Mrs. Hanglow: Or how I learned to stop complaining and finally bought quality

**Disclaimer to my gentleman readers: This is a post about bras and bra shopping. You have been warned.**

Yesterday, for the first time in four years, I went bra shopping and bought a bra that did not have escape hatches. I’d like to say that my motivation for such an endeavor was to look better and feel better about myself, but it wasn’t… well, maybe it was. I am standing up in a wedding next month and I have a great dress to wear and it would be a shame to wear a non-supportive bra with this dress because it would make things just… go… south.

The last time I really went bra shopping, I was not a mother (and certainly not a nursing mother. Just an FYI, I do own nursing bras so technically I have gone bra shopping within the last four years, but you kind of know what I mean…) I used to do all of my shopping at a little store that is known for having lots and lots of Secrets. The biggest secret that I came to find was that most of the consultants there really aren’t that good at bra fittings. Now, I shouldn’t blame the salesgirls, after all, they are only as good as their trainers (hahaha, that could be a pun!) Maybe it’s just the stock offering at this particular store, I don’t know.

I am of the ample chested variety (even without active lobules) and for some reason, most of the bras there are of the “push-up” variety. I am all about lift and separation and for me, having my breasts squished together and placed somewhere under my neck is not the most comfortable. In addition to smooshing together and jamming them under my neck, the bras that were “hand-picked” for me tended to give me the “quad-boob” look. You know what I mean, where the top of the bra cuts diagonally across the flesh of the breast and kind of digs in, making it look like you have four breasts? Lovely, right? So, by the end of my “fitting,” all these years ago, I walk out with a bra I am not 100% in love with and actually kind of hurts me (the underwire would dig into my armpit area. Not fun.) Oh, and did I mention, that it cost me an arm and a leg? Looking back, I really should have said “thanks, but I am not finding anything here,” and walked out, but I was a part of the consumer group that this store heavily markets to and, doggone it, I wanted a bra from there! To me, my other option would have been going to the old-lady department stores and getting fitted there, but who’d want to be seen doing that?!

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been living in stretchy, comfy nursing bras for a long, long time. The Mister, when we were shopping for this dress for the wedding, even commented how much nicer the dress would look with more… support. OK, OK, I’ll concede, I’ll go shopping. I headed to the mall and avoided she-with-many-secrets and instead swallowed my pride and headed to an old-lady department store for a fitting. (After all, I am over 30 now. Tee Hee!) The saleslady asked my size and I told her a guesstimate and she promptly said, “You are no way in the right size, let’s go measure you.” Oh, was she right. From my guesstimate, actual band size was four inches smaller and the cup was one cup size bigger. (And joy, of joys… I am an “odd” size, so no Target or WalMart bras for me.) I tried on the correct size and, Oh Mercy! The girls were defying gravity!! In that one instant, I looked about ten pounds lighter and I found myself standing with better posture; my shoulders were held back and I didn’t have the hunchback thing going on. Then I looked at the price… and it was no where near what I was expecting and that was a nice surprise!

Let’s take a little break here and talk quality versus quantity or maybe how quality and quantity are related. Many women I know (me included) HATE to spend money on things like bras or shoes or other things that get worn out. Why? Precisely because they are going to get worn out and better to wear out and replace the cheap item than the expensive one, right? Wrong. Remember that you get what you pay for. If you are running out to local discount store every two months to by a new bra at $16 each (which may or may not fit right,) how is that any different than spending $35 on a bra, measured to you and made of better materials, every 6-9 months? Basic fact, cheap items are made of cheap materials and will wear out faster than their more quality made counterparts. Yes, a “specialty” bra (let’s say… for a wedding?) might run you upwards of $70 but for that $70 you are getting a bra that is guaranteed to fit and most importantly stay up and make you look flattering in your dress. How many of us have bought strapless bras off the rack (tee hee, another pun) only to have it fall down the entire night, or dig in to your flesh? I have heard it said that a woman’s wardrobe is only as flattering as the foundation pieces under it and this mama 100% believes that now.

So, I am a proud owner of a new bra and I can’t wait to get some more. I would like to see if I can find at least one nursing bra in my “new” size because I am loving this new figure I am sporting. And if you’ve read this far… enjoy your cookie.
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Do you have any bra-shopping horror stories? Or even bra horror stories? Do share!!

Pax Christi!

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4 Comments

Filed under funnies, life

4 responses to “Mrs. Hanglow: Or how I learned to stop complaining and finally bought quality

  1. Maman A Droit

    Nursing took me up to a 34J at first, now that my son’s almost 2 I’m down to a 34G. So yeah no stores carry my size. Specialty online stores only and eesh they’re expensive. it’s kinda embarrassing at times to be 25 and not fit a size carried in stores. But oh well-totally worth it to get my son the best nutrition. I wonder what size I’ll be when he’s done nursing?

  2. From my FaceBook Page:

    “I’ve done the expensive bra thing and the quality department store but haven’t found that I end up liking them any better and they haven’t lasted any longer than the ones I get for $10-15. I think it’s actually hard to find salespeople who do know how to fit a bra. There was an entire article on this on salon.com a year ago and it was funny to see all of the comments. Every store someone loved or had a great experience at, someone else had an equally awful experience in the same place. I think I need to go to a bra specific shop not located in a mall to find quality that I like, as my issue seems to be straps, and apparently they will alter your straps at some of these shops. I’m glad you found some you liked, it is always an awesome feeling. I suggest buying a few, perhaps in a variety of colors :)”

    Great points and great advice!

  3. David

    I actually made it all the way through this. I used to care way too much about women’s underwear or lack of it…But I believe that quality is always better. That doesn’t mean the most expensive-you can buy Ralph Lauren at Ross…but find a brand you like and stick with it. My wife loves Bali, but thought they were too expensive, and bought others. But she almost sighs when she has a Bali. Regarding that place of Secrets, they went waaaaay overboard in their advertisements and I quit enjoying it. But on a vacation a few years ago to the Carribean, my wife discovered that she had forgotten her swimsuit-a one piece modest coverage suit. I said “No problem, let’s shop”! Well, anything that was her size was very, very revealing, and anything that wasn’t revealing she could have used for a tent. This was true at the resort, in the town, EVERYWHERE!!! So now the joke goes, when we go on vacation, “Do you have a swimsuit with you this time??” At any rate, we returned to that resort a year and a half ago, with swimwear, and she had an excellent time in the river ride while I almost lost my trunks on a 6-story drop down the water slide…tied them tighter the next time…

    • Ugh, I forgot about swimwear! I found the best suit ever at WalMart (of all places) last year in Florida when my suit was a little too snug for the post-baby body. It’s so cute, it’s red, retro styling and I love it. I fear that it might be too big this year though! The good thing is that it appears that swim fashion is hopping on the modesty train and going more retro in their styles, so there is hope!

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