Created In Partnership With Bras N Things

How Finding The Right Bra Changed My Relationship With My Body

For as long as I can remember, I've had a complicated relationship with my body. One particular childhood memory is seared into my brain, when I saw a picture of myself with my friends and realised that I looked different. While I did weigh more than them, I was also just bigger. I'm taller than average, and also have broad shoulders, big boobs and hips. But I was young, so all I could see was that I looked different. A feeling of embarrassment washed over me that day and I think I've carried it with me ever since.
Over the years, my weight has fluctuated between a size 14 and 20. Right now, I'm a 20. And as a plus-size gal, I feel a responsibility to myself and other people with bigger bodies to not let my dress size dictate how I feel about myself. Of course I know that logically, but on an emotional level, having grown up seeing only smaller bodies being celebrated, it can be hard to shake off some of the feelings of inferiority.
As a result, growing up, I felt like I needed to take up less space. I'd squeeze into whatever 'trendy' clothes I could because most stores didn't carry my size; I'd shuffle and hunch in a way that would draw less attention to my body; and I'd even temper my personality — because if I wasn't going to be considered stereotypically 'attractive', I might as well try to be the sweet, funny girl. Of course that's bullshit, but it was my mentality at the time.
Being on that confidence rollercoaster was hard enough, but trying to maintain a wardrobe that made me feel comfortable through my weight fluctuations was equally tough. My clothes are still in a really wide range of sizes. I've been making do with 'close enough' or 'good enough' garments through the weight changes, but it's harder with bras.

My teens

Anyone with big boobs knows they can feel like a blessing and a curse. In high school, it was definitely the latter. They were just in the way!
My go-to bra through this period was a sports bra with a crop over it, so the girls extra secure and I could move around freely. Sometimes, if I wanted to feel more like my friends, I'd reach for the back of the rack at a store that didn't really have my size and just hope for the best. I'd usually end up with some flimsy thing with thin straps, and my boobs would always spill out of the cups. Ugh.
In this era, I don't think I'd started to feel the gravity of the lack of size representation. Looking back, I wish I'd been kinder to my body during this period — I feel like I'm still unlearning the thoughts I had at this time.

My early 20s

Things started to go in a better direction in my early 20s. Finally, I bit the bullet and got a bra fitting in a department store.
"Look, you have a waist," the older lady fitting me said as she gestured in the mirror at how my torso looked different in this bra.
She was right. Instead of my boobs just blending into my torso, or sticking out like a shelf, this bra had lifted and separated them to the point where it changed the way I stood.
I ended up buying that exact bra repeatedly over the following years because of how it made me stand taller. There was a hitch though...
"Do you have any sexier options?" I asked at the time. The answer was a resounding "No". My only option in this department store was a minimiser bra that came with no fun lace or detail and cost a heap more than anything else on the rack. It was only available in white, black and tan.
Something about a 'minimiser' being my only choice triggered that old teenage frame of mind that my body should take up less space. It was like I was being told I couldn't be sexy at my size.
Every time I went out for a night or on a date, I felt like I had to make a choice: confidence on the outside with my nanna bra on the inside, or wearing a genuinely sexy bra that didn't fit and made me feel schlubby. It sucked.
This phase of my life was definitely when I gained a little more self-love — and anger. My relationship with my body was better and I reframed a lot of that sadness I'd felt when shopping into frustration at clothing labels. Why was I only able to order bras online for my size? It's such an important thing to try on!

My mid 20s

Fast forward to a few years of wearing that same minimiser bra and I recently built up the courage to finally get another fitting. This time, I went to Bras N Things, already feeling more hopeful because it has a dedicated Big Boob Energy range.
My fitter was Jess, a young woman who just got it. She had a big chest too and had similar experiences of ugly bras shoved in front of her while growing up.
"They should teach us this stuff. So many people are wearing the wrong size bra," Jess said as she measured my bust.
Turns out, I was absolutely wearing the wrong size. I'd been rocking a 16G for the past four years but am actually a 20G. Something else Jess taught me: we shouldn't be able to feel our bras — a mistake I've been making from my first bra until this fitting.
Having sexy and comfortable lingerie that makes me stand tall and feel confident has made me feel more seen.
Now, in my mid-20s, I feel more comfortable in my relationship with my body. Of course, I know I'll go through ups and downs in my confidence, but just like I shouldn't feel my bra, I'm trying not to feel too much (good or bad) about my body.
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