10ish months ago, I developed a slightly embarrassing rash that is located approximately where my Xiphoid process should be. It all started when I decided to stop being such a pansy and regularly go to Crossfit Excel. While it has crossed my mind that I could possibly be allergic to exercise, this is not the case. I am allergic to the elastic in bras. While talking about bras on the inter-webs is not usually my thing, my hunt for a non allergy producing bra is comical. So with a bit of hesitation, I will forge the river and blog on.
With such a rapid, increased exposure to elastic (I was also running 3 times a week), my body decided that the elastic was attacking my skin. Now any slight exposure to elastic in my brassieres create an unattractive, itchy, miserable, rash.
I was fortunate enough to have one all cotton bra from everyone's favorite store, Target. Because it was from Target, and it was my only one, I knew I needed to find some fast.
My other dilemma was finding all cotton sports bras. Sports bras are tricky. I need something that flattens me like a piece of ply wood....for aerodynamic purposes and such. Besides duct tape, elastic is the only real solution to the fitness portion of my bra situation. I happened upon some cotton sports bras at Target (the elastic portion at the bottom is covered in cotton), and promptly purchased 6 of them. Because I desire minimal bounce in my fitness endevours, I am forced to wear not one, but two cotton sports bras at once. Cotton is not known for its flatten-you-like-a-pancake quality.
When it comes to a regular brassiere, I had three options: Burn my bra and become a hippie (never in a million years), be destined to the same single bra for the rest of my life (gross), or compete in the near impossible cotton bra hunt (sign me up).
My first order of business in this hypoallergenic bra hunt, was to recruit a friend. I decided upon my friend, Melisa, whom I have enough dirt on to blackmail if she ever tells anyone about my disgusting rash. Secondly, Melisa could be a professional shopper in her spare time. With my good friend in tow, we headed to JCPenny.
I don't know why I chose JCPenny, perhaps because JCPenny screams cotton lingerie. I went to the appropriate bra section...the no frills-I've-been-married-for-7-years section, and found many bras labeled as cotton. I thoroughly inspected these bras and found that the connecting piece between the two cups was made of some sort of Lycra/elastic allergy inducing material. I asked the nice lingerie lady for help. She pointed me to the same bras that I had just been looking at. I explained my situation. She gave me two suggestions. Her first suggestion was to go to the medical supply store on McHenry because, "They have all sorts of weird things there." Thank you ma'am I already feel distraught about the situation, now you are calling me weird. She then suggested I go to Motherhood, which is a maternity clothing store, to buy nursing bras. "Nursing bras are almost always all cotton." I contemplated this for a moment. I decided that at this point in my life I really can't bring myself to walk into a maternity store and buy a nursing bra for my non nursing, childless, self.
Next it was off to the mecca of all things lingerie, Victoria's Secret. I asked the lady where the cotton section was and she looked at me as if I were a leper. Whatever Victoria, you and your store are full of overly priced padded undergarments and your models need to go eat a steak. I walked out of the store in tears and drowned my sorrows in a cookie. (Just kidding, no cookies).
Our last hope was Macy's. Macy's is the department store of all department stores. It has to have cotton brassieres. I walked straight to the non frilly bra section and was quickly met with the same problem I had at JCPenny. I headed to the massive sale section and spotted what appeared to be the perfect bra. The all cotton Ralph Lauren bra was nestled between some crazy demi cup lacy purple number and a pair of Spanx. I quickly grabbed it and checked the size: B. Drat. I shoved past the old women and young ladies who were all looking for things to impress their dates with that evening. I glanced at the Calvin Klein section, someone who is known for his simple designs surely must have a hypoallergenic bra for my poor soul.
There it was shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!" The all white, all cotton, bra was covered in Calvin's signature. I didn't care if I did not know this man, I needed this bra. The size was perfect and the price didn't matter (although I will admit now I spent a ridiculous amount of money on it). I did a happy dance and high fived Melisa. I finally found my hypoallergenic bra.
Since finding the elusive cotton bra, I have discovered that I am not alone in my contact dermatitis issues. There are many websites that sell hypoallerginc bras to women with my same elastic allergy issue. You can bet I will be frequenting these websites in the near future. I am also happy to report that my contact dermatitis is completely gone thanks to you, Cotton....the fabric of my life.