October 29, 2013 by kholzhauer
In or out of a bra, boobs are pretty great. Just ask any man who gets to play with them. Or, for that matter, any teenage boy who wants to play with them. As great as boobs are, they seem to cause some women grief. Or at least, clothing them does. I mean sure, the lingerie industry is a 10+ billion dollar industry in the US, but finding a bra that fits is still a giant pain in the ass. And it should be. I’d feel pretty confident in saying that at least 90 percent of American women have owned at least one bra in the course of their lifetime. After all, most clothes are designed to fit with a bra, not without. When well fitted, they enhance the body, and help it look its best. And when poorly fitted, they can take a pretty great body and make it look pretty darn awful. So why is it so hard to find a good bra? Now I’m not saying it’s hard to find bras. They’re not an endangered species. You can’t walk into a mall without coming across a Victoria’s Secret. You can’t walk through Target to get toilet paper and socks without encountering a wall of lacy underwire. But even with the serious flood of bras on the market, it’s really damn hard to find a good everyday bra. I say this as someone who went bra shopping very recently. I found all kids of bras, but only a couple that even could have worked as my everyday bra. So what are my requirements?
- I want my boobs to look like my boobs. As I walked through the beautifully lit rooms at my local Victoria’s Secret, feeling the bras, I realized that there were all of 2 bras in the place that weren’t rocking more padding than the cast of Kinky Boots. I want my breasts to look perky and happy, but seriously, who needs 3+inches of padding?
- I want you to carry my actual cup size. I know what size I wear, because I have had a good fitting. If you tell me that a 34 C and the 36 B are “totally the same size,” I can actually explain why they’re not. Don’t skimp on cup sizes. Women’s bodies are all different.
- I want to be able to wear my bra under my shirt. It’s underwear. Which begs the question – Why are half the bras at most lingerie stores either a) highly textured lace, b) weirdly seamed/pleated or c) rhinestoned/embellished in a way that makes my boobs look like they have some sort of pox? Also, for fuck’s sake, offer bras in something close to generic skin tone – there’s no one color fits all flesh color, but have a good selection, from very pale to very dark. And offer some normal, boring black and white too!
- A bra under 50 bucks would be awesome. Seriously.
So what did I find while I was out hunting? A whole lotta this:
So yes, clearly, I got frustrated. And you know what? I felt old. I remembered being 14 and wanting to wear all the pretty, glam bras that my mom wouldn’t let me get. I remember feeling really grown-up when I got something purple instead of white or tan. I remember wearing padded bras to push my boobs out to there (remember water-bras?) And suddenly, here I am at 28 freaking out because I can’t find something molded, but not padded (avoiding the nip-slip, folks), in a basic, solid color, without seaming, pleating, or lace. I was shopping for underwear and getting lingerie.
Now don’t get me wrong. Ain’t nothing wrong with lingerie. I’ve got more than my fair share, and it is beautiful. But the intimate apparel industry seems to be veering away from functional underwear and towards lacy pretty things. And when you just need a damn bra, that’s shitty. Whether you’re Victoria’s Secret/Fredericks of Hollywood/Palace of Frilly-ass bra, if you’re selling underwear, you should have at least a few different cuts of honest-to-god functional bras.
I eventually found a bra I loved. It fit like a dream, makes my boobs look extra-perky, is seamless, and comes in tan, black and white along with a couple of pretty colors. Thank you, Gap Body, for being humanely priced, having sizes that fit actual breasts, and not mistaking bra padding for pillow padding. I commend you.