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26 October 2013 / leggypeggy

On bras and other undies

Bikini tops

Buying bikini bras on the beaches of Brazil

Apologising in advance if this is too much information for some people, but this has to be shared for the womenfolk.

Ever since I wrote a piece the other day on what to take on an overland trip, my ancient bra has been reminding me that I didn’t give it enough attention.

Bras remind you by being extremely uncomfortable. Suddenly the shoulder straps cut into or slip down your shoulders, or the flab under your armpits decides to ooze out over the bra sides, or an underwire cuts its way to freedom and stabs you in the chest. All most unpleasant reminders.

So let’s talk underwear and travel.

If you are a normal size—whether bust or waist or bum—you can stop reading now because you will be able to buy bras and other undies anywhere in the world. You’ll also be able to buy a bikini top off an umbrella at the beach in Brazil.

But assuming that you have your own unique size and shape, please read on. I’m busty, so this post will favour my own uniqueness-of-shape.


I usually travel with four or five pairs of knickers and two bras, although I took three bras on our 12-month overland that covered Africa, a bit of the Middle East, and a final side-trip to England.

On that trip, I took the oldest bras I owned. I figured they’d die on the trip and I’d be able to replace them somewhere along the way. At least one survived and I was wearing it today and it’s the bra that reminded me that I should kill it now.

But the other two died en route, and I was delighted to be able to replace them during our two weeks in the UK at the end of the trip. I have no idea if I would have been able to replace in any other the other 30 countries we visited over those 12 months. I never needed to look, but I did see plenty of bras dangling from big umbrellas throughout Africa.

But in the UK, Marks and Spencer had a great lingerie department staffed by keen and competent people. The lass who served me knew her business. She measured me and advised on size, shape and fit. I bought four bras and a couple of pairs of matching knickers. It was the first time in my life I’d ever bought knickers to match a bra. I highly recommend shopping for bras at Marks and Sparks (our nickname for them) if you ever have the chance.

But that was almost four years ago, and those four bras are getting tired and weary, and the knickers have given up completely.

So I’m back in the bra market, which is proving to be a sad place to be. 😦

bikini bras on beach

It’s easy to buy a bikini top from a ‘mobile’ umbrella on Copacabana Beach in Rio.

I was already in the bra market last year when we were in Ecuador. So when I saw a lingerie shop in Quito, I popped in—full of hope.

Got any underwire bras with a D or DD cup and so-many-centimetres around (some things should stay private), I asked?

Her look of shock and concern was such that I might as well have asked if she would hand over her first born.

But she reluctantly rummaged around and came up with an ugly brown C-cup option. This should be good, madam, she said!

No, it won’t be okay, I said, adding that if I put in on, I might never get it off or ever breathe again.

She thought I was being difficult. I knew she was being sales-oriented and hopeful, so Poor John and I bowed out and went on our way.

I tried a lot of other lingerie shops in South America, but never found anything that would come anywhere close to fitting me. I was surprised because there are plenty of women on that continent who are my size or bigger.

So I started my search again in Australia last week. I thought it might be easier or more satisfactory. I was wrong, sort of.

I was in a huge shopping mall and stopped in a shop that was a branch of a national lingerie chain. I was thrilled to see that the saleswoman was bustier than me. Not a little bustier, but hugely bustier. You’re exactly the person I was hoping for, I said.

I tried on a few bras, but nothing came close to fitting. Rather like being back in Quito except that the saleswoman spoke English and really knew her business. After I tried on a few rejects, she told me quietly, and on the side, that none of the bras in this shop would fit me. She told me where to go—a small independent specialty lingerie shop—saying it was the only place that could fit her too.

Obviously, we busty gals need to stick together. And we certainly cannot leave finding a bra that fits to chance.

So if you are bustier, buy your bras when and where you can. They most certainly are not something you can hope to find everywhere else in the world. Ask questions and directions, and let anyone who is helpful know how much you appreciate their efforts.

I still haven’t made it to the specialty shop, and still haven’t made a purchase. I did try briefly in a huge department store that was having a huge sale. Poor John was tagging along and looking a little lost, but not unaccompanied. The saleswoman came up and asked if HE needed help. He said no, but pointed to me. And she smiled, shrugged and walked off. Got to love attentive SALES people.

P.S. Knickers are rather easier to find, but I still take what I need from Australia. All my traveling ones are made of merino wool. They’re lightweight, comfy and dry quickly.

P.P.S. Feminine products can be a problem too. Unless you know the language of the country you’re in, you can’t always tell what you’re buying. Take supplies with you.

New flash
Yesterday, while we were delayed for many hours in the New Delhi airport, Poor John pointed out a Marks and Sparks outlet with a wall of bras on display. The saleswoman was most helpful and brought out the ONLY bra that might be right. It was perfect and I bought it—$30. I am a very happy camper.


Leave a Comment
  1. Wanda Causby Rabb / Oct 26 2013 11:28 pm

    I love the way you find humor in everything! So funny!


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 6:45 am

      Thanks Wanda. I’m pretty sure a day goes faster when you’re laughing.


  2. Lesley Snow / Oct 27 2013 1:32 am

    These are such great blog posts (if that is in fact what they are called). As a busty woman I have a heck of a job buying bras even here. I can just imagine the process overseas. You bring it to life for me.


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 6:46 am

      Lesley, we really must try bra shopping on the beaches of Brazil.


  3. Rhonda / Oct 27 2013 6:30 am

    Great post, and I have only two words for you in a D cup – Berlei Sweatergirl. If they ever stop making them, I don’t know what I’ll do.


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 6:43 am

      Goes to show how different we all are. Berlei is the brand that doesn’t fit me. Clearly all boobs are created differently.


  4. Gary Walker / Oct 27 2013 10:08 am

    You are so funny and see the humour in everything. I like that about you.

    There is always a silver lining. Without your ample bosom as a counter lever the weight of your travel backpack would tip you over backwards. They are a blessing, really. 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 4:32 pm

      Potsie, you are a genius. Know I know why I tend to fall over forwards rather than backwards. Thank goodness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lmo58 / Oct 27 2013 12:10 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    I apologise for not telling you this earlier. You need to go to More than a Handful in Sydney. As the name implies, it caters for those of us who are, in fact, more than a handful. They sell beautiful bras in many different colours and sizes; you receive personal attention from women who really know how to fit and they have lounges in the shop just in case you need to wait. Need I say more?


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 4:34 pm

      This is just the sort of help I need. Thanks Louise. Also have the name of a great place in Canberra.


  6. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder) / Oct 27 2013 12:18 pm

    G’day and thanks Peggy for telling it like it is; the things they DON’T tell you in travel guides, lol! While I am not as zoftic (Yiddish) as you upstairs, I honestly never would have thought that trying to buy a bra worldwide would have been a problem as surely there seems to be larger busomed ladies in Brazil or is that a myth? lol Cheers! really enjoyed your post today! Joanne


    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2013 4:35 pm

      Thanks Joanne. There are plenty of full-bosomed gals in Brazil. Next time I need to seek out the bustiest one and ask where she shops!


  7. neverclipmywings / Oct 28 2013 9:05 am

    Amazing! I’m Brazilian and I know how normal these umbrellas with bras are! 😀 Great post!


    • leggypeggy / Oct 28 2013 11:31 am

      Thanks so much. Wish I’d had the courage and figure to buy a bikini from an umbrella. Note to self—go on a diet. 🙂


      • neverclipmywings / Oct 30 2013 11:03 am

        Haha! You should have bought some as a goal for the diet :D! They have incredibly good quality, despite of being from the “camelô”. Have you already learned this word?


      • leggypeggy / Oct 30 2013 1:04 pm

        Yes, I learned that fun word for street vendor. I guess I’ll have to go back to Brazil and buy a bikini from a camelô—after I make a bit of headway on the diet. :).


  8. chattykerry / Dec 18 2015 10:57 am

    I feel your pain. I am a 34 D and find it really difficult to get good fitting bras. I need them to have lots of material but very comfortable – I also kill bras when travelling and always take the old comfy ones. That also means I can’t take up offers to join the mile high club as I would be embarrassed at the state of my underwear! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 18 2015 3:11 pm

      I refer to my oldies as the ‘ratty underwear’. That said, I bought two new bras at the only Marks and Sparks outlet in Paris that stocks lingerie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • chattykerry / Dec 18 2015 3:53 pm

        M & S doesn’t fit me but Nordstrom’s and Victoria’s Secret does.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 18 2015 8:07 pm

        Need to know your own boobs!


  9. Kenny2dogs / Jul 18 2016 12:28 am

    Kenny is a tit man sucking on the nipple, sweeter than the ripple wine !!! “WOOPS” Hope that is not too much information lol interesting post Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

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