Last June, when Mister and I came to NY for the Manns’ wedding, we were directed to Orchard Corset on the Lower East Side by one of Mister’s college friends. As long as I didn’t mind being manhandled, he said, it was the best spot to get bras in the city (this per his wife’s experience. He, being the husband, could take comfort in her joy at being in a well-fitted bra). We did, indeed, get a bra from Orchard Corset. It is a small, cramped, crammed shop, owned by a Hasidic family who aren’t there to make you feel all warm and gushy inside, but they are there to make sure your girls are in place. (Yelp reviews are decidedly mixed; either you love the place or you hate it. I love it.)
The woman who helped me had me stand facing away from her. She zipped her fingers across my back to determine size (36) and then did an “O” around my breasts for cup (C). I have worn a 36C for years but apparently many women find they are a totally different bra size than they’d been wearing for years. Go figure. I left with a really nice bra that I was able to wear under a dress that evening. Yippee.
A word of warning: The try-on can be an ignominious experience. We stepped to the back of the shop and waited. Well, she waited until I clued in and realized she’d be with me for the try-on. I slipped out of my sweaty clothes and into the bra. Perfect, she said. Perfect, I agreed.
Of course, this trip I felt I should go back to Orchard Corset since the girls are growing with the baby. The same woman helped me, moving me up to a 38D (confirming what I knew). I said that I should come when I’m not all sweaty and she calmly handed me a couple of paper towels. I suppose the experience could be off-putting, but she reminded me of one of my aunts — no nonsense, full of advice, funny. We tried a sexy black bra and it was laughable. Too small, she said. While I sampled another couple of bras, we talked about babies and birthing classes. She gave me advice about taking birthing classes (we are) and was pleased when I said we would have a doula. (She is a big believer in doulas.) We discussed marriage and widows — my grandmother married at 17, was a widow when she was about 30 and never remarried. We agreed that it is not good to be alone.
As I left, she told me that her friend had had twins — but didn’t know it. “In this day and age,” she laughed. Oy, we are sure there is one in there. One!