Jun 21, 2009

A Clumsy Guide to Bra Shopping

Leave house in relative high spirits.

Have a successful pre-bra purchase (eg, running shoes), that gives you a confidence booster. "Damnit, if I can conquer Asics, I can find something to fit my assets!"

Walk into Myer, a store whose lingerie department generally stocks a good variety of styles in a 34E, and which also has many products on a 30% off mid-year sale.

Employ squats, oblique twists and other intricate aerobic stretches in an attempt to find the 34Es among the seemingly billions of brassiers hanging off those torturously skinny stacked racks.

At this point, have a philosophical moment: perhaps wonder why staff cannot stock bras size by size. That way, you could walk to the 34E section, then just pull out whatever colours/fabrics/styles you liked. Feel pretty impressed with your own genius.

Realise, for some reason, that all the 34Es seem to be placed on the lowest racks, next to the floor. Get dizzy spells from all the bending down. Decide to plonk arse on floor and sort through like some sort of bra-bag lady.

Eventually, find a selection of bras designed for the larger bust that DON'T all look like over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders. Try not to think about the much prettier ones you could get if only you were a 32B.

Take into changeroom. Be man-handled by Colditz-style Guard of the Fitting Room, and ordered to only take five bras into cubicle. Meekly obey, leaving remaining two bras on waiting rack (to be subsequently forgotten about).

Enter cubicle with its 270-degrees of mirror reflection. Remove upper clothing garments. Utter first sigh of the fitting procedure. Wonder if breasts are sagging more these days.

Try first bra, a purple lacy Triumph. Pretty, but too tight - leaves prominent back-fat rolls protuding from side. Call Colditz Guard. Ask for advice. Listen as she tells you "some people just have that, and can't do anything about it." Mentally tell her to F*** RIGHT OFF. You've seen What Not to Wear and How to Look Good Naked. You know that s*** can be hidden.

Have Colditz Guard bring you the 36DD version of bra, which is similar cup size, but slightly more give in the straps. Back-fat rolls less visible, but still present. Consign to "no" pile.

Try on Bra 2, a very sweet pink Fayreform. It fits like a dream: great straps; lovely strong side panels; great detailing. But unfortunately it flattens bust just above the nipple. Breasts look like dough slapped with a rolling pin. Consign to "no" pile.

Try on Bra 3, a white Berlei Sports. Marvel at engineering and design, that make it seem like breasts have been funnelled into the torpedo chamber of a Collins Club submarine. Long and pointy. Wonder how increasing protrusion of breasts can make them more supported. Surely physics would dictate the opposite. Jog up and down on the spot; watch Sportsbra struggle to keep breasts horizontal. Consign to "no" pile.

Take a moment to have a minor panic about possible breast saggage. Your rack is the one decent physical attribute you have, it can't be headed south just yet. Stand with arms folded across chest, thus forcing breasts up. Decide they look much better this way, and make note to self to adopt this position if ever accidentally caught topless.

Try Bras 4 and 5, both dark lacy Elle MacPherson Intimates. Have had luck with this brand before; surely "The Body" won't let you down now? Bra 5 seems to be the winner; a sleek outline, supportive straps, comfortable in the cup. But something isn't quite right. Stick head out cubicle door and ask for help. Have new guard tell you to ring the buzzer, and someone will come and help. Fearing Captain Colditz, refuse to do so.

Spend the next 15 minutes alternating between the two Elle MacPherson bras, trying to decide if either or both are any good.

Eventually, close to tears, throw hands up in despair. Rehang all bras on fidgeting plastic hangers and shove into the waiting arms of Captain Colditz, as you half-run away from the black hole of self-esteem that is the Bra Fitting Room.

Oh yes, and make sure to put original bra and top back on.


  1. Informative and entertaining! Better luck next time.

  2. Oh how I can relate, being a bigger breasted lady myself. Bra and Tog shopping are two of the worst things that women have to do. (Unless you're a size 6 with an epically fit body.)

  3. As i do all The Wifes bra and undie shopping i can heartily recommend the biofit. I know from advice passed on a fair few of The Wifes friends have adopted it. Myers are crap, last time i was there i got asked if i wanted help and quickly established i knew more than she did about said product. The fact she asked in a tone directed at a 4year old didn't help.

  4. All this and no photos? Disappointment!

    I once went into a very high-end lingerie shoppe in pursuit of some superstructure support for my beloved. It was the first time I'd ever ventured into such an establishment, let alone on my own, with the avowed goal of finding something nice in silk as Natalie had so often 'not exactly suggested', the way women do when they're angling for a particular present.

    I was indeed intimidated.

    So the sales-lady trundled up and asked me what I was after. I gave her a description of the kind of thing Natalie liked, and a few caveats (no lace for the nipples, thanks...) and my new friend helpfully showed me a range of lovely grundies.

    Then she asked The Question. And at this point, I Did Not Know The Answer. Question being, of course, what size? (And yes: in a later book, I made a point of saying that EVERY MAN needs to know the essential sizes of his lady partner. I learned this lesson the hard way.)

    I thought about. And then, lacking any better form of description, I cupped my hands just about so, and hefted them suggestively. "About this size," said I.

    The sales lady smiled gravely. She looked at what I was doing with my hands, and pulled a bra off the display unit. I bought it.

    And it fit Natalie perfectly.

    Never underestimate the Skill of the Lingerie Saleswoman.

  5. I agree, Flinty. This really should have been a photo-essay with easy to follow arrows and diagrams.

  6. I always found Rebeccas at Toowong quite good. They're very receptive to just walking up to the front desk, explaining what you want, and the problems you usually run into, and they go from there. They're very helpful, and don't treat you like you should have already learnt about bra shopping from your mum when you were 12.

  7. Remember me telling you about All About Eve? Adelaide St, City. "For D cup and Up". Made of win. Only two staff members and they're both lovely.
    xo em-who-had-similar-dilemmas

  8. "If only you were a 32B" but then you'd have small breasts, and that's no fun at all.

    The best Sports bra for larger ladies I've ever found was at Kmart, underwire with breathable fabric. I'll check the brand when I get home.

    One of my friends who is a 34G gets all her stuff from Marks and Spencer in the UK and swears that it is cheaper than buying here even with postage.

  9. Hey Illdrinn - I'd be interested to find out that brand - the last Sportsbra I bought I believe came from Kmart, and is similar to what you describe. It's great.

    And Em - yes, I remember! One day when I have lots of monies I intend to go in.

  10. I feel your pain. I've been to All About Eve and they have lots fo pretties. Also try googling "Big Girl's Don't Cry Anymore" they're on Baxter St in the Valley I think. (The latter was recommended to me recently when Bras N Things couldn't offer a solution for me)