Hey Ladies—Let’s Go On a Bra Crawl!

My mother referred to them as “Brassieres”

I refer to them as a “pain in the neck”—especially if I wear a racerback one.

Really. It’s true.  I have had actual racerback bras that gave me a pain in the neck AND a headache. Then I purchased these little inventions that turn any bra into a racerback bra and  the neck and head pain was worse!

We all wear them, but few bloggers actually write about them.  OK. Well, many bloggers do write about them, but only for “Like to Know It” and  sponsorship purposes.  But nobody really discusses them.  “Them” being bras!

Are you at the water cooler?  Got a cuppa tea or cawfee?  Good. Let’s discuss BRAS!

Seriously.  I’m raising the bra high!  It’s about time that someone wrote an “uplifting” post about what’s under clothing.

How high am I raising the bra?  Well, I’m gonna buy a Maidenform bra and run for office.  I’ll do a better job…

I don’t know about you, but bras are such an annoyance for me.  They are the one article of clothing that I absolutely cannot stand buying.  When I was younger, I never gave a bra a second thought.  I went straight to the 36B’s, grabbed whatever bra was on sale for the lowest price, paid for it and went home happy.

Do you remember the pencil test for the bra?  I took it in high school and realized that I didn’t need to wear a bra because the pencil fell to the ground!  I felt very liberated until my mother noticed that I  was braless—a cold breeze must have caught me!  After her screaming and yelling that I was turning into a hippie and not dressing the way a proper young lady should, I never went braless again until I moved out of the house.

My mother was also the one who, as soon as I started growing the slightest hint of chest nuggets, had me in a “training” brassiere.  This brassiere of sorts was nothing more than a cropped undershirt with adjustable straps and a hint of stretch.  It was so uncomfortable that I begged to go back to my little white undershirt. And just why was it called a “training” bra?  Training for what??? Breast Boot Camp?

That bra on the top left, that’s what I was trained on! And that girl is flat as a pancake–I’ll bet the pencil dropped to the floor when she took the test.  But what’s worse is that Sears is advertising bras for “chubby” girls. That is so disgusting.  Nothing like destroying a young girl’s self-esteem by bringing home a chubby bra.  Ugh.

Add to that, I feared wearing the torpedo bras that my mother wore.  There were not many options available to house the girls back in the mid-to-late 1960’s.  These cotton things had circular stitching around the outside of the cups and had tips that were as pointy as the shoes I love to wear! Watching my mother actually IRON these bras was an amazing feat. And yes. my mother ironed bras–something I will never do–and I love to iron!

Thank God I wore eyeglasses through childhood or my mother could have knocked an eye out when I grew to her chest level!  But read the ad–I wanna know what “Perma-life” is. Does it mean the wearer will last forever–or the bra will?

These bras are absolutely ridiculous looking….but “floating action”?  Hmmmmmmm.  I could use these as a floating device whilst swimming!

I never thought I would say this, but Jayne Mansfield’s chest looks like a normal size compared to the other two.  Thank you, Jesus, for allowing this look to be a thing of the past.  And don’t let it come back either!

The fact that my mother went through seven pregnancies also meant that she should have been wearing an underwire or padded brassiere but certainly not one of those torpedo thingies!!

The only time I became remotely aware of what kind of bra to wear was when my breast doctor (I have those fibrocystic breasts and went to a breast doctor when I lived in NY) suggested to me that it may be a good idea to invest in an underwire bra as I was breastfeeding for so many years.

Me at the height of my breastfeeding days.  Dr. Gump, my breast doctor told me I had enough milk to feed a country.  You can see why he recommended an underwire bra.  Breast milk–nature’s boob job! My God!! I look like an ad for a torpedo bra!

But a strange phenomenon happened to me as I aged.  My breasts started to suffer the effects of gravity.  Not that badly though.  I mean, I don’t look like that old lady from the Playboy magazine cartoons, but my girls lost much of their perkiness.

I’m not sagging as much as her. And boy, that old lady needed more than an underwire! 

When the first signs of titty-aging were bestowed upon me, I purchased bra inserts—better known as “chicken cutlets”.  I wore them once.  At work.  And when I went downstairs to get the daily mail from the mailman, one of them fell out of my bra and onto the floor. In front of him.

Suffice it to say the mailman was mortified.  And grew more mortified when I casually explained that it was a chicken cutlet I was slow cooking for dinner—my body heat was grilling it.  And I bent down and placed it back in my bra. In front of him.  Hey—don’t judge—I had no choice!

The next day we had a new mail carrier!

These are the infamous chicken cutlets that nearly caused the mailman to have a stroke.  After 14 years, I still have these.  I’m wondering if I really DID cook them how many Weight Watcher points they would be.

Let’s face it, as we age, our attributes change a bit.  No longer can we really get away with going braless (Caveat. I’ll go braless in the summer when I wear those off-the-shoulder shirts and dresses. I refuse to wear a strapless bra.  They are awful!)Image result for atypical60 off the shoulder top

Luckily, there are times when I can get away without wearing a bra. This top is one of them.  Strapless bras are the worst. The. Worst!!

Presently, I have a draw full of these “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders”. And I rotate only about four of them.  There isn’t even a logical answer as to why I don’t trash most of them. Perhaps I can find a DIY project about turning a bra into a bird feeder!


Thank you Debra Lee Baldwin, for proving my “idea” (which I thought was soooo original) of using a bra-as-birdfeeder really exists as a DIY project!

But enough about my drawers—I’ll cover drawers (or rather panties) another time.

God only knows how this bra ended u with colored clothing but it needs to be trashed.  Why do I keep bras like this around anyway?

The frustrating thing is that now, I have to spend money on a decent bra. The TJ Maxx specials no longer work for me.  I’ve got side boobage.  I’ve got backfat. One of my boobs is about a half-cup larger than the other.  And I’m sure as you are reading this you are saying aloud “Me too!!!”

Fit is very important these days.  The right bra will give you the illusion of a better shape or figure.  The right bra will also help give you better posture.  The right bra will actually be comfortable—and will come at a price.  But for the cost per wear, in the long run, it will be a great value.

Different bras for different tops help too.  Come with me and I’ll show and tell!

Below is one of the bras I purchased last year around this time when Bonaparte and I were in Paris.  Let me tell you, purchasing a bra in France is a very pleasant experience.  The dressing room was so elaborate—I almost felt that I was in a very exclusive brothel—and in the best way possible.  I was measured in front, back, sideways and practically asked what I was having for dinner!

The Monica by Princesse Tam Tam.  This is one great bra that is perfect to wear under button down shirts!

The bra, Monica, by Princesse Tam·Tam is an underwired bustier type bra.  It is worn with button down shirts.  I am in love with this bra because the underwire gives me some lift, but the buttons on the shirts I wear lie flat and a huge problem with wearing button down shirts is that the fit of the bra can make the button space get all weird. Monica was 55€ when I purchased.

See how the buttons lay flat…

…and there is no gaping space?  I can’t stand that gaping space!!

The next bra, Taylor, also by Princesse Tam·Tam, is a padded, push-up bra.  What I absolutely love about this bra is that she isn’t overly padded.  This bra was a great price at 49€.  I wear Taylor with lightweight sweaters like my J. Crew Tippi Sweaters.  The color is definitely out of the box for me, but I am so in love with this bra. I love the ease and comfort and the shapeliness it gives me.

The Taylor Bra from Princesse Tam Tam. Notice the placement of the padding to push the mams up and the pads are sewn in.  I need to get a second one…

Here’s how she looks on me. I swear this would make a great bathing suit top. I love the fit and shape that Taylor offers.  Two thumbs up–or rather, two titties up for Princess Tam Tam bras!

Note the flattering shape from Taylor.  A perfect bra to wear under a lightweight sweater or a knit top!

Another look. Not overly padded–and just enough padding for a flattering silhoutte.

Next is quite possibly, my favorite bra to date. It is by the brand Natori and is the Feathers line. I can’t say enough about this bra.  I was measured at Nordstrom and explained to the bra specialist that I wanted a bra that would look good under a fitted tee.  At first, I was a bit surprised when the S/A brought this bra to me because I thought I needed more padding.  I didn’t.  This is the perfect tee shirt bra. And very mature titty friendly! At $68.00, I’m hoping Nordstrom has a sale soon—or Santa brings me a gift card to Nordstrom.

My Feather bra by Natori.  I can’t even remember when I purchased this but it’s “held up” for quite a number of years. I need another!

This bra fits so well, gives a great shape and–is as light as a….feather!!!

And there’s no gap space either…

The one and only bra I’ll wear under a tee shirt–I need a two and only of Natori’s Feather bra.  Honestly, I recommend this  so highly!  It’s like not even wearing a bra!

Next is a bra that is so old the label is faded.  It’s either from Nordstrom or Victoria’s Secret but it is my favorite bra to wear under a heavier sweater.   Heavier sweaters and heavier knits need a bit more padding because the weight can weigh the girls down a bit if you know what I mean.

The fit is great. Sorry that the photo looks like the bra has gap space but it is the way I was holding my iPhone’s camera…

This is the bra’s side view. As you can see the bra also has a plunging neckline. If I wore low-cut clothing, this would also suffice.  But, you know–I’m very modest! (don’t choke on your drinks ladies!)

I’m wearing that black bra under this nubby and heavier-textured sweater. See what I mean?  The bra works perfectly with this. (and I need to get this sweater dry-cleaned)

Lordy Miss Claudie!  You would THINK I could have at least gotten rid of the pilling on this sweater.  I’m so ashamed (no I’m not).  But–here’s another view of the shape I get with the heavier padded bra underneath this heavier sweater.

Here’s an example of an ill-fitting bra. It is from Victoria’s Secret and I have no idea how I allowed the S/A to talk me into this purchase!

The gap is so wide that I can’t even wear this under a tee–it looks ridiculous..

It’s like–two cup sizes too big–I don’t even think my chicken cutlets would fill this space out!  Don’t do this ladies. Do NOT make a purchase of a too-large cup size. You will never wear the bra!

I also want to add that if you need to get fitted properly for a bra, get to Nordstrom. Their sales staff in the bra department is specially trained and they are wonderful.  No insult to Victoria’s Secret, but I’ve had some bad fits from their staff. The same with SOMA.  I was fitted for a 32B when my regular size is between a 36 B or 36 C.  Go figure that one out!

A good bra will also wear very well.  And by that, I mean you don’t have to wash your bra every time you wear it.  I wash mine after five wears and I wash them on a gentle cycle and air dry them on a rack (not my rack silly. On a rack in the laundry room!) I do NOT allow my bras to be placed in the dryer. Never. Ever. Ever!

So, what it comes down to is this—our aging bodies need some lovin’.  We go to the doctor for our annual examinations and we should treat our lady parts with kindness.  We should get them gifts in the form of a decent bra. Take your girls shopping ladies—and take them to a specialist who’s trained in bra fit.  You will thank me.  Your girls will thank you!

Let’s go shopping for bras!  Let’s go on a bra crawl!  I’m ready. Are you?  BTW,  the hair that I’m wearing in the photos is the Claudia wig from Bobbi Boss. She’s beautiful and I shifted the wig to a left-side part.  I think I purchased her from Divatress!  

OK—so, all this bra talk brought back memories of a song from my favorite musical of all time. All. Time.  The movie is “Flower Drum Song” and the song is “Chop Suey”—and there is a reference to a Maidenform bra in the song.  Just for you…

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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26 Responses to Hey Ladies—Let’s Go On a Bra Crawl!

  1. KEWLM0M says:

    Great info, Catherine – thanks! By the way, do you ever sleep? Cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, working an outside job, hosting holiday dinners and overnight family – annnnd looking good doing it all, and blogging, vlogging, tweeting, iging every step of the way! Talk about a high bra!

    • Catherine says:

      Kewl. Sleep is my middle name! Once I hit the pillow at night, I’m out for the count! LOL. Off to the grocery store now to get more broccolli rabe! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. Julie says:

    Good Morning Catherine, I like that you discuss everything on your blog. I l never knew that bras didn’t go into the dryer, I will start that with my new ones, they probably will last longer. I’m always learning from your blog. I hate bra shopping with a passion.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Julie!
      Oh God NO!!! Don’t ever put a bra into the dryer. I’m a lunatic about what goes in the dryer anyway. Most of my clothing is air dried. Ugh. Bra shopping. Such a chore!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. Denise Woods says:

    My favorite-ever column of yours! Brought back memories of my first bra (I don’t remember any traumatic shopping trip so I’m betting my mother just bought mine at Sears and hoped it would fit 🙁 And having a shared-room with my little sister – now THAT was trauma. I remember changing under my voluminous flannel nightgown so little sis didn’t see. I also remember her saying she would pay me a quarter (tooth fairy money?) to see my “things”. Auuugggg!

    Anyway, very timely email for me – I can’t tell my “good” bras from my “work outside” bras anymore (I live on a small dairy farm – yes, my husband thinks this is a good “retirement” job for us, but frankly, I’ve never worked this hard in my life . . . )

    I actually “sneak-read” your email this morning while I was supposed to be helping with chores – said I had a very important Farm Facebook to work on 😉

    Will have to schedule a trip to my closest Nordstrom (about 1 1/2 hours away) after New Years.

    You always make me laugh! Denise Woods Highfield Farm Creamery Walworth, Wisconsin http://www.HighfieldFarm.com


    • Catherine says:

      Hi Denise! I went to school with a girl who has your name and thought at first it might be the Denise Woods that I knew. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post. It was about high time someone wrote a real post about bras–right? Oh those first bras. Why? Just. Why??????? XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  4. hipchick66 says:

    I haven’t been able to go braless since I was 14 years old. I like my bras to fit like a tight tank top. No padding, no push up (that would push them up to my neck, no thanks!), and no seams, but underwire is a must for day wear. I did well for some years with a stretch lace bra from Warner’s. When they discontinued I moved on to Victoria’s Secret. First, their version of the stretch lace, then to their Body by Victoria line. Now, they’ve discontinued every version I liked, so it’s a good thing I stocked up! At night, I wear a stretch bralette from Hanes. And my sports bras are from VS as well. They are the only brand that makes a 36DD that actually fits me. I wash my bras after a few wears in a laundry bag in cold water and hang to dry. This was a great blog post and you offered some great info to your readers! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori. Oh wow. You are really well-endowed!!! Yeah–Isn’t it amazing that companies discontinue bras that work for our particular needs? That reminds me I better get to Nordstrom soon before the Natori Feather bra is discontinued!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. Linda says:

    Love reading a “real” blog. You go girl. I’m 70 and I want to go out in style. You are helping me. Thanks.

  6. This was such a fun post filled with truth! I laughed out loud at the bra bird feeder. I think I will take my girls to the mall next week and check out the after Christmas sales.

  7. Fiona says:

    My first bra was like the one in the photo and was a ‘hand me down’ from my cousin who’s a year older. At fifty five I still pass the pencil test, I’ve never been well endowed or desired to be.
    Had to laugh at your chicken fillet story, reminds me of when I pulled my toiletry bag out of my handbag at airport security and a tampon flew across the room at high velocity.
    Looking forward to your ‘knicker’ post, can’t wait to hear your thoughts on thongs.xx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona. LOL–I love it–a hand-mme-down first bra. Oh back then we all had so many hand-me-downs, I’ll bet kids refuse to wear anything that anyone else had on these days!! The chicken filet story–true story too. This is stuff that only happens to me. I swear!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. Deb M. says:

    Ugh! Bra shopping—right up there with swimsuit shopping! I have finally found one that meets all my current needs (Bali Minimizer, and when needed for additional “security”, silicone petals) but after reading your blog, I think I will stock up!!! Such an entertaining, informative, funny post, as always….thanks so much for sharing

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Deb. Right??? Nobody speaks or writes about bra shopping and nobody does it with humor either! I’m definitely happy that you enjoyed this post!!!! XOXOXO!!!!

  9. KB says:

    I’ve been wearing 36B Triumph bras since I was in my twenties. They seem to work for me. Occasionally I get to a store that is having a sale and I stock up!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi KB. You know, I’ve heard about Triumph bras–maybe in a past post but the name rings a bell. I’m going to have to do some online googling!! Thanks for the mention of the brand!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. eveange33 says:

    Hey Catherine, I wrote an answer but it seems I am stuck in moderation …. is that because I am not politically correct in my wording? If so, well I’ll have to stop coming, I really hate that. Thank you for “demoderationing” me.

    • eveange33 says:

      and my handle is eveange66, may be the reason why.

    • Catherine says:

      You know–I saw that and can’t understand why? Did you perhaps unsubscribe to the blog in error?????? I am as confused as your are about this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXO

      • eveange33 says:

        Nope, I did not subscribe or unsubscribe. But I published my first message through Safari and went on through Firefox (because Safari is wayyy faster than Firefox for the meantime). Did you by any chance decided to install some little lutins de Noel or some little elves in your website manager with a special Christmas mission?!! Never mind but that was weird. And I know it might be the last chance to contact you before Christmas: yesterday and today were the 2 big days for people to go on Christmas holidays in France with a lot of traffic jam everywhere. I am going to cook and bake tomorrow and Sunday if I feel all right (I hope I will).

  11. Momcat says:

    I was reading that most women wear the wrong size cup (usually too big a band and too small cup) I can wear 2nd hand clothes but my big $$ goes to the bra budget. Bras are one area where you do get what you pay for and I never go to a department store only to on line or bricks and mortar bra boutiques. I wear a 34 FF. When was the last time you saw something bigger than a DDD in a department store? Or do we believe that larger cups are for heavier women? A friend of mine is 4’11, 100 lbs and wears a 30F ! She is not particularly buxom but her bra is professionally fitted. It’s always a shock to be told that instead of a 36 D you are a 34 FF (5’1 and 172 lbs here) no back fat either..
    The boob size is not determined by the number but by the letters after it. 32HH is a slim but buxom gal 42 B is a lady with a big chest circumference and smallish titties or a man with moobs.
    It’s sooooo worth to go to a good bra boutique and get fitted ( yes a well fitting bra will feel ‘tight’ in the band at first and you should only be able to use the first row of hooks….it will stretch and by the end of its life you will be on the last row. When you spend over $100.00 on a bra you want it to have a looooong life). The cups should be large enough to hold ALL your breast tissue which extends to your armpit…yup. There should be enough support so you don’t get that East West drift ( the boob sides extend out) A hint about boob drop, nothing is more aging than a saggy bust, the ideal is for the nipple to hit half waybetween your shoulder and your elbow when wearing a well fitting bra. Any lower you look like Playboy’s Granny any higher and you look like Jayne Mansfield. Stay well away from V/S!! Photos of their models are often used as examples of poorly fitting bras on reputable bra blogs. The bras are so cheaply made too. My favourite bras are Curvey Kate, Fantasie, Cleo, Conturelle,Panache and if you’re feeling really flush Prima Donna and Empreinte. All widely available in the States at better bra shops.
    Those last two will set you back 150.00 to 175.00 the others not so much. Once you know your size you can save by buying on line at Amazon but Her Room.com is awesome! They have great sales and the description of how the bras fit is amazing. This message is long but nothing is easier to fix than a bra size. You feel better, look better and you won’t end up playing boob soccer. I am sort of evangelical. Really, a good bra is life changing…makes the thrift shop cashmere sweater (15.00) look great.
    I buy my panties, Itsy Bitsies at Costco. Gotta save somewhere!

  12. Yes! My birthday was on 12/20, I’ve been celebrating a birthday month and I count this topic as one of my presents! Thank you Catherine, for making good on your promise to write about bras.

  13. patty blaettler says:

    When I got a well constructed bra to do the work right, I looked 10 lbs. lighter and 10 years younger. There is no reason to walk around with droopy boobs, they make you look like the M-word, MATRONLY. And who the heck wants that??

  14. turning20web says:

    Very useful blog for me..

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