Or, How to Find a Good-fitting, Comfortable Bra in 100 Tries or Less.
I live in a village where the shopping options are minimal. So, when it became painfully obvious that I needed some new bras—something about gaining some weight (don’t ask)—I have to get in my car and drive to the next town down the highway.
No problem, I’ll just pop into town later in the afternoon, go to my favourite bright-coloured, tiny-clothes store and pick up a couple of my usual style bra.
Thus began “The Quest”
First, the style I like has been changed so the size I need no longer fits right. Second, my shape has changed, again. (Isn’t that the bane of a woman’s life?) And third, my skin has become more sensitive thanks to some hormonal tempest that is perpetually brewing.
While perky young things brought me bra after bra (about 23 different ones) and inquired about how I was doing (feeling queasy, thanks for asking), I ended up with two well-maybe-these-won’t-be-pure-torture choices, which I had them put away for me while I checked out the department store down the mall.
Yes, No, Maybe
There, another 27 styles graced my luscious curves. On, “no”, off. On, “no”, off. Meanwhile, the skin on my sides and back felt like it has been gone over with a cheese grater.
The problem is that when you’re looking for comfort as well as fit, any bra that feels better than the instrument of agony that you just ripped off feels like a great big, “Aaaaah!” But don’t be fooled because it’s a matter of unrealistic comparison.
I bought two of one style that seemed almost comfy. After I got home and my skin stopped throbbing, I put one of the devices on to wear it for a while. It lasted about 10 minutes before it went back in the bag with its twin, and the receipt.
Next day, back I went to the store, returned these bras, and started again. This time I tried on another completely different group of about 31 bras, though a couple were repeats from the last trip. I wondered what I saw in them the first time around.
I’m sure you can tell by this list that I’ve just talked myself out of the bra market altogether. Which would be fine with me but well, no. I might have a perky mentality but I’ve got a push up reality. When you’re 50+ (she said coyly), you have to take the cumulative effects of gravity into account. Moving up another weight class doesn’t help either. (Thanks, low thyroid.)
I bought two more bras, twins again, one beige, one black. Again, I went home and gave my shredded skin some TLC (meaning that I went bra-less for the rest of the day) then tried on this new bra. I wore it for 15 minutes (a new record) and removed it, with relief, hence to yonder bag. These too went back to the store, and I on to Round 3.
Next came the boxed bras, (as opposed to the ones on those impossible little hangers). Before that, though, I had spent several hours searching the Internet for the perfect comfort bra. Basically, that got me nowhere, since one woman’s (or manufacturer’s) comfort is another woman’s torment.
I’ll spare you the details, except to say that by now I’ve tried on nearly 60 bras, not including the ones I tried on more than once to check against each new hopeful possibility. This time I bought only one bra, which between when the quest began and now had gone one sale. This sale price could be called the one bright spot, if not for the fact that the bra actually works.
So here is what I ended up with. It’s not glamorous or sexy. It can’t stand up by itself like so many ultra-structure (read, “body cast”) bras can. It’s not even a pretty colour, more’s the pity. And perky? Well, that stopped being a consideration days ago. But it sure is comfortable.
If I find the need to be trussed up like the Thanksgiving turkey I’ll just have to dig out one of my old bras, hook it on with safety pins and bale twine, and suffer for whatever offenses I may have caused in my past. In the meantime, don’t mention the words, “bra shopping” to me for at least six months. Give me some time to forget.
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