How Much Should I Spend on Bras?

Bra shopping

My bra collection was in sorry, sorry shape. Unmentionable unmentionables. Underwires poking out, grubby lace abounded. The left shoulder strap of my favorite smoke-colored satin demi was stitched on by hand. All these shoddy underthings created stress each time I got dressed, not to mention undressed on certain Saturday nights when wearing my jury-rigged bra and not much else. 

Each day my body was engulfed in garments that threw off a constant, all-day vibe of I’m a mess. As I’ve written before, I believe strongly that happy, healthy environs make for happy healthy people. In my case, my underthings were keeping me down — likely in love, and possibly in life. 

Then, one rainy day on my way to the subway after a meeting, I passed the giant two-story Victoria's Secret store on Lexington Avenue in New York City. I’m pretty sure I heard the choral (or maybe siren) call of angel-winged VS models and felt heavenly pastel-pink rays shining upon me as I stood on dreary city sidewalk. I darted in, raced up to a sales assistant and told her of my sad plight. “I need help!” I pleaded.

An associate armed with every style and size available met me in the dressing room. She stood beside me — as I wore nothing but panties and one fabulous bra after another. Each lacey garment was intoxicatingly prettier than the next. We also got practical: I needed bras for different functions (adjustable straps; everyday comfort; “romantic,” in the associate’s parlance). After trying on more than a dozen bras, I selected four in various colors and sizes, along with a selection of coordinating panties — plus a pair of hot-pink lace hipsters because I just couldn’t resist. 

After an hour and $350 on my Visa card, my lingerie pickle had been remedied. I know. It might seem like a hefty price tag. But it doesn’t seem so high when you consider that you’ll wear the heck out of each and every bra and underpant, leaving nothing to rot in the back of a drawer unworn. (By that calculation, the cost-per-wear could be a relative bargain!) Plus, was the perfect antidote to that grubby feeling that comes with knowing the garments closest to your your skin are stained and ripped and the literal pain of underwires needling my armpits. 

And then there are the qualitative gains: When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, others notice. You emit a glow that manifests itself in any number of ways. Good lingerie is like a secret weapon. When I’m wearing my new matching indigo-colored lace pushup and matching thong, I feel great from the inside out (and not just the inside of my clothes). Which may help explain why I nailed a contract the last time I wore them.

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