Could You Describe the Ruckus, Sir?

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How many bras do you own?

I own 72 bras. 
That doesn't count sports bras, which would add another dozen.
I learned this eye-opening fact last week when, in a rare burst of productive energy, I began my annual bedroom clean-up.  As I was sorting through my clothes I noticed my bra bin overflowing. This wouldn't normally be apparent due to the pile of clothing which serves as my closet (and which regular readers may recall from "The mess I make"-(click here) , which you can check out later).

I thought 72 bras seemed a little excessive, so I posed a question on facebook: "Is this a crazy amount or are you other ladies hoarding lingerie too?" The answers were shocking. Most respondents confessed to owning fewer than 10. Some as few as 3. One had 12, and another confessed to "2 drawers full", but that was it. 

As I received fewer responses than I'd hoped for- put me back on your newsfeed folks!-  I went over to the Etsy forums and tried my question there. And wow did I strike a nerve. Pages of respondents with horror stories of ill-fitting bras. And nearly all of them admitting they dreaded bra shopping, hated bras, owned between 2 and 6 of them and wore them resentfully.   

I had no idea. I know that bras are for breasts and breasts come with a lot of baggage- physically for some and emotionally for many.  I've been unhappy with mine since the 7th grade- which, btw, I highly recommend they do away with- let the little buggers go straight from 6th to 8th and save us all a boatload of drama- but recently I came across this link: Unsexualized breast photo gallery(click here)

As a woman who grew up without access to google, the only breasts I'd seen beside my own were in mens publications and fashion magazines. In both cases retouched, idealized images with little relation to reality. But how could I- or millions of other women, know that?  With nothing else to compare, I have spent most of my life hating my breasts. ( I don't anymore- I finally- at 50- like my little girls). I highly recommend taking a look at the gallery for any of you who have felt too big or too small or too anything. We're all fine. And although I knew that intellectually- at least since my 40's- it took this gallery to make me feel its truth in my gut.

But despite my body image feelings, all my life I've loved choosing and wearing bras. For me it is like- oooh fashion! But without the high prices or the need for heels and hose. 
I have my everyday- in black, white, beige, pink, red, floral, stripe, polka dot and lace and maybe a few other colors- and my dress-up in same varieties- and  push-ups, and strapless, and criss cross, and my smaller for when I'm skinny and my bigger for when I'm not........ and when you add up all those styles in all those colors times 2 sizes it's a lot of bras.  And lots of fun at the 2 for $14 sales at Aerie.

But I've had my reality check, and I'm whittling down the number. I guess I can toss the ones that are more than 10 years old, and the few whose underwire has begun to escape, and the one that makes my back itch.  I'll get it down to 50 or so.  That seems reasonable.

So, tell me, how many bras do you own?

For the slideshow I grabbed a random armful to photograph, then separated out the black, white, and beige (because they make for boring pics). These are what was left. 


  1. Love this Vicky!! LOL I have zillions of bras also....from plain white to blue leopard, my attitude is if we have to wear them (which really bugs the crap out of me!!) we might as well have them be pretty and fun!! As far as how many I have, well probably as many as you :-)

  2. No where near 72!! About a dozen but I tend to wear two of them most often.

    btw-I'm in agreement regarding 7th grade!

  3. I am in the 10 range, of which I only wear about 4. When I find one I like, I try to stick with it. The rest of the drawer is full of white bras I bought on the road because I had a white shirt and a black bra and didn't want to make THAT impression to the legislature, all male work crew, or client. They all suck. One from VS even makes the beeper go off at the airport, due to some fancy jewels. It's out. So are the strapless ones, unless I HAVE to.

    I am in awe of your bra collection. How do you decide which one to go with? Do you match the undies? I am very impressed.

  4. omg I NEVER match the undies, lmao I just go with whatever is on top of the pile, then if it doesn't work with whatever shirt I grabbed (from the top of the pile, after the smell test) I either grab another bra or another shirt. Some are particular for certain dresses or such, and then I really have to dig through. But mostly if it's on the top and doesn't smell, it's a go.

  5. I should add that I'm fortunate to have a job that doesn't require me to look business like- that would end up in a serious fail.

  6. I must be the most boring...I own 4, and actually alternate between 2. At $60 bra, I can't afford many, and refuse to wear a bra that does not fit well, and they have to be comfortable, and able to 'support' me without my being aware I'm wearing it.

  7. At $60.00 per I'd be wearing some ace bandages......

  8. trust me, I've thought of it, along with other outlandish ideas...

  9. I'm the two drawers full girl - but I'll elaborate here to explain that I have favorite bras that I wear most of the time - there are probably 10 of those - and then there's a whole bunch of what I call "emergency" bras for when I don't feel like doing washing. These are ill-fitting, too small, too limp, too old, but they're better than nothing. Then there are the "bustenhalters" as I call them - the really sturdy ones with underwires that I wear if I really need the girls to stand up properly for themselves in some particular outfit that looks schlumpy otherwise. But since they are uncomfortable I often don't wear them for months on end! But I somehow can't get rid of any of them! I did used to kind of collect bras back when I was young - loved buying them and having all different kinds, much like lipstick. But like anything else now, it's just a commodity to me. The perils of growing older and more jaded!

  10. I live in a hot part of Australia, so instead of a growing pile of bras, I have a growing pile of bikinis!
    OK, so I do have a few regular bras, which I hate. So uncomfortable...

  11. A lot of people have mentioned using bathing suit tops instead of bras!

  12. I own about 30, and wear about 4 on rotation, sad really because they are the most wrecked/discoloured/old-ladyish ones of all.

    Thankyou for that gallery- will be sharing with my 20 year old, she will probably find it awkward that I show her, but will be worth it.

  13. I've gotten quite a few private responses to the gallery- all positive- all wanting to continue sharing it. I'm so glad!

  14. Hi Vicky...some NJ bloggers are attempting to meet for lunch one day very soon...if you'd like to be included on the evite can you email me at and I'll send one your way!

    Its sort of a whim and new for all of us...Joyce

  15. Hi Vicky- I had trouble sending via email so I'm messaging you here...some NJ bloggers are planning to meet up for lunch one day very soon. If you're interested email me at and I'll add you to the evite. Something new for all of could be fun : )

  16. I clean out my bras yearly - along with all my other clothes - so ones that don't fit properly or not all anymore - get donated or tossed depending on their condition. I have maybe 20 bras. Less than 10 fit. I'm holding on to all of these for now though because they're two different sizes and if I lose weight again, the chest goes too. I couldn't survive on just 2-3 bras. I'd be washing them constantly. My favorite bra is the t-shirt bra from Gap Body. I also like the liquid lift bras from Frederick's though I don't have any of those that fit right now.

  17. 72? Whoa. I have 6 bras and 23 pairs of panties. And that's not counting the "playtime" stuff that's purely for the bedroom, i.e., stuff I wouldn't wear during the day.

    Only 4 of my 6 bras are in heavy rotation. The other 2 are lacy and impractical and don't get worn much (although I love them.)