8 breeds of bras by robyn welling in the powder room

The 8 Breeds of Bras

There comes a time when every woman needs to sort out her sordid underthings.

Long after weaning, my baby remained obsessed with her former food bags. Every few minutes she’d try to get them out and give them a hug. She begged to sleep on them at night. I tried everything to break the habit, from the You’re A Big Girl argument to strategically placed Band-Aids. Nothing was working.

So imagine my surprise when she got over it, instantly, as soon as I made one simple change: I started wearing real bras again.

I’d been sporting sports bras ever since the discomforts of pregnancy gave me license to wear whatever was tolerable. After that, they just became a comfortable habit. But eventually I had to get dressed like a grown up and I discovered that, apparently, my daughter assumes that real bras don’t open—and if anyone tries to set her straight, I will smack the words right back into your mouth.

That turn of events motivated me to switch back to more mature undergarments, and prompted me to clean out my under-used, over-stuffed bra drawer.

As I sorted them into piles of Could I Really Put My Boobs In There? and Bras I Might Realistically Wear, I found eight main categories:

Bras I Wish Were Bras: into this pile went the sports bras and shirts with a built-in shelf.

Bras That Used to be Bras: I bought these formerly fancy, currently tattered ta-ta toters back when I had disposable income for nice lingerie. Now they’re too threadbare to wear, but I refuse to toss anything in the garbage that I spent $60 on.

Instruments of Torture: these brassieres’ haywire underwire has busted out of its tracks, promising to puncture my lungs as soon as I’m too far from home to change.

Special Occasion Bras: I keep these uncomfortably complicated numbers because they’re part of a sexy set, except I either can’t find the matching underwear or I’ll never wear them because, ugh, thongs? Did I seriously used to wear thongs?

Bras I’d Like To Burn: strapless bras and the corset I told myself I’d wear on my wedding night but didn’t.

Bras I Thought I Got Rid of Already: Convertible bras with one strap missing and the scratchy nursing bras I only wore when all the good ones had spit-up on them.

Bras That My Mom’s Friend Insisted I Should Have After She Got a Boob Job Because My Boobs Are Apparently The Size She Surgically Rejected: oh sorry, is that just me? For the record, I only kept them because they were too nice to throw away, but I never wore them because, eww, used bras. Also because even her rejected cup size was too big for my concave chest.

Bras That Fit and Are Comfortable: you will never own a bra that falls into this category.

What did I forget? Even with my varied collection, I’m sure there are plenty of bosom buddies I didn’t uncover . . . and then stuff back into the drawer because, hey, you never know when I might need a convertible bra with one strap.

Robyn Welling is a freelance writer, humorist at HollowTreeVentures.com, and co-author of our bestselling humor anthology, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.” She loves sarcasm, sleep, beer, other bottled items, long walks on the beach, and her husband. Oh, and her kids are okay, too. Her goals include becoming independently wealthy, followed by world domination and getting her children to clean their rooms. Until then, she’ll just fold laundry and write about the shortcuts she takes on her journey to becoming a somewhat passable wife, mother, and human being. If history is any guide, she’ll miss the mark entirely.

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    LMAO. I don’t know how I missed this the first time around. I was just about to go through my bra-drawer and sort, so I’m glad I came across this handy cheat sheet. I vow to throw away the bras in all but the first and last categories! :)

    • says

      After I wrote this article, I was totally motivated to get rid of bras that were a little tattered or uncomfortable; I even went out and bought two shiny new ones! But of course, now those are my “good” bras, much too nice to wear on any old regular day, so it’s back to sports bras for me!

        • says

          Nice! It feels funny, doesn’t it? They might be all ratty and uncomfortable, but they’re still CLOTHES. I’ll admit, I sometimes cut off the straps because “that’s perfectly good elastic” – related: I’m going to be on Hoarders some day.