Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On clothing

Dear Bra Manufacturers,

STOP PADDING A & B CUP BRAS!

Sincerely,

Irritated B-Cup

I'm a small-but-curvy woman whose relationship with clothing has been, at best, unpleasant.

"My thighs are too fat!"
"My boobs are too small!"
"My torso is too long!"
"I'm too short! "

After about a decade of hating my body, I finally realized that the problem isn't me. It's them. Clothing are not constructed to fit my body. Clothing are designed to fit "real" people who fall into one of these categories. With my height/weight/measurements, I should be a Petite Size 4. But I'm not. Petites shirts are too short and too baggy, and petite jeans/trousers are too short and too narrow along the thighs.

Any trip to the clothing store inevitably ends with me entering the fitting room with 10x the amount of clothing one is supposed to take in and leaving the store empty handed. You'd never see a guy trying on 15 boxer briefs in a fitting room and struggling to find a pair that fit. You'd never see a guy struggling to find jeans or shirts that fit, either.  Men's trousers are sold by waist and inseam - meaning a man will ALWAYS be able to find jeans that fit. Men's shirts are sold similarly. It would be a simple shift in fashion for women's clothing to be sold thus as well.

But while finding clothing that fits me is a time-consuming irritant, finding brasierres has become such a loathsome task that I avoid it utterly. One would think that finding bras would be a little easier, as both chest and shoulder straps are adjustable. One would be wrong. With hormonal shifts, my breasts fluctuate nearly a full cup size each month, and thus I need to buy bras in multiple sizes. No problem, right? Wrong again. A & B cup bras are for "small breasted women," and therefore virtually ANY bra (other than wireless, shapeless lycra in nude or white) comes with 2" - 3" pads. And I'm not talking about the nice, jiggly gel/water/air pads, either. I'm talking padding that is firmer than floral foam. I once examined a beautiful satin and lace demi cup with padding so thick that I sincerely believe it could have doubled as a life preserver.

Are my breasts "small?" Yes, compared to my older sister's breasts - but she has a bigger band size, as well. My breasts are proportional to my body size. And even if they weren't, who the hell do clothing manufacturers think they are? Gentlemen's undergarments are NOT sold with padding, regardless of any "deficiencies" in his size. It offends me that as a small woman I struggle to find a pretty, elegant bra that ISN'T a message in fashion form telling me that my breasts are unacceptably small and that in order to be sexually desirable - or even beautiful - I need to give myself a boost.

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