Change your bra and you change your life.
I have no idea how WUSA 9′s Angie Goff has temporarily taken over my brain, but she has. And I owe her a heartfelt apology for writing a post on her in October of 2010 in which I ridiculed her for a story on bra shopping. Angie: I am SORRY. Please forgive me. I totally get bra shopping. Especially since I am now writing on the topic.
The truth is, I’d been blowing off the assignment for months, thinking it was frankly, frivolous and too Angie Goff (again, I’m SORRY). As I informed FishbowlMatt after, this was life altering. He was jealous. “Where’s my undergarment whisperer?” he pleaded. This is a sexist story that favors women. I had no answer for him.
Since May a bundle of Washington area female journalists and VIPs, including Goff, have been trailing out to Virginia in droves to meet Susan Nethero, a.k.a. the Bra Whisperer (pictured at right). The Intimacy story is located inside Tyson’s Corner I (across from L.L. Bean for interested parties). The Washington media list includes ABC’s Claire Shipman (wife to White House Press Sec. Jay Carney), who spent two hours with the Bra Whisperer, Washingtonian, WaPo, NBC4, Capitol File’s Kara Manos, Bloggers Sophie Pyle and K Street Kate, Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab, DC Mag’s Karen Sommer Shallett — they’ve all met her. To say Nethero is pure genius is putting it mildly. She is the Cesar Millan of bra fitters. Her clientele is impressive. She most recently outfitted the Kardashians and counts Oprah among her fans. She has appeared on her show five times, and the Queen of Talk never lets just anyone into her inner circle, much less the arena of her intimate apparel. Nethero knows intimate details: the talk show goddess so feared a wardrobe malfunction (i.e. a nipple sighting) that she had special oval jello pads sewn into all her cups. Nancy Grace should have been so lucky.
Nethero is serious about her work, but not too serious. On the day we met, she wore a sleeveless candy apple red dress that allowed a red lace bra to peek out front. She pulled the straps and the tops out to show off the pretty bra, saying it’s increasingly fashionable to let them be seen — the bras, not her breasts. “It’s a wonderful experience to have women feel comfortable with their bodies,” she said. “We believe we can change the self esteem of women across America.”
Once in the fitting room, Nethero, who manages to strip all self-consciousness from an experience like this, gets to work sizing you up. She brings in piles of bras she thinks will fit beautifully. Each one is perfection. She explains how bras should fit — likely tighter than you think. She also explains how they shouldn’t fit — loose or digging into your sides.
The only media misfit in the area is Fox5 and the publicists can’t fathom why they refuse to do a story. We’re told they were skittish about showing bras on TV. In elaborate email exchanges they could not seem to fathom what was being sold at a store named Intimacy. They turned the story down.
It’s one hot loss for the women of Fox5. The chosen ones get VIP fittings that include a private session with Nethero and a free bra and underwear set of her choice. Since May, the Washington VIP list, controlled by publicist Elizabeth Thorp who brought in Courtney Cohen to help, has included Jennifer Tapper (wife of ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper), Kathleen Jenkins (wife of FNC’s Griff Jenkins) and Mary Amons (Real Housewives of D.C.). Thorp views these handpicked women and the wide variety of area journalists lured in for fittings as a “broad network of influencers who learn of Susan’s methodology and feature how the right bra can make a giant impact.”
The most common mistake among bra wearers involves the bra bands — they’re too big. “When your band goes up your back your boobs go down,” Thorp said, noting that the right bra can make a woman look 10 pounds thinner. And forget about back fat — with these bras, she noted, those days are over.
Cohen confided that after her fitting with Nethero she dumped her entire bra collection. The running joke at Al Jazeera, where Cohen flacked when the Bra Whisperer assignment came up, was: “Do not mix up the press lists!”