What the fig? Fishy fit at figleaves.com

Figleaves Lingerie Badly Fitting BrasI’m almost loathe to do this because, with their excellent promotions, wide range of stock, professional service, functional website, lovely staff on Twitter, and their increasingly tempting Midnight Grace swimwear range, I’m a big fan of figleaves.com.

Only almost though. I am increasingly baffled by the contradictory fitting standards promoted by this titan of lingerie etailers. Unlike Simply Yours – who don’t seem to be able to recognise good fitting practice even when it launches a full social media campaign against them – Figleaves have one of the most comprehensive, clear and well executed fitting videos I’ve seen.

For the first 3 minutes and 25 seconds, Figleaves give a clear and helpful demonstration explaining everything from good and bad fit to how to put a bra on properly. And unlike Simply Yours, whose video ends up squishing a girl in to a bra clearly not meant for her, Figleaves are able to prove they know what they’re doing by showing a model in a well fitting bra, visually reaffirming the lessons of the video.

And then they go and ruin it all, by directing customers to a plus four chart. And while the video is explicit in saying ‘it’s a guide’, and places absolute emphasis on heeding the practical demonstration over the sizing chart , I’d argue that Figleaves are still doing their customers a disservice.  It’s true that if you followed the video to the letter, after a few frustrating trips back to the post office you’d find your way to a proper fit. But the grim fact of the matter is most people won’t watch that video. They’ll go straight to the chart, do the sums, and end up with something completely wrong.

Something completely wrong that will then be validated as right because it looks like one of the fitting disasters modelled in their product pictures.  So much of the Figleaves catalogue could have come directly from their own ‘when it’s not right’ guide that the six images above took practically seconds to capture. It’s pretty damning, and will only help to reinforce the unhelpful messages of the sizing chart.

This baffles me on two levels. Firstly, the first 3 minutes and 25 seconds of that fitting video are so good it’s almost incomprehensible that it comes from the same company so beleaguered with these dreadful images. And secondly, I’m amazed brands – including high profile fitters like Freya and Panache – allow their product to be shown like that. In my non-boob life I work for a large fashion brand: our merchandisers would certainly have something to say if the products were being presented so disastrously. It makes the product look bad, and that’s bad for the brand too. Both Freya and Panache campaign for better fit. Don’t they have something to say when their bras are being modelled so poorly?

With their video, Figleaves are so close to getting it right for their customers. Will they be bold enough to take it to the next level? Will they join the war on plus four, sort out their product pictures and eliminate the plus-four sizing chart to becoming a shining example of perfect fitting for every woman? And, perhaps more importantly, if Figleaves won’t listen to us, will our favourite brands stand up and make them listen to them?

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19 Responses to What the fig? Fishy fit at figleaves.com

  1. Zoggi says:

    You’re totally right, most customers will not bother to watch the video, because what most people want is just a quick, definative answer. But the answer they are getting from the measurement chart is totally, 100% wrong, and the idea that it’s “just a guide” is a load of bullcrap. Looking at the images of their products, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of the typical symptoms of a poorly fitting bra were just normal. Sort it out Figleaves!

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Yeah, I noticed that poor fits on the models as well. The image for the Panache Tango 2 in beige in particular is really really bad. If they’re not going to do it properly they might as well use mannequins, but that’s not very helpful for the customers.

    • True. Although are the current images helpful for customers? Just thinking if they had the size of the model and the size of the bra, you might stand a chance on working out what fit is right for you (and how wrong it is for the model). But of course, that means accurately knowing what bra size the model is in first…

      • Gabrielle says:

        Nah, the only helpful thing for the customers is the fitting video, but as you mentioned most probably won’t even watch it. It’s a shame really.

  3. Beckie storms in a G cup once again! I agree that Figleaves are one of my favourite retailers but these are pretty awful visuals in need of some serious attention to detail! Also – bad mixed messages re: fitting education x

  4. Zoggi says:

    Part of the problem might be that most lingerie models are in the range of 28 (or less) to 32, with a DD+ cup size. The majority of bra lines start at 32, so a lot of the models are actually in bras that are not made in their real size. This raises a lot of questions about the size range not catering to the full range of figures. However, even the small back/large cup lines are ill fitting on the models. It often looks like they are in a 32 or 34 when they need a 28 or 30 back size, and the bra they are modelling does actually start from 28/30 so there is no excuse! Take the Panache Tango 2 for example, this is a bra that starts from 28 and goes up to K cup so there should be no problem fitting the slim/large cup model into it: http://tinyurl.com/5w949cq If you look at the back view, you can see just how horrifyingly big the back is, and the main image shows the cups are also too small. Figleaves could actually use most of the images on their site to illustrate all the classic fitting mistakes!

    • So true! I’ve actually complained to Elle Macpherson Intimates before about this: they start their D-G range at 32 backs but use tiny models. Needless to say, I didn’t hear back. Usually a skinny girl with small boobs can get away with a plus four fitted bra, but somehow Figleaves manage to mangle girls of every size in their product shots!

    • PinkPenguin says:

      This brings up another point though, who chose the size of the bra? What I mean by that is was the bra chosen with any specific mode in mind, or was a general sample sent to the company for promotional reasons and that size was put on the model chosen regardless of fit. The main focus then was put on displaying the product in an appealing way. Depending on who is taking the pictures, and if they share the same bra fitting values of the figleaves staff or the other companies, it is possible they don’t care or know the bra does not fir properly. Of course, it is the duty of a company like figleaves to ensure their pictures are taken to their standards. It is also the duty of companies like Freya and Panache etc. to communicate with the companies selling their product and ensure they are providing sample sizes that will fit the models chosen for the shoot. The problem is probably coming from many directions, and it is not necessarily all figleaves fault. It is their responsibility in the end to ensure their website, including their images, properly represent their brand.

  5. En Bouton says:

    I’m not defending their choice of photos, but I wonder how logistically difficult it is to photograph each bra on a model who actually fits into it, especially for a site like Figleaves which carries hundreds of brands? Presumably they have one or more sample sizes and book models accordingly, but a lot of bras in my usual size simply don’t fit me (wires too narrow/wide, band too loose, cups too deep…) and I’m guessing it’s the same for lingerie models. Yet I have the opportunity to try on multiple sizes or a completely different bra, which wouldn’t be the case at a commercial photoshoot.

    That said, you’re absolutely right in that the photos contradict their fitting advice… it’s no wonder so many people wear bras that don’t fit, when that’s the way they look like on the models!

    • Oh totally – I’m sure that’s why across the spectrum catalogues tend to be shaky on fit. But Figleaves does seem to be extraordinarily bad at this – could it just be bad organisation at some level? Be it modelling agency or bookers or marketing… someone somewhere is not thinking about sample sizing when they book their models. And then they make it worse by not even attempting to remedy problems on the shoot – so often the bras are riding up, the boobs aren’t in the cups, or they’re not even sitting symmetrically… The stylists could at least attempt to get the best fit with the resources available!

      • En Bouton says:

        Agreed, definitely. They may not be able to show perfect fit every time, but simply booking models who are more likely to fit into the sample sizes would be an improvement… if the sample size is a 34B, they should book models who are a true 34B or maybe 32C, not a 28F.

  6. sophiajenner says:

    What a shame. I have to say I’ve also noticed some ill-fitting pictures on the site too – they’re usually the ones I avoid unless I am really familiar with the brand. That’s no way to sell bras, or help women find the right size. *Sigh*. x

  7. Me says:

    That’s because the consumer wants to see magic tricks. They’re not going to show a bra that makes a person look smaller (which is what happens in the correct size, as well as lifting and seperating). They’re going to show a bra that creates cleavage and enhances your look. A correctly fitting cup will not do that…unless you’re wearing a t-shirt bra, but it seems lately that a lot of you aiming for the right size and “superior” brands don’t really favor those (maybe I’m wrong on that, but that’s how it’s coming off to me). A lace, seamed bra has no stretch at the top of the cup so it does not allow for cleavage unless the cup is a size or two (or more) too small. When there is give in the fabric then it will move with your curves, not against them.

    • This is true. Which is especially why it’s so important to educate women about fit. Those cleavages are impressive, but any big boobed girl knows that the second she walked down stairs, bent to tie shoelaces or reached for a shelf, she’d be all over the place and needing to tuck herself in. I so wish we had a world where lingerie marketing wasn’t about falling in with a certain aesthetic (culturally absorbed from male driven porn etc), and was about women instead – their comfort, their lives, their sexuality. I do love how Bravissimo’s models are never splayed out looking vaguely uncomfortable like they’re waiting for a GUM checkup (the La Senza christmas choir looked exactly like that to me). They’re always smiling, or hanging out, even (shock horror) eating on occasions. And I feel that that’s because they really are marketing only to women, not to get a mention in the tabloids. It’s such a huge can of worms and would take a much cleverer feminist than I to begin to address. Much easier to take fitting on one woman at a time!

  8. Me says:

    You only fall out of a moulded/t-shirt bra if the cup is too big. If it’s too small you’ll be spilling out. But you can still wear comfortable, and affordable bras that give cleavage without them being padded and without falling out of them. Of course, you probably won’t have as much as someone who is a bigger cup volume than you, but do these look like I’m falling out of them? (aside from the band being a few inches too large, the cups fit great!) http://bratabase.com/browse/victorias-secret/dream-angels-demi-219061/32DD/# Even if I lean over I am still contained in the cup. And even though it’s a demi style, it still gives a little bit of cleavage. They are not padded.

    • It’s such a personal thing, though I have to say for me I wouldn’t be comfortable with that fit. I like the tight band because it keeps my boobs that inch higher – I always felt dragged down in a big back and it got incredibly hot in the summer. That said, though I didn’t miss constantly having to move my back band, straighten my four boob or generally adjust myself, when I switched to a 30G I did have a bit of an identity crisis: my boobs looked so much smaller and so not like the FHM style cleavage they were before that I pretty much had to learn to love a whole new body and shape. I had totally buy a new wardrobe too, because suddenly my boobs were in the wrong place for all the tailoring and I needed a smaller size. It took a while to get used to. Now I crack out the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless or Freya Deco if I need to get my Jessica Rabbit back…

  9. Me says:

    Must be. I prefer a looser feeling band, as odd as that sounds. For me a tight band, or one sized 2 numbers larger than the ribcage measurement, hurts more because it’s still sitting at the same position as the larger band would in front (I need a band that sits lower in the back and higher in the front because I have scoliosis and really bad posture in general), but everything is so constricted on it. I’m in more pain wearing a 28 or 30 than I am a 34! (I think you know my ribcage measurement by now from previous comments, but for everyone else…it’s about 25″) I’m guessing if I were wearing a Freya or Fantasie in a 34 I might be in pain still because of the fabric content. That’s why I prefer the t-shirt bras in a bigger band because they’re softer.

    I too noticed that I look much smaller in the “correct” size. I don’t really like that look because it’s kind of pointy and too high, it looks fake. Plus it seems a waste to me because I have a few really pretty bras from Freya in a 28 but I can’t wear them because they’re impractical. Even under a thick Winter sweater the lace and seams still show through! =/ Quick question…with the exception of the Rio, are there any other styles from Freya that are a balcony? Or might have taller cups or be more comparable to what a full coverage is over here? Those would fit me better but I haven’t come across any, and I’ve noticed they’re doing a lot more plunge styles now.

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