They say everything’s bigger in Texas. On behalf of the bustier mamas, I’m here to postulate that — seriously y’all — bigger ain’t always better.
Since puberty, my chest trended toward the larger-than-average size. I wore a C-cup in elementary school. As my body continued to mature into my high school years, my bra size grew. Far from helping me feel attractive as a young woman, the burden weighed on me (in more ways than one) during my formative years and into adulthood.
I hope my experience resonates with local mamas who have shouldered a similar burden: You’re not alone! And to those who long for a bigger bust: Maybe you’ll start to see your bra cups as half full rather than half empty.
If the Shirt Fits
As a young woman, dressing youthfully posed a challenge. Cup size often dictates top and dress size (i.e., large despite a medium build overall). Although I was gifted with a full chest, I was not similarly blessed with the style or confidence to dress myself well. I also struggled with my weight until well after college.
For years, I hid a lumpy figure inside overlarge printed shirts and baggy jeans that screamed, “I am not comfortable in my skin.” Feeling devoid of feminine grace, I adopted (but did not pull off) boyish haircuts. I hoped to disappear within these disguises. I know now that I probably drew more attention to my ungainliness than if I’d put forth the smallest effort. But at the time, I believed I had failed at becoming a woman.
I realize much of that insecurity sprang from common awkwardness of my age. Time and experience teach us self-acceptance. Eventually, with the pressures of school behind me and a career starting out, my early 20s filled with possibility — and freedom I hadn’t enjoyed before — I developed twin passions for cooking and cardio. I caught the running bug and quickly learned that a properly fitting bra is essential for comfortable, injury-free workouts.
That’s not an exaggeration, ladies — those things get heavy! Hang them carelessly in any old sling, and you can expect a lot of painful bouncing, blistering, and backache when you hit the trail. Busty gals require a special kind of sports bra (read, well-engineered and reinforced). But brands and styles readily available on the rack at your local Target offer little in the way of much-needed support. Hint: The accompanying printed materials feature B-cup models who don’t need much more than a padded strip of nylon when engaging in high-contact sports.
I tried and rejected a variety of these offerings — thinking wrongly that if I just found a big enough bra, the gals wouldn’t jostle so on my daily runs. It was time to seek a professional fitting, and then embrace online shopping.
Size Me Up
I imagine my experience mirrored those of many ladies who nervously seek out That Woman in the lingerie section of higher-end department stores. She spotted me immediately and knew I needed help. The fleeting embarrassment paid off. As a fellow blogger will attest, finding the right fit in bra size helps tremendously with lift, support, and overall confidence.
A professional fitting revealed I’d been buying bras a half cup size too small and two band sizes (ribcage circumference) too large! No wonder I had never felt comfortable in clothes my size. My chest had drooped and sagged unflatteringly in ill-fitting bras. Armed with knowledge of what to buy, I found that clothes fit better. I looked and felt better. But few specialty lingerie shops or department stores carry a choice of well-made styles in larger sizes. Inventory seems to max out somewhere around a D-cup, and at that point band sizes smaller than 36 inches are rare.
A bit of Internet searching yielded helpful articles on best plus-sized bra brands. I quickly narrowed down my options to a few promising labels I wanted to try. Then I found an online retailer and made the investment. (Shameless plug for my favorite — and not a sponsor — Breakout Bras, which offers a self-sizing guide and useful tips based on your size, style, and even tissue type!) Many such websites have excellent return policies if your order doesn’t fit quite right — so be sure to read the fine print before you toss packaging or clip tags.
I enjoyed a fleeting golden age in the bra department — fitting good and feeling great — before motherhood inevitably changed me. For the busty, pregnancy and breastfeeding augment an already uncomfortable problem into almost unsupportable proportions. I went from a 32 DD at my slimmest to a 34 H now midway through my second pregnancy. Never mind shopping to look your best! The full-chested mama struggles during these phases just to find. Something. Anything. That. Fits.
For a time, at least, we put up with the frumpier, heavier, unflatteringly bustier look. Sure, surgical options for restoring pre-baby breast shape exist, but these aren’t for me — not now, and maybe not ever. I am learning to accept my larger, less firm bosom as the life-giving, nurturing gift God intended for me. When my toddler snuggles her face into my chest like a squishy pillow, my heart melts and my burden gets a little lighter.
Love your big bust? Sick of well-endowed ladies complaining that our golden bras are too tight? Weigh in at the comments!