Underwire: October 2021

In each Jenette Bras store, one wall in the front room is painted with a simple grid. The direct inspiration for that was the gridded notebook paper I used for my earliest inventory system, but the real message of it is order, logic, engineering, planning. It’s a subtle counterbalance to the riot of emotions and sensuality that I intend should hold sway in the fitting room.

It’s a reminder of the other side of the culture I’m working to build here: we talk straight. Jokes, yes, but no twaddle. That great fit isn’t magic. You didn’t manifest it with positive visualization. I didn’t whisper affirmations to the bra or pass a crystal over it to make it hold you like that. It’s the work of garment engineers and textile chemists and a whole village-worth of expert people who know what they are talking about that allows this goodness to transpire. 

This month we drew a straight line across the company. Effective October 1, it is Jenette Bras policy that all employees shall be vaccinated against the coronavirus. We’ve lost two valued bra-fitters who chose not to be vaccinated. We wish them all the best. As I write, there are hints of good news: new infections are leveling off or even dropping. Federal pressure on large businesses is getting more people vaccinated, and it may be the Delta variant is starting to run out of unvaccinated populations to spread through. Maybe our new policy will quickly recede into irrelevance. I certainly hope so. But whatever comes, we’ve taken this action based on our considered understanding of how we can best protect our clients and our staff, and based on my understanding, learned from my Doctor father, of the social contract.
Image from Penn Medicine News
I’m old enough to semi-remember when the world united to wipe out polio, a seasonal virus that killed and maimed thousands of children each time it came around. Mostly it was over by the time I was five. The guy who invented the first effective vaccine became a global hero. Everybody knew his name. There was a massive worldwide campaign to vaccinate kids. In the US, all the politicians were on board. Parents lined up their kids and even paid for the shots. The gossip columnist Walter Winchell tried to spread vaccine disinformation, but his lies were quickly debunked and then people didn’t believe him anymore. Go figure! As now, there were some small risks associated with getting the shot, but there was also, I have the sense, a very strong understanding that you’re taking that small risk on behalf of the collective, as well as yourself, and everyone else is taking it for you. That’s the logic the virus teaches. That’s how we win.