Can the Universe please send me an aeronautical engineer? I need a new bra.
You see, I spend a lot of time every week thinking about bras. I’m not obsessed with what just walked down the runway at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show; I’m fed up with bras that hurt me!
For the life of me, I can't find a comfortable one. I've been fitted by the Divas at LiviRae Lingerie. I had a great experience, and I certainly look better in their choices. However, I'm still uncomfortable more often than not.
Middle age has brought me both the large breasts I never had as a young woman...and a hiatal hernia. The underwire I need to support my new endowment often sits right on said hernia and hurts like the dickens.
Today, I was thinking that what I need is something that lifts each side into position and suspends it there without relying on a band around my middle. That suddenly made me think of Newby Odell (N.O.) Brantly—the engineer who invented a brassiere to provide support and comfort to large women when they participate in sports.
A Major Career Change, to Say the Least
Mr. Brantly designed and built helicopters in the 1940s. In the 60s, he sold his helicopter patents to the Lear Jet Corporation and began making bras in Frederick, Oklahoma. Brantly already had experience in the lingerie business, having developed a loom that made a two-way-stretch elastic which revolutionized the girdle industry. And Frederick was already the home of the Betsy Bra Company and many experienced seamstresses.
I see some irony in operating a company that makes both a bra specifically designed for comfort and girdles, which I would characterize as the opposite of comfort. Maybe he was just covering the market from end to end?
It's a Small World
Now why would I suddenly think of him in particular?
Hidden somewhere in my memory were all the times my mother-in-law, Frances, mentioned this invention when we drove by Brantly's house or the location of one of his factories. You see, my ex-husband grew up in Frederick—Frances knew Mr. Brantly personally. She always used the word suspension when describing his bra.
Not only did she use this word, he did as well. In a 1978 People Magazine article, Brantly is quoted saying, "The principle of suspension is used to take the weight of a woman's breasts off her shoulders, and the concept of thrust is used to get all of a woman's bust into the cup to prevent the tissue from being bruised or damaged."
As a licensed pilot myself, I appreciate the use of lift and thrust to gain altitude. It’s most definitely what I need.
Someday My Aeronautical Engineer Will Come
Mr. Brantly passed away in 1993. His lingerie manufacturing company, Frybrant Brassiere and Girdle Corporation, ceased operations in 2003. How am I to take advantage of his engineering? There seem to be a few vintage Brantly bras floating around on eBay, and a company called Jeunique offers a Brantly Cameo Style bra for about $25. But, are these bras a close facsimile? Even if I purchase one, I won't really know because I've never seen the real thing! Do you see my problem?
More importantly, will all that lift and thrust fit me comfortably? It’s hard to say.
Maybe it’s time for the Universe to send me a new engineer. A woman who has designed, oh I don't know...rockets might be a good choice this time. Please Universe, send her my way!