Saturday, December 23, 2006

fitted at orchard corset

I purchased three orthodox undergarments last weekend.

One of my co-workers has been raving about a corset shop she visited in Manhattan. Since it was well time I bought a new bra I thought I'd give her shop a whirl. Rachel and I headed down after liturgy and wandered around the Lower East Side until we found what we'd been looking for--a tiny unkempt store front with the faded words "Orchard Corset" above the door. As we headed in I said, "I can't believe this is the place she sent me!"

Behind the counter stood a rather corpulent Orthodox Jewish man and behind him a wall completely shelved with small, well-worn, blue paper boxes. An elegant Jewish woman sat beside the counter crocheting pink baby booties. She repeated what I'd said as I entered, "I can't believe this is the place she sent me!" and then stood. "What are you here for?" she asked.

I felt a bit confused, I didn't see any corsets, much less bras. "A bra?" I said uncertainly. "Let me see your back," she said. I removed my coat and turned around. She touched my back firmly, turned me around and unabashedly felt my chest. She then spun around to the wall of little blue boxes and began pulling out a number of beige bras. She led me firmly toward what with some imagination could be called a "dressing room"--it was more a curtain rigged up with folding chair and a mirror behind it. She didn't have to tell me to remove my shirt and my suddenly unsubstantial-looking Victoria Secret bra, I was onto the agenda by then.

I tried on 15 or more bras. Before I had a chance to respond she'd discarded ones she thought didn't give me proper lift or shape, whittling down my choices to 3 or 4 serious-looking undergarments. I asked if I could try on bras with less, er, material, so that if I chose to wear a low-cut blouse it wouldn't show. While I stood there naked from the waist up, Rachel and another woman plowed through my "dressing room" to another fitting room apparently behind mine. So much for privacy.

I ended up with three lovely bras, and only one is particularly grandma-ish. And at a very reasonable price too. I learned (and this is a bit embarrassing to post online) that I'd been wearing a 36 C when I really am a 34 DD. If you can believe. Sheesh.

Rachel bought a couple of bras as well. As we headed out she said it reminded her of Harry Potter purchasing a wand at Ollivander's in Diagon Alley. We returned to Lower East Side Christmas shopping well-equipped with magic of a different kind, and I happily extend the offer for a magical--and orthodox--fitting to any of my female readers upon their next trip to NYC.

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