Sheer horror

168800837So apparently, boobs are in – or more accurately, out – according to celebrity magazines and the London Evening Standard, who are all predicting cleavage will be big this autumn (
If so, a trip to the lingerie shop may well be in order – and I speak as someone who has been getting her knickers in a twist all summer. It all began a few weeks ago, when I was packing for our summer holiday and decided to give one of the few summery skirts I could still get into, a dry run so to speak.
It was a flirty little floral number and looked fine in the mirror teamed with a pink cardi – the world is still not quite ready for my upper arms – and I spent my last day at work happily flitting round the college in it doing my best to see as many tutors as I could so that they might remember me when hiring support staff next term.
The skirt even got a nod of approval from my eldest daughter, Ella, when I got home. She normally rubbishes my vintage finds, arguing that they were in a charity shop for a reason…
“Really?” I asked, giving her a twirl.
“Really – it’s nice!” she assured me, “But maybe not with spotty pants,” OMG – my flirty, flippy skirt wasn’t just light, it was see through. I’d spent the entire day with my black and white spotty knickers clearly visible through my skirt – VPL is bad enough but VP?
Needless to say that skirt didn’t make it into the suitcase to Canada. Instead I packed plenty of strappy dresses and vests that I unveiled when I thought my tan had disguised my bingo wings to an acceptable standard. But my underwear troubles had just begun.
“That bra’s not doing you any favours,” announced my sister, as only a sister can, dismissing my cantilevered strapless number as a disaster that was simply blurring the line between boobs and stomach. It was true – in photos I looked like Les Dawson in drag from the neck down – not so much beach bod as beach ball.
So off to the bra shop we bounced, my sister in her precision-engineered lace number and me wearing a hastily purchased black bandeau from Walmart – or as we dubbed it “the sock”.
We went to Fashion Foundations (, founded by mother and daughter duo Margaret and Susan, and were greeted by two ladies who epitomised the motto of Fashion Foundations “from the girls who like perky not smooshy”. (I love how a North American turn of phrase can describe something so perfectly without adding insult!)
In order to assess my size they needed to see what they were dealing with. And in the manner of hairdressers who can’t quite believe what you allowed your previous stylist to do to your hair they asked me what size I normally wore. “36DD,” I told them. “Right,” they said, too polite to laugh, and trotted off to bring me a 34FF.
As we waited we took a tour round the rails myself with my sister as we both oohed and ahhed over gossamer light bras in sizes that would make Jessica Rabbit feel inadequate. “Look at this!” cried my sister, holding up a confection in polka dot broderie anglaise. “32K! That’s not a size – it’s a run!”
I hadn’t seen sizes like that since I was pregnant, but instead of being the huge great matronly creations with straps like duct tape that I remember, these were tiny wisps of satin and ribbon that looked as if they would struggle to support two satsumas.
Within minutes the assistant was back in our cubicle, brandishing armfuls of gorgeousness in 34FF. I quickly divested myself of the sock and embraced the lace. “Oh!” said the assistant in surprise, surveying the sock, “You ARE wearing one!” Even now I cringe at the memory of undies so bad a professional bra fitter had assumed I’d been riding commando up top!
Double F has nothing on the language I was using in that cubicle when I had it to myself. But voila! Within two minutes I was hooked – not to mention hoicked, perked and primped. I learnt that the trick to checking whether or not your bra is a perfect fit is to bend over and shake until the cups are perfectly full, but not overflowing apparently.
I stood up and faced the mirror. “You’ve lost ten pounds,” admired my sister as my vest top slid over my new boobs to reveal two hillocks in place of the previously uncharted wilderness of my lumpy torso. The Rockies had been replaced by Twin Peaks. Oh Canada!

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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