Weapons of Mass Seduction – October is Breast Awareness Month
Actually, it’s quite the opposite:
A woman having large breasts makes men stupid
Bongoes, bangers, bazookas, boobs, bosoms, boobies, Bristols, Britneys, baps, Brad Pitts, …. and that’s just the B’s to describe your fun bags …. but are they fun? As I am heading towards the half century my own hunnybunz are becoming ever more cumbersome …. and more unruly …. I am not sure if my eye to hand coordination is diminishing or that my own mammary shelf is spreading but I seem to have developed my own on-board fixture of a natural pelican bib – catching everything that doesn’t quite make it into my mouth …. I am almost at the stage of banning any natural fabrics as I have so many silk garments now residing in the back of the wardrobe sporting indelible grease-spots! My greatest fear is that it won’t be long until I am tucking them (da boobz), into the tops of my American Tan pop socks! Children of the 60’s and 70’s will remember both these abominations … American Tan, an almost tangerine hue marketed as a natural flesh tone and created specifically for the hosiery industry …. can only imagine they took their Pantone reference from the beaches of Miami before anyone realised the damage being done by the sun! And the Pop Sock ….. now when used correctly the pop sock has its merits, giving a sheer finish under trousers (as long as the trouser is long enough to cover the top of the sock) but people, it was never, ever designed to be worn under a cotton summer dirndl!!! (Mother-in-Law please take note!)
But back to Breasts …. aside from the obvious health checks which we should all be doing regularly, Wear it Pink and October as Breast Awareness Month are reminders to do just that … see how to correctly check yourself here at Breakthrough Breast Cancer we should also be making sure that we are wearing the correct size bra that fits well without crushing at the side, spilling over in the middle or riding right up your back. But how do you do that? …. it is all too easy to ‘guess’ your size and make do ….. My first proper bra fitting, i.e. one that didn’t involve me copping a feel of an M & S boxed number and thinking that’ll do was when I was getting married, I headed to Selfridges Lingerie Department. The ladies there were amazing and their sage advice has stuck with me and made me realise how important it is to be fitted correctly, although the fitter must be well-trained. I have tried since then to have fittings and been told ‘”well, that’s the best you are going to get”. NOT TRUE! It just takes time and patience, which is why I now tend to buy from online stores and try on in the comfort of my own home, as I do now have an understanding of how a well-fitting bra should look and feel …. Though there are still some experienced fitters out there, tucked away in department stores … usually older ladies who really understand BOOBS, many lingerie departments are still staffed by girls with Polly Pocket sized boobs who have no understanding of the underpinning required to tame the larger breast. When I was pregnant I grew to the gargantuan proportions of a J cup (yes, that is a real size) and felt that I could probably feed an entire army with those puppies. The choice of nursing bras was limited and with a restriction on any under-wiring to prevent damage to the soft supportive tissue, I wore Triumph Doreen for both my pregnancies, it wasn’t available in any other colour than white in those days and was deeply unglamorous and inhibiting. It is the one and only time that my lingerie drawer has had anything in common with my mother-in-law’s …. Now I am a less pneumatic GG cup and things have moved on in the plus-cup lingerie world.
As our decollatege heads south we need to constantly assess and reassess – I have liked lots of brands over the years but find that my changing shape often means a change of brand too … the brands I find consistently good are Freya, (pretty, matching sets available) and lovely swimwear too up to a K-Cup; Panache, again modern designs and Fantasie sometimes – although a lot of Fantasie styles push your cups in opposite directions, like Marty Feldman’s eyes … I held out high hopes for the Elle Macpherson range but this didn’t quite meet my support requirements …. I need jiggle restriction and M&S consistently lets me down with a poor fit, though recently I read in Sarah Vines’s column on Get The Gloss about a new breakthrough from M & S called the Youthful Lift Bra, so am keen to try that out as over the years they have marketed some terrific ideas …. there were plastic side inserts at one time that promised to push the larger bust forward (which frankly is where it’s meant to be – not hiding under my armpits!!) but it was uncomfortable and gave an odd shape, so poor in its execution … And thats another thing – the shape of the cup is also important – the Triumph Doreen mentioned above actually looks pretty fantastic under a 60’s style black jumper as you take on a Madonnaesque pointi-ness. It does give me hope that Marks and Spencer has a department of TIT-ivators, innovating for those of us described as embonpoint.
So October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month was my prompt to turn my attention to our jubblies and celebrate them …. a well-fitting bra will not only help prevent flop, sag and stretch (think Spaniel’s Ears!!) but can also help you look one or two dress sizes smaller (just ask Gok Wan), as said cleavage is hoisted up and away from the waist. My top tip for checking the fit of a bra is to try a skimming t-shirt over the bra, check for back bulge, cups brimming over and the general line and shape. I like my boobs to be held high but not so high that I am peering from between them like a pair of giant inflatable headphones. Do have a proper fitting but give yourself time to try on lots of sizes for fit and comfort. So where to shop? … All the big department stores have a wide selection of brands and styles but rarely carry much stock above F/FF or a G if you are lucky. Specialist retailers include Bravissimo and Figleaves. You can try on at your leisure with your own clothes to test out necklines, smoothness etc and you have the added advantage you are working with a mirror you are familiar with – mine is full length and possibly rose-tinted (!!) and it doesn’t feel as if you are in the bowels of Hades’ Underworld, overheating in department stores is a BIG problem for me!! Bravissimo now have stores all around the country including London, Guildford, Brighton all with fully trained fitters, my big criticism of Bravissimo is they are increasingly producing more and more of their ‘own brand’ bra and knicker sets and that their matching knickers are predominantly a short design (don’t like them, they are for androgynous straight up and down types) or a G-string (my days of cheese wire cutters up my bum are over, O. V. E. R!) and I am yet to be convinced by their Pepperberry clothing line, to me they seem to draw more attention to ones bustline but not in a good way. I understand the desire for having a fitted shirt that nips in under the bust but somehow these don’t quite work – for me the best thing to do to stop shirts gaping is to buy a normal size that fits everywhere else and stitch behind the buttons so you don’t have that unflattering reveal or worse still run the risk of popping a button and someone losing an eye as the button ricochets like Halley’s Comet across the room. Figleaves is my preferred online destination for my swimwear, they carry the Freya ChaCha design which I love and have in most colours – though yet to track down the coffee colour. I like quite plain bikinis as I feel patterns get misshapen as they are stretched and in particular floral designs when even the tiniest floral sprig design turns into a giant floribunda worthy of Best of Show at Chelsea! Full cup, plunge, soft cup, moulded, strapless, half-cup? Fit, design, style and shape are all important in bra selection – what’s your favourite? Mine is probably the Balconette but they often have wide set straps which slip off your shoulders as you move around and it looks a little inelegant to keep scooping your hand inside your clothes to retrieve an errant strap!