A year or so ago, I blogged about Menopausal Goddesses freeing themselves from constrictive clothing. More recently, I raved about the wicking sleepwear for us "hotties" as a godsend for flashes and night sweats. As a bona fide comfort convert, I realize that I’ve become downright evangelistic about wearing clothes that work. And okay, a bit of a gadfly about those that don’t. We’re the baby boomers ( and more), there are a LOT of us. So why is it so hard to find clothes built for the mature, ripe and wonderful bodies we now inhabit? Here are a couple of brief rants I just need to vent.
Rant # 1
Bras are yucky. The material composition of the average brassiere is often the stuff of hot flash nightmares; synthetic, stretchy, heat-inducing, moisture retaining, constricting, and just plain UNCOMFORTABLE for a menopausal woman. I’ve found some cotton ones that are stiff or scratchy unless you launder them a kabillion times, whereupon they are good for about two wearings before they fall apart in the washing machine.
I like to wear the "bra shelf" camisoles or tank tops as an under layer whenever possible. But wearing a dress or skirt and blouse demands a bra. (Two reasons: propriety demands that nipples not show and some of us need a titch more support than we used to. Which leaves out the option of "NO BRA" – my personal favorite.) Theresa and I were bemoaning this problem one day as we adjusted and complained about our respective chestwear. And here’s what we decided we’d like to see, purchase, wear, and praise from the rooftops. Remember your first training bra? If you were anything like us, you wore a flattish, ultrasoft piece of cotton that stretched across your chest with a little rose or pink bow for decoration attached to the front center. (If you were one of those girls we envied because you had real breasts by bra-buying age, you skipped this stage and went right to the main event. However, I can tell you that you missed a wonderful piece of clothing.) At any rate, Theresa-Venus and I are on the hunt for a "training bra" for Menopausal women. She and I don’t need a lot of support so it can be designed just a little bigger than the ones we wore so many years ago. And if more support is needed, perhaps an underwire and a little larger sizing. We think we are really on to something here. We’ve not found one yet, so please if you come across something that might work, email us ASAP. And if you are a clothing designer, please get to work – this could make you a fortune. There are a great many of us and we are desperate for comfort. We give you our idea freely – we don’t want anything except to be able to BUY them!
Rant # 2
Pants that ride low on the hips, just above the butt crack (if you’re lucky), now what’s that about? What sadistic fashion designer came up with the idea that these would be either attractive or comfortable? We’ve been waiting for YEARS for this trend to reverse itself and for jeans, pants, slacks that actually button at the WAIST to come back… Hello, the narrow part of the body is at the WAIST, even for us menopausal goddesses who may have noticed a little expansion there. Hip huggers were a crappy idea in the 70’s and they are worse now. Even the sweet young things don’t look good in these pants, but if they want to wear them, that’s just great. Just please, offer some higher waisted pants for the rest of us.
I’m actually on an adventure trip right now (to the Galapagos Islands with three of the Venuses, woo hoo) and this blog entry is being posted by my wonderful webmaster. Why is this relevant? Because I went to buy those lightweight zip-off leg, quick dry pants that are so great. My old ones (where the pant waist came to my actual waistline) were too small; a consequence of menopausal weight shift. I ordered a couple pair online – they were so low that I believe you would have seen my crack! They were returned. (Also, when did everyone get so tall that my pants have a FOOT of drag fabric at the bottom?!)
I finally bought a couple pair on sale at REI that came up marginally higher. I look like I’m wearing my daughter’s pants – and I don’t look nearly as good in them as she would. Which brings me to my friend Saskia’s latest, greatest recommendation for all us menopausal women: "Not Your Daughter’s Jeans". Apparently, someone HAS taken pity on us and designed jeans to fit WOMEN. I believe they are available in many stores – I’ve yet to go looking for them as I’ve been too busy buying lightweight pants that don’t fit! But as soon as I get home, I’m going on a jean hunt. Let me know if you’ve had a chance to try these as well. Maybe we can get to the manufacturer and get them to design other styles……….. or even training bras.
"The Big M", the long awaited chronicle of the real-life adventures, musings, wit, and wisdom of the Venus group of Menopause Goddesses is available now. Check out our girlfriend’s special: buy one at regular price and get the second for HALF PRICE. Click here to buy or for free download of Chapter One The Big M
Perfect slacks/capris: Dream Jeans (Norm Thompson & Sahalie carry them). They also make a related non-denim pant designed the same way. Waistline hits at the bottom of the belly button, no set-in waist (a "hollywood" waist), stretch in the fabric. These are the only jeans & slacks I own these days!
Even if you haven’t had a mastectomy, if you need more than a starter bra’s support, check out Amoena’s cotton mastectomy bras. They have attractive designs these days & the light cotton pocket for the prosthesis could be cut out if you don’t want to leave it in. (I had a single mastectomy, which is how I found these.)
I'd like to suggest a web search for clothing companies/manufacturers/distributors that make organic (cotton) clothing. I've run across some items for "chest wear" that may come close to your description. There are also two companies that I've recently purchased from that offer sports/active wear and "regular" clothing, and I like the fit of the tops…bottoms beware, and check the fit information for the rise, so as not to purchase "hip hugger" styles.
These two companies are Title Nine and Athleta. They do seem to cater to the younger set, but browsing their wares and contacting them for additional info before purchase might be a reasonable consideration.
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!!!
What exactly would you want in a “training bra” for menopausal women? I’m designing one, but want to know what others would require.
Hmmmm. good question. Super soft cotton in cup and straps. That’s what I remember from my 28AA training bra. A version that has support might include a wire or something but for me – I don’t require support so much as something to cover the nipples. Anyone else want to weigh in? Keep us posted, Grace!
I have just started removing the waist of offending jeans and sewing on a folded over knit tube (like maternity pants)……very comfortable!
Brilliant. Love this idea!
Answer to your ultimate bra dreams/the only type I will buy EVER-