After what seems like an eternity, ever since Boux Avenue’s launch just over a year ago, we’ve been desperate to test out their fitting service, and see if they’d join an already overbrimming plethora of high street shops doing , quite frankly, a crap job.
Theo Pathitis’ latest addition to his business empire looks set to eclipse his previous success with lingerie chain store La Senza. Boux Avenue promises a higher quality fit and finish, with a very sophisticated social media prescence, an entertaining and informative blog and marketing push.
Best bosom buddies in tow, our very own Becky Mount and Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blogging mastermind Georgina Horne, we hopped, skipped and jumped our way over to the brand new, shiny flagship store in Westfields, London.
And boy, were we in for a treat. The store is absolutely stunning and feels very high end and boutique-esque. The elegant white and black theme hosts an array of surprisingly pretty (not too reminiscient of the horrors of La Senza’s past) and fair quality considering the very reasonable price point. All good stuff I’m sure you’ll agree.
The changing rooms were very luxurious and even competed with neighbouring Rigby and Peller which is just a stone’s throw away. The staff were friendly, eloquent and very accommodating, directing us towards the bright, clean, inviting fitting area which boasted a ‘day’, ‘dusk’ and ‘night’ lighting fixture. Very impressive!Then we get to the actual fitting experience. Despite being very very lovely and an absolute top notch customer assistant, the girl who fitted me didn’t impress me with her fitting and bra knowledge. Acting a complete beginner and completely clueless about anything to do with bra fitting, she would ask me how the bra felt and if I thought it fit well… when I think someone who obviously has so little knowledge needs to be TOLD what to look for in a good fit. Bravissimo would be a great example of an educational fitting, for example.
I went in, armed with a very poorly fitting Tease Me in a 34DD, which boasted some very attractive gaping, double boob, arched back band, digging in straps, centre gore all over the place… all at the same time. I wore this on the tightest hook, to which she made no comment and went on to get her tape measure out…
The results of the tape measure method wasn’t a complete disaster, with me being put in this very zesty and delicious lemony lace plunge bra in a 32E. It was a big improvement fit wise than the 34DD Tease Me, fit well in the cups, not too badly in the band and was made of surprisingly soft, quality materials; for the high street at least! The only problem? It was worn on the tightest hook.
Lately I’ve been wearing a 30F in brands like Freya, Curvy Kate and Panache (give or take the fit and style of the bra), and so in all fairness a 32E wasn’t a mile off. It was more the fact that had the fitter known that a bra that can easily be put on the tightest hook definitely needs a size down, she would have been prompted to put me on a 30F.
It’s a shame to be so close and yet so far from my size, but more worryingly is how little I learnt about a good fit, how I am completely unawares of the meaning of wearing a bra on the tightest hook, and thirdly, the fact that I have a sneaky suspicion that the fact 30F’s are unavailable in store could have contributed to me being put in a 32E. You never know.
Even more worrying, however, is how Becky and Georgina got on in the Boux Avenue fitting rooms.
Georgina, fitted earlier that day as a 34J/36HH by Eveden’s professionals – the guys who bring us the likes of Freya, Fantasie and Elomi to name but a few, was fitted in Boux Avenue as a 40FF. Becky’s 30G’s were shovelled into a 36FF. Just awful.
George will be blogging about her own experience, which she’ll be posting about on her own blog Fuller Figure Fuller Bust.
However, this is where Becky tells us about her disastrous trip…
As Cheryl said, the girl who fitted me was lovely. She was chatty, friendly and an absolute delight. I told her I preferred bright colours, and she came back with a striking peacock blue and then almost fluroscent orange version of the bra Cheryl tried, and I absolutely fell in love with them. Not to mention a few of their other sets.
Things seemed promising, as she’d explain that she’d be pulling the tape measure tight to get an accurate measurement. My heart rate picked up; could a high street store actually give me an accurate fit? Well, no actually. And it was perhaps the worst fit I’d had yet.
Despite her measuring me at 80cm (just over 30 inches), her laminated card swingin’ from her lanyard informed her that OF COURSE a measurement like that would need a few inches added. But 4 just wasn’t good enough, she measured me at a 36.
Thirty bloody six! I wear a 30G! At worse I’ve been fitted as a 34DD. But at least a 34DD followed the rule of altering your cup size to back size. You’d think that with a back size so generous she’d size me around a D/E cup but oh no, I got put in a 36FF. Could it get any worse? Yes it did.
I was brought a plunge and balconette style of the same bra. The plunge was a marginally better fit, because at least I had a cleavage to make up for the poor fit. But as you can see from the photos, it was still terrible. The back band stretched for miles, my cups did nothing to keep me in place and the shape…there are no words.
Believe it or not, the balconette was even worse. There was so much space between my boob and the cup I could have easily sized 2/3 sizes. Of course the back band was horrendous, but what shocked me the most was that there was so much space between my chest and the gore, that light shone through. Even pictures taken on my terrible phone shows it…
There’s a huge amount of photos out there and on other blogs where we pull at the back bands to show how poor a fit is. But I’m not very good at taking photos over my shoulder/in the mirror (poor hand eye coordination), but what’s even more shocking is just how much space is shown with a simple tug at the front. Be warned…
Poor fit aside, I’d certainly buy bras from Boux Avenue as they have some gorgeous sets on offer. And whilst I was there, I decided to go solo and find some 30G’s to try on. But a lengthy scour of the shop left me miserable – despite the Westfields branch being considered the flagship store, I couldn’t find a single bra over an E cup in a back band lower than a 34. I was so disheartened, I didn’t even want to ask a member of staff to have a dig around out back. Looks like it’s going to be an online order from me…
But for me, it was the advice – or lack of – that I was given that really let the service down. When it comes to fitting challenges, I play ignorant because to me a fitter should tell me what to do. At every opportunity, the fitter asked me how I felt it looked/fitted/whatever, and to me that is a terrible service. A fitter is there to a. get the correct size and b. identify and educate as to what is a good fitting bra. But there people are rarer than hens teeth and Boux Avenue was no different. Not only was I sized wrong, but the poor girl couldn’t identify any one of the countless issues with fit, but seemed happy enough to send me on my way as a 36FF.
As you can tell, Cheryl wasn’t too happy with the group experience (ooh er).
I’m bitterly disappointed with Boux Avenue, perhaps more so than other shops. As a new lingerie venture, and with fitting being very much a hot topic, you’d think that they’d tackle it head on and get it right, when actually they’re as bad as everyone else and for me personally, it was my worst fit to date. And to add insult to injury – a fist of salt to a wound more like – the company pride themselves on going up to a H cup in some styles. But if they can’t fit Georgina Horne into a H cup, who the hell will they? It’s one thing for a company to incorrectly fit someone to fit their range, but another for a company to stock the correct sizes but have a fitting service that won’t even consider them. Come on Theo, I expected more from you.
It seems that Boux Avenue still have a lot to learn about fitting the fuller busts that it allegedly caters to, with bras up to a 40 band and an H cup. Their fitting methods may work on their D- customers – hey, it nearly worked on me – but for E+ girls, a very basic knowledge, a tape measure and a sizing chart just won’t cut it. However, I won’t rule it out as a shopping destination, as I was genuinely very impressed by the gorgeous lingerie which despite having an ever so slight La Senza styling feel to it overall, it was as if they’d taken the old (now deceased) brand and made a love child with something much more upmarket.
More excitingly, for Cheryl at least, was how well she got on with their plunge bra shape. We will definitely be ordering our ‘true’ sizes (off the website, of course, there’s no chance of getting one in store!) and will report back soon.
Watch this space – It may have been ‘boo’ to their fitting service, but their reasonably priced, pretty bras fill a very large void on the British High Street. Let’s see how they REALLY fit, shall we?
In the words of Regina George…