October 01, 2020

by Jade Fothergill

Bras – brassieres, flopper stoppers, over the shoulder boulder holders… whatever you call them, I’m sure I’m not alone in finding them the most irksome piece of clothing in my wardrobe.

As a large-breasted woman, I have long become accustomed to the sad reality of having to wear bras that resemble structural engineering prototypes, bruise your sides, stab you with wayward wires and empty your wallet, but now, as my 13 year old has finally bitten the bullet and decided she needs to wear a bra under her school shirts, I’m reliving the horror of realising just how uncomfortable and ridiculous a garment they are!

Until now, not being a particularly girlie girl, my daughters’ clothing choices - baggy hoodies and leggings, mostly – have allowed her to wear simple cotton stretchy bra tops that you can pull off and on, are comfy and cheap (multipack of three for £10). This weekend, though, she asked if we could go and get some ‘proper’ bras to wear under her school shirt, in particular.

We measured her up and bought three – one nude t-shirt style, and two simple lace underwired bras, one in black and one in white. This morning, having put on her white one, which fits as we are told it should (band straight at the back, straps not too tight or loose, cups containing breasts) she sat eating her breakfast before school. After a few minutes she looked up at me, horror dawning in her eyes. “I have to wear this all day,” she said. “Well, yes,” I replied. “I can’t do it, Mama. It’s too uncomfortable. The wire is right on my ribs.” “I know, baby,” I said. “Wanna change?” She nodded gratefully and pulled off the offending item right there in the living room. Back to the soft bra tops for now.

I have since spent the morning looking for comfortable, affordable but supportive alternatives for her… Who says we have to wear underwired bras?! I feel a little guilty for making that assumption for her. (I’m reminded of the scene with Keira Knightly and the wonderful Juliet Stevenson in the bra shop in Bend It Like Beckham!) So, I’ve ended up ordering some of those ones you see advertised on infomercials – the ones that look like your nan used to wear. Because of the types of clothes my daughter wears they’ll probably do the trick for now, but if she starts to wear more revealing things as she gets older, we’ll have to have a rethink.

Should it really be this difficult? Bras are something the majority of women wear every day, and for many plus size women, who tend to have larger breasts, they can be an absolute torment! It really shouldn’t be the case! Please, let us know, what kind of bras do you wear? Would you ever go braless? Do you have a bra horror story? Let’s talk bras!

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