The Agony of Bra Shopping

The only thing worse than shopping for a bra is shopping for a swimsuit. I try my hardest to not shop for bras – I think the last time I did was back in the 90s. Okay, I’m exaggerating.

But not by much.

Bra shopping makes me want to head for the liquor cabinet.

Long gone are the days when I could order anything out of the Victoria’s Secret catalog and it would fit. Now, I wander around the bra department of Kohl’s, amazed at the diversity of color/style/shape/fabric of the bras on those irritating plastic hangers. I grabbed some in the size I wore back at the turn of the century(while knocking countless bras to the ground), went into the fitting room, and spent the next hour a) wrestling with the hangers to free the bras so I could try them on and b) struggling in and out of bras that didn’t fit.

(And lets not discuss the bra with no hooks. Getting that thing on, and then off, probably helped me burn a thousand calories alone. At one point my arms were trapped over my head, the bra wound around my mouth. Which is one way to start a diet, but rather difficult to go out in public like that.)

I helpfully re-hooked all the bras back onto their awful little mocking hangers, dressed again, and went out for Round Two. Still, I didn’t find anything that looked like it might fit AND flatter, especially since now I knew, roughly, what my size was. It wasn’t until a helpful sales person pointed out that I was in the Junior Lingerie Department that I realized – I had gotten old. At some point, and without my full consent, I could no longer wear frilly, pretty, wispy pieces of lingerie without looking like a complete, delusional idiot.

Hell. I couldn’t tell I was in the Junior section. I mean, it’s not like there was a HUGE sign

I thought of happy things, like daffodils. It didn’t help. I was still in the Juniors department. Sigh.

that said JUNIOR BRAS. CUTE AND SKINNY GIRLS ONLY. Okay, maybe the bras in that section were of the electric shades (that really bright green seems to be popular), and maybe the cups were more demi than full coverage; but when I picture myself, I still see me as I was at seventeen. Long hair, weighing a healthy 111 pounds, dance muscles, fantastic legs and my A cup boobs never needing to wear a bra.  (Sigh for the days gone by…)

So, dutifully, I trudged over to the “mature” woman section. Again had trouble finding my size (no, I’m not telling, lol). Finally found exactly two bras from the multitudes that might work, and that didn’t look like they belonged on the East German Ice Skating Judge from any of the Olympics games in the 1960s. (Just saying.) I headed to the fitting room.

Oh, the horror! They fit around okay, but my boobage being what it is (still not overly abundant, in other words), the cups almost touched across my chest. I wouldn’t be able to wear any tee shirt or top that opened below my collarbone. This time, disgusted with the whole process, I stuffed the bras in the corner of the dressing room, tossed curses at them, and stomped back out to the “Junior” section. They did have bigger sizes; one of those bras just might work.

After this trip, I was ready to go kayaking. Where I wouldn’t wear anything resembling a bra. Or a swimsuit. (Shorts and tee shirts, absolutely!)

Then I remembered the last time I’d gone bra shopping (oh, those long, long years ago), Maidenform had the bras that fitted my body the best. So I headed to those racks (ahem) and started searching.

Finally. I found some demi-cup bras in my size. Went to try them on, and voila! Not perfection (it’s really hard to look at ONLY my boobs when trying on a bra…), but looked good under a t-shirt, and really, that’s all I wanted.

So I got one in beige and one in white, picked up some soft panties while I was at it (because my husband has been complaining about the age of my underwear lately), grabbed a white t-shirt, and headed to the checkout.

Where I almost had another meltdown. Why does underwear cost so much? Holy guacamole! I bit the bullet and paid.

The lovely and talented Christine Rose Elle.

Why did I put myself through such torture on an otherwise lovely Sunday afternoon? Well, next weekend I am getting a professional photo shoot done from the lovely and talented Christine Rose Elle (which I am TOTALLY excited about, btw!), and one of her requirements is “nude undergarments”. So that was my impetus to finally get new bras, and put the old ones out of their misery.

 

In Other Bra News…

A fifteen year study in France suggests that bras might be bad for you. If, you know, you’re young and hot and in shape, you should just ditch the bra and let the girls free. If you’re “an overweight mom in her 40s with 3 kids”, keep that bra on! …according to this article at The Week.

And then over at Renee A. Shuls Jacobson, Misty shared her #SoWrong moment regarding going braless when she was young. I had to laugh at this – like I said above, when I was younger I never wore a bra. They felt wrong when taking ballet, and I was small enough to not need one. I don’t think I wore a bra until I got into the corporate world in 1983, and then only when I absolutely had to.

And for those of you who need more bra info, as in how to size, what the different styles are, etcetera, I found a terrific site called Her Room. Check it out!

Do you have any funny or horror stories about bra shopping? Or going braless? Or the price of bras? Let’s dish!

~oOo~

Thanks for stopping by – until the next time, cheers!

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30 Responses to The Agony of Bra Shopping

  1. Hilarious! My mom has been on a quest for the perfect bra since forever. I gave up long ago because I hate them so much. Right when I get home from work, I strip out of it and instantly relax!

    Have fun at your photo shoot!

    • Christine says:

      Lindsey, I think most women strip out of their bras after work. It’s a time-honored tradition, isn’t it?

  2. Thanks for the entertaining blog! I swear by Bali – thankfully my size still works for me, though the placement on my body has shifted downward year after year! LOL. They make them in flesh color, too. 🙂 I quit trying to push thing up. It’s just not me anymore. :/

    • Christine says:

      I used to really like Bali. Will have to try them on again – in about a decade, lol…

  3. Christine,

    Funny! I have to agree with you about the price of undergarments. But then I wouldn’t have a clue how to make a bra myself.

    My suggestion is to go to a store where they have professionals to help fit you into the proper size bra. I personally like Soma. Pricey? Yes. But they help you pick out the right bra and rarely are they on one of those blasted hangers!

  4. robena grant says:

    I too detest bra shopping. It’s right up there with swimsuit shopping, but I think the latter one wins. At least with a bra you have something to cover it. : ) The swimsuit, not so much. I have two lucky writing dresses that allow me to go braless, at least within the house and to pick up the mail or put out the trash. But one I have sadly has to be tossed as the bottom/seat of it is threadbare. : )

    • Christine says:

      Luckily, Roben, there are a lot of neat sundresses that are fairly inexpensive. My mother-in-law used to live in those things, and only put a bra on when she went out of the house…

  5. I have always had luck at Ross or like value shopping stores. They have hordes of bras in lots of sizes. Not displayed elegantly and still with those ridiculous hangers, but hey–a five dollar bra that is identical to what you mortgage your house for at a regular shop is worth the extra effort to wade through the masses. I remember hating underwires in the old days but they seem to have improved the mechanics enormously without being interminably poked under your arms by wires that sneak out of fabric. Thank heavens!

    Thanks for the chuckles!

    • Christine says:

      Christine, I think that’s why I go to Kohl’s. I can’t seem to find ANYTHING at Ross any more – though I used to shop there regularly!

  6. Laura Cunningham says:

    I have a humorous story. I was riding my horse, in a tube top. I’m not a person who should ever go bra-less, but I was in my 20’s, so at that point I didn’t care. I had to get off of my horse, and the tube top hooked over the horn of the saddle…. Ok, so everyone got a show and a good laugh!

    • Christine says:

      Ah Laurie. When we’re in our 20s, we don’t mind so much giving the guys a show! Right? Hugs honey!

  7. beverlydiehl says:

    I loathe bra shopping, and generally wait till most of my undies are a uniform gray before replacing, except for SPECIAL undergarments. So funny, Christine!

    Here’s another similar story that cracked me up, because it’s ILLUSTRATED: http://crappypictures.com/i-tried-on-spanx-and-almost-called-911/

    • Christine says:

      Oh Bev – don’t get me started on Spanx! I’ll have to blog about the time I pulled a back muscle…lol!

  8. It’s so funny because I remember being well into my teenage years and still praying to God that someday I might actually be able to fill out a bra. Nowadays, I can, (sort of), and all I ever want to do is take the darn thing off!!!

    • Christine says:

      Sam, I was so there. Except I was in second grade, wanting boobs. What’s up with that? lol…

  9. Christine Collier says:

    Hey Christine!

    Very funny blog! I can definitely relate. I’ve never been to it, but there’s a place called “The Wizard of Bras” in Monrovia, right off the 210 on Myrtle Ave. I’ve heard good things about their custom bras, but my favorite thing is the giant ass bra in their window. Lol

  10. I can so relate! My husband doesn’t understand why it is I buy 1 in every color when I actually find one that works. I just look at him with “that” look and he goes away. Oh and the follow up pain to bra shopping? Trying to find panties that match. I swear, it NEVER fails. You find a bra that works, get all excited about getting a matching pair of panties….and there either aren’t any or they’re out. Has to be a conspiracy run by men. Rat bastards.

  11. janieemaus says:

    Too funny. I hate shopping for bras, too. When I find one that fits, I buy It in every color.

  12. Donna Coe-Velleman says:

    I too didn’t wear a bra when I was a teenager to well into my twenties. Then my daughter came along and you can guess what happened.

    I hate bra shopping. All there seems to be are underwire, preformed mounds which make the wearer feel as if they’re a viking opera singer or soft, stretchy ones that either squish your boobs flat or give no support so they’re still looking at the ground. jesh!

    • Christine says:

      Donna, apparently there are intelligent bra shops around. At least one in the greater Los Angeles area – I’ll bet if you ask around, you’ll find one in your city too. Good luck!

  13. Kim Cleary says:

    I can totally relate Christine, when I find a brand / style / size that fits well and looks good under a t-shirt I buy several lols. I hope you have a wonderful time at your photo shoot and I am looking forward to seeing the pictures!

    • Christine says:

      Thanks, Kim! I only had the funding for two bras; next time I’ll go wild and get a lime green one, lol!

  14. taristhread says:

    I’ve worn the same bra from Bali nearly my entire life…well, since I was about 14. It’s not that I love the bra, it’s not even that it fits, because I promise you it doesn’t….it’s because it’s the closest I can come to finding a bra that fits. In other words, there is less spillage over the top and under the wire of this bra than any other. Cacique was making a bra that fit me beautifully….well, no spillage anyway, although as with ALL bras, the shoulder straps were too wide, but they changed the cut of the bra, and now the cups are halfway under my arms, so I had to go back to the Bali flower bra which is only available in beige, white, and sometimes black.

    I would adore a bra with pretty lace, or in sexy colors, but at this point I’m just happy with a bra that holds the girls up, doesn’t slide off my shoulders, and doesn’t give me 4 boobs…yes, this happens, FOUR boobs.

    Most of the time I just give up and order my bras online, although I occasionally go to the outlet center where I can get them cheaper, but every now and then I go on a quest to find something new.

    Bras and shoes….the two things I most hate to shop for…….

    Can’t hate to see your pictures!!

    • Christine says:

      Have you tried a specialty store? I’m hearing from my friends that it’s the only way to go…

      • taristhread says:

        I have tried many specialty stores, and I have found bras that actually fit me, the cheapest I found were about $250…..for bras that might last me for 6 months….if I buy at least 4 or 5 five them!! Yikes. I’d be making payments on my bras!! I even had them custom made at 80 bucks a bra once, and they still didn’t fit!

        • Christine says:

          Oh hon – that totally sucks! I sure wouldn’t want to ever have payments on clothing! (Oh wait – I did put a bunch of clothes on credit. Damn, lol!)

  15. OMG! Thanks for the laugh, Christine! I can totally relate. I hate bra shopping. And I’ve lost weight, so I really really need to go. But oh the horror! At least now, I know I’m in good company and maybe I can keep a positive attitude while thinking of your post instead of wanting to go postal. 😉

    • Christine says:

      LOL Rhonda – I can’t WAIT until I lose weight enough to get new bras. I miss being smaller, lol!

  16. Maria Powers says:

    Ah bra shopping! My last experience in the purgatory of bra shopping at a department store was back when my dad was still alive – it’s been at least 10 years. It was Christmas at Nordstrom’s in Arcadia and this skinny little YOUNG, barely legal to have a job, young lady came up to help me. Now, I am not small breasted. I remember “training” bras and then I remember being a C – cup and the twins have only gotten bigger since. I left Nordstrom’s and drove toward the 605 on the 210 heading east (going to see my parents) when I saw the store Wizard of Bras (or Creative Woman, but let’s be honest, Wizard seems more appropriate). I pulled off the freeway across a couple of lanes of traffic and stopped at the store. You have to give your name and then a sales associate comes out to assist you. They measure you, and they go look in the drawers for bras for you. I’ve never gone back to the land of department store bra shopping. I never will.

    I now no longer hate bra shopping. I highly recommend the store to anyone who lives in, near or within a day’s drive to come on over and experience the joy that is shopping for a bra in the only manner it should be done.

    Wizard of Bras in Monrovia CA. They’re even open on Mondays now.

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