I recently had to go bra shopping. I’ve been on a diet, and there has been some shrinkage of the boobage, which of course nobody mentions when they talk about how great losing weight is. Probably because the prospect of having to figure out your new bra size, then finding something decent that does the job, is an experience that will drive you to cram the HoHos in an effort to avoid it. But I’m a big girl (okay, not so big—that’s what made the trip necessary in the first place). I decided to take my measurements to get an idea of what size I might be, then head over to Kohl’s, as they were having a sale.
I found a few different websites that explained how to measure your band and cup size. This involved measuring around the waist under the cleavage, then around the back above the girls, to verify band size. I did so, and found that the difference was approximately two and a half inches. None of the sites knew what to do about this. Apparently, these two measurements should’ve been the same, and I was a freak of nature. Next, to determine cup size, one must measure across the bust, then subtract the band size. I measured three or ten different times. I sprinkled dust from a unicorn’s horn on my measuring tape and chanted “Beetlejuice” three times. Nothing helped. According to my measuring tape, I was either a 32A or a 40DD.
Armed with this completely useless information, I headed to the store.
The thing about bras is that if you want a good one, they’re not cheap. I found several lovely selections that would’ve required me to roll over a CD if I wanted to actually purchase them. However, I was not there for the rhinestones and push-up padding. I headed right for the Warner’s and Bali, which may just as well have been labeled the “sensible” section.
Bra labeling had changed over the years. Gone are the days of just choosing between “18-hour support” or “all-day support.” I was looking at t-shirt bras, concealing petals, bands that reduced underarm bulge, cups that would make me look up to two sizes bigger, and minimizers. There were “satin tracings” and “comfort revolution” selections; “ultra light illusion” and “smooth-n-seamless.” I just wanted something that kept my boobs off of my belly. I grabbed a handful of brassieres that promised to hide my unsightly back-fat rolls (something that I had never once in my life even thought about, until Bali planted the notion in my head) in sizes ranging from 32A to 40DD, and headed for the dressing room.
Four hours later, I had one—yes, one—bra. It was practical, white, lifted and separated, and though it wasn’t particularly sexy, it did have a little lace bow right between the cups. My size was neither a 32A nor a 38D, but somewhere in between. It was a sensible size. I felt like a real grown-up that had achieved a minor victory that day as I left Kohl’s.
I tried out my new bra that week. I wore it on Tuesday. By the end of the day, the straps were digging into my shoulders, the band was riding up my back, and I kept having to run to the ladies’ room to rearrange my décolletage. I called the manufacturer and complained.
“But how’s your back fat?” the saleslady trilled. “All we promised was that you’d have no unsightly back-fat rolls. You don’t, do you?”
She had a point. It did occur to me, however, that I would also have no back fat rolls if I stopped wearing the darn thing and went commando—er, brammando.
I haven’t been this comfortable in years.