NOTE: That’s not me in the picture. If it was, I probably wouldn’t be telling this story.
One of the hardest things about moving out of Oregon was saying good-bye to my beloved Bra-Fitting Specialist at Nordstrom. Rita was this little old lady who had clearly seen it all, and she made my breasts her top priority. She wasn’t shy—she’d just grab me and measure me and mold me (quite aggressively actually—I’d count it as my monthly breast exam). No matter—that woman worked magic with my breasts and made them look fabulous.
Rita personally saw me through a few pregnancies, years of breastfeeding, and multiple weight gains and losses. She never let me (or my boobs) down. After I was done having babies and had gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I’m just going to pretend that weight loss was as easy as it sounded), my breasts needed some serious help. Sagging, drooping, lop-sided… well, you know. (If you don’t, I hate you.) Naturally, I went to see Rita. After some serious time and experimentation, she found me the perfect bra, and I bought it in several colors.
Those bras kept me happy and perky for a couple of years, but they only lasted so long. When I went to order more, much to my dismay, I discovered those fuckers over at Wacoal discontinued my style. (Yes, it was mine.) I tried ordering a few other styles, but none of them performed the magic of the old one. So I had to suck it up and go to my new Nordstrom in my new city for a professional bra fitting.
I ventured in looking for my new Rita, but all I saw were young, perky women. I’m sure they were good at their jobs (and by that I mean looking pretty while standing at the register), but none had that hardened “Together, We Will Battle Your Breasts” look. As I stood there trying to figure out how to sell Mr. Foxy on letting me fly up to see Rita, I met Perky Paige. She was (very) young and sweet and professional. And she assured me that she was ready to help me in my quest for the perfect fitting bra.
Against my better judgment (and because I had no other options), I followed Perfect Paige into the fitting room. I wore a tank top and yoga pants because the tank was convenient and my yoga pants hid (most of) my stretch marks and avoided the half-naked, muffin-top-y silhouette. (If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, stop reading this article. No, I’m kidding. [Mostly.] BTW, I had no clue how to spell “silhouette” until right now. Yay for technology!)
I took off my shirt and showed her my bra.
Me: “I’m looking for something just like this bra, but sadly it’s no longer made. So I need your very best padded, push-up, wonder, miracle bra. I need all of the help I can get.”
Professional Paige (with a sweet, innocent smile): “Well, let’s determine your bra size first.”
So she measured my band size by measuring my rib cage just under my breasts. Easy peasy. Then she determined my cup size by measuring my bust and doing that calculation they do to determine cup size. Again, not such a problem. I reminded her that I had on a padded bra, and we were looking for a new padded bra. I also told her that demi-cups tended to work best for my breasts.
Me: “They’re shallow.” (Any bra fitting specialist worth her elastic and lace knows what this means.)
Sweet Paige tilted her head, smiled again (probably thinking she knew best), and left.
She returned with an armful of beautiful bras. I mean, really beautiful (and expensive) bras. I immediately tossed aside anything over $100. I love a great bra, but I’ve got my limits. (Read: don’t try to upsell me, bitch.) I tried on the remaining three and quickly discovered that none of these was going to work—my boobs swam in the cups.
Young Paige came to check on me at that point and looked quite perplexed. I’m sure she didn’t understand why I hadn’t leapt at her overpriced bras. That, and my breasts didn’t look their best.
Me: “Well, either there’s not enough padding or the cup is too big. I definitely need the padding as these puppies just aren’t the same since nursing my kids.”
Naive Paige nodded her head slowly, looked thoughtfully at my chest, and left to find me to another batch. She came back with more, and I tried them on even though they weren’t demi-cup. More padding, but the full coverage wasn’t working out for me so well.
Diligent Paige returned to check on me.
Me (repeatedly poking indentations in the top of the cups of the bra with both pointer fingers): “Well, see, this is why I need demi cups. My breasts just don’t stick out enough to fill these. They’re shal-low.” (I may have said that last part more slowly than necessary.)
At this point, Semi-peeved Paige was starting to get a little exasperated, but she was trying her best not to show it. I gathered it had never before taken that long to find a bra for a customer.
I tried to reassure her: “We’re dealing with post-baby/post-nursing breasts here. Sometimes it can take awhile to find the right fit.”
This back and forth went on for some time. She’d bring some ill-fitting bras, and I’d show her why they didn’t fit well. At one point, I even escorted her out to the bra racks to help her find some good ones. We found a couple that looked good, and she went to the back to see if they had my size.
Purposeful Paige was gone for quite some time. Back in the dressing room, I entertained myself by putting bras on top of my head and using them as glasses and pretending I was a bug. And an alien. Anyhow, I was so distracted by my own ridiculousness that I didn’t notice that I was naked on top when she returned.
Petrified Paige: “Oh. I’m terribly sorry.”
Me: “It’s okay. Nothing’s a big deal after you’ve pushed out a couple of babies.”
She stood there, mouth slightly open, for a just moment. Then she quickly shut it and thrust the bras into my hands. “I’m sure one of these will work,” she stammered.
She paused outside the dressing room and then leaned her back against the door.
Distressed Paige: “So. How many kids did you say you have?”
Me: “I birthed two.”
Practically-hyperventilating Paige: “And you breast-fed them both?”
Me: “Yes, as long as I could. I made it almost a year with my son.”
Dejected Paige: “Uh. Huh.”
At this point, I kinda felt sorry for her. So I grabbed one of the bras, opened the door, and shoved it in her hands. (Don’t worry—I was fully clothed at this point.)
Me: “I’ll take it. It’s perfect.”
She smiled, relieved, I’m sure. She rang me up at the register so quickly I barely had time to regret my decision. Honestly, I think I scared the poor thing out of ever having children or breastfeeding. Or cry thinking about the future of her currently perfect, perky breasts. Or possibly she just wanted to talk shit about me to her co-workers.
I returned the bra the next day after making sure that Paige was nowhere to be found. Then I found myself a nice older lady to help me in my bra search.
And the moral of the story? (I don’t usually have morals in my stories, so listen up.)
Always go for the old ladies. They are the only ones who can find you the perfect bra. Go find your Rita.
Photo Credit: leszekglasner / 123RF Stock Photo