I can remember a time not so long ago when the lingerie sections of department stores were relatively simple affairs, with choices adequate but not overwhelming. There were the strapless, the halter, and the regular; the wired and the wireless; the low-cut; and the padded and the un. Cotton, satin, and lace, and a relatively small number of manufacturers.
Now the styles have proliferated exponentially, and each has a very special task to do. Eliminate back fat. Minimize. Maximize. Do away with the side boob. Look good under clingy tank tops. Have comfortable straps. And on and on and on. And the efficacy of none of these things can be ascertained by merely looking at the bra on the hanger; all must be tried on.
And then presumably discarded because they didn’t actually fit.
Last December, I had the dubious pleasure of watching my daughter hunting down Exactly The Right Strapless to fit under her wedding gown. And she rationalized this purchase exactly the way she’d picked out the shoes: its lifespan is going to be measured in hours, and not so many hours at that, so maximum robustness of construction was not a priority. Downside: this tends to expand the number of choices exponentially, since you can’t rule out something that looks like it won’t survive more than a wash or two if it’s not going to get more than a wash or two.
It is seldom that I give thanks for my Y chromosome. This was one of those times.