Underwire: Feb 2024 ‘Onward and Upward’

Fifteen years ago I was in a hotel room in Las Vegas giving myself a pep talk between sobs. No, I had not just gambled away my children’s college fund, though it certainly was feeling that way. Surrounded by lingerie catalogues and linesheets, I was at the Lingerie Market trying to place my very first order for Jenette Bras which–fingers crossed–would be opening in a couple of months.

Now, five stores strong, I have a crack buyer dealing with ...continued

Underwire: Jan 2024 ‘Telling Stories’

In 1984 I was living in East London married to a veterinarian. We lived in a small flat over the PeeDee clinic on the ground floor. PeeDee stands for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, charity-run clinics where London’s poor and unemployed receive free care for their animal companions. Our clients were elderly widows with their even more elderly dogs, gypsies with sick horses, bikers with ailing snakes, and the infamous Mr. Crowder who shared his small ...continued

Underwire: Dec ’23 ‘Straight Talk for Curvy Gals’

“…But that’s not fair!” I whined in response to some outrageous, now long-forgotten injustice. “Life ain’t fair,” growled my dad, as usual. Not much an eight-year old can say to that, is there? Maybe his Bronx-born attitude made me what I like to think of as a pretty straightforward person, or maybe it’s just genetic.

Possibly I may at times come off as a bit brusque or impatient with employees, kids, husbands…what ...continued

Underwire: Nov ’23 עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל חַי

Star of David

New York, 1964: I have just descended concrete steps into a clammy hole in the ground with my Grandma Bernie for my first subway ride. Born Basya Shapiro in 1905 in a Russian shtetl near the Neva River she was the last of her family to be born in Russia, landing at Ellis Island in her mother’s arms. She holds my hand tightly as we push into the crowded car which had just roared into view with an unholy squeal. “Hold on to the pole, Nettie!” ...continued

Underwire: Oct ’23 ‘La Vie de Lingerie’

In a couple of days I am flying off to Spain, my luggage filled with a pair of good walking shoes, sandals, a few skirts, dresses, and tops and my head filled with questions about the current state lingerie industry and ways I might improve and strengthen Jenette Bras. This yearly excursion is to attend the Empreinte Circle, a weekend of learning (and a lot of eating and drinking!) with a tight-knit group of independent lingerie boutique owners from around the world which was ...continued

Underwire: Sept ’23 ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Underpants’

Terri and Jenette

Hurricane in Florida, earthquake in Turkey, cyclone in Myanmar, wildfires from Maui to Greece. These days the world seems tethered by threads, fraying and snapping with each storm or strike or economic pendulum swing. In good times these frail connections may go unremarked, but it is at our peril that we ignore the way our small individual actions re-weave the netting of the world.

I have a very good friend named Terri who ran a small bra fitting shop on Maui. ...continued

Underwire: August ’23 ‘Gnocchi Night’

In 2011 I had the idea to write a newsletter, named it the Underwire Quarterly, and promptly sent out the premiere issue – which also turned out to be its last.
January of 2020, I decided to give it another go. I re-named it the Underwire Monthly, figuring that I operated better under pressure. It seems to have worked, as I close in on four years’ worth of musing, and without fail, as the month draws to a close, I stress about finding something of ...continued

Underwire: July ’23 ‘To Bra, or not to Bra’

ophelia

Ah, the ceaseless hunt for the elusive Unicorn Bra! She is a creature not of this world, who occupies our thoughts and taunts us mercilessly on Instagram. Through her magical powers she is able to defy gravity and corporeal physics, lifting the bosom without squeezing the torso, separating the breasts and making them smaller too, leaving no indent anywhere. Strapless, backless, sideless, plunging, covering the nipples, invisible under any fabric, matched to every outfit, and turns ...continued

Underwire: June ’23 ‘Atlanta>LA>Atlanta…’

I am the product of a mixed marriage, by which I mean my father was a Jew from the South Bronx and my mother was a Jew from the Deep South. More specifically, Atlanta. My mother’s family landed as immigrants from the Polish/Russian border at the turn of the 20th century. They settled in Summerhill, one of Atlanta’s first neighborhoods, directly south of Downtown, where the population was mainly made up of freed slaves and Jewish immigrants.

My people set to work running corner markets, ...continued

Underwire: May ’23 ‘Mothers Day’

When my brother and I were five and seven, my mother would take us on walks through the neighborhood just as the sky darkened and the inside lights came on. The timing of this was essential, because our purpose was to get a good look into the the living rooms of our Beverly Hills neighbors.

We were students of interior decoration, looking at how each family had arranged their furniture, decorated their walls, created their home. We had to look intently but quickly, so as ...continued