There is something so satisfying about having your clothing fit properly… but it all starts with having the right foundations. No, I’m not talking about therapy, but instead having the correct support system underneath it all – your bra! Enter Rigby & Peller, the British lingerie specialists who have now opened two stores in Hong Kong in The Landmark and Harbour City.
Rigby & Peller was founded in 1939 by a Hungarian Jewish refugee, Gita Peller, and the British woman that took her in, Bertha Rigby. The two ladies founded R&P based on custom corsetry but it gradually evolved into a business focused on making sure you are custom fitted to your underpinnings. The company is so enlightened in this arena that in 1960, it was granted the Royal Warrant by the Queen of England, making Rigby & Peller the official fitter to the queen! And now Rigby & Peller has opened not one but two standalone stores in Hong Kong to share their expertise with us all!
In 1982, June Kenton became the lady in charge of making sure that the UK’s lady-in-charge was putting her best… ummm…. shall we say foot (?!) forward. We had the privilege of meeting with Ms. Kenton and boy was she a firecracker! My guess is that you have to have a pretty quirky sense of humour when confronted by breasts day in and day out! She wittily explained to us the perfect fit and how to get it – turns out that everyone needs underwire no matter your size, so all those pretty lacey triangle bras are not doing us any favours (best saved for your night-time adventures!).
To achieve the perfect fit, I scheduled a professional bra fitting with one of R&P’s seasoned experts at their Landmark store. After a quick measurement and a few questions about what styles I liked, my attendant started collecting options. She soon swept me into their luxuriously curtained and beautifully lit dressing room (as a photographer, I know lighting is everything!), where we got to work trying bras on, chatting about how they felt and evaluating the shape and size of the results. I learned where the underwire should hit and how the straps should fall; apparently, it’s the band at the back that should be doing all the work, not the straps!
I had feared that this would be an awkward experience – trying on bras with another woman clasping, adjusting and positioning you doesn’t exactly sound like fun – but it turned out to be more informative than uncomfortable. I would recommend wearing separates as opposed to a dress so that you can keep your bottom half clothed for the fitting. Another tip is to wear a relatively fitted top in a solid colour, so you can clearly see the shape that each bra gives you once clothed. I also found that having my hair and make-up done gave me a touch more confidence too.
After trying on about six styles, I bought two that I really liked – complete with matching panties (after all, our stylist That Girl Jasmine says it’s a must!). I’m also now armed with the knowledge on how to pick an appropriate bra on my next shopping excursion; to my surprise, I learned that although I was wearing the right size, my straps had been too long.
What’s more, it’s important to have your size taken every time you buy lingerie. When Ms. Kenton said this, I thought, “No way, I’ve been the same size since high school!” But when she explained just why this was the case (that our bodies are always changing and fluctuating, even just little by little), it made perfect sense. Think about it – winter weight, bikini season, monthly bloat, pre-baby, maternity, post-baby, menopause and all those plus or minus five pound moments… Our bodies are always in a state of transition, so our bras should be too!
This was an experience that was wildly interesting and I left feeling so much more put together… and, yes, I did stand up straighter on the walk home! I cannot recommend Rigby & Peller’s fitting service enough – just give them a call to schedule an appointment to see for yourself.
Rigby & Peller stock loads of brands including Marie Jo, Aubade, Prima Donna and Andrew Sarda, with shapewear and swimwear on offer too; the brands and styles are available in several price points (the average is probably around $1000-1500 for bras and $600-900 for bottoms), although they only use the finest for your fittings. Pricey, yes, but very worth it – these are “essential” luxuries, after all!
Once I got home, I couldn’t wait to purge my lingerie drawer and make room for my new beauties (don’t forget to check out what drawers should be in your drawer here). It’s strange how something so small (or errrr… not so small!) can really have such a big impact. Now when I get dressed in the morning, I know that I’m building my look with a properly-fitted base that makes everything fit and look so much better – that extra little bit of oomph I need to take on the day!
Rigby & Peller 3/F, Shop 310, THE LANDMARK, . Tel: 2877 5655, 12-16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Rigby & Peller Shop 2118, Harbour City, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong