When a woman is wearing a bra that fits, it can completely change the way she looks in her clothes. “Once you put that right bra on, you know,” said Janice Welch -- the owner of Just For You, a new lingerie store in Uptown Waterloo. But statistics show about 85 per cent of women are walking around in bras that just don’t fit them properly.Janice has decided to do something about that. She grew up in England, where purchasing a bra always involves a fitting. After moving here in 2003, she experienced culture shock when she realized that fittings are not the norm. She struggled to find a bra that fit. “Every time I went to buy a bra it was just a disaster. “I’m not hugely big, but I’m not small either. And I couldn’t find anything to fit me that was pretty, that was feminine.” For the past few years, she’s had her mother send over lingerie from the U.K.
But, she eventually concluded other women must be facing this dilemma too. “That’s when I decided to open up a store.” Just For You in Waterloo Town Square in February 2007, and the need for this kind of shop has become apparent, Janice said. Every woman who has entered the store so far was wearing a bra that didn’t fit properly.
She’s done fittings on 100's of people, and 99 per cent have left with a shopping bag of lingerie in their hands. “Everyone that’s walked in this store that I’ve fitted has been really pleased with the result. The lift that these bras give you is second to none.” During a bra fitting, which is free, a Just For You employee measures a woman under and above her bust to find her back size, and across the fullest part of her chest to determine the cup size. Just like with shoes, each bra fits differently, so if a woman wears one size in one bra, that doesn’t mean she’ll be the same size in another, Janice said. “We need to measure and get you in the one that fits you.” All fittings take place in the privacy of one of three large changing rooms, which are separated from the store by a wall.
The shop is brimming with high-end lingerie, with European brands like Chantelle, Freya and Fantasie. The latter two are ideal for full-figured women, she said. These bras generally range in price from $68 up. Although these bras are more costly than at some stores, they’ll last a long time with proper care, Janice said. “Bras should be handwashed, not put in the washing machine or tumble dryer, and just left to dry overnight.” Just For You also sells backless and strapless silicon gel bras, and others for tops with plunging neck-lines.
The store offers more than just bras though. Bridal lingerie, pajamas and robes, and even cowboy-boot slippers also line the shelves.The Hanky Panky one size-fits-all lace thongs are a big seller right now, Janice said.“I wanted to open a store that was fun and funky – that people walked in and enjoyed the lingerie experience. “I didn’t want it to be like the olden days when you walked in and you felt embarrassed.
“Women wear bras, they’ve got curves and cleavage and they should be proud of that.” She stocks lingerie for all ages, shapes and styles. In fact, bra sizes range from AA - K cups, with back sizes from 28 - 50. Janice has a few tips for women in search of the ideal bra: Busts should not overflow from the cup -- that means the bra’s too small. Bra straps should be horizontal against the back and not riding up -- that means it’s too big. Underwires should lay flat against a woman’s rib cage, not dig in or poke. And, for men who want to surprise their wives or girlfriends with a new bra, Janice suggests purchasing a gift certificate instead.
Really, they (women) need to be in here and fitted into it,” she said. “We do have some sexy nighties and things they can buy.” No appointments are necessary, although about 30 minutes should be set aside for a fitting. Janice encourages women to drop by her shop so they can experience what it feels like to wear a bra that fits properly. “I’ve had women in here and they’ve gone, ‘Oh, it certainly makes a difference.’
” New uptown business owner helping women find their true bra size
BY JENNIFER ORMSTON