I used to think that a bra was a bra.
Bras were embarrassing when I was a teen, being the oldest daughter and having to break in the budding breast territory for my younger sisters. A bra was a necessity, but one that should be kept on the down-low. Just buy it, wear it, and forget it.
My bras were standard and practical as a teen. Once my friend handed down to me her eyelet lace bra with a little pink flower in the middle, after she'd grown out of it, and I felt like a total princess. But it was a long time before I ever bought a pretty bra. One whose looks surpassed its functionality. And then it was around that time that I learned how drastically a good functional bra can change one's looks. And now, as they say in bra-lingo, I'm hooked.
I love that Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Deborah complains about Ray wanting her to have breast implants. She points to her chest and says something like, "These are not just for show, Ray, these were working breasts!" I laughed my head off. How I get the truism there!
My girls are not what they used to be. I have been pregnant or nursing for 99 months, and that can take a toll on perkiness. I used to shy away from anything padded, because of the stigma attached, and heaven knows I wasn't trying to enhance my size. I also used to be tempted by the 'natural cup' baloney. Then I got sick of everybody being able to tell that I'd been pregnant or nursing for over 8 years, or when I felt a little chill, or even got the goosebumps from a great piece of music! I didn't like what I was seeing in photographs of myself, and I had to start doing some serious bra research.
The heavens opened and angels sang the first time I bought a really good bra. What a difference! A good bra can make you look taller, younger, skinnier, and downright happier. I promise. And I usually think that a good bra should cost around $40. Do not skimp. (no pun intended) First, go get measured. You may be surprised. Oprah did a bra intervention show and more than half of the audience members were wearing the wrong size or kind of bra! Properly fitted, a bra should not only make your girls look better, but you should feel better, without back/shoulder pain, and without that bulging back fat that is so unattractive.
A good bra should have adequate outer side wall support to keep the girls in the front where they belong, instead of spilling around the corner like they tend to do as we get older (or heavier). A good bra should lift the girls up, as Oprah says, "to salute!" I love underwire bras for this reason. And a lightly padded bra keeps the temperature a secret, if you know what I mean. Straps should be wide enough not only across the back, but over the shoulders to properly do their job. And even when you bend over, nothing should be squishing or spilling out the top. The silhouette through your t-shirts and blouses should be smooth, not bulgy. That's just as gross as the muffin tops spilling over too-tight jeans. All hoisted up, the girls will make you look like the young vixen you used to be before your working days, and your torso will look longer and your torso flatter. Nice.
If you are not a good-bra believer, you must go immediately and become one. I just went to Victoria's Secret with Conor the other day and got myself re-measured (things change post-baby and after so many years.) Turns out I was a slightly different size and buying a good bra, the right bra has given me all kinds of youthful confidence and vanity. In a good way.
The girls salute you!