What does YOUR bra reveal about you From 'third date' bras to 'weekend' bras, our lingerie drawers speak volumes about us

Our secret is finally out. We women are a nation of hoarders.

No, I’m not referring to money stashed under the bed for a rainy day, or cracked vases we think might one day win us a fortune on the Antiques Roadshow. I’m talking about bras.

British women own an average of nine bras each and stash half of them — a staggering 156 million — in the back of their drawers, never to be worn, according to a survey published earlier this week. When I read that figure, I blanched. What kind of woman owns only nine bras

Femme fatale: Janet Leigh's famous hotel scene in Psycho

Femme fatale: Janet Leigh's famous hotel scene in Psycho

I raced upstairs to my bra drawer
(and yes, I have one just for them), opened it and started to count the
neatly-folded items inside.
Twenty five. But then I realised I’d forgotten to include my date bras,
the ones I keep for special occasions —three more — and the bad-memory
bras, chucked in the overhead wardrobe — a similar number.

and the ridiculous padded ones that make me look like Pamela Anderson
but don’t fold and need a drawer of their own — four more. (And that’s
not to mention the six I gave away last week to a couple of friends. Or
sports bras.) Hell’s teeth, that’s 35 bras. I am officially a Bra-aholic. And I suspect I’m not alone.

Bra-aholic! Amanda discovered 35 bras lurking in her bedroom

Bra-aholic! Amanda discovered 35 bras lurking in her bedroom

Like most women, my bra size varies. I can be anything from a 36B to a 34D, depending on the brand. But it’s not the size that matters with bras — it’s what they say about a woman’s psyche. Like shoes, they’re one of the things we buy that guarantee to cheer us up. We didn’t need Carrie Bradshaw to tell us that.

And the magic of bras is it doesn’t matter if you’re thin or a bit podgy, they just make you feel fabulous — a naughty little secret under our clothes that no one knows except us, and our partners. I was feeling a bit low last week so instead of writing my column (sorry boss), I went online and ordered two sets of bras and knickers.

Bra Story

Bra Story

Spoiled for choice: Amanda says she has every type of bra in every colour under the sun

They were on sale so I didn’t feel guilty, particularly as they were much cheaper than a new pair of shoes. They arrived the next day, so I was able to try them on in the privacy and soft lighting of my own home. Joy. They joined my collection of date bras, mid-term relationship bras and end-of-the-affair bras.

I also have lucky bras, working bras, weekend bras, bosom-boosting bras, white, black, green, red, pink, blue, nude, lacy, elegant and sexy bras. Every type of bra in every colour under the sun. Except melon. Men hate melon. My bras can set me back anything between 25 and 65 each. I have Myla and Marks & Spencer, Elle Macpherson and Wonderbras, fancy, frilly, flirty. I have second and third date bras, as well as the ones you wear when you first, well, get together.

For later on in the relationship, there are the revival bras, brought out when the romance is flagging, birthday bras and anniversary bras. And they all have their uses. For bras are a barometer of a woman’s personal life. Men take note. If she’s wearing those saggy nude bra and knicker sets with the elastic slightly fraying, you’re either in a long-term, comfortable relationship where neither of you cares and prefer watching TV, or she’s about to ditch you.

I can remember one day I was in the changing room of Selfridges’ lingerie department trying on about 20 bras — almost all black, lacy and racy — when my long-term boyfriend rang. I told him I was having the car serviced. I was, in fact, about to leave him and was choosing my first-date bra for the new man in my life — not that he would have got to see it on that first date, but I needed to know I was wearing something adorable underneath.

One in ten women is unsure about her true bra size

If only men realised what our bras are really saying about our relationships. Take a sneaky look in her undies drawer and see if there any lovely items tucked away beneath the slightly fraying nude numbers and you’re in trouble. She just doesn’t care enough to be bothered to wear them. And if there’s a basque or two and suspender belts you’ve never seen, she’s having an affair, or contemplating one.

So keep an eye out, chaps. To me, bras are a joy to be shared. I always wash them by hand, and if they’ve got to the last lap of their lives, in a special lingerie bag on a gentle silk wash in the machine. I find a date bra lasts about a year in pristine condition with loving care, then is relegated to a wearing-around-the-house bra or out-with-friends bra, instead.

And while it may seem a bit icky to
pass your bras on, I have one friend with loads of children and not a
lot of cash and she’s scoops up every bra she can lay her hands on. They may be two sizes two small for her, but she doesn’t care. She says they make her husband very happy.
Never underestimate the need for good underwear.

I’m convinced the feminists’ ‘burn your bra’ slogan of the Seventies alienated millions of women around the world. All
it did was liberate saggy breasts. Let’s face it, post-25, especially
after a couple of children, we need all the help we can get. I’d much rather buy a bra — or 35 — than burn one.

Quite frankly, nothing holds back (or up) the years better than a beautiful, well-structured one. I
know it’s unfair as, despite David Beckham’s best efforts, men make so
little effort when it comes to their own underwear, and nude-wearing
feminists will rail against it, but a woman’s underwear says a lot about
her mood, her relationship and even more about her intentions.

speaking to other women after reading this survey, I discovered we’re
also a nation of fibbers. Nine bras per woman Many of them own as many
or even more than I do. Speaking
of fibbing, I forgot to count the one I’m wearing a s I write this —
peppermint green, lacy, lucky. So that makes it 36.


Bra Story

A bra for every occasion: Our selection of must-haves, click to enlarge