I have the photos from my steampunk fashion show now, but I'm house sitting for a week and they're saved to my computer at home, so you'll have to wait until I get back home. In the meantime, I can tell you about taking two of my friends from church shopping.
Sara* is hilarious in her fascination with and candid discussion about "women's issues" and so when I told her one day that I knew how bras worked she said I should take her shopping some time. That day finally came on Sunday when our youth group decided to go to a beach and neither of us wanted to/could afford the time to go, so instead we went bra shopping! We forced our friend Jackie* to come too, even though she hadn't slept at all the previous night.
Unfortunately in Christchurch there's no guarantee that I'll be able to help someone find bras in their real size, unless we go to Savoir (which is a long way away from where we live and has a very limited range, unfortunately) or The Fitting Room, which is appointment only and therefore not good for impulse shopping trips. We went to Riccarton Mall instead, which has two stores that have a wide enough range that I can find most people's sizes there, even if they're not in styles or prices that work for the ladies.
Sara told me she was wearing a 12C, which I knew right away was wrong because she's much smaller than me and would have been swimming in a 12. When I checked her bra, it was so loose that she said sometimes she had to refrain from making sideways movements lest her cups start migrating around her sides. We started off at Bendon and quickly ascertained that Sara is actually at least an 8DD/E, if not a 6E/F. There's no way we could've found a 6 anything, so she had to stick with trying to find tighter 8s. She found one t-shirt bra by Evollove (a new brand by Bendon catering to D-G cupsizes) that she ended up buying and text me later that day to say "this bra is amazing :D". Hooray! Sara also called me the "master of bra knowledge" and keeps advertising me to people, so I'll probably have more people to fit soon.
Jackie had no idea what bra size she was wearing, but it was probably also a 12. I fitted her into a 10DD/E and she found that she greatly preferred the band size of the 10, but we couldn't find any cup styles that suited her. I'm finding that I struggle to work out what bra styles work for low, wide and shallow breasts, since they're the opposite to mine. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Both Sara and Jackie were wearing wireless bras that were so old they had holes in them and the cups were starting to get distorted. Why are women so poorly educated about bras in NZ? Is this what it's like in the UK and the US? None of the women I've taken bra shopping have known what their bra size was and only one person was in the correct bra size - and even that was because of fluke, not because of knowledge.
Bras are frustrating me at the moment because whenever I take a woman shopping, I feel like I'm not doing her a favour because I'm actually making it harder for her to find bras she's happy with! It is worth it once you find a bra that actually fits and makes you feel great, but they seem to be so hard to find here. I'm glad that the cup size range is going up (although I've yet to fit anyone with bigger boobs than my F/FF boobs) but I really wish they'd start stocking more 8s, because I've fitted a number of women with 8 or below bands and I can only show them two or three bra options, all of them very expensive. Even 10s are quite rare past a D cup. I feel terrible telling these women "actually, you can't fit any of these bras and the only bras you will fit are gonna cost you at least a hundred bucks".
Ah well, I will have to keep fighting for better sizes in affordable prices!
*Names changed to protect anonymity.