I admit it. I’m a cheapskate. What I can buy from the nearest tiangge, I will not buy from boutiques. If a 500 peso blouse with a Korean tag fits, I won’t give the gorgeous blouse from Vida Doria another look.
But when I buy my bra, I splurge. Without guilt whatsoever. For those of you ladies who never wore a training bra (you know, if you woke up one morning and you suddenly had big boobs), you’ll understand what I mean. My first bra was a 34B and, by the time I was in high school, I was wearing a 36C. It’s something I inherited from my father’s side of the family where women had boobs that turned heads. My mother, who never quite understood that there are bras and there are bras, didn’t even know the concept of bra cups. She grew up in an age where padded bras were the standard and cups were determined by the thickness of the padding. I had to learn on my own about bras. And when I did, I got hooked to Marks and Spencer.
Back then, Mark and Spencers was known as St. Michael’s by Marks and Spencer. St. Michael’s was sold exclusively in Rustan’s and it was the only brand that had size 36C. On a schoolgirl’s allowance, the prices could mean starvation. But I’d die anyway if I couldn’t breathe properly so, what choice did I really have?
When I became a mommy and my bra size became 40C, I had huge problems. My solution was to have my bras bought from the U.S. Every time my brother-in-law and his family came to visit from Chicago (which was about every two years), I would ask his wife to buy my bras. Of course, in the U.S., 40C is not unusual (I especially loved Fruit of the Loom bras). But when my brother-in-law moved to another company and couldn’t get the every-other-year vacation leaves, my bra supply was cut short.
I felt that Marks and Spencer was too much of an indulgence especially since budget constraints and spending priorities had changed. They always do when kids enter the picture. At any rate, at the around the same time, brands like Triumph started selling bigger sizes. I opted for the less expensive brands. However, although I dared not articulate why, I started wearing bra less and less. Of course, I was spending more time at home by then and bras became something exclusively associated with going out. Perhaps, I didn’t have the time to feel the discomfort of ill-fitting bras when most of my time and attention were devoted to making sure that the kids were never out of sight in public places.
I did not start missing St. Michael’s until I started to work again. By then, there were Marks and Spencer outlets in most shopping malls. But the prices had gone up from 250 pesos or so when I was a student to about 1,400 pesos — and that’s the cheapest kind. Duh, I had to stick with my Triumphs and Avons although I really hated it that both companies seemed to associate larger cups with underwires (I hate wired bras). What I didn’t realize was that they really turned out to be more expensive because they did not last as long as my old St. Michael’s bras.
Well, I’m back with Marks and Spencer. Started buying up again since a couple of months ago. Of course, it’s a little too much to buy a dozen at a time so I just buy one or two each time. No underwires but with all the support necessary for cup C women.
P.S. Marks and Spencer t-shirts are great too. The cut is wonderful, the material is soft and machine-washing doesn’t deform them. Lovely, lovely colors too. :)