If you’ve been in the lingerie world (or even outside of it) recently, you’ve probably heard buzz about new lingerie boutique True & Co, which claims to offer a wonderful bra fit experience without a measuring tape or fitting room. They propose that what they are offering is an easy way to find the best bra for you with only a 2-minute quiz, you order five bras to try on (including 2 bras they choose) for a $45 deposit, pay for what you like and return what you don’t for free. That may sound great and easy, but unfortunately, the truth is this: by pretending to be bra fit experts, True and Co are ultimately doing a disservice to women by teaching them nothing about bra fit and ultimately making the world of bras more complicated, confusing and annoying.
At this point I must point out that I am NOT a bra fit expert– but I do know the basics that every woman should know about how to determine if your bra fits and am familiar with a variety of fitting methods. That level is knowledge is more than most women DO know though, so the idea of a quiz that could magically tell you what bra to buy is awfully tempting.
There are some good things about True & Co.— they stock some great brands like Huit, Freya, and Mimi Holliday, and some of their quiz questions are about things newbies rarely think about when looking at bras, such as the shape of your breasts and which hook you customarily wear your bras on. But ultimately their value proposition is to get you a better fitting bra, so whether they can do that is key to whether they have anything more to offer than other other online lingerie boutique.
Determined to to get a holistic view of how their fitting worked, I asked some friends and fellow bloggers to take the quiz– but in the size they were before they had their ‘bra fit revelation’ so they could experience it like someone at the beginning of their bra fit journey. This is point of view key, because that is the kind of person for whom a service like True & Co. is supposed to be a godsend and ought to be the average customer.
And the conclusion I came to? Their bra fitting service is a joke. Case in point: the comment I saw again and again is that when you put in a size that DOESN’T fit and describe all the ways that it fails you, this is what they spit out: the exact same bra size. Sometimes they did give you a slight variation, such as going up or down one band or cup size (in some bras) but even that rarely fell in line with solving the actual issues the user put in. Here are a few examples of the type of bra fitting you get:
- If you enter the size 38F, describe that the straps fall off, the cups are spilling over and you are hooking on the tightest hook, you get recommended a 38F. This person actually wears a 32H.
- Someone else who wore a 32A before realizing she should wear a 28D or 30C described all of the troubles she was having with a 32A (that the straps are slipping off, the cups are not full) got suggestions for more 32As and lots of wireless bralettes.
- A third person whose best fitting bra was a 32E before finally getting fitted into 30GG actually got the suggestion to go up a band size though she said the strap was too big and she wore it on the tightest hooks.
To put it plainly, none of these women were given any service close to a ‘fitting’ and got no better advice than if they had just looked at random bras in the size they were already (incorrectly) wearing.
Another huge issue that True & Co. doesn’t address is that you may (and probably will) size out of their offerings. True & Co stocks only 32-38 bands, A-F (US). But what happens when you say that the 38F is too small (or any larger or smaller band or cup size)? As you can see, they act like there are no other options, like there is something wrong with you for not fitting into their bras. A simple message such as ‘Your size is seems to be a 38G. We don’t stock that at True & Co., but please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll let you know if we start stocking more sizes’ would be more honest and upfront with the consumer, rather than letting them believe that they should continue wearing their ill-fitting bra.
Given that their quiz doesn’t seem to be able to offer any competent fitting advice, you might wonder what it is meant to do. Although they act like they are doing something revolutionary, it seems that they are offering what any other decent online boutique does– sizing advice, such as whether a brand runs large or small in cup or band. Talk about an ‘algorithm’ is just advertising meant to impress and bamboozle the consumer into believe they are getting added value.
Another extremely problematic part of True & Co.’s service is that they offer no education about fitting to their consumer. Despite questions about whether straps fall off or what hook you wear your bra on, they don’t actually educate their customers on how a bra should fit and what having loose straps or a certain type of breast shape MEANS. Instead, True & Co. is capitalizing on the confusion and lack of education that most people have about bra fitting to try and solve their ‘problem’ with a patently ignorant and useless solution.
Good online bra fitting boutiques, such as A Sophisticated Pair or The Butterfly Collection, use their bra-fitting knowledge to help their shopper get the most out of their experience and actually get a well-fitting bra whether they shop from their boutique or they shop elsewhere. Funnily enough, neither obfuscates by talking about some sort of ‘algorithm’. Although True & Co. may market themselves by saying that their quiz method is quicker and easier than learning the basics of bra fit, they are merely encouraging a cycle of ignorance in which bras are a difficult incomprehensible topic that people shouldn’t even try to understand.
In fact, their sizing advice might even be harmful to the consumer, ‘solving’ their problem with no explanation gives them no other recourse than to believe there is something wrong with them or their bodies. From talking to women who have been outside of the Victoria’s Secret range of sizes for most of their lives, I’ve heard how hard it can be to shake off that feeling that it’s their body, and not the bras, that are the reason they can’t be comfortable. That is the worst thing that comes out of a world in which certain bra sizes are mainstream and certain ones are not only difficult to find, but considered ‘weird.’
After learning more and more about True & Co., it becomes clear that their ‘bra fit expertise’ is simply false. It seems to me that True & Co. is essentially useless, covering their lack of knowledge under the guise of an ‘algorithm’. There are plenty of techniques to finding the perfect way to fit a bra, but I think that we can all agree on one thing: True & Co doesn’t offer any of them. If True & Co succeeds, it will be by profiting off of the ignorance of their customers who will remain wearing ill-fitting and uncomfortable bras and may even blame themselves and their bodies when True & Co’s bra fitting service fails to help them.
Although I have a strong opinion about True & Co., I would love to know what you think– have you had a good experience? Do you think that their lack of bra fit help is as big of an issue as I do? Please leave a comment.