Bra wiz

Dorothy Souit

Dorothy Soult has been a bra-fitting specialist at JC Penney in the Chico Mall for 18 years. The former art teacher is now known as the “wizard of bras” based on her reputation for expertly fitting her customers with the ideal size and style of bra for their body types. Soult will turn 75 in January, and has plans to retire then, so visit the colorful clerk and get matched with your perfect bra while you can.

Do many department stores have bra-fitting specialists?

Some of the better stores have fitters, but they all fit differently. Penney’s started doing it about 18 years ago; I don’t think I started it, but I was one of the first ones.

How did you get started in the job?

I’m an artist, and I can see proportions differently than other people. They put me in the lingerie department, and people kept coming up to me and I kept telling them their sizes and I was pretty right on, and the next thing I knew I started fitting.

What kind of art do you do?

I draw primarily; I paint too sometimes, but I haven’t done much lately. I like to draw the shapes of nature, and I guess the breast is a shape of nature!

What’s the most rewarding thing about bra-fitting?

I adore doing it. It makes such a difference in people’s lives! There have been people who have come in here all slumped over and unhappy, and they’ve left with their head up and they’re smiling and they’re happy. I make a difference! They feel better about themselves. I get more hugs from my customers. I must have 200 to 300 regular customers, and I get hugs every day! I mean, what better job is there?

What brought you to JC Penney?

Penney’s is probably the best place to work. Penney’s allows its people to express themselves. I could not have done this, probably, in another store, because they would say, “What are you doing?” But Penney’s allowed me to express myself and do what I knew was right. I did it my way, and they didn’t argue with me because they saw it was working. It’s a great company.

Will JC Penney still have a bra-fitter after you leave?

I’ll be 75 in January, and I think that’s about time to retire. I’m trying to train the girls. They’re more, “this is the measurement,” where I rarely even measure people. I don’t know how, I just do it. As long as they get the customers comfortable, that’s all that matters. It’s about style, fit and comfort. I don’t think [the] size matters much.