“No one knows their bra size,” Masucci says. “If you haven't been to see me, you don't know your bra size.”
Masucci, who lives in Wexford, is the owner of Levana Bratique, the only woman-owned bra boutique in the region. The store specializes in hard-to-find bra sizes, with a selection that ranges from A to X cup size.
Masucci says her goal is to carry bras that can fit every woman — small and large.
“Women who have large breasts, it's really really hard for them to even find clothing that fits properly, because your breasts are not in proportion with the rest of your body,” Masucci says. “But even women who have smaller breasts, especially really petite women, most stores don't carry small bras.”
Her commitment to fit every woman with a great bra has earned her a special nickname: “the bra whisperer.” She says after years of fittings, she has developed an eye for bra sizing.
“I can look at somebody and pretty much guess their bra size,” Masucci says. “I'm not always right, but I'm usually close.”
According to Masucci, wearing a good bra impacts your physical and mental health, your self-love and your confidence in your own skin — it can even change your life.
“I've had people tell me that I stopped them from needing to get a breast reduction,” Masucci says. “They had been thinking about getting a breast reduction because they were so uncomfortable, and once they had a properly fitting bra they weren't uncomfortable anymore. So I saved them the surgery.”
Years before she became “the bra whisperer,” Masucci earned a PhD in genetics from Columbia University. She conducted postdoctoral research in Seattle and worked in the biotech industry in Boston before eventually moving to Pittsburgh. After having her first and only child, Masucci decided to leave her corporate job and become an entrepreneur.
In 2007, she opened her first business, A Mother’s Boutique, which provided nursing bras and nursing-friendly clothing to new mothers such as herself. Eventually, after the closure of another popular bra boutique in Pittsburgh, she decided to expand her business to meet the demand for properly-fitting bras.
“People were literally coming to me begging me to carry regular bras, because all I had were nursing bras and there was no place to find — especially if you had a hard to find size — there was no place to find your size in Pittsburgh,” Masucci says.
As her boutique moved away from a focus on motherhood and nursing, Masucci needed to find a new name for the business. She says her son’s love for mythology led her to search through the names of Greek and Roman goddesses for inspiration. She eventually landed on Levana, the Roman goddess of childbirth, whose name comes from the Latin word levare — to lift.
Though she says her background in science has helped her with running her business — by teaching her how to think outside the box, test hypotheses and be self-sufficient — Masucci says her work is about much more than finding the right numbers.
“Bra fitting is more of an art than a science, because I take measurements and I do calculations but they don't always tell me what size you need,” Masucci says. “Some people just don’t measure what they should be wearing.”
Besides running Levana Bratique, Masucci is also the director for the Southwestern Pennsylvania chapter of I Support the Girls. I Support the Girls is a 501(c)3 nonprofit which distributes free bras, underwear and menstrual hygiene products to women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment and distress.
To date, Masucci and her team have donated more than 100,000 of these products to women and families in western Pennsylvania since 2018 — and more than 60,000 of those donations took place during the pandemic.
As a result of her charitable work over the years, Masucci won the nation’s top honor for Philanthropic Excellence at the Curve Awards in New York City in 2021.
Masucci says she has always had a love for volunteering and philanthropy, and was looking for a way to combine her bra business with charity work when she found I Support the Girls.
“It makes me feel like I'm helping the world be a better place,” Masucci says. “When I had my business, I was trying to think of ways that there was a logical fit with my business and with doing philanthropic work, and really the I Support the Girls organization was a perfect fit for me.”
Masucci says she always tries to make her business a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone, including through her social media pages.
“If you look at my social media, you will see bodies of all types,” Masucci says. “We don't just have ‘model worthy’ photos on our social media. We try really hard to have all skin tones represented, all body types represented. We've had transgender models.”
Just like most businesses, Levana Bratique needed to make many changes when the pandemic hit — and while some precautions, like constant sanitizing, have since been relaxed, Masucci says going from mostly walk-in customers to appointment-only was a beneficial change for everyone.
“It's a win-win-win,” Masucci says. “My employees are happier, my customers are happier and the business is doing better.”
Looking towards the future, Masucci says she hopes to see her business get to a point where she doesn’t have to be in the store every day, continuing the growth she has seen over the past few years. According to her, that growth has come from the best form of advertising there is — providing great services and great bras to her customers.
“I do almost no advertising, and my business grows every year,” Masucci says. “When you have happy customers, they're your best form of advertising.”