People bind their breasts for all kinds of reasons, and whatever yours might be, there are a few options out there to choose from in terms of how you go about it.
Probably the most basic of these is Ace bandages, available at just about all pharmacies and department stores and anywhere that has medical or first aid supplies. It’s good to get the wide, 5″ one, as it provides better coverage, and make sure you get one long enough to wrap around you a few times.
Start the bandage on either side of your torso, wrap it around and secure it with 2-3 butterfly clips (they come with the bandage – but they go missing easily and also can potentially poke through to your skin if you don’t put them over enough layers). Be careful not to wrap it too tightly – you might be tempted to the first time but you have to be able to breathe and move normally/comfortably or you’ll be miserable all day/night. If you’re wearing the bandage for a while it could shift/drop/move, etc., so you might have to readjust.
If you’re binding regularly and/or don’t like the hassle of dealing with the bandage, you could try a binder / compression shirt. They can be a bit tricky to put on at first — and again, it’s important not to get one that’s too tight or you’ll have problems — but they come in a variety of styles and offer a lower maintenance way to bind on the regular.
Come As You Are (a kickass Canadian sex toy company that also provides helpful tips for choosing a binder) has several styles available from a trans-owned company in Taiwan that specializes in making binders for FtMs, and “because they are made for transmen, they tend to fit well and discreetly under clothing.”
I haven’t tried these yet so if anyone has, please share your feedback; I’d be interested to know if they breathe better than most compression shirts. I’ve tried some by Underworks, and they get the job done but have a tendency to become mini-saunas when it’s hot.
Tip: for a more male-chested look, pull your breasts up and out towards your armpits under the binder.
Sidenote: For transmen who don’t have the financial means to get a binder, there’s the Big Brother Used Binder Repository – a service where guys who need binders can inherit them from guys who don’t need theirs anymore. It’s really for transguys only, though; anyone else should go elsewhere, please.
Got tips and tricks? Share them in the comments!
A Tip for Chicks With Giant Racks From a Chick With a Giant Rack
Get yer ass fitted. Seriously. You could potentially wear the wrong size for years and years and there are so many nice old ladies out there who want to free you of this torture. Do not go to Victoria’s Secret or a chain lingerie store because Victoria’s Secret CANNOT HANDLE OUR SHIT. Do you want your breasts to say HEY WHAT’S UP or be a bulge that makes your shirts fit funny?
Girl you do not even know how good your breasts could look!
I wore the wrong size (36DD) for years and years — since probably eighth grade. As you can imagine, eighth grade was TERRIFYING. And finally a good friend convinced me to go to a specialty shop — this place called Bratenders on Ninth avenue (in Manhattan) where this woman seriously took one look at me topless, disappeared into the racks of underwear and emerged with a 32G which fit like magic. It was $70 for one, but it was magic. Totally worth it.
Wearing something that actually fit and supported them properly made them look awesome in a way I didn’t exactly recognize they could. I developed early — I’m actually really shy about my rack, I joke about it as a defense mechanism ’cause I was tortured about it. SO having them look actually pretty awesome was a nice change.
The people at the bra-fitters were super nice. They tried to talk me into some lacy over-the-top stuff but I explained I wanted something really basic, and they complied.
What To Do With Boobs from a Queer Fat Femme Perspective
By Bevin Branlandingham of QueerFatFemme.com
As someone whose ample rack is often the first thing people notice, I have come a long way. I was uninspired by my boobs for a long time. Plus size since I was a little kid, my first interaction with bra shopping was a huge rack of unimpressive beige things that were fiddly and not exciting to wear at all. It stayed that way through my late teens, when I was certain that underwire was the devil and was going to be uncomfortable no matter what.
I didn’t wear a sexy or interesting bra until I was out of college and working at Lane Bryant. I tried on their brand new Plunge bra and haven’t gone back since. I thought cleavage was something that real lesbians didn’t expose, since I was still under the impression that one had to be androgynous to be attractive to the same sex. This is not the case. Being self-assured and genuine about my gender expression has gotten me way more laid than hiding myself (and my cleavage) under baggy clothes and frumpy bras.
So as a fashionable plus size Femme, having a good bra with excellent support and generous cleavage is really important to me. It is also the foundation for every outfit I wear. I, personally, believe very strongly in the Cacique Plunge bra. They are pricey (around $40 a piece) but you can get them cheap by buying a lot at a time during their semi-annual sale (buy one get one free) or waiting for a Lane Bryant gift cheque. Typically I spend about $20 each.
I find the Plunge Bra does me so well it is the only bra I wear except when I do yoga or wear a specialty garment that requires a halter bra.
I love Torrid for plus size friendly convertible halter bras. I think their construction is a little better than other places I’ve seen and they are a bit cheaper than the halter bras at Lane Bryant.
For sports bras I shop at Roaman’s or other online equivalent. I have friends who use two bras at once for particularly vigorous cardio activities.
And for strapless, I believe in a piece of full-body shapewear. I have had so much drama with strapless bras moving around, shifting, generally moving towards my waist and away from where they are meant to hold up. The best luck has come from something that just sticks to my body in one glorious piece of spandex with molded underwire cups. Shapewear is a department store plus size staple. It is an investment–I’ve had the same great body shaper for years through countless formals and performances.
I think manufacturer’s bra sizing is bullshit. This is a controversial statement, but in general I think bras are just like anything that is mass-manufactured–actual sizes can wildly vary. The way cups are molded and how stretchy the elastic band on a bra is all vastly affect how a bra fits and lifts. I wear one size in the Cacique Plunge bra (44D) but if I try that same size on in any other bra manufactured by Cacique and my size might be really different.
So, just like any other clothes shopping, use your tape-measure deduced bra size as a guide and always try one size up and one size down. Take a look at how your boobs look–they should fill up the bra cups without spilling out. If there is gapping in the cup try one cup size down. If they spill over and create quad boob, move up a cup. If you are getting intense love handle spillage over the bra strap on your back, increase your band size. There are also great bra back extenders you can buy if you need an extra-long bra band.
Also, don’t be fooled by bra claims for special types of functions like “tee shirt bras” or “loungewear bras.” Just try your bras on with lots of different clothes and see how it looks under certain garments. I think a plunge looks just fine under a tee shirt.
I also feel strongly that cute bra straps are accessories. I used to think I couldn’t wear tank tops without a strapless bra and I was wrong. It is way hotter to have a really cute lacy bra strap coordinating with my overall look. And besides, most of the time tank tops are supposed to be sexy or comfortable and I think this look is well achieved with a good bra strap.
I leave you with my final tip for a good cleavage-enhancing time. You can use knee high nylons tied closed with about a cup of rice in them placed under your boob in a bra a cup size or two above your current cup size. Cheap and easy boob lift I learned from drag queens!
Editor’s Note: Dorothy Allison complemented Bevin on her cleavage once. Just so you know.
Autostraddle’s Picks For Large Racks
1) Lane Bryant Sateen Convertible Plunge Bra – $42 – (up to 46DDD) – Convertible straps can be crossed or done away with altogether. Also looks hot with plunging necklines.
2) Panache Tango II Unerwired Bra -£28 – (34 DD – 44HH UK sizes) – Bet you didn’t even know what “Australian leaf embroidery” looked like, amirite?
3) Lane Bryant Lace Plunge Bra – $36 – (up to 46DDD) – Pick-your-own cleavage with “removable air pads that offer a little or a lot of lift.”
4) Torrid Black Sizzling Strapless Microfiber Bra – $32 – (38DD – 44DDD) – Adjustable/convertible clear straps.
5) Glamorize Women’s Full-Figure Sports Bra – $42 – (32D – 48F) – Seamless non-stretch cups, moisture-wiking fabric – designed to fit/flatter. Is also nice for everyday.
6) Le Mystere Dream Fit Minimizer Bra – $31 – (34D – 44E) – If you’re interested in reducing fullness by at least one cup size, this’ll do it and it’s the right price. Also it’s really easy to cut off that bow in the middle if you’re allergic to bows.
7) Fantasie Anna Underwire Balcony Bra – $51 – (up to 40H) – This is just super cute, reminds me of sitting on the porch drinking lemonade.
8.) Panache Cleo D-G Cup Rita Floral Print Bra – $43.03 – (3o DD – 38I) Featuring an underwired full cup design, an all-over floral print, a lace trim to the cops and a bow detail to the centre.
9) Wire-Free Front-Hook Seamless Leisure Bra – $29.99 – (38B – 54G) Ideal for laying around with your top off all day.
10) Victoria’s Secret Full Coverage Cotton Bra – $26.50 – (up to 44DD) – This gingham makes me want to have a picnic on my rack.
Our resident fan of all things flowery, lacy and girly, likes these ones best:
1) Panache Superbra Tango – $26.90 – This looks like a really soft satiny pillow thing, which is exactly what you want your tits to seem like.
2) Lepel Bouquet Lace Strapless Bra – $35.86 – For under that dress you’re gonna take off.
3) Topshop Pink Ditsy Floral Underwired Bra – $36 – Pink ditsy floral underwire bra with mixed print straps and trim and wooden buttons.
4) Betsey Johnson “Rebel Rose” Bump M’ Up Bra – $42 – (32B – 36D) – This looks super innocent, maybe you can fool somebody or tell the truth.
5) Chantelle Intimates ‘Romance – 2745’ Underwire Demi Bra – $108 – (32A – 38E) – This is totally see-through and really fancy looking and features “two-part construction for more support, while the low-profile design is ideal under plunging necklines.” Or, you know. Necking.
6) Gap Favorite uplift contrast bra – $28.50 – (32A- 36D) – A little push-up and a little bit of padding and you’re super comfortable but it’s also really kind, like flirty sheets.
7) Pink Lace Overlay Balcony Bra and Mini – $44 – (32A – 36DD) – It’s like a creamsicle for your breasts with lace.
8.) Sparkle & Fade Colorblock Bra Top” – $34 – This bra was “inspired” by a “corset.” Some chicks really dig corsets for real. Hidden side zipper for removing while spooning.
9) Emporio Armani Gardenia Lace Balconette Bra – $64.55 – (32A – 36E) – This is black and mysterious, like sex before you’ve had it.
10) Panache Sophie Support Bra – $46.20 – (30D – 40JJ) – Sexy and also supportive, like a really good girlfriend.
During the process of writing this post we also discovered a great site called X-Chrom, which sells “surgical bras” for various procedures such as mastectomies, breast reduction and breast augmentation. So CHECK IT OUT.
Okay everyone talk about your tits now! Share your tits tips tricks!
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Someone really needs to educate the American public/manufacturers about bra sizes. This myth that everyone is a 34-40 B-DD or a 32 A or B is ridiculous, and results in so many unnecessary back problems, unhappy boobs, and low self-esteem.
I wear either a 32DD or a 30E. It’s not the most problematic of sizes, but it still makes my life difficult. Because I don’t live near (and frankly can’t afford) a boutique, I have to order everything off the internet.
I should mention that Calvin Klein is great for petite women with big boobs. You can find sales online at Bare Necessities and Her Room. Panache…not so much, unless you want to shorten all the straps yourself.
European companies, like Freya, also have many fans among well-endowed American ladies. Apparently Europe has their shit together.
I am all about Freya. I buy a new bra every time I find a cheap one on ebay (unless it is truly horrifically patterned) and then I get to toss an old, ill-fitting bra of my past. Win.
I absolutely LOVE Freya. I used to be a 30F and my best bras were from them.
(Then my insurance paid for a reduction, so I’m a 30D now, and I highly recommend others check into their insurance policies–if you want to be smaller, it might be easier than you think.)
I WANT A BREAST REDUCTION
36DD is just getting ridiculous. Although it’s no F…
I’m right there with ya on the 36DD.
I know I’m way (WAY WAY) late to this party, but I’d just like to say that cup size is nothing without band size. A 36DD is actually technically only one cupsize larger then a 30F. You see, in sister sizes (which relates to cup volume) a 30F=32E=34DD=36D=38DD. It’s all related to ribcage/band size. :)
Thanks for the Freya rec! They look amazing. Small-band and large-cup sizes can be kind of impossible to buy for sometimes…
Checking Freya out right now. I’m a 30C, which seems to be one of the most elusive bra sizes out there. The American manufacturers just need to accept that some of us don’t have huge or tiny racks, we’re just all-over smaller than everyone else.
Hi my name is Gail Cockrell
I am an extra full D cup
My breasts are very firm and stick straight out
I have asked to be a bra model many times
I also have pose for some men’s magazines 💝
Hi my name is Gail Cockrell
I am an extra full D cup
My breasts are very firm and stick straight out
I have asked to be a bra model many times
I also have posed for some men’s magazines
I am 58 years old and an Arkansas school teacher 💝
Yes yes yes to getting remeasured – I did it a couple of years ago and couldn’t stop going on about it to everyone, like some kind of bra evangelist. But it’s so worth it.
It’s like transforming your relationship with your boobs from this stand-offish acknowledgement of each other’s existence into TEAM BOOB via a training montage complete with 80s soundtrack, and suddenly the world is your oyster/victim to be crushed betwixt your newly empowered cleavage.
I beseech you, queer ladies of the world, to go forth and be remeasured, leave behind that saggy 34C and embrace your true destiny of 32FUCKYEAH.
“leave behind that saggy 34C and embrace your true destiny of 32FUCKYEAH.”
I officially love you.
Where does one get measured? Would chain stores like Macy’s or Victoria’s Secret do a decent job? Going to the mall gives me a panic attack anyway and now I have to ask people who look like they hate their jobs to measure my boobs?! This sounds very scary!!!
Google or look in the yellow pages for a dedicated lingerie store in your town. A place that sells pretty much bras and nothing but bras, and carries every size known to man, is going to do the best job.
The salespeople at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, etc. are usually pretty good too – a salewoman at Nordstrom’s fixed my sizing issues and found me a style that really worked for me (Donna Karan Underwire Sports Bra 35137 – best bra EVAH for every larger gal who want real support all day long and wants the girls to look GOOD under clothes)
If you are very shy about going to someone at a store, herroom.com has good guides for sizing yourself, lots of notes on sizing variations for various styles, and they have a very simple return policy, so you can order a couple of sizes to try if necessary. (They also have ‘bounce test’ videos for sports bras – how cool is that?)
YES. Herroom is amazing. I went to specialty stores & got fitted every so often for YEARS, but (surprise surprise) I was always the biggest cup size they had – how lucky they had it in stock! Except that those cup sizes never really fit, and it took the internet to realize that there is such a thing as a JJ cup, and I am it.
Cannot recommend that site enough for larger cup sizes, though their search feature is a little wonky once you get up in the larger cups (different manufacturers all have different sizing guides – they’ve got a great chart that converts everything, but it can take a little while to sift through it all.)
The mall gives me panic attacks, too. :( I’d recommend looking up a fancy bra store that isn’t attached to a chain, since those are rarely in malls, and asking if they do complimentary fittings. Many of them do, and there’s no obligation to buy anything.
My friend used to work at La Senza as a bra specialist (that was her actual title) and it was her favourite retail job of all time, because she got to make women feel good about her bodies. Chances are you’ll meet someone who likes their job.
I feel like this deserves a comment award. Where’s Laneia?
Excellent work Ladies!
Must check out Bra*Tenders next time I’m in NYC…
telling us where you’re going in nyc cancels out the entire point of being carmen sandiego. at least give us a clue!!!
But she didn’t say WHEN she will be in NYC. *hums Rockapella theme song*
but it’s WHERE in the world is carmen sandiego..not WHEN in the world is carmen sandiego showing up to this specific location ;)
You guys, the game is Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego. You don’t know where she is NOW, that’s the point!
1) i love refreshing the page and having a brand new feature article to peruse whilst scarfing down easter chocolate
2) omg rice in your bra, wouldn’t it be so cool if all day you walked around with a cup of rice in a nylon in your bra and by the time you got home, exhausted, it was cooked and delicious, you would be like your own slow cooker, shut up that would be amazing
Japan has got you covered. Kind of. See->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ru8paaz_fI
if that hadn’t been narrated by a british woman i don’t think i would’ve watched the whole thing. but what happens when you put a t-shirt on?
That bra would max out my upper-body fashion capability, so I think I just wouldn’t.
That bra would max out my upper-body fashion-bearing capability, so I think I just wouldn’t.
JAPAN. HAS. EVERYTHING.
I always thought the Huns were kinda gross with their meat “cooking” method, but somehow the addition of boobs into this method makes everything 100x better.
Drag queens are an infinite source of style wisdom.
Fun fact: did you know that two pairs of nylons is sufficient to hide even the most epic leg hair from uppity relatives who insist you wear cocktail dresses to fancy dinners?
Rly? As in, if I just wear two pairs of sheer pantihose, no hair will be visible?
I work in an office where stockings are necessary with skirts. But, I also like not shaving my legs for six months the cooler months. You could be about to revolutionise my (Australian) winter.
So much yes to the getting remeasured! But, also! You probably need to do that every six months! I know! It’s weird, but it’s the way it goes.
If you are a generously-racked lady who wishes to buy a bra, and you live in the UK, I beseech you to head down to Bravissimo. You stand there, they eyeball you, you tell them what kind of bra you want and they bring them to you. No endless browsing and getting irritated. It’s awesome. Not cheap, but awesome. And the bras last for-fucking-ever. My favourite of all of their bras are made by Freya.
I need a butch spots bra
Where can i get the shops of it at Polokwane Limpopo
Just realised I had a dream last night were I was wearing a bra. So that’s weird. I really only wear tank tops instead of bras because I think the band right under my boobs is weird. Anyone else? Also there is uneven amount of fabric and my stomach is then like colder than the top part of my chest?
Oh my god I have so many feelings about this. I have the chest of an 8 year old boy. It’s so frustrating! I’m a 30B but guess how many 30’s exist in store!? Not a whole lot. Only in specialty stores and this would mean washing the one bra every day for the rest of the year because they cost an arm and a leg.
So i had to deal with the 32B but let me tell you my friends, 32A/32B is not the same! It’s all about tightening the straps to compensate for the loose band but then the straps are too tight so it leaves marks (that now wont go away) and it’s just a terrible fit.
I’ve got serious issues about the nip revealage, so I can’t really go around wearing bralettes/pulling a Shane. And sports bras make me look flatter than flat ie Concave. What’s the solution??
I would kill to be
a 30B and not a
34G HEY WHAT UP!
-a bra haiku.
I HATE TINY LITTLE BOWS ON BRAS.
I never let little bows deter me from trying on bras. I’ll try one one and then if I decide to buy it I’ll just cut the bow off when I get home. Usually you can just tug on it a little and use a tiny scissors to cut the thread that holds the bow in place.
CUTTING OFF BOWS. HIGH FIVE.
One of my favorite bras had little bows on the straps and it annoyed me every time I put it on, so I didn’t wear it as much as I should have. THEN, ONE DAY, one of the bows just fell off. And I realized, crap, I could have totes cut those off at any point in the past eight months I’ve owned this bra. So I cut the other one off and now I wear it all the freaking time. MORAL: CUT OFF THE BOWS.
it’s a lot of fun to give the bow from a new bra to your ladyfriend, preferably during the day and in a public setting, so she has plenty of time to imagine what the rest of the bra looks like.
STEALING THIS IDEA
oh, i won’t not buy a bra just because of the little bow. it’s just that i can’t bring myself to burn bras because they’re so damn expensive…so i take my bra anger out on the little bows.
True / awful bow-cutting story: One time I bought a bra that had a bow. I was in such a hurry to get the damn bow off that I used a pocket knife in the parking lot. I sneezed right as I was making the cut, and the results were disastrous. I sliced my thumb and cut the bra in half. I considered trying to return the destroyed, blood-soaked thing that had only been in my possession for less than five minutes but thought better of it.
Moral: Cut the bow, ladies, but take your time / allergy meds.
This story is amazing!
A seam ripper would make bow-removal even easier! And less dangerous.
Seam-rippers for the mega-win. Also, you can cut a bitch with that, so basically keep one in your boot. OR YR BRA.
TIME TO BURN MY BRA… BOWS.
I hate them too, unless I’m deliberately wearing a femme bra, which happens rarely.
After reading this article, I decided to get dressed and put on my demi-cup bra, which I found at a bra shop when I actually had $40 to spend on a good bra.
It is covered with lace and transparent and awesome and makes me feel like my boobs are a secret garden.
Autostraddle changes lives.
(Also, I <3 this article and think people should spend more time writing about boob kindness.)
i have a number of feelings about boobs being a secret garden.
I wish I had tiny boobs. And when checking out the ladies, I’m really of the mind that anything more than a handful is a waste. Oh, boobs.
idk. I think it depends on whether said lady likes her boobs. Cos if you get to gettin’ down’n’havin’ fun with her then there’s just more to love.
Hey, different strokes for different folks.
if there’s more than a handful, that means there’s plenty for your mouth!
Thank you for existing, Autostraddle. I am one hundred percent in love with you.
Oh Autostraddle. You are a special, special place. This is such a great resource to have all together. This article right here is worth all the donations in the world!
I had my enlightening bra-fitting experience at a spot called Secrets From Your Sister in Toronto (conveniently located across from Honest Ed’s). Bought one bra new and now I troll ebay for the same brand/size. Worth every penny!
My cat loves my bras more than I do. Specifically, she likes to eat them. She has inherited one that she shredded beyond repair. It’s her favorite toy.
my cat too!!!
My cat loves a gray and yellow striped mitten.
Anytime my cat notices this mitten, it gets all of its attention. Anytime I need my cat to be anywhere it isn’t, I hold up the mitten.
“Victoria’s Secret CANNOT HANDLE OUR SHIT.”
this. truth. as a skinny girl with massive boobs I have a lot of bra feelings and that might be the number one feeling.
I got fitted at intimacy 7 years ago and it changed my life. The prices at those specialty stores are hard to swallow at first, but they last FOREVER. Only last month did I finally lay to rest the first bra I bought at Intimacy, after wearing it weekly for SEVEN YEARS! I only own 5 bras, all of which are at least two years old, and I never feel like I don’t have enough options because they are all beautiful and versatile and make me feel sexy.
Also I am a big fan of non-moulded cup bras. They have seaming and structure that means everything stays supported AND the nipple issue is a myth! There is a seam there to prevent embarrassing nipple incidents! I also just feel sexier in them. I think because I feel closer to being braless than with some chunk of styrofoam between my boobs and the world…
I will say that I might cheat on Intimacy with this Panache company… their bras look gorgeous. Thanks Autostraddle!
So, I agree about the non-moulded cup bras – but my problem with them is that the seams always show under my clothes, and I feel like it looks weird. But then I like that they have better support. Do you usually wear your non-moulded bras under t-shirts, or just things where the seams don’t show?
oh! good point. I do have one moulded cup bra that I wear under t-shirts if I am feeling self conscious / seeing my mother. I also have a non-moulded cup bra without seaming that goes with t-shirts, but nipple can show through.
I will say that 99% of the time I will wear non-moulded cup bras with t-shirts and the seaming shows a little and I am ok with it. I guess I kind of feel like its obvious that I am wearing a bra, why is it that the boobs themselves have to be perfectly smooth?
But also some seamed bras are better than others at being discrete. The once a year I go to buy a new bra I usually bring a couple of shirts so I can make sure I like the way the bra looks under clothes. Not just seaming wise either, shape and placement too.
All of that said, I get really self-conscious about cleavage. I hate it when a bra or shirt gives me obvious cleavage. Soooo everyone is picky about something…
Oh my–if seamed bras changed your life, you will LOVED Panache. I own two Tango IIs and a Harmony balconette (I believe it’s called a Melody now and uses slightly different lace.)
Another plus for the style; if you are large but not firm, with the right bra and size you will look smaller in a natural way, as opposed to the horror that is a minimizer (which just squish your boobs into your armpits). Molded bras tend to make my 4’9/36F self look like I belong on the prow of a ship; seamed bras make me look more proportional.
Hey, this is great, but: QUESTION. Is it possible to find a decent strapless bra if you are someone who has hardly any breasts (like 36A-ish) but who also really likes the support and nipple-coverage that bras give and consequently always buys bras with at least some light padding? My feeling is that a strapless bra on me would probably just fall down or flap around, but also sometimes I want to wear dresses where bra straps would just look dumb. Suggestions?
Well, with most strapless bras the support actually comes from how well it fits around your ribcage. If you can find one that fits going around well, the next challenge is finding one where the cups don’t stick out and make weird indentations in your shirt/dress/whatever.
Basically I would suggest trying a bunch on in the lower cup sizes and make sure to bring a strapless top of some sort (or even just a t-shirt) to try on over them to make sure the cups to bulge out. You should be able to find one that fits (though maybe not at Victoria’s Secret, because as mentioned, “Victoria’s Secret CANNOT HANDLE OUR SHIT”).
“To make sure the cups do not bulge out” is what I meant. In case that wasn’t clear.
Absolutely! I have small breasts (I am “the flat-chested one” amongst the less tactful of my friends) and have been able to find a strapless bra that stays up/doesn’t show nipples. I think the trick is getting one that fits securely enough and is the right size. I’d recommend jumping about in the fitting room a bit in it, just to make sure it is capable of such feats as not falling down during daily life/at dances when EVERY OTHER SONG instructs the dancers to “throw your hands in the air like you don’t care (if your strapless dress slides down with your boobs out in the air)!”
i’ve had a few strapless bras, usually i get a convertible bra so that i can use it for different things including strapless. There’s this like latex-y thing on them usually that makes it stick.
recently i’ve been doing a thing where i put on a strapless bra and then put on this super-tight seamless tube top camisole situation I got at Mandee several years ago over it and then i put on the dress.
Oh I CANNOT HANDLE that sticky latex-y business. It makes my skin hurt/turn red/freak out. Once I bought a bra that had that stuff on it and, after mostly destroying it by trying to somehow scrape it off with scissors/knives/etc., had to throw it out.
I mean part of my problem I guess is that buying new bras is only ever about #8593 on my list of life priorities, so I am just super unlikely to do the whole “try on a million styles and do a lot of little dressing room dances” thing. I love buying clothes, but it’s no fun buying clothes that you can’t even ever see. (Might be different if I were femmey enough to be into the sexy lingerie thing, but even under my fanciest dresses I’m still probably wearing boyshorts.)
also if you can find a sufficiently tight bandeau style bra that can work too…
This bra is the best strapless bra that ever existed.
I own 2. They don’t fall and I’m a tiny breasted lady.
I bought one of those today! They’re so amazing.
True story: I went bra shopping today and they had these exact same bras there! And I thought, terrific! It’s gonna be just like Autostraddlers said! And then I tried one on and there was just no way I was coming anywhere near filling the cups even of the A, though I did find another Calvin Klein bra of, nominally, the same size that fit me fine. Sad times. However, my torso’s resemblance to that of a 10-year-old boy did serve me well in buying an perfectly-fitting blazer designed for a 10-year-old boy, so there’s that.
What works for me is a balconnet type of bra with removable padding. Does marvelous things for my (small) rack.
I’m with Julie Goldman, someone needs to create a line of Butch Bras, that would be effing brilliant and make my life so much easier.
I’m incredibly picky with bras, I don’t like having any padding/molding in the cups, so there’s like one style of bra from jockey that I get.
And it took me like a decade to figure out the whole, if you don’t want your bra to show under a white shirt, wear one that is close to your skin tone.
re: the white shirt/skin-tone-matching bra — ME TOO!! I don’t even remember anymore how it is that I discovered this but I was like OHHHHHHH. I used to just wear black bras with white shirts and tell myself it looked sexy.
i once had this black long sleeve shirt that i wore ALL the time & assumed since it was black, i could wear whatever bra was clean at the time. then one night someone took a picture of me & apparently the threading on this shirt was the “thin kind” (?? i don’t know the right term here) where it didn’t matter that it was a black shirt because you could see my oh-so-white bra underneath. EVERY. TIME.
god that sucked.
I used to wear white bras with white shirts thinking that because the bra would match the shirt you wouldn’t be able to see it, but that never worked and all I gained was an aversion to wearing white shirts
A dear friend of mine and I were discussing what bra to wear under a white shirt before going out one night in college. Her mother had always told her to wear a black bra under a white shirt and my mother had always told me to wear a white bra. We could not figure out why our mothers would give us opposite advice. I am embarrassed to say that it took me years, literally years, to realize it was because she is black and I am white.
This story is amazing.
I like the idea of bras matching dildo colors. The fleshy ones. The marketing would be awesome. BUY THIS BIG BOY LUKE IN MEXI-TAN AND GET A MATCHING BRA 50% WITH THIS COUPON. Ooh, coupons.
And then you take of your shirt in front of a sexy lady, trying to also be sexy, but you happen to be wearing a freakin’ beige bra.
I have irritatingly sized boobs at 34DD (UK, not sure if it’s the same in the USA because NOTHING EVER IS). It’s not too bad, except a) I’m 16 and would feel awkward getting eyeballed by old ladies to check what size I really am, and b) Everything is either 34D or 36DD, which is NOT ME.
It’s sort of a family thing; my mother has huge breasts and she is adamant she is a 36E. I’m guessing more like 36G, but she won’t listen to me, and her quad-boobs are embarrasing in public.
But yeah, WOO BOOBS! UK gals – if you want cheap non-satin bras, Marks & Spencers are actually pretty good. I’m wearing one of their strapless bras right now, and it is a beautiful thing.
Bravissimo! Bravissimo! No, seriously, Bravissimo. The assistants tend not to be old ladies – the last time I went I had a hot young one with tattoos, which, okay, was kind of awkward in my head because I was all “I am half naked in front of a hot girl I am not having sex with!”, but still awesome.
“I’d like to draw your attention to this bra because your boobs will never look as good as they do when you undo the front clasp on this sucker.”
all you do is win
Dear Autostraddle- thank you for letting me think about boobs for the past half hour and pretend it was for bra-purchasing ‘research’ purposes.
PS. If you have never been fitted, do it!!!! It will save you from thinking for years you must be a 36 AA or AAA because no 36 A ever fits right when actually you are a 34 B and that size fits you like magic.
I also have been doing some ‘research’. I must say, the data set from this inquiry looks remarkably satisfying.
I NEEDED THIS!!!!!
Kinda pathetic, but nonetheless. My girlfriend has told me some of these things at least 5 times. So…looks like we’re going to sized up. Boo-yah.
For those who want the girls tucked away neatly without cleavage but not bound—the Soma Kahala Bra. I’m a B and these bras keep ’em squared away without binding. I have five of these suckers, they’re almost always on sale, if the peach or black doesn’t work you can dye the white to your skin tone, and the faces the old ladies at my local Soma make when I express my love are priceless.
Also, remember that every breast sits differently on the chest; half the reason the above bra fits me so well is because my breasts are slopey and low-slung; even the sturdiest underwire isn’t going to make a difference, because it’s trying to lift an area that doesn’t need lifting. The way your boobs sit is another factor to factor into this.
THIS. I’m between a B and a C (I’ve been saying I’m a 34B for years but am now thinking I should go get measured) and while I like how my boobs look naked, I don’t like how they move or look under shirts (how I’d love to be an A cup!). I’ve been searching for the perfect bra, one that will compress and provide good support without looking like a sports bra or giving a uni-boob effect. I am currently wearing the 24-7 Bra from Title 9 (http://www.titlenine.com/product/sports-bras-and-undies/low-medium-impact-sports-bras/310908.do?sortby=ourPicks) but the support in the cups is leaving something to be desired. I may just try one of these Kahla bras, especially since they’re so cheap!!
i thought the THO effect was desirable?
maybe i just like to see it.
Bra fixing tip for people with small boobs who feel the need to wear ’em sometimes:
Step1: purchase a cheap bra. whatever, it’s just a nipple warmer.
Step 2: remove bows, lace, tags, tackiness.
Step 3: Slice a tiny hold in the corner of the bottom band at each side.
Step 4: remove underwire. pointless/always shaped wrong.
Step 5: surgically shorten straps.
Step 6: wonder why you bother and return to just wearing little boy’s undershirts.
This has worked well for me but those american apparel things are even better. except their extra small is still a little big for me… wtf.
This sounds like my general routiene when buying bras.
I just ordered some of american apparel braish things today, they any good?
Note: The champion sports bra (number 5 for butches) fits REALLY small. I wear a 34 D usually, bought a 34D of that bra and it could double as a binder for how tight it is. My boobs completely disappear in them and it hurts to wear for more than a few hours. (I do wear it as a binder sometimes but that’s cause I’m all gender confused and poor). I would go up one or two band sizes if you want that one.
I never realized how much I needed see-through bras until this moment.
Seriously. Fuck my flannel-wearing, non-shaving, Jay-and-Silent-Bob-and-MJ style. I. Need. Seethrough. Bras.
You know how Eddie Izzard says he’s a male lesbian? I think I’m a female transvestite.
I have to contradict something from the large-busted post. Two sports bras is NOT a good idea. Gasp! No!
Get a GOOD SPORTS BRA.
IT IS SO IMPORTANT!
Two sports bras is not effective for reducing bounce and side-to-side motion (which a good sports bra will do), and it also makes it more difficult to breathe because your chest is constricted. I cannot run without a sports bra designed for my D-cup, but with one, I feel invincible out there. I like Moving Comfort sports bras but I’ve heard good things about other brands, so go to the running or other sports store near you and try them ALL on and jump around.
They make technical sports bras even for larger ladies (I know there’s a brand called Enell that Oprah likes.)
I just had to sign up for a commenting profile to say that “What the hell are you going to do with those boobs, you big ol’ lez?” is the best article opener of all time.
I used to hate being flat so all of my bras were super padded monstrosities. After a while I got used to them, and eventually loved them. Last summer I celebrated a heat wave, my lack o’ rack and my odd work schedule with Tits Out Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Ooor… if I have to wear a bra in a nipple appropriate setting these are my favourite. Who doesn’t love bright yellow boobs.
My favourite bra is from Jacob, which is a boutique I love soo much because it is from Québec and it has such cute and affordable bras. I hope you’ve got them in the States.
Once upon a time, a mother took her daughter to Macy’s (or was it Bloomingdale’s?) to get measured for bras. The woman there said, “you’re a 28B,” the girl said, “that’s not true. That doesn’t even exist,” her mother said, “you don’t exist. You’re a unicorn!”
Ever since, the girl has been wearing bras by Delta for Maidenform from the girl’s section of Target in size “34.” They do not have a cup size but it is prolly an A. It might be a little embarrassing to shop in the kid’s section but these bras are cheap and comfortable and great. Years later the girl was finally brave enough to get measured again at a real lingerie store where they knew what they were doing. She has one lovely, expensive Natori bra in a 34A from them. She still likes her target kids bras better.
This article was so needed, so relevant to my life right now. I’m not butch but my gender expression & gender identity aren’t aligned & I have a huge problem (literally, ha) with cleavage. I have had sites with binders open dozens of times in the past few months & still haven’t clicked “purchase” for whatever reason. I wear a lot of sports camis that compress, my friends usually think I am a B even though I’m dubs D. My mother had a breast reduction, somehow breast size is my most evident gene inherited from her side of the family. So, thank you for this article because I keep bouncing back from considering a reduction so I can come closer to finding out how I really am meant to express myself & continuing to try to find the perfect bra to make my life more livable. I think I will go get fitted at Bra*Tenders. Also I always wish that the websites & catalogs would notate which cup size the model is for accurate comparison/shopping like some companies do with clothing.
THIS. All of this. I, too, go back and forth between wanting breast reduction and getting better bras/just learning to live with ’em…
x2. the quest for the perfect bra/solution continues. someone needs to make butch bras happen, seriously.
Holy eff, I’m apparently wearing a bra that fits properly.
But I’m just wondering after reading all the comments… am I super weird? I wear boxer briefs, but I don’t have a problem with the lace on a couple of my bras, and I do in fact own some with little bows. Yeah, they are kinda stupid, but I don’t really care. All that lace and ish sometimes makes me feel pretty damn sexy. I’m also more likely to take off my shirt, which no ladyfriend has ever complained about.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: can someone who wears boxers also want to have a sexy, sexy, Victoria’s Secret rack?
you’re not super weird…just weird.
i feel like this is kind of the same issue that some deal with w/r/t the vegan/veggie/meat-eater thing.
basically the answer is the same – you can do whatever you want to do/are comfortable with. or as AS would say, “YOU DO YOU”.
Um, yes. Me. Hello. :]
Boxer briefs are damn comfy.
I believe the official answer to this is: Yes. YOU DO YOU. Et cetera.
from now on, when it is 7:07, i will think to myself/tell a random stranger “YOU DO YOU”.
good job team!
boxer briefs+bow/lace bra= super hot
dude, you have exactly the same underwear stylings as me. *high five* I love the little bows.
word on this calvin klein and american apparel for the flat ladies thing. i’m a 32A and it makes me SO MAD that everything is padded because i think i have MARVELOUS breasts and don’t want to change anything about them other than maybe not have my nips everywhere all the time. i’ve also had the same 2 CK bras since junior high school — plain, black, unpadded, a lil underwire, no frills, no weird boobsquish-can-we-make-cleavage-out-of-these-oops-no-sorry nonsense going on. Urban Outfitters actually usually carries plenty of plain-black-stretchy-lace bralette things too.
for the other B-and-smaller high-femmey crowd who consider lingerie a really worthwhile occasional indulgence, let us also recc’ that sadly pricey lingerie stores — journelle in nyc for one, brooklyn fox in williamsburg, and generally european ‘designer’ labels like eres — are usually also excellent if you feel like splurging on yourself/indulging your girlfriend’s eyes and, like, actually want something that’s cute-ish (plain black lace!) and not a training bra with hello kitty on it.
yes! obviously i wrote the flat ladies section (34-36a) and seriously find that high-end stores are more likely to have everything i need, from un-padded bras to pants that are both skinny and long. i just wanna get a $15 shirt at old navy dammit.
i think i just started buying calvin klein bras because that was the only brand i’d heard of (all my underwear was CK too) b/c of *ahem* some convincing ad campaigns for CK one in the 90s — i’ve had periods of being a B and they still fit then too — they last forever, and i can’t say that about any other bra brand i’ve tried, ever.
This is amazing!! amazing!! I can’t stand girly bras and the tips for the butchier bras seriously made my life! Just because I dont always dress butchy but more so plain really doesnt work out with la senza/ victoria secret bras… I do like to keep my boobs firmly secure sooo this was a life saver and just plain wonderful omg!!
– also I now need to go do some serious online shopping yay! :D
…I just don’t wear one. I’m not small chested, either. Am I alone in this? I’ll print this out and bring it with if I ever purchase one, though.
Oh, I like the little userpic!
I don’t have a job but after reading this article, I immediately donated to Autostraddle out of my savings. The advice and comments are worth so so many dollars.
i love racerbacks. i don’t even care if they don’t go with my tops, i’m just like, “fuck it, Biggie and Smalls are comfortable.”
Uh, and if you don’t know, now you know you know…
I have SO MANY FEELINGS about this article in general and about the busty-butch-bra issue in particular. Too many to write.
But really I just want to wear a T-shirt with a design on it that doesn’t get stretched and distorted. Or go jogging. I want to wake up and go to sleep without back pain or wear button-down shirts and be able to button all the buttons. I want to feel like my chest is actually a part of me and not some weird Alien-incubation cavity or something. I want to look proportional, not like some top-heavy gaming avatar.
Is there a bra that can make this possible? Or should I just start pooling my liquor money towards breast reduction?
Thank you for clearly stating all my thoughts about my 34Gs.
I dislike them in all practical situations. Especially 1. t shirts 2. back pain 3. button downs 4. proportion
oh wait you said all those things.
Just so you know: you should look into whether a reduction would be covered under your medical plan wherever you live, if that is something you would seriously consider.
wait, you guys, binding with an ace bandage is really bad for you!! it’s made to gradually get tighter every time they are stretched, which is what happens when you breathe! it can really hurt your ribs and lungs, and weaken your chest muscles over time. there’s info about this all over the internet but here’s some of it.
I’ve been kind of freaking out about going on my first bra shopping trip for a while now, but this article has calmed me somewhat! Now instead of intense anxiety toward the idea, I feel the same vague sense of worry that accompanies the first time I do basically anything. Yay!
Bra shopping can be fun!
Especially if you go to get measured, nice ladies feel your breasts and compliment them.
I’m just saying I have always wanted to work at Victoria’s Secret and measure girl’s bra sizes :D Best lesbian job ever.
This post is awesome. I love underwear, no seriously, a major part of my fantasy life is an unlimited supply of matching bra/knicker sets, just saying.
I generally just like sports bras unless I’m going to a wedding or something because bras tend to fit my boobicles weird.
Also, does anyone else have trouble getting fitted? One day they tell me I’m a B, and the next they tell me I’m an A.
god i love reading your comments imagining them said by a shark
Could someone please answer this? I got seal blood all over my favorite grey sports bra, so I want to buy one in the right size this time.
My mum had a lingerie party (seriously) a few months ago for this Australian brand called Intimo, and the aptly named saleswoman, Debra, fitted me. Turns our I am actually an A cup. Suddenly everything is comfier!
But seriously, comfiest bras I have ever worn. If you’re an Aussie, go check Intimo out. They’re pretty girly, though. They have plain coloured ones, too, I think, but still pretty girly. I’m not sure if they ship overseas, and Australian sizes might be different. But go check them out.
i recently bought two of these and they’re the best, just thought i’d share, for the happily flat ones among us:
DO NOT WEAR ACE BANDAGES
They do some serious damage if used frequently. If you do it occasionally,its fine i guess.. But if you are binding day to day DO NOT use ace bandages. Permanent Damage.
Don’t wear ace bandages like that ever. They will eff up you breathing even if you wear them for 4 hours or so.
I have my favourite bra on today.
But serious bra makers, please, please, please make nice bras for girls with massive tits yes?
We are not grannies.
Some of us want to show off our straps.
I feel like this post is exactly like boobs in a bra. You see it at the home screen, looking promising, wondering what treats lie behind. Then you click on it, take the cute bra off and it’s magical and more than you ever expected. Like boobs.
I heart you, Autostraddle.
sometimes I just want to get down on one knee and propose marriage to Autostraddle, like for realz, like baby please be mine.
articles like this also make me want to stack up five paychecks and get that real engagement ring, too….
maybe this is something I should write about but let’s just start with a comment.
i am not a femme lesbian but i’m definitely not AG or Butch in the more traditional sense of the word.
i’m definitely not cool enough to be a raging gender queer, either…
i’m just kinda one of those chicks that falls in the middle.
i really dig the middle.
Don’t worry, i’m not about to go into some sob story about no one representing me, not this time anyway.
So once again, i love the middle.
i LOVE wearing a blue striped button down, dark blue sweater vest and a silver tie with combat boots to Easter dinner with the fam knowing that underneath Im wearing a matching pink and white bra and panty set from Victoria Secrets Pink collection.
Girly underwear is a turn on for me whether she’s wearing it or I am. love it. maybe mine arent lacy or flowery but they’re fucking cuuute.
red,black, polkda dots, hearts, you name it.
I got it. Especially if she finds them sexy on me…it’s a done deal
whoa, i said it. My secret is out. I’m still here…it’s all good.
It’s like i’m a prancing unicorn in a sea full of AG macho lions whenever I admit that I wear gir’s underwear.
so this article really is just perfect because I like girly stuff (hold the bows and the sequins, please n thank you mmmk) and the butch stuff (minus the bowties n wingtips).
i also totally dig my breasts. love them. always have cuz i was a chunky kid n there were always some type of boob things hanging off my chest.
but uh 17 was a good year for me and my breasts evened out their relationship with gravity and discovered some really awesome proportions…
so anyway, a good bra is hard to find. I’m always somewhere between a 36D and a 38DD and so my options usually lie in granny beige or hooker print cheetah for “the Sassy Big Girl.”
and also, i’m not the rich type, so dropping mad money on good bras is often not an option.
so once again, without any prior conversation, Autostraddle has read my mind and put out an awesome bra guide.
one thing, remember that for larger breasted women the price you see for a bra in a “regular” size even in the same style can and usually is 5-15 dollars more expensive.
But other than that, good job ladies. thank you for the pictures of all types of women in bras, looking sexy and fine.
Julie, thank you for your honesty. I am so down with everything you said and am so glad you said it.
It’s awesome to hear a more masculine woman talk about feeling feminine and sexy.
And you said:
I don’t mind showing some cleavage – I am a girl – and I’m not trying to hide ‘em. I’m just trying to look in the mirror and feel good.
word. right on, mama. I’m with you.
And if you start that Bra n Underwear line, I will be all over that shit.
So what do you say AS, wanna get hitched?
thank you for your entire comment! I’m with you too. Especially about the only bra options for big-breasted women being granny beige or hooker print cheetah for “the Sassy Big Girl”…so true!!
blue striped button down, dark blue sweater vest and a silver tie with combat boots
As a small-breasted (30AA) genderfluid person, I usually see to my nipples-hiding needs by wearing tight, brightly coloured ribbed vests under clothes. (They also go great with my brightly coloured boxer-briefs, for values of great that include “clash alarmingly”.)
I do occasionally wear actual bras, but as 30AA is fiendishly difficult to locate, I wear the only bra style in the world I have ever found to fit me while also not having the words “My first bra” somewhere on the labelling. It’s a Triumph brand 28A that comes in just one colour (a dreadfully exciting beige) and I can only get hold of it in Asia. *frown*
(Though I am looking at some of the fantastic Autostraddle suggestions for small-racked folks and I may try out a couple. *highfive* I like the idea of at last owning a black bra. That would be awesome.)
For when I bind, I use the top bit of tights cut off (are tights called something else in American? pantyhose?), like a very compressive tube top. I’m pretty sure it would only work if you’re similarly under-endowed in the chest department, but it’s another potential option.
Feeling REEEALLY good right now about being small enough not to have to worry about bras. ;)
Yay for small boobage.
I’d just like to say that I appreciate the fact that the Masculine Jane Fonda Bra is made of Black Power.
Julie, thanks for your essay! I too am a butch dyke cursed with enormous bosoms. I cannot wear tank tops, because my frame demands I wear a 48 DDD bra, which only comes in one style FULL COVERAGE! Which means that my straps are huge and I get two color choices, black or nude. I cannot pull off cute butch because I am confined to the world of t-shirts, woe is me. However I could easily pull off the “Holy shit look at my tits” look if I so desired
Even with nice, properly fitted bras I still wake up every morning and ask myself what the fuck I am going to do with my boobs :/
heard that, unfortunately :/
I saw it mentioned in the comments once, but I just want to expand on it…
DO NOT bind with Ace bandages. Autostraddle, I less than three you forever and a day, but I have to disagree with your advice on this.
Ace bandages are made to constrict the more you move, and breathing is most definitely movement. With every breath you take (every move you make) ((i’ll be missing you))…ahem…
But seriously. Every time you breath or move, the ace bandage gets tighter and tighter. People who bind with ace bandages have bruised/cracked/broken ribs before. At the very least, it will cause some serious pain and bruising.
So please, never bind with ace bandages. Better idea? Take some old compression or spandex shorts and cut the crotch out of them. It works – I used that method for years. Since it’s spandex, it’s designed to move with you and not boa-constrict your chest every time you breath.
As a boi with a larger chest (Thanks a lot Mother Nature!) I must agree that binding with ACE bandages is NOT the way to go.
If you can’t afford a “chest compression shirt” from a site like Underworks (http://www.underworks.com) then I say go with the Champion racerback sports bras from Target. Are we allowed to shop there again? Either way I find that these are pretty reasonably priced vs. Nike or Adidas. I normally wear a Large but opt for a Medium if I’m trying to attain a flatter look.
Really though, if you’re a butch/boi who wants your button-down shirts to lay flat or want to actually enjoy shirts that are slim cut, then save up and get a compression shirt from Underworks. The best part is that it slims your midsection too! Woo!
If that doesn’t work, try out compression shirts from Under Armour like the pros wear under their jerseys, etc. Good luck!
I hate bra shopping. dot com. but this is going to be so helpful!
great timing with this post autostraddle! i have finally saved up enough money to replace the binders i currently have. I’ve been eyeballing the underworks binders for quite some time now
don’t use ace bandages! it is uncomfortable and dangerous! i tried ace bandages at first because i was poor, but i quickly realized i needed something better. it was too frustrating having to rewrap many times throughout the day and it wasn’t very comfortable. that’s when a friend recommended t-kingdom binders to me. they are much more comfortable than ace bandages.
t-kingdom binders are ok. i’ve had the m690 and the m1700. it definitely does its job, but i have had people notice i was wearing “something that wasn’t a bra or a shirt” when they hugged me. the material of the binding part is not very soft and the section where the velcro is can feel lumpy. it also does not breathe very well. after binding with these for the last 2 years, i am sick of the loud velcro rip when i have to adjust it or take it off. it was nice to have the velcro when i first started binding because it made it easy to put on and to adjust tightness while i was getting used to binding.
i will report back once i get my underworks binders and let you know if they are better than t-kingdom ones or not!
…I’m good at taking them off?
I think this is possibly the best comment ever.
i have A LOT of feelings about this post and i’m not sure how to process all of them….after years of being too thin, my boobs had been perpetually small. my mother demanded that i had to wear a bra, but after a shoulder injury, i could never get the straps to fit right. the bra was off by 3rd period study hall.
skip ahead 16 years of no-bra-wearing life and i have filled out to my proper weight, gained some boobage and i also have fibromyalgia (constant chronic nerve pain — i dont want to wear clothes most of the but def not a bra.) my skin, my muscles, my mind — none of them want to wear a bra. i dont think i even own any womens clothes anymore….hmmmmmm.
SO, question: is it *really* ok to traipse through life not wearing a bra? or should society get the fuck over it? after all, mother, they’re just boobs!
As no one else seems to have said it yet – BONDS! They are an Australian underwear company (well I think they’re made in China now but anyway) and their bras are all spunky and NO FRIGGIN’ BOWS. (Sometimes lace, but it’s not all flowery lace.) LOVE THEM.
Yup to Bond’s bowlessness ;)
Any other Aussies know where else to buy bras? I’m either a 36DD (easier to find) or a 34FF (nonexistent) but shipping is waaaaaaaaay too expensive. Maybe I’ll wait till I’m in SF :P
Ok, 3rd time’s the charm, right? After a phone freeze and a 3G abandonment here I go with my spcheel. Boobs. Ugh. They are just trouble for me. I got measured last summer as a 32DD in denial, formerly a 36C in denial; result 32GG/30H on an 18 year old, 5 foot tall boi. Can you “say does not compute”? Bras and I don’t have a very great relationship. I tried binding and it didn’t work. I’m on the verge of considering a reduction but I’ve been warned that they can grow back. And I absolutely could not handle that. I don’t know what to do. Because I’m kind of afraid to have surgery and I’m so used to having huge boobs, they’re my trademark in a way, I feel like I’d seem more disproportionate to myself after a reduction. I would love to have a flat boy-chest, I even dream about it but my gut tells me it wouldn’t go over well. Any advice?
“You’re probably wearing the wrong size bra right now, because 70% of women are.”
jokes on you, i’m not wearing a bra!
I have the worst luck with bras. I got correctly sized at a Nordstrom’s lady and found out that I was not in fact a 34C but at 32DD. Now that I know my correct size I can’t shop anywhere except lingerie boutiques and Nordstroms. Not even Victoria’s Secret has my size and all their damn models are skinny with big tits! Where’s the love VS?
Why are all the large rack bras also full figure? Not everyone with ginormous racks are also plus size, so it seems like you’ve done this demographic a disservice by giving it such short shrift.
From what I know about AS, they get their writers to write about what they know. And so those who wrote for this wrote about their specific body type I’m assuming, or wrote about some common demographics… but jaysus if we aren’t all different! They can’t cover everything. The comments are where we the readers can be like “hey, what about this *inserts helpful knowledge*”…which they love us doing…to fill the info gap.
It’s been a few years since I last went bra shopping. I only own one bra that I actually like. I’ve got it in both black and white.
You guys motivated me to finally go bra shopping today. It was SO FRICKEN HARD to find something that wasn’t pink, patterned, push-up or covered in lace. I ended up buying the only half decent bra I could find. (Plain, Black, Convertable to racerback – and of course, kind of expensive) (They did have really cute/super comfy mens boxer brief, that I now want: http://www.lavieenrose.com/wcsstore/LVERCatalogAssetStore/images/catalog/size05/view01/988-812-0-13.jpg)
Then I went to Costco, and they were selling 2-packs of convertable CK bras for $30, and Champion Sports bras (#5 on your list) 2/$18. Should have just gone there in the first place.
NO BRA IS THE WAY!!! I love the natural feeling of no bra. I find that after years of not wearing a bra I have trouble wearing one again. I do have smaller size breasts, but have you seen my mothers! so I’m definitly in the potential of getting bigger. But hey I’m still not gonna wear one :D
Yes, Yes, yes
i seriously can’t remember the last time i’ve worn one
I loooooove that there is a bra article so much. I have the grey striped Calvin Klein one, actually, and it seems more “Katy Perry” than “Gender Neutral” but it gives the best cleavage (I’ve had a hard time finding a DD pushup bra).
I found a good strapless situation: a pale peach bustier at Nordstrom, by the brand Felina. It’s also pushup, you can wear low-cut things with it, and it stays up without that sticky stuff, because it is a bustier. Also because it’s a bustier, you can feel like a pinup girl if you want even though it has no decoration (not even a little bow).
I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW
the FIRST few posts on this article were things i could immediately relate to!!!
i am a 30F (and can easily fit a 28, if i can ever find one)
i am a tiny girl with huge boobs, and as awesome*~ as that sounds…. i really am not too keen on it, haha. :(
but yeah, i would like to agree with a few above girls in saying that freya is INCREDIBLE, im pretty sure almost all my bras are freya.
<3 thanks for this post autostraddle, and for covering such a wide range of bra/boobs issues/wants!!
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stopped reading when the small-chest section referred to skinny girls. i’m fat and have small boobs. thx for alienating.
me too! go team! they’ll figure us out someday.
I need a sports bra and I love those Victoria’s Secret ones! But a) they have yet to include my college, despite the fact that we won the PINK vote last year, and b) currently only West Virginia and Utah are available anyway, and they’re not bringing back the rest until the school year starts again.
I adore this on so many levels. Thank you!
I avoid bras and have for all of my 35 years, and guess what- no saggage whatsoever. I’m convinced that bras weaken chest muscles. I have a natural bra.(years of heavy lifting may have caused this) I wear t-shirts or tank tops. I swim topless.
Problems solved and money saved. Whenever I ‘have’ to wear a bra for some reason, I feel like I have a chest wedgie. It’s just awkward.
Great resource…another reason why I love autostraddle.
These are great articles overall. Thank you to all involved in writing and posting them.
I do have a few comments, though. From “Picks For Large Racks”, the Panache Tango comes in more sizes than listed. The style pictured is the Balconette version, which actually ranges from a 28 to 44, and cups range roughly from D to a UK K cup. The Plunge version of this bra is a bit less inclusive, with band ranging from 28 to 38, and cups from D to UK H. As a result of its wide range in sizing, this can be a great bra for finding your size (Balconette is preferable to plunge for this). However, Panache cups are wide and shallow, with wide-set straps, so they’re still not for everyone. I need Freya’s deep, narrow cups rather than Panache’s broad, shallow cups.
Also, in the “For the Small-Breasted Girls” article, one paragraph says, “I’m an A cup and find triangle bras aren’t especially flattering under shirts and, conversely, bras that offer a lot of coverage (like most “t-shirt” bras) are expecting to handle a much larger chunk of flesh than I have. So demi-cups and balconettes are usually a skinny girl’s BFF.”
I understand I’m nit-picking a bit, here, but this is implying skinny girls have small boobs. This isn’t always the case. I’m certainly a skinny girl – my ribcage is 26″ around and my waist is 25″. But my bust is 35″ and I tend to wear a 28FF bra. Skinny girls can have not-small busts and, honestly, this makes clothes shopping a challenge. Most of my body tends to need a size 0 or 2, but my boobs need a size 4 or 6. Some styles simply cannot fit me – there’s not enough fabric to cover even half my boobs. Even simple t-shirts won’t fit right – they’re either clearly baggy, or tight on my bust. “Women’s cut” Ts will have the armhole pulled forward by my bust.
There are so many differences in sizes and shapes. Beyond that, there are differences is what we want from our busts – even from day to day, what I want to do with my bust changes. As a result, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to address everyone. Overall, anything that helps people be more comfortable with their bodies is a good thing.
Yeah, where is the information for skinny girls with big boobs?? I’m in the exact same boat in terms of bra size and boob shape. I haven’t bought a bra or swimsuit in an actual store since I was a teenager (gotta buy them all online from UK manufacturers…figleaves.com is the best!).
And a lot of girls who are very skinny with small breasts are probably in a similar boat, in terms of bra-buying. All the bras recommended for small breasts start at 32 band, but bands go as low as 28 and in some cases 26. Because cup size is relative to band, a 32A cup = the same boob volume as 30B, as 28C. Conversely, a 32A has the equivalent of one “cup size” MORE volume than 30A. If 32A is too big in the cup, small-breasted girls might want to try going down a band size instead of trying to find AA and AAA bras with a too-big band.
Though these articles address some great issues, it’s really missing an entire segment of the bra-wearing population — people who wear bands smaller than 32. Part of the reason that 70% of women are allegedly wearing the wrong size (where did this stat even come from?) is because they’re not aware they’re wearing a band that’s too big. Many women also aren’t aware of the go-down-a-band-size-go-up-a-cup-size volumetric rule, so they hear DD (or anything bigger) and assume it’s monstrously huge, when my 28ff, for example, is the equivalent cup volume of a 36D, which is the “average” American bra size according to some articles.
While this was very helpful for my b-cupped self, I was really upset to see that you condoned binding with Ace bandages. It’s super duper dangerous to do that to yourself. Especially because people who do that do it regularly. The best thing to do is try and get a binder, like the half shirt whatever things from underworks that are $30. And even that you shouldn’t wear everyday like my boyfriend does. If you can’t get your hands on a binder or you only want to be flat chested once in a while 2 sports bras and a couple of layers is the best I can offer you. Really sucks if you’re a bigger breasted person. Not only because it’s really hard to get near to flat, but also because you need more support so that you don’t have back and rib issues from binding. Like my big breasted boyfriend does.
I hope this helps.
I’m awfully late to the party here, but I can totally vouch for the awesomeness of Come As You Are and their Underworks binders. As someone who does masculine more often than not, their binders rock – though I think I’m due for a new one.
does anyone know where i can take my partner to get fitted? i’m in nyc. he’s a transvestite and he doesn’t dress outside of the house, but i hate to see him in uncomfortable in bras that don’t fit! if i could find a place that is super friendly and open to lgbtq people maybe i could talk him into a proper fitting. or is there a resource anyone knows of so i can learn to do it myself?
Underworks binders are seriously the best thing ever if you live in a chilly climate and get cold easily. I’m normally a complete iceblock, but Underworks: /never cold/*. Also, they make really small sizes, which is helpful for people like me who have disarmingly small ribcages.
*(Unless it’s SUPER cold and then wearing a binder with erect nipples is just the most painful thing in the entire world. Those are the days I just wear a baggy waistcoat over my shirt.)
Good bra fitters are way too hard to find. I was measured as a 32C right up until I was 18 or 19, when I was informed I’m actually a 28E. No wonder my bras never fit right. I swear that all chain stores everywhere are contractually obliged to tell their customers they are a 32C.
Of course, trying to actually find bras in a funny size like 28E is impossible if you just want a run-of-the-mill type and not some frilly shit or whatever (even the specialist store where I was measured only had /one single bra/ in my size and it was this ridiculous lacy padded balconette which I never wear).
I can’t wait until I can just get them reduced to an AAA and not have to bother with them ever again, jeez. :I
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Maidenform! Sometimes, their t-shirt bras, which are really contour cup bras,don’t even have bows!
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Super late to the bra party but I want to say that as a very flat lady, I’ve always had to wear wrong-fitting bras. The policy of the handful of lingerie stores in my tiny Nordic country seems to be “if you’re smaller than a C-cup, you’re a child and you don’t get to wear bras, much less fancy ones with lace and/or embellishments”, much to my (and my back)’s dismay.
Until I stumbled upon while vacationing in Finland last week, and really, I feel the difference already.
Wearing a bra that fits right, the SHEER JOY OF KNOWING THEY MAKE BRAS FOR YOUR BUST SIZE (and you don’t have to endure funny looks from the staff (all quite well endowed) if you dare ask, and the humiliation of getting told to check the kid’s clothing section of the supermarket next door to find one (I’d taken to stuffing my bras just to not feel out of place being this flat)), BRAS THAT DON’T COST AN ARM’S WEIGHT IN GOLD, is unlike anything I’ve felt before.
So I recommend that store for people in the Nordic countries, at least. They even have lace. <3
What about women with saggy boobs? Where’s our solution. (and on the side note, not all of us saggy women even have the exciting size that is often present when gravity take control. I’m only a B cup but push up bras can wrinkle to skin above my nips. – sorry TMI) Can we get a bra edition part 2?
Is there a more recent bra review? I found the Gilligan & O’Malley racerback several years ago. It’s been the best bra ever!! It kinda works as a minimizer, also because it keeps them high and tight and out of my way. AND when I found them, they came in a dark grey color, no frills, no bow, and they’re cotton. How awesome is that? I went to every store in the area and bought as many as they had in my size. I’m going to be in a panic if they ever all wear out.
As a busty, feminine, all about lace and flower prints girl, I have to thank you for this one.
My GF hates hooks at the back and wires. She wants plain vanilla. B&W. And I had no idea where to look for something that could be sexy as hell for me and wearable for her. And here we go.
I already change her attitude for only B&W, when I found some navy piece.
Busty girls, you go for Panache, it fits, it is fun, it is sexy.
Whoa… Ok, loads of good stuff here, but I am super concerned that this advocates for binding with ace bandages. Huge no no. They can seriously injure you. Please don’t do it, people!!! The bandages are meant to continuously constrict, so things like breathing can lead to rib injuries and serious issues breathing.
Besides that, LOVED this.
I’m no longer positive the place you are getting your info,
but great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more
or working out more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.
1. The white chick with the dreads? not cool…that’s appropriating black culture
What is the problem with ribbons? What is the problem about ribbons to genderfluyds?
Ok, just kidding. I know it’s personal opinion.
But I just love ribbons, thoug don’t show it very offten.
Rarely I use ribbons in my feminine and neutral looks, but almost ever I use a cutie ribbon in the “today I’m a man” days.
Normaly on in my down ponytail, like an renaissance gentleman, other times a tiny one in my clothes. S2
Ribbon is life, ribbon is love.
Binding with ACE bandages is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. These bandages can shift your ribs and mess you up for life. Since they’re designed to restrain movement, they’all make it harder for you to breath, too. Way harder. Trust me.
Since there are several comments here warning people not to bind with Ace bandages, I thought I’d leave a link to Ali’s more recent review of the gc2b binder here on Autostraddle. I got one with the pretext of playing a guy in a play (though I wear it occasionally in real life), and it is more comfortable than the ratty, too-small sports bra it replaced, which dug into my ribs – enough to keep on while dancing at the cast party afterwards, or bicycle to campus.