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6/19/08
Bra Shopping

Okay, so I wasn't going to say anything because I figured this might be under the category of too much personal information, but I got such a good deal, and I figured we're all friends here, so I decided to brag about my shopping conquest share my experiences about my recent foray into my procurement of new women's undergarments.

It all started a few weeks ago, as I was standing in my bathroom, brushing my teeth and washing my face and going through my normal morning ritual. Part of that ritual also involves listening to either Good Morning America or the Today show, depending on what each one is talking about and who has the least amount of screaming people holding signs.

What is the deal with that anyway? I'm not a fan of the 500 screaming women standing behind the little barrier and waving signs that say "Hello from Iowa!" or "Second Street Church of Franklin Women's Choir". It's waaay too early in the morning for that kind of thing. As a matter of fact, if the screaming people are on for more than 5 seconds the channel gets changed. Let that be a lesson to you, screaming people. There are consequences for not using your inside voices before 9am.

Anyway, I was watching either the Today Show or Good Morning America while going through my morning grooming rituals, when they started a segment about the proper fit of brassieres. And I was only half listening as the woman on TV went over all the signs that your bra was older than dirt and needed to be replaced. She mentioned how they get stretched on the sides and back (like mine) and the front gets all lumpy (like mine), and the hooks get all bent out of shape from too many trips through the washer (like mine), and the straps keep slipping off of your shoulders (like mine). And I thought, "Hey! That's me!" because ya'll, my strap ALWAYS slips off my shoulder. I just figured I had weird deformed shoulders or something. And then they cut to a volunteer that they had pulled from the audience and fitted for a new bra, and she was like "I just always figured that I had weird deformed shoulders since my strap kept slipping off all the time". I whipped my head around the bathroom door to watch, and that was about the time that the underwire worked its way out and stabbed me in the side (which also happened to be number 5 on the bad bra indicator list). Obviously it was time for new bras.

The reporter said to make sure that you get a proper fitting by a professional when buying new bras, because lots of women are wearing the wrong sized bras and they don't even realize it. Which I thought was strange because who knows my size better than me? I've been buying bras solo for years. On the other hand, she totally nailed me with the crappy bra indicators, so I was willing to go with her professional advice on this one.

Now, normally when bra buying, I would head to Wal-Mart if I was lazy or Victoria Secrets if they were having a sale. But I don't think Wal-Mart does professional fittings, and the girls that work at Victoria Secret are a little too young and perky and teenie-bopperish for my taste.

I realize that this is very ageist of me, and I'm sure that there are several very professional people working in Victoria Secret, but for some reason I think that the best bra fitters should be little old ladies, not 16 year-old girls who are working there part time after school. I guess I trust the little old ladies because they've been wearing bras the longest.

And that was how I found myself in the middle of a JCPenny's "intimate apparel" section on a otherwise lovely Saturday afternoon. I chose JCPenny for two reasons- one, they were having a sale that weekend, and two, I never shop in JCPenny, so chances of me running into someone I knew were slim. I had kinda hoped that the place would be deserted, because even though I am not modest at all with you guys out there in cyberland, I am kinda modest in person. Especially when buying underwear. Even with a little old lady. So I nonchalantly wandered by as if I was really on my way to small kitchen appliances, and then dove behind a rack of 60% off demi-cups when no one was looking.

Unfortunately, the intimate apparel section was ABSOLUTELY PACKED. Who knew that Saturday was such a popular underwear buying day? And not only that, but a large majority of the shoppers were men!

Whatever happened to the guy refusing to even pass through the women's underwear section? I thought that they were supposed to stand, fidgeting and uncomfortable, on the outskirts of the nightgown section, holding their wife's or girlfriend's purse while she ventures into the prohibited section alone. Who are these brave new men, unafraid of lace and satin underpinnings?

None of these guys looked the slightest bit uncomfortable though. They browsed through the racks of bras like they were picking out tomatoes in the grocery store. (Which kinda made me feel stupid for stuffing my selections under my shirt so no one would see what I had). One guy was even standing at the entrance of the dressing room, saying things like, "I liked the first one better, honey". Since when did bra buying become a team sport?

Anyway, I looked for my little old lady, because it's a department store law to employ as many little old ladies as possible in this section. (Department store bra fitter is second only to Wal-Mart greeter in the little old lady job statistics). Only this time, there were NO little old ladies! I circled the department twice looking for one, (which you have to do because they're short and easily hidden behind the racks of clothes) but there was not one to be found! Finally, I gave up and went over to one of the cashiers, to ask.

Me: "Excuse me, Where can I find your little old ladies?"
Cashier: "Our what?"
Me: "You know, your *looks both ways to make sure no one is listening before leaning in and whispering* professionalbrafitters."
Cashier: "Our what?"
Me: "Professional bra fitters! The little old ladies who, you know *hand gestures vaguely* fit...people...professionally?"
Cashier: (yelling) "Oh! You want a PROFESSIONAL BRA FITTER!" *Everyone in the store looks over* Come right this way then! I'll do it for you!

Now, cashier woman was probably only late 40s, so she's waaay too young to be a professional bra fitter, but she also seems to have trouble being discrete and I'm worried that if I don't go with her, she'll start calling for the real professional bra fitters over the loudspeaker. She grabs a tape measure, and measures me 50 ways from Sunday before announcing that I am...exactly the same size that I've been buying for years. Ah-ha! I knew it! Take that bra reporter expert person!

Cashier woman left me alone, and I picked out approximately 92 bras in my size and set about the task of trying them on. According to the Today/GMA reporter, you should buy bras that fit when hooked on the last set of hooks...that way, as the bra stretches out from use, you can compensate by going to the tighter hooks. So I hooked and adjusted straps and set about the strenuous task of testing for fit, which mainly involves dancing around in your little fitting room stall and leaning over a lot. If the bra manages to stay with you for more than 30 seconds of Elvis's "Shake, rattle, and roll" without, well...shaking, rattling, and rolling, then you've got yourself a winner.

Once I found some I liked in every possible color that I could think of (because you never know when you're going to need a lime green bra), I took them back out to cashier woman to ring up. This is where the real fun starts, because while I had believed the little price tag on each one that said $30, I had somewhere missed the sign that said that they were 50% off! $15 bras! Woot! Annnnnd, I had apparently gotten one of the bras off of the clearance rack, which dropped it to a whopping $3.49. A $3 bra! You can't even go bra-less for that little! I was doing my happy dance over being such a savvy shopper when the cashier informed me that my purchases were $2 shy of $75, and if I got one more thing to push the total over $75, then she could take $15 off my total! So I ran over to the underwear bin and dug through the thongs until I found one (regularly $9) marked down to $2. Oh! And I had a $5 off coupon for JCPenny that the cashier also let me use! It was underwear shopping nirvana!

Long story short, I bought 5 bras and 1 pair of underwear, regular price $159, on sale of $75.10, and then knocked down to $55 with the coupon and $15 off! I was so excited, I was telling everyone! I showed the cashier! I showed the guys who were browsing through the bra racks! I showed little old ladies who didn't work at JCPenny but probably should have! It was a proud day for bargain shoppers everywhere. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about going shirtless and just painting "ask me about my bra" on my tummy so the whole world will know of my shopping prowess.

Of course, now that I have my new bras, I'll have to get rid of the old ratty ones. I'm thinking of burning them as a nod to the feminist movement. Tony suggested that I just throw them away, but I can't have the garbage men seeing my unmentionables! I mean, they're my unmentionables!

I have my modesty you know.

7 comments:

Melanie said...

I think you should donate them to the boy scouts to use as slingshots. :) Glad you had a great shopping experience! Hey, any chance you might be interested in writing something up for a guest post? I'm heading to the FL for 10 days and am looking to find 3-4 to put in before I leave Wednesday and schedule to post while I'm gone... think about it. :)

Mrs. Who said...

How funny! I JUST went to Penney's and was fitted for a new bra - only I found out I was wearing a whole size too small. No wonder I had some difficulty breathing.

Bluestocking said...

LOL I buy all my bras at a boutique. Unforunately department stores dont stock my size. Usually 3 60+ women participate in the fitting. But what a difference the right bras makes!

VanderbiltWife said...

That's great!! After years of trying to stuff my big girls into bras meant for 14-year-olds at VS, I've discovered the Bali outlet store. LOVE IT. And since girls have grown with pregnancy, I am glad to report they carry some BIG OLD BRAS.

Elaine A. said...

I feel the same way about bra shopping, like you have to go incognito or something. Mission Impossible maybe? Not for you though. Sounds like a great deal!!

p.s. I knew you were going to say J.C. Penney - that's usually where I buy mine...

Stephanie said...

I just went bra shopping yesterday to replace my ill-fitting, worn out bras - and discovered from the professional bra fitters that not only was I wearing the wrong band size, I was TWO cup sizes off. How is that even possible?!

But I bought some new bras (sadly less on sale than yours) and now everyone is secure once more. Whew!

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