by Helena Warren
Salesperson's Manual
and Consumer's Guide


Salesperson's Manual
Consumer's Guide
Copyright 1949
Fairchild Publications, Inc.
Prepared originally under the direction of
Virginia Fullinwider, Retail Selling Division

Printed in U. S. A.

Table of Contents

What's Your I. C. (Interest Courtesy) Quotient? ... 7
You Sell Comfort, Beauty , Style and Serviceability ... 8
Make Yourself a Figure Type Specialist ... 10
The Basic Figure Types ... 11
    The junior Figure ... 11
    The Teen-Age Figure ... 13
    The Miss's Figure ... 13
    The Full Figure ... 17
Variations of Basic Figure Types ... 18
Take a Tip from an Artist ... 24
The Four Laws of Expert Fitting ... 26
    Measuring ... 26
    Classifying ... 28
    Selecting ... 29
    Fitting ... 30
Fitting Surgical Supports ... 35
Does Your Fitting Meet the Test? ... 38
The Bra ... 40
    Know the Highlights ... 41
    Translate Her Needs to Your Stock ... 42
    The Fitting Room is a "Must ... 43
    The Four Steps of Your Fitting Technique ... 43
    Some Don'ts on the Fit ... 44
Corset Wardrobe ... 44
Corset Care ... 46
    Laundering ... 46
    Handling ... 47

What's Your I. C. (Interest Courtesy) Quotient?

A customer hesitates in front of the counter and casually picks up a garment on display. Although she may seem to be "just looking," the alert corsetiere knows that her interest already has been aroused sufficiently to make her a potential buyer.

You neither ignore her, nor high-pressure her. You, the professional, use subtlety. If the garment happens to be a cleverly designed lightweight girdle, pick it up and place it in her hand saying, "It hardly weighs more than a few ounces. Yet its control will amaze you."

You've spoken the opening line of a new sequence in the ever-changing drama of selling. From the moment you speak that line, the customer begins to form her impression of you. And that impression, gained from your manner, your tone of voice, the sincerity you display, can make a world of difference at the final curtain—the point of sale!

So set your sights high when you score yourself on interest and courtesy. Remember—when you add genuine interest in people to your professional skill, you're on the road to breaking records.

Courtesy, tact and service follow easily when you put your selling on a human-interest basis. And you'll find you're getting much more of a kick out of your job.

Be a good listener. Key your approach to her personality. Whether she's a dignified dowager or a sprightly slip of a girl, you let her know that her figure problems are as impor- tant to you as they are to her. You listen to them with interest.

By tactful questioning you encourage her to talk, and you learn something of her activities; this will aid you in sug- gesting the right garment.

She'll be open to suggestion if you establish a friendly, sympathetic atmosphere. You may learn that she has become used to a certain type of garment; yet another may be ideally suited to her figure and her activities.

The teen-ager who has always worn a two-way will be delighted when you show her the wonderful tummy flattening job a paneled girdle will do under her new date-dress.

It may never occur to the matronly housewife to ask for a pantie girdle. She's told you that she's in and out of her car twenty times a day. Knowing what a boon to comfort a pantie would be, you suggest one, and she's forever grateful!

When you take her to the fitting room, make her feel comfortable and at ease. Be as gracious and unhurried as you would be to someone you were receiving in your home.

Talk with her about the fabrics, construction and features of the garments. Use tact in pointing out to her why one corset is better suited to her needs than another.

If your manner shows sincere interest, it will be easy to convince her and win her confidence.

Her confidence is vitally important to you in helping her to find the right answer to her figure problems. The means of gaining it take little effort on your part. And that little effort reaps high returns in the shape of soaring sales!

You Sell Comfort, Beauty, Style and Serviceability

The customer comes to you with a package of wishes in her mind. She wants comfort, beauty, style and service­ability. It's your job to deliver a package that contains all these expectations.

The smart corsetiere does it by following a tried and true technique. She doesn't use hit-or-miss guesswork; she doesn't play a game of chance. She augments her technical skill with all the other bits of information that make her a profes- sional. Here are some of the ways she does it:

(1) You watch your store's advertising. Let's eavesdrop on one typical situation.

The Customer: "Several days ago you advertised a girdle that does a wonderful waist-diminishing job. I'd like to see it."

The Corsetiere: "Of course, that was last Monday. You mean the one with the built-up waistline."

Because this corsetiere knows the importance of watching her store's advertising, she never answers the customer with a blank, bewildered stare. She knows that there is nothing more annoying to the customer and damaging to her own and her store's reputation.

Here's one customer whose bundle of wishes are welldefined. Here's a sure sale; don't jeopardize it.

(2) You watch your store's window displays. The same is true of the customer who wishes to be shown a garment displayed in the window. To keep that customer waiting while you inquire about what is being displayed is the mark of a novice.

(3) You know your merchandise. And to keep your customer waiting while you search for the garment she wishes to see is equally amateurish. The alert corsetiere makes selections from her stock swiftly.

And she knows the "how" and "why" of her merchandise as well as the "where." She is able to explain to the customer the purpose of each feature of the garment.

(4) You guide the undecided customer. Many customers will come to you with no specific type of garment in mind. Nevertheless, her package of wishes are specific. And they're as firmly planted in your mind as they are in hers. You keep them always before you. With your complete knowledge of your stock you are able to translate them to the right corset. Here again, you talk fabric, function and fit with the ease of any confident professional.

(5) You take the customer to the fitting room. Always —is your standing rule for a try-on. No matter what the customer's objection about going to the fitting room, you overcome it tactfully. You explain to her why a fitting is indispensable from the standpoint of beauty as well as comfort and, fit.

(6) You make every customer a "repeat." After you have completed a sale, you make a record of the customer's name, address and measurements. You tell her that you will let her know when you receive other garments that suit her needs. It demonstrates to the customer that she is receiving really individualized attention.

And it's information that you will undoubtedly need again. For when your customer walks out of the store with that package of wishes tucked securely under her arm, she'll be back again.

Make Yourself a Figure Type Specialist

Your ability to classify figures quickly and accurately is the starting point of your complete fitting technique. Every woman's figure falls into one of the basic figure types—or one of the variations—shown on the following pages.

An experienced corsetiere is quick-as-a-flash at classifying figures. She does it almost intuitively. Join the experts by making yourself a specialist at this kind of rapid fire figuretyping.

How to determine the figure type. These are the determining factors in classifying her figure: (1) the length of the torso (the torso is the part of the body from the neck to lower thighs); (2) the circumference of the torso; (3) the proportions of her torso (differential of waist to hips; waist to butt; etc.); (4) condition of her flesh (firm, soft or flabby).

She's a basic figure type when the proportions of her torso run fairly close to what is considered normal, when the condition of her torso is not exceptionally flabby or pendulous in any one place.

All manufacturers do not use the same name in designat- ing the different figure types. Some may use the same names, but break them down into additional categories. However, the basic figure types shown on the following pages are fairly standard, inasmuch as the size ranges of most manufacturers include these types and variations.

The variations. Some figures have excessively large busts or full hips. Others have pendulous abdomens or vary in some other way. You have in your stock garments that offer support and comfort for figures that vary in these ways. It's up to you to recognize these variations, and select the garment that has been designed for them.

Judge the torso length. The expert corsetiere knows that all women who look tall are not necessarily fitted to long garments. A woman with very long legs may have a short torso, hence would need a short garment.

Conversely, the woman who appears to be short may merely have short legs and a long torso. The skilled corsetiere immediately fits her to a long garment.

Follow through. After you've analyzed your customer's figure accurately don't jeopardize the sale by incomplete knowledge of your stock. Follow through by being able to put your hand on the proper garment in a jiffy.

The Basic Figure Types

The Junior Figure—A Primary Type

This is the youthful figure type. Her flesh is firm. Her bust is high. She's slender and well-proportioned. She is more a figure type than an age. You will find some women in their 30's and 40's who are good customers for junior garments.

The junior figure needs less restraint, since the flesh is firm. Fit her for freedom in lightweight, elasticized garments. She loves pantie girdles, color and ingenious styling in her foundations. Sell her eye-appeal and new ideas.

Junior Figure Junior Figure Junior Figure Junior Figure
Junior Figure

The Teen-Age Figure—A Secondary Type

The teen figure is still in the process of developing. The bust is small and high; the buttocks are large in relation to the other proportions, giving the appearance of a rather prominent derriere. The waist is usually small, producing a large hip development.

There are two types of teen figures:

The Early Teen—whose breasts are exceptionally small.

The College Teen—who is more fully developed, particu­larly in the bust.

For both the early—teen and the college-teen juniors, gar­ments should be selected that will help retain youthful lines and the natural, firm condition of the flesh.

Sell them lightweight garments. Sell them panties, novel­ties and new ideas.

The teen-ager is a good customer today. She's the loyal. foundation customer of tomorrow, if fitted and handled prop­erly the first time she comes to you for figure advice.

Remember, the teen-ager's figure is by no means standard. Juniors with figure irregularities are often painfully selfconscious. Solving their problems requires the same accurate analysis that you give the more mature figure.

The Miss's Figure—A Secondary Type

The miss's figure is the more fully developed version of the junior figure type. She is adult in her proportions. While the flesh is firm, it is not so firm as that of the junior; nor is it as soft as that of the regular figure, which distinguishes it from this type.

The miss's figure may be tall or short as well as average.

Select for this figure type lightweight garments that pro­vide slightly more restraint than junior garments offer. This customer appreciates clever styling with moderate control.

Teen-Age Figure Teen-Age Figure Teen-Age Figure Teen-Age Figure
Teen-Age Figure

Misses' Figure Misses' Figure Misses' Figure Misses' Figure
Misses' Figure

Full Figure

The Full Figure—A Primary Type

This figure type is well-proportioned throughout her body, but on a full scale. She may be average, tall or short. Her flesh may be firm or soft.

In fitting her, it is important to discover whether her size is the result of large bones or excess fat. If large bone struc­ture is the cause of her size, select a garment that controls but does not mold. If excess flesh is the cause of her full proportions, choose a garment that will mold and distribute the flesh to a smooth contour.

The woman with the full figure is not necessarily mature in years. "Full figure" is a condition of the flesh. The flesh is soft and requires adroit redistribution: And here's where your knowledge of fabrics and construction, your ability to detect any flaw in the fit of a garment must be precise. Gar­ments for this figure type are plentiful; providing her with comfortable and corrected corsetry depends wholly on your interest and skill.

Variations of Basic Figure Types

You will not be able to classify all of your customers in one of the basic figure types. Some of them will have figure problems that place them in the following categories of figure variations.

When you have a customer whose figure varies in any of these ways, exercise particular care in classifying and fitting her. Her corset is more essential to her health and well-being than to the woman whose figure is fairly average. Be familiar with the garments in your stock that are designed to take care of her needs.

Variations of the basic figure types occur: (1) at the bust; (2) at the hips; (3) at the abdomen.

Analyze the variations. In these three general problem areas, there are several variations. Make it your business to analyze each figure to determine where it needs a maxi- mum of control and support.

(1) Full Below the Waist: This is one of the most com- mon of the figure variations. The bust and waistline are unusually small and the rib structure narrow in propor- tion to the lower part of the body.
    Be sure to determine whether the variation in the lower part of the body is caused by full hips and a full derriere, or by a large, relaxed abdomen. Each demands a different type of corseting.

  1. Full Hips: A well-boned girdle or all-in-one is required to give proper support for this type of varia­tion. Sturdy, firm fabrics, such as brocade and coutil, provide the needed control. The garment should be long enough to come well below the buttocks in order to avoid making the flesh bulge. Be sure that the waist­line is not too tight. A nipped-in waist will only empha­size the development-of the hips.
  2. (b) Heavy Thighs: This variation should be fitted in the same manner as the full-hipped figure. The same attention should be given to the length of the garment to avoid bulging of flesh.
  3. Pendulous Abdomen: If below-the-waist fullness is caused by a large abdomen accompanied by relaxed muscles, a garment with special support is called for.
        You will usually fit the customer with this figure prob­lem to a laced or clasp front girdle; one with an inner abdominal belt; or some other abdominal supporting device.
Variations of Basic Figure Types Variations of Basic Figure Types Variations of Basic Figure Types Variations of Basic Figure Types

(2) Full Above the Waist: Many of your customers will show figure variations in this region. It may be the result of either a full bust, or a full and pendulous bust. It may also be caused by excess flesh in the shoulders and under the arm. The diaphragm is usually large, tapering toward the abdomen. The hip development tends to be small in pro­portion to the upper part of the body.

You will find that a girdle with a long line bra often solves the problem of this figure type.

When the shoulders are especially plump, an all-in-one, with built-up shoulders, may be preferable. In fitting this type of figure, work for even distribution of the flesh and control of the diaphragm without constriction.

(a) Pendulous Breasts: Breasts that are unusually large place so much strain on the muscles that they often tend to sag and cause the breast to become pen­dulous. A brassiere that lifts and controls without con­stricting should be recommended.

Full Above Waist
Full Above Waist
Pendulous Breasts
Pendulous Breasts

(3) Figure Variations at the Waistline:

  1. The Thick Waist: Some of your customers will be thick waisted, with either a small or full hipline. Fit this type of figure to a high, nipped-in waistline girdle. It should be well boned at both the front and back.
  2. The Long Waist: Your long-waisted customer is not necessarily a tall woman. Her measurement from under-bust to waist is merely long in relation to her other proportions. Fit this figure to a foundation de­signed to take care of the unusual waist length.
  3. The Short Waist: This variation occurs when the measurement from under the bust to waist is short. Fit the woman to a garment designed especially for a short length in this area. The half-size all-in-one is the ideal solution. It is designed for the short-waisted woman, whatever her height and other figure variations. She may be either short or tall with a short waist length; she may be full above the waist or full below the waist; or her proportions may be average.

Take the customer's measurement from under arm (not under bust) to waist. If she measures eight inches or less, she should be fitted to a half-size garment.

(4) The Sway Back: Poor posture may result in an exaggerated curve at the small of the back. This, in turn, often causes a large waistline and protruding abdomen. This posture defect is often found among teen-agers.

The more mature sway-backed woman is apt to be round-shouldered with flat chest and slightly pendulous breasts.

Fit this figure carefully. Analyze all the irregularities to determine which garment will offer it most comfort. Often a girdle and long line bra is the best solution.

Thick Waist
Thick Waist
Straight Hip
Straight Hip

Hip development is the differential of the measurement of the waistline to the hipline. Some manufacturers stress hip development in their sizing of garments. It is something you should always take into account in your fitting.

When the hip measurement is from four to seven inches larger than the waist measurement, the figure is classified as Straight Hip.

When the hip measurement is from seven to ten inches larger than the waist measurement, the figure is classified as Full Hip.

Take a Tip From an Artist

When a painter does a portrait, he works, as it were, from the inside out. In rendering the external features of his subject, he has considered, first, the basic characteristics of the bone and muscular structure.

In fitting corsets you must work, to a certain degree, along the same principle. The artist's training includes an extensive grounding in anatomy. It isn't necessary for your knowledge to be that complete. It isn't, after all, a subject you're going to discuss with your customers. But your understanding of certain fundamentals will enable you to give the customer a maximum of comfort and beauty when fitting a garment.

The Bones: The bone structure determines a woman's height and, to some extent, her weight.

In fitting a figure that is bony rather than fleshy, the corset must control rather than mold the flesh. In the bony figure, no redistribution of flesh is possible, as it is in the full figure with excess of flesh.

The Muscles: The muscles with which you, as a corsetiere, are most concerned are those called the skeletal muscles.

"Muscle Tone": Muscles have the ability to expand and contract; each has a normal constant tension to which it should return automatically after expanding or contracting.

A muscle that maintains this normal tension or "snap" is said to have "tone." The proper foundation garment, cor­rectly fitted, helps the healthy figure to keep tone, and pro­vides support for the figure whose muscles have lost tone.

Fat Tissues: There is fat tissue among the cells of muscles and other soft parts of the body. This tissue stores nutri­ment; however, overeating, lack of exercise or glandular dis­turbance can bring about a condition of excess fat. This, in turn, may slow down the activity of the muscles so that they become heavier, and often pendulous.

A corsetiere must know how to help support and control excess fat by scientific fitting.

The Breasts: The breasts are called "mammary glands" by physiologists. They are composed of many separate glands which are called lobes. Each lobe opens onto the skin at the nipple. Connective tissue holds the mammary glands to the chest wall, and sends fibers into the fatty tissue filling in between the lobes. These fibers form the only strong sup­porting construction of the breast. Fatty tissue surrounds the lobes and fills in between them.

The amount of fatty tissue and the support provided by connective tissue determine the bust development—its size and contour.

Whether selling a brassiere or an all-in-one, the utmost care should be exercised in fitting this part of the figure. Serious consequences can follow improper fitting. While the bust may be molded and controlled, it must never be con­stricted.

The Abdomen: In fitting corsets, girdles or all-in-ones, knowing something about the anatomy of the abdomen is essential.

The abdomen is the largest cavity in the human body. Its walls are made of muscles and connective tissue whose func­tion is support of the abdomen. It is really a muscular bag, with only the spine to give it bony support.

The muscles composing the walls of the abdomen run in different directions, and in several layers, complementing and balancing each other. The abdomen is "roofed" by the dome-shaped muscle called the diaphragm and has the mus­cular layers closing the bottom of the pelvis as a floor.

Many vital organs are in the abdominal cavity. They in­clude the stomach and intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys and reproductive organs. Important blood vessels and nerves pass through the abdomen. The flexible walls of the region should retain their tension and strength in order to keep the organs in their proper relative position and prevent the organs from dropping.

It is easy to understand why the selection and fitting of foundation garments for this part of the body demands knowledge, skill and conscientious consideration.

The Four Laws of Expert Fitting

These are the time-honored rules that the truly profes­sional corsetiere follows religiously. The success of the all­important final step—the actual fitting of the garment—is determined by how conscientiously you follow them.

1. Measuring: Any professional inspires confidence by the way he handles his tools. You, the skilled corsetiere, will convince the customer that she is being served by a true pro­fessional by the manner in which you handle yours.

Your tape measure is your tool. Develop a sure touch—and your customer will have the same faith in you as a corsetiere that she would have in a doctor or dentist who handles his instruments adroitly.

Don't crowd her. Stand to one side of your customer when you take her measurements. Never make comments about the proportions of her figure.

Take an accurate measurement. Hold the tape measure snugly against the skin or undergarment—but don't pull it


too tight! Always make sure that the tape measure is straight. Make it a point to read your tape measure accu­ rately the first time. Don't be awkward or hesitant in this phase of your job. Let the customer see that you have confi­ dence in yourself, and she'll have confidence in you.

If you feel that your technique can stand more polishing practice on friends and co-workers for the sure touch.

For girdles or corsets, measure: (a) waist; (b) hips at fullest part; (c) length from waist to under thighs.

For the all-in-one, measure: (a) bust around fullest part; (b) length from under bust to waist; (c) waist; (d) hips around fullest part; (e) length from waist to under thighs.

For the bandeau or brassiere, measure: (a) bust around fullest part; (b) length from under bust to waist.

2. Classifying: As an experienced corsetiere you're able to get a fairly good idea of the customer's figure type the mo­ment you look at her.

While you're taking her measurements, you have the ideal opportunity to complete the picture. Your hand will come into contact with her body and give you a chance to judge the condition of her flesh.

Make mental notes. Observe her bony structure and the condition of her flesh while you're measuring her. Here's where you start making mental notes of the garments you will select to show her. Bony structure may be the reason for her larger proportions.

If her size is the result of large bones rather than flesh, select: (1) a garment that will not chafe or rub the joints; (2) a model that controls, as bony structure cannot be molded.

Flesh may be soft and flabby, or firm and solid. If the flesh is soft, select: (1) a garment with sufficient width and length to redistribute the flesh without producing bulges over and below the garment; (2) a garment that supports soft flesh at abdomen and waist; (3) a garment that sup ports the large bust without constricting it. If the flesh is firm, select: (1) a garment with greater molding quality, more resiliency; (2) a garment with firm control, even for the slender figure.

Pay particular attention to the part of the body for which you are going to select a garment:

If it's a girdle, judge flesh, upper and lower abdomens, hips, thigh and buttocks.

If it's an all-in-one, consider the shoulders, back, bust, upper and lower abdomen, hips, thighs and buttocks.

If it's a bandeau or brassiere, judge flesh and shoulders.

If it's a wide brassiere, consider shoulders, upper abdo­men and condition of the flesh.

3. Selecting: Now you're equipped to select the garment that will meet all the requirements of your customer's figure type and her activities.

You've taken her measurements accurately. While you were doing it, you judged her bony structure and the con­dition of her flesh and you now know her figure type.

You've been tactful in questioning her about the kind of life she leads. You've encouraged her to talk, and she's told you about her major activities and what she expects in a foundation.

You tabulate the facts. If her work demands that she sit at a desk all day, you will see that she's fitted to a founda­tion that supports the back and restrains the buttocks, which might otherwise tend to spread.

If she's a young housewife whose children keep her on the go all day long, you fit her to a garment that will give her both support and freedom. Regardless of her occupa­tion, it's your duty to provide her with a foundation that meets the demands of her daily life.

Your stock. There's a foundation in your stock for all the basic figure types and all these varying activities. With your thorough knowledge of your merchandise, you make the perfect selection.

In making your selection, never show the customer more than three models at one time. More may tend to confuse her; fewer may lead her to believe that you are not able to offer her a wide selection.

Guide her in making her decision. Since the customer looks to. you as the expert, you are able to guide her in mak­ing the proper selection.

She may favor one type of garment because she has become used to it. However, you may know that another is better suited to her needs. Diplomatically, you can suggest the change. If you are able to explain your reasons, it will be easy to convince her. After she's worn it, she'll be grate­ful to you—and she'll come back!

No matter what type of garment you select, be sure that: (1) it supports the spine and keeps the abdominal muscles and organs in place; that it protects the breast. tissue; (2) if it is to be worn for strenuous work or sports, it's strong enough to protect but light enough to give freedom for action.

Remember, proper figure control: (1) helps to hold sag­ging muscles and flabby flesh in their normal positions; (2) helps firm flesh to retain its normal shape; (3) is an aid to health arid comfort as well as beauty.

4. Fitting: You've measured and classified her figure ac­curately; you've selected accordingly. Now you're ready for the final and most important step—the actual fitting of the garment.

The try-on technique. The experienced corsetiere uses a different technique for each type of garment.

Your fitting room manner, however, is always the same—gracious and unhurried. Take all the time necessary to dis­cuss fully the fabrics and other highlights of the garment. Polnt out the features that are especially adapted to the customer's figure. Notice any flaws in the way the garment fits before she does and immediately suggest another.


The Girdle:

  1. Open the hooks and slide fastener and have your customer step into the girdle.
  2. Make sure that the center front is correctly placed. Then pull the girdle up above the point at which it will be worn.
  1. Start hooking it at the bot­tom and work up. Then pull it down to its correct position on the body and fasten the slide fastener.

The All-in-One:

  1. Slip the all-in-one over her head; try not to muss her hair.
  2. Be sure that the garment is on straight. Adjust hip and waist. Pull it down over hips and fasten back garters.
  3. Start at the top and fasten two or three hooks. Have the customer bend forward so that the breasts drop nor­mally into the bust cups before you fasten the balance of the hooks, or slide fastener.

The Elastic Step-In:

When fitting the boneless girdle or all-in-one of the all­elastic step-in type, turn the garment inside out, with the hose supporters at the top. Have the customer step into the garment and pull it well above her knees. Then have her roll it into place. Stress the importance of grasping the gar­ment by the garters to avoid piercing the elastic with the fingernails.

The same rule applies to elastic all-in-ones as to the regu­ lar all-in-one. The bustline should be fitted by having the customer bend forward to allow the breasts to drop nor­mally into the cups.

The Inner Belt Corset:

Whether in girdles or in all-in-ones, inner belts are de­signed for abdominal support. The inner belt all-in-one should be slipped on over the head; the girdle may be stepped into.

Fasten the inner belt; then pull the garment down and straighten it on the body. Before fastening the inner belt, be sure that all flesh is held up by the abdominal support.

Laced Corset

The Laced Corset:

Before the try-on of the front or back-laced garment, the back boning should be shaped by bending it out at the top and at the bottom.

The Laced Corset

Fasten the top and bottom hooks of outside closure. Then fasten from bottom up.

Have the customer step into the girdle; then clasp the hooks or close the slide fastener. Pull the lacing in at the waist just enough to hold the garment in position.

Laced Corset

Fasten the back supporters; then adjust the lacing to fit the figure, first straightening the garment. Fasten the garters which have first been adjusted to the proper length.

The correctly fitted laced garment laces evenly from top to bottom — never closer than 2 or 3 inches.

Laced CorsetLaced Corset

When removing the laced garment, caution your cus­tomer always to unlace it before trying to unhook it. Stress the necessity of al­ways relacing this type of garment each time she puts it on since abdominal meas­urements change from day to day.

The Front Clasp:

Hold the girdle around the customer and fasten the hooks in the following order: (1) second hook; (2) third and fourth hook; (3) top hook.

Always make sure that the garment is well anchored under the buttocks. Then fasten the back garters; hooks and eyes below clasp.

Make it a rule to see that your customer understands thoroughly how the various closures should be fastened. This is important to her, for it will add to the life and service of her new foundation.

The Brassiere or Bandeau:

Be sure that the brassiere fits comfortably across the under-breast. It should not fit so tightly that it cuts into the flesh or makes breathing difficult. Neither should it cause rolls of flesh to appear above and below the back.

Check the depth of the bust cup. Be sure that it is full enough to accommodate the breast development.

When you fit the long brassiere, consider the length of the rib line so that there will be no downpull on the breasts, causing strain.

Fitting Surgical Supports

Fitting surgical supports requires a high degree of skill obtained only through specialized training and actual experi­ence in the fitting rooms. Such training equips the sales­person to measure and fit the customer correctly, whatever her individual problem.

Customers in need of surgical supports will come to you with a doctor's prescription. It is vital that the fitter never prescribe. Only the doctor knows enough to make a diag­nosis.

In some cases a doctor will not specifically prescribe, but advise a customer to buy a certain type of support for func­tional or occupational reasons. Such a customer put you on your mettle, for the doctor has allowed you a certain amount of leeway in making a selection. In some cases your respon­sibility is great, and you must exercise the utmost care in the selection.

In no case must the fitter deviate from the doctor's pre­scription or general recommendation. Doing a conscientious, professional job is important:

To your customer—in providing a sense of physical well- being and comfort;

To you—because it will continue to bring you recom- mendations from the physician.

Cases requiring surgical supports. Your stock will include supports designed especially for pre-natal, post-natal and post-operative cases.

Illness, childbirth, poor posture, accident or glandular irregularities are contributing causes to the following condi­tions, which also make special supports necessary:

  1. Pendulous bust or abdomen
  2. Extreme obesity
  3. Serious faults of posture
  4. Sacroiliac displacement
  5. Fallen organs (visceroptosis)
  6. Hernia.

In fitting these special supports, apply your professional knowledge to each customer's requirement. In all cases in­struct your customer in how to put on her support and have her check it with her physician.

Maternity supports. Gynecologists often recommend a ma­ternity support from the early months of pregnancy. A well­designed scientific pre-natal support builds a foundation around the pelvis; supports the abdomen without compres­sion, and gives aid to the lower spine and muscles of the back and thighs. This, in turn, relieves strain. on the neck, legs and feet. Such a support should be readjusted at least once a month.

Naturally, in the ninth month, changes in the condition of the mother-to-be require considerable adjustment of the support.

Be sure your customer for a maternity support understands the importance of these periodic adjustments. Unless they are properly made by a skilled fitter, much of the beneficial effect of the garment may be lost, and actual harm may result.

After baby arrives. A different type of support is necessary after the birth of the baby. The walls of the abdomen tend to be lax and flabby and do not recover strength until after eight or ten weeks have passed. Care must be taken that the weak condition of the abdominal muscles does not become permanent.

Once the mother is on her feet, she should have a support that will aid the abdomen and steady and protect, but not compress, the pelvic joints. Physicians often recommend that post-natal supports be fitted in a reclining position.

Lay the groundwork for your customer's health and your own future sales when you sell a maternity support. Remind your customer then that her pre-natal garment is only suit- able for that period--that after the baby is born, a different type of support will be necessary.

Does Your Fitting Meet the Test?

Yes . . . if it meets the requirements at vital points.

Yes . . . if only minor alterations are necessary.

You're selling comfort. If there's any one thing for which the customer must rely on you completely—it's comfort.

She can't possibly judge by the fitting room try-on how much comfort the garment will afford when she lives and moves in it all day long.

She is, after all, buying an article that becomes part of herself as well as part of daily life. And only one with your experience can know the vital points that must be checked and tested for comfort.

When she stands, check the vital points indicated in the sketch on page 31. In an all-in-one, check all of these points for correct fit. In a girdle, the same below-the-waist points apply; the same above-the-waist points in a bandeau or brassiere.

Then ask her to sit down and check the following vital points. (Never be satisfied with her assurance that the garment "feels comfortable.")

  1. Sufficient length to take care of her back which becomes longer in the sitting position.
  2. Room for waist to expand when she sits.
  3. Room for diaphragm expansion.
  4. Sufficient room in the skirt of the garment to ac­commodate her thighs when she sits.
  5. Enough length for comfort in shoulder straps and garters.
  6. In a boned garment, the bones should curve with her figure when she sits.

Have her bend: if she is not stout, ask her to bend over and pick up something from the floor. If the garment wrinkles or rides up, or is crooked on her figure when she straightens up, it should be adjusted or a new one tried on.

Do not allow major alterations. If the garment passes the test of all of these points, you can be sure that you've done a good job of fitting. If it falls short in certain ways, there are a few minor alterations you can make with safety.

However, if a garment requires extensive alterations, be quick to realize that you have made the wrong selection. With your present stock—wide style and size ranges—major alterations would be practically non-existent. If you find yourself making them, check every step of your fitting technique.

  1. Garters—If the garter is too long, pin it to the right length; then fasten it and make sure that the customer can sit and bend her knees without undue strain on her stockings.
  2. Shoulder Straps—If they cut into flesh, line them with plush. If they tend to slip off the shoulder, place them slightly closer together at front and back.
  3. 3. Boning—Many garments have removable bones which make it possible to substitute longer or shorter boning, de­pending on your customer's needs. However, if too much adjustment is necessary, the garment is not the right one for the figure.
        In order that the boning does not cut into the flesh or cause it to bulge, it should be checked on the figure in the standing, sitting and walking positions.
        The width between the bones should also be carefully checked to see that the bones are in the places where they give the figure the most support and control.
  4. Waistline Darts—When a customer has an unusually small waistline, darts are sometimes necessary.
  5. Underarm Darts—When the bust and shoulders are un- developed, darts in the underarm section of an all-in-one are occasionally necessary.
  6. Darts Between Bones—When the top or bottom of a laced garment laces closer than 2, inches, small darts should be taken between the bones in the portion of the garment that is too large.

The Bra

In recent years the bra has been an important accomplice of the silhouette. It will profit you to know how to sell it.

Judge your customer's figure type to determine which of the three brassiere lengths is best suited to her needs—a bandeau, brassiere or long line bra.

  1. The bandeau is designed primarily for the junior figure. The shortest of the trio, it has either no band or a very narrow one, beneath the breast cup. It is intended for the figure whose breast muscles are firm and needs no mid­riff control.
  2. The brassiere has a band extending from one to three inches over the diaphragm. It provides a firmer uplift for the woman with heavier breasts than the junior and offers more diaphragm control.
  3. The long line brassiere is the ideal garment for your conservative, full-figured customer. It provides real midriff control and smooth distribution of flesh in this area.

Know the Highlights

Keep yourself up to date on the special features in all of these three lengths. Whether your customer is buying a long line, or regular brassiere, she is interested in learning about the purpose of its construction and what it will do for her.

The Bias Cut of some of the bras you will find in your stock is used as a means of achieving uplift. It also makes for eye appeal and that "custom look."

Elastic used as an inset between the breast cups is the designer's method of creating division. Gussets of elastic at the sides of the regular and long line bras make for dia­phragm and midriff control. Generous sections of elastic also contributes to better fit and more freedom.

Liberal use of elastic is also a means of creating the new rounded, accented bustline. Its uses range from a whole elasticized net back section to a complete elasticized net bra, save for the upper cup section which may be of marquisette or net.

Wiring in bras goes all the way from the completely wired breast cup to a "U" shaped section of wire in the center of the plunging neckline bra. All are highly effective in achiev­ing division.

Boning is another means of creating separation and uplift. You'll find under the bust boning in long line bras to control the diaphragm. The strapless bra depends either on boning or wiring to keep it in position.

The cleverly boned or wired strapless bra will have special appeal for your style-minded customer. With a narrow ruffled edge around the top, this type is delightfully reminiscent of the Gay Nineties.

Straps serve to aid in supporting the bustline as well as holding up the bra itself. In some cases the strap forks out to join each cup in two places, giving added support for heavier breasts.

Nylon straps are a new feature designed to sustain the weight of the bust more effectively and with less pressure at the strapline.

Some boned or wired bras have versatile straps that can be slipped over the shoulder for off-the-shoulder necklines. Fabrics are varied and are being used ingeniously. An all­nylon long line, light as a feather, offers effective midriff control for the fuller figure. Nylon marquisette, nets and laces are cleverly combined with satins and other materials. Batiste continues to hold its place as the dependable, long­wearing bra for strenuous activities and every day use. All-satin scores high for its dual value of eye-appeal and sturdy support.

Translate Her Needs to Your Stock

Judge your customer's figure and personal tastes and analyze her needs. Here again, try to key the brassiere to her activities.

Sell the junior a bra that will be comfortable on the tennis court and the bowling alley.

Suggest the more spectacular high-style designs to the young fashion-conscious business woman or housewife. Show the more conservative, matronly woman a long line that will provide comfort and support.

Be familiar with each bra in your stock and prepare your­self to run the gamut of figure types and activities.

The Fitting Room is a "Must"

Many customers will be reluctant to go to the fitting room for what they consider so standard an item as a bra. It's your duty to insist on a try-on. Stress the importance of a fitting in terms of health as well as beauty. As a professional cor­setiere, you know how to be firm yet diplomatic. It's up to you to convince the customer that she cannot afford to dispense with a fitting.

The Four Steps of Your Fitting Technique

  1. Measure—Pass tape measure around fullest part of nude breast. If your customer prefers to wear old bra during measurement, subtract several inches from the total measure­ment, since the bra lifts and pushes out the breast, increasing size.
  2. Classify—Notice the size of breasts to determine cup size needed in the bra. Many manufacturers make their bras in several cup sizes, ranging from "A" for small development to "D" for very full development.
    Judge the condition of the breast muscles and the amount of support needed in a bra. Judge whether or not your cus­tomer will need a long line to control the midriff.
  3. Select—Don't confuse her by showing her too many styles. Three is the approved number. Choose a trio that suits her figure requirements and try to have them as varied as possible in fabric and styling.
  4. Fitting
    1. (a) Hold the bra in front of your customer and let her slip into it.
    2. Ask your customer to bend forward so that the breasts fall into position in the cups. (If a long line, fasten the bottom two hooks first. If a front closing brassiere, let her slip into it like a vest, and fasten from top down, adjusting breasts afterward, so they fit properly into cups. )
    3. Fasten back closings. The brassiere should not have to be hooked on the last set of eyes to fit properly. This should be held in reserve for use after laundering.
    4. Adjust shoulder straps. Make sure that the straps are the correct length so that the proper support is given without cutting into shoulders.

Some Don'ts on the Fit

Don't crowd the breasts into cups that are too small. This destroys the all-important separation by pushing the breasts toward the center and sides.

Don't flatten the bust by tightening the brassiere. Or don't fit a brassiere too tightly in an attempt to make a large bust appear smaller. Both injure the tissues and are extremely dangerous.

Don't raise the shoulder straps too high to achieve the desired uplift. This must be accomplished by the bra itself. The breast must rest in the cup in a normal position.

Don't fit the pendulous bust in a sagging position. Ask the customer to lift the breasts into place while you fasten the garment.

Don't fit small breasts in cups that are too large. If the breasts are excessively small, suggest bust pads.

Don't allow bulges of flesh to appear under the arms or at the back of the bra. If this happens, a larger size is required.

Don't fit the under-bust band too tightly. It should fit snugly, but should not cut into flesh and cause bulges of flesh below it. If it does, the bra is too tight.

Corset Wardrobe

Your customer will be convinced of the wisdom of a foundation wardrobe when you point out its many advan­tages to her. The smart corsetiere knows that she is rendering a service to her customer when she sells the wardrobe­building idea.

Awaken your customer to its advantages in terms of thrift as well as fashion value. She may resist the idea at first, feel­ing that she's merely indulging a whim in buying two girdles instead of one. It's up to you to show her that a corset ward­robe is as practical as it is pleasant.

Tell her why it's thrifty. The life of any one foundation is greatly increased if it is alternated with one or two others. The more frequent launderings made possible by a corset wardrobe also helps to extend the wearability of each garment.

The customer who hasn't already discovered this will be grateful for the information. It's one of your most potent selling points in the corset wardrobe campaign.

Dramatize the fashion value. From a fashion standpoint, every woman needs more than one foundation. Whether she's a college girl or a middle-aged matron, her activities vary to the extent of her wardrobe including everything from suits to playclothes and afternoon dresses.

College girl and housewife alike spend a good deal of time in that comfortable, reliable tailored suit. Both need several girdles with good waist and hip control for this popular mem­ber of their wardrobe.

The junior needs a two-way for her more strenuous sports activities. But for evening a well-cut glamor garment gives her a wonderful feeling of elegance and luxury.

The woman with the fuller figure is just as eager to find eye-appeal in her foundation. True, she needs a few sturdy garments for everyday wear. But a pretty, cleverly designed all-in-one for afternoon and evening dresses can give her the support she needs and make her feel years younger at the same time.

They'll all enjoy owning a corset wardrobe if the idea is presented dramatically and if the wardrobe is planned on the basis of fashion and function. It's your job to help every cus­tomer assemble this kind of a wardrobe.

Corset Care

Your customer will be grateful for a few gentle hints on the kind of treatment her new foundation likes to receive. Remind her that corsets respond enthusiastically to proper laundering and handling.

Here are the health tips that insure the long, happy life of her new foundation:


  1. Use lukewarm water and mild suds when washing a corset by hand. Fasten closing and turn wrong side out.
  2. Never soak a soiled garment for more than ten min- utes. And never rub two surfaces of the foundation together.
  3. Squeeze suds gently through the garment. Always use a soft brush or soaped Turkish towel to rub out soiled spots.
  4. Always rinse three times in clear, lukewarm water.
  5. Never twist or wring the garment. Squeeze out excess water gently; pat the balance out with a Turkish towel.
  6. If the garment is laundered in a washing machine, always place it in a net bag. Then let washer run for 10 minutes. Drain and wash again for 10 minutes.
  7. Re-shape the garment into its original lines and place on a Turkish towel to dry.
  8. Never iron elastic.
  9. Iron only the fabric portions of the corset — and on the wrong side. Use a warm iron.
  10. Keep the garment in good condition, making minor repairs such as patching holes and replacing elastic.
  11. Have the corset department make any major repairs that are necessary.
  12. Make a habit of reading the label on the new founda­tion carefully. It gives step-by-step instructions on the care and laundering of the new garment. Treasure it until the garment has outlived its usefulness.


  1. Don't grab and pull when getting into the foundation. Slip it on gently.
  2. Always keep the bottom hook of a step-in fastened. This prevents tearing through the body of the gar­ment.