As I get older and more crotchety, I’m less tolerant of things that annoy me. In an earlier post (There’s no business like shoe business), I compared today’s styles in high heels to the 21st century’s version of foot binding. I’d now like to include bras in that category. All Boomer Broads agree that the “girls” need support – we have no problem with that. But why does that support have to be designed solely for the eye of the beholder not the wearer. Why do bras have to be itchy, scratchy, binding, pinching and protruding. Whoever said the girls have to be separately displayed and in an upright position, in see-through lace structurally engineered with no consideration for comfort.
In my younger days I could get away with fitted camisoles alone so I didn’t have to deal with underwire pinch or slippage. There was no pressure on my ribcage and no clasps or other accoutrements to detract from a smooth tee shirt. Then, menopause hit, along with a few extra pounds and my upper body has been a work in progress ever since. I hate wearing a bra – plain and simple. When I’ve been out all day, I can’t wait to get home and rip the thing off. I gave up on underwires a few years ago because they were always pinching and shifting. But even the wireless soft cups put uncomfortable pressure on your ribcage and across the back. Au naturel feels so much better. Many stretch athletic bras approach some level of comfort but still put vice-like pressure on the ribcage and back.
I once fell for the myth at all my problems would be solved once I invested in a good quality European bra. So I dropped $200.00 on a delicate black lace number, made in France. When I test drove it in the store it felt fine but after a couple of hours on the highway of life my upper body felt like it was being attacked by scorpions. Most of the European bras place the straps on the outer edge of your shoulders. Unless you’re built like a linebacker, those straps are constantly sliding off.
And don’t tell me to go and get properly fitted. Every place I go to gives me a different number and cup size. There’s no consistency in the design and manufacturing of bras or in the measurement techniques. The ultimate design for comfort for me is a full tank-style top with extra Lycra lining across the bust area to keep the girls in place but not necessarily separate and pointing skyward. I have no objection to a uni-boob although I seem to be in the minority. I’ve surveyed my inner circle of Boomer Broads for their position on the issue and here’s what they had to say:
“I have not been able to get away without a bra – ever! Mine are not conducive to anything lacy, stretchy or flimsy. I have no idea what Victoria’s Secret is because I’m left out of her shop. She doesn’t carry big girl sizes and I would be daunted to shop there even if they did.”
“Closer to ‘au naturel’ at my age and stage would just be painful. There’s more to this than A, B and C. My alphabet has D-E and who knows, we may get to F someday. My size comes in no pretty, practical designs – just the standard classic that comes in three colours and goes on sale once a year, when I stock up. I like to keep things simple and don’t allow my cup to runneth over.”
Another friend covers the whole spectrum. She enjoys the au naturel feeling around home but likes to get tarted up in matching lacy, pretty pantie and bra sets for special occasions.
Whatever our choices, I have not met a single person who is a bra fan. They’re expensive, for the most part uncomfortable and the cause of much frustration. It’s hard to believe we were once so proud to shed our little-girl undershirts for our first training bra. Little did we know we’d spend the rest of our lives in binding servitude. There has to be a better way. I’d burn them all but I have too much invested in them. And then, not only would the “girls” collapse but so would our entire economy and I don’t want to be responsible for that. So I’ll just soldier on, complaining and grumbling about it ’til death do us part, at which time I’ll be blissfully free.