I am by and large a cheap person. I prefer the term "frugal" but sometimes we need to call it like it is. Nowhere is this more evident than in my bra selection. I am pretty sure my last major bra purchase happened when I gave birth to my now-9.5-year-old son and I needed a bunch of nursing bras. When I weaned him, I went back into the bras I'd owned prior. Repeat the cycle four times over the past decade and you get the picture.
The funny part about this is that I am well aware that a good bra can do good things. Years ago, I used to watch What Not To Wear, and when they sometimes had ladies with larger chests get fitted, you could see the difference. Their breasts would move inside the profile of their rib cages, sitting on the front of their chests, not the side. Right there, this makes a person look thinner. And perkier!
And yet. Such bother to go shop for bras. And they aren't cheap.
Then, two months ago, at a luncheon, I dropped my business card in a raffle bowl for Rigby & Peller, a high-end bra boutique with a location at the King of Prussia mall. Lo and behold, I won a bra fitting party and some store credit. So I roped two friends into going with me, and I made the excursion last Thursday.
Two things: first, all bra-shopping should involve wine, cheese, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Second, wow. When my personal helper eyeballed the situation, we discovered that I was wearing nowhere near the right size. Since I'd bought the bra I was wearing before gestating and nursing four babies, that is not surprising, but it turns out it's not surprising in general. The band should be tight; the vast majority of the support of a bra comes from the band. So, often, one's band size will be smaller than imagined. Given that the cup size (generally) comes from the differential between band and bust measurements, this means the cup size will be higher up the alphabet. And so it was for me.
I tried on several bras in this new size of mine and immediately looked thinner and perkier. I decided it was time. I needed to replace my entire bra wardrobe. And so I did. I've been feeling ridiculously happy about it this week. It's like it's my little Christmas present to me.
So, two public service announcements. If you are reading this, and have breasts, consider getting fitted. A sign in the store said "I came in for a new bra. I came out a new woman." This is marketing, but it is not wrong. And second, for people who do or do not have breasts, as you're shopping for everyone else this season, consider getting something that will make you ridiculously happy. You can say it's a gift from someone else if you want, but in the grand scheme of things, bliss is as worthwhile an investment as anything else.
Photo: Wine helps with a bra fitting.