Search for ideal brassiere less than uplifting

BOOBY TRAP - Seems like there's something wrong with a world where undergarments cost more than the clothing they are worn under. Makes me want to wear them over my clothing as a status symbol.

BOOBY TRAP – Seems like there’s something wrong with a world where undergarments cost more than the clothing they are worn under. Makes me want to wear them over my clothing as a status symbol.

Last Wednesday, I closed out the end of an already too long day with an even longer after-work undercover mission, shopping expedition. What exciting items were on my list? New jeans for the kids and new undergarments for me. Yippee! Doesn’t get much more exciting than that!

One of the secrets to successful shopping for kids’ school clothes is to NOT take your kids with you. Especially not both at one time. If you’re not careful, they’ll tag team you with distractions or start fussing and fighting back and forth so much that you lose both your mind and sight of your budget.

Even if you end up having to go back and return items, it’s still faster to shop alone. Plus, I had two different $10 off J.C. Penney coupons I needed to use before they expired. A clear head was required to strategize which items would qualify for coupon coverage and the fine print on the coupon required an especially clear set of eyes. It’s a good thing a clear complexion wasn’t required or I would have been in a world of hurt.

At J.C. Penney, I scored my son one pair of $54 pair of jeans on clearance for $2.99 and a $38 pair for $7.99. I next tracked down three pair of half-price colored, skinny jeans. With the two $10 coupons, I probably should have been arrested for stealing.

Then I wandered into the lingerie department. Let’s not class it up that much. Victoria’s Secret it wasn’t. It was the bra and underwear section. Period. I looked at the first rack of bras, designed for rather large racks: $46 dollars apiece. I went into sticker shock and had to be revived by a sales associate waving a Playtex display ad in my face to create a breeze.

Maybe $46 doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but a lot less fabric was needed for that bra than for the $54 pair of jeans I had just purchased. What’s the deal? I examined the bra more closely to see what made it so special.

Perhaps it was the fastening hardware in the back. More hooks than in the average fishing tackle box. They were roughly the size of the one I just replaced on the closet door. For the millionth time in my life, I was glad my anatomy didn’t require a great deal of either support or containment from so-called lingerie.

I walked over to a smaller, less armorish-looking bra in a jungle print. Fortunately, I’ve learned not to stray far from basic colors. Too great a potential for accidents: you’re hurrying and realize too late in church that you’ve worn a high-necked, but rather sheer white blouse with the red words “hot stuff” doing some not-so-subliminal advertising in the line for communion. Not to fear, this bra cost “only” $42, so it priced itself out of consideration.

What do I look for in a bra? Let me give you the ABCs of it: affordable, breathable and cheap. I want one very thin, seamless layer of 100% cotton fabric in white, tan or gray, with half-inch-wide straps and two to three hooks in back. No frills stuff!

You can skip the lace than makes me itch, the cutesy bows that look dingy after a couple of washings and the scalloped piping that gets snagged by other garments in the dryer. Also spare me the narrow, silky, ribbon-like straps that couldn’t support a humming bird. While my cup doesn’t exactly runneth over, it’s certainly not empty.

All I found in the bra section of the store was a collection of overly-padded cups covered by shimmery, synthetic material. Sports bras, which are about as flattering as binding yourself with duct tape, were virtually the only cotton bras available.

Meijer, K-Mart and Wal-Mart all quit carrying the Fruit of the Loom 9292 basic model bras of my non-descript dreams. I blame them for my predicament. On a whim, after leaving J.C. Penney bra-less, I went online and found some 9292s for only $9.80 each, with free shipping. I was so excited I actually ordered a pink one, too. Frugal is so sexy! Undercover mission accomplished.

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