To Sacrifice The Mind Or The Figure ?

Does one have to chose between loosing one’s mind and losing one’s figure? As an older woman this seems to be a Buckley’s choice (or chance) as far as underclothes go.

I haven’t changed all that much in size since I was young. Perhaps my stomach could do with a few tucks (even pleats) and I can certainly do with a bit of titivation, but I still roughly fit the same size in clothes as ever (perhaps stretched a little tighter). Why therefore can I no longer buy any underclothes approaching the style I have worn for much of my life?

Underpants are bad enough but choice in brassieres is worse. I am as negative towards underwire to support the breast as I was against whalebone and corsets as a teenage feminist. But today, in a shopping trip, I am initially excited by the huge selection of styles and bright colours, the lacy trim and fancy materials and decorative features in a vast array of underwear on offer.  But, despite my preference for these extras, I am prepared to sacrifice neither my principles nor my comfort just for prettiness. 

So I begin, what turned out to be, a long search for non underwire bras that might possibly be complimented by a matching pair of non G string knickers.

There are none in my size. And I actually had ventured (tentatively) into one of the Department stores that caters for people who are not strapped for cash and who are therefore, by default, not usually young. 

I find even the “sports bras”, my old fallback, are not available except in a pull-on design for those actually exercising!

After the rows and rows of beautiful but philosophically unsuitable undies, there is, tucked in a distant back rack, a small collection of bras whose construction I accept. They have been actually made from soft fabric and sewn, rather than wired or cemented, thus additionally providing work for a manufacturing industry!  I even catch glimpses of lace and white among all the beige although no lovely colours! 

Alas, these seem to be available only in really large sizes!

I eventually leave the shop after this long search, very much lighter in the wallet and with two rather roomy bras, appearing to have been made from left over beige upholstery material, and two pairs of pants which were probably designed and coloured to visually conceal total loss of bodily function.

But I am consoled by extrapolating from one of Ben Elton’s remarks. If I suffer a serious injury at one of my exercise classes for the elderly or sustain burns at a coffee shop from spilling my large skimmed-milk-flat-white, the attending physician is unlikely to address my children on my poor taste in underwear.

I now have bought myself some months (perchance even a year) to ponder my next foray into undergarment purchase.  Should I give in and sacrifice my philosophic views and my comfort for the sake of fashion and attractive style?

Do I go for being wired up in my top half and strung up in my bottom half? Or should I just emulate a goose before she becomes foie gras and just feed myself up so I can more easily choose something I find politically correct from the much bigger sizes?


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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2 Responses to To Sacrifice The Mind Or The Figure ?

  1. Denis Wright says:

    Maybe you should venture into my territory and go bra-less, even though a bra might restore a bit of order for me up top at this time. Then again, more leeway is given to men of sedentary mien in this matter.

  2. Anne Powles says:

    I tend to agree with you but even as a young feminist I could not join in bra burning (I have always said for comfort reasons but perhaps that may just be habit). But then I have not been into burning books either. Now flags are something yet again!

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