Bra experiments & rumblings

What a summer it’s been in the usually wind and rain swept UK, our weather has been a stream of welcome sunshine and warmth, but it has given many of us ladies an extra challenge on the wardrobe front. Heat, humidity, and clammy, heavy evenings have left some of us feeling unusually hot under the bra.

I’ve tweeted about feeling hot under mine (brave for me, and a bit more ‘out there’ than I usually am), and I’ve wondered, how many other women are experiencing something similar?

With or without a breast form (I can claim both!), it was uncomfortable at best, and draining at worst. My aforementioned stick on breast form (see fairy dust post) became too sticky by far, and I resorted to a home made, hacked up old bra cup, from a bra that won’t ever feel comfortable again, which gave me some shape without the weight and stickiness of said breast form.

As I fiddled about with it, I mused about fabric innovation and technology, could it be clever enough to cool against the skin as the body temperature rises, gently chilling the fabric as the wearer heats up; hmmm….sound good to you? More to follow on this subject…

Also, this month, I wore my lovely new underwired bra, my first time with more ‘structure’ since my surgery last year. Whilst I remain delighted that I actually can wear a style that is lighter and more feminine, the truth is that I’ve found it a struggle on the comfort front. It’s too firm a fit across my chest, the bra’s structure is quite rigid and the fabric a little unforgiving, and that, combined with the heat factor, makes it not really viable to wear for more than a few hours, for the time being at least. (I’m glad I only bought one item in the sale, very sensible, don’t you agree?)

So I return to my frustration and disillusion with the design of the ‘special’ bras I’ve been wearing for the past year, that it seems, I am bound to wear for now. The straps are too wide and ‘heavy duty’ for my frame, and the bridge and side seams rise up too high to allow me to wear favourite summery tee shirts and dresses. I continually check to see that no part of my bra is visible where it shouldn’t be when I’m anywhere but at home, and even then, my daughters are style policing me!

In the UK a high proportion of women diagnosed with breast cancer have breast conserving surgery, so not all require the ‘full monty design’ of a mastectomy bra. In addition, 10,000 of us are below the age of 50. So for me, the mystery remains that so many bra manufacturers describe their bras as ‘mastectomy’ or ‘post surgical’, immediately placing medical descriptions ahead of feminine descriptors, and that’s before we even begin to consider contemporary styling.

Does every bra need straps designed to allow for the side effects of lymphoedema, or cups designed to carry a full prosthesis? One size doesn’t fit all, and whilst there is a reasonable amount of choice out there if you have the time and energy to find it, surely it shouldn’t be quite so hard?

Whilst it’s undeniably true that there are many ‘functional’ requirements of bras for women who’ve had breast surgery of any kind, we are women first, last, and always, and we deserve the same choices and access to beautiful lingerie as we did prior to our surgery.

My bra mantra is “it’ll do, won’t do”; by this I mean that there has to be a more stylish way to get dressed in the morning, meeting my comfort needs and my style needs without making so many compromises. So I invite you to keep me company on my journey into being a lingerie entrepreneur and I’ll keep you posted on what I plan to do about my bra grumbles.

Please comment back if you have a bra story you’d like to share, I’d be delighted to hear from you and share your experiences.