A little bit of fairy dust
by Susan Pringle
It’s been a little warm today, hasn’t it? With the heat comes an extra challenge for women, like me, who’ve had surgery following breast cancer, in choosing the right bra and breast form. Read on and see if any of this seems familiar?
Like many of you, I decided to wear something different today because of the heat, and when I got dressed, chose to wear one of my favourite cotton dresses now that I can confidently zip it up again (last year I was too swollen after my surgery, common for most women after surgery).
The Anita bra (Tonya in cream) that I was wearing, though fairly innocuous, came up way too high for the sweetheart neckline… a fail. Plan B, Anita bra no.2. (Versailles in black), had the added bonus of being softer for this weather, but no, the same problem, though not quite as high up admittedly. Another fail. Didn’t really have a plan C.
In time-honoured tradition, a shared ritual of women across the globe, the rummage in the lingerie drawer begins, expecting that Tinkerbell has been in there and sprinkled some fairy dust over the bras that don’t fit or feel comfortable. We do this a lot when we get dressed, it becomes a bit of a habit. Nope, she’s stuck in a movie somewhere, not in my drawer today.
But wait, I remember I have an, as yet, unworn Amoena sticky-on breast form, (Amoena Contact), “Feels like you,” it boldly claims. Does it? I wonder. How many women wear these and do they get along with them? It’s been in my drawer for quite some time now, and I haven’t fancied the idea of actually sticking something to myself. Well, if you want to wear this dress woman, you might have to!
So, I take it out of the box and with it, an M&S non wired bra ‘normal’ bra. After a little fiddling, it’s in place. The bra looks quite good, if a little tight, and there I am, dressed and ready to go. I feel deeply self-conscious about the fact that I wearing something that’s actually stuck to me, especially in this heat. Vanity over function? Hmmm, we’ve all been there.
I head off to my meeting, I feel intact and the breast form appears to be staying in place. I admit, I was in dread of it rolling about and making an unwanted appearance above said sweetheart neckline, (like the time my Gossard Wonderbra dropped a piece of booster padding in the pub), but to my pleasant surprise, it’s stayed put.
The meeting goes well, and so I decide to give the breast form and myself a test. I walk into John Lewis and head into the lingerie department. There’s a sale on, lots of lovely, pretty, colourful bras at 50% off. I don’t get too excited, I’ve been here before, and I’m not too optimistic.
The usual outcome when we try on wired bras in the year following surgery, is that our hopes of finding comfort and feminine style, are easily dashed.
Today I’m feeling lucky though, so despite the heat in the fitting rooms, in I go.
I chose bras in my pre-surgery band size, as I am still slightly in denial that I should really be wearing a 36C not a 34D (am I the only one to take in the wrong size?). I’ve been exercising and my daughter’s tell me that I’m looking ‘more like me again’. 34D it is then, ever the optimist. I’ve chosen a bright, summery coral and a striped bra.
Standing in the coral bra, the first thing that strikes me as I look at myself in the mirror is how narrow the straps are, and that the bra actually dips at the front to reveal a modest amount of cleavage; if Angelina Jolie can pull off a cleavage, so can I! Said breast form is holding in place (though it did drop out when I wriggled into the bra) and I don’t look too bad at all, in fact, I look pretty damn good all things considered.
Next, I ask one of the lovely John Lewis ladies to come and check the fit (yes, that makes me one of the 20% minority that’s correctly fitted) and she adjusts the straps and checks that the band and wires are in the right place and not too tight, then pronounces it’s the right size and is a good fit. Eureka!
I can’t quite believe it, I’m used to disappointment, and I tell her that it feels tight and stiff. She empathises with my situation, that having worn very soft bars for over a year now any wired bra would probably feel a little restricting, but remains confident that the bra is perfect for me should I wish to indulge.
I purchased the bra, John Lewis Amelia Balcony Bra, Flamingo a bargain at £12.50, sounds exciting doesn’t it? I’ve left it downstairs in the bag waiting for a rinse, and then tomorrow I might wear it. I’m nervous though. I’ve had the comfort and security of super soft and slightly granny looking bras for the past year, something awful might happen mightn’t it?! I’ll let you know…
I’d love to hear your stories of fairy dust and triumphant moments in bra fitting, post-surgical or otherwise, we’re all women first. Please leave me a comment and I’ll share.