It’s an issue that has plagued me since puberty, a problem I have no real way of combatting. Why is it that all bras for busty girls look like they’ve been pulled out of your Granny’s knicker draw? Is it so crazy that a busty or curvy girl might want to wear a bra that is flattering, or god forbid, sexy?
I don’t think I’m asking for much. A simple bralette that covers more than half a nipple, a strapless bra that doesn’t look like a misshapen wad of skin-coloured fabric, a nice lacey bra who’s straps don’t resemble a five-lane highway. Simple desires…
Every time I attempt bra shopping I leave the store feeling like a balloon-chested freak. On a lunch break, a friend and I made our way to our local lingerie store. There was a very expensive bra in the window I’d been longing for forever, and my pay had just come in. I scoured the rack, disappointed to find the store did not have my size, but I settled for something in the next cup-size down hoping to get an idea of the shape and fit. Really, I shouldn’t have bothered. The bra had so much push-up that if I turned my head down to my chest I’d likely be suffocated by the cushion of boob below me. The shop assistant barged into my change room demanding to see the fit, only to remark that it looked ‘fine’. I was pretty shocked by this assessment considering the bra barely even closed at the back and that my boobs could now be classified as airbags. So, instead of debating the logistics of the bra, I asked her if she had any others in a similar style, to which she enthusiastically replied yes, they had something that would suit me perfectly.
The bra that she pulled from the rack looked like something a clown had vomited on. Not only was the print horrible, but it was a ruffled, unpadded mess of grandma-lingerie. The kind of bra that you see an F cup octogenarian wearing to keep her breast from scraping the floor. I’m 22, and for some crazy reason would like my clothing to reflect my age and personality. When I told the woman that the bra she handed me just wasn’t my taste, she told me that women with breasts my size can’t afford to be picky.
I am not a small person. I am tall, wide and big-chested. Walking through a shopping centre it’s almost like there is some club for the slight skinny people of the world – some societal joke that only those of certain height or weight can be part of. More often than not a shopping trip will force me into a pit of depression – nothing fits me, what does fit me makes me look like a large, lumpy sausage. And here is the crux of the issue. I am not ridiculously overweight, in fact I’m below the national average, so why is it that it’s so impossible for me to find lingerie or even clothing that fits my size? It’s as if I’m being forced out of the retail market, turned away until I can morph my body into what society deems to be acceptable.
I won’t lie and say that the size of my breasts hasn’t been an issue most of my life. From fitting into dresses, to swimming in a bikini, I’m constantly concerned with my chest and worried that whatever I’m wearing may make me look like I’ve shoved two melons down the front of my shirt. But I have to wonder, if there were more clothing options available to me, would I still be feeling this way? I won’t pretend that I don’t gravitate to things that make my chest pop, my self-esteem is not amazing and there have been points in my life where I have felt that the mounds of fat on my chest might be the only thing going for me, and I believe we should all be able to dress in a way that makes us feel confident and beautiful, but I increasingly feel like this is the exact opposite of what the fashion industry wants of me. I feel like the limited options that are available for my size are forcing me into a box, a box that’s filled with shapeless dresses and granny lingerie. The older I get, the more I feel I am being persecuted for my size, reaffirming a deep and unspoken insecurity that my body is anything but beautiful.