Getting the girls the support they deserve

bras at madame pirie's

Stylish? Not really. Effective? Definitely.

By Jessica Pasko

Fashion guru Tim Gunn and other, er, women's icons like Oprah claim a large majority of women are wearing ill-fitting bras. Don't laugh guys, a poorly-fitting bra can put a total crimp in your day, not to mention increase the likelihood of back problems later in life.

Seriously, keeping the girls up high and proud is a largely underrated achievement.

Luckily for us 518ers, we've got an old-school bra store where the fittings are thorough and accurate. The Madame Pirie Famise Corset and Lingerie Shop is so old-school in fact, that they don't have a web site. It does have two older ladies who know what they're doing and aren't shy with a tape measure.

black bras at Madam Pirie'sImagine taking a time machine into lingerie store history and you'll get a good idea of what Mme. Pirie's is like. In this case, that retro feel isn't outdated, but welcome. A desire for a strapless bra that wouldn't migrate down to the navel by midday led me here. Those quick wrap-the-tape measure-around-the-outside-of-of-the-sweater deals at places like Victoria's Secret just didn't seem so accurate, especially when the salesclerk was off by an entire cup size. Nope, ladies, get yourself a real, honest-to-goodness bra fitting.

The women who run this store know their stuff like you won't believe. Ask them for a fitting and you may soon find yourself in a dressing room that's eerily reminiscent of some grandmother's bedroom, with two older, slightly-accented women wrapping measuring tapes around your bare torso and murmuring to one another.

They'll likely size you up first with a quick once over, and the measurement process will probably prove them right. Yes, they're that good. After deftly declaring your cup size, they'll figure out your circumference.

While having two women you've just met becoming rather intimate with your, er, intimate parts should be absolutely cringe-inducing, somehow it's not. Be prepared to be surprised when you realize just how off your past purchases have been.

Upon lamenting the futility of even attempting to shop for a bathing suit at the mall that provides an acceptable amount of support, I was shown a thick-strapped, retro polka-dotted one piece that I could imagine Esther Williams wearing with a brightly colored bathing cap. As appreciated as the suggestion was, I took a pass. Here lies a small complaint with the shop -- while the bras here will certainly keep you lifted, they're typically more function than fashion. That said, there are a few very beautiful and well-made bras to be found here as well, along with lacy camisoles, cute pajamas.

It's also definitely the place to go if your size ranges a bit further in the cup-size alphabet than most stores carry. And if you need something to slim you down enough to fit into that skin-tight dress, check this place.

Corsets? Check. Girdles? Check. Bras in sizes above DDD? Check.

Unfortunately, guys, Mme. Pirie's doesn't seem to carry the manssierre or the Bro. Yet.

Find It

Mme. Pirie Famise Corset and Lingerie Shop
1660 Western Ave
Albany, NY 12203

(518) 869-0400

Comments

Jessica, your account of this place is spot on. I can't tell you how much these ladies helped me especially when I was prego and woke up one morning with ginormous honkers. If it wasn't for their help and vast array of sizes, I probably would have had to spend my entire pregnancy wearing 2 parachutes on my chest instead of a bra.

"Seriously, keeping the girls up high and proud is a largely underrated achievement."

You made me laugh out loud with that (so true) line. Thank you!

I had one shopping expedition at Mme. Pirie's that was as Jessica described.

I went back twice more, and was sold ill-fitting and expensive bras both times. I think my size changed and rather than admit they didn't stock my size, they chose to "sister size" me up a band size (and therefore keep the same cup size). It just didn't work.

Desperate for a decent bra for my wedding, I ordered several online and returned the ones that didn't work.

I'm sad that I don't support this local business anymore.

I thought I'd hit the jackpot shopping at Mme Pirie's. I needed a special undergarment for my mother of the bride gown for my daughter's wedding coming up in November. I purchased the one I thought was going to work with the help of the 2 older women (after bring my gown into the store with me) and being reassured by the owner that the seamstress would be able to fix a small problem with the bra showing underneath my one arm. Okay - so I don't have my fitting until 2 months later and the seamstress can NOT make this work, so I go back to try and exchange the garment and the owner is very rude to me and talking to me like a child and pointing her finger at me, saying don't you read the receipt - no exchanges after 30 days. I say very nicely, I was hoping you would work with me seeing as my daughter is getting married in 4 weeks and she really didn't want to do it and I said okay then she got even testier and said go into a room. I needed a regular strapless bra and she came back, remeasured me and unwillingly did the exchange for which I was grateful, but not to be treated as nastily as she did. I would think as a small business owner she would appreciate clients more than that. Because I tell you, I will never step foot in that store again and I will tell everyone I know by word of mouth the same thing and I know plenty of people getting married in the future and those who need larger sizes. She doesn't deserve the business - not at the prices she charges. I'd really rather be treated nicely and support another business.

Love this shop! The business in under new ownership as of 3 months ago and the improvements are astronomical! Same great fitting and size range (the girl at the counter jokingly said everything from a 32A to a 56N) yeah..
Anyway the new owners are much younger. And there is some beautiful spring/summer color in the store! Not all nude everywhere!!!

That mean old lady is gone. And from what she said never coming back. So happy. She was just plain NASTY sometimes.

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