Written by Judy Becker, guest blogger.
Last week, I Support the Girls teamed up with Thrive DC to help treat the organization’s clients a beautiful spa day. Despite the rain, nearly 100 homeless women turned out to enjoy a complimentary massage and facial, courtesy of Aura Spa, along with a hot meal.
As Thrive DC’s clients gathered for dinner and spa treatments downstairs, upstairs, I Support the Girls founder, Dana Marlowe, and ten volunteers set up a dozen tables that would soon be covered in bras from which Thrive DC’s clients could “shop” – entirely for free, of course. The team unpacked countless bags and boxes that were filled to the brim with bras Dana had collected, as well as two boxes bursting with bras generously donated by Curvy Kate.
By the time the first few women were ready to begin looking for bras, the tables were practically overflowing with every type, color, and size of bra imaginable. From sports bras, to maternity and nursing bras; from training bras to basic underwire; from nudes, pale pinks, whites, and blacks to eye popping fuchsias, stripes, and polka dots; from 30A to 48K and everything in between.
The colorful bras that filled the room were suited to the upbeat moods of the women who soon milled about, picking over bras, looking for something in their size and style, almost as though at a sale at a department store or boutique.
Just as one might overhear at a department store sale, one woman, seeing a table with bras in her size that were already being looked over by three other clients said, “they got the run on that table. I’ll go look at the sports bras.” An elderly client pulled out a lacy black bra, pursed her lips, and shook her head, “no,” before happily walking away with two silky pink bras.
Other clients were more exuberant. One woman looking at the 42DDs proudly showed off that she was wearing the lacy bra she had gotten at the last I Support the Girls event at Thrive DC. She quickly lifted her shirt and then giggled, adding “I’m doing a little Jerry Springer now.”
Another woman laughed as she reported, “I came in thinking I was a 30DD, but she just told me I’m a 30F!” She was referring to the help she’d gotten from one of the two professionals who were on hand to help measure clients so they could ensure the bras they were picking were the right size – the incomparable Lane, who honed her skills when she worked at Victoria’s Secret after college, and Stephanie of Le Bustiere Boutique in Columbia Heights, whose shock of pink hair, along with her warm smile, brightened everyone’s mood. Stephanie and Lane stayed busy all afternoon doing measurements for anyone who wanted one, including women who just wanted to know if their size had changed since their last measurement, as well as those who had never known their proper size.
Some women shopped with their friends, chatting about their kids and calling over to each other when they found something they thought the other might like. (“You’re probably over here with me at the 38Ds,” one woman called out to her friend across the room.) Other women shopped for friends who couldn’t make it to the event. One client said her friend likes to wear plain colors, so she grabbed a couple nudes and light pinks, but then smiled mischievously and said, “but I’m going to get her something colorful, too,” and picked up a purple, a blue, and a silver racerback bra.
Special needs were accommodated, as well. Stephanie helped one client who’d had a mastectomy find some comfortable post-surgery bras. Lane, meanwhile, went downstairs to take measurements on a woman in a wheelchair who couldn’t make it up the stairs in the old church where the event was held. Then, back upstairs, Lane and the woman’s friends debated which bras would fit her best, and which style she would like.
Through it all, there were smiles, hugs, and many thanks from Thrive DC’s clients, who were able to leave with as many bras as they wanted. One client summed up the feeling of many other women when she smiled broadly, her arms filled with bras, and said, “thank you. I’ve never had such a treat.”
By the time the event ended, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.
If you want help finding your own new bras, you can find Stephanie at Le Bustiere Boutique, located at 1744 Columbia Rd., NW, #2, in Washington, DC, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.