August 13, 2004 12:00am
The Boob Lady of Albuquerque
Source: Albuquerque Tribune
by: Carrie Seidman
(ALBUQUERQUE, NM) -- Bra size is weighty, fitter says, cross her heart! The old saw says that seven out of 10 women in this country are wearing bras that don't fit properly.
Alyce Skinner thinks the number is probably higher than that.
She can't tell you how often she wants to run up to women she sees on the street and say to them: Please! For godsakes, please let me help you.
"I don't, but you don't know how many times I've wanted to," says the petite 66-year-old, who has been fitting women for bras at Camille's on and off for the past 22 years. "When I'm out, I'm always looking at everyone's boobs. I'm the boob lady. If they're drooping or there's a bulge on top... or when it's riding up their back, that's the worst."
What would she do? Well, exactly what Camille Snyder, the doyenne of the old-fashioned Albuquerque "foundation" shop who passed away last fall, taught her.
"No measuring," Skinner says in a raspy but confidential voice. "The measuring thing, it don't work. I just have 'em take their shirt off and I have a look."
Then she'll pull something from the back room - anything from the tiniest 32AA ("Smaller than that and you might as well not bother") to a 52I that resembles a trampoline bed and makes even Skinner and her co-worker, Merle Greivel, giggle.
"My husband used to say, 'Where do they make those things? Garcia's Tents?'" says Skinner, who was widowed in the late '90s after almost 50 years of marriage.
To take the weight off her shoulders, an underwire is necessary for the heavy-busted woman, she says. And there are lots of those around.
"The young people today!" Skinner says breathlessly. "They're getting bigger. You see many 42s and up nowadays.
"Me? I'm a 34D."
Most women wear bras that are too small, Skinner thinks, which is why they are often so relieved to shed their undergarment at the end of the day.
"They'll be wearing a B and they need a D," she says. "I had a woman come in here wearing a 34B, and I put her in a 34D and it was perfect. She walked out the door all proud: 'I'm a D!'"
Increasing breast size is not the only change Skinner has noted over the years. She's grateful the "Madonna pointy cone-shape" look that was popular in the singer's youth has passed. And that god-awful period of bralessness in the '60s.
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