Story by Rita Goldman
No way would I assign this story to anyone but me. A bra-fitting salon is a gold mine of puns, from “My cups runneth over” to the quintessentially Pidgin “Eh, bra, how you stay?”
But wordplay flies out the window the minute two bosom buddies and I enter Perfection Bra Fitting, an intimate salon tucked behind the Wailuku McDonald’s. Owner Terri Erwin greets us on the lanai. An engaging blonde, she has been a professional bra fitter for nearly five years. She welcomes us into a dressing room large enough for a small tea party, replete with comfy chairs and end tables, an enormous mirror, and racks and bins of undergarments.
Erwin could probably have written this herself, given her memorable way with words. Showing us how to adjust the band snuggly beneath the breasts, she says, “It’s like the road to Hana: the band needs to hug the perimeter all the way around the mountain.” How to get everything into position? “Bend over and shimmy. Get everybody on the bus.”
As it turns out, all three of us need these lessons, though Kay and I are old enough to have grown children, and Ellie is a fashionable young thing. Our lack of knowledge doesn’t surprise Erwin. She says 70 percent of women don’t know how to choose the right bra. Then again, it’s not entirely our fault.
“A bra is a combination of band and cup size,” she says, “but there’s a complicated geometry at the intersection of the two.” Different brands fit differently, and breasts themselves come in various shapes and positions, as well as sizes. “It’s not just the cup size,” says Erwin, “it’s the topography.”
Happily, Perfection carries styles and sizes you won’t find elsewhere on Maui; and Erwin is adept at gauging which bra will look and feel best on you. Fittings are free, preferably by appointment, and you’ll come away with a wealth of information, even if you don’t make a purchase — which Erwin says doesn’t happen often. “Within a week of seeing a woman, I’ll see three or four of her coworkers.” In fact, she encourages women to come in together. “There’s a great chemistry when they do.”
The second most important lesson I learn is that a bra affects your appearance head to toe. “Wearing a bra that lifts and fits correctly can make you look ten pounds lighter,” Erwin says. When she gets me into the right brand and size, I do look longer and leaner.
The greater lesson is that I’m not alone in what I didn’t know about my own, um, topography. The four of us spend two hours at Perfection, laughing, asking questions, sharing insights and camaraderie. By the time we leave that feminine enclave, only one pun remains in my head. This was a truly uplifting experience.
Perfection Bra Fitting
55 Church Street, Wailuku
(808) 269-4437 • www.perfectionbrafitting.com