BC-FASH-PERFECTONE:TB – lifestyle (900 words)
How does the Perfect One’ bra hold up?
By Ellen Warren
Chicago Tribune
So Heidi Klum is saying, “You know if you really have a bad hair day? That can kind of put you in a bad mood. And it’s the same way when you have a bad bra on.”
No wonder I’m always cranky.
Take one look at my picture. I know from bad hair days. What you can’t tell from my photo is my other obsession: the bad bra.
Along comes Klum, the “Project Runway” star/supermodel/hottie, right on my computer screen pitch-ing a new Victoria’s Secret bra called “Perfect One.” It won’t cure bad hair, but she says it does spell the end to the bad bra day. Or, as she puts it, “No one’s perfect – until now.”
Perfection is a pretty big claim to make. Klum – in her “iced aqua” brassiered perfection – has been making the claim with hair-tossing allure in an explosion of magazine, television and online promotion.
Perfect One was crying out for a road test, and I was going on the road. My timing was … perfect.
I arrived in Southern California and went straight to a Victoria’s Secret store at a nearby mall. Right at the front door was a sign, “Try on Heidi’s bra and get $5 off today’s purchase.” Perfect.
However, the cost of Heidi’s bra, $45, struck me as pretty pricey. Not perfect.
Also less than perfect was the fact that in a much photographed promo stunt, Klum herself had delivered a truckload of bras to a Southern California Victoria’s Secret a few days earlier. I’d just missed her.
Even though it hadn’t been personally delivered by the fetching Klum, I bought the bra and wore it out of the store.
Every woman has bad bra experiences.
In the language of bra professionals, there’s “spillover,” “nipple show-through,” “gapping” and “strap dig-in” to name four.
I’m not sure what the pros would call these but “feels like a tourniquet jabbing into your ribs” and “stitch itch” are two others that I often endure on my frequent bad bra days.
Striving to explain the effects of a lousy bra, Klum’s video says, “You always have to tug and pull and move around.” Whereas “with the Perfect One, you don’t have those problems.”
Perfect One is billed as a “patent-pending design” that is the answer to all our bra woes. “This bra’s different,” says Victoria’s Secret spokeswoman Jennifer Fahey, who tried to help me understand by e-mailing a bra diagram that looked a little like a topographical map of the Midwest with dotted lines and dashes that looked like rivers, atop Klum’s perfect chest.
“It’s three bras in one,” Fahey repeated. “It shapes, smooths, supports.”
With that trio of promises beneath my shirt, this being California, I headed for the pool. Not to swim, of course. It seems nobody goes swimming there. Wearing Perfect One, I had a poolside lunch at a chic hotel called Viceroy where I caught a glimpse of myself in the Hollywood Regency-style mirror on my way to our table.
I’m not sure whether it was the shaping, the smoothing or the supporting of the new bra. But OMG, I was rocking a Beyonce-like bustline for the first time ever.
Perfect One – and Two.
For dessert in the desert, me and Perfect One hopped in the rental car and headed for downtown Palm Springs to the Walk of Stars. But before I could plop down in Sonny Bono’s lap (there’s a statue of the former mayor of Palm Springs in the town center), the itchy stitching started to attack.
For $45, a bra should not have irritating machine stitching that made me race back to the hotel to take the thing off and attack it with the only tool at hand, a nail file.
Actually, it was an emery board that I used to smooth the bumpy part. Back to the test drive. This time, I headed for BevMo!, a chain of liquor stores where wine was on sale for a nickel. Now that’s what I call perfection.
As for the bra, I’d solved the itch but was now enduring another woe: that tourniquet feeling. The underwire was hitting me in all the wrong places.
Furtive yanking ensued. I was living the very “tug and pull and move around” scenario that Perfect One was supposed to eliminate.
My week of testing continued – through a four-hour drive to Phoe-nix, two indie movies, one pasta and three sushi dinners, talks to two groups of students at Arizona State, visits to Costco (crab meat), Loehmann’s (a scarf), six thrift stores (white bell-bottom jeans) and the flight back to Chicago.
Throughout seven days and the thousands of miles of my road test, I found that the bra did live up to some of the online ad hype (victoriassecret.com/perfectone).
Indeed, the foam padding “fills the gaps between you and your bra” as advertised. The slightly padded straps are a nice touch.
And your cup does not runneth over – the dread spillover problem is eliminated.
Maybe it would be untoward for Klum to use the word “nipple” – she just talks about the smooth look under T-shirts. It is.
But the poking from the under-wire persisted unabated.
My verdict: Perfect One isn’t perfect, but it’s moving in the right direction.

(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
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PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):
AP-NY-04-13-09 0833EDT

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