Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A fabulous Friday fitting with Leia Lingerie

Good Friday 2012 turned out to be a great one for me as I spent the majority of it in the company of the wonderful Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust.  We had decided to have a day of lingerie shopping - what could be better?

We headed off to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent as we wanted to visit a Leia Lingerie store and this was our closest branch.


 
Photo courtesy of http://www.claroblue.com/

Being particularly eager beavers we arrived at the store not long after it opened so had the place pretty much to ourselves to begin with.  The staff gave us a great welcome and encouraged us to look around on our own but said we should feel free ask if there was anything they could do.  Perfect!  It's crucial for shop assistants to strike the right balance between being helpful and available but not overbearing, as this could intimidate customers.  On the other hand, what really gets my heckles up is when staff don't even acknowledge the presence of customers - I have been in some stores where the employees seem to find it an inconvenience that they have customers to deal with!  I'm delighted to report that the ladies in Leia got this balance spot on and, although they quietly chatted lightheartedly amongst themselves whilst they went about their duties, I could see that they were maintaining an excellent awareness of what was going on in the store and were ready and attentive if we needed their help.  This meant that Georgina and I felt relaxed and free to browse the gorgeous lingerie and swimwear ranges at our own pace.


Photo courtesy of http://www.claroblue.com/

After a little while looking round, we had a selection of bikinis and bras to try on and were shown by the lovely Annie to the changing rooms.  We shared a cubicle and ended up spending a long time chatting as we tried on our items.

Unfortunately we both found that nothing we had chosen was any good, apart from a Royce soft cup bra for me in a 32L (review to follow!).  We spoke to Annie and she suggested a proper fitting so we took her up on her kind offer.

I have only once had a proper fitting before, and that was at Bravissimo in Ealing about a year ago.  The young lady there was nice but perhaps not quite as knowledgeable as I was expecting so I was interested to see how my fitting at Leia would compare.

Annie started off by bringing us some bras to try in our 'usual' sizes.  I didn't have much of an idea to start with as I have been wearing Ewa Michalak bras for almost a year and the Polish sizing system is not the same as that used in the UK.  However, I did know that the Bravissimo Boudoir Beau had been a smidge too large in a 32K so I wondered if I might be a 32JJ.

The first bra I tried was the Freya Lacey.  



It's so pretty and looks like it would work as a nude bra due to its neutral colouring so I was pleased that this was one Annie picked out for me.  Unfortunately we found the 32JJ was too big in the band so we went for a 30JJ and finally settled on a 30K.  Read my review of the Freya Lacey here.

I also gave the Freya Lauren a whirl in black.  



Again I needed the 30K and was pleased with how comfortable this bra felt in the cups.  My review is here.

After becoming so accustomed to how well my Ewa Michalaks fit I had wondered if I would ever be satisfied with another brand but these two Freyas did a good job.

Georgina got some lovely items too which she wrote about here.  We were both surprised but naturally delighted when Annie told us that the store manager, Leigh, had said that the items we had chosen would be gifted to us.  So kind - thank you so much!

I know some people are dubious of reviews where bloggers have been given 'free stuff' but this is the first time it has happened to me and I wish to clarify at this point that I will always give my free and unbiased opinion regardless.

I have visited the Leia store at Bluewater in the past and have always received the same excellent service that I witnessed on Friday.  Staff at Leia are consistently helpful, knowledgeable and discreet and what impresses me most is the way they put their customers at ease.  When I have visited in the past I have chosen not to have a fitting for various reasons (usually short of time!) and although the ladies would always knock on the door of the changing room to check I was ok they would never force the issue of checking the fitting (although it is always advisable to let them do so) and I think this is really important.  Regular readers of my blog will know how much I adore my lingerie but I would honestly run a mile from a store where I felt the staff were over-familiar or didn't know when to leave me in peace to try the items on my own.  


Photo courtesy of http://www.claroblue.com/

Annie was just perfect with us on Friday.  She brought in different sizes if we required them and then left us to try them on, giving us plenty of time to adjust ourselves and make sure we had formed an opinion of the fit.  She would then knock and let us decide if she should come in or not - of course the answer was always 'Come in!!' :-)  

Annie was happy to spend as much time with us as we required to discuss the fit and then talk through further options.  If we needed yet more sizes or a different style, she cheerfully went to get them.  Considering the amount of to-ing and fro-ing she did with getting me into the right size in the Freya Lacey, I could have forgiven her if she was getting fed up.  But not a bit of it - she maintained her professional, cheerful attitude throughout and was genuinely delighted when we finally got the right fit for me.

Leia's team are really superb in making their customers feel valued and the fact they don't rush their bra fittings shows that they must have a first class staff training programme.  Perhaps they should offer this programme to some of the big name stores such as Marks and Spencer...but more on that in another post.

In Leia, I felt like I was in a really high end store (à la Pretty Woman when she goes to shop on Rodeo Drive (the second time around)) and the assistants were on hand to cater to all our lingerie needs.  The wonderful thing is that Leia do not charge over the odds for their items and even have regular sales and special offers so you can always grab a bargain from them.  They have an in-store loyalty scheme where you earn a stamp for every £30 you spend and when you get 9 stamps you get a free bra of your choice.  ANY bra!  I have it on good advice that savvy ladies opt for the Fauve range for their freebie as they usually retail at around £50 each ;-)

I have never felt pressure to buy when shopping in Leia.  In fact, one time a couple of years ago when I was umming and ahhing between the Freya Jolie and the Pollyanna, the assistant even offered to write down the details of the bras for me so I knew which sizes and styles I had tried on.  I ended up going back to the store on another day and purchasing the Pollyanna - even though I could have bought it online for a pound or two less, I knew that the service in Leia was worth paying a tiny bit extra for.

All in all I cannot recommend Leia Lingerie highly enough.  They have the perfect balance of beautiful lingerie, a wide range of styles and sizes and superb staff.  Thank you to Leigh, Annie and Lucy (as well as Sarah and G who were on the later shift) at the Bluewater store for making us feel so welcome and spending so much time ensuring we left with some lingerie that fitted us to perfection :-)

12 comments:

  1. So jealous! :) I can't wait for the Freya Lauren review because that's one bra that I always see popping up in my size at a reasonable price. :)

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  2. Hi Caroline!
    Thank you for such a heart-warming post. This has certainly made not only the team at Bluewater's day, but also here at HQ. This is exactly the level of service and customer service that we strive to provide every day for each of our lovely customers. It was an absolute pleasure to read! Enjoy your new Lacey bra! x

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    1. Aww thanks for your lovely comment :-) We need a Leia on every high street and in every shopping mall! x

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  3. I live in Kent just 10 minutes from Bluewater! Leia Lingerie used to be my go to for bras as they were the nearest place for 28 back bras... the next nearest being Bravissimo in London! However, they've recently taken away all of the 28 back bras that they used to do there (except oddly for the Freya Deco in a 28D!)! It's a real shame that they've done this BUT at least they still offer 28 back bands online!

    Spud xxx

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    1. Hi Spud, thanks for your comment. We're practically neighbours ;-) I know it's really difficult to get hold of 28 back bras on the high street - have you emailed Leia to ask them to stock them again? Always worth a try. Or how about ordering bras to the store? Just a thought. And like you say, they still offer 28 backs online which is more than some retailers x

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    2. Hmmm... haven't actually thought of that but it's a brilliant idea so I'll give it a go! Thanks :)
      Spud xxx

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    3. Yay - just occasionally I come up with a good idea ;-) xx

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  4. I agree, Leia lingerie provide an excellent service - I miss the Richmond branch. However, you post does point out a big problem with Fantasie/Freya bras - the back bands are just too big these days - they have definitely got bigger in the last couple of years. I have some old Freyas and they are on average 3 inches smaller than the curent crop so unfortunately, as I am a 29/30inch underbust H cup I can no longer buy Eveden bras, it is a shame because they are lovely. I love your reviews and articles, please keep up the good work

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    1. Hi there, thanks for your lovely comment. You make an interesting point about the bands - when I was trying on the Lacey the assistant told me that it had a slightly looser band than some Freya bras. However my underbust actually measures 30.5 inches and I wear a 30 band in my aqua/blue Dotty Spot bra so this seems to be the right size for me in most cases. Also my Ewa Michalak bras (which are tighter in the band than UK bras) are all too big in the band for me now so my body seems to have changed since I started this blog! Sorry to hear that you can't buy Eveden bras now - are the 28 bands no good for you?

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    2. Thank you for your kind reply but if I went down to 28 band then I would need a HH cup which really limits the possibilities with Freya and Fantasie bras ( I know there are a few). I love the bras you have spotlighted in your review - the Lauren is one I am definitely going to try.

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    3. It's a shame when your choices are so limited - I truly feel your pain! Have you tried Bravissimo's own brand bras? Many of these come in your size so might be worth a look if you haven't before.

      I'll be writing reviews of the bras I've highlighted in this post soon - hope these will be useful to you :-)

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