Candace, 13 December 2005, No comments
Categories: Bodies, Culture, Diversity, Feminism

Bitch Ph.D. wrote a post yesterday about finding a well-made and well-fitting bra.

There’s an update today with more advice and some information clarified by a bra wizard.

I think the posts are great and the advice helpful – – – for people with symmetrical breasts! Feminism has struggled with redefining beauty and worked to make space for all shapes and sizes of women, but what hasn’t happened is progress into the packaging, ribbons and bows (figurative and literal) for these diverse shapes and sizes.

I’m not specifically talking about bodies that have had surgeries and grapple with reconstructing something that isn’t there anymore, but about bodies that have grown and developed with significant differences between left and right, although the advice might help both groups.

My feet are a full size difference – which causes me problems shopping for pointe shoes. If I were rich I’d buy a pair of each size so that both could fit (and be safe) but student + artist = poor so it’s just not happening.

Usually though my feet survive nicely with half sizes. As long as street shoes don’t rub in the wrong way I find I can wiggle one foot of toes better than the other, but both are sufficiently happy. Sandals are great. Ask Woman in Comfy Shoes. The problem gets more serious as I climb upwards. My chest is lopsided. One breast must be at least a full cup size different than the other. I can’t be sure because the standard “how to measure your size” doesn’t work for me.

Before I gained this latest fifteen pounds (it’s been a tough semester), it wasn’t as big of an issue. Both breasts were As or less so I was happy wearing no bra, just an undershirt if my nipples were ultra sensitive (like during ovulation) or on rare occasions I could find a nice bra. I discovered though that most A cup bras are made for tiny people (which I’m not). I’m a tall woman, hardly petite and a 32” band just isn’t going to go around me.

Then I gained some weight.

And grew breasts.

Two very different breasts.

Now I feel more comfortable wearing a bra, but it’s hard to find anything that fits right. I’ve found this one and other similar ones that have no cup that follow a small/medium/large sizing chart but day after day they get kind of dull. I have one in pink, one in blue, and one in burgundy but it just isn’t variety like what I see when I go to the sites Bitch Ph.D. recommended. The ones I have are made with stretchy fabric (lycra and tactel) instead of a wire and formed cup so that the fabric stretches only as much as needed. This seems to be my only choice if I don’t want one side squeezed (too much mastitis in my past) or one side full of air.

Padded bras were suggested to me once – but I like my body the way it is. I don’t want to construct something that isn’t me, I just want to find something that fits. My mémère, during her years of being a single mother of six made custom undergarments for women – brassieres and corsets, and if she was still around, I might ask her how common this situation was. It might be a solution for me to consider but I don’t suppose that a custom seamstress is any more affordable than a pair of pointe shoes. I just want to go somewhere, find something I like, and know that one of the sizes will fit.

Supporting all shapes and sizes isn’t sufficient unless that support translates into goods and services that meet our needs.


No Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. bitchphd
    13 December 2005, 2:36 pm

    It’s a pain, but it’s possible to take in one of the cups. I only know how to do it with underwires, though. Buy a bra that fits the bigger breast, and then roll the cup fabric on the other breast around the underwire on the outside (by your ribcage) until it’s smooth. Then just use a needle and thread to sew it down to the fabric covering the underwire.

    Of course, having to alter your bras is a pain. I’m surprised, actually, that there aren’t more manufacturers of stretch-type bras without underwires. Maybe try just doing a search on Amazon, if you haven’t already?

Leave a Reply:

Name *

Mail (hidden) *