The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

The Ladies Can’t Breathe: Buying A New Bra!

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Definitions:-      Ladies:-  Breasts, Boobs, Knockers, Gals, etc.

Once upon a time, well before my transplant, I was a perfect size 34C in a bra. Not exactly a fact most women would reveal to the open public but for the sake of this posting I’m taking the plunge in order to be open and honest in my experience of buying a new bra. I also honestly admit I’m now a bit (if not quite a bit) larger than my former glory days and have to concentrate on the bigger gal sizes.

Now I understand why so many women in this country are actually wearing the wrong size bra, and for years after my transplant I was one of them. As my old bras have now become a bit limp and loose I’ve been on the hunt for a few new ones and you would be absolutely shocked to find out what facts and figures I’ve uncovered online and in the stores. My patience is slowly reaching its limit and my enduring search looks to be endless. Finding a bra for the now larger size Ladies has been an exacerbating task to say the least.

Once the weight began to creep up on me after the transplant, I started to become somewhat Lady loose and fancy free. I found myself wandering around the house braless. Naturally I would slip a bra on if hubby and I were going out in public or having any family or outsiders into our home. I’m not a complete bohemian and do take a bit of pride in my appearance in public. Now and again I had to upgrade my bra size and soon became complacent in how they actually fit. As long as I was relatively comfortable I tolerated the wrinkly cups, the back riding up and the slipping and sliding straps of these contraptions. After all, only I knew what was going on underneath!

With the passage of time I’m becoming a bit more self-confident in myself as my health has improved and my body is behaving itself. I’m taking a bit more pride in how I dress for the day and for my husband, even if we’re not going out in public on any particular day. I still wear my “chore” clothes for those days I’m washing, cleaning and getting hot and sweaty trying to accomplish what needs to be done.

The time has arrived to get rid of the old and bring in the new and I’m determined to buy the right size for comfort and good support in order to continue taking pride in my appearance in the waning days of my retirement.  To do this right I had to determine how to measure for a proper bra size. I had had a proper fitting years ago and was certainly overdue for a new one. The Ladies have gotten a bit out of hand without proper support and can look like road bumps sticking through a T-shirt just above the belly button if they aren’t lifted and separated!!

After extensive research online I followed the proper steps on a well-respected bra site and the results showed I was now a 42F, a huge difference from what I had expected. However, as I continued on with more research I found that another well-known Lingerie company added 4″ to your measured band size which added a kink to this whole thing, now making me a 46A. (More explanation below).

As I wanted to buy a well-constructed bra and actually try them on to make sure the fit would be right, I had Nat drive me into St. Catharines to Sears where a good selection could be found along with some knowledgable staff of (shall we say) older women who’ve been there, done that. My previous experience with their staff was soon deflated once I asked this nice looking, well dressed, older women where I could find bras in size 42F. She led me to a couple of racks (pun not intended) of Playtex underwire bras. It wasn’t long before I found my size, tried one on and Voila could not believe my luck that the size was dead on. It felt good and the wire wasn’t jamming into my ribs or flabby underarms!! This was too easy, I thought, along with the fact they they were having a Buy One, Get One Free sale. Even better. I took two. I then asked the clerk if there were any wire free bras in my size. “You won’t find anything like that in your size“, she replied and walked away. Despite the lack-luster dedication to making another sale, I still took my “2Fer” and left. I was at least really happy that this whole process had worked out so well. I could now go on my merry way and buy a couple more bras for back-up.

If the sales clerk at Sears was right, I’d be a tad disappointed. I really wanted a wire-free support bra for everyday use, something I would be comfy wearing around the house all day and not have to cross my arms under the Ladies and over my (bra-less) chest whenever a surprise visitor came to our door! More research ensued and I began to prove this clerk wrong in her assertions. However, there were some complications in what the Bra Industry likes to call “Sister Sizes”. If you wear an actual 42F and can’t find that particular size you can always fall back on these “Sister Sizes”.  In my example I could go with 42DD/E, 44DD, 46C,  or something to that effect.  I’m now ecstatic as I have a pretty good list or guideline to take with me on my adventures of shopping for my Ladies and thinking only of their comfort. This was an uplifting experience!!

As our little town only has one department-style store – yes, the infamous WalMart – I took my list with me one day and decided to see what I could find. Now, as our WalMart isn’t one of those fancy super-sized stores (they’re only found in bigger city centres) I had no choice and soon discovered the selection was extremely limited. However, I persevered and found myself pulling out each and every bra shelf looking at box tops for the sizes I was to concentrate on. It took me a lot of bending only because most of the larger sizes were on the bottom shelf. (You’d think stores would understand the older ladies’ plight in bending over, trying not to get a head rush or sore back, and put those larger sizes at eye level. Let those younger, more energetic gals bend down! )

With a couple selections in hand I headed to the dressing room. Again, another exercise in trying to keep cool, calm and collected while standing in a 4′ x 4′ dressing room removing you coat, your top and your bra, and then begin to wriggle, jiggle and stretch this way and that as you try on the new bra. While trying on a sports bra this became a physical and emotional crisis, as the band got twisted and turned up underneath the cups, while the back became entangled in and unto itself. Try as I might to wrestle the band down over the Ladies (for some reason they hung on tight) I then had to become Houdini as I maneuvered my hands behind my back all the while twisting, turning and getting into a somewhat co-ordinatied state to pull down and straighten out the back of this bloody contraption!! Ahhhhh, there!! I’ve finally done it, but damn, all for nothing. This  $60.00 binding thing is making my Ladies look a whole lot bigger than they really are, as they bulge and spill over the cups, the band is now jabbing all around my ribs make red marks and I now look like some sort of flabby sea creature that escaped Mother Nature’s beauteous wonders. OMG, now I’ve got to wrestle to get this horrid stretchy thing off!! Trust me, no human being ever wants to go through this exercise in futility, as my arms soon became entrapped in shoulder straps, with a bra cup sticking up my nose and I can’t maneuver the band to even rise up above and over my boobs to become disentangled!!!!

Once free, I dried the sweat from my face, caught my breath and tried on another bra that at least snapped together at the back. Another disaster. This time I couldn’t even begin to get the back band to meet somewhere in the middle. I had another 6″ or so to reach and somehow I knew this wasn’t going to be right, or even pretty. Plus the cups looked like they would fit Barbie. I regained my composure, got dressed and returned to the bra department. Okay, I’ll give this one more try. I soon found another Sister Size that really looked promising. Back I go to the dressing room, only this time it wasn’t as bad as I thought. This bra at least could be used with an Extender (an additional square of snaps that attach to the back of the bra to extend the band size – otherwise a gadget that fools you into thinking you’re smaller in size than you really are). At least now, somewhat reluctantly, I would have a wire-free bra that I could wear throughout the day, providing it would be comfortable for that length of time. Only time would tell.

After my wonderful experience at our local WalMart, I decided hubby and I could check out the Super Centre WalMart in St. Catharines in a couple of days after my Doctor’s appointment. I knew this store would have a larger selection of bras and a larger selection of sizes. I was right. As hubby checked out the sweatshirt department I wondered up and down the bra aisle. Lo and behold I found different brands and better Sister Sizes. My actual size couldn’t be found so I settled on what I thought would be perfect substitute. Hubby was also lucky in finding a new cap for outdoors along with a new sweatshirt, and with that we were out the door and headed home.

The only reason I brought it home to try on was because hubby’s back was now really aching and he just wanted to get home. I knew if there were any problems with this new bra I could at least return it to my local store. No one will ever know my complete and utter frustration, emotional cries of disparity and anger when I arrived home and tried on the new bra. The same situation as with a couple others – I couldn’t begin to get the two back ends to meet in the middle and the cup was going to be tough to lift and separate my Ladies. I packed up my purchase and would return it in the morning.

Some of my problems – The Wonder Bra 44DD – wouldn’t fit without flattening the Ladies and spreading them around adding to their “side” effects – the Exquisite 44D isn’t bad but still needs an Extender to be relatively comfortable – Just My Size 44DD was another “okay” contender but with an Extender. So, as you can tell, each and every Bra manufacturer has their own take on sizes.

The ending to this whole exercise has not been reached yet. I did, however, retrieve a sports bra that I had tucked away in a bottom drawer for some unknown reason. I must have been in “one of those moods” at the time thinking it was too tight or too stretchy – who knows!!! The damn thing fits and is comfy during the day to my satisfaction, so I’m sticking with it until I can find a back-up. As it stands now, my bra drawer contains 2 wired Bras, one wire-free bra and one sports bra. These I can live with for now, but my search continues.

If you want to get totally confused about bra sizing, these are just two sites that will help you along your path to finding the right size for Your Ladies:

http://www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,901,30.html

http://www.biggerbras.com/fitting/bras/

I wish you good luck and God speed in your search. Mine continues.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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