— Diana Tourjee, Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2013 (via andrewgibby)
My lovely readers, I have some good news and bad news. Since I usually prefer to hear bad news first so that I have the good news to comfort me later, I’ll start with the bad news.
I’m sure many of you have noticed that I’ve been a bit MIA lately. This happens fairly often, but usually I’m not gone for long, and am able to bounce back in a timely manner. However, lately I just haven’t been able to find the time or energy to bounce back, and I don’t think I will for a few months. So, I am going on a hiatus.
The good news is the reason I’ve been too busy to run a blog—a few months ago I was accepted into a somewhat prestigious internship program at my university. This is a really awesome opportunity for me, because at the end of this program I’ll graduate with almost 2 years of job experience in my field! However, this means that I have to take a lot of difficult classes (with their big piles of homework) all at once to prepare myself for these internships. I’m having a hard time finding the time to make dinner, let alone write a quality blog post.
So, what does this mean for the blog and its readers?
Everything on the blog (+social networking) is staying up, I just won’t be posting or answering questions for a while. I will probably still post on Twitter from time to time, so if you want to keep up with me, go to my Twitter page! I will do my best to answer the remaining questions in my inbox, as I feel bad for leaving them unanswered for so long, but after that I cannot guarantee any answers until I get back. I will most likely be back around March, as that will be when I start to have free time again.
I’m sorry to leave you for so long, readers, but I thought about this a lot and it seems like the best thing to do for now. Plus, I figured that an official “bbl” post might be better than silently disappearing like I have been.
P.S. In the meantime, you should give some of these other awesome blogs a read… they are wonderful!
Anonymous said: Do you know if it would be possible to do a 38D to 28G alteration? Or would it be possible to use a Rixie clip for that? I know usually alterations are done only to make the band one, maybe two sizes smaller, but 38D is the only sister size to 28G that I could find in my country and I can't buy from the internet :(
You probably could make an alteration like that, but it might not work very well. (Also, a rixie clip would not work, it’s only meant to be used for 1-2 band sizes off.) It’ll probably do until you can get something closer to your size, but any time you alter a band down 2 or more sizes, the fit is compromised a little. Someone who needs a 38 band has a very different ribcage and boob placement compared to someone who needs a 28 band, so it’s likely that the cups will be positioned improperly and the wires will probably be too wide. You can definitely try it, but just know that if it doesn’t fit very well, it’s probably because the construction is just off.
I’m not sure what to recommend alteration-wise to avoid this, but I know you’ll have to do more than take in the band in the back. Also take in the gore, perhaps reposition the straps or bend the wires to be narrow—I’m not really sure. You should ask Dressing Curves, she is more of a sewing/alteration expert than I am, and she’s made bras before so she knows the pattern differences.
Sorry I can’t be of more help… alterations are not really my forte!
Since I’m currently working a few blocks away from a Nordstrom, I’ve been visiting a lot this summer just to try stuff on. Most of the things I’ve tried on haven’t worked very well (mostly due to Nordtrom stopping at a 30 band), but a few things worked pretty well, and I’ve had a few surprises! I’ve been taking pictures every time I’ve gone, so I’ve decided to do an end-of-SS13 Nordstrom offerings roundup before the new AW13 styles start appearing.
I tried a 30F Freya Patsy longline in Coral:
It looks really cute and gives a pretty great shape, but the fit was a bit strange on me. If you read my blog regularly, you know that in Freya bras I usually need a 28 band, so this is probably a lot of the problem. However in my opinion, this seemed loose even for a 30 band. The band felt like it would slide around all day. Not only that, but the wires were quite wide and the cups were a bit wide-set. Now, I have shallow breasts myself, but I think that I personally need more lower volume than this bra provides, and a narrower wire. I have tall-shallow breasts, and I think this bra is meant more for wide-shallow breasts. You can see this when I point out all the empty space in the bottom and sides of the cup:
I was a bit surprised by this fit at first, because I’ve owned 4 other Freya longlines (Ivy, Piper, Carys, and Nieve), and they’ve worked quite well on me shape-wise. However, I have tried a Patsy halfcup before, and that had these same shape issues, so I suppose it should be no surprise that the longline version acts the same.
I also tried a 34DD Mimi Holliday Whizz Pop Comfort bra:
Now, I know that I am silly for even trying on a 34DD, but Nordstrom doesn’t carry Mimi Holliday above a DD cup or below a 32 band (Why Nordstrom, why?? Mimi Holliday is manufactured 28-38 A-G!), and I really wanted to try it on. I had some extra birthday money and was thinking about buying a comfort bra (in 30F/28FF or 28G), but I wasn’t sure if the shape would work on me.
I was actually quite impressed with the shape—even though the band was huge on me (it slid when I moved my arms), the bra was still quite comfy and supportive. I think that the stretchy cup fabric helped it work well for my shape, but I have no idea how they managed to keep it supportive. I think that those with bigger and/or softer breasts might find that this bra isn’t supportive enough for daily wear, but I think that is why I’m at the top of the size range. :) To be clear, I would never consider buying this size, but I’m glad that I was still able to make an educated guess at which size and style to order.
This 30F Fantasie Jana was interesting:
Usually, when I go into Nordstrom, I tell the employee who is helping me that I only want to try on colorful bras, in fact I often explicitly say that I’m not interested in “nude” bras. And every single time, without fail, they bring me at least 3 beige bras. Usually, I just leave them on their hangers, but this one caught my attention because at first glance, I thought it was a balconette version of the Cleo Jude.
And when I tried it on, it fit exactly like a balconette version of the Cleo Jude. Super tight on top, a point at the apex, yet shallow on bottom, but with a higher gore and a fuller band. It didn’t seem like it was as difficult to fit, though. Obviously it didn’t work on me at all (the Jude is a terrible fit on me so this is no surprise), but I tried it on mostly for kicks and giggles. If anyone is a fan of the Cleo Jude/Neve but wishes they had a balconette version, here you go.
I found this 30FF Cleo Lucy in Navy/Pink at the nearby Nordstrom Rack, and I was surprised by the shape update:
I love to buy Cleo Lucy bras and their printed cousins (Francis, Bonnie, etc) because of the cute colors and prints, but I always have to alter them. The gore is too wide and the cups are too closed on top, but when I take in the gore, they are actually quite comfortable and only give me a little bit of quadboob. But this newer Lucy style fit pretty well even without the alteration. The cups are much more open on top, are a little bit taller, and the gore isn’t so ridiculously wide. There is also some more room at the apex, as shown on me with wrinkling cups, so the cups seem to be a bit deeper now. I have a feeling that if I altered this one, I would get even less quadboob than usual. But alas, I hate this colorway, and I wasn’t particularly fond of the SS13 purple colorway. Maybe I’ll snatch up one of the AW13 colors.
…And *drumroll* the surprise of the day, a Chantelle C Chic in 65DDDD/G (in UK sizing, that’s 30F):
Now, I have to mention that I’ve had a silly grudge against Chantelle for a long time because of my 32D-wearing-teenager days when I would be pushed into buying bras that were too mature for my age. I wanted a colorful, starry-print bra, damnit, and the most colorful 32D Nordstrom seemed to have was an ugly Chantelle bra in a dingy pink color! But this bra has changed my mind completely. It’s still a bit sophisticated for a teenager, but it’s colorful, has a cute pattern on its not-quite-opaque-not-not-quite-sheer fabric, has a cute emblem on the gore, but most importantly it’s the perfect cup shape for my tall-shallow boobs and it’s a plunge. How awesome is this bra!
Unfortunately, the smallest band size Chantelle makes is 65/30, their bands run a bit loose, so this size doesn’t quite work on me. The band doesn’t feel secure and the cups wrinkle slightly, but the next cup size down is too small. I have a feeling that a 60H would work great on me, but they don’t make this size. I might buy it and alter the band just because of the perfect shape/construction, but $70 RRP is a lot to spend for a bra I’ll have to alter.
I tried on a few other bras that weren’t worth mentioning because the fit was so off or I didn’t get a picture: a 32DDD/F Chantelle half cup that nearly fell off me, a 34DD Mimi Holliday padded superplunge with a lot of *ahem* “restraint” issues, a 30FF Cleo Marcie that I didn’t get a picture of because it didn’t fit. But overall, it’s been awesome to be able to walk over to a local store and try on bras that I like. If only I had the luxury to do this with a store that carries 28 bands (in lots of styles) near my usual house! :) As much as I whine about Nordstrom sometimes, I really do appreciate that they carry full-bust sizes that I can try on in lots of locations. I think I will always wish that they didn’t do silly things like stocking D-J Cleo bras in D-GG cups, though. (Why??)
I just wanted to start my #DiversityInLingerie post with a quick explanation for my picture before going into my main post. The main picture I’ll be posting on the twitter machine is this one: just me in my trusty Cleo Melissa asking for lingerie companies to include lots of different bodies, because they deserve representation, too. My main picture is more or less a show of solidarity—showing that just because my body type and race is currently fairly well-represented in the lingerie world, doesn’t mean that I’m not incredibly disheartened at the lack of diversity in the lingerie industry.
When I was thinking about what I wanted to make my #DiversityInLingerie post about, I thought about doing a post to include my flaws—zooming in on tiny stretchmarks, talking about why I don’t shave my armpit hair (even though I believe I shouldn’t need a reason), or showing the two scars above my lip that demonstrate that I’ve loved cats since before I learned not to piss them off.
I got these when I was 7 from a kitten named Ty (this was during the height of the beanie baby reign). I don’t want them to go away ever, because to me they symbolize my love for cats, and they look pretty cool. They’re my own unique marks. I feel the same way about the scars on my arms: they’re supposed to be “flaws,” but they remind me of the days when my baby cat, Sasha was a kitten, and would play day and night (often trying to play with my arm in the process).
And this is where I run into one problem with zooming in on my flaws—I don’t perceive any of these things to be “flaws.” Not always because of what they mean to me, but often because I simply like them. My stretchmarks are cute and fun to run my fingers over. I don’t think I should need any other reason to like them. I think it’s sad that our society is so fixated on our labels of “good” and “bad” that nobody thinks there is any chance that someone thinks that stretchmarks are cute all by themselves, even without the help of the “mom earning her tiger stripes” cliché (among others). My shortness is adorable on me. My scars are a happy reminder of how crazy my kitten acted when she was a baby. The scars above my lips are actually really cool looking, and give my mouth a curve illusion. My armpits are sort of androgynous-looking (and actually pretty soft), and they allow me take shorter showers.
But, I know that I’m lucky that I have never once thought of any of my “flaws” as flaws, because there are messages everywhere that tell me that I should be ashamed of them, even in the lingerie world (which I sometimes consider to be more diverse than the runway world). Have you ever seen a lingerie model in an ad with a visible scar or stretch mark anywhere on her body? Have you ever seen any model whose body hair wasn’t whisked away by wax or photoshop?
I’m not even asking about the big things yet. If I see a woman without a scar, at least I can look at her race and body shape/size and feel okay again. If I feel bad about my armpit hair, at least I can just shave it and stop dealing with it for a while (even though I believe I should not have to feel that way). But some people are simply not represented at all. They have no one they can identify with in lingerie ads, and sometimes lingerie companies won’t even cater to their needs at all. And often, they can’t just “take off” their traits and ignore the messages. This it the other, bigger reason why I chose to not zoom in on my “flaws” for my #DiversityInLingerie post.
If you don’t believe me, think about these questions for a bit: How many “nude” bras have you seen that didn’t cater exclusively to light-skinned women? How many bras have you seen that could work as a nude for a dark-skinned woman that were named “nude” instead of “mocha?” Have you ever seen a visibly trans woman in a lingerie ad? What about a woman with implants who wasn’t sporting a “porn-star look?” A plus-sized woman in something that wasn’t frumpy or matronly? An older woman in something sexy and fun? What about a woman with a visible disability, or an androgynous woman? There are so many different body types out there, and I know people who have some of these traits who are beautiful people. Yet, the lingerie industry currently only focuses on one type of body: white but tan, slightly curvy but not TOO curvy, thin, young, not visibly disabled, traditionally feminine, and conventionally attractive.
Even the most diverse ads I’ve seen are often lacking something. Ads with lots of different skin colors where everyone has the same standardized body shape. Ads with lots of different body shapes and sizes where everyone has the same skin color. Ads containing women with implants who look like the stereotypical (aka not the average but perceived to be the average) implant receiver. Diversity isn’t something you can just insert tokens into until people stop bothering you—it’s the mindset that everyone is beautiful in their own, unique way and deserves representation. And it’s something that I firmly believe in, even as someone who is currently fairly well-represented.
If you want to participate in the #DiversityInLingerie tag, you totally can! Just post a picture of yourself holding the sign on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, your blog, or whatever. You can even send your post to me if you’d like, and I’ll post it for you. (Consider sending it to Braless in Brasil, as she’s the one who kicked this whole thing off!) You don’t need to be dressed in lingerie, you don’t need to show your face, and you don’t need to show your “flaws.” You don’t need to be under-represented, in fact, you can even be someone who would be hired to the Victoria’s Secret Angels in a second. The point is to show that everyone is aching for diversity, not just the under-represented.
Remember to check out Braless in Brasil’s original post—she is the one who had this idea and kicked it off, and she has reached so many people already. She’s done an excellent job!
Anonymous said: I know I've never worn the right bra size, so I recently took my measurements to figure out what my size should be. My band size should be a 48 (I'm plus size woman, and I've been squeezing into a 38 band for far too long), but I came up with an E cup size, which seems way too big! My boobs are on the smaller size, especially for someone my weight, and I would think I'd need more of a C cup. I guess I'm just curious if I'm misinformed about just how large an E cup really is. Thoughts?
Don’t worry, many people are shocked to find their new size because department stores (and the incorrect +4 method of measuring) would like you to believe that A-DD are the only cup sizes that exist. ;) However, there’s a whole lot more sizes than that—21 cup sizes are currently manufactured, from AAA to M. There’s a whole lot more diversity out there than what 5 cup sizes can cover! :) So, instead of looking at it like you need the 6th cup size out of 5 cup sizes (aka bigger than the biggest size there is), look at it like you need the 7th cup size out of 21 cup sizes (aka the higher end of “small,” which I think it what you would call “more of a C cup”).
Here’s the rest of your ask:
Oh, previous anon again (about the 48E sizing), I forgot to mention that I was concerned by the cup size because I figured that back fat would throw off the cup size. Wouldn’t my overbust measurement be thrown off add fat from the back? I wish I could figure out my cup size simply by measuring the perimeter of my breasts.
Now, unfortunately, I am not really an expert on plus-size bra fit, so I don’t know if I can answer this question as well as someone else could. Women who need a band size greater than 36 have very different fitting challenges than women who need sub-36 band sizes, and the measuring guide isn’t always as accurate for 36+ bands. However, I can link you to resources that may help you figure out which method of measuring will be most accurate for you. If you make a fit check post on the ABraThatFits subreddit (just measurements, pictures aren’t necessary), there are several ladies there who know a lot about 36+ bra fitting who can help you find the best starting point. :) Sorry I can’t be of more help. :(
Anonymous said: I feel I have to wade in and provide a normally unheard perspective - wide shoulders! I wear a 30GG, and I've never tried a bra with straps that are wide enough. The straps sit at an angle, which causes all kind of problems for fit. I try on so many bras and wish the straps were an inch or so wider, so they wouldn't flatten my boobs sideways. It makes me look like I have pecs not boobs! Not everyone is petite! I feel like a unicorn when people act like wide straps are a crime against boobs.
That’s interesting, thanks for your perspective! :) To be clear, it’s not that I think that wide-shouldered women don’t exist, I just think it’s strange that there are almost NO options for narrow-shouldered women. I wish you luck in finding a bra with wide enough straps! :)