The Big Problem For Shopping For Small Bras (& My No-Shame Solution)

As a digital fashion editor, one might assume that I have a definite bias when it comes to shopping online versus shopping in store. But, you might be surprised to learn that I much prefer doing it old-school. From brown bag charity shops to upscale boutiques, every store and every garment is worth checking out in person; until they invent a virtual dressing room that can accurate portray fabric weight, color accuracy, and whether or not it’ll do that thing to my hips that I hate, I prefer the brick-and-mortar experience. That is, except for a very specific category of products.

I call them Awkward Checkout Conversation Starters, and they make up 100% of my online purchases. They include, but are not limited to: individually wrapped single-serving slices of Spam, secret pockets, an embarrassingly expensive (but necessary?) set of Q-tips, and — most regularly — miniature bras from the junior’s department at big-box stores. Chuckling about my Spam addiction at the register is one thing; it's another to make a joke about a grown woman buying children's underwear.
I’ve already written about the trials and tribulations of bra shopping, and while I’m still a loyal fan of these bralettes, there are still occasions when I need something with more structure. There are plenty of brands these days that cater to the tiny-topped adult woman, but it was something of a revelation to me that I fit — and I fit well — into training bras from the junior's department. After spending years trying to delude myself into thinking that the smallest sizes in regular lingerie shops actually fit me, and not being able to find a specialty-sized bra for women that fit my budget and body, I stumbled into the junior's department at Kohl's out of desperation. But, hanging among the racks of bralettes and sports bras festooned with pastel bows and polka dots were an entire section of bras that looked exactly like the one I had on...but, with cups that were much, much smaller.

These aren't the training bras you probably remember: many come with underwire, which — for women under an A-cup — helps keep the bra from slipping upward, and many also have a padded cup to keep your nipples from commanding the spotlight every time there’s a cold breeze. Plus, the vanity sizing will give your ego a little boost. I might not even register as a letter in typical size-guides, but Kohl’s junior’s department thinks I’m a B!

Aside from all the pros, The Awkward Checkout Conversation is usually mortifying enough to give me serious pause from making my annual trip. Either there’s total, complete silence (of which I spend the entire time dissecting every hidden meaning in, "Did you find everything you needed today?"), or an weird joke about how I just bought six baby bras and nothing else.

Which is why I turned online. The only conversation I have at checkout is whether my shipping address is the same as my billing address — and that’s just how I like it. Without that extra splinter in my shopping, I’ve been restocking on the regular. No shame, no guilt, no nervous jokes. It’s been bliss for me and my boobs.

And, since these are cheap (like a few bucks a bra cheap), there’s little gamble in just blind-buying one online. Fellow IBTC members, take a look above for a couple options I've liked.

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