I dislike the word boob - it's so pantomime-y - but its alliterative effect when combined with tube is too compelling to ignore. Besides what else are you going to call this thing? Deborah in Madison Rose, where I bought mine this week, flourished bustier, which sounds classier but is, I think, inaccurate. A bustier is structured, often boned. Like this.
Hmn, classier, did I say? This one from Victoria's Secret makes a liar of me. But compare it to this - your classic boob tube.
As you can see, your classic boob tube is structured entirely by the body inside it. And my point - yes, I've finally reached it - is that right up to two days ago, I'd always assumed my body simply wasn't up to the job. Well, two jobs really: 1. looking nice, and 2. keeping the tube in place. Both doubts stemming from the one root cause - a marked lack of what Sarah charmingly refers to as "boobage".
So what changed? The proximate cause was that, on Thursday in Madison Rose, I actually tried one on, although not as an end in itself. I was lured into the changing room by a delicious little black dress - Saba this time. I'm not going to describe it because in a couple of days it will be mine, all mine, and I'll photograph it. The essential point here is that it has one of those blouson tops that hangs open to the waist, and requires something appropriate to be worn underneath. Deborah handed me a small black sequined stretchy item, saying it wasn't exactly right but it would give me an idea. It certainly did. I loved it, both under the dress and on its own.
No, I'm not modelling it, having no wish to let myself in for invidious comparisons with the pink shape above. Admittedly this one is rather more constructed than the pink one. That powerful band of swathing has both a bolstering and a flattening effect, which cancel each other out, but it does maintain a reassuringly tight grip on the torso. Still, I was a bit worried about how it would stand up, so to speak, to tango.
I wore it that evening and lived, unembarrassed, to tell the tale. I worked very hard at not hauling at it nervously on the dancefloor, mid-tanda. And, when the moment came that I couldn't stand another minute without doing so, I ducked out of sight into the kitchen and tugged away unglamorously.
All in all, I enjoyed wearing it. Shoulders are nice, even on women of a certain age, and I felt daringly Becky Sharpish.
And this revolutionary wardrobe step's less proximate cause? Tango, of course. Tango offers the excuse, the occasion, the confidence and the culture for such personal reassessments. I'm looking forward to more shoulderless evenings.