Lingerie Addict Undercover: My Review of Intimacy Boutique Atlanta
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Lingerie Addict Undercover: My Review of Intimacy Boutique Atlanta

Edit: Susan Nethero, the founder of Intimacy, responded in the comments section of this blog post. Scroll down to comment #11 to read her reply. 

Edit 2: After this piece was published, I discovered that Van de Velde, the manufacturer behind Marie Jo, Prima Donna, and L'Aventure (i.e. the majority of the bras I tried on) owns an 85% stake in Intimacy.

If you only have a minute to read this, here's what you need to know about Intimacy:

I will never visit them again.

If you want to know why, then definitely keep reading.

Before I give a rundown of my visit, though, I feel it's important to tell you that I rarely buy lingerie or go to lingerie boutiques under the guise of "The Lingerie Addict." As a customer-centric blog, it’s important for me to get an authentic customer experience. I want to know how stores treat you, the everyday customer... not how they treat the press.

Because I buy most of my lingerie online, it’s almost always a special occasion when I visit a boutique. I don't go to a brick-and-mortar store because of the brands they carry (which, let's face it, you can buy anywhere) but because of the human element. When I visit a lingerie store, it's because I want the kind of personalized customer experience you can only get face-to-face.

I’ve talked before about what a customer can do to make their visit to a lingerie boutique more enjoyable, but I haven't talked much here about what boutiques can do to make customers want to visit. So just to recap one of my articles for The Lingerie Journal a few months ago, here are a few things I expect when I visit a lingerie boutique:

  1. A greeting when I walk in the store. Even if you’re busy with another customer, a simple “Welcome to our boutique. Someone will be right with you,” is all it takes.
  2. A expert salesperson who is knowledgeable about every brand and style in your store.
  3. A clean, organized, and well-lit boutique.

For those who've not heard of it before, Intimacy is an Atlanta-based lingerie boutique founded by Susan Nethero, aka “The Bra Whisperer.” With 14 different big-city locations (and that world-famous Oprah appearance), Intimacy is one of America's most recognized names in lingerie. Their reputation is one of expert lingerie advice, unmatched bra-fitting skill, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

So where did things go wrong?

Well, things immediately started off on a sour note when, upon entering the store, I was greeted with... silence. There was no "Welcome to Intimacy." There was no "Good afternoon." There wasn't even a basic "Hello." Let me be clear... there were at least five people at the cash register alone when I walked in, and not a single one bothered to take a break from the conversation with her co-workers to say "Hi." That is completely unacceptable.

After a few seconds, I gave my name to a woman standing at a podium near the front. She then handed me a brochure with a questionnaire about my bra needs and told me to take a seat. Left to my own devices, I flipped through several dirty and torn magazines at a particleboard coffee table until my name was called.

Considering that there were only three other customers in the store, it didn't take long for one of their expert bra fitters to call my name and escort me to a fitting room. She took a look at my questionnaire, and appeared utterly confused when I didn’t have any bra fitting issues circled. I immediately got the feeling that their experts had been given a script, and without the customary question-and-answer dance she seemed lost.

In an effort to resolve the awkwardness, I told the expert how I'd heard about their boutique online and just had to visit since I was in town. I emphasized that I was open to any advice, expertise, or bras she brought for me to try.

After asking me to remove my top, the fitter dispensed some basic bra advice (i.e. most of the support comes from the band and you should never put your bras in the dryer). She then spent the next several minutes scolding me by pointing out all the “obvious” flaws with my black Calvin Klein bra. I was told the bra was making my breasts sag, cutting them in half, and that it was completely unflattering.

She went on to say that the European bras Intimacy stocks are far superior in quality to anything American companies produce. I asked her what made them better, and got another confused look. Since my fitter wasn't very good with going off script, I suggested that maybe it was time for the bra fitting.

Intimacy prides itself on a "holistic" approach to fitting. I’d read a bit about this tape-free fitting method ahead of time, so my curiosity was definitely piqued... especially since I already know my bra size (34B). So imagine my surprise when the fitter gave me a once-over and promptly announced that I was a 32D.

I am not a 32D.

I attempted to tell the fitter that I was fairly confident my back size was not so small, but she insisted I was a 32D and brought about six bras in that size. Unsurprisingly, not a single one fit.

After that lackluster experience, my bra fitter explained that Intimacy's "holistic" approach meant they fit a bra to my body instead of vice versa. Now, before you get too impressed, what that "holistic" approach really means is they bring you about a dozen bras in different styles and sizes and you try them all on ---alone --- until one fits.

I'm sorry, but that’s not a “holistic bra fitting." That’s basic trial and error. And I can do that in the privacy of my own home.

Almost all the bras the fitter brought me were by three brands all housed under the same company — Marie Jo, Prima Donna, and L’Aventure. I'm fairly knowledgeable about lingerie, but these are not names that come to mind when someone says "European lingerie." And they're certainly not names I think of when I think "luxury lingerie."

A dozen bras later, I still hadn't found one that “wowed” me. They all looked boring, old, and stodgy. When I asked for more lacy, feminine lingerie, I was brought a bra from Simone Perele (the same one The Boyfriend bought me for Christmas, actually) and a Le Mystere piece, but nothing that felt unique or special.

Still, I don't like to leave a boutique without buying at least one piece, so I asked for the Simone Perele bra and panty in another colorway. The bra fitter seemed visibly disappointed that I wasn't interested in buying more, but left to find the matching panty. And that was when I got to see how truly disorganized the store was. I could only watch as the bra fitter rummaged through drawer after overstuffed drawer of wadded-up, wrinkly panties that weren’t organized by style, brand, size, or color. I felt embarrassed for them, and was almost relieved when she couldn't find my size among the disarray.

I don't know how Intimacy was back in the day, but right now their Atlanta store today is drab, dated, and disorganized. It was not a welcoming or friendly environment, and their selection left much to be desired. I was expecting an intimate lingerie shopping experience, and instead wound up feeling like I was in a department store… and not the high end kind of department store either.

Intimacy Atlanta shows me how someone can visit a luxury boutique for the first time, feel underwhelmed by the whole experience, and resolve to never visit another one again. You only have one opportunity to make a good impression, and if that had been my first experience to the world of luxury lingerie, I’d have been very turned off.

In summary, Intimacy is a store coasting on its reputation. They caught the golden ring of an Oprah appearance, and stopped innovating. Unfortunately for them, a customer entering your store cares less about your Oprah appearance five years ago, and more about what you can do for them today. And no one wants to pay high prices for meh, mediocre, or unremarkable.

Have you visited any of Intimacy's boutiques? What did you think of them? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments.

Article Tags :
Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

79 Comments on this post

  1. Erin Rife says:

    I love lingerie. Thanks for sharing your blog on wearing lingerie.

  2. Never Again says:

    THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED EVENT ………..I’ve had the SAME Horrible experience not once but TWICE!!! As I tried to see if they were just having a bad day the first time………still I was NOT greeted and was treated as if the sales person had to rush to another event very impatient and I spent 400.00 both times and I had to tell them thank you!!!! I have NEVER been back and wont be going back.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Oh I am soo glad to have found this discussion about Intimacy! I have been a customer there for years and I do not like the store nor have for many years. It is so true what you have written about getting anyone to speak to you when you come through the doors. One of the other complaints I have is the pricing of their bras. It has gotten ridiculous. I can go to a french website and get what I want sent to me for a lot, lot less. I don’t know if anyone will read this but at least I have gotten to “voice” my opinion over some of their issues at Intimacy. Merci,

  4. m. castleberry says:

    I happened to run across this blog entry while searching for something else, and I have to tell you–I also am unimpressed by the Atlanta Intimacy (now Rigby & Peller, though I’ve not visited since the rebranding) store. I first went about 11 years ago, as a gift from someone. I had a great fitter, and a wonderful experience. I went back a few years later, got a different fitter, and was put in the WRONG SIZE bra. I happened to mention that though my rib cage was 29 inches around, I was put into size 32 bras. Oh, WOW what a mistake that was. My fitter decided I was therefore a 30x (x standing in for my actual cup size). So I ended up taking home 2 bras that before long I realized were too small in the cup. Because not all “x”‘s are equal–the size of the cups vary based on band size–even in the same letter.

    I have returned a time or two since then but only to the fitter I had that first time.

  5. Alicia says:

    I’ve shopped at Intimacy and had similar issues, unfortunately. I’m from around Philadelphia,Pennsylvania.
    I first went in to browse, and while I did receive help, at least one person had the incorrect information on size conversion..

    I went in several times and two different people told me that “30E here is 30X”. The one that was obviously wtong, was the one who sent me to the equivalent of 30F drawer. Heck, there were 30G’s in there!

    Anyway, the MOST annoying part of the experience was actually the lack of much wanted help.
    I don’t expect a greeting, which I did get, but it pretty much stopped there unless I “grabbed someone by the collat”. Really, it took a lot to get any help, and when I have found help, the ladies there have been awfully rude and in a hurry to get away as fast as possible..and disappear.

    I went in to switch from my 32D to a 30DD and wanted to try 30E’s.
    I asked someone for 30DD, they asked what sise I was wearing, and they said I didn’t really need a smaller band unless I had a bigger bust. Gteat method of making a sale:”uh you don’t really need to be here.” Is what I heard.

    I asked to be fitted, because mt 32D wasn’t tacking, and no one pulled out a measuring tape, they just hurriedly came in, told take off my top, and said it looked fine.

    I helped myself from there on out. Figured out what drawer to look in for 30E. Surprise, they tacked and fit much better.
    I will never shop there again.

  6. Susan Wilson says:

    I was so shocked at your review and can only think there were some new people and a bad day! I have gone to the King of Prussia store in PA twice and I can’t praise them enough! The first time was because I won a silent auction bid. I went and even though I had a gift certificate was treated as if I was spending a million dollars. I have NEVER had a bra that fit right and had marks constantly on my shoulders and pain in the as well as underwire marks! They literally just LOOKED at me with clothes on (and I wear baggy shirts) and fitted me right THE FIRST TIME. I purchased two and have had them for well over two years and was them a couple times a week in the washer and drying WITH other clothes and they have held up like new!!!!! I went in recently thinking I better get a few new ones since I do wash them after ever wear and there were four girls there and they all stopped talking as soon as I walked in and greeted me and were so nice. I chose not to buy at that time because they did not have my size (they were going to order and ship for free directly but I chose not to) and they wrote down the size and STILL treated me wonderful!!!! I sent my 78 year old Aunt and she said the same, loved them and the bra! So maybe make a trip to King of Prussia, PA!

  7. Emily says:

    Hi! I know this post is from a few years back but I wanted to leave a comment. Personally, Intimacy is hands down one of my favorite boutiques. I’ve been in the store maybe 3 times in the past 5 years and have had nothing but good experiences, personally. However, I live about a 3 hr plane ride from the nearest Intimacy.. I’m in Vancouver BC. Personally, I’m just jealous of all you American girls for having good bra boutiques in general! Unfortunately, here in Van, there’s nothing quite like that. There are boutiques that people like here.. Treacle if you’ve ever visited maybe you’ve heard of Diane’s Lingerie? Probably the most popular here. However, it doesn’t quite compare.
    Also @Jodi, you live in NYC? How lucky because you’re probably not far from Linda’s Bra Salon! She has a few locations in NY. I’ve been fitted by her myself.
    Ps @Treacle where do you like to shop in Seattle? I’ve been to Nancy Meyers but, other than the fact that they have stunning 200$ bras, they had nothing in my size and didn’t offer alterations.

    • Cora says:

      I usually shop at BelleFleur (in Fremont) if I feel the need to visit a brick and mortar store. I’ve been to Nancy Meyer, but their customer service is so appalling (my last time, they literally acted like they didn’t want to sell me a bra), I haven’t gone back in awhile. I plan to stop by the new Intimacy flagship in NYC the next time I’m in Manhattan.

  8. Erica says:

    Intimacy – Paramus, NJ (Garden State Plaza/Westfield Mall location)
    Hello all,
    I am surprised about the stories I’ve read. I went to Intimacy a year ago and was stunned to find how wrong my beloved-Victoria’s Secret had been. I never understood my bra troubles and blamed it on my breast shape and rib frame. All though the women at the cash register (2 or 3) were less friendly and approaching than those at Victoria’s Secret, they did greet me and the woman I dealt with directly was very helpful. I told her she must be mistaken when she was in the fitting room with me telling me about how my bra straps were giving all of the support, not because my bra size was slightly off, but because it was surprisingly off! I was being told I was a 38C bordering on 40 and I was actually a 34D! I was measured at Victoria’s Secret countless times and got answers around the same time-period varying from 38B to 38C (being told I wasn’t far from a 40).
    My chest has been changing lately and I am looking forward to being re-sized. Although I like my Intimacy bras, my budget is small so I honestly was hoping to find another great place with bras that are under $100 but had knowledgeable staff. This is partially because I thought my chest was done growing as I am 22 but I was apparently mistaken and want to get a bra to tie me over until I’m confident my size is stabilized. I don’t know of anywhere else with staff that could simply know if my bra fit right or not so will likely go back, get sized, and get a bra at another time.
    The main downside to me about Intimacy (besides price as I was in university at the time) was variety. I was hoping to find a bra with a little padding and pushup (no additional cups, just for support) but no underwire so that I could wear it when I wanted more comfort. I was told they had one pushup bra that I might like and nothing else similar. Otherwise, I really enjoyed my experience including the service I received. I would love to be resized there and would suggest it for you to try if in the area.

  9. Jackie Krueger says:

    I had the great misfortune of starting my bridal shopping with a visit to the Intimacy at 900 N Michigan in Chicago. I went in specifically asking to be fitted for a strapless bra that I need to try on bridal gowns. The first thing that made me uncomfortable was that in addition to strapless bras, the sales associate brought back a red lace bra with straps (that was ridiculously overpriced, $150). Why would I need a red lace bra with straps to go shopping for bridal gowns? I don’t. It got worse from there. They obviously didn’t have anything in the store that would fit me properly and instead of admitting to that, proceeded to fit me into bras that were too small. The worse part is that I was told that I would not be able to find a simple strapless bra in my size “anywhere” so I would have to settle for buying a smaller bra with a bra extender. I fell for this complete lie and bought their crap. This excursion cost over $100 and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on lingerie. I am so angry right now, I never want to set foot in that store again. Called Nordstrom – had a bra in my actual size that I went to buy so I don’t have to feel bad while trying on wedding dresses!

  10. Erin says:

    Im really surprised by your comments regarding your intimacy experience. I have been an intimacy customer since 2009 and have shopped at both the Boston store and the NYC madison avenue store and have had nothing but wonderful experiences. I was actually at the store today as I felt it was time for new bras and instead of the bra fitter bringing me bras in my already know size she gave me a completely new fitting as it had been a year since my fit was done. The fitter then brought me about 10 bras and fit me in EVERY single bra making sure I it fit correctly and the straps were in the correct place. This was not a one time experience- this has happened for me everytime I shop there. Overall I am VERY pleased with intimacy and actually purchased 3 new bras today.

  11. Kathy Springer says:

    I was planning to visit Intimacy in Atlanta this week, and now I’m not so sure I’ll go. It’s a big deal for me to drive all the way to Phipps, and now I’m wondering if it will be worth all the effort.

    I have a very hard time finding bras to fit. I’ve been told by some that I’m a 36C and by others that I’m a 34D. I don’t really know, but you’d think that by the time a woman was my age (I’m in my mid-forties), that detail would have been solved.

    I need someone to help me figure out this dilemma so I can finally get a few bras to fit correctly and comfortably for the first time in my life. At this point, I don’t even care how much the bras cost. It’s not a matter of money anymore, it’s a matter of lifestyle and necessity.

    It’s disappointing to hear that Intimacy isn’t going to be the ‘knight in shining armor’ that I had hoped for, but I’ll continue my search. Someday before I die, I’ll hopefully get a bra that fits correctly!! hahahaha

    Thank you for this review. It is very well written, informative, and complete.

  12. Don says:

    First convince women that they are wearing the wrong Bra size, then come in like the knight in shining armor and bedazzle them with BS. Sounds like a formula that will work for a while, but it’s gonna catch up with you in the long run. Just give, if not great, at least above average, customer service and you will prosper, too bad that Intimacy, after many years in service, has not learned that.

  13. Jennifer says:

    I went to Intimacy in Houston right before Christmas, and I must have lucked out. They remembered my appointment, took me back immediately, and started asking me questions and observing my bras fit. I discovered that I’m a 30D/28E, bought two bras, and wanted to leave with more. The fitter seemed to know what she was doing, and did her best to help with my long running confusion (although the fact that I ended up with two different sizes in different brands sure didn’t help, and I have no clue which size to order online, more due to cost than issues with Intimacy). I’ll be dropping into the Dallas store’s closing sale and hoping for a similar experience to my one in Houston.

  14. 28G Atlanta says:

    I hadn’t been back to Intimacy in YEARS (I’m talking, oh, close to probably 8 or 9- the experience was that bad) but decided to give it a shot again out of desperation last week when a different store was out of my size. Well, apparently I got there JUST as the store was closing for the day (30 minutes earlier than the rest of the stores in the mall, though they don’t even post their hours on the door or window), and, rather than opening the door to speak to me face-to-face, an older woman, keys in hand, insisted on shouting at me through the locked glass doors. . . Seriously. Yes, it’s a pain to continually have to order bras online and return/exchange them just to be able to try them on, but I would SO much rather do that than give this store any of my business- ever. Spare yourself Intimacy’s hollow diatribe and disrespect by shopping elsewhere, too- that emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  15. KSW says:

    My experience was much like the author’s. Very expensive, poor fit and horrible service. Will never visit again.

  16. Shawna says:

    I have visited the Atlanta store, and I would have to agree with your review about the way I was greeted (or rather, not). I did leave with 5 new bras that fit and support well, which is very important, given my size of 38DD. Where I went really wrong was in ordering a bra from them on-line. The bra was too small, even though I ordered the same size I purchased from them. I returned it with the convenient return label they provide, and I have confirmation that it was received 3 weeks ago. I have yet to have a credit hit my card. I have sent 4 emails and left two phone messages, but cannot get a response. This is very frustrating, and I will not shop from them again next time I’m in a town where they have a store.

  17. Rt says:

    What is WKD?

  18. Candy says:

    I visited the Atlanta store and I had a very positive experience. I was met cordially, fitted properly and bought several very nice bras that are comfortable and stylish. I live in Atlanta and I checked out this store before going – I did not have any negative recommendations and it was great for me. I’d say -try it again to the Lingerie Addict and perhaps you will be surprised next time.

    • Treacle says:

      Funny you should say that. I actually stopped by Intimacy again last week during my most recent visit to Atlanta, and found the service to be just as appalling as before.

  19. Nicole says:

    The fitters at the Chicago store are great!!

  20. Blair says:

    I found your blog today and really enjoyed reading the posts.

    I’m very happy to see this truthful and accurate review of Intimacy. I’m an Atlanta native and life long resident. I’ve visited Intimacy a few times and worked at the AMC theatre in Phipps Plaza many years ago. I am very familiar with the store.

    A few year ago I visited the store and had the exact same experience. I wrote a letter to the store owner and manager at the time that I titled “Invisible at Intimacy.” Like you I was never greeted when I entered the store. There were several available clerks. Not one spoke to me or offered me assistance. I had to walk thru the store unassisted to pick out items that appealed to me. I was never offered a “custom bra fitting.” I chalked this up to maybe it was a bad/off day in the store.

    I returned to the store a short time later that year to give them a second chance with my aunt who was in need of a good supportive bra. Again, we were not greeted, we not given custom fitting and were not treated well. I noticed that other customers were being assisted while we were left to “pick out” our own items. When other customers entered the store they were promptly greeted and offered assistance. I was baffled!!

    Needless to say I was very disappointed and have not returned to the store since. I sincerely believe that the clerks in the Phipps store ignore brown women (unless you are Oprah or have a camera). It’s not a good feeling to be ignored in a store when you are there to make a purchase.

    I am sharing my experience here as I believe that their behavior is NOT an isolated incident but it’s the “way they conduct business.” Recounting this experience makes me feel very sad all over again.

    I was not impressed by the selection nor the service or experience at Intimacy and would never recommend that my friends or family visit the store.

  21. UpliftMaximizationTechnician says:

    Wow. To begin, I have posted a few comments under the name “BreastWhisperer” here in the past. I will definitely no longer be doing so, because I do not wish to be confused with the owner of Intimacy. To be completely clear, I have nothing to do with Intimacy, and work out of a boutique in Canada, where I have been a fitter for several years.

    So many thoughts on this. Treacle, I’m sorry you had a poor experience. A bad bra fitting is something that can really scar a woman. I’ve had to undo a lot of hurt, anger, and misinformation that women have encountered at other boutiques. Even word of mouth and referral can be unreliable as there is rarely a consensus among customer opinion of boutiques. Really, it comes down to the fitter and the client’s expectations of what the fitting should entail. There are good fitters at bad boutiques, bad fitters at good boutiques and every customer has a different, personal set of criteria.

    First off, a customer should always be greeted, and treated with the utmost of importance. I’m proud to say the boutique I currently work at offers absolutely incredible customer service. It actually makes my job that much easier. The client and their needs always, ALWAYS come first, and a customer who buys nothing, or one bra should be treated equally as the client who buys ten.

    As for the “holistic approach”, well, the use of measuring tapes is well debated in the fitting community. An experienced fitter who knows their product and knows their body types shouldn’t need one. After years, I have become the master of the “eyeball”. Sometimes there is trial and error, but ultimately, the fitter should first listen to the needs of their client, understand their body shape and proportion, and be able to find the correct size and style with a minimum of fuss. Only on the rarest of occasions do I have to whip out a measuring tape, and it is only to visually prove to a client that indeed, they have a ribcage that is only 28 inches in circumference, and that their request for a 40 back is likely unnecessary and bordering on absurd.

    I am concerned to read that Intimacy’s fitters go through a one week “boot camp”. Bra fitting cannot be learned in one week. Period. The best fitters are active listeners, compassionate, professional and knowledgeable. There are so many body types and so much product, it is impossible to impart that kind of information and technique to a fitter in a week’s time. I have been a fitter for nearly seven years at two of the top boutiques in my area, and only now do I feel confident to share my opinions with others online. My journey as a fitter has taken years, I am proud of what I have learned and I am STILL always learning and seeking new information. Five days training may be fine for a VS store, but not high end product at a high end boutique in a line of retail that is highly specialized. Based on what I’ve read, I can’t say that I’m overly confident in Intimacy.

    Treacle, you mention the “deconstruction” of your fit in your Calvin Klein bra. I do like to see what my customers are coming in with. It gives me cues as to what type of bra they like to wear, and also too, what kind of fit they have been wearing (or putting up with!). When a customer comes in with a poor fit, gently pointing out its shortcomings can help the client understand what they should be looking for in a proper fit, and provides a baseline for comparison between correct and incorrect. However, there IS a way to do this without insulting the client, or making them feel bad. It sounds to me like your fitter was definitely lacking in tact, listening and verbal communication skills. As a 34B, Calvin Klein sounds like a fine brand for you to wear. Though far from my favorite brand, Calvin Klein make serviceable, simple bras for women in smaller sizes. I do not, however, recommend them for fuller figured women or those with deeper cup sizes.

    Oprah. Ohh, Oprah. I admire and applaud her for bringing awareness to the cause. However, it is my dream to actually fit her correctly in product that is befitting a woman of her stature. I find Le Mystere lacking as a brand and am constantly frustrated that she promotes it over other, better brands.

    The size debate. I often tell women in my fittings that their size is NEVER etched in stone. I work with some clients who are extremely consistent in their size. But that is not always the case. I read in the comments with interest, a woman who was upset at the 32C/34B switch. A 34B is a 32C’s “direct comparative”. Same cup size, just a slightly larger back on the 34. There are many factors that affect the fit of a bra. No brand is consistently sized, even within their own product line, and there are definitely inconsistencies in size between brands. Factor in British vs. French vs. Italian vs. American sizing systems, style, shape of wire, materials, even colour! Ever wonder why your new black bra of the same style sometimes, feels slightly more snug than the beige? Hot water dying processes can make the fabric constrict, ever so slightly. Plunges are usually shallower in the cup, resulting in the need to go up a cup size. Powermesh, Silk and Satin bands are firmer than lycra/spandex poly blends. Sometimes you go up a back size, sometimes you go down. The minute the band size changes, likely so will the cup letter. I have noticed that Empreinte tends to have a slightly deeper cup, resulting in the need for most women to go down a cup size. They are also one of the few brands whose cup sizes are consistent across different band sizes. As I have just demonstrated, there are all sorts of variables which can be confusing to the laywoman, so I talk to my clients about a “neighborhood” of sizing. For me, it’s 36 to 38 in the band, anywhere from an F, to FF, to G and even the occasional GG. If all of a sudden, someone is trying to put me in a 32 or 42 back, or a B cup well, likely something is funky.

    That being said, different women have different needs. I come back to the term “active listening”. A woman may come in and my brain may say “36 back”, however, after listening to to my customer and her needs, whether they be physical or psychological, we will make some compromises. If a woman does not want the size or style I recommend, I will be more than happy to give her what she would like, but I would be a bad fitter if I didn’t point out and note potential problems and pitfalls she may encounter in the size of her choice. Making notes on the fitting protects both the client and the fitter. Again, tact and interpersonal skills play a huge role. There IS a way to do this without having to alienate the client, and sadly, some boutiques and fitters do not embrace this notion.

    I tell my clients to shop around, and find the boutique AND the fitter who they feel most comfortable with. A top notch fitter is no different than your hairdresser, your manicurist or personal stylist. Bra fitting seems to have become like the Wild West, with so many opposing methodologies and opinions, so when a client is constantly given new information that contradicts what they have heard before, it can be very confusing. No wonder so many women are suspect! It’s about finding the professional you feel most comfortable working with, and being open to their suggestions once they have gained your trust. I consider it a reward and a privilege that I have been able to earn and develop positive professional relationships with my clients.

    As for the online vs. instore shopping debate, I understand that cost is a major factor. Online shoppers need to be aware that there are duty, importation taxes and levies that add to the cost of her European bras. Retail locations do have an overhead to cover, but also may have better buying power for popular styles. I can personally attest, bra fitting is not a line of work one gets into for financial reward, lol. I too understand what it is like to live on a modest income, and that sometimes, cost can be prohibitive. Women pay more for shoes, handbags, haircuts, and clothing in general, so the additional cost of foundation garments can be daunting. I tell my customers, fewer bras of higher quality that last longer is generally, more cost effective. I also do not believe that a woman needs a different bra for every day of the week. A bra wardrobe is like your shoe wardrobe, different bras for different occasions. Rotation of bras, proper care and frequent washing is key. Hand washing vs. Machine washing does make a difference in the life of your bra, hand washing being preferable.

    Customers need to understand that when you are in a great (and I mean GREAT) boutique, your fitting is complimentary. Please understand that when you are in a great (and I mean GREAT) boutique, you are getting the best advice and best customer service, and access to the newest styles. Your fitter may be a sort of therapist, listening to your frustration with certain parts of your body, and helping you to find ways to love them. I have been involved in some epic fittings, lasting more than three hours, helping a woman to get in touch with her body and gain a new, more positive perspective. And they have been most worthwhile, even if she only purchases one bra. Sometimes it is a matter of “baby steps”, where a woman may try things on, but needs time to process all the information that is exchanged during a fitting. This is understandable. Anything over $100 is an investment and I do not begrudge my client wanting time to think about a purchase. A great (and yes, I mean GREAT, lol) fitter will spend the time, regardless of how much you purchase, and customers do need to remember that that fitters time and expertise is definitely worth something. That being said, I will always try to work within a client’s price point, and if I cannot, I will always offer advice on where to get product that is within their price point. I am also a great advocate of empowering women to be able to fit, and put themselves in a bra. When a woman can identify styles that work for her and get herself into her bra (you’d be amazed how many gals actually…can’t put a bra on correctly) after a few consultations, then I have done my job. If a client shops with me, and also shops online, I’m generally not offended because I know that the time I’ve spent in our fittings has created an relationship of trust, and when she needs me for something special, or if her size has changed, or when she is ready to invest in higher end product, I will be there for her.

    Phew! Good luck to all you ladies in Bra Land. May you be confident and comfy, no matter what size!


  22. Marilyn Buel says:

    I had my first experience with Intimacy at their Oakbrook location in Chicago. I was thrilled with the service and the bra that I purchased. I’m 59 and was pleasantly surprised that a proper fitting bra DOES make a big difference–even at my age.

    I have also worked in sales in a large department store’s lingerie department and I can truthfully say that if the salesperson has a bad attitude even the finest items will be difficult to sell.

    I am old enough to remember when sales people really cared about their customers and their products and took the time to learn more about both. Owners/managers of retail shops need to provide a great environment for their employees and teach them the importance of customer service. It shouldn’t be all about a “big” sale all the time–the focus should be on making the customer want to come back.

    Customers do need to let owners/managers know when they have a bad experience. The smart managers will take action–the others will lose sales.

  23. gypsarella says:

    Very interesting read. I visited the new one in Scottsdale after seeing the Oprah show and a local program interview. I had a good experience, probably the opposite of what you had. I am not fussy, but I do need comfort. I had it right except my cup size needed to be doubled. My big problem was the price. I almost passed out when told how much they cost. But I figured I was paying for all the advice as well as expert fitting. I learned not to use Woolite, encouraged (but didn’t) to buy their special hand laundering stuff, advised to purchase their lingerie laundry bag, and finally, probably because of scoliosis issues of one shoulder being lower than the other, some soft mold-to-your-shoulder bra strap traps. When asked if they had a source who could sew custom bras should my condition get worse, they said no.

    I bought two bras and a sport bra. They are all very comfortable and I am happy with all but one has straps that are more off shoulder, so they slip off easily. Wore it once and guess I’ll need to wear the strap trap. But weeks later, just out of curiosity, I looked on the web to find the very same bras, style and all and was horrified to see that each bra was about $100 cheaper at Nordstrom as well as two online sites. That’s right. I paid $168 for one, $178 for one, and I forgot how much for the sport bra. I’m a sucker. But now AI know and hopefully will spread the word. I guess it’s a good place to go to be expertly fitted, but just note the style and buy it somewhere else. UGH!

    • cbglacier says:

      once you know your brand & size, find them on eBay for 1/4-1/2 the price,
      I’m 38FF, I love Fantasie, Freya, Elomi, I watch for them on sale racks & eBay, the hard part is finding sets with matching underwear for when you want to feel special. I like the balconette cuts usually because of course I’m full figured (though shrinking, woot) but I like to wear blouses & dresses that ‘show off’ my attribute. Some of the sturdier brands Le Mystere, Chantelle, Wacoal are too full coverage
      I love Nordstrom (I’m west coast) for fitting, trying on new seasons since they can change fit, I’ll buy 1 or 2 a year from Nordstrom & then a few on ebay.
      A great new boutique opened in Portland OR, The Pencil Test, she’s great for my smaller band, bigger cup friends, as well as me.
      Thrilled to find this blog btw

  24. a says:

    Heh. LAU’s fitting experience sounds like mine. Went to Intimacy near Xmas. Place was way crowded, but they took me as a walk-in fitting, which was nice. Very small selection of bras. And they seemed to only have thongs to go with the bras. OK, so I just won’t buy a thong. So, fitting time. I’m an A cup. I look like an A cup. I have no cleavage, and my sternum is visible. I’m light on flesh up there. Very obvious. I don’t even fill out the cup on some bras. The fitter performs her holistic magic and announces that I’m a…. D cup. I just laughed. She brought some D cup bras. They fit weirdly, much like D cup bras would on an A cup girl. I think it’s a sales pitch to make teeny cup sizes feel better about our teeny cup sizes by revealing that we actually have huge, glorious racks so we’ll buy a bunch of $200 bras.

  25. noni says:

    Thanks Treacle for the review. i was actually looking up intimacy with the plans of making a bra fitting visit. Your review has changed my plans and I was wondering whether you can recommed some great luxury lingerie stores that offer great customer service, wide selection of bras and accurate bra fitting measurements. I live in atlanta area.

  26. Angel says:

    I’m very upset to hear the majority of these reviews as well as this article. I have never been to an Intimacy store but was planning a trip next week because I know for sure I am wearing the wrong size bra but can’t seem to get it right on my own. There has been so much hype up in my mind due to great reviews on yelp and seeing many women on “What Not to Wear” swear it has changed their life, but now this article has caused there to be doubt in my mind. I think I’m going to go anyway (the only thing I have to loose is a 4 hour trip there and a 4 hour trip back) and try it out. I will write again in a couple of weeks and let you know how my experience goes (I’m going to the Atlanta store). Thanks for your insite and willingness to try and help your fellow consumers.

  27. Gina gionisci says:

    I had the same horrible experience at intimacy this evening. I thought that the bras were ridiculously over priced for the quality. The one bra that I tried on was $150!! The saleswoman told me that I was a 32c. I am not a 32c!! I am a 34b. I left the store empty handed and I do not plan to return. I will save my mo ey for a real lingerie boutique. Thanks for your review.

  28. Anonymous says:

    i visited the Intimacy boutique in Troy, MI for the first time several days ago. With the exception of one store in our area (Harp's in Birmingham) it really has the best service and selection. I stocked up on french lingerie several years ago when I was in Paris, but they finally wore out. I was in need of a fitting and a new wardrobe, and I have had it with Victoria's Secret which basically has one style with different pieces of lace stuck on them. (Plus, my husband calls the padded variety "armor plated:)" Anyway, the fitter at Intimacy put me in several Prima Donna and Aubade styles which are gorgeous and SO comfortable! I love the idea that alterations can be done in about a year, so I should get about 2 years' use from them, which helps negate the expensive prices.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Wow, was it enlightening to read these comments! Like some of the other readers here, I also own several small lingerie boutiques (mine in the Midwest) and wrack my brain every day thinking up new ways to make women feel empowered and happy after visiting one of my stores. I've never been to an Intimacy store and always wondered what they were doing that I wasn't. Now I feel pretty good about my approach! Maybe small is better, huh?

  30. Anonymous says:

    As a 36 H cup, I was relived to find out about Intimacy. For at last, I thought my bra woes were over, and at first I was really pleased with the customer service, as well as the bras. However, over the past couple of years I have found the service to dwindle. I went into the boutique a few months ago, and the sales lady was very rude. She basically told me that I was a 34 J and that there were limited options–very limited. Now here is this boutique that prides itself on helping women of very different bust sizes and now they're saying they can't help me. I was saddened because as a big busted woman I have enough challenges finding supportive bras, but to go to a specialty shop and feel like you're in Victorias Secret is appalling.

  31. Everyday Duchess says:

    I wish I had searched this myself a bit more before going to Intamacy. I went to the Detroit area store today – but had the same ridiculous experience. I got maybe 10 bras to try on. Their info talks about fixing back fat….mine is made worse. Their "tailoring" – is only to resew the hooks on if needed to resize if it is too stretched out. I will have to add an extender to the bra – no matter what they say. But I probably should have saved the $100.

    I know I am a tough case…which is why I hoped for some more options; but Kohls has more options than Intimacy!

  32. sara says:

    I visited the Intimacy store in Dallas and will never return!

    I have had two babies and was so looking forward to getting fit for a bra that would actually be flattering. Unfortunately, this was not to be. I made an appt and was promptly greeted at the store and given a questionnaire to fill out. So far, so good.

    My "fit specialist" looked like she had been picked up the street that morning. She was not friendly, smelled like smoke and was quite rough with the hands-on fitting approach. After lecturing me on never drying my bras in the dryer, she decided I was a 34D and broght in 5 bras to try on. While trying them on, I noticed the price tags. Every bra was far beyond my price range. I mentioned that and was told that the cheapest I could get there was $75. Then, she told me that the bra size I was fitted for was only for expensive European bras and that it would probably not be compatible with "cheap" American brands.

    I was almost in tears when i left. No one spoke to me after I walked out of the dressing room. It was a miserable experience.

    If anyone knows of another place to get a quality bra fitting, please let me know.

  33. Kristina says:

    RE: post #31: If you're looking for places to shop in Boston, I can say that 40 Winks is the best. They have a very cute shop and the girls who own it are super friendly. They're always worth a look-in if you're in Harvard Square. Outside NY, it's one of my fave lingerie boutiques (along with Derriere de Soie in Charlottesville, VA).

    I went to French Dressing and not ONLY did they not carry anything in my bra size (34DD) but the staff was not super helpful. I had a Groupon, though, and ended up buying a cute Samantha Chang chemise.

    Other than 40 Winks, you're best off at Nordstrom. I always find their sales people helpful and not pushy.

  34. Kristina says:

    Treacle, I have been to the Boston branch of Intimacy and had a similar experience. Very unpleasant sales staff. I felt that they decided that just because I wasn't dripping in diamonds and tripping on Jimmy Choos, that I wasn't a serious customer. On one hand, they're not friendly and don't greet you when you walk in OR go out of their way to help you with what you need. On the other hand, they're very pushy about fitting you "THEIR" way, which again, I found about as lame as you did. After their fitter conceeded that the 34DD Chantelle bra I had on DID fit well, the fitter still kept bringing me 34Ds to try on. Um… hello? These bras don't fit BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT MY SIZE. I felt like I was talking to a five-year-old.

    On the other hand, you can get good deals on panties if you feel like rummaging through their sale bins.

  35. ana says:

    What a shame that you had such a terrible experience. As owner of a very small boutique (in Mexico City) reading this has been extremely enlightening. Currently, me, my sister and my mom are in charge and take pride in always doing everything to have happy customers- so much so that some of them stop by just to say hi once in a while and bring new customers. We also do "hollistic fitting", but make sure that everything fits correctly, we show them what to look for when they try on a bra, rather than a specific size we give them tools, as you can have different sizes in different brands and styles. Most of our new clients get here by recomendation, which for us is a good way to tell that we have a good service. Keeping a good service when the business is growing (opening another store or having staff instead of the owner there) must be really hard, but it should not be an excuse. Journelle has done this pretty well I think, even though they have grown, their staff is super friendly and actually listen to what you need. I think reputation is so important, and once it goes bad it is really hard to get it back.
    We have carried Marie Jo and Prima Donna in our boutique, it has wonderful fit and while some of the designs are pretty basic some are really pretty, and are very comfortable and durable. Some of our customers, after trying them, don't want anything else, so I guess it is a matter of taste and of what works for your particular needs.
    Thanks for posting such an honest and objective review, it was very interesting and VERY helpful!

  36. Lovecraft says:

    A male perspective of shopping at Intimacy in Atlanta for my paramour. Years ago when I first visited, with sizes in hand, I got the assistance of a helpful clerk in finding what I was looking for and other similar options. Several more recent visits have been less satisfactory. "Matching" bra and panties difficult to find. The stuffing of inventory into draws is not efficient and they really don't like it when you go looking yourself. I don't need a sales clerk to look at something to see if I like it but they seem to want the captive audience approach. Haven't been greeted the last couple of times either. The last time I was in they had an extremely limited selections of Aubade. Of course, I've never been impressed with Victoria's Secret (stock or staff) or Soma (stock or staff).

  37. Treacle says:

    @Marela–Thanks for sharing your experience at the Dallas store. It's really good to hear from my readers about how they've been treated at other Intimacy's. So sorry that the New York store wasn't as good though. :(

    @Jodi–Though I'm not a hard to fit size, I end up buying most of my lingerie online too. I find the service experience in brick-and-mortar retailers can be wildly inconsistent, and I also like the ease of returns when dealing with online retailers…makes the trial-and-error process inherent in lingerie a bit easier.

    @LT–Love what you said about lingerie being trial-and-error! It's so true that what works for one person may be the worst thing in the world for another person. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here. :)

  38. LT says:

    Really enjoyed your review. My experience with Intimacy in Boston was a bit more positive. I think as someone had mentioned upthread–the salesperson can really make or break it. The woman who fitted me was very nice. And yes I definitely think I was wearing the wrong size. I left with a perfect seamed sports bra and a Marie Jo that I actually really love and will be sad when it bites the dust. The only bummmer is that for the most part, I hated the selection. Which is why I have not been back. Its sort of fussy and way too ornate. I have better luck online.

    That said! In my journey of lingerie shopping my ultimate conclusion is: lingerie like any other item of clothing is a matter of trial and error. Some brands just fit so well and some kinda don't. Case in point: I hate the way La Perla bras fit me. La Perla–the Cadillac of bra brands and I have 2 gorgeous bras sitting in my drawer that I just never wear. I will never buy La Perla again. But I certainly don't hold it against them. I am sure for lots of women La Perla is amazing. But my breast/body shape La Perla simply doesn't work. Each brand has its own in-house way of fitting and doing things. Personally I LOVE Huit. It always fits.

  39. Jodi says:

    Better at Vicki's? Ouch!!

    Funny, I haven't had good experiences at Intimacy either (though Vicki's was far worse).

    Several years ago, I needed a strapless bra, and had no luck finding one.

    A fitter at a tiny (and slightly crummy) boutique finally said, "maybe you need a different size." She was right. Sadly, she didn't stock what I needed.

    Also sadly, even living in NYC, I haven't found a really great place to shop. Going to try Bra Smyth and the little old Hasidic guy on Orchard Street next. Mostly, I end up buying online.

  40. Lauren says:

    Mugsy- I believe I might know which Chicago boutique you are referring to- there was a store there I used to travel from out of town just to visit, as the customer service was unbeatable.
    Treacle- Thank you for posting this, as I have been curious about what Intimacy is all about. Personally, I have been very happy shopping for bras at La Perla in Coral Gables and Agent Provocateur in Bal Harbour (FL). The SAs are kind, attentive, and most importantly, honest- they have never tried to sell me items that do not fit correctly. However, I do realize I am luckier than many women given my bra size is 34D and therefore easier to fit.

  41. Marela says:

    I visited Dallas store twice now and absolutely loved it! The girls are engaging, knowledgeable and very nice. I had a great experience and will definitely visit again.
    I was disappointed with both NYC stores but probably because Dallas store set the bar really high.
    @Crystal… If you decide to visit Dallas store I hope that you have a great experience like I did (p.s. ask for Tiffany Cordy… she is my favorite but honestly I don't think you can go wrong with that store).

  42. Treacle says:

    @Petra–Always so good to see you! Thank you for your in-depth comments. I especially enjoyed reading about your experience at Intimacy, and I agree that the interaction at their boutique had a definite flavor of taking power away from the customer…rather than empowering them.

    I do disagree, however, with your position that Intimacy's relationship with Van de Veld doesn't represent a conflict of interest. Not only did the Van de Veld bras represent the majority of bras I tried on (by a LOT) they also keep the boutiques from bringing in newer, fresher, and more diverse brands. Because Van de Veld owns a majority stake in Intimacy, they're simply not able to be as flexible with their merchandise as independently owned boutiques…and that is not a positive.

    I would be more than happy to take Susan up on her offer a fitting, but, as I said, I don't live in Atlanta anymore and have no idea if we'll be in town at the same time during my next visit.

    I also know that the average customer doesn't get a personal invitation from the boutique founder when they have a complaint, and I am almost certain that my identity as The Lingerie Addict would ensure a very different experience at Intimacy from now on.

  43. Petra Bellejambes says:

    Treacle, your post, your sad experience and the wonderful commentary pulled me in so many directions.

    It has been a couple of years since my last purchase at Intimacy at Lennox, and things may have changed, but my shopping experience was much more positive. The experience was positive in my case in part because after a good half dozen discards, we did find a perfect bra, mission accomplished.

    The process of getting to that happy place however seems to be an exercise in taking power away from the consumer, while the SA drives the transaction. I think that the selling process is designed to ensure that the shopper is quite pliable, and almost fully dependent on the SA at some point in the transaction. Right around the point that one is topless and tucked away in a fitting room for example.

    I suspect that your independence and your willingness to challenge claims was simply surprising and unexpected. I suspect that the team there does not operate from a script as such, but do not get much in the way of well informed push-back.

    It is (or at my last visit was) a gorgeous shop. My experience was largely positive. I can entirely understand though how yours went sideways, and it is such a shame you know.

    Closing comments now …

    Like everyone else here, delighted to see honestly critical content here. Too much of what we see here in Blogistan is compromised and uncritical.

    I am especially happy to see Ms. Nethero join the discussion. The spirit she engaged you with here is first rate. I'd like to think you two would hit it off. You clearly have some passions in common.

    As to the Van de Veld position in Intimacy, many founders of bootstrapped retail operations need to sell majority stakes to finance growth. Inventory kills. Quality store build outs are expensive undertakings. Sq footage in premier locations, locations that can comfortably attract the right clientele is terribly expensive.

    Banks for the most part won't touch retail, at least for capital expansion. Going upstream for capital is not uncommon, and does not necessarily indicate a conflict of interest on the sales floor. It could, but in this case I do not think so.

    Getting from 1st shop to the second is tough. Getting from number 2 to number 10 is a near miracle. It takes more miracles to get from 10 to 50 and beyond. I hope Intimacy gets there. I think it would be easier for them to get there if you had a favorable opinion.

    So with that said, I hope you take Susan up on her offer of a fitting.

    Thanks as always – P

  44. Anonymous says:

    I've been to Intimacy twice and had very different experiences. The first time, I went in discouraged and hoping to find something that actually FIT! (32E ish). My fitter was very polite and helpful. They altered an item for me and had it rush delivered to my house. Wonderful fit and service.

    I went back to purchase an item I tried on but wasn't sure of a few months later, as well as a duplicate of my first purchase. These also needed to be altered.

    Unfortunately, when the items came back, they both fit terribly. I went in, and the person who looked at it said it was fine, they were just not altered small enough, and needed to be sent out again.

    Extremely frustrating, as I received the items I purchased 3 MONTHS after the original transaction, and they still fit somewhat awkwardly- partly due to being altered in the fist place- the design and balance shifts, which makes me wonder from what size the item was altered down from. A well fitting bra builds confidence, and an ill fitting one…well, we all know.

    Their style of fitting to me seems more like estimating, and for such an expensive and personal item, I will never again leave a great fit to chance.

    Any suggestions of where to shop in the Boston area?

  45. Treacle says:

    @Claire–Thank you for offering your insight as a boutique owner, Claire! I feel like that's a really important perspective to have on a piece like this. And I agree…one of the saddest parts of my visit was the lack of beautiful bras.I know they're out there…just not at Intimacy (likely for the reasons in Edit2).

    @ToadLillie–Thank you for taking the time to comment. I definitely agree with you said about the boutique experience…if a customer visits and is unimpressed, that makes her less likely to visit any lingerie boutique again–not just yours.

  46. Toad Lillie says:

    Wonderful post! Would love to see more behind the scenes reviews. Sadly your experience is often the norm, and most likely the reason that many women are intimidated by (and ultimately pass on) bra fitting.

  47. wulanasihsetyarini says:

    oh love the post treacle… it's interesting. but i would never biy the VS because of the price. still, at least this is good information for me..


  48. Claire says:

    As a lingerie store owner myself, I couldn't help but think about how hard it must be to keep the magic, especially when growing as fast as Intimacy. I personally believe more than ever that it's about empowering great employees to do what they think is right for the customer. Setting scripts and copious guidelines ends up sterilizing the experience, reduces the chances that a customer leaves feeling understood, and removes the personal connection that is one of the best parts of a good lingerie fitting.

    That said, what made me most sad about your experience, Treacle, was the lack of beautiful bras that you encountered, when there is just so much stunning lingerie in the world!

  49. Treacle says:

    @B–Thanks for the follow-up comment. Please do let me know how it goes. It sounds like we'll have several of their stores covered in the comments. I hope you have an excellent experience. :)

    @Karolina–I agree…it's all about taking an interest in customers. After all, people can tell when you're thinking of them like a statistic.

    @PW–Thanks for commenting, lovely! Everyone likes different things and if you like the Victoria's Secret near you, then you should definitely shop there. It's about finding what works for you. :)

  50. Treacle says:

    @Emily–Thank you for sharing your experience here…especially since it happened in a different store. It's always interesting to know if issues with customer service are one-off occurrences or if they happen in multiple places.

    @Mugsie–Again, thank you for talking about the Intimacy boutique in your neighborhood. While it makes me sad that they were so impersonal, I'm happy to hear they're transgender-friendly.

    @gracerx–You are so right! In the age of Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare…companies, of any kind, can't afford to give a subpar customer experience. I also went back to read some of Intimacy's reviews on Yelp and there were lots of positive ones, the few that were negative seemed to have the same issues I did.

    @Miss Kitty Plum–Thank you for sharing your perspective as a boutique owner. That's always a good point of view to have.

  51. PW says:

    I'v never been able to make it to a boutique. My main place for purchases is Victoria's Secret. Having read your review of Intamacy, I might think twice if I ever come across one. I'm somewhat shocked at the lack of love for Victoria's Secret. Don't get me wrong, you've got good stores and bad stores out there. I guess the store that I shop at must be one of the better stores. But I digress. Once again if I get a chance to go to Intimacy boutique, I'll try to keep an open mind, but won't be surprised if they don't truely live up to their reputation.

  52. Karolina says:

    I've only ever had good experiences in lingerie boutiques. Mind you, I've only ever gone to the 'luxury' ones that are famous for their customer service – Rigby & Peller for one, I've never been disappointed by. Always incredibly helpful and friendly staff who don't try to push products on you – they genuinely want to make sure you leave with a bra that fits you properly and comfortably. The same with the Selfridge's luxury lingerie department – I spent almost an hour there today without any intent of buying anything and only talking with the staff about the products. Courtesy and taking interest in customers isn't that difficult!

  53. Anonymous says:

    Poaching employees is another practice used by MyIntimacy. When they recently moved into our area, they tried to poach our employees through their recruiting company. They were agressive and called our store twice. So, if you are a lingerie store owner, beware!

  54. B says:

    Treacle, I'm near the store in Tysons Corner, VA (near Washington DC). I usually go to Trousseau, a very nice boutique just 3 miles down the road in Vienna (and on my way home from work – so dangerous!). It will be interesting to see how they compare. I'll definitely let you know how it goes. :)

  55. Miss Kitty Plum says:

    How disappointing you didn't receive a good experience.

    We use the same fitting method but tend to just bring one or two bras in and usually get it right first time. If a customer disagrees with what we say we will go through why we think that is the right size. Then if they customer is happier in the other size well, then the customer is always right and they buy what size they want. But I guess that's the difference between an independent owner run boutique and a chain.

    We also stock the Marie Jo and Prima Donna ranges. They are really popular in northern Europe but aren't as well know anywhere else. I visited the factory in Belgium and saw how they were made. I was overwhelmed by the care love and craftmanship that went into the manufacturing. It made me proud to have them in my boutique as they share the same ethos of having a passion for what you do and the service you give your customer.

    I would hope the other Intimacy boutique give customers a better experience as I know there aren't enough lingerie boutiques. But then I'm not sure if I will ever think there is enough lingerie ;o)

  56. gracerx says:

    A very fair and analytical review. Customer service should always be a top priority. It doesn't matter if it's Coffee or Cars. If I have a bad or good experience I always like to leave a review. One of the great things about the digital age we live in, is the ability to leave reviews on Yelp, Gowalla, Foursquare, etc. Now customers really have a voice! After reading your review I went back through your site to check out other ones.

  57. Mugsie says:

    What a well thought out and considerate review.

    I've been to the Chicago store and it sounds like it's better than the Atlanta store, but I can't say that it's great.

    First off, I'm a 28G, and altering a bra down to my size is not the same is actually having one in my size. There was another boutique in Chicago that used to bend over backward for me and I would come from out of state just to buy from them. Intimacy was so impersonal by comparison, I only went there to shop for myself once. The selection of bras that they thought were "close enough" was unimpressive.

    What I can say for Intimacy Chicago is that they're transgender friendly, which the other local boutiques aren't. I brought a trans friend for her very first fitting there, calling beforehand to make sure there wouldn't be any problems, and they were totally respectful and polite. So, while I personally won't shop there, I do send other people there sometimes.

  58. Emily says:

    After reading your review I must say I completely agree. My mom and I had made appointments (as was recommended online) to the newly opened location in Scottsdale, AZ. We were told to fill out the same surveys and I was confronted with the same attitude because I did not have any major fit issues. We had been waiting about 15 minutes and finally our names were called…actually my mom's name was called. She was taken back to the fitting rooms while I was still waiting my turn. 45 minutes later I was taken back to begin my fitting. The salesgirl immediately insulted the bra I was wearing and proceeded with her "holistic" trial/error style of fitting. I was also surprised when she began a very "hands on" approach to fitting me.

    Anyways it was truly a horrible experience with the waiting alone (especially since we followed directions of booking appts) and neither of us walked away with purchases. My mom (after trying on possibly every bra in the store) was finally told they didn't carry her "true" size. They even pulled the "sister size" Victoria's Secret selling technique (up in the band, down in the cup). She was also told they could do alterations or she could buy extenders.

    I was excited to check out this shop especially after all the hype. The local paper had even run an article on Intimacy. We were extremely disappointed and will also never return. Its good to hear we weren't the only ones who had this experience.

  59. Treacle says:

    @B–Thanks for commenting, lovely. Which store location is closest to you, if you don't mind my asking?

    @CherryPie–Thanks for sharing your experiences about Intimacy. I was hoping other people would talk about what their visit to the store was like, and hopefully it will be useful feedback for the Susan as well. :)

    @Amaryllis–I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge here. I didn't know that about Bravissimo! :)

    @Frankufotos–Always good to see you stop by, Franku! I like your remarks about voting with your feet. My Mom (a.k.a. The Original Lingerie Addict) was with me that day, and she actually left the store when she wasn't greeted upon entering. I saw several other customers do the same during the hour or so I was there. As you said, it makes a terrible impression…there's no need to give people a reason to walk out.

  60. Treacle says:

    @Susan–Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and respond, Susan! I'm sure that with 16 stores to run, you're a very busy person, so I appreciate you being here to engage with me and my readers.

    As a former Atlanta resident, I'm very familiar with the story of Intimacy, from the week-long boot camp to the brands carried in your stores. And as a lingerie consumer, I want you to know that it's personally important to me to support the independent side of the industry. After all, women have so many more choices that one chain we're all familiar with.

    That said, I was genuinely disappointed with my visit to Intimacy. I truly felt like it was not representative of what a luxury lingerie shopping experience should be, and I felt it would be unfair to not share that experience with my readers…many of whom don't have a public platform like this one to air their grievances.

    I want to thank you again for taking the time to visit my site, and for your offer to personally fit me. Unfortunately, I live in Seattle, and have no plans to be in Atlanta again in the immediate future, but I will absolutely keep it in mind.

    If you'd like to know anything else about my visit, please don't hesitate to write to my personal e-mail address – [email protected]

    Founder of The Lingerie Addict

  61. frankufotos Lingerie says:

    I was reading the post and down the comments wondering if the store's management would be responding.. Now I'll wait for Treacle's response.

    I can't say I've been around a hundred years, (mid 20's) but it pains me to see some stores that were 'special' when I was a kid out of business today. This usually followed either a sale by the founder or Mom & Pop to a larger chain or an expansion. Either way, there's no excuse for lack of service in a service industry. My girlfriend and I have come to expect the chance of lousy, rude or even non-service at Vicky's, but if the locally-owned shop downtown tried that, they'd be gone, especially in a college town and with this economy.
    (by the way, if you think my gf has had to endure some really misplaced product pitches, imagine what happens when I'm shopping for her by myself – 'Yes, I know it's on sale and you'll get a spiff if I buy it, but it's still over-priced, and most importantly, she does NOT like that style, I know I'm a guy, but trust me this once?'

    As far as not being greeted by 'help' standing around talking to each other – sometimes about what a jerk the boss is, or on a private cell – it does not make a great impression. That's true of lingerie or furniture. If you feel you don't have to work as hard because the boss isn't paying you enough, please do what my gf and I do in that situation. We vote with out feet and walk out of the store.

    Thanks, Treacle!

  62. Amaryllis says:

    Just a quick note there Ms Nethero on your comments "I always say that when the first Oprah show appeared, all of the G cups came out of the closet! FINALLY the European vendors started making more gorgeous styles for women with full busts. " We've had Bravissimo providing lovely underwear for bigger busted ladies since '95, so it's hardly that you forced manufacturers to start making them 5 years ago. It just reads as terribly unaware of the rest of the market.

  63. CherryPie says:

    I found that it all depends on the person behind the counter when you enter. My first time going to Intimacy, they had been open for a few months at South Coast Plaza in Southern California.

    I was immediately greeted, asked if I'd like a cupcake and what I was looking for that day. The girl who serviced me (Kimberly you're a doll) was very polite and engaged, getting me set up to fill out their questionnaire without any pressure felt.

    In the fitting room I already knew my size but she immediately sized me up visually and asked if I was a 32E (bingo! I wear 30Fs depending on the brand though). She brought me some bras to confirm the size, some lacy, some plain. I asked her for something really unique and pretty and she brought me the Safari print collection by Lise Charmel which was precisely up my alley.

    Unfortunately they did charge mark-up for it (I knew I could get LC cheaper online) so I demurred and asked for something under $100. Walked out with a Le Mystere that day with a promptly supplied matching panty and feeling pretty good about myself.

    The next time I went with my sister in tow to get her sized, Kimberly wasn't working that day and no girl I recognized was there. We had to stand at the counter and wait for the saleswomen to finish their personal conversation before we were acknowledged as to needing any help. Then we were told it'd be about 20 minutes before we could be fitted (you got five girls in the store behind that counter and only one other customer, how did that add up?) so we wasted some time and came back.

    New girl could not guess my size (and kept insisting that I was wrong and that I was a 32D), didn't know what I was talking about when I asked for something pretty like what Lise Charmel usually put out, and kept giving me drab T-Shirt bras when I was asking for something flirty for Valentine's.

    I put on my original clothing and asked if I could go through the drawer myself to see if there was anything more to my taste. She hesitated, then brought me to the drawer which was in complete disarray with very little matching stock left. She ever so helpfully supplied that they had plenty of 32Ds left!

    My sister came out of it annoyed that her girl would not back off when she said that she wasn't interested in any of the bras she brought her and just kept throwing additional ones hoping she'd buy one. When I said that I'd rather come back later when more was in stock (*cough* partly true, I also wanted to come when Kimberly was working) the salesgirls were asking us which bras we wanted to add to our "account wishlists" for purchase later. This left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I never returned since that occasion.

    On a similar note however, I get all sorts of stink-eyes at Victoria's Secrets when I go to just buy some panties and when a salesgirl tries to engage me and I politely decline with mention that my bra size isn't carried there, I have to argue for several minutes with her that no, I am not a 36C, no I will not try it on, yes I have owned several and have scars underneath my breasts to prove it.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Hello. My name is Susan Nethero. I am the owner and founder of Intimacy, and I want to say that my heart is very saddened by the experience you had at our Atlanta store. Intimacy is my life's passion. I got into the lingerie business because I could never find a bra to fit me correctly and when I first travelled to Europe and saw the incredible array of sizes and styles offered, I was determined to bring the selection back to the United States.
    Atlanta is our flagship store. It's been open since 1992. We are proud to say that we now have 16 stores coast to coast and I still personally involve myself with the bra fit training of every individual in the company. In fact, we are so devoted to providing great service that we send each of our people to a week-long bra fit boot camp where they are taught everything about how to uplift women through the wonderful world of lingerie. We teach a lot about how to achieve the right bra fit, about what bras a woman needs in her wardrobe and even the engineering behind the construction. There are no scripts, we only ask our people to help a woman look and feel her best and to educate her on all of the products and styles she has available to her. I have worked tirelessly to get the vendors of our best brands to come and do seasonal presentations to our people to keep them abreast of new technology, features and fit. I personally work with our buying team as well and try hard to source the best fitting, highest quality lingerie products that are out there.
    If a fitter came across in the wrong way, I take that very personally and apologize to you. If you felt that our selection was lacking, again I apologize. We dedicate 30 minutes of one-on-one time per customer free of charge. It’s more than just getting the right fit. We want to make sure each woman knows how the right fit combined with the right styles can help make her look more youthful and proportionate. We have 15 major European brands represented in our stores. We carry over 90 sizes and the Atlanta store alone houses approximately 15,000 bras at any given time. We even provide free custom alterations for the life of our bras to both ensure the perfect fit and to help bras last longer.
    We secret shop our own stores every month, and now even provide a customer survey to all of our customers who have made a reservation in and effort to constantly update and improve the experience a woman has with us. It is our belief that women value the education we can provide about lingerie and about how much better she can look and feel with the right bra. Each day we try to protect the integrity of our service and we truly don’t take a single customer for granted.
    We certainly don’t take any of the national exposure we have gotten for granted either. In the early days it was extremely difficult to get a good variety of sizes in larger cups. I always say that when the first Oprah show appeared, all of the G cups came out of the closet! FINALLY the European vendors started making more gorgeous styles for women with full busts. Last year we sold 70,000 bras that were G cup and up! We strive to provide the highest quality of service to our guests and to always seek new and innovative products that will help a woman look and feel incredible from the inside out.
    I would love to be able to fit you personally so that we can make you happy and start over on the right foot. It sounds like you have an extensive background in lingerie. It would be nice to meet you face to face. Of course we will also share your observations with the Atlanta team.
    Susan Nethero
    Founder of Intimacy
    [email protected]

    • gypsarella says:

      Susan, It was informative to read your letter. However, I will tell you that with a brand new store in Scottsdale, something is wrong if I asked specifically if there is any way to get custom alterations and was told no. Also, I did make an appointment for a fitting and never received a follow-up form to rate my visit in the mail.

      I will say the salesgirl was very nice, not pushy, and did not insult my own bra. The store was beautiful, but I felt somewhat exposed at all the clear windows allowing everyone in the mall to watch my every move until going into the fitting room. My friend and I were the only ones in the store.

      I think you better do a lot more secret shopping to get a good picture of what REALLY goes on.


    • Mary Currie says:

      I felt relieved while reading Treacle’s comments on “Intimacy”. I had signed up for a fitting at 1 p.m. today and it went downhill as soon as I walked in the door. They had no record of my appt. anywhere and I felt so embarrassed since I did it ‘on-line’ the day before with 1 p.m. time being available. I was so ‘pumped up’ emotionally since I had never had a formal fitting before and was anxious to aquire several new well-fitting bras. However, I felt like I was crashing a party and was told to sit down and wait to be called.
      When I was brought back for my fitting – it went as the others explained but, to my amazement, they had no bras in my size (40B or 38C). Instead the sales gal wrote my sizes on her card and told me to purchase bras in that size whenever. I walked out pretty stunned just holding her calling card. Her only explanation was that since it was so soon after the holidays that their stock was really low.
      I can only guess I wasn’t probably dressed for the occassion on my trek to Phipps Plaza since I left my jewels at home and didn’t have my usual make-up on…..we had just returned from a 10 trip to Arizona and I’m still unpacking, etc.and didn’t think I’d have to dress up to strip down – if you know what I mean.
      Anyway, I did go home and find the bra that fit the best and ordered it on-line for $40 less with fress shipping so I’m anxious to see if it fits.
      Bummer I didn’t get a chance to go when it first opened. Sounds like it’s gone downhill since then. :(

  65. B says:

    How disappointing. They just opened a store by my office a month or two back and I've been hoping to go when I had some money saved up. I'll probably still go, only because I'm curious, but I won't set my expectations very high.

  66. Treacle says:

    @Chrystal-Thanks for sharing your perspective here…I think it's really important for businesses to know what customers are looking for when they build a website. After all, if you can't find the info you need, what's the point?

    @Elisabeth-Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. I definitely didn't want to come across as mean, and it makes me happy that you picked up on the informative tone I was going for.

  67. Elisabeth Dale says:

    Nice post! I'd love to see more of these lingerie department or store critiques (similar to a helpful and well-written restaurant review). Great info for both customer and retailer.

  68. Chrystal says:

    Your review saves me the trip to Intimacy when I go visit my sister in Dallas. I'm sure I'd come out of their store with a worse fitting bra than what I'd walk in with. On top of that after viewing their web page I'm pretty sure they would not have my size.

    Their website is also a joke. There is nothing to list what sizes are available for bras, only a range. A-K does not tell me anything without a band size. Their bra calculator is also a joke. Give your band size, cup size, and shirt size and they will tell you if you are wearing the right bra size. There isn't even an option to enter a band size smaller than a 32. That frustrates someone like me who has found out through years of the research that I am actually a 28 bra band. Specialty boutiques like these are supposed to a resource for the people who are hard to fit. I'm sure that their holistic fitting would not even have guessed that band size for me.
    Overall I am vastly irritated that the so called bra whisperer does not really know the real deal about fitting a bra to the individual. Bra fitting is not a complex science, it is trial and error. They have a gimmick that will draw women but the do not provide a service that could not be found somewhere else. It sounds like they are as bad as Victoria's Secret.

  69. Treacle says:

    @Diane–Thanks for commenting. If you do visit another location, I'd definitely be interested in what you think.

    @Emily–I completely agree! I visited What Katie Did when I was in London several years ago, and it was a treat. Customer service definitely makes a difference.

    @Madam Ori–Thank you so much for sharing your experience at Intimacy! I agree that the mall seemed a lot less impressive than it used to be, and I think that's happening to a lot of malls right now…

  70. madamori says:

    I'm sad to hear that your experience was so bad, Treacle. I haven't gone there in years, but the last time I went, my experience was spectacular. I love the bras and the sizing was perfect. (Usually I get fitted elsewhere and get a huge band size and a small cup size that ends up looking so very wrong.) However, I have noticed that the entire mall has lost a lot of its polish and attention to detail over the years, so I wouldn't be surprised if Intimacy is experiencing the same thing. A pity too, because it's time to buy new goodies for me…

  71. Diane says:

    What a shame! As a really top-heavy girl, I've had many people suggest to me that I check out an Intimacy next time I'm south of the border. I have to say, I'm much less enthused by the prospect now than I was before.

    I may still go and see if maybe one of their other locations offers a better overall experience, but I'm not going to rush out and make a day of it now.

  72. Treacle says:

    @Courtney–I thought the exact same thing while I was writing this! I would have been treated better at Victoria's Secret…and that's not a good thinig.

  73. Courtney says:

    Reading this review was really refreshing as a blogger. I think a lot of times people feel timid to give a bad review, but this one was done very well.

    What a crappy experience you had! Sounds like you would've gotten better service at Victoria's Secret.

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