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brassière, putting on

In films and photographs he had seen women standing around with their arms twisted behind their backs in a full-nelson, hooking and unhooking in frowning concentration as though it were some sort of aptitude test

Special thanks to my brother, who has taken a more careful interest in the topic, for the following contribution:

Amateurs (or amateuses) if they contort so. The slick'n'tidy way is to treat it as a belt which goes around the stomach, with the fastening in front where it is accessible. Then, switch the cups to the front, hitch the belt up to its working height, and shrug into the arm loop things. Simple, quick, and entrancing to watch.

Similarly: I have been entranced by watching a woman wearing a (uniform) skirt, who after getting dressed reached up her own skirt and gently tugged the tails of her (uniform) shirt into place. It was as good as watching a glassblower. (In what way?)

"I wish I could do that," I said.

"I'm in a hurry. Can you wait until later?" was her reply.