Recently, I briefly mentioned fellow bra enthusiast Ali Cudby and her bra survey. Ladies, if you aren’t familiar with the fabulous Ms. Cudby, you’d best get to know her. She runs Fab Foundations™, where she helps us all in the pursuit of our own individual FabFit™ in terms of bras. In fact, Ali’s literally writing the book on bra fitting! Her book, Busted: The Fab Foundations™ Guide to Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic, is due out soon. (You can preview chapters here.) Even with all that going on, the lovely lady agreed to chat with yours truly — because bras are the one area I consistently tend to be most “practical” — and the most “bitchy” — about.
Ali, you say your goal is “to empower every woman to find her own best bra fit.” And I’ve read your uncomfortable story about uncomfortable bras lol — which sounds like a lot of us, well endowed or not! I understand the sentiment, but why devote yourself so to this issue?
I didn’t set out to change the world, one bra at a time — I just wanted bras that fit me. Ideally, ones that fit and weren’t hideously ugly. For a lot of years, even that was too much to ask. Helping people has always been important to me, and has been part of my life in a variety of ways. After I learned how to fit myself, I started helping my friends. Eventually, that turned into a blog and, ultimately, became the launching pad to a career. Who knew that my biggest challenges (yes, pun intended) would become my greatest opportunity?
I don’t wish to minimize the issues of comfort or looks, they do matter; but fundamentally, what’s the underwire, err, underlying issue of a properly fitting bra?
The bra puns could go on forever, right? My favorite is when I say that my work is a little titillating. But I digress…bra fit isn’t just a matter of fashion and making our clothes look better, it’s also a matter of both physical and emotional health. There are real side effects to wearing a bra that doesn’t fit. On top of that, we women get all kinds of mixed messages about our breasts, from the time we first have them.
When I talk about fit, part of the message is about feeling good in our skin. When we don’t love — or even like — our bodies, it’s much harder to value treating them well.
I hate to sound rude and ask your age, but how many years have you invested in the study of bras and bra fitting?
On some level, I’ve been at this since the first time I put on a bra. I had my bra epiphany in 2004 and have been at it since then.
For that matter, how exactly does someone study bras and bra fitting? What do you think makes you more than “just a woman who knows bras” and makes you the woman, the expert, behind Fab Foundations™?
Great question, because you can’t really go to school for bra fit — there isn’t one. I was lucky to work with some of the best bra fitters by actually being with them as they fit women with real bodies. I also work with manufacturers to provide advice and insight into the products they provide. Some might even say that I’ve had a hand in women’s bras. As a columnist for lingerie magazines that go to thousands of lingerie retailers in the US and abroad, I’m often educating the educators. Bra fit is much more complex than most women would think — there’s a lot to learn!
What insights or discoveries have surprised you the most?
The most surprising insight is the one I talked about earlier, the link between our bodies and our bras. Even women who are confident in successful in other realms of their lives often walk into the fitting room with emotional baggage that transfers to how they wear their bras. Given my own personal transformation, maybe it should have been obvious, but I didn’t realize how greatly it effects women across the board.