Friday, October 24, 2003
posted by Julie |
Remarkable advancements in foundation garment technology
You know I like to see a traffic bump on skinnydaily.com as much as any site owner would, but there is traffic and there is traffic. So I'm going to try to finish out this whole piece using as many euphemisms and code words as possible, to avoid becoming the most popular site of the day over at Google headquarters.
Because today I'm talking casabas.
Well, no actually I'm talking about the remains of the fruits that were the two parts of my body under my chin and above my navel that no longer resemble produce, but resemble more a couple of jellyfish that may have washed up on the beach more than one day ago.
Our skin is remarkably elastic. It's more elastic in some spots than others. It's remarkably forgiving of massive weight gain and loss, of stretch and shrink. But it bounces back more or less depending on age, health, the length of time it spent stretched out, etc. It bounces back better in some spots than others. It continues to adjust and pull in for years after you've lost your weight. It does better with exercise. Creams won't help. They will make your skin surface look better for a bit, until you shower.
I have some floppy skin left over from my weight loss. Not a lot, but some on my tummy, my back, my thighs. It doesn't bother me much. Or not constantly. However, the combination of climbing over 40 and dropping a lot of weight has wrought very real changes. Especially, ah, upstairs.
When I was morbidly obese, that part of me was also obese. My harnesses were big, white, practical affairs with 4 hooks up the back and double-wide straps. I could get prettier colors at the big girls' stores, but those seemed to fall apart on me, so I stuck with the industrial strength variety. They were expensive, but they held up, so to speak. I purchased one model, repeatedly, and didn't have to think about them very much or very often.
Today is a different story. A few cup and band sizes smaller, I have options. I have more than options, I have engineering principles to consider. I Rip Van Winkled the last 20 years of underpinning advancement, and with the weight loss have emerged into a brave new world where clearly the best minds of a couple of generations have been put to use considering gels, foams, many permutations of plastics spun into fabrics and molded into forms that can push, lift, and either separate or squish the most unruly female formations into a resemblance of a freshly minted, matching pair of 17-year-old hoo-hoos.
I have explored contraptions molded from reasonably soft materials that can place a rather firm shelf at any point on your ribcage upon which you can rest whatever you've grown yourself, where it can be augmented with as much or as little additional gel, foam or gel-foam combination, artfully added from beneath your real parts, so it's you that sticks out the top.
Did you know?
I had no idea.
Add to these various structural decisions that the offering is styled in a dizzying array of colors, patterns, laces, and you've got a decision-making minefield.
By now you've figured out that I've wandered into the shop that has been appropriately named for the one of the queens of England.
I feel very out of place in this shop. But I'm forced in here by Hanro, my favorite underwear manufacturer, whose prices for these contraptions are way out of line with my budget. So out of line, I can't even request them as gifts.
This shop is governed by very young women who clearly know their way around both the engineering and the market and believe that a woman my age must know already what she wants, what she needs. She doesn't. She is clueless. She is lost. There are no books. There is no guide. I poke and handle, prod and investigate many models. Very few can be had without lining in this place. Most of them are capable of presenting perfect pairs without any body attached to them at all.
I begin to worry about storage. These things don't look as if they will fold into a drawer. There is no folding. I worry about laundering. Mainly I worry about the survival of any other thing sharing a mechanical washing environment with these assertively stable devices. They would require hand washing. And that means breaking my own maintenance rules. It means taking a step toward high-maintenance living. Toward Holly Golightly lingerie-strewn bathrooms in the middle of my aspirationally clean, simple, Bauhaus-inspired life.
I don't really need a 17-year-old's silhouettes. They might look a little unbelievable on the rest of me. What I need is the Bauhaus bra. Inexpensive, simple. Easy to own, easy to use, easy to care for. Engineered for comfort and durability. Beautiful in its simplicity. Form following function, presenting reasonable form. Something I can use to roll these fish up and strap them in place for the day. It won't hurt. It won't bind, it won't cut into my shoulders, my back, or contribute to pneumonia. It will travel with grace through my washing system without spearing my other clothes or mangling itself, wash after wash, for more than one year.
That's all I want. That's it. Do I ask for too much?
Some Bra Engineers and Their Brave New Bra
Bra History and Future, Cox News Service
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