BOOBS. Throughout women's lives they may transcend the full alphabet when it comes to cup size, making buying lingerie and everyday bras in the right size difficult for women at the best of times.

 “The first tip when choosing lingerie, is to buy for yourself not what your partner likes. You have to feel comfortable in it. "

As our writer Jo Milligan found out when heading out to Manchester’s high street, after a day of traipsing from store to store, her boobs seemed to grow and shrink in the process leaving her with no idea what her standard bra size is.

When it comes to lingerie, the high street can be hit and miss. 

Boux Avenue is one of the newer lingerie stores to hit Manchester Arndale centre. Developed by Dragon’s Den’s Theo Paphitis, the store opened in the Arndale in October last year.

Boux-Avenue-Arndale-Manchester-Thumb2Theo Paphitis at Boux Avenue

On receiving my invitiation to attend the store, I was a little hesistant. What more could I learn about wearing underwear? Surely, after you’ve been to one high street store, you’ve been to them all?

I was soon to find that more than just buying the right bra when it comes to sexy lingerie there's the whole suspender belt debacle to get right. 

As I was taken round the bright new store, I wandered into the lovely but predictable boudoir style changing rooms. Apparently when it comes to buying underwear, you have to feel like you're a French show girl, surrounded by white vintage dressing tables and then sprawl about on a white chaise lounge.

Img_5694The Velvet roomI was lead into The Velvet Room, by Mica: who I'd find was the most helpful and chattiest bra-fitter I’ve ever met. 

Interestingly, each changing room comes with light fixtures you can control: Day, Dusk or Night.

Given that many people can leave changing rooms with more insecurities than they came in with, the option of dressing in almost dark was a comforting and thoughtful feature. 

There was also a buzzer I could pester Mica with.

“The first tip for me when choosing lingerie is to buy for yourself not what your partner likes. At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable in it." She urged.

I was taken through the usual bra size method and found that typically, I was wearing the wrong size. Mica then analysed my own bra and found a whole host of problems.

" Firstly, your bra is too small, it's not the most flattering and lady the straps are twisted" she exclaimed.


After examining the way my pair sit, I was presented with two lingerie styles – your balconette bra and your plunge bra for cleavage.

“Some women are just not able to wear balconette bras – their cleavages are just too powerful,” Mica laughed. “Their boobs are married. Other ladies boobs repell each other like magnets but provide the perfect space for the balconette bra to sit down flat.”

Img_5720Mica, the most helpful and chattiest bra fitter I've ever met.

Mica's Lingerie Tips:

- Buy a suspender belt that fits just below your waist and just above your hips.

- The dreaded fat under your arms may just be breast tissue, dive in and readjust for a fuller cup.

- Your bra straps shouldn’t fall off your shoulders and the middle of the  bra should sit flat underneath your breasts

- If you have a naturally close cleavage opt for a plunge bra to provide support.

-If your breasts seem to have been parted by Moses wear a balconette bra to add lift and fullness. 

I ended up trying around fifteen lingerie options, taking into account my body shape and how risqué I wanted to be. There were a few extremely sheer options that would feel a little peculiar wearing under my day to day wardrobe. They were definitely special occasion wear. 

"What I've noticed is that you can't guess what the average customer is in to and you should never make assumptions," giggled Mica.

Sometimes I'll get an older customer who I'd think would want the more classic Stepford Wife option, yet I find they want the most daring option on display and I welcome it."

Img_5699Boux Avenue optionsAfter figuring out what type of gal I was, Mica tailored her personal picks for me and gave me a little push towards an outfit I was unsure about. 

"Valentine's Day is a time for fantasy and you should be a little braver and get the little number that catches your eye. Have fun with it."

With that being said Boux Avenue's range doesn't really walk on the wild side and tends to veer towards safe style options.

It's unlike Anne Summers as there’s no toys to make you bashful and compared to high end brands like Agent Provocateur, Boux Avenue are not going to make you flat broke.

Boux Avenue provide a happy medium. And it's a good and solid addition to the few lingerie offerings we have on the British High Street on a whole. We need more stores that focus on making ladies comfortable from the very moment they try on products in the changing room.

From my experience, Boux Avenue are keen on making women comfortable. 

"I take bra fitting very seriously, said Mica. "From the first instance it's about breast health and secondly a good bra can make all the difference with a woman's confidence and yes, in the love life too."

You can find Boux Avenue in Manchester Arndale Centre.

Find it on the second floor of the Arndale Centre or call 0161 832 3378.

Open Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 11:30am-5:30pm.

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