Not a post for the faint-hearted. Or for guys.

30 Jun
Bras on sale in a village market in the South ...

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Because it’s about bra shopping.

A couple of weeks ago when I was working in the garden, I heard a loud crack from the vicinity of my rib cage. Puzzled, I did a brief pat down and discovered nothing. That evening, however, when I was stripping down to shower, I discovered that the right underwire in my brassiere was broken. Weird. I’ve been wearing bras for 25+ years and this has never happened to me before. It wasn’t my only bra, so I wasn’t bothered. I had 3 more that were decent to wear. I used to have oodles of bras that fit, but I got fat, got skinny, then got pregnant (x4), so my stash is down to 4. Or 3.5, I guess.

Yesterday, the darnedest thing happened. I was doing nothing at all – well, maybe folding laundry, I don’t remember for sure – and I heard another crack from the vicinity of my rib cage. This time I knew what it was. A quick check confirmed that my left underwire was broken. The really strange thing about this is that the two broken bras are different brands and different ages.

So I figured it was time to go…

…dun, dun, DUN!!!!

Bra shopping.

I hate bra shopping. The only thing worse than bra shopping is bra shopping with children in tow (which I’ve done before). I’m picky. They have to be nude or beige. They have to have sufficient padding as to afford me some modesty, but not have Wonderbra-strength padding and push my breasts up to my collarbone. They have to be smooth because I wear t-shirts a lot and the texture of a lace overlay on a t-shirted boob looks weird to me. The bras also have to have underwires.

I know, some of you will say, “But underwires are just so uncomfortable! How can you do it?” This is how: I’ve grown, birthed, and nursed four children. The girls aren’t as perky as they used to be. They’ve been well-used, served their purpose. Have you ever seen any of those photos in National Geographic of the naked natives with the boobs that hang down to their belly buttons? Yeah. Me, too. They wouldn’t have boobs at their waists if they had underwires.

I went to a local department store because I’ve had success at this chain of stores in the past. They carry lots of brands, sizes, and styles. Thankfully, since I’ve lost 30-ish pounds since K was born, I’m back in what’s considered the realm of “normal” bra sizes.

Since I’ve had my current bras for so long, the size information is totally gone, so I had to guess about this vital piece of information. I started by grabbing a couple bras that were the size I thought I should be. We’ll call this size #1. I tried them on. Bands fit, cups…not so much. Fine. I hung the bras back up (I hate bra hangers), got clothed, and went back out to find different sizes in the same style. Two new sizes: same band, different cup (size #2) and different band, different cup (#3).

Quick bra-fitting lesson: it’s perfectly acceptable to play around with band and cup sizes to find something that works for you. When you go down a band size, you go up a cup size, and vice-versa. Let’s say you’re a 34B. You could probably get away with wearing a 32C (down a band size, up a cup size) or a 36A (up a band size, down a cup size). Or, say you’re a 36DD. You could go up to a 38D. See how it works? This way you can avoid trying to find a 36DDD or 36E – not sure what comes after “DD” in the bra alphabet – by going up to a 38DD. It’s all based on the mathematics of how big your cup is compared to your band. You can google it if you really want to know how it works. I’m too lazy to type more about it.

I went back to the dressing room with sizes 2 & 3. Neither fit right. I got dressed again, hung up the bras again, and went back out into bra-land. This time I decided to get as many different styles in my sizes as I could. I found 4 bras that met all my criteria in sizes 2 & 3. Back in the dressing room after I texted hubs that I hate bra shopping, I started again. This time I decided to start with the smaller of the sizes, figuring that this would give me a good baseline.

All 4 of the size 2 hooter holders fit almost OK. Better than the size 3s would fit, that much I knew. So at least I got out of trying on 4 more. I figured I’d try size 1 in these styles to see how the cup fit (because all bras are different). So I hung up the bras (again), got dressed (again) and left the dressing room. Among the sea of bras, I found 3 of the 4 styles in size 1, and put back all of the size 3s. I kept the size 2s in case the 1s didn’t work at all. If you’re keeping track, sizes 1 & 2 are the same band but different cup sizes. At least I’d established my band size. I also found a couple more bras that met the criteria in size 1 that I’d missed earlier.

Back in the dressing room. Hubs had texted back saying he wished his grandmother was still alive to help. She used to be a bra fitter. By this point, I would have paid someone $50 to fetch  bras for me and stuff the girls into the undergarments. I tried on 5 or 6 more bras and found one that fit. I found one that fit! Can you believe it? I only had to try on about 15 bras before I found ONE that fit.

Guess what I did then? I hung up 5 or 6 more bras (a.g.a.i.n.), got re-dressed, returned all the extras (because I’m just *so* nice) and found another of the elusive well-fitting bras.

I celebrated by buying two pairs of cropped pants, two t-shirts, and a running jacket, all on clearance for less that $6 each. And the two bras.


7 Responses to “Not a post for the faint-hearted. Or for guys.”

  1. twosortsofpeople July 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Bra shopping is one of the worst things about being a woman. Along with periods and dealing with men. Great post!

  2. Heather February 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Agreed, I loathe bra shopping!! When I was younger I thought how awesome it would be to find a bunch of different cool looking bras and have them make my boobs look amazing. And then I discovered that as long as I was lucky enough to even find one that fit I should do cartwheels and exclaim to anyone I met about my joyous find! Sigh the ups and downs of womanhood.

    Wonderful post, by the way. I don’t know of a single person who wouldn’t relate! Other than maybe my mother-in-law who has this uncanny knack for stumbling across all the right bra sizes for herself and even me(without even knowing my actual size this woman can send me bras from half way across the U.S. and I can’t even find them when shopping for myself!)

    I found you through Finding the Funny 🙂

    • That Nolen Chick February 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Wow – your MIL should advertise her services as a miracle bra shopper!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. sparkling74 February 4, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Jeans shopping and bra shopping are my all time dreaded activities. When I find a bra I like, I try to by a multitude of them so I’ll have a bunch but then they all die right around the same time because they are the same age. I too will wear only an underwire. Nothing else makes sense to me! I haven’t had them break, but I have a range of bras now that insist on poking the underwire out one end! I am a sewer, so I go and sew the end and then it find another place to poke out and so on and so on! I think the worst part of the whole trying on is putting your clothes back on and then coming back in and taking them off!! And I’ll be damned if I am going to pay $50 per bra at Vicky’s just so someone can measure me and hand me what they think I should be wearing! I try to hit the TJMAxx or Marshall’s racks every time. And speaking of which, it’s time again, I think! Those little daisy petals that are in my current bras, to let me wear them under t-shirts, are starting to actually show through! A lot of good they are doing, Can’t see my nipples but there is a mysterious flower where they should be…. Found you at Anna and Kelley’s linkup!

    • That Nolen Chick February 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      If you can time it just right, JCPenney has AWESOME bra sales and a decent selection. Glad you popped in!

  4. February 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Oh – the dreaded bra shopping post children… I still haven’t gathered the courage to go for it. Not sure that I have any more courage after reading this… but at least it made me laugh. 🙂

    Thanks for linking up to finding the funny!

    • That Nolen Chick February 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Glad it made you laugh! Be brave – go shopping! Then blog about it. It helps with the stabbiness of it all.

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