Tuesday, March 4, 2008

cross my heart

If you aren't female you may as well toddle along to another blog right now. (This includes you, Peter). Because unless you're looking for cheap thrills, you're in the wrong place today. No, this isn't a post about labor pains or periods or the horrors of bikini waxes. It's worse. (Not bathing suit shopping bad, but bad enough).

I just bought a new bra. I'm pretty sure it took less mental effort when we financed our first new car. (At only a marginally higher cost). I'm positive it was less humiliating. And my question is...


If you believe Oprah (doesn't everyone? isn't she like the most trusted woman in the galaxy or something?) 85% of women wear the wrong size bra. That's a pretty impressive statistic. I'm the first to admit that I'm in that group. My straps never stay up, I get back cleavage and, most aggravating of all, my bra bunches up under shirts so that a smooth line is impossible. (If we still have men present, don't come whining to me. I told you to go away).

My last barely passable bra gave up the ghost over the weekend, leaving me with no choice but to suck it up and go bra shopping. What I really wanted was to go to one of those specialty shops that measure you and snap their fingers and voila! tell you your perfect size without hesitation. But we don't have a store like that in town and I didn't feel like driving. So I did what any other informed shopper would do in the year 2008. I went on the internet.

I tried this bra size calculator. Being a skeptic, I wanted a second opinion. So I tried this one, too. And of course I got two different sizes. (Neither of which I've ever worn, by the way). I tucked this questionable information away and headed to the biggest department store we've got. Can I tell you that I haven't had that much fun since my last mammogram?

The choices are overwhelming. Underwire, wire free, lightly shaped, gel foam, demi cup, smoothing, strapless, racerback, convertible...the list goes on. Every brand is sized slightly differently. And when the hell did a bra start costing $30?

I tried on twelve of them in two different runs. I tried to not flaunt the five item per dressing room too much. (I like even numbers. Shoot me). I picked the two I liked the best, which wasn't saying much. Then I hit the t-shirt sale and got a couple of them for work, since I like to wear scrub pants and a t-shirt instead of a scrub top. Went back to the dressing room and tried on the bra with the t-shirts. And could clearly see bra lines underneath with both bras. Hit the sales floor again and got six more of them in slightly different styles and tweaked the size a little. Seventeen bras later I finally found one that a) I liked that b) fit and c) didn't show under the shirt. Of course they didn't have it in the color I wanted, but at that point if lime green tiger stripes had been my only choice I probably would have gone for it. And it only set me back $32. Whee.

I had a lot of time to think while I was trying on the multitudes. I now have my very own set of lingerie buying imponderables. For example:

Why do you always look fat trying on underwear? I've lost a fair amount of weight recently and look pretty respectable in my clothes, but in that dressing room I looked like a cross between Fat Elvis and the Stay Puft marshmallow man. In a badly fitting bra. I didn't just have back cleavage. I had rib cleavage. There was only one place I didn't have cleavage. Guess where?

Who came up with the tip I read in some magazine about leaning forward while trying on bras so you would "fall into the cup naturally"? The security guard behind the two way glass? Because I'm here to tell you that that tip does no one a good turn except the voyeur behind the camera monitor. And only if they get extra wow value from women cussing like teamsters when they "fall" the wrong way.

And perhaps most importantly - now that I've finally found one I like...why in the world did I just buy one?


Willowtree said...

That was a lot of words for a post that was just about a bra, thankfully you excused me from reading them.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Peter - Do you see what I have to do to get you to comment????

Rudee said...

I feel your pain RC. I saw the Oprah episode you talked about. I even bought one of her "favorite" bras but I think they only fit women who aren't as poorly endowed as me. I wear underarmour sports bras to work. That way when I lean over, my pervie patients don't get much to peek at (not like there is much to begin with). No one is disappointed that way.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Rudee - believe me, there's not much to check out in my shirt either. But I too have caught some patients trying.

I missed the Oprah episode. What brands does she like? There's like a jillion of them out there.

ped crossing said...

I loathe, hate, abhor bra shopping and we do have one of those specialty shops. I have been there and still can't find a bra I really like. I have also been to Nordies. No great luck there either and if only I could be so lucky to find a $30 bra. Try $60. Now that you found one you like, internet shop to get it in every color. Then you can avoid the experience as long as possible.

Kaycie said...

I hate shopping for bras. My problem is far too much cleavage in the middle. I can't buy pretty bras anymore. Mine look like they're made to hold cannonballs or something. Ugh.

RC, you always, always, ALWAYS buy at least two of anything you have to try on two dozen of before finding just one you like. Go back right away before they sell the other one!

my two cents said...

I can't believe anyone as practical as you only bought one! I wouldn't say I hate bra shopping, I just never make time for it. I guess I must be pretty bad at it because I spend most of the day thinking about the moment I can get home and get it off! Try one with gel shoulder straps-they are actually more comfortable and gouge a lot less.

A very very funny post!!

Thalia's Child said...

Believe it or not, I actually order my bras online from Lane Bryant.

I learned how to fit bras years and years and years ago, and then when I was working at a clothing store while waiting for my nurses license to come in Alberta, I found out I'm apparently wearing the wrong size!! HAHAHAHAHA.

I haven't changed sizes though because I refuse to accept my boobs are that big.

Carolyn said...

I'm one of those lucky girls who has such a pathetic rack (made only worse by extended breast feeding) that I don't even need to wear a bra.

In fact, until I read this post I had no idea how much bras cost nowadays. Thanks for the update.

Sweet Irene said...

Probably because you were so relieved at finding one that fit, but really, I don't have that many problems buying a bra and I shop on line for them at the same store over and over again using their size chart and it works. They fit well and comfortably and if the straps slide down I adjust those to make them a little tighter. I wear a C-cup with an under wire, nothing out of the ordinary. I wonder if too much is made out of too little and I don't mean not enough boobs.

the mother of this lot said...

You only bought one because you couldn't face the thought of handing over $64 for two.

Maggie May said...

there's an award waiting for you over at my place!

belle said...

Once I finally found a size that fit I went completely beserk and have now become a total bra junkie. Don't go there! It only leads to becoming a matching underwear junkie. And before you know where you are you're feeding the kids bread and water to scrimp on the housekeeping in order to fund your habbit!

Maggie May said...

PS .... about the bras! In England we can go to Marks & Spencers & they do fittings free & you can take about 4 bras at a time & they will help you get fitted out right. I have heard that a bra will be the wrong fit within six months! The mind boggles that our boobs change constantly!

Flowerpot said...

I have such pathetically small boobs that my bra keeps falling off!

laurie said...

i guess at my size, then i go to Marshall's and find one on their rack of discounted name brands. i never pay more than $7 for a bra that way.

but they quite frankly do not fit very well.

laurie said...

and what's this about you have lost a fair amount of weight lately??? must i send you more chocolate??

PixelPi said...

Yeah, enough of the weight-losing. Are you anorexic? Do you need more carbs?

The illustrations are hysterical, BTW. I love the 1950's "cone shaped breasts." Such a natural look.

Check your email.

Anonymous said...

I always have a problem with bras! My back is wide and my boobs have somehow grown in size during the last few years - contentment perhaps?

Crystal xx

Mya said...

I sympathise. I hate bra shopping. Is it true US changing rooms station security guards behind the mirror glass???? Eek. And why is it that changing rooms are always so badly lit and unflattering? If they lied more, they'd sell more.

Mya x

kitten said...

I hear ya! I hate bra shopping! I sent you an email with questions if ya don't mind.
Thank you!

Rudee said...

RC, Oprah does an October show about her favorite "Wacoal" bras. I went to their website-and noticed they make "petite" bras. I'm sure that petite indicates stature, but who knows? Maybe it's a new line just for the likes of me. I'm going to let my other friends on the itty bitty committee know I found this item.

Lil Mouse said...

dont you hate that? Yup bras are super expensive unless you're hitting up Walmart for Hanes tshirt bras. which are pretty comfy. and the mirrors in vicky's secret? awful. make you look super duper fat even if you're just barely a little fat. why do they buy these mirrors? there are other mirrors people! and the sexier a woman looks the more she's going to buy, hello!

pursegirl said...

Ok, you are going to hate me... but Weavers does have a team of 89 year old women who are "bra specialists". They measure you and retrieve bras for you. I say you do that this weekend. I'll go too- with my own chair and some popcorn.
I hate bras and bra shopping. The only thing that makes me consider plastic surgery is that one procedure that makes your boobs all perky and BACK in the place they started. I'd even lose a cup size if I never had to wear a bra ever, ever again!!
BTW- call me!

Amy said...

I bought three bras this weekend because I've, uh, outgrown mine. As in, I've gotten too fat for them. I saw that Oprah thing, too, and it just doesn't matter what the calculations are. The only thing that works is trying them on. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a comfortable bra. I tried on some that were potentially comfortable, but they never had quite the right size. Annoying. I go braless whenever I can. And I just flash the camera behind the mirror. Like they're going to want to watch a fat mom with stretch marks down to her toes try on bras.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

ped crossing - $60 for a bra? Are you serious? Good god.I like Nordies. Too much - it's probably a good thing we don't have one.

kaycie - but they didn't have another one. Well, they did, but the color was awful. You would have been able to see it under anything but a black shirt.

my two cents - it was the last thing I felt like doing yesterday,but I found myself bra-less. I'm like you, though. I can't get that baby off fast enough.

thalia's child - okay, that is really funny. So I guess there really is a lot of leeway in determining size, right?

carolyn - I didn't need a bra until I had kids. But after three pregnancies and nursing I need a holster. Not for size...for sag.

sweet irene - I think that's the trick. Once you find one you like you just keep getting that same kind. I haven't actually worn this new one yet. I have to break it in still.

mother of this lot - exactly! It's even worse, though, because this store was doing a buy two get one free and I STILL didn't want to spend sixty bucks on bras.I'm sure I'll regret it.

maggie may - on my way over to check out the award! And I can't believe the size changes that often. Mine better NEVER change again.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

belle - I have to admit that some of the stuff was really really cute. I'm trying to stay off that path, but can totally see the appeal. (Once I find something that fits, anyway).

flowerpot - I can't keep straps on my shoulders. I don't know why, but I can't. So I usually wear the racerbacks just to keep them on.

laurie - I guess I'm simply tired of them not fitting. Or looking like ass the second time I wear them. I've had these ridges in my old bra that you could see a block away. I looked like the three boobed bimbo.

And the chocolate? Is fabulous. Thank you, thank you thank you!!

pixelpi - checked my email. Those Spanx bras look very interesting. I'm going to check those out on-line. I'm hoping that they have the natural cone shaped ones on sale.

crystal - I have a wide back,too. Or big rib cage. Whatever. Yours may be from contentment. Mine is from too many mashed potatoes.

mya - exactly. Light the damn room a little better and those bras would fly off the shelves. I'm not totally sure about the security surveillance, but I think the y really do have people watching to keep you from stealing. Like anyonw is going to steal a bra that gives you the boob version of a Unibrow.

kitten - on my way to email you back. Hang in there.

rudee - "Wacoal" is the brand? Hmm. I've never heard of it. Itty bitty committee?? You're cracking me up!

lil mouse - I like those Hanes t-shirt bras. I just need a little more support. I may go and check them out again, though. God knows I'm going to need more that one bra.

pursegirl - are you shitting me???
Seriously? Can those 89 year old ladies actually fit the damn things?

I have to go and cuss now.

amy - that was kind of what I thought, too. If anyone wants to watch me try on bras they've obviously got problems way beyond lingerie.

I'll see your stretch marks and raise you one.

aims said...

After many years of sagging and memories of pain under my right boob - I finally went back to an underwire. Why the pain you ask? Gall bladder - but I always associated it with that wire...

Now I get mine at Walmart - 16$

The other day the wire broke and I asked The Man if he would stop in and pick me up one - he actually refused!! Can you believe that?!

Potty Mummy said...

Good point RC - why DID you get just one?

And lucky you, $30 for a bra sounds extremely inexpensive to me. In this neck of the woods £30 is the average. And that's before you start going to those whizzy shops you were talking about. When I was looking for a birthday treat bra, I found myself recoiling in horror as I realised I had been about to try on one for ONE HUNDRED AND FITY POUNDS! Needless to say, it went straight back on the shelf. I mean, I couldn't try it on. What if I liked it?

Akelamalu said...

I love shopping but not when I have to buy a bra! I have been measured twice, in two different specialist shops and neither of them came up with a size that I feel comfortable in. I now order bras from a catalogue in various styles, in quantities that make them think I'm opening a shop, then I keep the one that looks/fits/feels best. I then send the others back and order 5 more of the one that's right. My last lot cost me £20 each! Guess what - I need some new ones. :(

Simply Jenn said...

Ugh, I hate bra shopping too. I went to one of those magic places and the bra size they gave me was GINORMOUS, and the bras they brought in for me were bigger than my grandma's head. WHY? It's such an insult to go bra shopping.

Happy in the Abyss said...

I am reminded fondly, of course, of the water bra incident we shared. However, having one of those go-measure you and snap your fingers you get the bra of your dreams is not always paradise. Mine are usually over $40 a pop and they are never the most attractive choice. I go for comfort and let Heidi Klum wear the pretty crap.

Congrats on a new bra. Love u!

Kimberly said...

Brilliant post!

-Ann said...

I bought a new bra on Saturday. My experience wasn't anywhere near as excruciating. I buy some of my groceries at a place that is sort of like a Target. So I just went into the underwear section there, rooted around until I found one without padding, and tossed it in my shopping cart.

It never occurred to me to try it on. I got measured at Marshall Field's before my wedding a few years ago and even though I've gain a little weight since then, none of it was in the chest area.

Don't hate me because it's easy for me to buy bras. I probably just have much lower standards.

Rose said...

RC--your blog is the first one I check every day--so funny!! Thanks for your kind comment on mine yesterday; it really meant a lot to me.

janet said...

bra shopping is totally the devil's work, meant to make you feel as fat and unattractive as possible. sigh.

what i liked about nordie's is that i could get fitted there by their little ladies with tape measures (and then go seek the same bra elsewhere for less).

Swearing Mother said...

And then you find the perfect bra, fits like a dream, you look great from the front. But catch a look at yourself in the rear view mirror and, wow, are those another set of boobs handing over the back too?

In fact, my fat back boobs are really in need of more support than the front ones these days. To much information, but that's just the way it is I'm afraid. Dammit.

Corey~living and loving said...

OH MAN! That has to be one of the best posts I have read in AGES! I mean AGES!!!!!!! You are too funny! thank you for the laugh.
I soooooooooo need a new bra or two. The girls have seen better days. lol

Graham Cracker said...

Bra shopping is the pits! When I was younger, before kids, I actally had a favorite Maidenform with the cone shape poking out. I was thrille when it was featured in an ad in the magazines. Now I do go where they fit you ane bring suggestions and have paid a lot for Wacoal. Then I buy a few, since I learned that once I find one I like, the manufacturer disconitniues it and I have to start all over again.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

aims - it's like asking a guy to get you pantyhose. Or sanitary products. "Uh, yeah...I need the super thin panty liner with the wings and the turbo stripe". Right. That's gonna not get lost in translation.

potty mummy - a hundred and fifty pounds?? For a bra?? Is it on Johnny Depp?? Does he come with??

akelamalu - that route has a lot going for it. I've gotten a couple of suggestions from this post that may keep me out of a store for quite a while!

jenn - I know what you mean. I'm not big. Trust me on this. But I, uh, have had three kids. Enough said? And the bras look big and icky. Why do you have to wear an A cup to get a pretty bra?

happy in the abyss - oh, my god. I had totally forgotten about the water bra. I do however remember when Sasquatch walked into my living room with your bra on his head. Couldn't even see his sweet little face for those big ol' cups.

kimberly - I do misery well.

ann - all of my other bras have come from Target, too. But they bunch up on me for some reason. I like them and they're cute and not too pricey...but they crumble like cheap fenders.

rose - you are a sweetheart. I'm always happy when you're here.

janet - my feeling is that nordie's does almost everything better.And more expensively. Way more expensively. But oh, I do miss it.

swearing mother - hey! wait a minute! That wasn't you behind the security camera yesterday, was it? Because you're describing me too, sister.

corey - haven't all of our girls seen better days? I don't think I'm the best advertisement for bra shopping.

graham cracker - okay, you have a wacoal too? That's the Oprah bra, right? Now I know I need to check this out. I've never even heard of this bra. (and by the way...hello!!)

Murphy's Mom said...

Dear R.C. - You certainly hit a nerve with your hilarious post! And I adore the graphics...very glamorous! I am down to one decent bra that I can wear to work. I thought I lost it last week and had to wear camoflaging clothing over my red white and blue cotton, only wear around the house in my pjs bra. Thank goodness, I found it in the clean laundry! Guess it is time to buy another. sigh...my cannon balls are very hard to fit (and carry).
Thanks for the fun read!

Kaytabug said...

This is like the best post EVER!! I loath bra shopping. Since i gained weight my bras are too tight and I have that muffin top up top...

I love this post!! Thanks for sharing. It was like reading about my last bra shopping experience's but written by a very funny witty gal!