Thursday, January 6, 2011

Proper Under Attire

I've had inquiries lately as to what, exactly, constitutes a good bra.  This was based on a bad day being set off by the last good one falling apart. That question and the curiosity about my 2011 panties have come from one source but I digress.  You know who you are.

The following are characteristics of a BAD bra
It was once a pretty pastel hue, but has faded into a mottled gray the color of the February Minnesota sky.
There are thousands of little broken ends of elastic weave popping from the sides.
The underwire has worn through and will impale the wearer's left ventricle next time they bend over.
The side has taken on a dark bluish hue from all the black and navy clothing.
The straps have reached their optimum stretch and can't be tightened further
There is one operating hook in the back where there used to be three.
Every woman owns one, and keeps wearing it because she'd rather chew on tin foil than go bra shopping.

Men have no idea what level of annoyance bras cause.  (Well I suppose your average fumbling 17-year-old might in his own way.)  For one thing, a good one now costs as much as the GDP of a small emerging country.  And hunting for just the right one is like searching for an actual compassionate conservative.

First you have to go to an expensive department store, because all women know that the cheap ones from Target will last about 6 months and cost just slightly less.  In the lingerie department, women must get a giant shopping bag or cart and load at least 79 bras in there in an assortment of sizes.  You would think something as specific as "36C' would be standard but believe me, one 36C can be just enough for two clementines and the next one can fit one cup on your head.  And 36 can mean 25" or 43".  It really depends on the manufacturer's mood at the time.  And bra makers seem to think that all larger women, meaning anyone over a 36" chest must have Triple-Texas size cups.  A 40C is as rare as an honest politician.

So a gal takes all 79 bras to the dressing room but can only take 6 of them in with her.  This means getting completely covered to walk out to your cart to get the next 6.  Yes it would help tremendously to have an actual sales-type-person BRING you the next 6.  But large department stores have a strict policy of one salesperson to every 450 customers so good luck with that.  But somehow they are always present to make sure you take only your allotment to the dressing room - then they go on break.  And since it's a store that considers itself upscale, the shopper will probably have to heft all of them herself because they don't even have carts on the premises.

Then our girl must try on every single bra.  Why you ask?  Because 99% of them will fit horribly.  And I mean HORRIBLY.  They will cut off breathing while the extra large cups are flapping in the wind, or they will turn our chests into horizontal traffic cones.  After finding that ONE in 79 that fits OK, women then got back to the rack to get two more just like it.  But that's where the tragedy continues.  Because the lingerie dept. only carries two of each size and some lucky witch got there first.  Or all the others are the ugliest shade of puce ever conceived.

So if she's lucky, she's found one-good-bra, and crawls exhausted to the sales counter to wait another 30 minutes for the elusive sales person.  There she must dish out $56-$159 cash and a pint of blood.  She arrives home with a migraine and a buyer's remorse stomach ache only to find that the security tag is still attached.


Missy said...

* Applause *

* tears of relating to the piece so much *

And as a lady with an ample bosom, I would like to add how UGLY the ample bosom bras are on top of all the effort and money. And then to add insult to injury, there are NEVER cute matching underwear for the ample bosom bras.

Unless you go to an even more expensive ample person store where the proportions are all amuck.

Sorry. I think I said too much.

MommyLisa said...

I right now have a brand, size and place to buy online. No joking. But I have DD's so...there is that.

Fran said...

Oh my God, I am laughing and crying at once.

This should be published somewhere and you should be paid for your mad skills!

Holy crap woman, you have nailed it. It is the thing I hate most in the world. I am DD also and - well UGH.

I remember buying a really good bra at Nordstrom once that cost $79. I took it back, still wrapped in the tissue, the next day. (Very funny story attached to that, for another time.)

Thanks - you made my day!

Charlene said...

Good essay!

I buy the same model bra in the same size just differnt colors. I currently have a bright red and pale lavender model and they are great. Funny thing is every bra is different, even if the same manufacturer and model is purchased.

Shannon said...

Am I the only one who remembers what bras got called in junior high? "Over the shoulder boulder holder"?

Unknown said...

Love this! Everything is so true! I found a store in Chicago (90 miles from my home) that helps take the stress out of bra shopping (and has a sales lady who brings the bras to your dressing room). It's called Intimacy. They should call it Heaven.

Little Merry Sunshine said...

This was awesome and hysterical, but I never have this experience. I buy all of my bras at Nordstrom and those women KNOW how to fit bras. I stand in the dressing room and they bring me exactly what I need. I tell them what I like and they bring it to me. And I'm not an easy fit. I like super sexy bras and am a 40DD. Not an easy task. But they never fail to bring me the perfectly sexy and supportive bras.

Unknown said...

You nailed this topic, with humor but honesty!!
I hate buying bras, I hate spending money on them. My daughter a lovely 34B had TONS of bras, she loves every color, lace, print, solid etc. The other one prefers sports
My 42G size is so difficult to find, I want to pull my hair out! I always try to buy 3 or 4 at a time, and pray they last!

Life As I Know It Now said...

Today I am not wearing a bra. I have on an undershirt and then my sweater. I'm so small I really don't need a bra and that's FINE with me. I hate them. I wear a 34 B most of the time but I have to try on every single one in the store it seems before I can find the one I LIKE and then yes, I run to the rack and buy up all the ones that size by that manufacturer, pronto! I don't wanna have to buy another bra for at least 2-3 years. :~)

Joan Lucia-Treese said...

Truer words have never been written!!!

Joan Lucia-Treese said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeni said...

OMG! Is that ever the truth! I confess that I don't actually take bras to a fitting room to try them on first -I just play it by ear, trying to remember what size and make was that last one I purchased, oh probably 20 years ago (before I gained a bunch of weight and all of it in my chest too, of course. Not really as I added a whole hell of a lot to my behind as well.) But anyway, no matter what bra I get, how well it fits, without fail, I can guarantee that the left shoulder strap will drive me absolutely bonkers and it is continually slip-sliding away, down my left arm!
Great post! You should send it to all bra manufacturers around the world!

Anonymous said...

Apparently, I have smaller boobs than most of your readers, but holy cats I still hate shopping for bras. I've recently replaced most of the clothes in my wardrobe that were worn out or just plain gross, but I'm still dragging my feet on bra replacement. If I were a hillbilly it would be so much easier. A few tube tops purchased with some free Marlboro points and I'd be good to go.

Churlita said...

That's so funny, I could cry. It goes along with the eternal question of why do Tampons cost so much when they're just cotton and string...Why can't someone engineer a perfect bra that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

will said...

ok, bras are tough to buy ... but so are boots and comfortable chairs.

Little Sister said...

Fancy Pants in Decorah, IA not only knows how to properly measure and fit you with a bra-they have a great selection IN STOCK and they bring the bras to you in the dressing room. Yes, pricey-but when you have large "girls"-you will pay the extra $$$$.

Susan said...

Right now I'm wearing a bad bra, simply because it's uncomfortable as heck and I can't wait to get home (am at work now) and put on the big baggy sweat shirt and ditch the bra. Seems all the bras I come across in stores either are too large and cover my whole upper body, or are too small and my goodies stumble out when I bend over. Real annoying and time consuming, one of the worst things hate shopping for but I gotta do what I gotta do!