Sunday, November 30, 2003

The week in bras

My mission to promote the development of the anti-gravity bra is, as usual, not bearing much fruit. Which I'm used to, but having my favorite catalog company consistently running promotions for the "Love Kylie" line just gets a bit depressing after a while. I admit some of them are cute enough that I even posted a hot-linked thumbnail of one at my regular weblog, The Sideshow, but while it makes nice eye-candy it doesn't really add anything to my choices.

Meanwhile, Gina Lynn atTechTV, who is looking for a decent sports bra, tried to reduce the amount of ignorance in the world by informing her readers of something you really think men ought to have figured out by the time they are 14: that the number in a bra size is not the bust measurement. She even tries to explain how the band measurement is determined, although she gets it wrong, I'm afraid:

Men, here's a quick primer in bra sizes. The number is the "band size" -- the part that goes around the ribcage. The letter is the "cup size" -- the part that holds the breast. You measure your ribcage under the breasts and add five inches to get your band size. (I don't know why we add those five inches to get the band size. I don't remember doing that 20 years ago.)
Not then, and not now, either; whoever told her that should be ashamed. You add two to the ribcage measurement, rounded to the nearest even number, more or less. (And depending on the style of fastening, since some bras have three sets of hooks and some have just a single clasp.)

I'm sorry, it just amazes me that men know so little about this subject. They obsess on breasts, they love numbers and stats, they like to pretend they know something about women - and god knows they wish they actually did - so why don't they just find out before they run around babbling bra sizes as if they knew what they were talking about? "She's got huge knockers, I bet she's a 44B!" they will say, completely unaware that few people seeing a woman of such dimensions would be impressed by the size of her jugs.

Meanwhile, shopping for bras in stores continues to be a frustrating experience, as this article attests. I love the idea that they actually paid a firm to find out why women don't like to shop for bras in department stores, as if most of us wouldn't happily tell them for free.

Many long years ago I once found a bra that was perfect for my purposes. It looked like it was made from a pair of stockings, it was the sheerest bra I have ever seen, and of course there were no seams in the cups. Astonishingly, it gave terrific support without underwires, and a comfortably natural shape. And I never noticed I was wearing it.

Trust me if you don't know this already, but all those qualities in the same place just do not happen once you get past a C cup, but this bra - which was all alone at the top of a jumble bin - was in my size, which at that time was a D. I wore it happily for years until I gained too much weight, but I never saw another one like it in any size.

About a decade ago I found the second-best bra I've ever had, a comfortable underwire that didn't make me feel like adjusting the straps every five minutes. It had a lace cup, but, miraculously, it was seamless and didn't even disturb the smooth look under my t-shirts. I'd worn it twice when I realized I'd finally found It - the comfortable, practical, sexy bra of my dreams. My minions and I looked everywhere to find out where I could get more of them, and discovered that I'd found the last of a run and the company was discontinuing it; they did not replace it with anything similar.

And so it goes. My current favorite is a cute little seamless-cup racer-back, but frankly I prefer back-closure bras (which, although men never seem to figure this out, are actually easier to remove). The anti-grav, alas, is still far out of reach.

No comments: