I have lived my whole life in a relatively small town which is actually called “the city” of Oulu, here in Finland. It has always been the nature of our nation to live in silence and not talk in public or even at home about things that are related to sexuality, especially women’s sexuality. I don’t think there are some particular tabus or dilemmas we don’t talk about neither it is caused by shame or old-fashioned attitudes. Our country is very advanced when it comes to a lot of things. We have developed such an (dead) empire as Nokia so we cannot be a midevial country with old-fashioned ways to e.g. fit people in bras.
In British blogs there has been a lot of talk about the feared plus-four method which still rages across Britain when it comes to “professional” boutiques. I don’t know about the state of Finland as whole, how we are fitted and how much knowledge fitters actually have etc., but I do know that we’re in trouble when it comes to passing that information to next generations or even to our friends or customers. We definetily have a culture of shutting our mouths when we should really speak up. When I got my first bra (at the age of 11) it was just me and my bff who used to talk about such things. I didn’t have the support of my mom since she actually had know clue what to do with my growing boobs. I still cannot recall ever going to a real fitting, for in Finnish culture such thing does not simply exist. There is not even a a proper word for it! When boobs occur we go to Lindex and hey, they even carry up to D cups! (That’s how they advertise their lingerie selection..) When I went for bra shopping the first time in my life I felt like the loneliest person on planet.
Some of you must have experienced aggressive saleswomen when buying lingerie. We know the story: they don’t measure you (correctly), they don’t listen to you and they want desperately to get you in any bra for good sales. I just went through something like that when visiting a local department store (actually one that’s very popular in Finland for its lingerie department) and got the “oh but they do have quite firm bands”. Are you kidding me? We were talking about Curvy Kates! The funniest thing was that I had to go and ask myself the sales person to come and give me some answers.( As a shop assistant myself I couldn’t believe she didn’t even want to help me to find the right size, instead she just stood there. You can imagine her eyebrow-raise when I told I needed a FF. Bra fitter fail number one: make your customers feel uncomfortable. ) To the point again: we know those kind of people who don’t even care about if you’re in a right size. What I think is very related to our culture spesifically are the kind of shop assistents that don’t speak, don’t help you and don’t dare.
It is now clear to me what is eating our health and confidence in Finland: it is the sin of not sharing the information and not being brave. We are not ashamed of nudity (c’mon, we basicly live in saunas) but we’re too scared to talk about it. We are actually too scared to really take a look at a naked person. I remember standing behind the fitting room curtain in that above-mentioned lingerie department calling someone, anyone, to see if my bra fitted. Once after minutes of waiting in frustration I got a women telling me my other side was gaping a bit. No shit Sherlock, cause you didn’t adjust the straps for me OR tell me to swoop and scoop! I felt so dissapointed that even if she had the proper knowledge about how the bra should have fit she wouldn’t have been able to tell me that because of her insecurity. A brave person always asks help from someone more professional if her information is lacking and always tries to help you as well for example by finding a better size for you.
I’m not saying that all bra fitters in Oulu area are like this, for example the lovely ladies from Mrs. Divine are amazing at what they do. Once I met a Finnish Eveden representative and she was super courageous too. And guess what? The customers didn’t mind her coming into the fitting room cause she was so bubbly and delightful yet professional that all of them loved her, at least after getting the right bra on. After all, what she gave them was pure confidence and great lift.
What about you guys, can you see the difference between your culture and mine? What are your nation’s sins when it comes to bra fitting? Any Finns feeling the same way I do? Comment me! See you soon for a review of the Curvy Kate Smoothie bra!