Thank you for joining me for the summer redux series. I will be re-posting stories you may not have read, in the fashion of a summer re-run. We’ll get back to our regular posting schedule in a few weeks.
One of my close friends is a recent breast cancer survivor. In honor of her recovery and in support of saving the Ta-tas, I am re-posting this. The original “The Bra Lady” story posted back in May 2011.
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Any woman over the age of 35 can tell you horror stories of being fitted for a bra, a painful rite of passage into adulthood.
Walking into the dressing room the first time, your mother said, “You need to take off your top so the bra lady can fit you when she gets here.”
Feeling exposed to the world as the bra lady bursts into the room with her domineering stare and ice cold measuring tape. You cowed into submission not even looking her in the eyes.
Pretending you were anywhere else, as you tried on the bras while she “fitted” you. Fear palpable in the air as she pushed your breasts into the cups, adjusting the straps, your dignity dented and hiding over in the corner. Going home with your new white bras (the only color available at the time) hoping never to repeat the experience again.
Oprah aired an episode, which centered on properly fitted bras. She showed before pictures of women who wore the wrong bras and after footage with the correct bras. A seed germinated but took two years to sprout into action. Still suffering from the emotional scaring of the first bra fitting, why would any woman in her right mind do it again?
As gravity, age, weight gain, weight loss or illness do their damage at some point you look in the mirror and realize certain body parts are no longer located in their original upright and locked position.
Richard went into shock one evening when I used my breasts as a tray, balancing my dinner on them, eating with ease. Perfecting this maneuver years ago, he never noticed. It took him two weeks to recover.
Forgive me for being blunt, but my breasts were now hanging down to my midriff. While convenient for dining in front of the television without the benefit of a TV tray, not a pretty sight.
Purchasing bras from Victoria’s Secret, no longer an option. The bras always seemed to commit suicide about a month into our relationship.
Our small town supports a specialty lingerie store, “The Bra Lady”. I screwed up the courage to call and spoke with the owner to make an appointment. She allows one customer into the store at a time. It was not the experience I was prepared for.
The scent of sun warmed lavender greeted me as I walked into the store. Bras of every description graced the walls.
Smiling, she said, “What size bra are you wearing?”
At the moment a 42DD with an under wire.
She escorted me into the dressing room.
“Please remove your top.”
She gasped out loud noting the obvious gap from the under wire to my rib cage loomed large enough to insert an Oscar Meyer wiener sideways. The poor bra stretched beyond its limit.
“You are in the wrong bra. In no way are you ever to wear an under wire again. Please keep an open mind. I’m not going to tell you what size you are trying on until we find one that fits.”
It took two tries. No measuring tape ever emerged. The first bra, which fit around my rib cage, a tick ample in the cup size. The next one we tried looked like a cloth version of the Material Girl’s bustier. Gravity took a back seat.
For the first time in years, all of my parts rearranged to their proper locations.
She asked, “How does it feel?”
It felt weird. The bra forced me to stand up straight with my shoulders pulled back as though I stood at attention, my breasts were.
I said, “It fits a bit snug.”
She said, “The fabric relaxes a bit with use.”
Instructing me in the proper care and feeding of my new bra, she said, “It is never to see the inside of a washing machine. Hand wash and dry flat or the fabric will disintegrate and you will lose your investment with the first laundering. And never, never twist the bra to wring it out, just roll it up in a towel to remove excess water.”
Demonstrating, she said, “This is how you adjust the straps to ensure a long and happy relationship with you new lingerie. After two weeks of wear, you need to move the hooks in one notch to maintain proper support. In three months move it in to the third set.
I can tell you have not worn a bra that’s fit you in many, many years. You are to wear it for a few hours each day building up to being able to wear it for a full day or you will be very unhappy with your purchase.”
After she gauged my happiness with the new bra, did she reveal the actual size. I want to prepare you for the shock. Not prepared, it took me several days to recover.
I walked into the store a 42DD and walked out a 38J!
That was my reaction too.
My blouse fit better with the new bra and I could now wear one blouse-size smaller.
Modeling it with clothes for Richard, he noticed no difference. In taking off my top, he fainted.
Because of my saucy personality, I always assure him, “I am more than two handfuls”.
Now I own indisputable data to support this claim.
I confess I fell in love with my new bras. I encourage any woman, not fitted in recent years, just do it! You will be glad you did.
On a separate note, there is no standard among bra manufacturers regarding sizing. However, cup sizes are now available from A through M.