by Poppy Fields
A note from Lily:
Poppy is back with a true story of finding joy in her closet! Tomorrow she is going to give us some down-to-earth, practical advice on the subject of undergarments that many of us missed in school.
The K-Mart Bra
Have you seen the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”? Both the book and movie are equally fabulous.
At the beginning of the film, there is a sequence during which you see several young women dressing for their glamorous jobs in fashion in New York City. They are looking into their respective closets for which haute couture garment they are going to wear that day. Naturally, they begin by donning the MOST beautiful, lacy, ruffle-trimmed, frothy, drool-worthy undergarments one has ever seen. Of course, our heroine (Andrea Sachs, the aspiring journalist) is rummaging through a drawer full of white, cotton underwear supremely uninterested in their ugliness. I know we are supposed to be rooting for Andy, but I must be honest, in this moment, all I can think is “where can I get that fabulous black, lacy number with the organza ruffle?”
I developed very young, so my mother took me to buy my first brassiere when I was around nine years old. These “training” bras were limited in color and attractiveness – inevitably white, cotton-y, with at best a tiny little bow to make it look more “pretty”. They were not comfortable or in any stretch of the imagination something a young girl would say, “Please, yes! Let me now put this on supremely unattractive garment and feel good about myself.”
In any case, Lily and I did not know any better. Our first brassieres came from K-Mart and in the mid- ‘80s, K-Mart didn’t do anything other than white, poly-cotton blend and ugly. For some reason, I just went with it. (Our mother only ever owned white, so how were we to know any different?) For the next decade or so I continued to wear the same version of the unfortunate K-Mart bra, albeit I graduated from the training bra to a size 32B.
One day in high school, Miss Lily came home from a shopping trip to the mall with a PINK, decidedly non-white, bra. I was intensely jealous – what?? It is a bra – but NOT WHITE! Who knew there was such a thing??? But not wanting to appear less informed than my younger sister, I did not ask where she purchased this.
Hot Pink Beauty
Fast-forward a few years, sometime in college circa 1992. I received my very first IRS income tax refund ($32.08 – a true windfall to a 19-year-old). So, with this money burning a hole in my pocket, I took myself to mall. I walked along the familiar paths and passing the same-ole stores, nothing grabbing my attention that would be worthy of me parting with my hard-won money.
I had just about given up for the day, when – I kid you not – the sun beamed down through the skylight of the Great Northern Mall and lit its powerful rays on the most magnificent, satiny, luscious, hot-pink bra ever (or ever would be) created. It was as if a magnet was drawing me to Victoria’s Secret. This delicious creation was on a sale rack during the Semi-Annual Victoria’s Secret sale, which I must say, has been disconcertingly disappointing every year since.
I raced over to this hot-pink beauty, holding my breath – surely it would not be in my size (32B is quite small). However, the heavens opened and sang “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!” It was my size! I immediately snatched this treasure off the rack and held it close to my chest, furtively looking around to see if anyone would try to take it from me. (Imagine Gollum, from “The Lord of the Rings” caressing “his precious” ring.)
As I looked around, I realized that this was a whole STORE full of beautiful undergarments. There were satin bras, lace bras, push-up bras and wired bras. But more astounding were the colors!!!! There was a deep forest green, a silky peach, a midnight blue, and **gasp** black!
This hot-pink bra was elegant in every way. It was satin, with wide satin straps, not padded, but had a wire for extra ooomph that made me feel beautiful and sexy and elegant. As I ventured further into the store, I discovered this bra came from an entire line called “Second Skin Satin”. I was hooked. There were even a few in lovely floral prints. Oh, how my eyes were opened, and I promise you that since that day in June of 1992 I have never again worn a K-Mart bra.
Conquer the world, one bra at a time
There have been two times in my life when I have shed real tears when a favorite product has been discontinued. The first was when Starbucks decided to discontinue my morning beverage – a Cool Lime Refresher. Not a fan of hot coffee, and iced mochas being too fattening for an everyday drink, my go-to had been this delicious, caffeinated refresher. Since then, I have had to make do with Strawberry. It is decidedly less refreshing. The second tear-shedding moment was when Victoria’s Secret discontinued my “Second Skin Satin” line. True tears. There were numerous conversations with the salesgirl and a variety of fittings to find my new daily wear. It was a struggle.
I will only wear Victoria’s Secret bras. Expensive? For certain. Worth it? EVERY PENNY. Why, you ask? Because when I can put on a lacy purple bra, suddenly, I feel beautiful and powerful. It is no longer just a functional undergarment. It is an expression of how I want to feel inside. Even though no one else will know that I am wearing a satiny blush pink bra, I do. I am not wearing that fancy, lacy, sexy bra for anyone but myself.
You are worth that luscious hot-pink bra and feeling fabulous.
Wear the right bra and you can conquer the world.
P.S. Where did our heroine wind up on this topic in “The Devil Wears Prada”? I suggest you watch it tonight for yourself.