Every year I look for a pretty bra that is also supportive – and as usual, I’m straight back to my trusty favourites…
I am feeling deserted by fashion this week.
One reason is that I’m still clumping around like Quasimodo after my foot op last week. As soon as I had finally managed to get on a pair of trainers rather than Crocs, I had to have my second op (on mole number three), so am back into Crocs again for at least a few more days of shuffling.
But it’s also that I’m squaring up to that hideous annual routine of trying to find a decent bra.
It’s the same every year. My Doreens (by Triumph) give fantastic support and comfort, but they are not what you’d call the sexiest bra in the world. Therefore, once a year, the routine is this: I yearn for something prettier. I order something girly from some online vendor or another. It arrives, I try it on, and I send it back because it just doesn’t give enough support. This year it was the Helena bra by Fantasie and the Provence from Pour Moi? Beautiful, both of them, but hopelessly unsupportive.
Every year I end up tearing my hair out in frustration. The problem is that once you hit 40, you start to notice that everything in life, including your tits, is heading south. I have a low-slung bust to start with, courtesy of my Irish grandmother, but from the age of 11 to about 44, my boobs could hold their own for firmness without needing too much in the way of uplift, and a Wonderbra was all I needed to put someone’s eye out.
No more, however. These days I need a little more help: a good bra is about structure and my bras have to tick all the following boxes:
* Deep bra band with the cups properly set into it, not separate cups only joined in the middle.
* Leotard back.
* Two or three-hook back closure.
* Three-section cup or an internal sling.
* Wide straps.
The Doreen ticks every box. When I bought my first one five years ago, I was amazed at how it hoicked the girls back into place – it takes 10 years off you, along with 10 pounds. Not only that, it’s so comfortable that I don’t even know I’m wearing it. And those are not things with which I’m willing to part. But God, I wish it was prettier to look at.
I do not, I should perhaps point out, have big boobs – and that, indeed, is one of the problems. I’m only a 34B or 34C, depending on the time of the month, but good support details such as support slings are not generally included in bras under a D cup. Freya, Fantasie, Goddess and Elila are all wonderful makes that hardly ever produce anything in my size – if I had huge knockers, I’d be better catered for.
Other than the Doreen, the only bras I can find that fit my bill are Glamorise (Magic Lift), Playtex (cross your heart), Miss Mary of Sweden and the Grace bra by Royce, and most of them come in at about £39 per pop. Also, most of them are quite unattractive and are available in white only. I’ve found this one by Miss Mary of Sweden, with some nice embroidery on the cups, but once again, it doesn’t quite come in my size – I would have to risk a 36B.
So, I turn back, once again, to the Doreen. Triumph has brought out this bra in standard, luxury, cotton-rich and ‘fleur’ jacquard satin finishes, all of which are very nice (especially the luxury finish), but you try getting it in colours other than black, white, nude and (very occasionally) pale pink. I am not a schoolgirl and I long for a dash of colour, and some lace edging or prettier straps.Lace on the top cups, or edging the straps or the band would be so welcome, rather than this plain edge, which makes the bra’s construction so visible.
Colour is also important when you can’t change the style of your bra, and you’re stuck with an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder design. It is just a leetle something that makes you feel more feminine. So thank heavens for Ebay, where I have now picked up limited-edition Doreens in dark red, coral and lilac, though the search is still on for blue and aqua (available, evidently, but not in my size).
But when will Triumph put its money where its mouth is and acknowledge that the Doreen is the best-selling bra in the world? When will it come with some lacy trim on the straps or the band, or in royal purple with black lace, or emerald green satin with red bows? When will it have sparkly fabric or contrast lace, or something – anything – to make it feel a tad less matronly? It is a fantastic construction, with about 48 or 50 parts, so surely just a few of those could be changed, to – for instance – have a nude lining to the lace on the upper cups?
Not only is Doreen the biggest-selling bra in the world, it sells to the biggest bra-buying market of all – 55-65 year olds, who have plenty of money to spend on lingerie and would still like to look sexy as well as supported.
Oh la. Well, I can see that customisation is the name of the game here and that I shall have to get out the sewing machine and the haberdashery basket, with roses, little bows and rhinestones galore.
And I have bought another Grace bra, which has pure cotton cups, and I will be dyeing it myself to see what I come up with. Watch this space.