Searching for the Perfect Bra

My grandmother called bras “undergarments.” A polite name for that object that women either love…or hate. I’ve been shopping for bras since age 12, when my mother declared me officially old enough to enter the magical world of lingerie. My first bra was flowery, lacy, and itchy.

“I don’t like it,” I told my mother.

“Nice girls wear bras,” she said firmly. End of discussion.

In college, my roommate laughed hysterically at my “Junior Miss” selections. “We need to introduce you to Victoria’s Secret!” she declared. Since we were in Los Angeles, attending UCLA, we had a seemingly endless selection of lingerie shops from which to choose. We headed for Beverly Hills (we couldn’t afford it, but they wouldn’t charge just to look). Silken, soft bras in colors ranging from shocking pink to basic black to (I remember blushing) fire engine red. Each for a mere $150 or more. Oh, well.

Since then, I’ve tried on what feels like millions of bras. I’m the Goldilocks of the bra world, except that I haven’t found the perfect bra. Either they’re too loose, which leads to that “more bounce to the ounce” appearance (nice if you’re a size 28A, but beyond that…), or they’re so tight that breathing becomes a workout.

Here are my tips for finding the perfect bra:

* Shop at the end of the day, when you’re already tired, full of lunch, and thus able to determine between “a good fit” and “cute but uncomfortable.”

* Always shop alone. Bra shopping is neither a sport nor a group activity, and inevitably one person in the group will start whining about feet fatigue, causing you to give up the battle and buy yet another bra that ends up in the “dust bag” pile.

* Never buy lace – it’s adorable on the hanger but horrible on a hot summer day.

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