Going to visit professional bra fitter Courtney Killpack feels like walking into a bra speak-easy.
When you first approach her front door in Layton, you have to follow an arrow that guides you around the porch to a second door. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you arrive at the doormat with boobs printed on it. You ring the bell, open the door and go downstairs.
At the bottom of the stairs is a cheery, brightly lit space filled with racks and racks of bras for sale in every size imaginable — and Killpack herself.
Welcome to Bra Fittings By Court, where women can be measured for bras by Killpack or a member of her team of “fairy bra-mothers.”
Most women, about 95%, are wearing the wrong size bra, Killpack said. That may be due to not being taught about bras by female family members, being measured at a store with limited sizes, or belonging to a culture that doesn’t welcome discussion of bodies and breasts.
“We just want to have a fun, safe, comfortable place where people can come and get what they need, and feel educated and feel empowered,” she told The Salt Lake Tribune.
“Our goal is just to take what people have and make them feel more beautiful, and make them feel better,” she continued. “They don’t have to lose weight or change whatever. Just come as you are, and we’ll make you feel better instantly.”
Changing people’s lives
Killpack got her start in the world of bras when she was 19, while going to school and working at Nordstrom in the lingerie department. “I quickly fell in love with it,” she said.
“I was just like, this is really fun, because I get to help people with something that no other people know how to do,” she said. “And it’s really needed, and it instantly changes people’s lives. People come in, and they leave feeling so much better about themselves.”
She worked there for four years, learning how bras fit and how to correctly size people. After she graduated, she quit her job at Nordstrom because she wanted to get a “real adult job,” but nothing stuck.
After Killpack had her first baby, she was home full time, and needed something flexible to occupy herself. She decided to go back to bras and start her own shop in 2017, building off her passion for helping people and educating others that “bras can change your life when they fit.”
While big-box stores suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, Killpack’s small home bra shop grew more than 80% in 2020, even though they had to shut down for six weeks, she said.
“I feel like there’s a huge need in our community,” especially in the Latter-day Saint community, Killpack said. “Most women just wear white and beige, and that’s so lame. I want the fashion ... I want to bring a little more life into that.”
Why get fitted?
Bras are “highly technical garments,” Killpack said, and it’s OK to turn to a professional for help. A bra fitter will understand the complexity of sizing and your breast shape, which is what’s “really going to determine what type of bras and styles and brands are going to fit you best.”
Bigger stores — including, yes, Victoria’s Secret — don’t carry a wide range of sizes and styles. But the selection of bras that Killpack carries comes in just about every type imaginable, in approximately 200 different sizes, ranging from A cups to KK cups with band sizes of 28 through 52.
Sports bras, minimizing bras, bralettes, molded cup bras, wireless bras, push-up bras, strapless bras — even special tape that can be used with a backless dress — “pretty much anything your boobs would need, we have it here,” Killpack said.
Killpack said wearing the right size bra can affect you emotionally, physically and mentally. If you’re fuller-busted and aren’t wearing the right size, it can cause neck, shoulder and back pain, she said, and can make women feel like they can’t exercise. Not wearing the right size can also affect a person’s self-esteem, she said, and make them feel like they can’t wear certain styles of clothes.
“A bra is supposed to contain you and hold you in, and it should fit in a way where you’re not adjusting it; you shouldn’t even think about it,” Killpack said. “You should put it on the morning, get yourself into it, and then go throughout your day and be able to do the things you want to do and not even have to even worry about it.”
“I feel like women have so many things we have to worry about,” she continued, “and their bra is the last thing they want to have to mess with.”
Knowledge about bras is often passed down, Killpack said, and what women know about them is often inaccurate or out of date, since bras have changed a lot in the past couple of decades.
“I tell people that it’s very generational; you learn how bras should fit most likely from the maternal head in your home — your mom, or whoever you lived with,” she said. “And so if your mom didn’t know, then she probably wasn’t able to really teach you or tell you how they should work.”
Shame plays a part as well, Killpack said, and if you grew up in a household where breasts weren’t talked about, it’s even more likely that you’re wearing an ill-fitting bra now.
“The more open people are about them, the [more] successful they’ll be when it comes to being able to take care of their breasts and their body,” she said.
During a fitting with Killpack, which usually last about 30 minutes, she said she’s sensitive to the fact that some women may have been abused or assaulted or had an eating disorder, and that focusing on their body can be fraught.
But, Killpack noted, you can choose to be measured over or under your bra, and can face a wall for privacy when trying on a bra. “Our goal is to make people feel as comfortable as possible,” she said.
Once someone finds that perfect fit, it can be “a huge moment for a lot of people,” Killpack said, and some get emotional.
So, Killpack and her team aim make the mood lighthearted, with additions to the space like a cross-stitch of boobs in various shapes, sizes and colors, and a “boob tree” with breast-themed ornaments.
“I want everybody to feel welcome — like, come to my house, come hang out with us,” she said.
Follow Bra Fittings By Court on Instagram at @brafittingsbycourt.