Martine Rolls: Can't leave home without my bosom buddy

By Martine Rolls

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The Emergency Bra is worn under clothing like a regular brassiere and separates into two masks that can be pulled over the nose and mouth to filter out harmful airborne pollutants.
The Emergency Bra is worn under clothing like a regular brassiere and separates into two masks that can be pulled over the nose and mouth to filter out harmful airborne pollutants.

The rare nights on which I have no deadlines, no children to take care of, and no housework to do, I like sitting behind the PC in my comfy gear and looking around online for all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

The life and style sections of major international news websites are especially entertaining. The stuff you learn about health, wellbeing and style in just a few hours of browsing around the web is astonishing.

I quite like beauty and style advice online but being comfortable is so much more important to me than being pretty.

I don't have the patience to get all dolled up, unless I have an important occasion to attend that's not suited for a natural look.

I'm clean and tidy when out and about, of course, but I say no to getting up an hour or two earlier each the morning to get my face on.

Applying lipstick and mascara I can do, but making up my whole face simply takes up too much time and effort.

To get the right look, I'd have to hire a professional, or resort to YouTube tutorials and still fail.

I'm in awe of the ladies who wear killer heels every day and walk in them for miles. I guess you could get used to anything, but that sounds like pure torture to me.

When I work on stories or strategies from home, I sometimes stay in my PJs all day.

I have a close relationship with my trackpants, my hoodies, and my sheepskin boots. Don't worry - I don't go out shopping in my jammies or Uggs, and I don't own Crocs or a onsie.

I guess you've got to draw the line somewhere.

The first thing I do when I get home after a long day is take off my (flat) shoes, and then my bra. When at home, comfort comes first.

On Facebook this morning, I saw that it's the 100th birthday of the bra this month. I remember it was also the 100th birthday of the bra in 2004, 2007, 2010, and last year, but let's not dwell on the facts for once.

Over the years, I've built up an impressive collection of bras. The most beautiful and extravagant one I own was made by Dutch lingerie designer Marlies Dekkers, a favourite with celebs around the world.

I bought it when I finally got measured properly and was told that I was two cup sizes bigger than I thought I was.

That was a bit of a surprise, although I do know a lot of women wear the wrong size.

I thought buying a really nice bra in the correct size would ease my discomfort, but no such luck.

In an interview on with Dr Hans-Ulrich Kruger, senior consultant for the Department of Internal medicine and Oncology at the Rehabilitation Centre of Bavaria, I read that an ill-fitting or unsuitable bra can contribute to all sorts of complaints and conditions.

The website quotes Dr Kruger too, in a story they headlined: "Your bra could kill you".

Remember the controversy last year caused by professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science expert from the University of Besancon in eastern France?

Rouillon and his team spent 15 years measuring the changes in the breasts of 330 women using a simple slide rule and caliper and found that women who took off their bras for good, experienced a 7mm lift each year they didn't wear one.

I wouldn't leave the house without one but I do live in hope to get the balance right at home.

I have some fabulously gorgeous and expensive bras, a bunch of cheapies, a few sports bras, some with underwire and some without, and even two Ah Bras, but I hate them all.

On a website called, which is devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design, there was a story titled 7 Weird, Wonderful, and Wholly Unexpected Uses for Bras.

It was refreshing to read in this article by Jasmin Malik Chua that bras are not just for lifting and separating.

Did you know that there are bras on the market with high-tech underwire that can detect subtle variations in the temperature of breast tissue and detect signs of cancer?

Or that engineers from the University of Arkansas have developed a wireless system in a sports bra that measures blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, and some neural activity and that these details can be transmitted directly to a doctor or hospital?

Or what do you think of the Emergency Bra, developed by a lady called Elena Bodnar?

Worn under clothing like a regular brassiere, the garment separates into two masks that can be pulled over the nose and mouth to filter out harmful airborne pollutants released by fire, radiological or biological attacks, explosions, and natural disasters.

How handy is that?

I even discovered that old bras can be recycled into soundproof building insulation or power-generating fuel and that's even more useful.

Unfortunately, they didn't post an address of where to send them to for this type of clever re-use as I'd send at least half of my collection their way.

I'm a big fan of recycling and reusing but it would be wrong to take them to the Waipuna Hospice Shop.

It would just make another local woman feel uncomfortable and I'm just too community-spirited to do such a thing.

Martine Rolls is a Tauranga writer and digital strategist -

- Bay of Plenty Times

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