In Defense of “Old Lady” Bras

MFB_M0434_BlackLatteLiftThanks to decades of brilliant marketing by Victoria’s Secret, for much of my life, I’ve felt that it’s very important to have cute underwear on at all times. When I actually take a minute to reflect on this belief, though, it seems absurd. I’m never really expecting my shirt to melt off, exposing strangers to my bra. I’m never really expecting to have a sexy encounter with a stranger I may meet on the subway. I can’t imagine my friends are ever going to want to play an impromptu game of strip poker. Yet, ever since I grew boobs, I’ve been subjecting them to the mild discomfort of cleavage-enhancing bras.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I have kind of a big rack for my size, but even the best fitting bras I’ve ever bought have all enhanced my cleavage. I’ve never opted for “full-covereage,” so that even under a sweatshirt, the top of my chest has poked out. Now, that’s a great look when I’m shirtless or wearing an outfit that features my rack. But when I’m wearing a high-neck blouse or tee shirt, it’s unnecessary and often even uncomfortable.

Which is why lately, I’ve started buying some old lady bras. You know old lady bras: the ones you probably avoid at department stores. They don’t come in fun colors, and the don’t come with the formed cups that dominate Victoria’s Secret. They don’t look sexy on the rack, and you won’t be surprised that they don’t really look sexy on. But I bought three Maidenform Minimizers last week, and I don’t care that I don’t look like Adriana Lima when I wear them. They’re insanely comfortable. I don’t have to worry about a rogue boob falling out if I do an impromptu cartwheel. And for the first time in ten years, I can actually wear a button-up top without a gaping hole.

These bras are not sexy, at least by the Victoria’s Secret standard. They’re kind of retro, and the Maidenforms I bought actually come in a few elegant colors. And even though I was initially worried that he would, my boyfriend doesn’t barf when he sees them. My silhouette still looks pretty nice when my boobs aren’t being shoved up to my chin.

But what I’ve realized by falling in love with these bras is that even if they were a little uglier, I’d still wear them. I don’t actually need my bras to be sexy all the time. Sometimes I’d rather be 100% comfortable. Sometimes I’d prefer my clothes to look better than to look better under my clothes. Unlike Victoria, I don’t really need a secret. I just need support.

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