As I was raking about in my drawers the other morning, bleary eyed and feeling every single one of my five hundred and forty something years, it struck me that in the event of an emergency (getting hit by one of the mindless boy racers who seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to speed along our road at mach 5, for example), my under garments would leave a lot to be desired.
I remember being told, way back when I was knee high to a grasshopper, that ones undergarments must always be clean on every morning but not for any reasons of personal hygiene and health! No, the only reason given was that should I fall victim to some awful accident, resulting in me requiring a visit to A&E, then it was imperative that the right impression be given and that, my dear readers, could only be achieved if my undergarments were respecatable – in other words, fit to be seen in public!
Yes, I know that sounds ludicrous but it’s this sort of early indoctrination that has stayed with me throughout my adult life and it was that very thought that popped into my half asleep mind as I was raking about in my drawer. Eventually I pulled out a very tired and bleak looking brassiere which had definitely seen better days and I applied the ‘would I really want to be seen dead/half dead in this?‘ test to it …..and to the other equally well worn and not very comfortable examples that followed it. No was the answer to all and so I was left with no choice but to don the least awful example and go shopping.
The most important thing to consider when bra shopping is the correct size, as this is key to both comfort and support but what a minefield sizing oneself is. Put your measurements into three different online calculators and you will be guaranteed to end up with three different sizes. From experience I also know that getting a professional fitter to measure you, is also hap hazard because it seems that there is no definitive blueprint, as it were, for bust sizes and how to work them out and, for example, a 34a in one brand of bras is not necessarily going to be the same as in another. In fact you could try the allegedly same size in half a dozen makes and designs of bras and they would all be different!
However, I had to start somewhere and so I put my measurements into three online calculators which gave me a rough idea where I needed to be and I set off to town.
I really don’t like clothes shopping. Never have and never will, seeing it more as a chore that needs to be done rather than a pleasure. Having given the possible reasons to this aversion some thought over the years, I have concluded that it is the changing room part of the process that I detest because of the dreadful and unflattering lighting that is used across the board. I really don’t want to see myself in all my glaring …. urm….. glory. I want to believe that my skin has a lovely warm glow to it, that any blemishes are so miniscule as to be invisible and that I have the palest of shadows under my eyes and not huge, gaping black holes. A dressing room in a shop is not the place to face up to the realities of the ravishes of time and age. My confidence can’t take it!
But I digress.
Back to hunting for replacement bras and as I browsed around both stockists of such apparel in town, a few more realisations hit me:
Judging by the availability (or lack) of pretty bras in larger sizes, woman with larger busts are not generally expected or encouraged to want to wear pretty, feminine bras;
Woman with larger busts who do want to wear pretty bras are generally expected to pay huge sums of money for the privilege; and
Even my old tired bras looked nicer than the affordable bras for larger bust sizes!
I was really taken aback. In the event of an emergency it seemed that I was doomed to be either wearing a knackered old bra which at least still bore some evidence of prettiness, or buying a pair of hammocks which would be even less flattering should I find myself looking up into the eyes of a dishy young doctor at some point in the future.
Just as I was about to give up all hope I spotted one reasonably priced, pretty, feminine offering, right at the back of the shelf. Miracle of miracles, it was my size and even more miraculous than that, not only did it fit comfortably, it looked fabulous on, even under the all revealing strip lights of the dressing room! Result!
Typically it was the only one of that style, in the right size and so I will have to repeat the whole, unflattering process in a week or so, by which time, I hope, there may well be more choice but I’m not holding my breath.
On a positive note though, I can now walk about secure in the knowledge that at least a couple of days each week, should I find myself on a gurney in our local A&E there is a chance that my underwear will deliver the right impression of the sort of person I am …… and furthermore, on those days, I can walk with more of a hip sway, back straight, chest out because, as any woman will tell you, whatever else you might be wearing, nice underwear is magic and can make you feel like a supermodel.