Thursday, 2 September 2010

Burn, push-up bra, burn!

This fall's trends seem to be all about the return of real curves and real women. It was news to me that now even the fashion industry had decided that I was not a real woman - I have been hearing about not being real for a while, but only from fellow women who have been insisting that real women have curves. I found it refreshing to read an article in today's New York Times about bra retailers whose business is all about push-up-less and wireless bras for women who are comfortable having a small bust. It seems that my sister and I are not the only women out there with small breasts who are perfectly okay with it.

Earlier this year at a Victoria's Secret store I spoke to two sales associates about my need to find bras that did not enhance my nearly non-existent bust. I was met with looks of confusion and a hesitant "umm... do you mean sports bras?" No, I didn't mean sports bras. I just happen to have small breasts, and unlike 99% of the female population with A-cups out there, I don't feel the need to have them any larger than they are. I'd just like to have pretty underwear in my size. I don't want a fake cleavage, I don't want uncomfortable wires. Eventually they found two styles, both of them very basic, without lace, bows or anything pretty, and they were only available in black, white and nude. Hurrah. Well, at least they weren't training bras with a Snoopy print.

For a long time I have bought my underwear at H&M, mostly because they seemed to be the only ones out there who carried pretty underwear for that small section of the small-chested who didn't want to wear push-up bras. In the past I have spent a lot of time in numerous lingerie stores who have offered me tons of small sizes, but did not understand the concept of a small-chested woman who didn't want to have bigger breasts. I have been measured by a professional, and I have tried on countless bras that just don't work on my body. Push-ups and wired bras just do don't do it for me. They are uncomfortable and unsightly. Push-up bras make me look as if I am trying to be something I am not.

The NYT article has links to stores that specifically cater for women like myself. I am in love with Journelle - you can actually refine your search to include wireless bras only, and they are pretty! Yay! Lula Lu even features pictures of petite models wearing petite bras - there is nothing more discouraging than to do an online search for a small-sized bra, only to find pictures of tanned amazons with implants in triangle bras!

Regardless of the insane pressure to be thin in today's world, it seems that even the thin are supposed to have curves, real or fake, in order to pass for a real woman. If women don't have curves, they at least ought to want them. It makes me sick that women and girls are brain-washed in this way, but I am very happy that the voices of women like myself have finally been heard. It is bad enough to go through your teenage years as the flat girl, only to grow up to realise that hardly anyone actually wants you to be happy with your small breasts. Women come in different shapes and sizes, and the option to love one's body should always exist, regardless of what one looks like. A huge chunk of the underwear industry seems to think that it is okay to make small-breasted women feel like they don't have enough to be real women. Well, Victoria's Secret can take their multi-padded and super-boosted bras to those who want them. I am taking my business elsewhere.

Top: Zara, from spring 2009
Skirt: Nanso, spring 2009
Sandals: Max&Co, spring 2009
Straw hat: Gap, summer 2010
Watch: vintage Hamilton, a present from Chris


Rad_in_Broolyn said...

I do think more an more women (although not the majority) of small-chested women are embracing their size, and rejecting bras that add to the bustline. But the retailers operate under the assumption that women all want to maximize their chest.
I went to Korea a few years ago, where women tend to be more petite in general, I thought I'd have no troubling finding bras that fit me, but didn't try to "fake" a larger chest. I was so wrong!

Anonymous said...

Great post :)
The problem with any body issue that is raised by the media is imo that we always want the impossible. Be superthin with DD cup size, have curvy hips that are no bigger than 90 cm... media don't want us to feel good- they want to leave themselves a free space to sell more.
For some time every fashion article has been driving me crazy for I could clearly see that they're just trying to trick me into buying more. Well, that's ok for the industry, I guess that's what they're after, but I do hate that they're doing this by pushing me deep into discomfort and guilt.
Oh well, maybe I'm not saying anything too original, it just gets me every time.
Cheers to you and congrats on getting your green card!

jesse.anne.o said...

Dude. I'm a 34C on a 5'2" body and I cannot find bras without "implants"/push-ups, etc.

Incredibly frustrating.

Modesty is Pretty said...

YAY for A-cup girls! I totally get you on this issue, buying bras is a very hard task for me, I can't find nice A-cup bra's without wire or pads or hooks to bring your boobs closer together! A few years ago I bought 2 very nice A-cup size bras at Victoria's some time later I went back and they told me they had discountinued them, of course I'm very broad around my toso so my size is more difficult to find. I was saddened that they no longer made that bra and the lady insisted on me getting wire bra's and maybe go a size up on the cup.
I don't like bras that make my boobs look big and I'm actually extremely happy with my small chest, except for the fact that I have a hard time finding nice bras that fit.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Yeah, I hate the whole 'real' women propaganda campaign. We're all real women. There are even 'real' women who weren't born with female genitalia. No one should be excluded.

And I have small boobs too (B-cup, though), and I'm perfectly happy with them! Have never wanted larger.

A xx

Charlotte said...

I wonder if this is a new thing. In the 70s, back when I was smaller (before baby and gravity) I used to find great stretchy bras without wires and pads. Recently, though, I went looking for the same, and couldn't find them anywhere. Everything's about enhancement. The love generation needs to reassert its style, man. Hair is beautiful. Shapewear's a drag. And bras are meant to be comfortable.

Dani said...

I love this. I saw the article in the NYT yesterday at lunch, and I got so excited. Fortunately, I was measured recently and found I was a 32D(D) rather than the 34B I had thought I was. It's a lot easier to find non padded non push up bras when manufacturers think you want to hide what you've got. Of course, now I'm still hated by the fashion industry, it's tough to find affordable pretty bras in that size, DD's with a narrow ribcage? Apparently I don't exist.

A. said...

Omg I HAD a white Snoopy training bra! (I think it was from h&m)

gina said...

Great article! I linked to it from my blog too. Some retailers (like Victoria's Secret) are expanding their lines to include smaller band and cup sizes, but it's still hard to find bras that aren't padded or push up or with underwire.

Anonymous said...

I just get annoyed that they don't make pretty bras in my size. Only black, white, and skin tone. 36A obviously doesn't deserve the pretty ones according to designers :(

I use to think I needed to wear a push up bra. I no longer do. And I only wear wireless cause frankly wires hurt. I think now because I am in my mid 20s I am more comfortable with what I have and feel less like I need to have something else.

RoseAG said...

I've never had good luck with Victoria's Secrect. Small non-chain places are more likely to have someone who can help you find something you like.

As the NYT pointed out, most of these burgeoning breasts are fat.

For the most part women have pretty consistent amounts of actual breast tissue, the differences in size tends to be how much fat is larded in there with it. Small breasts do what they're designed to do just as well as big ones do.

Anonymous said...

I am sick of not being classed as a 'real woman' because I lack curves, as a UK size 4-6 (US size 0)finding clothes to fit it just a nightmare which usually ends tears!

And inconsistency amongst shops is infuriating: e.g a size 6 in Jane Norman will fit me but a size 6 in River Island is just too big.

I would love shops to open (and do well) which only caters for us 'fake' women lol, but I think that it would be hammered by the media for encouraging the unhealthy side of size 0, annoying really when there is an 'Inspire' range in New Look for the quite frankly obese, as well as shops like 'Yours' and such the like.

even though I do wear push-up bras I do wear the odd pushup bra but thats just me