Skip to main content

My Experience Working in a Lingerie Department


Some years ago I applied at a well know department store in search of a part- time job. I was hired on the spot and I was thrilled. I would be working in the lingerie department. I thought, no problem that should be easy enough.

I didn't know that I would be spending the next two days sitting in front of a computer taking all kinds of training on bra fitting, shapewear and panties. I was surprised at the amount of information that was available though and I did learn some things that I wasn't aware of or had paid much attention to before.

Once the computer training was over I figured I was ready to go. I was wrong. First I had to practice measuring people for the correct bra size. That training was done on my new co-workers. What a way to get to know people. I couldn't believe it! They were used to it and didn't seem to mind one bit.

I was then shown around the department, so many different brands, styles and sizes. My co-workers said it will all click for me in a couple of days. As my head was spinning from the quick tour, I wasn't so sure about that. I figured it would all make sense once I was on the sales floor.

My co-workers seemed nice enough and were quite helpful the first week. After that it was every man for himself. While we got a decent hourly wage you also had to keep up with a weekly sales quota. When a customer would walk in the department they would get attacked by whoever could get to her first. Since I was new it took me a little while to catch on to all of my co-workers little tricks in getting a customer. Once I got the hang of it though, it was all out war with a smile. You had to keep on your toes and try to develop a relationship with customers so that that would ask for you the next time they came into the store.

There were days when business was slow and we would be practically fighting over customers. More than once one of our younger co-workers would end up in tears in trying to compete with a couple of our seasoned sales gals. She was going to school and working part-time. I told her she better get out there and stand her ground. It took her a while but she finally quit letting them take all of the sales and had a few tricks of her own.

And The Magic Word Is Wacoal

The goal was to sell as many Wacoal bras and panties that you could. These are expensive, very well made and worth every penny. If you could get a customer to try on a Wacoal bra they would see the difference in the way it fits and supports the girls. These bras are wonderful for fuller figure ladies and anyone else that wants a good fitting bra.These sales were also sure to put us over our weekly sales quota. The difficult part was convincing the customers to buy one.

It surprised me as to how many women were wearing the wrong bra size and style of bra. Some of the ladies I fitted were still trying to squeeze into the same size bra that they wore in their high school days. It never dawned on them that after having babies or gaining a few pounds that you might want to get measured and find a good fitting bra. I would measure them and get them in the correct size and style bra. They could see the difference right away and would usually purchase two or three bras.

Bra Wardrobe

I had one customer who came in one day looking for a new bra. She wasn't sure of her size, so I took her to a fitting room and proceeded to measure her. She was wearing the oldest, most raggedy bra I had ever seen. She told me it was the only one she owned.

I always try to keep a straight face but this gal almost put me over the edge. I brought in a selection of different style bras for her to try on. I explained she should have a couple for everyday wear, a sports bra for exercising and something lacy for an evening out or just because.

As she was trying these on she explained that in taking care of her three kids and husband, she just didn't have time to shop for herself. I told her there were panties to match the bras that I had brought in if she was interested. She kept one of the new bras on, put her old one in the trash and ended up purchasing five bra and panty sets. She walked out happy and I had made a satisfying sale.

Shapewear-Hard To Fit

One of the most difficult undergarment to fit was shapewear and foundations. I remember my mom and her girdle. She always had a hard time putting it on.

These days there are all kinds of shapewear. From light control to full control depending on what you need the shapewear for. While one product might be the perfect fit and solution for one customer, it may not be the answer for another customer. Every woman has a different body type and problem areas.

I believe that shapewear should definitely be tried on in the store. I have helped many women in trying to find the right shapewear for them.This entails trying on more than a few items in the dressing room. Finding the right shapewear for an outfit you want to wear may be time consuming but it will be worth the effort.


After working there for over a year I had enough. I didn't want to measure any more boobs, straighten up panty tables or try to fit customers into shapewear. Most of the customers were pleasant and just wanted to be helped. Of course there were the hard to please ones that you could spend over an hour with and no matter what you did, nothing would please them. They would leave the store unhappy and you would be exhausted from trying to help them.

It was time to move on and I did without regrets.



Anne Harrison from Australia on January 10, 2014:

Scroll to Continue

What a great article - not what I was expecting when browsing hub pages today! I always find trying on underwear stressful - now i can see it from the other point of view! Voted up

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 11, 2013:

That was a hard and stressful job competing for a quota. I have thought working in a lingerie boutique is very relaxing. Thanks for sharing the information. Voted up and useful.

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on July 09, 2013:

I thought this was a great article! I love buying lingerie but I have to say that working in a lingerie boutique must have been difficult. Having to compete for quotas must have been a killer. Actually, last year I was in a store looking for an outfit and two sales reps were fighting over who was going to serve me. It was embarrassing, unprofessional and awkward to say the least. The manager had to intervene. Needless to say, I walked out without making a purchase......unbelievable! I am glad that you figured out how to get to the customer before the others. It looks like you also gained some valuable experience as well. Thank you for sharing your story with us. (Voted Up) -Rose

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on July 09, 2013:

Just when I think that I have read the most unusual hub, another one pops up. I like this one! I also like what you did for the lady who owned a single "raggedy" bra. Ladies always seem to be in competition for everything from looking prettier to snatching the best guy. I love it when ladies genuinely help each other, and your lady with one bad bra really needed friendly help, and you were it. How kind!

I liked the care in considering women of all shapes and sizes. Wise lingerie lines know what to do to build maximum wealth. One of the biggest mistakes companies made was to advertise wear for skinny women only. Many medium and large women have been long-time customers at shops that sell and advertise for full-figured women. Their money is as green as all others. Someone finally discovered that, thanks to several known celebrities who love their full bodies and encourage other big girls to do the same.

I can understand why you moved on, but you did provide a great service while you were there.

Great hub!

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on July 09, 2013:

One of our daughters went to work in a large department store right after college. She intended it to be temporary while she looked for her "dream" job. Meanwhile, she received several promotions, was enrolled in their executive development program, became a buyer for the company and, ten years later, is now in management with the chain. Over the years, it actually became her "dream" job ... and, yes, she had to work in lingerie for a while when she first started. Great experience! You never know where life is going to take you.

FullOfLoveSites from United States on July 09, 2013:

Thanks for sharing your story. It was really delightful and interesting. Working for a retail store is not really a piece of cake but especially if you make a good sale it's worth it. I particularly like the story of your customer who had one old bra hehehe. I'm impressed by your patience at least to sustain you in a year of working there. Thanks for posting your experience. Very pleasant read. :)

C E Clark from North Texas on July 09, 2013:

Really enjoyed reading this hub! Lots of good information. I hope you won't be offended, but I found it quite entertaining as well, and couldn't help but 'smile' a few times at the way you described some things. Voted up and interesting. Going to share this article with my followers.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 10, 2013:

Interesting way to get to know co-workers! I am impressed that you stayed with the job as long as you did.

DJ Anderson on March 11, 2013:

I think working with the public is the hardest job out there.

Kudos to you for sticking with it for over a year.

Great article and good information.



Rema T V from Chennai, India on August 05, 2012:

I appreciate the way you have presented this hub. Every job has its ups and downs and this one has its too. Good for you to have learned the skills of the trade and moved away after one full year that is quite a long time for such jobs. But you did learn something new in life. That is very important. Great hub. Cheers, Rema.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2010:

Thanks for an informative and interesting hub. I would hate a job that involved the pressure of a sales quota. I’m amazed that you were able to stand it for a whole year!

europewalker (author) on November 14, 2010:

James, that job was an experience I don't wish to repeat!

europewalker (author) on November 14, 2010:

yenajeon, my daughter also worked at that chain and the push to sell was ridiculous.

europewalker (author) on November 14, 2010:

Doug, glad you were lured in, I thought that selling lingerie would be easier than it was.

James A Watkins from Chicago on November 13, 2010:

"What a way to get to know people."

HA! Thanks for this fascinating story. It is very good.

Yena Williams from California on November 04, 2010:

I have also worked at a retail lingerie store (v. famous chain) it was an absolute pain! Glad that I have moved on!

Doug Turner Jr. on November 03, 2010:

Very sly way to attract attention to this hub: feature a woman in a lacy pink bra! Just kidding, it's a good story and informative. So many jobs are much harder than they appear on the surface; it doesn't surprise me that lingerie is no exception.

europewalker (author) on October 30, 2010:

Saddle, boobed out is right.I think you can only take so much of a retail job. Thanks for commenting

saddlerider1 on October 30, 2010:

I can just imagine how you must have felt at the end of the day all boobed out:0) I owned two retail sporting goods stores a few years back and it was bad enough fitting customers to footwear and skates.

My staff never really enjoyed that part. Consider it a lesson in life and thankful that you were able to gain some experience in retail and move on from there. Great descriptive hub, very well written. I enjoyed it very much. Rated UP Bravo.

lingerie on October 23, 2010:

I would like to see the positive side of your experience, and that is, you acquired another set of skills about the lingerie and bra. Most women lack in this area, and does not wear right size of lingerie, more specifically bra.

ankigarg87 on October 18, 2010:

your job is very tough !

europewalker (author) on October 18, 2010:

Cagsil, you are so right, working in retail isn't for everyone. There were days when I could have wrapped a bra around someone's head!

europewalker (author) on October 18, 2010:

Thanks travel it was quite an experience.

Raymond D Choiniere from USA on October 18, 2010:

Working in retail isn't a whole lot of fun, but does have it's perks. You did a really good job at describing your experience in that job and I'm surprised you last 1 year. Many people are not qualified for sales quota jobs, as you described in one person, but those who can adapt do so. Great Hub. Thank you for sharing. :)

travelespresso from Somewhere in this exciting world. on October 18, 2010:

I think shop assistants have such a hard job. Good for you for sticking to it for a year. Nice hub too.

Related Articles