The body positive community is dominated by women both larger in stature and larger in bust. A lot of us forget that thinner women and women with smaller breasts deserve their place in the body positive movement, and they don’t deserve to be pushed aside and forgotten just because they don’t fit the “norm” of this movement. They definitely don’t deserve to be hushed when they talk about how hard it is for them to find lingerie and clothes to fit their bodies. Being thinner or smaller does not mean they have it easy. To gain some perspective myself, and share that perspective with my readers and whoever stumbles upon this blog I asked Amanda from Bras Outside the Box a few questions regarding her experiences in finding bras to fit her.
Bras Outside the Box is a lingerie blog focusing on hard to fit sizes (both small and large), pregnant/nursing mothers, breast cancer survivors, transgender women, cross-dressers, and the disabled. It’s a relatively new blog but she’s off to a great start. I love the all-inclusive atmosphere.
I think you’ll enjoy reading her answers as much as I have.
RollsAndCurves: The average size range in the bra fitting community is between 28-32 E-G. Do you ever feel left out or forgotten when larger breasted women talk about the difficulties in finding the right bra?
Bras Outside the Box: Yes, I do feel forgotten, but I also think I need to be mindful of the fact that it really is more difficult for women with larger breasts to find a good bra. I want to respect that struggle without trying to act like my issues are equally important, because they probably aren’t. But it’s always nice when a member of that community listens to what I have to say, as you have.
RAC: Do you ever feel unintentionally body shamed in discussions on various bra fitting communities?
BOTB: I guess maybe “body shamed” is too strong a term. I don’t feel like anybody is judging me as physically inadequate or unattractive. It’s more like what I was saying in response to the previous question — I feel left out because I’m not part of the club of women who have “real” breasts and actually need to wear a bra. Of course, I know that my breasts are just as real, but there is a feeling of not fitting in. I end up wondering if I can be taken seriously as a woman who deserves to wear grown-up lingerie. But I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had anyone say anything mean about my breast size, either online or in real life. I know other small-busted women who have had that experience, and it can be really hurtful and damaging.
RAC: What are some fit issues exclusive to a smaller bust that some of us may not know about?
BOTB: With the standard sizes, you can often end up with gaps in the cup if you’re very small-busted and/or shallow. Even if you have the right size for your measurements, the cup may be too deep or the wires might come up too high. Plus there are just not a lot of options if you are smaller than a standard A-cup; there are some bras in size AA, but they often aren’t a good fit for adult women who are of average height and bone structure. They are either made for pre-teen girls, who have an entirely different shape, or for a more petite adult body type.
A lot of times with petite brands, the band and cups are scaled down and the cups are narrower and spaced closer together to fit a smaller frame. The straps also tend to be shorter than on standard bras. That’s great if you’re truly petite, but for me and other small-busted women who have a more average bone structure and are of closer to average height (or tall), those proportions don’t work very well: the cups are too close together and too narrow, straps are too short, and the wires don’t extend far enough at the outer sides. So I end up needing to go with a larger size in petite bras, but it often still doesn’t fit quite right. I look for bras that are made for wider-set breasts, and with shallow cups.
RAC: What brand(s) do you currently wear, and out of those brand(s), which model(s) work the best for you?
BOTB: I was happy to discover Lula Lu*, which is a petite collection, because although it is scaled down somewhat, the cups are usually set wide enough apart for me to wear comfortably. They are also the only brand I know of that makes AAA cups, which I don’t wear myself, but I know there are plenty of women out there who are grateful to have that size available. I like their everyday t-shirt and racerback bras, and the laced-edged push-up.
Other bras I wear regularly:
Natori Feathers Plunge
Timpa Duet mesh lace demi
Affinitas Intimates Greta
The Little Bra Company — Mercedes, Eva
Aerie — Hannah, Audrey, Katie
Itty Bitty Bra — Signature bra
*Links added by RollsAndCurves, fans of The Little Bra Company may also like their Ariette line carried by Target. All these bras are under $30 and even come in sizes like 28 A-C.
RAC: What features would you like to see in a lingerie brand that makes/focuses on your size range?
BOTB: I’d like more lightly lined or unlined underwire styles in my size; it’s harder to find that in the smaller cups. It’s common that you end up with either a lightweight bralette with no underwire and little structure, or a very rigid molded cup with padding. There aren’t enough options in between those two extremes, although the Natori Feathers and Timpa Duet are exceptions. I also want more interesting prints, detailing, and colors to choose from.
RAC: Is there something specific about lingerie that makes you love it so much?
BOTB: It’s the first thing you put on, and the last to come off. It’s right next to your skin all day, so it’s like your first layer of protection against the world. When it’s done right, it’s like a very gentle, supportive, close friend you can always trust. Plus I really love the soft, delicate fabrics.
RAC: Closing thoughts?
BOTB: My advice to everyone, no matter what your size or shape: don’t forget to enjoy your lingerie. It shouldn’t feel like a chore to shop and try things on, although I know sometimes it can be when you are just desperate for something (anything!) that fits. A lot of small-busted women hate bras, and I don’t blame them, because there’s nothing fun about being poked in the armpits by underwires or feeling like you’re locked in a stiff cage you don’t even need. If you’re in that situation, keep looking for something that feels good on you — it’s out there somewhere! Don’t settle for less.
I’m extremely pleased that the first collaborative post on my blog was done with Amanda, because she’s really opened my eyes to a slew of fit problems that come with being on the smaller end of the spectrum. Contrary to popular belief, the grass is not greener on the other side. I think posts like these are important to this community because I’ve seen some statements from both sides that claim it’s easier to be one way or another. Posts like these reinforce the belief that everyone has their own problems when it comes to lingerie, and that no problem is above another. It also reinforces the belief that someone can still be happy with their bodies despite having problems with finding the right fit.
If you’d like to read about the opposite end of the sizing spectrum, feel free to check out Amanda’s post on her blog in which I answered some questions she had for me.