority was by being bossy. This worked as a power dynamic between both the boss of the shop and the employee, as well as the fitter and the fittee. We’ve now moved on to a more collaborative environment in the fitting room, where the customer has autonomy, the fitter asks for consent, and authority is built on trust, knowledge share, and understanding instead of force or information hoarding. 

Additionally, being a bra shop owner has changed tremendously. When I first worked in a shop there was no social media. I know, hard to believe! But now small business owners not only have to run the shop, pay the bills, hire the team, do the payroll, clean the floors, buy the inventory, and manage the employees… they also have to create a social media presence, send weekly newsletters, keep up an online shop, and possibly ship or fulfill orders online. It’s a lot! So with the extra workload, they need not only more in-store help, but an easier way to train them without spending hours with their staff. They should be focused on growing their shop and serving more people in the community, not training constantly. 

I’ll add that, currently, there is no license required by each state in the USA to be a bra fitter. That means, legally, anyone can call themselves a bra fitter, or can work as one. What that means is bra shoppers have no way to tell if the fitter they’re going to has experience that will support them and their needs. It’d be like going into a mechanic shop and you don’t know if that person opened up their shop because they just like cars and have worked on a few here or there, or if they are a true expert who has trained and understands how to help your car run better for longer. Wouldn’t you like to know? It’s time to stop relying on referrals and wishful thinking alone. Great bra fitters should be easy to find, and people who shop for bras deserve to know if their fitter is trained. 

New way to become a bra fitter

You might be able to tell that I’m quite passionate about this whole bra fitter thing, right? That’s because I’ve been fitting folks since 2005, and I’ve seen what a great bra fitter can do to upgrade someone’s life. And with a community of over 100K bra wearers on my social media, I’ve heard again and again what happens when someone receives less than expert, empathetic care. I’m constantly asked for referrals to local shops but hesitate to suggest just anyone, because it can truly traumatize or harm that person. So I’m on a mission to train more fit focused professional bra fitters who understand that empathy is a super power and underwear can be a form of self-care. Hurray! 

I’ve been dreaming up this training for years and it took lots of coaxing and multiple asks from busy bra shop owners for me to finally put it all together. So in August of 2023, I invited a select group of folks to co-create The Fitters’ Formula. This course, community, and certification is changing the way we train as bra fitters. Collectively we are creating standards that we can stand behind. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve made, and how it’s been evolving since the doors opened in Fall of 2023. Each new person that joins becomes a co-creator as we knowledge share, support and celebrate each other, and work together to move our industry forward. Bra fitting is such a unique job, and we can often feel like we have nowhere to turn for frustrating fit issues or customer concerns. The thing is, bra fitters support others all day long and we need support, too. 

Over 6 modules, The Fitters’ Formula leads novice and experienced fitters alike through: 

  1. The What and Why of Bra Fitting (including a special guided visualization) 
  2. Body Needs and Bust Shapes & Bra Styles (over 57!) 
  3. Bra Sizing (in several countries and sizing systems) 
  4. The Comfort Fit System™
  5. In the Fitting Room 
  6. Putting it Into Practice 

These are the true foundations and essentials for any fitting professional. Each module comes with a quiz, and once they’re all completed, each person earns a diploma. On top of that, we have regular workshops and deep dives into specific topics, as voted by the community. Hurray! 

Then, and this is where it gets really juicy, that person can move on to become a Certified Fitters’ Formula Fitter. This level is for those who plan to fit folks regularly, not just use the information to compliment their marketing, design, or other skills. And this is where the hands-on work begins. With over 100 fittings and supportive mentorship, the certification pathway puts everything they learned into use. And I mean everything. Not just the bra math or the style suggestions, but the empathy, the understanding, and the true support on all levels. This certification just launched and already we are making improvements as it grows. That’s the joy of co-creation and feedback.

What’s more? Members of The Fitters’ Formula have a community of like minded fitters cheering them on and learning together as they go. Hurray!

Join The Fitters’ Formula

Are you curious if The Fitters’ Formula could support you or your staff? I’m ready to show you. Let’s change the way people get support, together.

Your turn: Have you ever thought of training to be a bra fitter? Are you fitting now and want some support? Do you have a team to train and want a solid foundation for them? Then the Fitters’ Formula is here to help! Check out The Fitters’ Formula Info Page.

Credits: Photos taken in Paris and London by Paige Gribb and Scandi Sisters