My favourite bra - my everyday bra - is falling apart. The cups are saggy, the underwire a sharp weapon, the straps are as loose as wet spaghetti and the part that meets my underarm is practically growing mushrooms. My favourite bra - my everyday bra - could be worn under t-shirts and it provided enough cleavage for me for when I needed to go from day to night.
It’s been to black tie weddings, three-day festivals, every corner of Ireland and it’s been flung on the floor, stuffed into corners and left drying unceremoniously on the kitchen heater. My favourite bra - my everyday bra - has been discontinued and I’m devastated.
Technically, you’re meant to wash a bra after two or three wears and technically, we’re meant to get a new bra every six months. Of course, very few people do this because we know all too well the struggle of finding a bra that not only fits but also makes us feel good.
The reason I loved my everyday bra so much was that it it was barely padded but still gave me a lift. It didn’t make my D-cup boobs feel bigger than they were but, instead, complemented their size and thanks to the balconette fit, the cup didn't smother my boobs either. It came with a smooth finish, no frills, no bows and no seams that would irritate my nipples. It was perfect. And now I’ve to go back to the start and find my new favourite everyday bra.
Trying on at least seven different bras in the changing rooms of a well-known shopping centre, I felt an element of disgust at my boobs due to the poor design of some bras, the lack of support or the strangulation that came with trying on bras that were simply sized as small, medium or large.
When it comes to breastiness, I can confirm that I am breasty. My jugs, my knockers, my tits, The Girls… they’re certainly present but there’s nothing really outlandish about them but with the wrong shape, my 34D boobs can look like udders. This may seem harsh but if I don’t get a lift, the squish the cup gives means that my breasts start at my collarbone and end at my belly button. Too much lift and I can’t see a thing. Not because I’m blinded by them but because I’m distracted by their beauty. Like a budgie that sees its own reflection, I often get distracted by my boobs so my everyday bra must project some modesty for my own, and everyone else's, safety.
My previous everyday bra was a Calvin Klein bra so I went straight to that corner of the lingerie section, hoping to find a vague reincarnation. The Kardashian and Jenner women are the latest ambassadors for the ‘My Calvins’ campaign and Kim’s cleavage and face stares down at me as I peruse the rack and knowing the ins and outs of hers - having watched tutorials on how she actually straps her boobs up with masking tape when she needs them to sit proud and still in a low-cut gúna - I held the false belief that Calvin would have something for me. Spoiler: he did not. His cupped bralettes - you know the kind you’d picture TLC wearing in videos with some low-slung, baggy pants - were clasp free and did not fit past my shoulders. His triangular bras made me feel like an even sadder version of Droopy the Dog so I had to give up.
It lifts and asserts my boobs, turning them from knockers into breasts. They’re elegant, they’re proud and they sit tight.
I tried on lacy bras, push up bras and colourful bras, just to see if maybe I needed to step outside of my comfort zone for my everyday, and I almost tried on maternity bras. Just as I was about to give up and smash up the unflattering fluorescent lighting that seemed to highlight every blue vein and stretch mark my boobs have collected over the years, I found two bras that made me feel… good.
The first was by Sloggi, a brand I’d never heard of but it seems to be what the cool kids are into these days. Black with just a little bit of lace, my Sloggi bra comes with an underwire and it’s non-padded, seam-free and it sits where it’s meant to sit. My boobs are pert but they’re not under duress and for €42, I considered buying two until I tried on the next, pricier but sturdy bra.
I will be wearing Chantelle on nights where The Girls will be doused in Fenty Beauty highlighter, taking centre stage and hogging every conversation.
For €72, my Chantelle bra is like scaffolding. It lifts and asserts my boobs, turning them from knockers into breasts. They’re elegant, they’re proud and they sit tight. For someone who regularly suffers from monthly underboob pain, I can’t have my boobs flapping about all the time and Chantelle is the anti-flapping device I need. Chantelle is no prude either, let me tell you. The cleavage here is a masterpiece and I will be wearing Chantelle on nights where The Girls will be doused in Fenty Beauty highlighter, taking centre stage and hogging every conversation.
€115 may seem like a lot to drop in one bra shop but these two bras will exceed their suggested six-month stint and will be serving their duties for at least 18 months each. They will be there for the ups and downs (quite literally) and they will work until they fall apart or begin to sprout vegetables. My old bra… should be burned but I’ll give her a decent burial. Well, I’ll just put her in the bin. Goodnight, my sweet princess, you went above and beyond and saw some things you should never have seen. Sleep… Sleep.
In my quest for some decent bra brands and suppliers, some lovely people I followed on Twitter suggested the following:
The Belvia Bra from JML. Currently on sale for €6.99, it’s bargain boob city.
The Fantasie brand, available to buy in Debenhams. For the fuller bust, they say, it's a dream.
Boux Avenue. For your everyday and saucy lingerie needs with deadly deals to boot.
Panache. An investment but worth it for the labour your everyday bra puts in.
Shaws. For reliable everyday bras.
Triumph Magic Wire. For ultimate support.
Peaches and Cream. For a great fitting service and a huge range of lingerie.
And, of course, Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and Arnotts get a major shout out for their incredible fitting services and ridiculously helpful staff.