Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lament of a Bra

The humble bra...such a small thing to take up such a big place in my life. 

From ages 10 to 13 they made me cry. I was a flat chested at the time and as girl after girl around me started to blossom I would look down and see nothing happen.  The boys even had a rhyme, not a very good one I admit, but it still hurt.  "Roses are red my watch is gold, you’ll never wear a bra cus you’ll have nothing to hold".  20 years later I can still hear them taunting me.  My mom tried to reassure me that all I had to do was look around me and the women in my family, surely I could see this would not be an issue for me.  I wanted to believe her but another thing I knew was that my family were notoriously early bloomers, not near as late as me.  I remember even wearing a bikini top under my shirt so that I would have something like the other girls when we all changed for gym. 

The summer was 13 I went to see my family in Quebec and my cousin went through her clothes like she did every year to give me what no longer fit.  I told her about my fears and she reassured me that it would all work out.  She then gave me a baby blue bra with a little pink bow in the middle she told me that she didn't need it anymore and that she was sure I would need it soon.  I remember thinking it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen.  It was not long that it was not long after that maybe too much that I actually started to use it. 

Then at 14 BAM! Everything happened at once.   It even happened so quickly that there were rumors that I had a boob job during the summer.  By age 16 I was a very full DD.  That was when I started having trouble buying bras.  The ones available either offered very little support or were too small.  Even finding a 34DD was hard, the stores usually started at 36 so I had an aunt who would take in the back for me.  Less than ideal, but the best option I had at the time.

Then about 6 years ago I gained weight, and the DD's didn't fit anymore.  The regular stores had 34 36 but stopped at DD and Plus size stores had bigger cup sizes but the bands started around 40, too big to even take in.  I started buying online.  I would pick a few try them out and if all was good buy more of the same model.  About 1 in 3 fit well enough to wear, the others I gave away because the shipping for returns made it more trouble than it was worth.

For the past six years I've been wearing "OK" fitting bras, none of them really fit and supported the way I wanted them to but it was better than nothing. 

A few months ago a miracle happened.  I was on a freebie site and got a coupon for $20 off $50 purchase at Addition Elle, a plus size chain.  I knew I couldn’t buy clothes there, but I figured they had shoes and accessories, so I may as well use the coupon.  I was walking around the store I saw magical thing, a big sign that said "now offered in 36".  I tried not to get my hopes up as I moved closer to be sure.  Then I saw it, a 36G bra.  I turned over to the sales lady and asked if she had any more.  She said I could have a fitting; she would bring me the options.  I went to the changing room and removed my much worn out bra as I waited for her to come back. 

She had six bras with her, SIX, and in colors and patterns.  Tears welled up in my eyes; it had been years since I had had a pretty bra.  They fit like a dream; I didn’t know which to choose.  She saw my dilemma and told me that since I was a new customer she could sign me up for the free store card and I would get more coupons by mail, and that that weekend they were doing a promotion that if you buy for over $50 they give you another coupon for $50 off a purchase of $100.  She suggested that I take one of every model and try them out for a month, and then come back with my rebates to get other colours for the ones I like.

I don't remember the last time I so badly wanted to hug a complete stranger.  I went home at a floating on air, excited to show off my new turquoise lace bra to my boyfriend who chuckled a bit about how happy I was over such a small thing.

Over the past few months I've been slowly rebuilding my bra wardrobe and getting rid of any that don’t fit right, slowly because even though they are a necessity, they are still crazy expensive.  I still marvel every day at the comfort of properly fitting bras and every time I put on a colourful or lacy one, it feels just like that first blue lace one with the pink bow that my cousin gave me almost 20 years ago.

I guess you could say that the right bra is a lot like the right shoe; it can change your whole outlook and make your entire day better.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshopWrite a post inspired by the word: bra


  1. If men only knew what we go through to get a bra that fits and is comfortable. Having it be pretty as well? Practically unheard of!

  2. I'm so glad you were finally able to find something that is functional and pretty!

  3. Bras are cool nowadays. Great story you found the perfect one. Hopefully others with fitting problems will find encouragement in your story!

  4. My sister was small chested for a long time and she hated it. In her 20s they finally came. It's been a decade now and I cannot get the girl to wear a properly fitting bra. As a former bra fit consultant it drives me insane!

    That must be very difficult to go through. I was a 32D and they were pretty much impossible to find, I had to wear a 34C instead. Now I'm always in nursing bras and they never fit right. I'm so glad that you found some bras that work for you and that you found a great fit consultant to help you!

  5. I'm the biggest in my family (Mom & sisters are A cup and I'm a D!!!) but I didn't grow significantly till my 20s. Possibly hormones?

    I remember my sister and my best childhood friend both "sprouted" early - and they go the same taunting you did, but different words. It's a shame kids are so mean. Perhaps by bringing up our kids to not be embarrassed about their changing bodies, it'll at least slow the mean comments down?

    That being said, every parent I've met has tried to do that... :S