How Do You Tell A Celebrity She Needs A Better Bra?
By ALI CUDBY
“Her bra could be better.”
Instead of focusing completely on the legendary Patti LuPone’s Rose’s Turn finale, that’s what Lori Kaplan, owner of New York City’s Bra*Tenders, was thinking as she watched a dress rehearsal of Gypsy.
Fortunately for Lori, Bra*Tenders has been serving Broadway’s undergarment needs for years. She was at the theater to see Gypsy as a professional, not a tourist. It was easy enough to get a note to the Costume Designer with a suggestion to swap out LuPone’s bra. The response was that, “a design decision had already been selected for LuPone’s wardrobe, but if wanted to send one as a gift, they would pass it along.”
Kaplan took them up on the offer and sent over a bra, gratis. LuPone tried the gifted bra – and loved it. She sent back an autographed photo inscribed, “Boy do you guys really know your boobs.” Better yet, she remains a loyal Bra*Tenders customer to this day.
When a woman comes into a retail environment to buy a bra, it’s easy and natural to help her – that is, after all, the job.
Things get a little trickier outside a store. When you see a woman who could really benefit from a fitting, what’s the best way to share your knowledge professionally and empathetically?
Oftentimes it’s not easy to tell a woman she needs a new bra. It’s a very personal conversation, and even the idea that you noticed suggests you were looking at her breasts – which some women find offensive.
Beyond that, telling a woman her breasts are noticeably ill-fitted can have the opposite effect vs. what a well-meaning fit professional intends. Instead of hearing an offer to help, for some women it can reinforce a belief that she is (or perhaps her breasts are) somehow flawed.
In the business of empowering women, there’s a fine line between offering to help and being invasive.
There are a wide range of options. In Lifetime’s TV show Double Divas, Livi Rae owner Molly Hopkins would routinely approach women directly to suggest they come in for a fitting. Now, that was for the TV cameras. Does Molly do that in real life? Maybe – Molly is fearless, and passionate about her mission.
Almost every lingerie professional I’ve met has gotten into the business to help women. As Kaplan says, “I’m really at my best when I’m helping other people be their best. When I’m in a crappy mood, I walk into the fitting room and help someone – and I feel better.”
Empowering women is a 24/7 job, and when done right, you can convert someone into a customer for life, just as Kaplan did with Patti LuPone. But it’s a delicate conversation.
Do you attempt that delicate conversation with women outside the retail space?
If so, how do you approach women with a message that’s focused on support, without being invasive or offensive?