Let's talk about boobs!
or "Dad, Turn Off the Computer and Go Take a Nap--You're Going to Want to Sit This One Out."
For the past 3 years I have worn one bra. Well, one everyday bra. I own a strapless bra (my elastic nemesis) and many sports bras, but if we are talking 'hey, you need to leave the house today and people will see you, but you won't be executing any high impact maneuvers or wearing a strapless bridesmaids dress,' my solution is to put on my bra. My. One. Bra.
Aside from the fact that this confession (plus the fact that I wash this bra seasonally, at best) establishes me (duly so) as a style and hygienic pariah, it is also notable because in the past 3 years I have been pregnant, nursing, postpartum and just regular. WHO WEARS THE SAME BRA FOR ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT BOOB PHASES!?! Well, me.
Lily of France sent me 3 of their bras to try out and see if my boulder-holder situation (and the epidemiological well-being of anyone within 100 yards of me) could be improved by their expertise.
Y'all know I work full time. I have a job in business services. It's a fairly traditional industry with a huge corporate structure, but our office only has 4 employees and is very laid back and tight-knit. Therefore, unless someone from higher up on the food chain is visiting, our boss is cool with us wearing pretty much anything we want.
This job was the first one I got out of college, and in college I pretty much wore sweats every single day because I played volleyball for a living. So when I was hired, even though our office was pretty laid back, I knew I needed to turn it up a few notches from my college wear to my professional attire.
This is what I went with most days: v-neck t-shirt, jeans, flip flops, and hair that doesn't even merit discussion. Keep in mind that I am a 27-year-old grown-ass woman with a child in that picture and not, in fact, some semi-homeless hippie drum circle participant.
So my epiphany a few months ago that I needed to take a little bit more pride in my professional appearance (regardless of what the dress code is) was perhaps about 7 years overdue, but we are just thankful it arrived at all. It has been over three months since I started putting more effort into how I dress for work (and in general) and it has felt amazing.
Keight Dukes: Georgia Tech graduate, Class of 2004.
Keight Dukes: Fashion 101 graduate: Class of 2012.
That second degree was no joke, y'all.
It became swiftly apparent that my new look was not being supported (as it were) by my current brassiere-ial situation. while it was fine under my slouchy t-shirts, my overworked grey cotton bra really just wasn't the right fit and wasn't versatile enough to do what my girls needed it to do under my new, more professional clothes.
Case in point:
Anything besides strict parade-attention posture from me would produce this charming look, even with the straps tightened all the way:
It's not 5th grade anymore. The mere presence of a bra is much less exotic and intriguing now and does not need to be advertised.
And the cup situation was positvely out of control:
This is where I keep my extra snacks.
A huge contributor to this mammary-meat-settling-in-the-bottom-of-my-cups situation is having the dreaded mom-boobs now. I never understood what people meant about boobs changing after you have kids, and I certainly didn't expect it to be so dramatic or so fast of a transition.
Do you remember those sunny summer days as a kid when your parents would agree to let you have a water balloon fight with your friends? You'd fill up a ton of balloons to prepare for battle and those buoyant, plump orbs were brimming with life and pressure and if one even hit the soft grass it would burst because of the pressure within. This is what pre-baby boobs were for me.
So, as you are pelting each other with your balloon supply, the pile dwindles. You look around and all of a sudden all of the balloons are gone. The fun is over just like that.
Then, the next morning you are out walking your dog and you spot it! One leftover ballon that somehow went unnoticed and unpopped all throughout the afternoon, evening and overnight. It had braved the elements and survived!
You gleefully pick it up, but wait, something is different. It's not so taut or full-feeling anymore. There seems to be the same amount of water inside as yesterday, but something about the balloon itself has changed. It's all floppy and stretched rather than firm and plump. Rather than sitting all alert and perky in your palm, it's as if the whole thing could just go slithering down between your fingers to the ground at any moment!
You wonder if maybe it didn't escape the barometric elements of summer like you had thought, but you're only 8 and haven't learned about PV=nRT yet, so you have no reason to doubt it won't be just as awesome as yesterday's water bombs.
You go to launch this remaining projectile at your little brother and it whacks him, but then it just plops onto the ground, intact and unpopped. The surface tension of the balloon is so low that it is actually a challenge for you to get it to bust at all. What in the world happened overnight to this poor vessel?
I'll tell you: pregnancy, months of nursing and the extreme boob weight fluctuations that come with both happened.
This, friends, is post-baby boobs.
They need a little help.
I went online and got my correct bra size on Lily of France's "Find Your Perfect Fit" page to be sure that I have a bra for the specific rack that I am sporting now, even if it is a rack of forgotten water balloons.
For the outfit above, I chose their 'Extreme Lightly Lined Underwire' bra as it didn't add any extra padding, but just provided comfortable support.
Weapon of choice
Check out the difference (yes, i got dressed in the same outfit and got back in my car to take the after pics):
No straps in sight. I might not even be wearing a bra!
Hey, those look like balloons on day ONE!
I love this bra.
And since it is has an extreme 'u' plunge I wanted to test out the plungy-feature on another work outfit with some tricky undergarment needs:
Taking my own pics in the mirror because i didnt want to put on makeup and a camera blocks out 'morning face.' 6 points to me!
This top is a favorite of mine. The silk and pleating, along with the dark navy dots, make it tailored and professional, but the little keyhole detail makes it a little edgy and says, "Oh hey, maybe I have a hot husband who i am going to go home to after work and you know.... EAT CHEESE WITH!"
The keyhole is slim enough that it is work appropriate because only the slightest hint of skin pops through occasionally, not enough to see anything but sternum. But this look was ruined for me by my grey bra because you got a peek of its cotton band as well as skin in that little window of joy.
The 'Extreme Lightly Lined Underwire' bra settled that issue lickety-split. Even if I force the keyhole wider open than it would ever be naturally, I have a hard time spotting the bra material.
The second bra that I tried out was the Extreme Options™ bra which has 62 ways that you can convert it.
Check out the bells and whistles! Removable pads for push-uppedness, clear straps, a wider strap for backless styles and an adjustable hook for attaching the straps in racerback styles.
One of my favorite dress styles is halter, but I hesistate to wear them because iI have never owned a halter bra. I always just have to suffer through the strapless torture (and once even a gel-stick-on contraption in mid-june outdoor wedding at high noon in Georgia that turned out messy all around) if I want to wear these dresses.
I used the included handy reference card (also online) and rigged up the straps in halter formation:
And just like that, i am a boob wizard and not suffering through another day of tug-of-war with my evil strapless bra.
Locked and loaded and going nowhere now that the halter strap helps me fight off gravity's evil kiss.
The third bra I received was the 'Extreme Pushup Underwire' bra:
Now, I typically stay away from these styles of bra since I do have an ample bosom and don't really need padding to make them look any bigger.
But I underestimated the hoisting power of a good pushup bra. It's really more about taking what has been pushed down by cruel nature and childbearing and pushing it back UP. In the words of the esteemed Verna Mulroney, "I got the meat, Jack." I could just use a lift.
Here is a picture I took on vacation. I'm wearing a favorite summer dress of mine. Even before I ever got my Lily of France pushup, I was already lamenting the old grey bra's performance in the dress.
Two paths diverged on a chest.
This is just not doing a good enough job in helping my milkshake bring my man to the yard. This dress is a little low cut and offers an opportunity to make my husband go a little ga-ga during dinner, and this bra just wasn't saying, "Hiya, big boy."
But with the Lily of France bra in the same dress today:
Happy birthday day, Mis-ter Pre-sid-ent (of my heart)!
So, now I have 3 bras that each have their special talents and abilities for every situation that work, wedding season, and date night could throw at me. Three cheers and two mammaries for stylish, comfortable and well-fitting underwear!
Besides ridding the world of my radioactive grey bra AND bringing a whole lot of style to my new professional look,
Lily of France is also giving away a $100 VISA GIFT CARD to one of you! that is more than enough to get yourself all three of these bras and a fancy drink to celebrate with. [GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!]