(CBS News) Items that used to be considered "unmentionables" are about to be mentioned prominently by our contributor Nancy Giles:
Padded. Minimizer. Push-up.
We're talking bras.
And the look has certainly evolved over the years, from corset to weapon-like, to an undergarment that bears some resemblance to a woman's actual shape.
But dig this: recent statistics show that 85 percent of American women are currently wearing the wrong bra size. Okay, those stats are from a study funded by Jockey, the underwear manufacturer.
And yes, they say they've come up with a revolutionary new sizing system (no more ACBD and beyond), AND a new line of bras to go with it.
Now, I'll admit I'm part of that 85 percent, and have the scars to prove it -- thin straps that slice into my shoulders, shapes that aren't quite right, and underwire (and the key word there is "wire," ooof).
I was going to say men can't understand the bra thing, but every year when the warm weather hits and guys start ripping off their shirts, I'm reminded that some of you could use a little . . . coverage up there. Please?
Growing up, I vividly remember the "Playtex Living Bra" commercials, and I wondered then what the alternative would be -- a dead bra? And what made their bra a live thing? Could it breathe?
By the time I actually needed one I had devised a way of walking with my back curved and my chest collapsed, for a flat look. See, my hope was to preempt those "Nice rack!" or "Shake it, baby!" catcalls from weirdos. (We're talking New York City in the '70s, okay?) Anyway, I just wanted a simple bra, and so comfortable that I could forget I had it on.
Sadly, no bra ever truly achieved that goal. But at least I knew my size, and it didn't change, until it did. Time passed. Gravity happened. You mean, that's not my size?
You know, bra-burning was such an iconic image of the feminist movement, a powerful gesture of freedom -- No restraints! Independence! We can support ourselves!
Well, as it turns out, a bra is the kind of support women really need. Like, all the time. We're talking posture, balance, AND your clothes look better.
So ladies, be proactive. Get a fitting for some (if you'll pardon me) hands-on help. Find the older woman with reading glasses and a tape measure; she'll do right by you.
Good bras cost money, and at a hefty $60, Jockey stands to make a whole lot of it from their new bras.
Oh, and by the way, can one of you bra people add a few more of the basic colors, because this shade isn't really "nude" for a whole lot of us, I'm just sayin'. And don't forget -- that was my idea.