Bra Shopping: Not as titillating as I had hoped

Alright, so if you do not want to hear about my latest bra shopping adventure (which probably includes information about my own boobs), you might not want to read this post.  Still reading?  Ok, good.  Now, the fact that YOU may or may not have boobs is irrelevant to what I’m going to talk/rant about, so don’t think that this is going to be a post entirely about how people who don’t need bras get off easy (um, which they do, just saying).  NO!!!  This is a post about how 1) fashion designers are glorified even though they only produce bras for a very small portion of women, and 2) anyone who doesn’t fit into that very small portion of women is SOL when it comes to buying cute underthingies, thus making us (yes, me included) feel like we are somehow not deserving of said cute underthingies.

Our story begins when I broke my bra last week.  And as long as I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I have a favorite bra, a go-to bra that I wear 90% of the time.  It’s not that I don’t have other bras, it’s just that this one is the most comfortable, flattering, and matches with most of my underpants.  But as of last week, the METAL WIRE TORTURE APPARATUS that is apparently critical to the support system of this bra POPPED out of the side seam and commenced full-on stabbing me in the side of my left boob.  So sad!  And painful!  But it was time to get a new bra anyway, because mine was resembling something like this, only in black:

old bra

I’m sure you’ve had a similar problem at one time or another, yes?  So, I decided to bite the bullet and <gulp, I just threw up a little in my mouth> go to the mall to hunt and capture at least a couple of brassieres that could handle the challenge of lugging these old titsballs around on a daily basis.  You’re probably thinking to yourself, ok, so just go to Victoria’s Secret – what’s the big deal?  I’LL TELL YOU WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS:  I HATE VICTORIA’S SECRET!!!  Let me count the ways:

  1. As soon as you step in the store, some 22 year old runs up to you and accosts you with questions about what you’re looking for and how she can help and what size are you and what sexual positions does your partner(s) like.  Which would appear, at first glance, that she is just trying to be helpful and not incredibly intrusive.  Upon receiving an answer of “no thanks, I’m just looking around”, she slinks off, only to be replaced by ANOTHER 22 year old who demands an answer to similar questions.  And I swear to god, they will not leave you alone, unless you bring your boyfriend with you (and make sure he looks embarrassed to be there).  It is not impossible that the same salesgirls that previously asked if you needed help and were turned down will come back and ask you a second or third or even fourth time.  ERGGGG!!!  Just leave me alone to shop for unmentionables in my own personal space bubble, okay???  Jeesh!
  2. While some of the merchandise at VS cute, it is, generally, of poor quality and produced in countries that don’t provide their workers with living wages.
  3. I very much DISLIKE how VS has been marketing to the pre-teen crowd with their PINK line for several years now.  Their models look like they are 12 years old, and it’s just INAPPROPRIATE!!!  So I guess that makes me an old fart.
  4. Getting back to the point of this post, VS carries merchandise that fits only a small portion of the population.

Let’s get down to bras(s) tacks.  I have been wearing bras that are size 36-B for YEARS.  The past couple of years I’ve really should have been wearing a size 38-B, but I have been avoiding making the switch for a couple of reasons, including that it was just hard to find cute bras over size 36″ anywhere (including VS, although they have a few, I’ll admit, but see issues 1-3 above).  Plus, I am finally at that point in life where I’d just rather be comfortable – so bring on the size 38 bras and yoga pants.  Since I had a coupon to Macy’s, I figured I’d go shopping there to see what their lingerie department could do for me.  At first it wasn’t too bad, other than my head swimming at being confronted by all the double-barreled boob slings hanging everywhere.  Really, after a while, they just start to look ridiculous, am I right?  Anyway, right when you get to the lingerie department, the first thing you see is a wall of Calvin Klein, DKNY, and a couple of other designer brands.  And they had cute stuff – all different colors, cuts and textures!  So I started sorting through them and the ONLY sizes they carried were 32-36″.  W.T.F.

Now, I’m not a big person, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to carry more than 3 chest sizes (granted, with multiple cup sizes).  But upon investigation, all the designer brands went no larger than 36″.  Grrrr – what gives?  Ok, I guess I need to just bite the bullet and march on over to the non-designer brands, which actually take up the majority of the lingerie department floor.  And there I am confronted with a SEA of black and nude GIGANTOR bras…mostly plain, mostly full coverage, mostly austere and penal-looking.  Soooo depressing!!!  Why are we, the majority of the female population who are not incredibly tiny, given so few cute underthingie options?  After hunting around for a great while, I managed to find a rack of demi-bras that were deliciously soft and lacy.  But still only black and nude colored.  This was fine for my purposes (after all, I just needed another regular go-to bra), but it left me feeling like 1) I must be a huge person to not be able to fit into the “regular” designer brands anymore, and 2) I guess I don’t deserve to wear all the cute underthingies that our stylish, exclusive brand-name designers are making.

Well that’s just bullshit, I say…bullshit!  I have a couple of recommendations for the lingerie industry, and I hope that department stores and other retailers, as well as designers, will take note (pshaw, as if!):

  1. If you’re a designer like Calvin Klein or DKNY, why don’t you serve more than a fraction of our population?  We have a lot of money to spend on your overpriced merchandise, you know.  Offering up more than 3 chest sizes (on the small end, no less) would be just grand.  And stores:  if fashion designers like Calvin and Klein are only catering to a few sizes, WHY reward them by putting up an exclusive display wall right at the front of the department?  It just makes your customers feel shitty when they get excited about all the cute underthingies and then can’t find any in their size.  Shoot those suckers to the back of the store – they don’t deserve the advantage or reward!
  2. Being excluded from the section of cute underthingies and being “relegated” to a sea of black or nude full-coverage bras is not fun, either.  I’m sure that there are plenty of average and larger ladies who want cute underthingy options – we don’t just want to slink off in shame and hide our lady lumps in drab beige or black camouflaged utilitarian support devices all the time.  Give us something fun to wear!  In colors!  With sparkles!  And fanciness!  We want to feel good about ourselves when we step out of our clothes, and fun cute underthingies can help!  The key is options.  We deserve cuteness, just like all those 32-36″ girls do!

That’s about all I have to say about that.  Apologies for the rant, but really, I was about ready to bust some nuts on someone Saturday.  And that’s just how utilitarian underwear makes me feel.  Do you really want that out there in the world, Calvin Klein?  Do you?

4 thoughts on “Bra Shopping: Not as titillating as I had hoped

  1. This is something I’ve experienced for years!! And with your same sentiment. And it’s probably the real reason why I seldom shop for new bras anymore. No longer in that 32-36″ category makes me feel old and crappy when I’m out there trying to find something that not only fits well, but makes me smile.

    • YES!!! I’ve been hearing a lot of similar things from friends. All ages, body types, sizes, etc. should be adorned with beautiful things, because we are all beautiful and deserving of being celebrated with clothes that help us feel attractive. All of us matter, not just the ones who fit into a narrow size range.

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