Tracking the Playtex Facebook page last night, I couldn’t help but be moved. Not just by the tremendous support for the War on Plus Four on the page, but by the overwhelming amount of Playtex fans responding to their (kinda gift-wrapped for us) daily straw poll of “What’s most annoying about wearing a bra?”.
“Uncomfortable”, “straps digging in”, “straps that fall down”, “wires poking”, “wires coming out”, “having to adjust” and “everything” were common hates between women. Worse were things like “they hurt”, “by 3pm I’m nearly in tears” and “I can’t wait to get mine off at the end of the day”.
I, and a lot of my partners in crime, found it terribly upsetting to read. We all could relate to everything they were posting – because that used to be us. Almost every single complaint was a common symptom of a wearing a bra too big in the back and too small in the cup. Symptoms that would be caused if you followed a gimmicky fitting guide that added inches to your underbust measurement. Symptoms that can be remedied very easily with smaller numbers and larger letters.
And yet ‘fit experts’ Playtex see this, and instead of addressing the fitting issues or answering our challenge to the bra calculator, write insulting platitudes suggesting we get professionally fitted and insisting the calculator is a guide. They offer nothing to the women miserable in their underwear.
Oh Playtex. You can say “it’s just a starting point” until you’re blue in the face, but the simple fact is your advice at the moment is failing your customers. Read how many of them are telling you they hate wearing bras! Is there no compassion for women who feel uncomfortable all day long because they don’t have the tools to find a perfect fit, and the tools they have send them in a totally wrong direction? How can you read that and then ignore our complaints? Do you – the fit experts – actually even care at all?
Finding the correctly fitting bra (which often means taking the true underbust measurement as it is before calculating cup size) is a life changing experience. It’s the difference between having to adjust it all day and then tearing it off as you get home, to not giving it a moment’s thought between getting dressed and bedtime. It’s the difference between feeling every staircase jolt through your chest, and moving with total support and freedom wherever your day may take you. It’s the difference between resenting your boobs for holding you back, and celebrating your curves for what they are. It’s the difference between the awkward, self-conscious E-cup girl I used to be, and the determined, relentless G/I-cup woman I am today.
(If you’re new to this blog (hello!) and are curious about good fit, have a look at What Most People Don’t Know About Bra Sizes for a quick crash course in understanding cup sizes, fit, and what’s wrong with the system.)
I digress. As shown clearly by their (lack of) actions and their insulting platitudes, Playtex seem to be missing the point a bit here, so let’s spell out exactly what we want. Hint: it’s not generic customer service responses or cut-and-paste Facebook replies to our criticisms.
1: IMMEDIATE removal of the bra calculator.
2: IMMEDIATE removal of the bra ‘makeovers’ (as above) that show women being refitted in to bras that do not fit (as can be demonstrated when the center gore does not lie flat, when the breasts are pushed together, when the band rides up, when the cups spill over with movement, when the breasts come out of the bottom of the cup when arms are raised, when shoulder straps dig in, etc etc.)
3: A review in to how better they could help women actually find their perfect size – I always call out Bravissimo guidelines here – featuring a focus group/study of independent bra experts (like Butterfly Collection).
4: A new campaign dedicated to educating American women on recognising genuinely good fit (not the fit as they currently promote it…), and a commitment to raising the bar for fit standards in the US.
And the rest of us? Keep posting, keep writing. They may not be listening right now, but they will hear us.