My Coupons, & Beauty Zone, Floweth Over


Since last year, really, I’ve been worried about the state of my bras. They were worn to bits — even my newest one was stretched out, filled with runs (!), and overworked. A few months ago, another of my bras had the underwire snap in half at work! That was an uncomfortable afternoon! Another of them had one of the little back hooks fall out which made things not as, ah, secure. And I only own three everyday bras (I also have some non-underwire stretchy things but they really aren’t supportive enough to wear to work, I’ve discovered). Well, two after that underwire snap!

Last week, my husband wanted to listen to guitars at the music store, and I went for the ride to keep him company. I figured there was a bookstore nearby, and I could have some hours wandering the stacks. Then my bra strap kept slipping down because of that missing hook, and I saw a department store. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with my last bra purchase – as you get older, things, ah, shift and change, and you can be a new size. The cups were no longer fitting well, and not really containing the whole, ah, beauty zone as the vintage advertisement euphamises. I had updated my size when I was in my 30s, but not since — I’ll be 47 on Friday! It was time to actually try on bras. Oh dear.

I will spare you the gory details of trying on bras in a little fluorescently-lit box, ominous signs of “this room is being monitored” prominently displayed, wriggling like a fish out of water adjusting the contraption, ooops I said I wouldn’t elaborate. Anyway, my ordeal produced two well-fitting, well-made bras, a new size for me, two new brands for me, on sale for less than half price.

I road-tested them this week and they are comfortable, and look great under clothes. I’m so relieved! I immediately threw out the bra with the missing fastener, but am saving the stretched out one with runs for a rainy day. I would have bought more if not for rationing.

Alas, bras are three coupons, and I only have three coupons. I purchased two bras. This year, at half-way through the challenge, I’m three coupons over budget. It’s regrettable, but necessary. The time was right — I’m pretty much never near a department store with hours to try things on. This was not a frivolous purchase (the frivolous purchases were made afterward at the bookstore to recover from trying on bras!).

Year three of rationing is proving to be difficult. Things are wearing out. I’m thanking my lucky stars I bought that nightgown last month because one of my summer nightgowns completely ripped under both arms last week, right where they were repaired last year! The fabric is so thin it’s not able to be repaired further. I am going to save the bottom fabric for handkerchiefs and cleaning rags — that soft thin cotton will be great for both, but its life as a nightgown has come to an end.

The next six months of rationing should be verrrrrrrrrrry interesting.



Image: advertisement from 1948.


  1. I had a little giggle reading about your travails in the fluo lit rooms of torture. It was a knowing giggle as I abhor the experience too!

    In my experience, year three was where the rationing really started to bite. I can only imagine what it was like during the war. Whilst on the whole clothes were better made, the 66 coupon allowance was very soon reduced to 58 coupons for 15 months and even fell as low as 48 for a couple of years.

    I’m intrigued to hear how the rest of the year pans out. Knowing you, creativity with thrift store items will be a given. I wonder whether the constraints will make those creative solutions more or less whimsical… 😉

  2. Oh, bra shopping ranks right up there with bathing suit shopping for hideous experiences! But one focused session seems to have solved the immediate problem and I think the coupons were well spent. The idea of buying bras at a thrift shop or, worse, trying to make your own, makes using the coupons the obvious choice!

    1. Yes, thinking of the alternatives — going over 3 coupons is the best scenario I could see 🙂 they look and feel so much better too. Bras like shoes really impact your day when they pinch or do not support!

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