On Saturday I visited The Fitting Room, one of only two places in Christchurch that I have found to sell bras with a reasonable size range. They have a huge focus on professional fitting and in fact you need to get fitted in order to try on their bras. Although that might put off a few of the more private ladies, I found that the professional and understanding attitude of the ladies extremely reassuring and, based off my experience with them yesterday I would trust them to fit a woman for a correct size, without any old-fashioned +4 measurement nonsense.
My visit started when I dropped in without an appointment. They had no time available then but booked me in for an hour later and suggested I visit the fresh food market down the street. When I made it back, I had to wait for a bit while another woman purchased things, but it wasn't a problem as they had seats and a pile of magazines, including Trinny and Susannah's Body Bible thingy.
When the fitting lady was ready she came and got me and we went into another room that was divided into two fitting rooms. (Because of the earthquake, The Fitting Room is actually in somebody's house. I don't know what their previous place was like.) We started off with a few questions about what I was after, how I heard about The Fitting Room, what size bra I was currently wearing etc. Then she measured me and went to find some bras for me. I don't know what the measurements she got from it were, because she didn't tell me (although later she did mention that she measured my underband at about 29 1/2", which is about what I have measured it at).
When she brought a selection of bras back, she asked if I was comfortable with her staying in the room as I changed. Since I was fine with it, she helped me get the bras on, which was good because I like my bras tight and I can barely do some of mine up xD
When the bras were on, she did not give me any explanation about the fit, but since I made it clear that I understand proper fit, that was probably my fault. The bras she picked were a good fit straight off, although I needed a few different sizes in different styles (but that's normal). I would like to send a friend in to see how an inexperienced bra buyer fared. She was very friendly and made me feel at ease and was happy to go and find different sizes for me, as well as explaining the differences between a few of the styles.
Compared to everywhere else I know of in Christchurch (bar that one other place that I have not been to), The Fitting Room had a great range of bras. From the website, they stock band size 6-30 (which is great) and C-K cup size, which is good for most women out there, I'd say. Most places in Christchurch have only Fayreform, Dimity So and occasional miscellaneous brands that go any higher than a D cup, and very few of those do so with a band size under 10. At The Fitting Room I tried on Freya, Panache and Masquerade bras and their website shows that they stock other well-known international brands.
The Freya Deco and Panache Tango are extremely popular bras and both were available, although the 8 in the Tango was regrettably too big for me. I was astonished to find that they had a Freya Deco in 6FF, especially since most clothing shops in New Zealand (Christchurch at least) have a limited range of size 6 clothing, if they offer it at all.
The prices at The Fitting Room are high, which although sad is not surprising. I bought my Freya Deco for NZD$99.95, when it retails for approximately $61 in the UK (see here) and can be found here for only NZD$35. In fact, even with shipping it would cost less to get bras from the UK, but buying bras without fitting them can be costly because of paying for returns. I considered trying on bras at The Fitting Room and buying them online, but for my Deco at least I decided I want to support one of the few NZ businesses that understand how bras are meant to fit. (Bear in mind that the Freya Deco is expensive anyway, being so popular.)
I've not reviewed anything before, so please let me know what improvements my reviews need to be of more help. If you live in Christchurch, NZ, however, visit The Fitting Room for a pleasant, relaxed and professional fitting (and leave me a comment so I can be excited about another Christchurcher!).