Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Conversion Experience

We all have our little soapbox things -- the topics about which we find ourselves being a bit evangelical or strident. (Crocs, for example, in my case.) For my friend Sian, it's bras. Sian feels very strongly about women wearing the wrong bras, and advocates actively for getting fitted by a proper bra specialist. (May I qualify this by saying that "soapbox" is rather a strong word for anything ever done by my lovely, soft-spoken, porcelain-skinned English Rose of a friend, whom I cannot imagine being anything close to strident even if her hair were on fire.)

So, this weekend, in the spirit of sisterhood and fashion research, I hied myself to Nordstrom's and had a fitting.

Well. Whaddya know. Sian's right.

There's an oft-quoted statistic that 70 -80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra and as it turns out -- I'm one of them. For pretty much my entire bra-wearing life I have been wearing a 34 A. I
should have been wearing a 32 A or B, depending on how the bra is made. I'll be damned. I think a lot of why this might be happening so much is that women are embarrassed by the idea of a complete stranger standing next to us in a dressing room while we are nearly naked from the waist up, examining us and our... accessoires. But honestly, the SA at Nordstrom's (whose name I did not get, much to my chagrin) was so frank & funny & matter-of-fact that it was a real pleasure dealing with her. Not even remotely embarrassing. She measured me and then trotted off, bringing back with her a lovely selection of bras that fit me really nicely. Several that I was willing to purchase, as a matter of fact, because they looked so nice and felt so good. But then I put on this one:

(Wacoal iBra 85780)

and the clouds parted and the angels sang. Honest to goodness, ladies, this thing is fantastic. It's seamless, tagless, all one piece, perfectly smooth, made of the softest fabric (that Tactel stuff), lays completely flat against my ribcage, and the nude color is perfect -- nice & light for us fair-skinned girls. (I have a real grudge against a lot of bra makers, whose so-called "nude" shades are nowhere near nude if your skin tone is anything like mine. And nothing toasts my waffle like wearing a "nude" bra that shows under a white shirt -- something I wear a lot.) They also make it in a color called "suntan," which would be better for someone with darker skin. It's wonderfully comfortable, I really love it.

This is not a fancy bra, no lacy pretty girly bits to foof it up, but I gotta tell ya --
my girly bits? Look like a million bucks in this thing. If I'd had one of these bras when I was 15, I would have had a completely different self-image. I honestly want to walk around shirtless.

And one of the reasons is that this baby is a push-up bra. Oh, I resisted for years the blandishments of the push-up bra. I am very small-busted, I always have been. And I'm really perfectly okay with that; it honestly has its advantages and once I got past adolescence (which is not fun no matter
what your body is shaped like, let's face it) I really liked my pert, perky, petite ones. But it is very, very difficult to find a small-sized bra that is not loaded with padding. On the whole it annoys me because it always seemed that the lingerie industry just couldn't wrap its head around the idea that I didn't necessarily want to be an entire cup size larger, I just wanted to properly support what I had. When I was young, I was okay with a soft cup bra -- one that has only a layer or two of fabric -- but as I've gotten older & more sensible I've become more sensitive to the subject of, er... protrusion and now I prefer a "contour" cup bra that presents a nice smooth surface under the clothing. Some padding, yes, but I didn't want to become Anna Nicole Smith. (Heaven forfend!) Didn't ever want to be accused of false advertising. It seemed like wearing a padded bra was admitting that I wasn't happy with the body I had and wanted to change it.

Well, I am officially over that now. This bra has what the SA charmingly referred to as "a little bump-up." Not a huge, Frederick's of Hollywood one, but it definitely has some padding in the bottom of the cup. And, turns out a little bump-up was exactly what I needed. Is it artifice? Yes, a little bit. But. I also color my hair, wear mascara, and shave my legs -- artifice all. If you are not in need of this particular bit of technology, they make this bra in a couple of different versions, and without the bump. But I'm enjoying mine. This is as close to cleavage as I think I've ever gotten.

This is not a cheap little piece of lingerie -- this bra retails for $53, which is far and away the most I've ever spent on one. But I'm telling you -- I'm going to get more. I've had my conversion experience, I'm a member of the Proper Bra Flock now.

Any other good bras I should know about? Let's hear it!

Photo: fashion-Era.com, BareNecessities.com, Wikipedia.com

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Rhiannon said...

Have you been to Petticoat Fair? It's THE place to go for fittings. The collection isn't always gorgeous, but it's an absolute institution.

Icy said...

Benedon Damask, great for larger busted girls.

Colombina (Marina) said...

I must have this one.

dissed said...

My favorite rant: want less padding, better coverage. Something thin, yet smooth. Does it exist?

Sandra said...

Oh I have so wanted to get properly fitted,
I learned so much about proper bra fitting when searching for a strapless long line when I was getting married, but I think I need a coach right there with me!

I once saw an episode of What Not to Wear and this woman was CRYING out of hapiness because she looked so good in her new bra. apparently, it really makes a difference!

Anonymous said...

I am DEFINITELY going to try this bra. It really sounds perfect for me.