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August 8, 2006 > The Perfect Fit for a More Comfortable You

The Perfect Fit for a More Comfortable You

Specialty Bra Shop Serves Women’s Physical and Emotional Needs

by Washington Hospital

Bras for Body & Soul. The name says it all. The nonprofit specialty bra shop – which opened in its new location on the first floor of Washington Hospital’s Washington West building in February of 2004 – focuses on comfort, both physical and emotional. In today’s world, where fashion can sometimes supersede the need for a proper fit, Bras for Body & Soul reminds women that feeling and looking their best requires true support and comfort.

“At Bras for Body & Soul our mission is to serve this very personal need of women whether she needs garments or merely a compassionate place to talk,” says Tricia J. McMahon, founder of Bras for Body & Soul.

Women’s health, physical and emotional

The boutique – which is run by staff and volunteers – serves women and girls of every circumstance and size. Products and services range from private fittings for bras/prostheses and wigs to a selection of scarves, swimsuits and hats.

“It’s amazing really, how we are able to touch women’s lives via a bra fitting. After 11 years of doing this work, I am still in awe of the beautiful difference our care and service make,” says McMahon.

McMahon says she anticipated the value of helping breast cancer survivors, but the transformation that happens for each woman and girl by being fitted properly with such care, quality and respect, is also inspiring. From the minute they walk into the boutique, women know they are valued not as a consumer, but as a person, according to McMahon.

The shop, serving women in the Tri-City area and greater Bay Area, offers personalized fittings, which help women find bras that provide relief from wires that hurt and straps that fall down, as well as help alleviate neck and shoulder problems, according to McMahon.

“We see how much women suffer from ill-fitting products, especially underwire bras,” says Julie Ward, a certified bra fitter at the shop. “Most bras do not support; they merely act as a sling or they bind. That is not proper or healthy.”

Bras at the boutique, which range from size AA to N, are both attractive and made to serve the health of the woman’s breast(s), neck, shoulders and back so that she looks and feels her absolute best, McMahon says.

A proper fit goes a long way

Gina Bacigalupi, a Fremont resident who will be a freshman at Mills College this fall, has been visiting the shop for three years with her mother and says the benefits of the shop are immeasurable.

“I think all young women should definitely check out the shop for a properly fitted bra,” Bacigalupi says. “It’s a really comfortable environment, and everyone’s very, very nice. It’s a pleasant experience. It’s definitely one of the best things you can do. It’s always been a really positive experience.”

And it’s not just women who stop by. Staff members are pleased when men visit the shop with their loved one and say that oftentimes it’s actually the man who will clip an article to share news about the boutique, McMahon says.

Volunteers make the difference

The shop is always looking for more individuals to help extend its mission. Many of the women who receive clients at the reception desk or work elsewhere in the shop are women looking to give back to the community. Many are breast cancer survivors themselves. The shop relies on its volunteers, according to McMahon. “There is a tremendous group of women here who make this shop what it is, who share its vision, making it a life-giving place for all who enter,” says Harriet Despeaux, who has been a volunteer at the shop for a year. “This place makes me feel good to be alive and to be able to help others.”

Women’s health, now and in the future

Part of the first phase of Washington Hospital’s growing Women’s Health Center, Bras for Body & Soul complements the many other women’s health services offered at the hospital, which include specialized treatment for lymphedema, a condition that can affect women after breast cancer surgery, routine mammograms, and other diagnostic- and treatment-oriented programs.

The boutique, located at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Suite 130, Fremont, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and one Saturday per month. For more information, visit or call (510) 790-1911. Most insurance companies cover bras and prosthesis for breast cancer survivors. Staff members at Bras for Body & Soul also assist clients in utilizing their insurance benefit for these services. To see a complete list of women’s health services offered on the Washington Hospital campus, visit, click on “Services & Programs” and select “Women’s Health” from the drop-down menu.

Get More from Your Bra

Services at Bras for Body & Soul include:

  • Personal fittings for all girls and women, including breast cancer survivors

  • Bras for nursing moms

  • Strapless bras for special occasions

  • Prostheses, wigs, hats and scarves

  • Inspirational gifts, including Laurel Burch items

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