Over the Shoulder Boulder Holders

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A recent post over on Candy’s blog about a trip to Victoria Secret, and just what Vicky’s secret is, got me to thinking about the subject of brassieres.

The history of ladies undergarments is quite involved and rather than retelling it all, you can read the Wikipedia entry on it HERE. Needless to say, the names of Otto Titzling and Phillip de Brassiere have had me giggling for years (say them slowly…). And yes, Titzling is the answer to a question in the original edition of Trivial Pursuit. I have a number of issues with bras. They focus on support, aesthetics, and price and I’ll try my best to address all three of these items while throwing in some great anecdotes. Men, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to wear anything quite so binding around your nether regions.

I have serious doubts that women out there with A, B, or even C cups will be able to understand my issues with support and what I like to call the “pretty factor”. A trip to the local mall or department store will provide you with ample opportunities to see a huge selection of bras. You’ll find cutesy ones with Disney characters on them, gingham prints, flashy colours, various patterns, strapless, ones that do up in the front, others that push them up and together to give you cleavage where you didn’t have any before, satin, silk, lace, etc. They’re gorgeous. Sexy. Women want to wear them and men want the opportunity to take them off. But who gets to wear these beautiful bras? These tiny pieces of cloth that barely cover one of my breasts let alone two? Simple. Women with tiny petite breasts that don’t NEED to wear bras. Do these stores filled with racks and shelves of undergarments have anything in them for the average or slightly above average sized woman? Not on your life.

Good luck trying to find anything in these stores, or even your local Walmart that is bigger than a D Cup or, if you’re really lucky, a DD Cup. Chances are if you manage to find that elusive DD, it will be a size 34 or 36. This boggles the mind and conjures up images of an anorexic Pamela Anderson with yet another boob job. Most stores, including lingerie shops (at least here in Canada) don’t carry anything larger than a D. For anything bigger, you have to go to Sears, Walmart, Zellers, etc. However, larger breasted women get cheated. Sure they might be able to finally find something in their size at these department stores but they’re often ugly, not pleasing to the eye or touch (from either than male or female POV), and purely functional. Sure they keep your girls up where they’re supposed to be, but why don’t we get to feel pretty?

Oooh, problem solved – the “plus-size” store. I don’t know about the larger urban centres such as Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, but in smaller cities, you’re limited to one, possibly two choices. These are Addition-Elle (I guess they figure by having the name of the store in French won’t make big girls feel fat) or Penningtons. But guess what, they’re owned by the same company. Great. Now, don’t get me wrong, I buy most of my clothes at Addition-Elle. They’re stylish and cut to fit women with breasts, hips, and a bit of booty. Trust me, if you buy all your clothes at Walmart (as my stepmother does), once you try on a shirt that’s actually cut properly for a plus size, you’ll never want to shop at a department store again. But I digress. AE sells lingerie. This includes bras that go up to an H Cup (H=hallelujah!). Naturally this would be a god-send for larger breasted gals. Unfortunately no.

AE’s lingerie, everything from bras and panties to teddys, robes and pyjamas, are, like the rest of their clothes, well made and sexy. And they’re designed to accommodate those of us with larger than average bosoms. They’re also relatively well priced. I believe on average they’re about $50 – 60 each. Not too shabby for one that fits properly! You’re probably thinking what am I complaining about then? Support. They have none. Even their push up bras (why you’d want to be able to rest your chin on your cleavage is beyond me) are not supportive. Sure they have underwire models and the bands are wider than you’d find on a C Cup. The problem lies in the straps. They remind me of the ones you’d find on a training bra. And they’re too stretchy. There’s no firmness whatsoever. Of course you don’t want a steel band over your shoulder holding them up (ok, some of you out there might but that’s a WHOLE other conversation) but you’d like them to stay in place when you breath right? Your breasts shouldn’t jiggle when you exhale. If you’re looking for something that will make you feel super sexy, and cause your partner’s jaw to hit the floor when they see your breasts ensconced in lovely ribbon of satin and lace, this is the place to go. Chances are if you’re not planning on your bra staying on that long, who cares about support right? Let your partner get a good look, then, let them rip it off and have some fun.

For years I was on the ultimate quest – to find that elusive supportive, sexy bra that fit just perfectly. Well, ladies and gents. I found them but at a cost. And I do mean financially. After struggling to find a bra that fit right, let alone look hot, I finally decided to get my breasts fitted for the appropriate attire. This entailed a visit to a specialty lingerie shop far away from the local malls. Enter Dawn’s Bra-Tique (no web site unfortunately). Cheesy name, yes but Dawn’s was a gift from heaven. I’ve never had a woman just barge into the dressing room while I’m still getting dressed and then proceed to slide her fingers under my cups and have a quick feel. I realize this sounds dirty but I doubt either one of us really enjoyed it. After a short discussion of what I wanted (sexy supportive) and the realization of what my actual size was (ha….not bloody likely!), she brought me 7 or 8 different ones to try on. I was stunned. That many to choose from? That was just the beginning she assured me. I almost fainted. 30 minutes later I had purchased my first great bra, a lovely blue lacey number. I could have purchased three of it’s equally pretty but non-supportive cousins from the other store for what I paid for this one. Was it worth it? Well, within a few months I had gone back and purchased the same bra in two other colours and picked up a pair of knickers. I’d say yes, it was. My breasts have never been happier.

So there you have it. Big boobs generally means you have to make sacrifices most smaller breasted women don’t have to. If you want support, you have to sacrifice pretty. If you want pretty, you have to give up support. If you want support and pretty, you’ll have to shell out well over a hundred bucks for the goods. However, in my opinion, it’s well worth the extra expense. This is one of those situations where you definitely get what you pay for.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

If you have larger breasts it is certainly worth it to go to a specialty lingerie shop where they fit you properly. I started doing that a couple of years ago and have never regretted it (or regretted the extra cost).

ems said...

Fantastic post. I do have a similar problem but that's because I have a very small back size combined with a D cup (I hope to God I don't look like an anorexic Pammy; they're definitely real). I cannot even get a decent bra in M&S.

Which is why I am thankful for Bravissimo . Wonderful, wonderful place.

kelly said...

sometimes its so good to be a guy...

once wheile I was waiting patiently outise a lingere shop i noticed a sign that said something like "Professional bra fitter on site"...I thought to myself...could be tme for a career change

Tanya said...

OH brilliant! I applaud this post. SO true. I also wondered about the 34 DD bras I would see. Urgh. Skinny plastic freaks.

I recently bought 2 new bras. Nothing pretty. I asked the lady if they had something pretty in my size, and her terse "No", indicated that I had been a fool for asking.

Red said...

Great post, Karen. It reflects exactly my own experience of bra-buying: no pretty and supportive lacy numbers for us buxom ladies, it would seem. And if there are, you pay through the nose for them.

But you're right: it's worth paying the money for a nice, sexy, supportive number that doesn't leave two deep grooves across your shoulders and your breasts jiggling like jelly at the mere hint of a raucous laugh...

Wandering Coyote said...

Great post, Karen. I'm a 40DD and it's a bitch to get stuff at Wally World. La Senza used to carry up to a 40D, which is what I was in uni, but they've cut back on their sizes and now only carry stuff for the smaller gals out there - a total piss off. The Bay is pretty good, but they're expensive and, in my case, I don't have access to one out in the boonies. I've shopped at AE but never bought their bras. It's also a pain in the ass to get a sports bra that fits. My big beef is underwires and how they poke your armpits after so much wear and tear. Why don't they design the underwire to have a T shape at the top where your armpit is? It's so effing simple! I just had to throw out my favourite bra because of this, which was otherwise stiff functional, and I thought, just this simple addition would make all the world of difference.

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