Saturday, August 04, 2007

Geographical Girly Bits

Technically, this is a third post about fashion, but it's also about the oddities of place. But if you must categorize it as the former, let's call it the third and final installment of the fashion trilogy (Return of the Jedi? Return of the King? Why are they all "returns?" Is it a secret message that I need to take some things back to the store?).

One of the things about Urbania shopping that totally bites is its lack of a single upscale department store. It does fine in the middle (a Macy's, A Filene's, etc.), but it can't quite crack that crucial commodity demographic. [This is true of almost every market in Urbania. We can't quite get a Whole Foods, or a Crate and Barrel. I don't know if this is because the median income doesn't warrant the luxury market, or if it's because we're too close--but too far--from Metropolis to rationalize another outpost.]

This presents a number of annoying problems, many of which can be solved by industrious and forward-thinking internet shopping. [Perhaps I blogged about Operation Replace the Sofa--a five month extravaganza of internet research?] The virtual world is a fine substitute in most cases; I've got a pretty good eye for what will work and what won't, and I can re-wrap a priority mail package for returns in 75 seconds flat. There are, however, some things you have to try on, and to try on lots of them in order to find something that works. To what do I refer? Say it with me, ladeez: bras.

I'll spare you my screed about this particular undergarment and its vicissitudes (okay, I can't resist. It pisses me off that they're totally necessary and yet so expensive. Screw work-subsidized birth control, and give me a co-pay on brassieres). It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is about a 10 to 1 ratio of bras that you try on to those that fit. I assume that some people can make the Vic's Secret thing work (if they can make it through the makeup/perfume/body lotion gauntlet that stand at the entrances to the stores nowadays), but I'm not one of them. I need a department store with a significant selection of serious bras. Yes, the elusive department store that does not deign to grace Urbania with its presence.

My own personal solution to this dilemma has always been to take care of bra-ness during my twice-yearly visits to Home City. Sometime between my departure for college and the present, H.C. has become a world-class shopping destination. In a two-mile stretch, you can gawk at Chanel and Gucci while eating your Hot Dog on a Stick. High end department stores? It's got them in spades. While this is convenient and all, it does rankle a little; when I was growing up, H.C. was known for vice and cheese and little else. It was the place the Monkees and Neil Diamond came to give their last concerts before heading into musical hell. Now, it's determined to be a thriving metropolis, albeit with a lot of vice: the exotic dancers, aspiring porn stars, Hooters waitresses--they're all still there. But now they can buy Versace dresses. (Just like in the Paul Verhoeven flick!)

All of this to say, I made a pitstop at the Nordstrom's while at home---after all, bras are their raison d'etre, right? After many, many tries (Elle Macpherson undies? Not so much), I found a bra that worked. Since I knew that I was going to have to go for six months without a return trip, I thought I'd buy multiples--like three--to hold me over. But when I returned to the rack to find the same bra in other colors, I was stymied. In black? Scads of 32 D's. In nude? Multiple 34 D's and a few 32 DD's. In the animal print? God save us all: a 32F. That is not a typo. 32F. 32F?! That's like a stick with two grapefruits attached! WTF is that?!! Had the Nordie's buyer gone completely bonkers?

And then it hit me: the buyer was probably right on. Welcome to the H.C., bitch, where the strippers and porn community need undergarments too. Supplying those women with lingerie must be a veritable goldmine! [Of course, this did occur to me: if we can safely assume that a 32F is surgically enhanced--and I'm pretty confident that we can--then how necessary is a complex underwire support system? Isn't the beauty of silicon that it holds itself up?]

So there you have it, folks. My hometown in a nutshell. I'm going to go search the Nordstrom website for the bra in my size. Sigh.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Flavia said...

No, say it with ME: eBay.

Once you find a maker and style that fit, and if it's a major brand (I'm partial to Wacoal and Felina), go to eBay. The likelihood that you'll find the thing in your size, and for about half-price (brand-new, either w/ or w/o tags attached) is very, very high.

Oh, and if/when you're ever in NYC, totally go to Towne Shop on the UWS (Bway and about 80th). They'll fit you professionally, bring you a million bras, and scrutinize and give you feedback on all of them. I don't regret paying full price there once in a while, but I also take down the style no. and buy on eBay.

Saturday, August 04, 2007 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

And here I always thought Nordstrom's raison d'etre was shoes. Who know?

Wacoal, Wacoal, Wacoal.

Saturday, August 04, 2007 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Everyone loves the Wacoal! I have to say, this is the first of their bras that has ever worked for me. They love the high cups, those people; me, not so much.

In a million years, I never would have thought of Ebay, but now I will. In fact, I was so inspired by your advice, Flavia, that I just ended up buying perfume there. Hooray!

Monday, August 06, 2007 5:25:00 PM  

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