Rites of Passage — Bra On, Bra Off

I’m going to tell you about Good Night Gilda, a lingerie line designed by Whitney Galitz, that caught my attention.  But first I want to share with you what looking at the styles evoked in my memory circuits.  When I was a young woman, my girlfriends and I went through the rite of passage known as “shopping for your first bra.”  Men have spent decades trying to figure out best ways to get them off us, but we spend hours looking for the ones we want to put on.  I was a bit of a late bloomer in relation to my friends.  I had skipped an early grade and with my summer birthdate I was almost 2 years younger than most of  my classmates.  It made me last to the finish line, last to get chosen for sports, and even being one of the brightest kids in class did little to convince my breasts to show themselves.  By the time I was in a training bra (end of Grade 6), most of my friends were in those beautiful white brassieres that I could barely glimpse through their white school outfit blouses, but every boy in class knew in a millisecond when someone came to class with thin straps showing.  Our initiation into womanhood was having boys running behind you all day long, pulling your bra closure and snapping it back – hard — while shouting out “Robin Hood”! 

Never you mind.   As girls we had our own rite of passage.  It was all about getting fitted for our first (or second…or third) bra.  In my case, it was a trip with my best friend to Ogilvy’s department store in downtown Montreal.  At 11 I had already been walking to school and taking short local bus trips on my own, or with friends since about 8 or 9…it was the norm in my safe neighborhood…but being given permission to go downtown, with my friend, by OURSELVES? Well, that was the be all and end all of transitioning to a tween. 

I’ll never forget that particular day.  Since I was in a training bra, the fitting was for my friend.  I remember being all aflutter taking the Metro (subway) downtown and going through the underground til we exited just feet away from Ogilvy’s.  Ogilvy’s was (and still is) one of the finest department stores with savvy (snobby) sales women peppered all through the store, bagpipers serenading shoppers over the lunch hour, and their famed and now iconic Christmas windows.  The lingerie section was magnificent.  The smell of silk and cotton, perfume and powdered noses was almost overpowering.  My friend was whisked away into the private curtained area that was reserved for modest chest measuring, while I just ran my fingers over the forest of undergarments (frankly, I was terrified.)  But within the half-hour, out came my beaming friend, boxed bra ready for payment. 

What brought about this overwhelming nostalgia?  Last week I was send  a release about a new woman-designed lingerie line.  So, of course, it caught my eye when I saw the beautiful vintage inspired collection.  The products are manufactured in Los Angeles, CA  (yay), and high end in style and price points ($148-$392), but a lovely collection it appears to be.  I’ve not seen the products or felt them, so I’m going on what I’ve gathered online, but I do like Galitz’ inspiration for Good Night Gilda:

“I’ve always been drawn to classic lines and silhouettes. As a girl I grew up watching Hollywood icons such as Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and Vivien Leigh. These women, the power, grace and sex appeal they projected had a profound affect on me. I later started my costume career in theater and film because of my love for old Hollywood, and now pass the influence of it on to the line.
Good Night Gilda is actually named for my affection wih Gilda the movie. Rita Hayworth was truly a force to be reckoned with in that film and possessed a prowess that I idolized as a girl. I want to recognize female empowerment and grace and beauty in my lingerie just like she did in her films.”
A woman-owned business, good-looking product, made in the USA, can handle our boomer appendages.  I’ve already become a Facebook fan and look for this line to take off.

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