by guest blogger Renee James, essayist and blogger
In case you need to know exactly what the market will bear when it comes to lingerie, the answer is $2.5 million. You read that correctly. Last year, Victoria's Secret unveiled a two-and-a-half million-dollar bra.
It was, I grant you, a one-of-a-kind, gem-studded masterpiece--a far cry from the cotton, satin, or Lycra versions almost any woman you know has in her drawer. In addition to the dazzling support and precise fit (the result of a body cast that calculates the size of the owner perfectly), that price buys anonymity. Victoria keeps the name of the buyer and presumably the wearer--who may or may not be one and the same--a secret. Good thing, too. If I knew the name of the person who spent $2.5 million on underwear, I'd never stop sending them emails or text messages asking him or her for a loan.
But good news! The economy must be on the rise because our friends at V.S. have upped the ante considerably this year. Their latest Fantasy Bra (more on that title later) arrives in living color during the December 10th broadcast of the brand's annual fashion/underwear show and will set you back a cool 10 million. Dollars. That's $5 million per cup for anyone keeping track.
Instead of tuning in, my plan for that evening is to do something far less painful, like peeling Biore strips off my nose or waxing somewhere else. Then again, some good wine, some good chocolate, and some good company might be a better choice. That way we can watch the show together, mock it relentlessly, and eat in the name of sisterhood with the models. We'll eat--because they can't.
Back to this year's bra. Let's assume someone buys it. I know, I know, but let's just assume that's true. Let's also assume the wearer chooses to save her Fantasy Bra for her spectacularly romantic and lustful Saturday nights. That means she's invested $192,307 (or $96,153 per cup) to show off the girls once a week. And let's face it: If the Fantasy Bra holds up its end (if you will), it won't be on her for long, anyway. At this rate, it could last forever--and it should, for 10 million dollars. Let's not even try to figure out what it costs her per minute to wear it.
I can think of a lot of things that are probably worth $192,000, and not one of them would be found in my underwear drawer. But I do have a confession to make: I, too, have succumbed to the seductive call of Victoria's angels. Many years ago, when I was far more impressionable, I spent something like $80 on a bra from Victoria. It was blue(ish), kind of lacy, and, yes, it fit nicely. But a voice inside kept telling me that I should "save" it for a special occasion. Unfortunately, at the time, "special" meant going wild each week by ordering two toppings on our pizza. Wearing it to open the door for the kid from Domino's didn't seem all that appropriate.
Turns out, I needed a different kind of life to go with the bra, and they don't sell those as a set at Victoria's Secret. So years later, I still have a pretty, blue(ish) bra along with my beige life.
That's the point, right? To coin a phrase: Whose fantasy is it, anyway? Maybe it's the perfect marketing fantasy. Get headlines, showcase a work of craftsmanship, and ultimately sell a lot of (much less extravagant) bras.
And at this juncture, I have to wonder: What would be the equivalent $10-million fantasy item for men? I'm just not seeing bejeweled jockeys. Sorry. Trick question. It's a Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra, no doubt.
Many women have bras for every mood and wear them with joy. I still love my blue(ish) bra, and yes, I have worn it more than once, but I've learned that a centered beige life in a world that shrieks magenta feels okay. And I wouldn't want to be friends with any woman who had $10 million in her purse and thought spending it on a bra was a fantastic idea.
I can only hope that anyone with an extra $10 million on hand learned long ago that the woman, not her bra or what's in it, is the real treasure.
Renee A. James works at Rodale Inc. and also wrote an award-winning op-ed column for The Morning Call, the Allentown, PA, newspaper, for almost 10 years. Her essays were included in the humor anthology, 101 Damnations': A Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), and are also found online at Jewish World Review and The Daily Caller. Her blog, It"s Not Me, It's You, addresses topics that mystify her on a regular basis.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com