My Busty Story

I want to be able to share my story with everyone and provide some background on my current perspective, as I think this certainly has had an influence on who I am and how I feel about my body 🙂

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Let me preface my story with this: When I was in the 3rd grade (8 years old), my parents took me to see a specialist because of problems with my thyroid. 3 years later, I was finally diagnosed with Grave’s disease – a form of hypothyroidism – and in order to stabilize my hormones (which kept rapidly flip flopping from hyper to hypo), my doctor and parents made the decision to get rid of my thyroid gland with radioactive iodine. Thus, I was stuck in a perpetual hypothyroid cycle only regulated by a daily thyroid hormone pill. I think that my story of how I feel about my body definitely starts here, because at the time, not only was I starting to go through puberty but my weight was also all over the place because of my thyroid. In 4th grade, I looked anorexic because my gland was hyperactive. In 5th grade, I had put on 60+ pounds and I was overweight. It was a really hard time for me.

The transitions my body went through in just that year’s time was amazing. In 4th grade, I didn’t need a bra. By the end of 5th grade, I was wearing a C cup. Yes, a 10 year old wearing a C cup. In my school picture for that year, you can see my bra strap sticking out of the top of my t-shirt (wearing winnie-the-pooh overalls over it). Such innocence, and yet the developing body of a woman.

As you can imagine, my thyroid has certainly changed my life. I remember entering middle school (7-9th grade; 12-15 yrs old) and feeling very awkward in my body. I was clearly overweight and my breasts were fairly big. I think by the time I reached 9th grade, I was wearing a DD cup. Or at least trying to. I truly hated the way that I looked, and I could not find anything that fit. I think back to that time and try to remember if my mom ever helped me, but I don’t know that she did. I wanted to be comfortable….and for a long time, I wore Playtex 18 hour bras. Just an FYI….those bras have no under wire. I looked like a squishy mess.

I think my mom tried to help me find underwire bras…..but everytime I put something on, the central gore always stuck out. I know now that that was because the cup was too small….but I thought it was something I would always have to deal with. I was so embarrassed. I remember when one of my friends (a guy) and I were hanging out and he could see the central gore poking through my t-shirt at the time. He pulled on it and said “What is this?” I couldn’t answer him and I was so mortified. That was probably the time I started wearing the wire free 18 hour bras. I really loved the 18 hour bras because they had gel straps, which helped to ease the pain I had on my shoulders. I hated bras. And I didn’t know what to do about the size of my breasts. None of the other girls my age had nearly the same size breasts as I did. It was awful.

I try to think about high school and it’s really a blur. I don’t know why it’s so hard to remember, as it was only 8 years ago, but I can’t remember much about the bras that I wore. All I know is that they were uncomfortable, I never felt truly supported, and I hated the way my boobs looked in my bras. I honestly have NO idea what I was wearing. They were always bras from the Playtex, Bali store that my mom bought. By the time I reached high school, I think my mom was just buying me DDDs because that was the biggest size we could find, and she didn’t really know what to do. I had more confidence in high school because I had a large group of fun friends. But the fact remains that I was overweight with large breasts….and I had no idea what I should be wearing to flatter, support and love my curves.

College was a turning point in many ways for me. Being away from home allowed me to explore new things about my personality, my likes/dislikes, and my body. Early on in my freshman year of college I made my first trip to Lane Bryant, where I discovered Cacique bras, made for the plus size woman. At that time (2006) I did not know anything about cups larger than a DDD and I don’t know that LB really marketed their FGH sizes (if they even had them at the time). I got fit for a bra and was put into a 42DDD. It was amazing. I finally had the right fit and lift (or at least I thought), and I started to feel a lot better about my breasts. I started college at about 230 pounds, but by the end of my freshman year, I weighed almost 260 pounds. Eek!

Bras started to not be a joyous thing in my life, again. My boobs were popping out of my 42DDDs and I had no idea what to do. It wasn’t until I started working at Lane Bryant in April of 2008 that I finally started to go on my search for the right bra. On a whim I ordered a 42H in their balconette, hoping, hoping maybe that the cup would be too big. But…as you can imagine, it wasn’t too big. I found a bra that kept me from popping out, and at least did something to lift and support my bust. By the end of my sophomore year of college, I weighed about 280 pounds and felt miserable all around. Sophomore year was definitely rough. The man I was dating at the time was overseas in Kuwait for the war, and I was just not in a good place. My body hate was at an ultimate high. I also discovered college drinking 😦

Thankfully, over the summer between sophomore and junior year (still in 2008), I lost a bit of weight and I was able to wear 44 DDDs really well. I was excited that I could get some sexier styles from LB, and I was feeling pretty good about myself. I think I weighed about 260 pounds. This isn’t a huge difference, but I felt comfortable in my skin. Working at Lane Bryant helped me to feel better about my body. The women that I worked with were not only beautiful, but they were good people who really emanated body love. They taught me how to dress for my shape and how to really highlight my assets. They helped me to appreciate my full bust and not to hate my curves. I really do cherish every single one of those women that I worked with. They helped me to find myself during a dark time.

Fast forward fall/winter of 2009. My family and I took a trip to Chicago to visit a grad school. I had heard about the Intimacy stores from somewhere (I have no idea where) and I knew that I wanted to go there for a bra fitting. While I was happy with my body, my breasts continued to change. My old 42Hs weren’t cutting it and certainly neither were the 44DDDs that I had. At Intimacy, I was sized in a 42H PrimaDonna bra. The central gore never sat against my chest, though I did end up buying it – holy cow $118. I wore it ONCE and the central gore stuck out under my shirt. It brought back terrible memories from middle school and I never wore the bra again.

At the same time, I was able to get some Elomi Tamarie bras (in a 42H) and found the fit to be really great. I wore them and was excited to (1) not have uniboob and (2) have something that fit well and supported well. In 2009, I met my husband 😀 and we were happy.

Well, me, I’m an emotional eater. So, of course….happiness and dating = weight gain. It took no more than a year for me to hit my ultimate high weight of 310 pounds in the fall of 2010. I had quit working at Lane Bryant in August of 2010 so that I could focus on grad school. At the time, none of my bras fit were fitting. I was wearing a 44G LB push-up demi. I remember coming home from work one day, bawling because my bra was so tight and I was so uncomfortable. My skin was red and raw from the pinching tight band. I hung my head in shame when I went to LB to get bra extenders. 46 bands felt great….but none of the LB bras in 46 bands came in a big enough cup size (their 46s only went up to a DDD and were only in select styles). Every day that I put on my bra, with the extender, was a reminder of how much I didn’t like my body. I felt completely out of control.

Our wedding was planned for October of 2011, and I knew that I needed to lose weight. I bought my wedding dress in November of 2010, when I was at my highest weight, and I was so upset that I was going to be a fat bride. My dress was a size 26. I felt so awful. When the new year hit, I knew that I had to do something to lose weight and feel good in my clothes. I seriously could not STAND that I had to wear an extender….and all of the money that I had spent on bras (elomi and primadonna) I couldn’t even wear.

Losing weight is full of trials and tribulations. I lost about 20 pounds from January to February of 2011, and I could finally wear my 44Gs without an extender. Yay! But as life goes, I ended up gaining some of the weight back. While this really isn’t about my weight loss/gain, it certainly coincides with my bra journey as my sizes were definitely effected.

I woke up one day in September of last year and it finally hit me. While I couldn’t really change much about my wedding dress size because it was only a month and a half away, I knew that I could start to work to lose weight. By April of this year, I had lost 40 pounds and was feeling much better. But what I found was that….even though my 44Gs were too big around, the cups were now too small. How in the heck had I lost weight, yet my boobs got bigger?!

In May, I found Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. And from there I found the awesome size calculator at A Sophisticated Pair.  I don’t remember how I found FFFB, but I know it was on facebook. I was prompted to figure out my size and start the trial and error of getting a bra that fits the right away. At the time, I was wearing cotton 42H bras. I thought they were a good fit and they were very comfortable.

At least I thought they were the right fit! I learned from FFFB and all of the other great full bust blogs that underarm chub is BOOB! Based on the sizing calculator on A Sophisticated Pair, I learned that I should start with a 40J and go from there. From reading all of the blogs, I really fell in love with Curvy Kate and really wanted to start with this brand. I ordered the Portia (you can read my review here) and….if you read through my blog….this is where I am. When I first tried on the 40J I was so amazed by the transformation. I never once was “shocked” by my new size. It just is what it is. I don’t care about the letter or the number. Because, after this long road…. I just wanted a bra that fit me the right way. I am willing to do whatever it takes to love my bust. The first step is acceptance. 🙂 

Hi, my name’s Nicole, I’m 24 years old and wear a 40J. I don’t feel any shame in saying that.

Admittedly, I am still trying to figure out my true Curvy Kate size, and it may be that the brand just might not work for me. The Emily is, by far, my favorite style….though sizing is tricky. I have it in a 40J and a 40JJ. The 40J is a smidge too small…..and the 40JJ is a bit too big – the central gore comes up too high. My absolute favorite is the Panache Andorra, in a 40J. I cannot recommend a better bra. My right breast is bigger than my left, and this bra works wonders for me. The stretch lace is a godsend!

Now that I have amazing bras that move tissue from under my arms, and support and shape in a natural way….I feel so much better 🙂 Also, my back and shoulders don’t hurt anymore. Yay! I’m still working on losing weight….and I feel like right now my biggest hindrance is finding a sports bra that works for me. I’ll definitely be posting on this soon!

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If you’ve stuck around this long, thank you for reading my very personal story. Being plus sized AND full busted is definitely hard…..and sometimes I feel like I’m slamming my head against a wall. However, I have certainly put money into my bra wardrobe (I am DEFINITELY investing in my chest 😀 ) and I am finally in a pretty good place with bras.

But I still want to see more! I am so excited about the Panache Sculptresse line that is coming out next year. I can only hope that the styling and fit of this new line are similar (if not better) to the Superbras 🙂 But then again…maybe next year I won’t need a 40 band anymore 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Did you experience “size shock” when you found out your full bust size? How did you deal with those emotions? 

7 thoughts on “My Busty Story

  1. I used to get very distressed or elated every time my bra size changed. It’s hard to change our size-oriented focus, because we’re so conditioned to think of ourselves and our bodies as “sizes.” Changing the focus from size to fit is hard, but so worth it, from a mental health point of view. You’re wise to look at it this way, and I’m looking forward to following the next stages of your bra journey!

  2. I am so glad you are starting to find bras that you better now. It’s a shame that there isn’t more of an emphasis on educating girls when they start developing breasts about proper fitting bras. I wonder how many women would feel better about themselves and their boobs if they were fitted earlier and made to feel normal and beautiful.

    When I was fitted properly for the first time, I was losing weight, and I was told that I wore a UK 36G. I was a little shocked, but my parents were more so . . . especially when they saw the price tag! But, I learned then and there that I’d rather wear a $20 top over a $60 bra that fits and supports me than wear a $60 top over a $20 bra that does nothing.

    • Yes! I had a conversation with family yesterday about wearing the right size bra. They said “you can’t get a 40A at Wal-Mart.” To which I replied “You can find something if you don’t shop at Wal-Mart.” They then took a jab and said “Well, we can’t all spend $60 on a bra.”

      I don’t know if they just don’t realize that I don’t WANT to spend $60 on a bra, perse, but I will do what I have to do to have a bra that fits my full bust!

  3. What a brave and wonderful human being you are! I spent my whole life, I am in my mid-50s, wearing the wrong sized bra, I thought I was a 38 DD and had been measured as that several times. Two years ago I lost about 10 pounds and decided to get re-measured at a fabulous Old School place in NYC called The Town Shop on the Upper West Side. They don’t even use a tape measure, they just eyeball you and then bring in a bunch of bras and fit them on you. I stood up and ,wow ,what a difference! I asked what size I was and the fitter asked me what size I normally wore, I told her and she laughed and said “You are tiny you are nowhere near a 38 band size. Turns out I am a 34G, I was delighted to suddenly have porn-star sized tits!

  4. I am in my early 40s, and for years I was wearing a 36DD. I hadn’t been fitted since I was in my teens, so I was working mostly on trial and error as my breasts increased during four pregnancies and the rollercoaster of emotional eating. I knew enough to up my cup size instead of my band size (I was a 34C when I graduated high school), but I had resigned myself to only ever finding boring granny bras. About six years ago, I knew that the bras I had were no longer the correct fit, and started complaining to my husband that I couldn’t find anything that fit at the national department stores. The ladies there tried, but the best approximation they had available was a 34DDD, which was still too loose in the back and still gave me quadraboob in the front.
    Shortly thereafter, my husband showed me an advert for a specialty shop in the next town, which I had avoided because I thought they catered only to plus-sized women. My husband quite rightly told me, “You have plus-sized breasts”, and drove me down one rainy Saturday. The shop was busy, but the fitter, a young woman in her twenties (and probably a 30F herself), was understanding of the challenges and insecurities that go along with never having had a proper-fitting bra.
    She took my measurements and soon returned with a variety of styles so that I could determine which were my preferred cuts and fits. We soon determined that my preferences were for structured cups with underwire, and I eventually walked out with two bras, one a 32H, and the other a 34G, from different manufacturers. I have since become a devotee of Prima Donna bras, in 32H. They probably run a bit more expensive than some other manufacturers, but for me, the fit is incredible, they make me feel slim and sexy, and I view the higher ticket price ($120CAD and up) as an investment in my mental and physical health.
    With the knowledge I have gained, I hope to pass on to my daughter (14 years old and already a C-D cup), that breast size is nothing to be ashamed of and that it is better to dress the body you have than try to force yourself to be/look like someone else.

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