‘I need to make a living’: Bra fitter blasts ‘cheeky’ customers who get measured – then buy elsewhere

An expert bra fitter who has been in the industry for over 30 years has been forced to demand a £15 fee after ‘cheeky’ customers called in to get measured and then go elsewhere.

Clare Mead, who ran The Lingerie Shop in Colne for three years, helping girls and women find their perfect match for over a quarter of a century. Clare, who worked at BHS in the 1980s, moved ‘up north’ from her home county of Essex after her parents retired.

“It used to be the norm to take your teenage daughter for a bra fitting; all moms did it, but it’s kind of a dying job now,” Clare told LancsLive. “And now that BHS is gone and M&S is moving more towards food retail, many women have to browse the shelves and choose something they think will ‘do the trick’.

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Many women will remember being taken to Marks & Spencer by their mother and being ushered into a dressing room where a woman with a tape measure would deftly determine their cup size and band fit. But few stores have the capacity to offer such a service these days.

Clare has taken over and does an average of six fittings a day in her Church Street boutique. But due to some unscrupulous customers, she was forced to introduce a £15 adjustment fee if someone fails to make a purchase.

“I schedule an hour for each fitting and while it doesn’t always take that long, I don’t want people to think it’s a quick ‘one in, one out’ service,” she said. . “I had to introduce the fee because I was bringing in so many people, getting ready, then writing it out and going somewhere else.

“At the end of the day, I have to make a living. I had a wife and I couldn’t believe her insolence. She called to make an appointment and when I said I was planning an hour for each fitting, she said ‘it only takes five minutes and then I can go to M&S and buy a bra there’.”

Clare likes to offer a more “relaxed” service because, as any woman knows, getting fitted for a bra can be a nervous experience. “I would say about 80% of women and girls feel anxious and it’s quite a vulnerable position, so I like to put them at ease before I start,” she added.

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