Lee Padgett, Busted Bra Shop | Faces of 53rd Street (sponsored advertising) | Chicago Reader

Lee Padgett, Busted Bra Shop 

Faces of 53rd Street

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U.S. Navy veteran/chemist turned lingerie entrepreneur, Lee Padgett launched Busted Bra Shop with the desire to fill a simple need – to buy a well-fitting bra in her hometown. She opened in 2013 with just four bra styles, but now stocks hundreds of styles in a rainbow of colors from AA to O cup sizes, and 28” to 56” band sizes in the first Detroit store as well as her new location in Hyde Park.

click to enlarge Lee Padgett - ANDREW POTTER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Lee Padgett
  • Andrew Potter Photography

Lee made the top ten of the 2013 Hatch Detroit business incubator competition, and while she didn’t win the $50,000 prize to kickstart her store, she came away with something else – the word of mouth and support of women who called, emailed, and voted for Busted Bra Shop – and passionately wanted a locally-owned lingerie store in their community. This early market research made Lee confident Busted would have a strong following, and customers began shopping with her even before the first store opened in December.

The shopping experience at Busted is completely different than just buying a bra off the rack in the same size you’ve always worn. Lee’s staff is expertly trained in bra and foundation garment fittings, and customers typically discover they’ve been wearing the incorrect bra size for years. A properly fitted bra can be transformative, and it’s not uncommon for Lee and her staff to see happy tears in the fitting room, from women thrilled with their new look.

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The store offers bras for many different body types, with every-day, sport, nursing, mastectomy, plunge, wire-free, and strapless bras in a range of sizes, and panties stocked in XXS through 10X sizes. Some of the brands Busted carries include Cosabella, Curvy Kate, Elila, Elomi, Fantasie & Freya, Goddess, Hanky Panky, Montelle, Panache, Parfait, and Simone Perele. If you thought bras were limited to plain white, beige, and black, Busted customers love the selection of fun, vibrant colors – everything from chartreuse to magenta, to midnight blue, lavender, and more. The store also stocks shapewear, leggings, lingerie, hosiery, and loungewear and robes.

“It’s all about feeling your best self every day and having some fun with your lingerie, even if no one will see it but you,” said Lee. “The right bra can make you stand up straighter and look better in your clothes, and it feels great to have that little bit of extra confidence.”

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You can’t help but start chatting and bond with Lee and her team, and in connecting with her customers, Lee found out that many were coming to shop in Detroit all the way from Chicago – specifically from Hyde Park.

She came to the neighborhood to scout locations, and immediately knew that the space at 1013 1⁄2 E. 53rd Street would be perfect for her Hyde Park launch. The store opened in May of 2018, and Lee even rented an apartment down the street so she could be close to the store and become a part of the community. The Busted-wrapped company truck was a hit in the local Fourth of July “4th on 53rd” parade, and the store also participated in the recent “South Side I Do” Hyde Park Wedding Stroll.

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Lee is happy to organize free private parties at the store – 8-10 people can gather for refreshments, fittings, and personalized service – and she encour- ages women to round up their friends, neighbors, church groups, bridal parties, and sorority sisters for a special after-hours event at Busted. The store hosts trunk show/fit events with representatives from lingerie brands, fashion shows with customers as models, and holiday-themed events, and also offers gift cards and a registry service.

1013 1/2 E. 53rd Street
773-952-8875
bustedindetroit.com/

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