Keeping abreast

One of the major struggles of my surge in weight has been finding a good quality bra. What never used to be A cup struggle has increasingly become an awkward experience. So after years of lacy comfort and basic designs, I was reacquainted with the sports brassiere.

After a fitting guided by the preening eye of the sales person (who has clearly kept abreast of the many shapes and sizes behind fitting room doors) I was happy to purchase two sport bras and looked forward to, at least, a year without struggle. But the honeymoon was short-lived. The material that felt so comfortable and sat so well just two months earlier, began to rub into my skin and bruise my back. I put on more weight and the sports bra could no longer hold me down.

And so, I returned to the factory version of the store and – after a fitting guided by the preening eye of the much younger and perkier sales person – I was happy to purchase another two sport bras. Initially, I enjoyed the bounce and support but over time, the heat made wearing any material so uncomfortable that I began to ditch the bra completely.

And so I went to the mall, the hair salon, (once to) the gym and other frequently visited places commando at the chest. Whilst this habit had a very Miley Cyrus-risque liability to it (as a colleague once put it) I was genuinely comfortable in my skin. Unfortunately, this came with a few frustrations:

Society

I remain unclear as to the production date of perceptions around not wearing a bra and the comments or enquiries that come with it but I look forward to its expiry date. It is rather awkward for a male to ask as to whether you are wearing a bra for little other reason than the fact that he may have been obliviously looking at your chest. From a female-to-female perspective, that a woman can exit the home without wearing a bra is nearly seen as a form of poverty. I would think that with all of the problems in the world, people would be worried about more serious issues.

Weather

Exposure to the elements is a blissful thing but when commando at the chest you are often left with a few bloopers to reconcile with. If it gets too hot or hard-working, you sort of feel as though lumps of clay are melting. If it gets too cold or corporate, you get the inevitable nipple-stand. I have personally resorted to covering the latter with items ranging from my wallet, piles of paper, cardigans and my forearms. Also, even when you do rock a sports bra, it could double as a seaweed body wrap and your top is a sauna.

Look and feel

The look and feel of being bra-less is not necessarily as coordinated ‘glam’ and coordinated  ‘sexy’ as may be when wearing a bra. Also, even when you do rock a sports bra, it creepily emerges at the shoulders of every item that you wear and comes off a bit tacky. Of course, this depends on the occasion in which you may find yourself and is only a minor challenge if-when anticipated.

Weighing out the pros and cons, there is merit and madness to rocking a bra. Having tried nearly every reputable brand and cut[Free 2BU, Wonderbra, JT-One, Cotton Body, La Senza and even Pick ‘n Pay’s Real Clothing] I have found that a bra does more to constrain me than it does to contain me, at least at this stage of my body, whilst I continue to regulate my burgeoning band size.

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