On the Subject of Bras

I’m just gonna come out and say it.  Shopping for a bra is the worst.  I’m even willing to say that it’s worse than shopping for jeans, which, as most women know, is absolute torture.

I had to go bra shopping this week because I looked in my sad little drawer and found about 12 bras–every single one a different size–not a single one that fits right.  Not only do none of my dozen or so bras fit, but many of them are tattered, ripped, stretched beyond recognition, and just generally terrible.  I love how advertising has made this article of clothing out to be this alluring, sexy, amazing piece of stitches and fabric, when in reality, bras tend to get overused and abused in the worst ways.  I guess I can’t speak for all women, but I know I’m not alone in this.

With all of the focus in recent times on breast cancer, bras are getting more national attention as well, and not just for the sexy factor.  Although it’s a bit old, this article from TIME magazine spells out the size and fit dilemma pretty well.  It’s staggering that so many of us are wandering around in poorly fitting and poorly maintained bras.  Does this have any link to the breast cancer epidemic?  Maybe or maybe not, but regardless, I think we all deserve to treat ourselves a little bit better.

As I’ve been battling this frustrating and debilitating mystery illness, I’m starting to really see areas of my life that need more attention.  I’m distracted right now by feeling like crap, but I also have more time than I’ve ever had to take care of myself.  Of course, with medical problems come financial problems that are made of nightmares, so I can’t be spending a lot of money on myself, but I can at least do small things that make big differences in the long run, which is how I came to decide go bra shopping for the first time in three years.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new wardrobe.  I haven’t updated my style much since I was in college, and now, as a “respectable adult” or something, I am feeling the need to look the part.  I’m much closer to 40 than to 20, and despite being told I look younger than I am, I really do want to be taken seriously in life.  This new attitude coupled with a need to make up for feeling terrible most of the time (health-wise) has led me to want to get a few new clothing items here and there.  It’s just that it all has to begin with what’s underneath.

The process of shopping for a perfectly fitting bra is a little bit humiliating.  I even worked at Victoria’s Secret when I was younger, so I would have thought that I wouldn’t be so embarrassed to work with a bra specialist… I was wrong.  My body has changed with age and with illness, and that is hard to accept when you’re facing the lights of a dressing room and a person touching you and pointing to your areas of “pulling, gapping, pinching” and every other seemingly awful thing that can go wrong with flesh.

The end result is astounding, though.  It turns out I was completely wrong about my size (as so many of us apparently are), and there’s nothing wrong with what size I actually am.  All it means is that I am now empowered to buy garments that actually fit and flatter me and will only help my future clothes fit me that much better.  Weird as it may be, this small step has increased my confidence dramatically.

I invite you to take a look at your own bra collection and see what’s there.  See if there are any opportunities for you to treat your body just a little bit more nicely.  You don’t have to go all out and spend a lot of money, but I do think a well-fitted and well-made bra is an investment every woman deserves.

While you’re at it, give a click to The Breast Cancer Site.

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3 thoughts on “On the Subject of Bras

  1. I have been studying and working with clients for years and actually not wearing a bra does more for confidence and health than going to Victoria’s Secret. Bras are a tourniquet that turn breast tissue into a stagnant cess pool. Your lymph is your sewer system and bras dam it off creating a happy cancer place. Breast cancer has nothing to do with having breasts, if it did men would not get it too…. xo Bras do not cause cancer, but they do contribute to it.

    • A totally fair point. I certainly find myself going braless pretty much whenever I’m at home. I’m a little smaller than I used to be, and I don’t find it to be much of a problem. That said, when I was bigger, it would hurt to NOT wear a bra. Any tips for managing the pain? I’m curious because it’s an interesting perspective.

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