Saturday, 19 December 2009

a serious splash on something you won't see

A couple of months ago I was a little bit slimmer post-Summer than I am now mid-Snow. I felt body confident enough to go bra shopping. We all know how depressing bra shopping can be for one's body image, but I felt brave enough.

Nevertheless, I still came away feeling down. The only bra which I felt truly fitted great had been the most expensive, by far. Several others with similar colours, shapes, straps, sizes and padding and lower prices were all somehow wrong.

Today I went in a shopping search for a party dress. I hate clothes shopping this close to the sales so I stuck to the rails already on sale. I found plenty of gorgeous scarves, shirts, jumpers, even lovely daytime dresses, but every dress that looked nice on the hanger was a failure on. It doesn't help when you want a velvet dress that your budget restricts you to thin, stretchy ones which make you look pregnant: pot belly and legs bulging with water retention.

I decided to look for a bra. My bra. It's false economy, I decided, to buy a dress the same price as the bra which I will wear once. Better to buy the undergarment which will make the overgarments I already own look good. Having made this decision, I got angry then infuriated as I was unable to find it.

One different shopping venue an hour away later, I tried it on. Actually, I took three other alternatives into the changing room and tried them all on first, hoping that one of them would look great. They didn't.

Thus runs the (abbreviated) story of how I came to spend £35 on a t-shirt bra. I don't feel guilty; I earned the money and I spent the same I would have on a rubbish sale party dress. Still, my mother's reaction was that I was being completely ridiculous; but she hasn't seen the bra yet.

And she doesn't know how it makes me feel; how it is the first bra I have bought not just because of comfort, not just because it minimises the boobs, not just because it stops them from moving when I run, not just because it's a pretty colour, not just because it fits well. It's all of those things! I know most people object to spending more on something people can't see as you stroll down the street than the bag you carry on your shoulder. It's no status symbol or style statement. But I still think it's worth spending on, because of how it makes me feel. I'm interested to hear what you think; do you spend more money on what others can see, or on what is personal to only you - not just underwear (obviously a lot of lingerie is not meant to be just for the owner) but a book, a new set of headphones, a dressing gown, a nice pen?


  1. I am with you on this one. Lately shopping trips have become miserable experiences as everything seems to be body con which is not pretty on a hip-y girl like myself.

    I don't buy bras that often, so when I do £30 is not OTT. There is only one that fits me properly, the Elle Macpherson Dentelle and I buy this one over and over in different colours. Definitely worth it,and like you say, it's your hard earned money.

  2. Tell your mother I said you made a good decision. You need a proper bra and if it costs, it costs. There are some things it is silly to be cheap about. BTW, I hate shopping for anything when I desperately need it. That's why if I see something awesome and it looks great on me, I get it then, even if I don't particularly sandals at the moment. I know I will!

  3. I'm with you too! I spent £100 a couple of weeks ago at a sample sale on 5 pretty but warm thermal-underwear type things but they were some sort of ultra-fine cashmere and beautifully made. No-ones going to see them but I like to know that I'm wearing something lovely and it's so hard to find pretty thermals anywhere! Where was your bra from?

  4. I'm so glad to read that you all agree! I don't like feeling overly indulgent.

    Rollergirl, those sound beautiful. I agree. My thermals are absolutely hideous high-necked affairs from M&S and you're lucky I wasn't there or I would have snapped them up! My bra is from Chantelle. :) x