Monday, January 31, 2011

Bra Shopping: Triumph or Tragedy?

** Boys, feel free to skip this one.  I'm going to talk about bras, shopping and body-image.  You've been warned**

I set aside a few hours this weekend to do some serious shopping: I needed both bras and a bathing suit for an upcoming trip.  This deserves a little back story though, as shopping for bras has always been a nightmare for me.  In case you're unaware -- and there's no cute or polite way to get around this -- I have large breasts.  Every woman thinks she wants bigger boobs (or at least every man designing bras assumes every woman buying them wants bigger breasts).  I know this because it is increasingly difficult to find bras without inner padding, push-ups, gel inserts, cushions, and now there are even "double push-ups", which are basically foam filled falsies on a band.  I don't want bigger boobs, or the appearance of bigger boobs.  I just want something to hold 'em in, strap 'em down, and keep 'em in place.

Not only do I have larger-than-average lady parts, but I have them on a petite frame.  I have narrow shoulders and a small ribcage, so I need a bra with large cups on a small band and straps that are close together.  I like the idea of crisscrossed straps or a racer-back to keep the straps in place, but now I'm being picky.  Shopping for a decently appropriate bra is like searching for the holy grail, and at times I wonder if such an item is the stuff of fantasy.  I frequently leave stores empty handed, frustrated and sometimes a bit emotional.  On one memorable occasion I even managed to bring a sales associate to tears with me.

Up to a few years ago I was wearing a 32DD, but I'm not quite as slender now and am in a 34DD.  Thank goodness, because the 34 is a bit easier to find.  I know I could easily find a well-fitted bra at a specialty store, but I just can't justify the specialty price.  Why should I have to pay $150 - $300 for something the rest of the world pays $30 - $50 for?  If it's needed for a special occasion and there's no getting around it, sure, I'll shell out the dough, but I'd really rather not.

Most mall-variety bra stores (and I'm talking stores that sell only or primarily ladies undergarments) do not carry my size, or carry it in one or two styles only.  When I ask for my size I often get a stunned look, questions about whether I've been fitted properly, or offers to try a different size that "might do the trick".  I've been told it's an unusual size, it's a popular size that sells out too quickly, and once that it's a "European size."  Well thank you very much.  How silly of me to think my European sized body would work over here in North America.  My mistake, I guess.

Well this weekend I lucked out at Sears, of all places.  I tried on more than a dozen bras, of which about half were actually 34DD.  Not only did I find some that fit nicely, I walked out of there with not one, but FOUR bras.  Two were on clearance (one of which was a minimizer -- the opposite of a push-up!), and they were also having a buy-one-get-one sale on boxed bras.  I was only able to find one boxed style of bra in my size that didn't look like something my grandmother might own, so I grabbed two of them.

Challenge one complete: on to bathing suits...

I'll keep this short, but after some searching I found an amazing, flattering bathing suit for a reasonable price.  It was nothing fancy on the hanger, but once I got it on I knew it was The One.  It's green, teal and black in a 60's style silhouette.  It looks like something Joan Holloway would wear.  I picked it up at Bikini Village for under $100.  I was amazed!  I did also try on what may have been only the second flattering bikini I've ever tried on in my life, but at $200 for both pieces I thought I'd better stick with the one piece.

Looking for clothes that flatter my body can be the most frustrating, awkward, embarrassing experience imaginable.  And I don't even really have a problem with my "European" body type -- I'm just really tired of not fitting the mold that retailers are catering to.  I'm tired of hemming, buying a size up so I can have something taken in, and trying to make something that doesn't fit "do the trick".  That said, finding (and wearing!) properly fitted, flattering, comfortable, stylish garments is such a confidence booster!  What's sexier than wearing something you know you look great in?

And that's why I love/hate shopping.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year's Resolution Fail

So much for my resolution to be healthier!  I have been sick for about a week and a half now -- first with a sore throat, immediately followed by a full-blown cold.  I haven't been sick like this in AGES!  I forgot how much fun it is to only breathe through your mouth and lose your ability to taste food.  And then there's the watery eyes, which Jason tells me is actually just boogers coming out of your eyes.  Oh, and the dry, chapped, red skin around my nose is very flattering.  Sigh.

In other news, I haven't knit a stitch in ages.  I'm hoping to get some knitting and card making done this weekend.  We'll see how I do.  One of my problems is that I love starting projects, but finishing them always seems like a nagging chore.  It's like the novelty and excitement starts to wane when I'm about halfway through a project.  I need to finish at least 2 started projects before I start another, and preferably the baby items for Scarlett -- before she's not a baby anymore!

Time to get to work.  I'm procrastinating writing a report :p

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year.

I can honestly say I've never appreciated the words more.  Not that I had an especially thrilling NYE -- Jason and I went for dinner at Shoeless Joe's (it was good) and to see Tron at the VIP (it was mediocre, but 3D!).  Then we went home and enjoyed a glass of 2008 Trius Red (it was wonderful).  It was a great date night and I enjoyed spending some QT with my love.

The last couple months of 2010 were a bit of a drag for me.  I was crazy busy with work, social commitments, and personal drama, and I think I started to let things slide.  When I get stressed I tend to procrastinate, when I procrastinate I get overwhelmed, when I'm overwhelmed I start to feel down, and when I'm feeling down I procrastinate more.  This is part of the reason I haven't been blogging much lately.

Rather than tackle this issue head on, I decide to spend the holiday break doing nothing.  It was very therapeutic.  I could have gone on doing nothing for many weeks more, but alas...  I'm back to work today, and working away!  I'm getting things checked off my "To Do" list, and I'm determined not to continue to be sucked into a cycle of melancholy and stress.  Instead, I'm formulating resolutions that will really help 2011 to be a happy new year.

I have lots of good intentions for 2011, but my main resolution is to be healthier.

By being healthier I mean the typical, eat healthier and exercise more mantra, but also to be more aware of and respectful of my own limits.  Be more conscious of my social, intellectual and professional needs.  Don't make commitments that I don't have time to fulfill.  Celebrate community and relationships, but don't feel guilty about enjoying some "me" or "us" time.  Find balance.

What about you?  Do you have any resolutions for 2011?  Do you have advice for me?