Apologies to my male reader(s?). This post will leave you cold. You won’t be able to relate. Unless you are flirting with cross-dressing, of course. If you are, I would have loved some input from you before writing this. Please do comment below. If you’re not, I’ll make it up to you at a later stage by writing something about beer, guns, naked women, ballet or whatever it is you menfolk like. (You probably already suspect that I don’t really mean that. I know nothing about ballet. But let’s just pretend.)
So, bras…when I was born in the 70s, they were far from a must for Danish women. Which means, that I grew up surrounded by wiggly, bobbing, dangling breasts with no cleavage to speak of. Not a big deal. So who would have guessed that the year I turned 20 would be marked by the iconic Wonderbra campaign with Eva Herzigova making the roads unsafe? And that, for my generation, a bra would be a must? For some, even a bit of a science?
But let us first revisit 1988, when bras were already back with a vengeance and my first bra was purchased. It was beautiful! White and lacy. And technically probably quite unnecessary. But finally there was a reason to look forward to gym class. Well, at least the changing room part of it. Because, come on, no self respecting 14 year-old girl at my school actually participated in gym class in 1988. But actually, even when wearing the world’s most beautiful bra, most of us managed to change our clothes without ever showing anybody else our underwear. That legendary scene in Flashdance where the girl takes off her bra without removing her top? Yup. Pretty much it. Except, substitute sexy dancer chick with dorky teenage girls. And hunky older guy with butch gym teacher. And cosy, dimly lit room with cold, mildewy, feet-reeking, tiled changing room. So in other words: Beautiful bra a bit wasted on that crowd.
Then came a phase during which my bras had more of an audience. OK, that sounded weird. In my mind’s eye I envision a stadium with a U2 concert size audience. It wasn’t quite like that. I will spare my reader the details, though.
During this phase I spent a year in London and faced the challenges of different bra sizes and communal fitting rooms. Listen here: I am Danish – Danish! – and I was mortified! We may wander about half naked most of the time up here, but for trying on a new bra I need at least a private square meter and a flimsy curtain. Please.
Safely repatriated to Copenhagen, I went into a proper lingerie boutique where they measured me and gave me the shocking news that I needed to go up three cup sizes and down two band sizes. I also received an annoyed lecture on the importance of a well fitting bra. According to the professionals, many girls wear a bra that is too small in the cup and too large around the “underbust” (new word of the day for me). This may result in finding oneself with one’s attributes popping out after running to catch the number 16 bus. Not that I have ever experienced that in the past myself, of course. Purely a hypothetical, cautionary tale. So ladies, get your busts in gear and approach one of the tape measure-carrying experts next time you go brassiere shopping.
Although, before you go that route, beware that aided bra shopping may challenge your boundaries ever so slightly. I have long since become accustomed to the phenomenon, so to give those who haven’t an idea of the experience, here is a true account of my latest encounter with the tape measure ladies (TML):
I enter the lingerie department in the department store and approach one of the TML and ask her to measure me for confirmation that I am still the same size post baby #2. She happily whips out the measuring tape and proceeds to measure me in front of the other innocent customers. She says the numbers out loud. Loud. And calls them out to a colleague for a second opinion on the corresponding bra size. When I have found some items to try on, the TML shows me to the (private) fitting room. After putting the first one on, I find myself actually calling out to the TML, asking her to “please have a look at my breasts” (direct quote – what has happened to me?!). The helpful TML enters the fitting room, fixes her critical stare at my bosom, finally looks me in the eye again and asks if I mind? When convinced that I don’t, she puts her hands down my bra to “arrange things” to her liking. And I actually don’t mind. Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that I derive any pleasure from this but I’ll be damned if I throw good money after the wrong bra. These things are not free. And imagine: If I spend $ 100 on a bra, some of that money goes towards paying the lovely TML for sticking her hands down strange women’s bras. All day long. Win-win, I’d say.
So with this in mind: Happy shopping, ladies! Don’t forget to support your local bust expert.
P.S. The below model from Primadonna is called Traviata. I honestly wonder why. Wasn’t the heroine of that opera quite poorly until she was finally killed off by TB at the end? This woman looks like she is in excellent health. So maybe they are referring to the literal, Italian meaning of “traviata”: “fallen woman”? That would certainly explain the blue feather boa.