Carbonated Wit

Pleasantly bubbly and refreshing!

On the Topic of Bras

Captain Awkward has a post from a young lady whose mother is awful to her about her weight. She mentions being busty, and Sweet Machine offers advice that includes advice to go get fitted and get a new bra and it will make everything better.

This is the off-topic comment I didn’t post:

Fellow Chest Of Doom here. I kind of hate it when everyone is like “Go get fitted! Go to Intimacy, they’re awesome!” Bras should fit against your chest wall in the middle, you know, and if they don’t you’ve got the wrong bra.

I went and got fitted. I went to Intimacy. They only have underwire! They didn’t have many things in my size. The things they had hurt. Even more annoying, the bra they put me in and swore up and down was the right size? It was too small for my big boob, and I overfilleth the cup. The line that seemed most likely to be most comfortable did not go up to my size.

They said, look, it takes a while to get used to an underwire. Take this bra that we swear up and down is your size, NO REALLY, and wear it for a couple of weeks. You’ll love it.

I wore it home. I tried to wear it. It hurt! It kept hurting! It didn’t sit flat against my chest wall, because my boobs just don’t work like that! Apparently, some boobs are like that and no bra will fit against the chest wall in front. So the wire pokes out in front, and digs more in the bottom. This was the bra that was the best fit? Seriously? $70 to walk around in pain and aggravation until, I dunno, I get underboob callouses?

OTOH, they did confirm that my band size was correct. And for all that they swore the number of the bra was meaningless, the cup size was useful information. (OMG I am a lot bigger than I thought) and gave me something to try from other shops.

I stopped at a bra store and tried all their big bras. All of them ugly, and none of them fit. I got on the internet that made the previous Single Bra That Fit Me (that didn’t go up to my new size) and found a new Single Bra That Fits Me. It even only mostly fits me. I overfilleth. And it’s *padded*. Like I need extra there? And do you have any idea how few size H bras don’t have underwires? I live in terror of the day they cancel or change this line of bras.

EVEN WORSE, once I had a properly fitted bra, half my shirts stopped fitting. Because now I was properly supported, you see! Not only do buttoned shirts gap, but t-shirts rose like an inch in the front. There goes all those cute fitted shirts. I feel unstable on stairs because I can’t see my feet!

Right. Rant over, because this is not all about me. Mostly I wanted to put it here so that others can know that actually, a newly fitted bra might not change your life. It’s still helpful, generally speaking, but it might not be a game-changer.

What is a game-changer, in my world, is learning to love the shape you are and learning to dress for your shape and your style. I used to wear dark crew-neck t-shirts and jeans. I went through a skirt phase, and now I wear them sometimes. Now I wear v-neck or scoop-neck shirts in bright colors, with jeans or a skirt, and with shawls. I can move comfortably, I read socially as idiosyncratically feminine, and I feel generally pretty. A few years back I gave up on feeling body-shame and spend most of my summer in tank tops with my bra showing (except at work).

Dressing oneself is incredibly hard for a lot of people, especially those who do not conform to Standards. Even the outliers have standards, because manufacturers have to make enough units to make a profit. Racks my size are uncommon, but they still have a market; racks my shape? Apparently, there’s no market for that.

I do not believe that it is impossible to construct a bra that supports my breasts, fits flush against my chest, and does not create spillage. However, at this time, it is practicably impossible for me to find it.


8 responses to “On the Topic of Bras

  1. Jesse the K September 4, 2012 at 19:36

    That bra search sounds so frustrating. I spent a couple years mostly in bed, and then I was much larger. I couldn’t find something at the fat lady stores that would fit. So I asked a local fat feminist, and she commended me to the bras from

    They do provide support without underwires for walking or running or being around the house. They don’t do Vicky’s Secret type honkers. They are beautifully made, opaque enough to wear alone as a crop top, and sturdy enough to stand up to five years of machine washing. Because they don’t have any hardware at all, they are deliciously comfortable. They create more supportive styles with less stretchy fabric: including cotton velour for your evening gown. The “Dri Release” fabric contains a lot of poly, but it honestly absorbs sweat (which is a particular issue for me in bra-bandville).

    I guess you can see I adore these bras!

  2. elodieunderglass September 4, 2012 at 20:22

    All of my favorite people have cups that runneth over. ❤

  3. NessieMonster September 4, 2012 at 20:54

    Aaah ouch. I’m sorry you have such a (literal) pain finding bras.

    I too have issue with the ‘get a better bra fitting’ brigade. I’m on the small side of too large for normal bras so I don’t have the problem of one bra per hundred in your size that you do, but. The cut and shape of most bras for the larger racked women is just wrong for my boobs. The wires get in the frigging way all the time. They come up too high in the middle and at the armpit because clearly, as boobs get bigger they get deeper in the vertical plane! Or not. I have to buy plunge bras in order to get ones that don’t cause too much aggro, and even then I get the ‘stabbed in the armpit’ problem. Finding plunge bras that aren’t padded? Nigh on impossible! Does the padding keep my nipples out of sight? Often, no, not when they’re escaping out of the cups.
    Pursuent to these issues, I have now have darker marks on my skin from years of wire chafing.

    My other gripe? What the hell is with the floral patterns and cutesy bows? I like the sultry/vamp style bras with pinstripes, and contrasting decor in stark blues, purples, greens and reds. Do such bras exist? Only in less than C cup sizes in standard clothing stores. Arrrgh.

  4. mandytori September 5, 2012 at 05:52

    I’m sorry to hear about your less-than-fabulous fitting experience and your frustrations with bras. As a former bra fitter and current busty lady, I have to chime in with my more than two cents. First off, it really irks me when I hear of fitters swearing something will be comfortable. So many factors play into a bra will feel on someone’s body such as shape, activities and skin sensitivity, not just size. A good fitter can determine size, shape and try to adhere to the ideal points of a good fitting bra. They will have knowledge of styles that have proven comfortable for themselves and others, but they can never actually step into someone’s body and feel what that person is feeling. Secondly, although many people find wires uncomfortable because they are in the wrong size, some people just don’t like wires. Unfortunately selection of wireless bras is limited, especially for G+ cups. Freya makes a wireless (Dotty) up to an H. The Elomi Caitlyn wireless is only up to a G, but it might be worth trying. In a pinch you could size up in the back to get a deeper cup, then get the back taken in. Royce lingerie specializes in wireless bras and goes up to a K cup.

    As to the wires not sitting flat between the breasts, this could be for a few reasons. First off, it’s sounds like the fitter put you in a too small cup. I’ve never been to Intimacy, and I’m sure their fittings work well for some people. but they are owned in part by a company that doesn’t make bras in the highest range of cup size. So it’s possible the fitter just put you in what was closest (boo). Another reason may be that you have breasts that are very full in the center or that you have an inverted sternum. Check out and her blogroll for honest bra reviews that take both size and shape into account.

  5. dualityheart September 5, 2012 at 21:44

    I have the exact same problem as you do. Even stores like Fredericks of Hollywood only go up to F cup and they generally will try to stuff you into a larger band size instead. That is the main problem with the chain and retail bra boutiques. They often try to make a sale over what actually fits.

    I am a 38 g-h depending on the brand. When I am breastfeeding, I get to be more like a L-m cup. I also have exceedinly small shoulders, which means that even bras that fit correctly often slide down off my shoulders if I move normally.

    I got so desperate at one point that I went and consulted a woman who supposedly made bras to fit custom sizes. But it turns out she only ordered ugly grandma bras online and then tailored them….badly.

    I finally found a little shop run by a woman who custom fits and orders all sorts of unusual sized bras. I was able to get a few nice ones from her that actually fit my breasts but I do still have problems with straps slipping off at inopportune times and underwire digging into me.

    Speaking of which, none of my underwire bras hold up for that long even when I wash them by hand and hang them to dry. Within a couple months, one side inevitably snaps and I get sharp metal stabbing me in the boob. Luckily I can often remove the wire and use the bra for awhile longer.

    It pisses me off that most larger cup bras are hideously ugly. I do not mean plain or unimpressive but like someone designed it to look like shit on anyone. All those horrible bows and fluffy overdone scratchy as hell lace and metal pieces that chafe.

    Why can’t they just make bras like they do for smaller cupsizes only bigger?

    It is shit like this that seriously makes me start contemplating breast reduction surgery.

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