salixbabylon: (personal writing)
[personal profile] salixbabylon
So a few months ago a friend posted a link on Facebook that was Relevant to My Interests:

I’ve had huge boobs my entire life – I used to joke that the Breast Fairy (like the Tooth Fairy) stopped by my house in 7th grade and just dropped off her entire load for the month on my chest. I’m pretty disproportionate – even in high school at 110 lbs, I was all tits and ass, wearing a poorly-fitting 34D cup. I’ve been wearing a 38DDD for about the last fifteen years, and I’ve been fitted a few times, but I’ve always suspected bras were meant to be more comfortable than they are.

So I read the article above, and I was terrified of what the results might be. I talked to Elin, who is both quite busty and also spent a winter working at a lingerie shop. She offered to do it with me. Armed with tape measures, figurative loins girded, I measured myself in California while she measured herself in Iceland.

The instructions are to do underbust, then bend over and measure over your nipples. I got 36 inches for the first measurement. And 49 inches for the second measurement – a 13 inch difference. According to the chart on the website, that would make me a 36M.

I remeasured. I measured in the other two positions. I took an average. Still M. I cried a little.

Elin had a similar experience, although she is a bit smaller in both measurements. Still – big boobs! I have a hard enough time finding DDDs, and I was utterly horrified at the thought that I was an M. I would never be able to find bras! I’d have to special order them!

But I calmed down a little bit, did some research, and concluded that I needed to try some bras on. Elin managed to find a shop that had larger sizes to try on, and while she went up a few cups, what she ended up with was still smaller than what she’d measured. So I did some link-following, and found this:, a list of shops that carry larger sizes. There were some in San Francisco, but alas, none of the brands that Elin suggested I try.

But!!! The Breast Fairy was on my side! In a lovely twist of fate, one of the shops that said they went up to Size Magnificent was Bravissimo, and there was one in Manchester UK, and I was going there for a business trip in less than a month. Yay!

A month later, with a few friends, dressed in my best-fitting bra and matching knickers, we set out to Bravissimo. The sign by the desk said you needed an appointment for a fitting, but I asked and they said it was no problem, they could definitely fit us. The shop girls told me to look around the store and pick out what I liked while I waited, and then after the fitting, they’d fetch me what I liked in my size. Bravissimo starts at a D cup and go to an L.

Let me repeat that, because it’s important: THEY TOLD ME TO PICK OUT WHAT I WANTED.

Usually, I am scrounging through the back of the racks, against the far wall of the lingerie department, hunting for any DDD I can find. They only exist in black or nude, although sometimes around the holidays can I find one in red or with a bit of lace. Often, I go up to a 40DD because I can’t fucking find any DDDs. Boutiques do not carry my size. Victoria’s Secret told me to try Nordstrom’s when I was only a D.

Bravissimo had black bras, and nude bras, and white bras, for everyday. They also had lacey bras, and blue bras, and polka dot bras, and bras with butterflies on them, bras with green and purple watered silk, and a BILLION PRETTY BRAS!!! ALL IN MY SIZE. I was a little overwhelmed, but still a little skeptical. Surely not. They couldn’t have *all* of the ones I liked in whatever size I turned out to be. They probably just had them in D or DD.

I went upstairs and entered the fitting room with the clerk.

She pursed her lips a little once I took off my shirt. “This is your best-fitting one?” she asked. “It’s a good thing you came here.” She poked the underwires firmly back against my chestbone. “The center gore is supposed to rest here, not stick out. I’ll be right back with a few for you to try on.”

She brought six bras. One was too big (which has never ever happened and was disturbing). One was a style I found uncomfortable. And then we knew my size. 36G.

“What styles do you like?”

I hesitated. “What do you have in a G?”

“All of them. I’ll get the purple ones and be right back; why don’t you flip through the catalogue? We have most of those styles in stock.”

She brought me bras. Pretty bras. Sexy bras. Classy bras. Fun bras. I decided there were certain strap placements I disliked, and some with lacy bits that itched. Some were just too girly. I HAD CHOICES. I COULD CHOOSE WHAT I LIKED.

I cried a little when she was out getting more bras for me to try on.

In the end, I bought four bras, three pretty/fun and one practical black. With matching knickers. And even though the exchange rate was something like #1 = $1.50, they cost about what I’d pay at home for a decent well-made ginormous bra.

And they’re comfortable and I love them! My boobs are high and I have a waist! The straps don’t dig into my shoulders. They have two hooks, not four!

It turns out that I can’t get the Bravissimo bras anywhere but their stores (although they do ship to the US), but the other brands they had I can buy “locally,” at And now that I know what size I am, I can play around.

I’m not limited to old ugly black and nude. I’m pretty! I do sort of look (and feel) like the prow of a ship setting forth into the world, but… watch me sail! :)


Date: 2013-08-13 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I so feel for you! I've got a totally average size, but I used to be so insecure about it, until one salesperson who was obviously specialised and trained in selling lingerie took me in hand (literally, I suppose) measured me and made me try different styles until I found what felt right. Now I make sure I get measured by such a specialist whenever I feel my body has changed, and I find it easier to talk about, like today when I needed something special and had to ask a salesperson for my US size.

Why was I so insecure? No idea. But it does make me understand at least a little how you must have felt and I'm glad you found a solution!

Btw, I didn't get the sentence about Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom. I know they're both shops, but that's it. Is it better to buy at one than at the other?

Date: 2013-08-14 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There is a lot of self-consciousness about bodies, big or small or totally average. I'm glad you've grown past yours and are more comfortable in your skin now. :)

Victoria's Secret and Nordstrom -- those are definite American-things, sorry! Victoria's Secret is a very popular "sexy but classy" lingerie shop, and was the ideal place to buy lingerie when I was young. But I outgrew their sizes (I never really fit them, actually), and they suggested a department store that is more known for catering to wealthy grandmotherly-aged women - not fashionable or trendy, and something a 19 year old would try to avoid.

Date: 2013-08-14 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh! That's funny because I had heard so much about VS (Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr and so on) that yesterday we went there for the first time - and we were so disappointed! We thought it was rather, well, cheap, and certainly more catering to schoolgirls than sophisticated women. There was absolutely nothing I wanted to buy.

I had been looking for a bra that I could wear beneath a dress with 'ringer style' back - no idea what that's called in English - and I definitely wanted more than tiny straps. I did find it, or rather a salesperson good at her job did, at Nordstrom.

But then, I'm past 50.

Date: 2013-08-14 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
that's so true! VS has a reputation for being classy, but their lingerie is cheaply made and aimed at the under-25 crowd.

Glad you found what you were looking for somewhere more respectable! :)

Date: 2013-08-13 09:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't even imagine. I'm a 36D, and you would think that would be easy to find, but even so sometimes there is very limited selection or they don't go that far up. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!

Date: 2013-08-14 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, I've definitely found even single D's difficult to locate - most of the cute little lingerie boutiques don't have them. You have my sympathy. :) is awesome - sizes from AAA to M!

Date: 2013-08-13 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Bravissimo is A.MAZING. Was in shop (as opposed to on line) for 1st time in London a few days ago. 38H? No worries. A.MAZING. AND I'm lucky enough to have them ship to where I live. <3

Date: 2013-08-14 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay - another Bravissimo fan! <3 I want to buy them out. I don't actually know how much their international shipping is - it may be quite reasonable! :)

Date: 2013-08-14 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For me it's very reasonable, but I actually don't care as long as I can find bras that fit me so well. :D

Date: 2013-08-14 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Amen, sister. I agree completely!

Date: 2013-08-13 12:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YAY!!! So thrilled for you!!!!! They're gorgeous!!!! Now I want to find some matching bras and panties for holiday! *g*

*smooshes and loves*

Date: 2013-08-14 04:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! More lingerie for everyone! :)

Date: 2013-08-13 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That sounds like such a wonderful experience! People deserve to be able to dress in things they like that make them feel pretty. (I try to remind myself of that when I feel like it's absurd for me to want to wear pretty things myself.) I'm so glad you found somewhere that doesn't limit you so much.

Date: 2013-08-14 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Absolutely - men should feel pretty too. I hate that our culture is so restrictive to what men can wear - it's one of the few areas where women have more freedom of expression. Be pretty - dress up - have fun! :)

Date: 2013-08-13 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I LOVE success stories - and you sound so delighted it's almost infectious!!

*cheers loudly*

Date: 2013-08-14 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*g* I really am ridiculously happy. And since the bras fit and are so comfortable, I'm making a point to wear them all the time, not just on special occasions. Husband = happy! ;)

September 2013


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