I was almost 14 when I managed to get my first real bra. It was not a purchase. It was a hand-me-down from a friend of my older sister.
It was a pity donation. I had told her of issues with my mother, who was quick to remind me that I did not really need one, and should wait until I did.
Mom didn’t get it.
I was in the last years of Catholic school when the uniforms progressed from a wool jumper to the equally unfashionable plaid skirt with a white cotton blouse, Peter Pan collar; a look reserved for 7th and 8th grade girls.
It didn’t take long for me to improvise my way out of the humiliation. I found a form-fitting petticoat with a flared skirt in a box in the attic. It had bra-like straps, and would cling at the bodice.
I took the scissors and cut that puppy into a bra- shaped garment. It worked.
Of course, I couldn’t let it be seen at home. I tucked it away in my book bag, and rushed to the girls’ room every morning as I got off the bus to switch into my makeshift lingerie.
Every. Single. Morning.
This lasted most of the way through 7th grade. It was exhausting. I had to be sure that I switched back into the undershirt before going home.
I was tagging along with my sister and her friends one day when the truth came out. A girl named Kathy came to my rescue.
She gave me her old Size 30 AAA ‘s, sometimes called training bras. Plain white cotton and flat as a pancake, they were golden to me.
It took a while for my mother to notice, and she was okay with it.The deception ceased.
I was slow to develop, it was years before I truly needed them, but I will never forget the girl who saved me from that early wardrobe peer pressure.
My lingerie angel.