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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Bedtime Boutique An Intimate Perspective

In 2005, Oprah announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show

that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong-size bra.

Soon after, the women in the studio audience were

treated to a proper bra fitting and viewers across America

flocked to department and boutique stores in search of the

proper fit for themselves.

    “The day after the show aired, we had a waiting list for our dressing rooms!” shares Brenda Tannahill, Certified Bra Fit Specialist and owner of Bedtime Boutique located near downtown Bloomington, Illinois. “Oprah simply revealed to the world what we had known for twenty-plus years at the time — nearly 85 percent of women lack a proper fit. This takes a toll on our bodies and affects how we look and feel.”

Fit versus fit into
    Why does the topic of incorrect bra-fittings resonate with so many women? “Discovering your true bra size can be life changing,” shares Brenda. “Most women believe that they have to ‘fit into’ a department store size — which is typically B to D cup sizes with limited selections in band widths. At Bedtime Boutique, we understand that women’s breasts vary in terms of volume, shape, and spacing. We offer band widths in sizes 28 to 56 and over 20 cup sizes, from AA to O, so a finding a bra to ‘fit you’ is possible.”

Finding the perfect fit is intimate
    The month of October has been dedicated to National Breast Cancer Awareness since 1985. In the spirit of breast health and awareness, Pastelle Magazine and Bedtime Boutique selected the October edition as the perfect opportunity to showcase the many facets of a properly fitting bra — including some surprising health benefits.
    I arrived to Bedtime Boutique a few minutes prior to the scheduled interview, which afforded the opportunity to peruse the store. The majority of the store is dedicated to bras and swimwear (available year round), which consume around 90 percent of the 2,800 sq ft. space. The other 10 percent is reserved for lingerie. Racks of neat, white hangers display bras in nearly every shape, style, and size imaginable — sports bras, masectomy bras, nursing bras, lace, padded, full coverage, plunge. — you name it! Nearly every fit and style is available, with many more available for custom order.
    Brenda showed me to one of seven fitting rooms. We selected the family room, which is wide enough to fit a stroller, and has a small play corner to keep little ones busy in the event mothers need to shop with young children in tow.
    “I’m Brenda, and I’ll be your Fit Specialist today,” Brenda quips. Even though Brenda and I were already acquainted, she switched into professional mode and explained her role. “Please remove your shirt and I’ll be right back to measure.”
    This is the point where most women may shudder at the thought of letting a perfect stranger see them in their bra. Brenda does not feel like a stranger though. The ambiance is warm and friendly. Brenda greets me with a smile and has a natural, easy connection through conversation. Brenda is enthusiastic about the subject — currently, my breasts! She is knowledgeable and fired up to get me out of the wrong size and into the perfect fit. Without hesitation, I do as she asks and await her return.
    During the short wait, I read the poster affixed on the wall next to the full-length mirror — an educational piece about breast tissue, including illustrations. “Our breasts are composed of fat, blood vessels, lymph glands, supporting collagenous fibers, capillaries, and the covering skin. Without proper support, gravity takes hold and the breasts become pendulous, resulting in improper blood flow, displaced breast tissue is pushed toward the arm and midriff area, and the tissue is bumped and battered with every move.”
    I quickly glanced at my bare midriff in the mirror before returning to skim the final two statements on the poster. “The weight of the breast pulling on the neck can cause diminished blood flow to the head and headaches may occur. The effects of weight and gravity will also affect posture. If the breast is supported and the weight taken off those ligaments, the tissue that has misplaced itself will get the proper blood flow to rebuild.” Sounds familiar.
    “I haven’t thought this much about my breasts, ever.” I share with Brenda as she returns, tape measure draped around her neck. “I just buy the style that I think fits and count the hours until I can take it off.” There’s nothing like that euphoric feeling of taking your bra off at the end of the day. Ladies, am I right?
    Brenda asks that I raise my arms above my head as she wraps the tape measure just below my bust. She pulls the measuring tape level and very snug. “Just as I thought, your current band is two sizes too big.”
    The tape measure feels tight to me. Brenda has been in this business for 32 years, I trust her opinion, so I go with it. “And your cup size is at least a size too big. There shouldn’t be a gap like you have in your current bra.”
    Brenda selects two different style bras for me to try. One with a simple underwire and no padding. The other a full-coverage nude with a little padding. Both styles vastly differ from what I am used to. I appreciate that she did not present with me a handful of options. Selecting the right bra can be an overwhelming experience!
    I try the full-coverage style first, and I immediately know this is the right one for me. I call to Brenda through the fitting room drapes and she returns to assess the fit. She gently turns my shoulders to the mirror and stands beside me. “I sense that you may be uncomfortable with the band size, as it fits a bit more snug then you are used to.” I nod in confirmation. “Honey, you have to let the bra do its job. Much like the waistband on a pair of pants. The band is what supports your breasts — not the straps. This will take some getting used to.”
    “Let’s run through the Three-Step Check to see if this is the perfect fit for you,” Brenda says as she runs through the checklist. “There’s a smooth line around your back because this bra conforms to your body type.” She runs her hands along the band in demonstration. “This is what a perfect fit looks like.”

1. The band around your body should be firm but comfortable. When you stand side-on at a mirror, the band should be horizontal and should not ride up the back at all.
2. The wires at the front should lie flat against your rib cage and should not dig in, rub, or poke at the front.
3. Your breasts should be enclosed in the cups and you should have a smooth line where the fabric at the top of the cup ends and meets your bust. You should not have any ridge or bulging over the top or sides of the cups.

Check. Check. Check.
    Feeling immediate relief and support with the new perfect-fitting bra, I slip my shirt on over the new bra and twirl in the mirror. My waist is more defined and my breasts are properly “up.” I turn to Brenda and share, “This is the best bra I have ever put on my body. It is actually comfortable and stays where it should. Amazing.”

A nurse with a tape measure
    My experience is much like many other customer stories Brenda and her team can share from their three decades of business. Women travel from across the state to see Brenda and company in search of assistance and relief from back pain, neck pain, indented shoulders, sagging breasts, bras that are too tight and cut in to their skin. “We are sometimes the last resort for women who have lived in incorrect bra sizes for most of their lives. We aim to be their first choice,” shares Brenda. “We simply assess the symptoms and suggest the properly fitting bra as a remedy. The results can be life changing!”
    Speaking of the first choice, Brenda mentions a special call-out to teenage girls and their mothers to “come take a peek” as her store slogan says. “Gone are the days when a young girl’s first bra size was a 34B or 36C. Girls today require 30FF to 38HH. You will not find these sizes in department stores. We love the opportunity to educate young women about the importance of a properly fitting bra, so they can develop healthy attitudes toward positive breast health for a lifetime.”
    To become a Bra Fit Specialist on Brenda’s team, one must complete four to six months of training, which includes 100 fits under Brenda’s supervision. Team members must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the brands and styles offered, as “every woman’s tissue is different, and we strive to find the perfect fit for everyone.”
    Bedtime Boutique offers free fittings anytime. Brenda and her trained, knowledgeable staff are ready to discreetly aide you in selecting the proper fit for your most intimate clothing. Breast health is important every day of the year. Start by investing in a properly fitting bra and enjoy the many benefits of feeling and looking great — with and without a shirt!

    For more information, you may contact Brenda at Bedtime Boutique 309-827-0660 416 N. Madison St. in Bloomington. Their expert fitters are trained to determine your proper bra size and they specialize in hard-to-find sizes.


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