ISO (In Search Of): A Good F̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶ Bra

Ladies, please let’s have a frank discussion on a pressing issue (pun intended). Am I the only one here who hates having to wear bras? Now, don’t get me wrong — I am not a rebel and haven’t yet pledged my allegiance to the FTN (Free the Nipple) movement, even though I kinda agree with some (not all) of their mission statements. Let’s be real, wearing bras are hella discomforting. With the exceptions of a few instances when I rebelled against the system and went out in public braless (usually with an extra layer of jacket to conceal my ‘shame’), for the most part, I have been a law-abiding citizen.

The problem as I have subsumed, is due to the lack of uniformity in sizing, no thanks to the bra industry. A size 38D from Nordstrom rack could translate to a size 500Z from Victoria’s Secret. This lack of diligence with sizing on the part of the bra industry is one of the things that really steals my goat! And more so because I am one of those women who suffer from Boob Disappearing Syndrome (BDS); a PERIODical affliction that can make your boobs go from Triple H one day to a peanut’s poop the next. This affliction is real and I suspect is one of the reasons for many trust issues in relationships.

My embattled history with the bra is a long, convoluted one; tracing back to my teens when I refused to wear bras and my mother won’t have it. See, like most of you, I had started with the training wheels for bras (the top bras or what are now referred to as bralettes) and was perfectly fine with these. As time went on, my nipples started betraying me as they would perk up under these bralettes as if confessing to the whole world that they were held captive therein against their own will. Eventually, my mom heard their message loud and clear and then decided that I no longer could wear them, which resulted in her dragging me, against my own will, (in every sense of the word) to Somolu market in Lagos, Nigeria to get bras. It felt like arrested development because I wasn’t even given enough time to wean off these bralettes. These were also the days when colorful and lacy (and comfortable) bras were taboo, and your choices were limited to the gaudy, grandma-esque, life (and confidence)-sucking types where you had to choose from three color options (white, light brown, or black). As a result, there’s still that little child trapped inside of me who is dying to burst out, with their top bras on to boot.

With studies (albeit yet to be substantiated by the scientific community) also reporting that there is a correlation between the way women wear bras and developing breast cancer (allegedly due to a decrease in lymphatic circulation), it’s hard to know where my breasts fit in the grand scheme of things. Now, please note that correlation does not equate to causation and thus, drawing a conclusion that bra-wearing can cause breast cancer is almost as productive and veritable as saying watching TVs increase teenage pregnancy. Anything can correlate with anything, spuriously, but proving causation is an entirely different thing. Nonetheless, can we all agree that wearing bras feels like being recruited as a suicide bomber? Why else does it feel like dying when you put them on, and also that you are actually dying to remove them at the end of the day (poor taste of joke there, sorry).

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Source: BuzzFeed

Further, I’d also love to see a range of comfortable, matching, and affordable underwear (bra and panties) on sale too that would appease the penny-pincher in me. Currently, in my armoire, I have bras that have outlasted several of my relationships (and even my moments of sanity — which are very few and far in between), and while I would love to retire these oldies, I keep using them until they snap, so to speak. The other bras I have are reflective of some of the relationships in my life. They include:

  1. The seasonal ones (those who are there for you at a point and disappear afterward): These are the bra that works well, and then due to over-washing (usually the tumbling effects of the washing machine) or over-wearing, they snag and lose their grip on you.

“Before you conclude that you are having a bad day, first make sure that your bra is unhooked.” Sibyl, Mo

Finally, good bras don’t ever last long, especially their straps. This implication could have enormous consequences on your perception of self-worth at a particular time (t), holding some other factors constant. Specifically, I have noticed that for every 90-degree drop in bra straps (especially when visible to the public), my self-confidence drops to a plummeting level, and may likely not go back up until I can excuse myself to fix that global drop. And like the fake bra (friends) they are, the moment you raise them up, they just want to bring you down again — literally and figuratively. Now, I don’t know why someone as self-assured as me would be affected by such a bugaboo, but these moments are the very bane of my confidence in public (see, I am a professional somebody, so I am expected always to look the part) and these issues are real.

Which brings me to my actual lamentations: all I want in life, right now, is a bra that would be there for me — something to hold me tighter than most relationships I have in my life. And unlike some of my other relationships, I want a bra that won’t leave me hanging, so to speak. One that won’t stab me in the back or in the front but would last the seasons (peaks and valleys) of my BDS moments. Now, I am a believer in the axiom that a problem shared is a problem solved and what better platform is there to have such life-changing (OK, boob-changing) discourse than with my other comrades-in-battle?

So, I am asking (not for a friend) this from those of you who have gone ahead of people like:

  • How do you consistently purchase a good bra (consistency is the operational word here)?

Please and thank you.

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I'm ME: replete with the mien of a bard, scholar, Argonaut, Jesus-lover, funfinder, bibliophile, Koreanophile, partner, and wanderer!

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