Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities (and Fourteen Bras!)

Have you ever looked back over the course of an event in your life and cringed at the fact that that there are precious hours that can never, ever be gotten back? Hours that could have been used... oh, I don't know, educating your self on organic gardening, studying your SS lesson, playing with your children, discovering a cure for cancer (alright, now I'm just getting silly), but instead you have become mind-numbingly exhausted performing a dreaded, albeit necessary, task? Welcome to my last 5 days.

It all began with my weight loss. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about it AGAIN because, well, I'm pretty proud of myself and because it has affected every.single.area. of my life... and not all in good ways. Strange, right? When can weight loss be a negative? When you start out on a mission to find a bra that fits your ever-changing body shape, that's when. Yeah, this is one chapter they left out of all the fitness books I've ever read. Why? Because I'm almost tempted to eat my weight in banana split Blizzards just to get back into my old bras. I'm only half kidding.

It was time for new bras anyway. Without the weight loss, my bras were in sad shape: stretched out, ripped in places, underwires all jank. That's right: jank. ;) And because I've got lingerie selling experience (what job haven't I had, right?), I knew that a bra fitting was of the utmost importance. So off I go. The cute little bra fitting specialist who rocks red lipstick better than anyone I have ever seen, did her duty and proceeded to tell me (like I figured) that my bra size had changed. Formerly a 38 C, I was now gonna be sporting a 36 D. This is where I'm NOT going to go into the details of the subtle differences between band size and cup size, but feel free to message me if you need clarification. I'll also explain how to measure yourself later on in the post. The majority of women are walking around in the wrong size bra. True story.

Anyway, to say that I tried almost every single bra on in the store would not be an understatement. Luckily, I felt like I redeemed myself somewhat with the staff because I was able to put the bras back on their hangers appropriately (that year of working in the lingerie department at Sears has really paid off). What I ultimately decided on was the same style of bra I have been wearing for the past 3 years, just in a different size. Now, I'm a freak and would prefer that all my bras be nude in color because it takes the guesswork out of deciding what to wear under my clothes so as to not show through whatever I'm wearing over it. And yes, white bras do show up under certain fabrics, but this rant isn't about my obsessive behavior (although I guess it really kind of IS), so I digress... I leave the store with one white, one nude, and one black (because that's all the colors they had in my size) and order two more nudes. Throw in two packs of underwear and a pack of socks and I almost skip home giddy to clean out my underwear drawer and start fresh.

Two days later after WASHING the bras and wearing them, I realize that I cannot under any circumstances wear them for another single second. I take off the bra I'm wearing and find that the underwire has all but poked a hole in my side and the band has left a permanent red indention all around my torso. How can this be? They felt fine in the store. Annoyed, but deciding maybe after 10 years that underwire bras may be the enemy, I return to the bra place.

Cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter was working again and was even more determined than I was to find some bras that worked for me. I liked her spunkiness and her customer service. I swear you would have thought she worked on commission. Anyhoo... off I go trying almost every single WIRE-FREE bra in the joint. I left with 3 of those boxed bras that I used to think were only for grandmas (ahem), and a sleep bra. Yeah, I sleep in bras. But that's another story.

Another full day of wearing said "wire-free" bra, and the misery ensued. Did you know that the main support of your bra is in the band and not the straps? More trueness. My girls require more support than a wire-free bra can give. And I began to think the band was a bit too snug, even in the loosest hook. So I go BACK to the bra store (little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is working again and now thinks I'm either stalking her, or the most particular customer this side of the Mason-Dixon). I purchase a 3-pack of bra extenders and went on my merry, slightly chaffed and corded, way.

The good news is I called and cancelled my order for the two bras that were on back order. The bad news is that although the bra extenders I bought helped with the ill-fitting band, they presented another problem in the process: the cups began to pucker. By this point I'm about ready to walk around all National Geographic-like and say to heck with all this bra business. "It shouldn't be this hard," I think to myself as I put my old-ratty-bras-I-was-trying-to-replace-in-the-very-beginning back on. Light bulb moment: Just go get your old size bra, even if it's not as snug in the band as you would like. Besides, 10 more pounds, and the snug bra might fit. It would have to be a better alternative than all this other nonsense. So I go off again... this time to another store in another city (that I look up online to make sure they carry the style I'm looking for) because I just don't think I could face little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter again. Seriously, does she not get an off day? Sheesh.

This time I find my good ol' standby (in white and nude... the only two in my size in the store) and proceed to checkout. My husband, along for the ride and moral support, suggests I try on more bras by picking out a few more for me while I was in the dressing room. Really? I just want to go home and put this nightmarish hide-and-seek game to bed. But I relent. Mostly because I was just too tired and defeated to argue. I'm beginning to accept the fact that I'm in an in-between stage/size and that in another month with persistent diet and exercise (or a couple of Shamrock Shakes later, depending on which route I choose to take) I can look forward to doing all this crap again. Yippee.

But as luck would have it, one of the bras he chose (appropriately named "the softest bra ever") pulled through for me. Underwire: check. Not poking me in the side: check. Comfortable band: check. No "spillage:" check. Soft inside lining that doesn't feel like it's made of burlap: check. No lace: check. Folks, we have ourselves a winner! Got three of THOSE babies too in white, nude and taupe. Wearing one now. Tags are still on the other two just in case. lol! Now all I have to do is grow some courage to return the other two bras in the box to the bra place or stalk the joint like a private investigator to make sure cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is (finally) enjoying a day off. :/

If you are keeping track, that's 5 days, 2 different stores, in 2 different cities and 14 (count 'em: FOURTEEN) bras and 1 completely exasperated momma with appropriately covered, completely supported, and perky boobs. Men should thank their lucky stars every day that they were born a man, right? I mean, what could be more miserable than bra shopping? Oh yeah. Swimsuit shopping. And ironically enough... I'm gonna be needing a new one of those, too. Aye caramba!!!! :D

To make sure you are wearing the right size bra, measure yourself around your ribcage, right under your boobs. Add 4 inches. I don't know why, just do it. ;) This is your band size (If it happens to be an odd number, you could possibly go either up or down. Trying on bras is essential to finding a good fit for you. They are all made a little different.). Next measure the fullest part if your breast across your nipples. Subtract the original number you got from measuring your ribcage from this number. This determines your cup size. If the difference is:
1 inch: A cup
2 inches: B cup
3 inches: C cup
4 inches: D cup
5 inches: DD cup
6 inches: E cup
7 inches: F cup

If you are larger than an DD cup, I suggest contacting a specialty store that caters to larger bra sizes. Hope this information is helpful to some of you. Good luck!

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