So it was off to Melmira, a renowned Toronto bra and swimsuit fitter that I’ve heard about for years but never had the courage to visit.  It is a bright, ivory store with amusing window displays, lovely smiling staffers, and paintings of famously endowed vintage celebrities with very few bras on display.  Like a speakeasy,  the undies are kept “in the back”.  The staff prides itself on being able to present clients with the best possible items.
The disarming owner Amie Heenan is third generation Melmira owner.  She knows her stuff. Following a five minute conversation, as Heenan’s eyes quickly yet discreetly scanned me; she went “in the back” and returned with a gorgeous confection of a bra in colours to complement my colouring.
It fit.  It felt like heaven, it was snug, supportive, supple, and revealed a longer waist, and my spine sprang to attention.  It was the best fit imaginable, and all it took was a visual once over from Heenan.  It was size I would never have imagined but there it was. Comfort at last.
“It’s so important to listen to customers and not project what I think they need”, Heenan says. “We spoke and I could look at your posture and colouring and lifestyle and that helps me but it really understands the science of the bra and knowing your product.”
Heenan says there are more than 80 parts to a well-made bra. Bras are complex for a good reason “It’s very important that your bar sits parallel front to back at all times. That it’s comfortably snug on the loosest hook.  If a bra rides up at the front, you’ll tug and adjust the shoulders and it gets worse, it’s a vicious cycle. The wire sits next to your breast, and it’s not cutting into any breast tissue.  It’s snug on the side and it’s not sitting away from your body in the centre.”  All the parts work to achieve these results.
Sure they’re a little more expensive than what you’ve been buying at The Bay or Sears, but with the skills on offer at Melmira, and the benefits of a well-made bra that helps in ways you’ve never dreamed possible, why not?  It will last much longer than the ones we tug.   Look on it as a pretty economy.
Heenan explains. “When you invest in a good bra that fits you that’s comfortable you save money because over time, they will last longer. You’ll feel better look better. You are being lifted and given length, height and slimming.  It’s very European.  North American women like round, minimizing and nude and it’s just not becoming. I spent my whole life trying to convert women from that mentality to something more tailored because it will last longer and you’re going to look so much better in your clothing.  Your posture will improve.”
Melmira’s roots are in the south of France. “My grandmother came from there and brought French lines to Canada.  She has a boutique out west.  My mum started this boutique and now we, the four daughters, own the store.  It’s in our genes, it goes right back to the south of France. My grandmother says the most important thing you wear is your bra. It defines your look and feel and we have that mentality”.
Amie’s tip:  Women feel lace is pretty but not practical when in fact lace gives way more support that microfiber and padded bras because the lines distribute the weight of the breast and work to lift you. It rounds out the breast.