Bras are pretty weird. I don’t know who decided that women were going to add ‘sitting their chest fat in cotton breast-hammocks’ to their dressing routine but it’s now become a well-established part of our lives. However that doesn’t make transitioning into the world of bras any easier.
Nowadays I’m more of a bralette-on-a-weekday-free-the-nipple-on-a-Friday kinda gal, and perhaps this is due to the awkwardness of shopping for actual bras as a tween. Although now I’m pretty comfortable buying anything from granny pants to lingerie (however I do draw the line at those Lovehoney pants that have a hole in the bum) it hasn’t always been this way, so after the success of my A cup post, I thought I’d treat you to another highly traumatic relataboob struggle: bra shopping.
The Size System: The problem with growing boobs (not that I’d know) is that it all happens at a rate that takes you from aged 10-11 vests to the world of ‘letter and number-beginning-with-30’ combination before you’ve had time to raid Waterstones and find the Puberty for Dummy’s guide. Is DD smaller than a D? Is 36 how old you have to be to wear the bra? Can I just hibernate in my vests a little longer until I work this completely random system out?
Pretending You Know Your Size To Avoid The M&S Measurer: (And yes 90% of the following points will probably involve M&S because if your first year of underwear wasn’t purchased from the Angel range then can you really say you hit puberty?) Please don’t try to tell 13 year old me ‘it’s her job, she sees these things all the time’ because that will only make me more adamant that I don’t want to get measured. If I buy a bra that’s too big then it will double up as a rain hat, too small then I’ll offer it to the music department as castanets, just do not tell the woman she can measure me.
The Names: I refuse to believe racerback isn’t Lewis Hamilton’s porn name. And I still don’t understand balconette.
You Will Always See Someone That You Deffo Don’t Want To See: For me, it was teachers. Every single time. I’d creep out of the changing rooms, do a few army stunt rolls to shield myself in the gap between the Per Una section and gift card display and then BAM in walks my form tutor. Meanwhile I’m wearing my first underwired bras like bangles.
Dem Sexy Patterns: Let’s be real here, M&S should be crowned cringe kings when it comes to designing their Angel bras. Yes, I may have been 12, but no that does not mean I wanted neon flip flops or orange sunflowers plastered all over my tiny tits. Even if you’d managed to find a vaguely neutral bra, the straps would have hearts stitched into them so that popular girl who’s already buying Gilly Hicks would know you shopped in M&S. Scandalous.
‘You Should Buy Matching Sets’: I cba. I cba-ed then. I cba now. Katie Price was on Loose Women the other day (…not that I watch Loose Women…) complaining about how terrible Coleen Nolan was for not matching her top n bottoms and I was just sat there like srsly? People don’t have time for dat shit KP. I have a couple sets that I wear when I want to feel like I’ve got my life together, but matching all the time would mean every time I threw a pair of pants away due to Irreversible Period Leakage, I’d have to do the same to the bra! Nope.
Going With Your Dad: It can’t just be me who was exposed to this traumatic experience,
when your dad decides you need to bond so takes you to buy some new bras, however you still don’t understand the sizing system or the names so end up stood on opposite sides of the first floor in Reading’s New Look while he holds up Generation bras and shouts ‘what about this one?’ to which I alternated nodding and shaking my head until he’d had enough. One ‘breathable’ white sport’s bra and 2 AA heart print bras were brought that day, but sadly never worn because they were two small. RIP looking my dad in the eyes ever again. But small victory because too small?? This never happens to me.
It’s So Unreflective Of How Great Underwear Is: When I sat down to write this post I realised most of these points (although not all because I’m constantly bumping into my year 8 science teacher with his wife in Boux Avenue) are so outdated for me now, and perhaps this is what makes me so annoyed. Bra shopping should be a fearless experience, but when you’re new to the game it’s unbearably overwhelming. Size guides that need to be Google translated into actual common sense, bleak changing rooms that are hidden away at the back of the store,
photos of airbrushed models in the pants you’re about to buy looking way finer than you’ll look at 24, let alone at 14. No wonder girls feel so awkward about the process when the world treats boobs as some foreign realm, used only to advertise perfume and oppress them.
Now, underwear is one of my favourite things to purchase (apart from NYX lip creams obvs) but of you’d talked about it to me maybe as little as 2 years ago the subject would’ve been completely horrifying. Why do we do this to the bb Jess’s of the world? Or if you’re a bb Jess reading this then pls know that boobs are so exciting and nothing to feel embarrassed about- even if you see your form tutor. They literally don’t care. We should be teaching each other to love the bra buying process so that girl’s don’t face the struggles we did.