For many years, from college through my 30’s, I paid a lot of attention to my undergarments. They were as much a part of my daily ensemble as picking out the right blouse or jewelry. Victoria Secret was my jam. Like many young women, I had lovely sets of lingerie ranging from sweet to naughty. I had bras and panties that matched each other and ranged from cute to sexy.
As much as men would like to believe we wear fun under-things for them, that’s not really the case. (Sorry guys!) Sure, a happy coincidence to be wearing something fabulous when the moment is right, but really it is more about making ourselves feel special. I loved checking out new styles and picking out lovely items to wear.
Then something changed. Over the past few years, the collection in my bureau drawers has somehow morphed into something….boring. And although I have not reached the give-up point of granny panties, I seem to have moved from lacy and strappy to full coverage and comfy. It happened so gradually that I didn’t really notice the change. Until recently. A few weeks ago, while trying on new clothes, my BFF caught sight of my panties and was aghast. She asked me how my husband ever wanted to be intimate with me when I wore something so hideous. Ok, so I hadn’t planned for clothing shopping, and I happened to have on an old pair that had somehow been through the wash with something dark that errantly stained them a bizarre mix of yellowish-gray. And they were kind of baggy. Not my best look. Then the other day when I went to use the rest room I realized the panties I had on had small holes in them from over-use and over-washing. Hmmmm, I see a trend here.
As for the top half, well, gone are the fun bright colors and lace. My bra collection consists of beige for under light clothes, black and navy for under dark clothes, and a couple patterned ones for the days I’m feeling wild and crazy. And they are nothing special structurally. One of my friends recently went and had herself measured and fitted and she invested in very good bras. I say invested, because that’s what it really takes to have the perfect fit, and to have something that puts the girls back to where they are supposed to be. I know I should take the time, and the funds, to do what she did. After all, some anti-gravity support is important at my age. Yet somehow I never seem to fit it into my schedule, and I end up doing what so many of us do… grab something off the rack at Kohl’s for 20% off, with just a few basic requirements: a modicum of support, enough padding to hide our cold weather detectors, enough structure to avoid the side pudge sneak-out, and a quality that will hold up at least for a few months. Comfort isn’t even much of a consideration, because we are all so used to desperately ripping the garment off our bodies at the end of the day. My friend with the good bras can probably wear hers comfortably for 24 hours at a time, and rest assured they will still look great years from now. I have another BFF who prided herself in always having matched top & bottom sets, and I’m betting she still does. I’m impressed. I gave up matching somewhere along the time my son was born.
Interestingly, a similar shift has happened with my shoes. It used to be that the higher and funkier the shoe, the better. I happily paraded around on anything that would make me 3, 4, even 5 inches taller. Bright colors, awesome patterns, unique designs – all part of my collection. I remember shoe shopping and showing a friend one particularly awesome pair, and she asked me if they came with a free pole. Ah yes, those were the days. Now, even though my love affair with shoes has not waned, and never will, I have gradually moved to cute and comfortable over tall and sexy. This is partly because I work in a business-casual environment, but mostly because…. well…. I don’t know. Because I have boring underwear. And the two are somehow related.
Luckily, my husband, bless his heart, hasn’t seemed to notice this change. Or if he has, he is kind enough not to comment. I’m sure there are days he wishes the me of 20 years ago would greet him at the door in a teddie, but really – that only happens in the movies now, right? He’s much more apt to see me dressed in the dreaded yoga pants and baggy T-shirt. But that’s ok, because he’s likely in his dirty stained workshop clothes too. It’s what is on the inside that counts.
As we get older and busier, comfort becomes more and more important. We don’t have the patience for fussy and impractical. For those of us in long-term relationships, we start to cut corners with the things that don’t seem to matter as much so we can devote our attention to the things that do, because we are not trying so hard every day to impress each other. And honestly, I’d rather spend the day being active and having fun with work, family and friends than spend the day trying to keep a lace push-up in place, deal with the constant wedgy of a thong, or limp from a blister developing on my foot.
All that said, my BFF and I do have a “don’t let each other give up” promise. There’s only so far we’ll let each other go to the dark side of not caring how we look. So in a nod to that code of friendship, I think I’ll take some time to do a clean out of my bureau drawer. Say good bye to the torn, the stained, the stretched out, the ugly, and take myself on a shopping date like I used to when I was younger. You know, actually browse new styles and designs. Buy something other than beige and black. Add a bit more spice back into my bureau drawer, a pep to my step, and a bit more lift to the girls.
No one else will notice. But I will.