Naturally, once I find the right bra, I am devoted to it forever. I believe in commitment, the until-death-do-us-part kind (oh, who am I kidding, I want to be buried in it, actually). I have my style number memorized, all right? It's vital information, right up there with my social security number and blood type.
Alas, if only brassiere manufacturers displayed this same sort of loyalty. But, no, they don't. Every few years I will walk confidently into the lingerie department of JCPenney's or Kohl's and find, to my utter horror, that my style no longer exists. It's gone. Poof! Just like that.
Or, even worse, I find that my style number is still there; but things are, sadly, not the same. The shape of the cups have changed, say, or there isn't enough coverage in the chest area. Not to name names, LILYETTE MINIMIZER, but a while back I bought 3 of your stupid brassieres in the style that I had been buying for years; and none of them fit. MAY YOU ROT IN HELL!
Oh, dear, just excuse that little outburst, will you? It's just that this is such an emotional topic for me. Do you know how demoralizing it is to stand practically naked in front of a dressing room mirror, trying on bra after bra after bra in assorted sizes, all the while being treated to an uncensored view of a body that is, to put it kindly, not what it once was? A body, in fact, that you saw on your best friend's mother when you all shared a hotel room when you and your friend were 12, and you thought that her mother looked okay for an old lady?
I've just got to take a few deep breaths here. Give me a sec.
Okay, I'm back. All this to say that I feel well-qualified to give bra shopping advice for us hard-to-fit types. In other words, all you chicks with your cute little A and B cups who can just grab any brassiere off the rack at Target without trying it on with 3 different shirts to check its containment potential can just run along now. There's nothing for you here.
Are they gone? Good. I hates them with their sexy little shelf-bra camisoles. Life is so unfair.
Advice For Women With Something Extra
1. Do not go bra shopping with the children. Not only will they not allow you nearly enough time to go through the entire collection of minimizers available, but they will also make frequent and loud comments about what they are seeing in your dressing room. Believe me, you only have to hear, "That makes you look like Grandma!" once to understand the wisdom of this rule.
2. You get what you pay for. At one point I rebelled and said, "Why can't I spend 10 bucks or less on one of these fun-looking sport bras at Target? My children deserve to go to college same as the progeny of those small-breasted tarts." I wore my cheap-o bras for 2 full months; because this happened in the days before digital cameras, and 2 months was how long it took me to get my rolls of film developed into pictures that showed just how awful I can look without the proper support. The day I got those photos back? A very bad day indeed. But eventually I crawled out from under my bed and went to the store, where I plunked down everything I had for the deluxe containment model; and I've never looked back.
3. If you have a D or larger cup, anything less than 3 rows of hooks in the back is the manufacturer's idea of a joke. A joke, meaning that you look pretty darn funny with your boobs dragging down to your navel as the back of your bra creeps up toward your neck. Gravity, folks - it's not just a good idea, it's the law.
4. You need to put aside your fantasies when you step into that lingerie department. Do you see all those dainty lacy bras and teddies and camisoles? Just avert your eyes - they are not for you. You will always have to wear something that looks as if more engineering went into it than into the Eiffel Tower. It sucks. Get used to it. (I sound bitter, don't I? Damn right, I'm bitter.)
5. Don't assume that nursing will be easier just because you are so well-endowed. First of all, none of the pretty nursing bras come with enough rows of hooks (see #3). Second, when the baby's head is smaller than your boob, the nursing logistics get a little tricky. Where am I going with this? I don't know.
6. Do not even get me started on bathing suits. I just thank the good Lord that I can order 2 different sizes for top and bottom from Lands End. (And, hey, marketing folks at Lands End, if you want to send me a free swimsuit for that little promo, you know where to find me...)