ARTICLE: 2008: VENTURA LIFE MAGAZINE
from a BRA boutique
By Lori Stepner Battaglia Proprietor,
Aphrodite’s Lingerie Boutique
Illustration by Dina Pielaet
Lori Stepner Battaglia’s bra fittings
have become somewhat famous in the area.
Her downtown Ventura lingerie shop has
become an open forum for women’s issues,
from breast bouncing to
breast feeding to breast cancer. As an editor, I receive all manner
of press releases and product literature,
but this little memoir really gave me a chuckle and felt most appropriate
for this edition.
~ A. Jones
When I was a kid I never thought,
“Wow! I am going to grow up and do Boobs!” Getting
into this business was a fluke. Other than a brief background
and passion in psychology, a lifelong quest for figuring out
relationships, and a ton of sales experience, I had no
experience in lingerie. Heck, I got my bras on sale at
Macy’s or Mervyn’s twice a year, and when they
discontinued my style I freaked out! I had never had anyone
help me find a bra since my grandmother took me for my first
bra when I was twelve.
After I had my third child and was quite
large all the way around, I went to look for something sexy for
my anniversary, you know to spice up the mundane “cook,
clean, sew, make the flowers grow” child bearing years of
marriage. I was self conscious; my sales person was snobby; the
shop couldn’t fit me. Sans bra, I slunk away. That was
that, except I thought to myself that I would have done a lot
better about helping women of any shape and size get the bra
they need and have fun doing it. Fast forward a few years, and
I opened Aphrodite’s, my lingerie boutique.
I have never found a body I could not fit.
I really enjoy dressing people and making them feel good about
themselves. After nearly ten years in this business, I am
pretty confident about what I am doing. I was putting women in
the “Oprah Bra” seven years before she found it.
Now, more often than not, I tell the customers to hush up and
let me do my job. We laugh
together and the women are
comfortable. I am not a “10” myself. I have
the love handles going on and childbirth roadmaps stretched
across my stomach, and the passage of menopause under my belt.
In my shop, everyday, all day is about
women - women’s talk, bodies, identity, issues. A typical
discussion might touch on something like this little secret: By
pulling back fat into your armpits, you can turn that extra
armpit into “tit.” Yes, there I said it, and
I will say it again - pit to tit. Pretentious and proper
I am not. Real, that’s what I am. So are the majority of
customers I work with - real women with real issues and real
Being a woman is no easy feat; we are
cursed and blessed constantly and without warning. We start
with hormones during puberty, mood changes. I think our culture
lacks a right of passage to honor and help girls switch over to
being young adults. Being a woman means being responsible,
responsible for your choices and your body at a very young age.
Being a woman means accepting yourself, feeling blessed with
the beauty and choices of straight hair, curly hair, one piece
or bikini, speaking up, or laying low, feeling feminine and
batting your eyes or feeling challenged and batting a ball.
Being a woman is so complex with continuous changes in
our emotions, goals and bodies. Through menstruation we
get a little bloated; our breasts tend to get tender and
usually a little bigger. A pregnant woman can go from a 34C cup
to a 38F in the course of 9-months. That’s the difference
between an apple and a watermelon!
In my shop, at least one woman a day
swears, “I have been a 36B my whole life.” Well
guess what, nine out of ten women are not wearing the right bra
size. I call it D-nial. As we get older, our ears, noses and
breasts grow. Gravity takes its toll.
The best advice I can give to any woman on
finding a bra is this: if someone comes at you with a tape
measure...RUN. You can line up four women who all wear a 38D.
However, they will all do better in different styles. Boobs and
bodies are so different; at least half of the women in my shop
are a lttle uneven if not really uneven in breast size. With
the big run on augmentation, most women end up a size bigger
then they thought they were getting. I also hear about the
“sister size” that means if you are a 32C you can
get away with a 34B, but with the correct 32C (which most
people don’t carry), you get a better fit and a
longer life for your bra. When you lift your arms, your boobs
won’t fall out of the bottom of your bra, and it will
stay snug around you without riding up your back. If you are a
32DDD, you may be a 32E in some lines, or even a 32FF in
You will not always be the same size in
every style, manufacturer, or line. NEVER buy a bra unless you
try it on first. GET FITTED! You get fitted for everything
else; go to a professional; get through it and get it done. A
good bra, a good pair of shoes, a good purse, everything else
you can improvise. For new fittings, I have this process I call
the “drop and swap.” That means I will have
you in and out of 10 bras in 3 minutes, so I can find the
styles that best fits you that you love. I can help take ten
pounds and ten years off you in thirty seconds with the right
bra. For your first time in we usually start you with the
“tight white T-shirt bra.” Then we move on to the
‘Pretty’s.’ We don’t just do bras by
the way, we have it all.
“YOU MEAN YOU HAVE THAT IN MY
SIZE?” I hear that everyday. Women who came in for bras,
have often left with a corset, garters and stockings, a
flattering nightgown with some support, a couple of gorgeous
camisoles for under business suits, and sometimes even a little
something fun from upstairs that requires two double a’s,
and we are not talking bras here.
From 30A to 44H, sizes from P/S to 6X, I
love dressing people. You will always get a card when you leave
with the styles and sizes that work best for you, so you
don’t have to go through the “drop and swap”
again for a while. Or you can pass that card on to your
significant other (hint hint). I love my store and my job.
People joke that I have every man’s dream job - I get to
play with boobs and talk about sex all day! I get high on
making women feel good about themselves, encouraging them to
try something new they never thought would work. That’s
what Aphrodite’s is all about; regardless of mood, size
or budget, we work hard to keep Ventura County women perky
while getting in touch with the goddess within.