Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Response to A Post on Fitting

I'm fuming a little after reading this post over at MsBehaved.  Bianca makes a valid point about bra fitting: when all is said and done, only YOU know what is right for your boobs and body to get proper support from bras.  It sounds like her fitter at Nordstrom's did not listen to her feedback about wanting a looser band, especially given that a 40 inch underband is not asking too much and they could easily have fit her into a (probably more comfortable) 40G.  I think it an absolute shame she had to go through this experience, and I hope that it hasn't turned her off from finding a proper fitting bra.

However, my bone to pick is her attitude toward larger cup sizes and fitting in general.  Most women do wear the wrong bra size, but they don't do it knowingly.  I'd love it if all women knew their correct bra size, and then used that as a starting place to find the right bras for them.  I was also appalled at the attitude toward the so-called mythic cup sizes (i.e. F-cup or larger) in both her post and in the comments.  H-cups are not freaking unicorns.  I do not have a pair of centaurs strapped to my chest.

I do believe that finding a proper fitting bra absolutely changes your life.  However, the one your fitter hands you in the changing room at a big box store may not be it.  In fact, it is likely to not be "the one."  If it is, great.  Go ride off on a horse with your fairy bra charming into a vivid sunset, knowing your breasts aren't going to jiggle too much or fall out when that horse rears dramatically.  If the bra is not "the one", be a (polite) dick. You are their customer.  Find the right bra for you - try on lots and lots of bras, apply swing sizing, and remember not all brands are made the same.  You might leave empty-handed and that is okay.

My other big bone to pick has to do with Bianca's claim of vanity sizing in the bra industry.  Fabrics used in bras and bust support systems have changed dramatically since clothing sizing was standardized during WW2.  (Fun Fact: the modern short brassiere was developed in the early 1920s.)  Fabrics used in bras today are significantly stretchier than fabrics used during the 40s and 50s.  Adding inches to an underbust measurement made sense back then because most people like breathing.  The added inches gave women literal breathing room in a garment that did not stretch.  Today, bras are made with fabrics that have lots of natural give.  Sizing has consequently changed, and is different from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Adding inches to the underbust measurement is often unnecessary, and may dramatically reduce the support you should receive from the band.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, only you know what is right for your body.  I do believe that fittings change lives, but I also believe they shouldn't dictate them.  I wish the statement that "most women wear the wrong size" was all bullshit.  Blogs like this wouldn't exist.  My so-called unicorn boobs would actually get recognized as actual unicorn boobs.  Maybe they'd grow horns... hmmm...  Large cup small band bras wouldn't cost so much and "be a scam" if there was more demand and a competitive marketplace.  Where might this come from? Oh, maybe from more women learning their real bra size and not wussing out because current culture tells them that having a smaller band size and larger cup size is a bad, slutty, fat shaming, and impossible thing.

Embrace what you got, ladies.  Get fitted by someone who knows their shit.  Trust your instincts, and realize that finding "the one" will probably take time and money.  Then you will hopefully get your own glorious sunset horse ride moment, and be able to not worry about your breasts falling out when the horse rears in the sunset.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'm Getting Married

So, in 7 weeks I marry the love of my life.

I think I laughed a little when I typed that out.  I love my Bear, and he is the love of my life, but gosh that sounds so cheesy.  Bear is fantastic and wonderful and amazing.  We have a meeting with our minister on Tuesday to figure out the ceremony and I'm supposed to come up with 3 reasons why I love him. This has been the hardest assignment I've ever had.  Even harder than finding a wedding dress and then the accompanying lingerie.  Thankfully (maybe?) Bear is struggling with the assignment too.  We both love each other, but not for any specific, sappy reasons.  He doesn't run for the hills when I give off noxious gas.  I think his love for electronics and tinkering is freaking awesome.  We both laugh at obnoxiously immature jokes, and we both share a deep passion for inexpensive but excellent red wines.  We also both love Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.  We don't get sick of each other during multi-day car trips.  We also both adore cats and children.  Hmmm... maybe I have more fodder for our ceremony than I thought.

In planning a large family wedding, there was of course a dress to buy.  I'm planning on writing a series about how 1. I found my wedding dress, 2. the experience of trying on wedding dresses with  larger bust, 3. how I freaked the fuck out once I realized I ordered a cut-out back dress that required a bra that is not manufactured in my size, 4. how I frankensteined a bustier to meet my needs, 5. my fitting and seamstress experience (my current saga), and finally 6. thoughts and reflections on other people's reactions and perceptions of my wedding dress/bridal ensemble on me after my wedding is over and I've got some professional shots to share.  It seems this kind of series would fill a giant hole in the internet.  So, my dear, invisible internet friends, keep an eye out for that in the coming 2 months.

Also, I'm planning on writing a loving and caring entry in the near future extolling the virtues of Trashy Diva dresses.  I've gotten three in as many months and want more.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


As I mentioned earlier, I've lost a substantial amount of weight (enough to make my major issue when running water loss instead of joint/hip pain - AMAZING!).  This has left my closet in a sad state of disrepair - I'm losing weight at just the right rate where I only own 2 pairs of pants that fit right (because I'm shrinking out of them at the rate I wear them out), and I continue to try to wear clothes that are 1 to 3 sizes too big for me.  Except there's a couple catches: my old dresses no longer fit or even flatter, my work shirts sag in such a way that I show too much cleavage/bra (even with a plunge bra), and all of this needs a lot of denial behind it.

So, I resolved to change this.  I recently met a young woman, B, who is also large-cupped.  We got to the point where we were talking about our bodies, how hard it is to find clothes, and I asked her what her bra size was.  36G, the perfect size for all of my clothes.  We set up a clothing exchange date with a mutual friend of ours, A, at my place.

The night before, I went through my closet, tried things on, set aside everything, including lots and lots of bras. To say I was excited would be an understatement.  I love those clothes and bras because they helped me better understand my body, my boobs, and learn to love myself.  I hoped they could do the same for someone else.

Come day of, both the fantastic ladies arrive and we had a nice time hanging out, chatting etc.  After an hour or so, we headed to my bedroom to start the clothing marathon.  I had no idea what I was getting into, or just how transformative it would be for all of us.

I handed B a stack of my old 36G bras, some barely worn, others very worn, told her that whichever ones she liked and fit were hers to keep.  It turned out she'd never owned a bra that fit.  I'd expected never owning clothing tailored to her body, but never owning a proper bra? I felt like a Fairy Bra Mother, though a poor one with what I had to offer.

B was over the moon about how good she looked in the clothes.  A and I were both delighted each time she emerged from my closet in something new - everything looked so amazing on her body.  In the end, I gave B about 3 full shopping bags worth of clothing and bras - things that I no longer used, but I knew that she not only would use, but needed.

While B was trying on clothes in my closet, I casually asked A her bra size. 36DD my ass.  I asked if she was up for getting measured, she said yes.  So I whipped out my trusty tape measure and after getting her measurements, I dug through some of my bras and asked if she'd be willing to try it on.  She said why not, and gave it go.  The bra was a Panache tango plunge that never quite fit me right after my initial fitting in it.  But it fit A perfectly.  The bra was a 32G, a far cry from a 36DD.  I think we were both in shock for a moment.  A wrapping her head around the new bra size, and me because I suddenly had a friend who wears a very similar bra size.  I grabbed my Pinup Girl Jessica and Heidi dresses from my closet for A to try on - perfect fits.  They currently fit me as well, but I told A to let me know if she wanted to borrow a dress or a top.  Turned out she has a formal coming up, and needed a dress for it.  It was exciting to see her confronted, for the first time in her life, with a choice between well-fitting dresses.  There's a sense of being overwhelmed, of joy, and of wonder.  To feel you have a choice is to be empowered.

From my perspective, I just helped two amazing ladies better appreciate and understand their bodies.  I gave them the power to dress well, and opened the door to important, life-altering options.  But even more than that, I also helped myself.  I think we all hold onto things we don't need to hold onto.  I was holding onto clothing and bras in this case.  Things that didn't fit, or sort of fit, clothing I tried to fake my way in.  I was holding onto things because they were such a huge part of my life - my college graduation dress, the shirt I taught my first class in, my first properly fitted bras.  But, holding onto items doesn't give them power.  It just gives them power over me, and began to impair my own life.  They create decisions and impediments, rather than preserving memories.  At that point, it was time to let go and move on.

I'm still a little raw from giving away those clothes.  I know it needed to happen.  On the other hand, I still cannot get over how incredibly happy B was each time she came out in a new piece of clothing.  Or the look on A's face when she tried on the dresses.  To empower other women was an amazing experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Boobs and Losing Weight

Over the last 2 years, I've been working on transforming my body into something that takes hiking, bike riding, running, etc. a little more gently, than before.  2 years ago, if you'd asked me to go jogging, I'm pretty sure I would have laughed in your face, and then contemplated how my Enell bra doesn't really do the job (I'm afraid I'm an Enell hater. I've never had luck with the brand since they aren't aimed at larger tits.)

Part of this transformation has entailed losing over 50 lbs. I'm pretty damn proud of those 50 lbs.  However, that's where this story becomes interesting.

When I started my weight loss journey I was barely fitting into a 36G. I probably needed a 38 inch back and was unwilling to admit it (similar to how I was unwilling to admit I needed size 18 jeans.)  Now, part of what I personally was REALLY looking forward to with weight loss was BOOB LOSS. That's right, I said it. I was looking forward to losing mass off of my ladies.  At a 36G, your breasts are pretty big. They are by no means gigantic, but they are big, unwieldy, and they droop. If you have tiny dinosaur arms like mine, they also get in the way while playing piano & violin, as well as holding music while you sing in choir.  Seriously, I need an extra 3 inches of space in front of me to hold my music properly. Ridiculous.

Back to the story.  As the pounds and inches came off, things were looking good. I was losing inches off my bust-line, and off my under bust, waist, hips, etc. Then came my first fitting part-way through my weight loss. Turns out I was now 32H.

What. The. Hell. Ladies.

We had a deal. I lose some pounds off my frame, you shrink back down to that nice E cup you were back when I was 18.  Win-win situation.

Now the thing is, that fitting was about a year ago. And I've lost 15 or 20 lbs since then.  Again, I've lost inches everywhere, but somehow my breasts STILL don't seem to have reduced proportionately in size (or more as compared to the rest of my body, I'd take more.)

So, yeah.  I'm the same weight as I was at 18.  I'm currently slightly overweight, but carry it well for the most part thanks to good genetics and a strong, pronounced bone structure (thanks Mom and Dad!)  But it amazes me just how different my body is right now at 25, as compared to 18.  The weight sits differently on my body. I have more muscle mass now than I did then. My "baby fat" is no longer prevalent on my face.  But the kicker? That early to mid-20s boobie growth spurt they really should tell you about in high school health class.  I never expected to reach a point in my life where I would be both scared and proud to lose weight, because my bra size would be approaching "mythic" territory.  My boobs are not centaurs or unicorns (although, let's not lie, sometimes you wish you had a horn there to impale idiots). My back size is not "super skinny" or "super thin" by any means.  There is nothing mystic, scary, or unreasonable about my bra size except that so many people who have power in the lingerie and clothing industry continually refuse to acknowledge my body type. Especially in the Americas.

What I mean is that I shouldn't have to feel any fear about losing this weight, especially as it relates to my bra size.  I feel better about my body and myself than I have in years. I'm incredibly grateful that I have a local lingerie lady that does incredible fittings and will go to the ends of the earth to find the right fit for you.  But I still have that niggling fear.

Anyone else ever faced this? Going up or down the scale/inches?