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I'm reviewing my Marks & Spencer bras.
Well, why I buy them is (naturally) to keep my boobs from going south and to maintain a good shape.
I have been doing minor clear-outs lately and my last rampage involved the dreaded underwear drawers.
Hubby first. Out with those ancient favourite briefs and the once white soft cotton shorts that were bought to be safe and kind to hubby's newly circumcised trusty sword. Now turned grey. The shorts.......not his manhood (that would be wrong on SO Many levels).
Then to MY drawers. Literally.
Try throwing all your undies onto your bed in a heap and you'll find it MOST enlightening. I buy bras and knickers as needed more often than on a whim, and it has to be said seeing the sorry pile of wishy-washy delapidated undergarments released from the drawers in the glaring light of day surprised me with their sorry state and I decided a trip to "Marksy's" was in order, to top up on bras at least.
***USING and MY OPINION***
This is where I tell you how wonderful Marks and Spencer bras are. And they ARE wonderful.
I've bought from other stores and online and oddly enough all the bras I was discarding from my undies drawer as past their sell by date were ALL from other brands/stores than Marks and Spencer. While all the ones still looking just fine with plenty of life in them were Marks and Spencer ones. So it didn't take a genius to figure that Marks and Spencer make quality bras.
Fitting~~~ Marks and Spencer have an in-store fitter which I'd advise anyone to use. The girls are trained carefully to be discreet in handling (literally) ladies and especially little girls being bought their first bras and feeling self-conscious about the process . The experience is not in the least embarrassing I assure you. After I lost a decent bit of weight about 4 years ago I needed resizing and the new size the girl (who I happen to know) gave me was perfect. It saved me trying on various band sizes and cup sizes.
I like a full cup bra and I find their full cup bras actually ARE full cup, unlike some brands that fall short of being full coverage.
All mine wash well at 40 degrees, even the few that state hand wash only (seriously, who has time for that?). For the most part they use really good quality fabric that rarely bobbles and the colours stay bright and true ....always a sign of quality fabrics being used.
Many of their styles have non-slip straps which prevents the need to keeping pushing straying straps back in place.
They do every kind of bra you could need.......
Angel First Lingerie
Bra & Knickers Sets
Front Fastening Bras
Full Cup Bras
Maternity & Nursing Bras
Non Padded Bras
Post Surgery Bras
Push Up Bras
Small Back Bras
Strapless & Multiway Bras
I'm permitted to call it "Marksy's" because her-next-door works there and stories of her working life in "Marksy's" abound, and guess what ? She only works in the Lingerie department !.....WOO-HOO !
So a quick "R U working tomorrow chick ?" text last night elicited an affirmative, and I planned my raid accordingly.
We dumped......sorry I mean LEFT.... Conal with another neighbour this morning and Holly and I ventured forth. Two girls on a mission....... to rein in mummy-Myloh's puppies with lace and broderie anglaise and pretty little bows. And strong wires.
We had a lovely girly ramble through the children's clothes and toys and on into the lingerie dept where her-next-door swooped and rummaged the rails of sales items on my behalf. Budget is limited (please ! No sympathy.) so I thought I'd start with just two nice bras, and anyway, her-next-door says there is a sale due soon and staff get first dibs, so I should hang fire with my pennies and she'll work the oracle for me with bargains later .
I found me a cutie white lacey basic bra for £15 and a pack of two beauties reduced from £16 to £10 to £8.
So £23-£4.61 staff discount and my three lovely quality bras cost me just over £18.....BACK OF THE NET ! (so to speak).
I'd post a picture, but not able to on here (sad face).
As you can guess I'm really happy with my purchases and looking forward to my undies drawer starting to look nice again as well, rather than the sorry ragbag sight it has somehow morphed into.
I think from now on I'll just resist buying elsewhere and stick to Marks and Spencers to ensure longevity in my bras.
Would I recommend Marks and Spenser bras ? Definitely. I've never bought one yet that has let me down (insert your own joke here).
Obviously 5 stars will be awarded to Marks and Spencers for their excellent range of uplifting goods for ladies.
Thank you for reading~~~myloh.
PS. The 6 bras I've discarded will now be sent on to a chap in Carrickfergus who collects bras in any condition for sending to a girls school in Africa . The theory is that the well endowed girls wearing bras are less inclined to be physically assaulted on the street than those who are bouncing around unfettered in the lady bump area arousing temptation in dodgy blokes.
Thus reducing assaults on the girls.
Not sure of the reality of this, but sounds logical I suppose and I sent him some about 18 months ago.
What better way to celebrate my 200th review, I shudder when I look at the earlier ones, than a paean of praise to that great institution Marks and Spencer's and in particular M & S bras!
It's not that I am stuck in my ways it is just I know what I like and I have to admit that every single one of my bras that I currently possess has been bought at M & S. I do have a variety some posh flowery ones and some lacy ones in differing styles but the majority are the good old stand by the T shirt bra. If I am lucky I will be in Gibraltar where my local M& S is when it is sale time and I can snap up a few bargains which makes my thrifty Scottish soul happy.
The good thing about M & S is that there is such a large variety to choose from from flamboyant to sensible, sporty to every day or just "Oh that looks nice!" You can find all styles and a huge range of sizes too. The fitting service is very useful too. I am built for speed, not for comfort and have found that with my wide back I would have to my those horrible extension things so that I could work properly. The fitting service sorted this out by saying to go up a size but drop a cup size and now I am comfortable and can breathe a bit too!
I have always found them to be of high quality and long lasting. If they are under wired the wire stays put. The clasps stay firmly in place and there is lots of adjustment in the shoulder straps, they also wash well and keep their shape. The only exception is that I once bought a lovely black bra with pink trimming and the material was so scratchy that I could not wear it. Apart from that one I have been happy with all my purchases and will continue to buy with confidence and not have to wonder ehere to go when I next need to update my bras, good old St Michael, the patron saint of bras!
5 out of 5 stars from me.
Thanks for reading my review, I also post on Ciao under splishsplash.
Over the years, I have gone full circle as to where I buy my bras from. My mum bought my first bra from M&S all those years ago and now, a mum myself, it is the only place I look for bras when in need. There is usually a wide variety of different bras available, with cheaper bras in boxes for those on a budget to slightly more expensive bra and knicker sets.
In my opinion, there is something for everyone in M&S lingerie. There are plainer white and black bras - non-wired and underwired - as well as a variety of different coloured options with lace and patterning etc (ideal for a romantic weekend or as a gift). There are also long lined bras to offer a degree of control over problem stomach areas and maternity bras too - which I have purchased and am currently wearing due to my change of size in pregnancy. These are also great for breastfeeding too and I wore them with my son as a baby so it is also testament to their quality that they have lasted so well, with frequent washing.
Alongside the maternity bras, I have also bought various wired and non-wired bras which have been both plain and more patterned sets. I have always found them to fit very well - it is worth noting that M&S offer a very good bra measuring and fitting service if you are unsure of your size. They are comfortable to wear and supportive and ensure that I have a good shape in my clothes. They always wash up well and any detailing remains firmly in place too so I would definitely recommend them for quality. Even the cheapest bras that I have bought - in the basics range - at £6 for a box of two have been well made if a little plain to look at. The straps are usually thick and supportive on your shoulders without cutting in like thinner straps can, I have also purchased strapless bras for wearing under strapless tops. These have been a little more uncomfortable to wear (but I find that from their very nature anyway) but do stay up well and I feel confident wearing them.
There are also good sale events at M&S - notably after Christmas - so you can usually pick up a bargain then. I usually receive at least one M&S voucher as a gift at Christmas so use this as an opportunity to refresh my bra collection. I would definitely recommend a look next time you require some underwear! The only problem that I tend to have is that there is sometimes low stock in my size and the style I want is not always available in my size but seems very overstocked in other sizes. I believe you can order from the website to pick up in store but I have not yet done this myself - there is usually something in in my size that I can opt for.
I have been wearing Marks and Spencer underwear since my teenage years and, although I have tried other brands and stockists over the years since then and now, I always find myself returning to M&S.
I do tend to purchase my bras instore and it is here that M&S excels, offering a simple and convenient bra measuring service. Although many of us continue to wear the same sized bra out of habit, I have found that my body shape, including the size and shape of my breasts, has changed considerably over the years, particularly during pregnancy and during and after periods of breastfeeding. I find the bra measuring service convenient and reassuring, helping me to identify bras that will offer a comfortable and supportive fit. There is never any hint of embarrassment when revealing your 'hidden assets' to the efficient assistants at the changing rooms. The only issue I've experienced with the service is that there is not always a dedicated assistant able to undertake measurements midweek, when the store is likely to be quieter. On the other hand, I have sometimes had to queue to be measured during weekends, so it can be difficult to gauge when is the best time to get measured up, particularly in the smaller stores.
After being measured, the assistants are always willing to identify the exact style and design of bra to meet your needs. I find it easier to take in a particular style of bra that I like to give the assistant some indication of the type I am looking for. This service is particularly useful for maternity and nursing bras, as I have found M&S to have a far wider range of products than the limited stocks in Mothercare, for example. I also find that their prices are very competitive, as other stores seem to charge a premium for nursing bras which can be frustrating as I find that they need to be replaced far more regularly than standard bras, for both hygiene reasons and the fluctuations in breast size.
Although I generally prefer to buy in store and have the reassurance and convenience of trying each bra on individually, I do struggle to fit everything into an average working week. My youngest son is now of an age where he is increasingly reluctant to wait patiently in a pushchair whilst I go shopping, so I have been forced to buy more and more clothing online to avoid the embarrassment of having him run amok amongst the rows of undies!
Having successfully revamped and whitened a couple of my old and greying bras, I still felt the need to replenish my underwear drawer and placed quite a substantial online order at M&S recently. Having had a quick look at the Figleaves website previously, I was shocked at the cost of many of the bras on there - with most costing £30 or more- and has I wanted to buy several bras in different shades for everyday wear, I couldn't justify the costs.
Fortunately, I found good old M&S continues to offer a huge variety of bras (and matching knickers, where required) in a generous range of sizes with prices to suit all budgets. In the end, I purchased several twin packs as these were particularly well priced. One of the sets that I ordered cost just £9.50 for two bras, which was an incredible price! I wouldn't have expected to pick up a single bra for that kind of price range and felt that it had to be worth a shot at that price. Likewise, I picked up two other twin packs for just £15 per set, one of which offered different colour mixes so I wasn't restricted to just the boring and practical white bras. At the other end of the spectrum, M&S do offer considerably more expensive products so there is something suitable for any occasion.
Buying online can often be something of a lottery but I was pleased with the quality and, crucially, the sizing of the bras with all of the six bras I purchased feeling true to the size I ordered. I have found that there can be an element of variation between sizes, even from the same brand, due to differences in style and design, but these twin packs were consistently sized.
In terms of quality, despite the ridiculously low selling prices all of the bras were worthy of the M&S brand name, with no issues around stitching. The bras purchased were mostly cotton with some elements of lace/embroidery and the addition of a small amount of man-made fibres for stretch and comfort. I have since worn and washed all of the bras and found that the material has consistently held its shape with no sign of any shrinkage or deterioration. I particularly like the supportive nature of the underwired bras and find that the straps do not rub or cause any irritation even by the end of the day.
The only issue that I experienced when buying M&S bras online was the sheer quantity of bras available. Fortunately, the site offers various ways of narrowing a particular search down but, even when I had specified bra and cup size and narrowed the field down to only underwired bras, I was still pretty overwhelmed by the choice available. This is, however, much more preferable to being restricted to a limited offering within each size and this is something that M&S as a well established brand is able to provide.
I am sure that I will continue to purchase my bras from Marks & Spencer, whether in store or online and would recommend their services and range of good quality, often inexpensive bras to other women, regardless of breast size or budget.
I realise that for a lot of people M&S is either a one stop shop or the holy grail of all the things they could ever need - well not for me bra wise.
I live in a small town and the M&S is small - very small (it's even closed on Sunday)!! Even the one in a near by shopping centre tends to disappoint. I have rather large breasts, and as such like to have on comfortable bras - it's not like I can just let these bad boys hang free mid week. I'd get done for causing an accident or something.
Now they may be big but they are also thankfully quite perky (I buy and wear good bras for a reason). I was having a drama not long ago and ended up in M&S desperately looking for a suitable bra, and frankly it was awful. I prefer to get solid cupped bras as they give extra support (the kind that is maybe 1ml thick, I find lace can be uncomfortable).
The women who worked there were great, but they just don't have a very good range for the well endowed woman I'm afraid... (They have progressed beyond bras in a box though as that was just traumatic). I had specifically gone to the larger store, and as they explained they feel the 1ml solid cups are 'padded' and that most women with E/F/G cup size (it can vary from store to store and style wise also) don't feel the need for padding. I personally feel that when your boob is the size of your head the extra 1ml isn't really that noticeable except in the support area.
They did have a wonderful range just not in my size, with the design aspects that I like. Having said that when I was a teenager I remember actually crying as the only bras they had in my size were so ugly they were kept in boxes so they have some a long way. (I'm only 29 but was 'blessed' with massive breasts at an early age). (They get five stars for service in the bra department, but only 2 for choice in my size)...
I bought my spot bra from marks and Spencer's limited collection for £16 which is the average price for this range, with this you have the option of buying matching Brazilian style knickers. These can be bought online or in marks and spencer shops depending on the ranges that they have available at the time.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE
The overall colour of the bra is a deep midnight blue, which covers the cups, band and adjustable part of the strap. The cups and just to side of each are dotted in contrast with medium sized cream spots.
The remainder of the band is in the deep blue but made of a more see through very fine fishnet type fabric, which leads on to the clips at the back which are two depth with three width potions for adjusting.
Again in contrast to the blue are the edging details. The non adjustable part of the strap and along the outside top seam are cream looped stitch detail and the cups are tops with the same colour cream lace. The cup band below the under wire is of the same cream but elastic and detailed with a zig zag blue stitch.
To the centre of the bust is a small hole between the cups and the two meet again at the top detailed with a bright pink bow.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE
The fit is good, I tend to find marks and spencer's bras in general do fit well, but obviously different people will have different preferences depending on there shape and size.
The band fits comfortably and doesn't dig in anywhere even after wearing it all day and with the adjustable clips you can continue to alter the band as it gets more stretchy after numerous wears and washes. In the same manner the elastic along the bottom is only just over a centimetre in width but it feels sufficient to grip against you, aiding the under wire not to ride up.
The cups are a great snug fit and you do feel like everything is going to stay where it should do! The have a very slight padding to them that is more for comfort of fit than actual padding and it works well, evening out the bust under your clothes line. The lace bit is sufficiently high that it doesn't expose you but at the same time not high enough that it appears above most tops.
The straps are again about a centimetre wide , plenty of room on the adjustable part. What I do like is at the front where the straps stop and the ring attaches to the material above the cup, it feels strong and enables those of us with larger bust sizes more comfort and support, unlike some thin straps.
As with marks and spencer's brand I do expect it to be pretty well made. I was surprised to notice it was made in Sri Lanka - a sign of the times I guess. That said I am not doubting the standard of work or detail as it is superb and I can't fault a stitch, but it would be nice for some things still to be made in the UK.
The actual bra is made from 64% polyamide, 29% polyester, 6% elastane, and 1% viscose - this does not include the trimmings.
With regards to washing they suggest 40 degree or below and you can put it in the washing machine and it can be tumble dried.
I have to say mine goes in a 30 degree wash the washing line and always comes out looking fresh, clean and still in the same shape with no colour alteration noted.
Would I recommend it? Yes whole hearted. Great fit and comfort and has the ability to make me feel sexy / pretty all in one go.
Bra £16 and matching knickers can be bought for £8
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under same username
Years ago I would definately never of thought of buying my bras from M&S, but have found that in the last couple of years, that they do actually do some nice bras. There so much to choose from now, before I would spend at least £26 on just one bra! Expensive I know, but it use to be difficult to get a nice bra, if you were above a D cup. M&S have ranges such as Ceriso and Autograph, and Per Una where you can get some nice matching sets. When I buy my underwear I like my bra and knickers to match.
Autograph is the top end of the underwear that M&S sell, it can be expensive - for instance £25 just for the bra! The knickers are around £8, but they are worth it. Ceriso bra's average price is around £14-£16. Some of the Per Una bras are a lot cheaper, for the most plainer bras under that range, you can get a bra for only £9! Some of Autograph and Ceriso bras are made of silk. Per Una also sell double pack bras, and sometimes have some delicate pretty ones. if you're looking for a plainer everyday bra then they a T-shirt bra range. I think most of them come with matching knickers, and only go up to a dd cup ):
Their push-up bras as well as being black and white, sometimes come in other colours such as pink and blue. Also now there'sa bra which can make you look two sizes bigger. Recently they've been selling stick on bras which I've heard are really good, if you're looking for a backless bra. The Multiway bras range from small sizes to bigger sizes (I'm not sure what sizes to go up to). They do some pretty nice multiway bras for small cups, but if you've got bigger boobs like me (I'm about and E cup), then there isn't a lot of choice. Most of the multiway bras come with clear straps (which are extra). You can also buy clear straps on their own and they also sell a low back converter strap (which clip on to the hook on your bra). For those who want a little bit of help they have some push up boosters.
The Angel range is for young girls looking for their first bra. In the Limited collection they now have some prettier bras, though this range is mostly targeted for older teenagers and perhaps maybe early twenties. As well as selling underwired bras they have non-wired bras, though I think that they only go up to a D or DD cup.
For the more mature ladies they have underwired and non-wired boxed bras, which include total support bras. I'd like to wear a total support bra, but at the moment looking at the styles that they have, they would be the type of bras that I would be wearing in 40(!) years time (Though I'm sure Lulu doesn't wear bras like those (I hope I look as good as she does, when I'm her age!
At the moment I get nearly all of my underwear from m&s, especially in the sales. You can get some really good bargins then, especially towards the end of the sale (if they have your size left!). I'm going to carry on buying my underwear from m&s for now. I wish that there was more available bras in shops for DD+. I know that there are bras online or through mail order, but it would be nice to to walk into a shop and buy some pretty bras there and then without the hassle of returning bras in the post (I try not to return bras anyway).
All in all you can get some really nice bras, at I guess fair prices (unless you get yours from Primark).
GREAT SALE PRICES FOR BIG GIRLS
Unfortunately I have difficulty getting good fitting bras at any of the high street shops, even a D size in some of the cheaper makes can be too ill fitting. On the other hand Marks 36D always fits perfectly whatever the style. The quality of the material and the styling is always excellent and there is always a selection of matchinh briefs in different styles, eg thong bikini. The best thing about Marks bras is the pricing. I always stock up when the sale is on and most of my sets have been under £10. You need to keep an eye out for the sale to start to ensure you can get your size. My 17 year old daughter loved their bras as well and I know I can buy them for her and they will definitely fit. I recently stocked up some pressies for her in the sale last week , each item was less than £5. I am signed up for their newsletter so know when to look out for the sale starting. If you keep an eye on the website they also have great reductions. I also have strapless and multiway bras from marks, again perfect fit and quality
I am the biggest fan of marks and spencer bras! i personally find that they fit better than any other companies. They also come in so many different designs and sizes making it hard to choose one specific type. All of the bras are reasonably prices with matching underwear in various styles such as bikini, brief and thong - also many others. I feel that marks and spencer offer the best service fitting wise also, the ladies who size you are all very helpful and friendly. They bring you many choices of bra and a couple of different sizes to make sure that you have the exact fit and find a style of bra that suits you and you like. They also size young girls who wish to buy a first bra, helping them choose ad making sure its the right size and style to ensure that their breasts grow healthy. In la senza the ladies are not so helpful and i find that they sometimes get the size wrong.
I'm afraid that i disagree with the majority of these reviews. maybe it's beause i only have "average" boobs and dont need the over the shoulder boulder holders that some of the women on here need.
Personnally i find cheaper bras more comfortable. Avon and primark (even tesco and asda) bras have a much better ft for me!
I suppose that if you need the extra support these bras would be ideal.
The lace on alot of these bras iritates my skin and the last place you want to itch in public is your boobs (infact theres one other place but i wont metion that!) Whilst the vast majority of these bras are "dated" or aimed at an older generation (i'm only 21) there are a few nice looking bras if you have a good look around. however i am not a browser I like to see everything clearly on display not have to more risky bras hidden at the back some where. and is it just my store that has a creepy guy looking for underwear for his wife every time i go in there? LOL
all in all I think it's personnal preferance and that unless you actually go and try them on you wont know if its the right bra for you
I had my first fitting at m&s when I was 16- ever since then, I have tried various brands for lingerie but nothing quite compares to or performs as well as m&s bras do.
The first thing I have to say is that the price point for m&s bras is brilliant- they have their value range, double packs, boxed packs, and special collections- so there really is something for just about everyone. Also, the second very important note is quality. I really don't believe m&s quality can be rivalled- you can have years old bras from m&s that will still feel great. Thirdly, the vast range of styles and collections is brilliant- m&s stock every major style of bra (balconette, demi, cleavage, plunge etc) and they always have certain collections coming out which add a nice touch to anyones collection.
One bad thing for me personally though, is the packaging or lack thereof. There are no tags on m&s bras just hangers which are often kept by m&s when you purchase. Now, for me this is a hygiene issue and I can't be sure that someone hasn't wore a bra, decided its not for them and returned it- so for me, this is the only bad thing I have to say about m&s bras but on the whole, they are brilliant and an absoloute staple for every woman out there- once you try them, you won't go back.
I can not praise M&S enough for their bra's and bra fitting service.
I've spent most of my life yo-yo dieting and my shape has changed a lot, and needless to say, like most women I have always worn the same size bra's. Not any more!
I recently took myself down to M&S and feeling very uncomfortable, asked the bra department lady for help with sizes, she was lovely and I really needn't have worried. Of course it was a little embarassing standing in my bra with a strange lady in the dressing room however I now know my correct size and I really think it makes an amazing difference to my shape when I have the correct size bra on under my clothes.
Sure, the bras are a little pricey - but they are quality and it's worth paying for as they last and a good bra gives you good posture and shape. They also now do pretty designs and colours, they still have the old-fashioned ranges but they also have a more fashionable range for us trendy young folk!
I'd definitely recommend the bra fitting service, even if you're certain you know what size you are, you might be surprised. Also, once you know your size, try a few different styles on.
HOT TIP... Watch out for when your M&S have a sale on, my one always has amazing sales on nightwear and underwear. Recently I've found lacy knickers for £2, Vest and Knicker sets for £3 and cute nighties for £5.
I am a huge fan of M&S bras. I think in recent months and years they have come under a great deal of unfair and undeserved criticism, but at the end of the day, in my opinion you cant beat them.
I will agree that the quality of m&s bras is not what it used to be, but perhaps this may be because there is now so much choice on the market. I'm not sure that it is because the actual standards have dropped.
When I was a student I had a part-time job as a lingerie assistant and I found that M&S bras were by far the best made, longest lasting, and best for breast health, which surely should be any woman's main priority when buying an everyday bra.
What never fails to amaze me is how m&s can create bras which both provide the correct amount of support for a womans size/shape in order to maintain healthy breast tissue, yet still look pretty and in some circumstances sexy.
I would not solely stick to M&S bras, as there is so much variety on the market, but I do think they are a staple in any womans everyday wardrobe and we should therefore salute them and appreciate their greatness!
I have always found it quite difficult to find bras in my size, most stores tend to only do there bras with small backs in small cups and me being a little bit odd sized and needing a 32dd struggle to find my size.
M&S has a fantastic range of bras to suit all ages and sizes, they have a lot of lovely vibrant colours to suit the younger woman or teenager, lots of lovely designs that are lacey and practical to siuit the middle aged woman and under wear slips for the older woman, there range of sizes is fantastic and even there big sized bras are still very pritty and flattering unlike other stores i have shoped in where if you need a bigger bra size you have to wear a very ugly bra.
There prices are not too bad and start from around £12 for a t shirt style bra.
The quality of there bras is fantastic, they last a very long time, the wires dont fall out in the wash like many other brands have done and the lace doesnt go all funny when dryed in the dryer and the white bras stay white rather than the lace discolouring like in cheaper materials.
My most recent purchase from there has been maternity bras, these are not pritty or anything but as any mother knows they dont need to be they just need to be practical which they are, they start from £25 for a pack of two which is pritty competitive with other stores.
Most of there bras have matching underwear that you can buy to go with them which is nice for a special occasion but is a little pricey.
Over all there bras are great and if you are looking for something special or are an odd size like me they are a fantastic shop with such a large range you are sure to find something you like.
Is it just me or has Marks and Spencer's underwear offering gone downhill over the last few months? When I was pregnant with my son a year and a half ago I remember gazing wistfully at all the pretty bras and all the sexy bras hanging in the lingerie department whilst trudging off to buy ugly cotton maternity bras. Now that I am no longer breastfeeding and therefore free to go back to underwiring, the nice bras seem to have all but disappeared.
I have always been a fan of Marks and Spencer underwear pretty much since I bought my first bra as a teenager. My best friend and I caught the bus into town to see the M&S Bra Advisor (or BA as we called her in an attempt at creating a code-word to fool our siblings). Sadly this lady decided our boobs were not sufficient to require measuring properly and half-heartedly wrapped a tape measure around our chests whilst we were stood outside the changing room, before declaring loudly you're a 34AA and (to my friend) you're a 32A. But this still wasn't enough to put us off the shop. Apart from one instance where we defected to Top Shop to buy a Wonderbra each, we stuck with M&S for all our underwear needs for most of our teenage years.
So, back to the present. After consigning all my nursing bras to the box where all my maternity clothes are lurking just in case I decide that having another child is a good idea, I headed off to a large branch of M&S thrilled at the prospect of being able to buy nice underwear again.
I dragged my husband in with me on the pretext of buying some vests for our son (it's always nice to get a male opinion on what constitutes attractive underwear). Gazing around the lingerie department I spotted several rows of garish brightly-coloured bras. I'm talking the kind of bra that could be seen through every top you might wear unless you're wearing a very thick black sweater. This prompted my husband to enquire whether they were actually bras or bikini tops. I had to have a closer look before I could answer his question, and yes they were in fact bras.
So ruling out anything too garish as I prefer not to advertise the colour of my bra to the world, I had a walk around the rest of the lingerie department in search of something that caught my eye. And I had another walk around. And another. Finally I had to admit defeat. I didn't even find anything I liked enough to prompt me to see if they had my size.
I might sound fussy when it comes to underwear but really all I am looking for is something in an appealing colour, with some pretty embroidery or trimming which has some nice knickers to match. For me, the problem with a lot of the underwear in M&S at the moment is that it is a bit of a hotch potch. By saying that I mean that some bras are in a really nice colour but the fabric is dodgy. Some bras have nice embroidery but the colour is all wrong. And some are just plain hideous. Some bras which seem ok come only with matching granny knickers to keep your belly button warm (sorry if I've offended any grannies out there - I'm sure you don't all wear belly button-warming knickers!)
That said, if I was looking for a cheap and plain push-up or T-shirt bra then I would have had a vast array of items to choose from. One thing M&S does do really well is the basics.
Unfortunately I cannot say that they do maternity or nursing bras really well - the ones I bought from M&S lasted for a few months before they went saggy. But by this stage I was actually quite pleased that they had gone saggy because they were so incredibly ugly in the first place.
The two things that keep me going back to M&S are the quality and the price of their bras. A quick look at the Marks and Spencer website reveals bras as cheap as £6 and even the most expensive is only £25. I have never had a problem with an M&S bra (aside from their nursing bras) whilst other more expensive brands I have bought have gone lumpy or lost the underwire. The bras I have bought from M&S have all washed really well and have lasted a long time.
I have been measured for a bra at M&S several times since the painfully embarrassing first experience referred to above. When I was pregnant and then breastfeeding it seemed that my bra size changed on a seemingly weekly basis and so I would trot (or waddle) off to M&S to find out what size I was that week. I really cannot fault the bra fitting service they have these days. The staff are incredibly polite and helpful. One useful thing I was told is that it isn't actually necessary to buy a special maternity bra, instead you can just buy a non-underwired bra with good support and save yourself quite a few pounds. Plus you also end up with something slightly more attractive and which actually might have some lace or embroidery to jazz it up a little bit.
Have a look for yourself at www.marksandspencer.com. There are some good offers on at the moment including 3 for 2 on all Per Una underwear. Actually, from looking at the website I have found some reasonably attractive bras that I wouldn't mind at least trying on. Perhaps they are only to be found in the largest stores?