Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another cog in the wheel

Last week, when i was overwhelmed with computer issues at work, i took a bit longer than usual returning from an appointment by stopping in a department store and looking at clothes. Some might call it retail therapy, but truth be told, i hate shopping.

I have more than enough clothes, although could do with another bra, but i'd rather poke my eye out than shop for those. Still, might as well see what's available and take it from there.

I don't wish to bore or embarrass the male readers of this blog, but i need to take a moment to rant about bra sizing. If need be, look away until the next paragraph or so. Bra sizing seems, on the face of it, pretty straight forward. You measure around at the widest point of your bust, so you know what size to look for, (32, 36, 38, etc.) and cup size has to do with how much of that number is boob and how much of it is the rest of your body. So, a 36 A would be someone with a smaller boob, while a 36 C would look more endowed. There's actually a formula which i've now forgotten, but it's something like measuring immediately below your breasts as well as at the fullest point and taking the difference as a good gauge for cup size. Something like 1 inch difference is an A cup, 2 a B, and so on. I don't know how this works out in the metric world, but in the historic English system, it seems to work. Ahem. Operative word is seems. For, if you've been blessed with a bust size that's an odd number, i.e., 33, 35, 37, you're not going to find a brassiere that really is made for you. You'll squish into the smaller even numbered size, or have some room with the larger even number. The cup sizes seem to be all over place. Well, actually, it seems that every manufacturer uses a different ruler so one size fits a variety of women, but that same size with a different manufacturer won't fit at all. And then there are those manufacturers who pad the cups. When i was a smaller size, i always felt it was akin to those girls who used to stuff their bras with paper hankies to make themselves look bigger. And for crying out loud, if i'm already a C or D cup, do i REALLY need more padding? Some manufacturers say it's a C or D cup, but there's so much padding in the cup that there's not much room for the boob. Oh, and then there are the manufacturers who make bras for women who have breast enhancement surgery. You know, the really skinny models who have a 23-inch waist and 38-inch bust? Um, yeah, so those bras are constructed so that the part that's supposed to hook together can't for a normal sized woman wearing a size 38 bra. Because the woman they have in mind would naturally wear a 32 or 34, but they've now got bigger jugs. Okay, there may be one or two women who are naturally built that way, like a girl in school i knew named Joyce, or if a small boned woman got pregnant and is breast-feeding.

But as i looked at the array of bras in different colours, textures, and sizes, my heart sank. I grabbed several that i thought might fit me. This is the ritual. Try on a dozen before one fits kinda sorta. Try on two dozen, and i might find one that fits really well. Buy all i can of that one, and there never seem to be more than one or two of that one. Oh, and try those on, too, just be sure they fit as well, because, as we know from sad experience, they don't all fit the same way. Even when they are the same make and model. Oof.

I saw four that might do the trick, and tried them on. None fit right. At all. What was more alarming, as i tried one of them on, was how my back was squished when i tried hooking the bra closed. Okay, i haven't been strength training, but i've never seen back cleavage like that in my life! Not on this body. Ever. And as i tried on one after the other, i came to the sad conclusion that my body is really middle aged. Most of the perk has left the building. That i should need this support garment even more than before and that i'm finding it impossible to find one to fit reasonably well seems sad and cruel. I also saw a few cute tops and thought i'd try them on for size. The one i liked so much on the hanger did a Jekyll/Hyde thing as it went from off the hanger to on me. I looked ridiculous. Another top that didn't make my eyes pop when i saw it, but it was on clearance and might look good fit like a dream. Moreover, i involuntarily smiled when i saw myself in it, which surprised me. I didn't want to take the top off, so i figured it'd come home with me. The bras didn't seem to mock me so much after that. I clutched my new top tightly as i left the dressing room with the ill-fitting bras and returned them to their display. Yes, they have those racks in the dressing rooms where you can hang the clothes you're not going to take so associates can put them away, but i am still from the old school where i put the item back from whence it came. I put back the too-young-for-me top. I could have worn it 20 years ago and been quite fetching, but now? Well, i'd just look silly.

I don't know quite how it happened. This whole middle aged thing. I remember looking at women about 20 years older than i was, wearing fashions that were too young for them and looking ridiculous. I wondered why their friends didn't clue them in. It might not be a comfortable conversation to have, but it's one a good friend would undertake all the same. I then took a look around the store. Many of the fashions were designed for younger women in mind. Some i could wear all right, although they didn't call to me, and while i don't want fuddy-duddy clothes, i don't think it ought to be hard to find something that will flatter me. Then i realized that i was in the juniors department. I remember having this conversation with my mother. She was always petite and often lamented that they didn't make petite clothes for older women. Somehow designers thought that petite women are always under 25. Now, here am i 35 years later, having similar thoughts. Although i'm not really tiny like Mom, as i've got more heft, but my short-waisted build combined with my short stature have me firmly in the juniors.

I left after i paid for my new top, decided my currrent crop of bras will have to hold up the tired old girls a bit longer, and that i need to get back to strength training.


  1. Bra sizing is insane. Cukoo's nest, catch 22 crazy. Although sewn by underpaid women in 3rd world countries, bras are designed, and the fabrics sourced, by men who think they are the Howard Hughes of their twenty something generation making bra designs for their pin up Jane Russells to fit into. I am making repairs to excellent bras I found several years and and had foresight to buy three. At seventy dollars each! No longer in production and nothing the distributor recommends even comes close. There is no solution.

  2. I am thinking of simply going without. I have one underwire one where the wire is poking through and held onto it, thinking i might need to repair it if i can't find a suitable replacement.

    I didn't want to rant about the pricing, which is also insane.

  3. Only if you dare, M. Cro. tee-hee

  4. Bought a bra for my daughter at Victoria's Secret last year. Needed to be strapless for a prom dress.

    That sales associate explained to us that there are three rooms in a Victoria's Secret: the regular room, in the back, with things like cotton bras, the sexy room in the middle and the very sexy room up front. The associate had cute official names for each room but I can't remember them. The deal was, the sexier the bra the more it pushed up and pushed together and padded, etc., etc. "Isn't that cheating?" my daughter asked. She's 17. Oy.

    I have found a bra brand I like, the polar opposite of Victoria's Secrets. They're called Coobies, which is short for "Comfortable Boobies." :oP

    1. I haven't been in a Victoria's Secret store for years. None of their bras ever fit me right, even when i wasn't middle aged or overweight.

      I'll have to check out the coobies link. That might just be the ticket, thanks.

  5. I had to laugh at Cro's comment x