Stay with me, bra: Finding a home for the girls

"You need to throw that thing away as soon as you get home," says Tracy. "You see how it's riding up in the back?" I do see. I'm standing in the bathroom of a suite at the Ritz-Carlton with Tracy, a woman I just met, and she's appalled -- appalled -- by my undergarments. Well, undergarment.

Tracy is fitting me for a bra, and it was apparent from the first moment we were alone together that I had no clue what to do, despite having worn a bra for almost twenty years. We've already determined that I've been wearing the wrong size in both the band and the cup for the girls-only-know-how-long. I've been fitted before, at everyone's favorite pink-themed mall lingerie retailer, but clearly something went wrong, because here we are having this conversation.

And I understand why she's so appalled: My bra is, indeed, riding up in the back. It also has a hole in it, and the straps are stretched out beyond belief. I bought it at T.J. Maxx about two years ago as part of a double pack -- two bras for $25 -- and I didn't even try them on beforehand. They're both too small for me in more than one way. So that was probably a waste of $25, but like many women, I really hate bra shopping. It ranks even higher than shopping for jeans on the list of things I don't enjoy.

Tracy assures me I'm not alone; only one of the ten or so women she's fitted so far tonight, at a fashion-blogger event, has had the correct fit. Then she proceeds to hand me one of two bras I'm trying on tonight. They're both by Wacoal, the company sponsoring the event, and she's told me that I won't want to take them off.

The first style I try is the Embrace Lace Contour Bra. Tracy is ecstatic. "Oh, my God. You just have to look at yourself," she gushes. I stand on the ledge of the shower, which has a mirror inside, so I can get a waist-up view. Suddenly, I'm much more hourglass-shaped. Whoa. The straps aren't sliding off my shoulders, either, and I feel fully supported for the first time in a very long time.

"Put your shirt on," Tracy commands, so I do, buttoning it up. "See how much more room you have in your clothes!" she orders. I do see. "The right bra is so important," she continues. "What do you think?"

"I love it," I confess. And I do. It feels like a hug. She's right: I don't want to take it off.

But I do, so that I can try on the second bra, the Embrace Lace Underwire Bra.

"What do you think?" Tracy asks. I'm astounded. It's been years since I've tried on a non-contoured bra.

"I didn't know I could wear this kind of bra anymore," I say. I can't stop looking down.

"You can," she tells me. "It just needs to be a structured bra. Now, which one do you want?"

I'm torn. I love them both. But it's been so long since I've owned a non-contour bra I could actually wear that I go for that one.

I am not one for gushing about bras. Like I said, I kind of hate them, but in my world, they're an evil necessity. And I'm not going to lie: I cannot fucking wait for my new bra to arrive in the mail. When it does, I will do as Tracy instructed and throw away my old, tatty bra. Hell, I might even burn it, just to make a statement.

Actually, since meeting Tracy and learning my correct size, I've purchased two more bras from Wacoal; the website has a "Last Chance" option that pulls up clearance garments for your shopping pleasure from both Wacoal and b tempt'd, its sister line -- and you can sort by bra size.

But do yourself a favor: Get fitted first. Preferably not at a pink place in the mall.

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen