Underwear = $$$

As the ladies out there know, bras can be really expensive. Especially bras from Victoria's Secret. I've been buying my bras from VS exclusively for a couple years now, and after having to throw another $55 bra in the trash (strap broke completely off) I think I've had it. I've never had a bra from them that has fit me perfectly; they're $50+; they stretch out quickly; and they break after half a year of minimal wear!

I've been searching online for the past week, and think I've found a replacement. Bare Necessities, which has a WIDE selection of bras, even for in-between sizes! They still have some bras that are over $50, and that gave me pause, and inspired me to write this post. Do you think that these expensive bras offer some kind of enhanced protection/lift or are made of better materials? Will they last longer? From my experience with VS, no, they won't. Having said that, I did purchase a $55 bra by Wacoal today. It received good reviews on other sites (that's another thing, I wish more women would review bras! I have to suggest that to Bare Necessities), so I thought I would give it a try.

I wish stores like Bare Necessities had physical locations... as it is, Victoria's Secret basically has the monopoly. Yes, there are places like Frederick's, but most of them are small and primarily focused on sexy lingerie. There's also the department store option, but it always makes me feel a little lost. Since I'm unfamiliar with any of the brands (and none of the salespeople are helpful), I usually wander around, poking and prodding and then eventually leave empty handed.

Anyway, considering how much money we women spend on bras and lingerie every year, I thought it was pretty relevant to personal finance. To those who are thinking "TMI!" I promise not to do another post about underwear in the near future! ;)


Anonymous said...

I still buy the cheaper ones at JCPenney's and Kohls. I usually pay $28.00 tops. It hard to know if the expensive ones last longer.

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I paid $45 for a seam-free, wire-free bra from la senza in Canada that doesn't make me feel like I'm even wearing a bra (HEAVEN!)

Unfortunately, they discontinued that WONDERFUL line and now have awful colours, a weird shiny material and is trashy as all hell.

I'm preserving the 3 bras I have now :P

QL girl said...

Victoria's Secret bras suck! I've never been able to find one that fit well. I succumbed to buying one once, but since I've worn it only twice I can't attest to their durability, lol.

My favorite brand is one that's only sold in Dillards, and I forget the name. I'll get back to you on that. I think it also greatly depends on what size you wear. Some brands make better bras for larger women, and some brands fit smaller women best. The Wacoal bras always look well made to me, but since they're more expensive I've never bought one.

I know Stacking Pennies solicited advice on buying a strapless bra once and she got a lot of responses. I think strapless bras are a whole different animal though, so the same suggestions may not apply.

I'd definitely try department stores. The good thing is that they carry many different brands so you can search and see what styles and materials appeal more to you. And please, don't bother going into VS again. =]

(Then again, my sister swears by VS, so maybe they do work for some people.)

asgreen said...

I've actually moved to buying bras from the gap. They fit me better and are less expensive (and the gap has more sales).

Mentally Sane said...

We have this store in Austin called Petticoat Fair that has AWESOME bras and wonderful service. The downside is that the bras cost something like $50; however, the sales people actually fit the bras to you so that you leave with the correct size bra. I've purchased one bra so far just to see and I think I'll be going back for me.

In terms of making the bra last longer, how are you handling the wash? Obviously hand wash is best - but if you're like me I don't have time. So I buy a small mesh bag that you can find in the laundry section at your local store and put my bras in that. It keep them from getting wrapped around other clothes or that middle section in the washer, and it keeps the hooks from getting caught on anything. Then I air dry them. I find this method makes even my cheapo Wal-Mart bras last a decent amount of time.


Miss M said...

I think it depends on your, ahem, assets. Some women need expensive, well built bras to hold those babies in. Other women can get by with dental floss around their chest. I usually buy mine at Macy's, usually off the sale rack if they have my size. I got a few VS bras at christmas that were on sale, only $25 each. I'm happy with them. The wacoal are great for more endowed women, I have friends who can't wear any other brand. They're expensive, but as long as you care for them they will hold up. Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

From time to time I try on a selection of bras, but have yet to find one that suits me better than a specific model of Bali. I can always pick them up either at an outlet or on the Hanes website for $13-15 each instead of the full $28-32. So I'm not familiar with what kind of bra goes for $55ish...I imagine that would be either an expert piece of engineering (like the Enell Sports bra) or something with quite a different, ahem, purpose.

Sunflowers said...

I have to admit I went into VS again last week... I was tempted by their "miracle bra" display. (And no, I don't naturally have assets... but I will pay to get them via a bra ;p) I walked away with one, but now will have to return it. It doesn't fit as well as I thought it did (no surprise there). :(

@Kristy - I never handwash then... I put them in a pillowcase and throw them in the washer. I think I might have to get a mesh bag instead because they often fall out (I should've bought ones with zippers)

Anonymous said...

I did get a lot of bra advice, and everyone said to buy expensive brands and to try to find lower prices.

Honestly, I have a small chest and I refuse to buy expensive, because I did once, and didn't notice much difference. At all. But if you have a lot to support, I think the story changes.

VS I think isn't about quality, but about marketing. Quality is in the department stores (so I'm told). I like VS, the bras are cute, and they work for me. So do target bras.

Sunflowers said...

@SP: I just received the Wacoal yesterday (probably one of the expensive brands that people mentioned) and I love, love, LOVE it!

I have a small chest too, but I am UBER picky about bras. I like a lot of padding, but padding that looks natural. I like a low neckline. I like something that fits snugly against my chest with minimal show under all types of clothes. VS really didn't do it for me...

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