I hate my boobs. I do. They’re just so big. It’s impossible to find a decent bra, and even when I buy the biggest one I can find they don’t hold me in. They’re so irritating – if they’re not digging in to my shoulders the wires are poking me in the side. My nipples escape regularly, and if you look closely (or not so closely) at my dress it’ll probably look like I’ve got four boobs rather than two because they just won’t stay in place. Not that clothes ever look great on me: I’m such a weird shape that clothes shopping is a nightmare, and the last time I tried to buy a bikini I cried in the changing room. I mean, I get that I’m freakishly big, but I just wish it were easier. I’m saving up for a breast reduction now. I just want to be normal.

You’re right, this isn’t me. I love my boobs. But this was me, once. When I was a teenager in the standard M&S issued wrong sized bra (sold to me with a sympathetic smile and the phrase “you are unusually big” to really make you feel good about yourself, of course), I detested my body. But fitting standards and the availability of even DD lingerie was so poor on the British high street that I had no choice but to accept the horrible bra-in-a-box offered to me, and the appalling support it provided me as correct. I never questioned the bra; I only blamed, hated, and ultimately hurt my body for being wrong.

What sucks is that, fifteen years later, every day I see scores of blogs, forum posts, Facebook messages and e-mails from women who still don’t know that that’s NOT how it has to be. Fifteen years later, a UK lingerie shop doesn’t see just how insulting and totally misleading it is to have a ridiculous sign like the one above (it’s genuine!) in their window. If you find it hard to find bras that fit, it’s not your body that has the problem. You’re just in the wrong bra. And if you’re being fitted a company that makes you feel abnormal or wrong for your shape, or that seems to wilfully perpetuate bad advice in order to keep women in as small (but hugely profitable) a size range as possible, you’re in the wrong shop too.

Don’t question your body: it’s brilliant. Question your bra size.

1: Why am I such a freak?

You’re not. Really.

2: Why is it so hard to find a decent bra?

Finding a decent bra gets significantly easier when you find your perfect fit. If you’re constantly experiencing straps digging in, straps falling up, band moving or riding up, cups overflowing or the front pulling away from your body, you’re wearing the wrong sized bra. Most often (though not always), this is in the form of a back size to big and a cup size too small – which is sadly the standard and long outdated fitting advice given by fitters the world over.

3: Why would the fitter say I was that size, if I’m not that size?

I’m sure she’s well meaning in her advice, but often blind adherence to the unreliable +4 method [see: Study Finds +4 Method “Not Accurate” for more on this…] and the sausage factory nature of high street fitting rooms leads to women being totally mis-fit. Trust yourself: if your bra is uncomfortable it is the wrong fit for you, regardless of what the fitter may be telling you. Don’t be afraid to disagree.

4: How do I know when it’s the right size?

Finding a decent fitter is invaluable (there are good ones out there, but they’re not always found in your average high street shop. Bravissimo is something of a trailblazer here in the UK, and of course there are many boutiques too), but it’s important to educate yourself too so you have the confidence to speak up when it feels wrong. There are a few basic rules you can learn. Bravissimo sums it up clearly with visual aids here, but to summarise: the band should be firm and horizontal to the floor (even when raising your arms above your head); the shoulder straps should not dig in or slip off – and they are not there to take most of the weight of your breasts either; the front center should sit flat against your chest; your breasts should not spill over and cause quadraboob (even in a demi-cup!); the wire should track along where the breast meets body, and fully encapsulate the breast without sitting on it or digging in at the side. For most of these issues, the solution is usually a smaller back size and a bigger cup. If you’ve been wrestling unsuccessfully with D cups, don’t be surprised if you find yourself much better served by an F, a G, or beyond…

5: How can I even be that size? Is that size even real?

Forget everything you think you know about bra sizes [see: What Most People Don’t Know About Bra Sizes if you’re in any doubt]. The letter means NOTHING without the band size. A D cup on a small backed bra can be the same volume as the A cup on a bigger back. And the alphabet goes on far beyond D, and more often than you might think…

6: Why shouldn’t I just get a breast reduction?

That’s your choice, and for some women it is the right one. But before you go in for an expensive, invasive, risky and irreversible surgery, make sure that a better fit isn’t exactly what you’ve been looking for. Mine was nothing short of life changing… and that’s exactly what every woman is entitled to.

Enjoy finding that fit, ladies x


photo by @peasoneday on Twitter.

This entry was posted in War on Plus Four and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to I HATE MY BOOBS

  1. Lynn says:

    What a disgusting sign!!! I can’t believe it say things like, ‘G: Get a reduction!’ Considering how many women already feel bad about their boobs, this is just horrendous.

    • It is totally unacceptable. I’m “get a reduction”. What an utterly repulsive thing to say to a woman, not least a woman you’re taking money from!

      • Mrs B says:

        Well then I guess that makes me a “get a double reduction” then!
        I actually saw this posted a couple of years ago on Facebook by a friend of mine. At the time I was really sensitive about my size (having gone from a D/E cup to a GG/H cup when breastfeeding and not being able to wear any of my pre-pregnancy clothes). Seeing this posted by someone I care about really hurt and the stupid phrase stuck with me for the longest time – “G is for get a reduction”
        Since then, partly thanks to excellent blogs like this one, I have gotten used to my new shape and given up all thoughts of a reduction. So keep up the good work, that sign is appalling in front of a lingerie store!

      • I’m so glad you’ve embraced your new curves – that’s such great news. I think people think stuff like this on Facebook is just funny, but it can be extremely hurtful and – worst- it perpetuates the myth that DD+ is freakish (and of course, that B- isn’t worth mentioning), making it even harder for women to find a fit that can truly change their whole self-esteem. Facebook is Facebook, of course. That it exists in a lingerie shop is just mortifying!

  2. Sophie says:

    That sign is appalling! I’ve seen jokes in this vein, but for it to be prominently displayed in a lingerie shop window is awful! How are women ever going to feel good about their bodies with idiotic advertising like this? I’m a DD/E, and I definitely wouldn’t consider myself “enormous” (though I am double delicious!).

  3. Sweets says:

    That sign is repulsive, and the store owners ought to be ashamed of themselves. There is no reason any woman should be faced with cup-size shaming, no matter her age or size, especially from a STORE THAT WANTS HER MONEY. This sort of nonsense is why women are ashamed to go buy bras in the first place! In this day and age, with more and more lingerie resources and sizes and styles available every season, no store should have the effrontery to think this is “funny.”

  4. love beauty not cruelty says:

    Fantastic post I had the same problem growing up and really though I was a freak in a DD and I’m actually a GG it’s taken 20 yrs to realise that I’m not a freak! And most of it is due to blog posts like this!
    Viva la bra revolution!!!! 😊

    • Thank you! So glad you found your way to the G-Unit and realised that you were not wrong, it was the godawful bra. We shouldn’t be made to feel like freaks by companies who rely on our custom. La bra revolution will continue until everyone knows their boobs – whatever shape they come in – are brilliant! x

  5. Firstly, please tell us where you saw this so that I can never shop there. Secondly, I’m a 30FF, and my breasts are not fake. They are my favourite thing about my body.

    • The guy who took it (@peasoneday on Twitter) said Fit to Bust of Harrogate. It makes me so angry, I don’t even want to GO to Harrogate!

      So lovely to hear someone say something positive about their body. I will most certainly not be “getting a reduction” either – I love my boobs too! x

  6. Lynn says:

    As a 32J , I’m a: ‘jealous of my jugs Jordan’. Please name and shame this store! Also, maybe send the owner to an Introduction to Business course. Rule 1: Don’t insult potential customers and make them feel ashamed to buy your products!!!

    • According to the Twitter-er who took it (@peasoneday) it is Fit to Bust of Harrogate. I’m struggling to find an e-mail/online contact at the moment but do feel strongly that they should remove the sign. Or maybe it will be retail Darwinism!

  7. Lynn says:

    It *is* retail Darwinism!

  8. Sarah Blackwood says:

    THANK YOU so much for sharing this info!!! I, too, suffered long with these same tribulations before I finally figured out that I didn’t have to listen to these so-called ‘fitters’ (HA!!). I did my research and found out what fit me best. Now not only do I not hate my girls ;-), I carry them proudly. And I strongly urge shying away from reduction surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary!! Soooo many potential complications!!

    • I’m so glad you found your way to a perfect fit in the end. It’s so upsetting to think of all the girls out their who thing there’s something wrong with them, but always uplifting and inspiring to hear stories of them finding a way through to the other side. It’s a life changing thing to find – and we all deserve it! x

  9. Zoggi says:

    The website is http://www.fittobust.com/ and they also have a shop in Leeds. Found this gem under “advice for men” who are trying to get an idea of what size to buy for gifts:
    “To guess the band size, perhaps you can let us know what dress size she wears (check a few dresses). For cup size you can use this rule: lemons are A, oranges are B, grapefruits are C and mellons are D or more.”

    Really? And these people do bra fitting?

    • I couldn’t find anything on that site that mentioned the Harrogate shop so I wasn’t sure. But by the sound of that advice, I would not be surprised if they were the same people…. Uch

      • Zoggi says:

        I don’t understand why there’s no mention of the Harrogate store on the site, but the image of their Leeds store has the same sign and oh-so-comical “which size are you” blurb.

    • Nicola says:

      Besides the fact that that’s offensive, it’s also incredibly misleading. I’m a FF (no, they’re not fake!), and my breasts are significantly smaller than melons. Maybe mango-sized?

      Anyway, if a man can check his partner’s dress size surely he can check her bra size.

    • How about either a. just bloody well ask her what size she is or b. GO TO THE FREAKING UNDERWEAR DRAW AND LOOK. Honestly.

  10. So apparently I’m “Fake.” Full stop. No question about it. Hmm. This is the problem… I rather like my boobs, they don’t look very large on my ample figure, and you would never think they were implants. If I told anyone (who wasn’t bra-size educated) that I was wearing a 34F, they might not believe me… and I wear a back size that sounds “normal”, so I can’t even explain it away with; oh I have a small back band so the cups are proportionally smaller blah blah. It’s annoying that the “size” of breasts is conceived in terms of meaningless letters. Mine look average sized. I truly require an F cup. The two needn’t be exclusive. That store would do well to learn this is the case, and stop insulting their potential customers.

  11. TheCurvyPear says:

    They have a facebook page. I don’t live in the UK, but if I did, I’d want to run over and give them a piece of my mind.


  12. Gemma says:

    That sign is VILE. I’m not even on the sign but it’s between ‘Get a reduction’ and ‘Help me!’ Isn’t it wonderful that some people are so shallow minded. Way to make me feel good about myself! How do they expect custom with a sign like that? I can take a joke, but that’s verging on offensive.

  13. Tamara says:

    “G- Get a reduction” I did…and now I’m back to where I started from 🙂

    I would never shop at a store that treated me like that and then wanted my hard earned money. I wish there were more stores in the US that catered toward “hard to fit” breasts.

  14. Laura P says:

    I am appalled that a store used that to advertise. It’s basically saying that if you aren’t a C, D, or DD, then you should be ashamed of your body because it’s not good enough. I’ve seen it before, and been insulted, but to use it to advertise a bra shop is disgusting

  15. Kendra says:

    It may not be helpful, but speaking as a closeted transgender woman, I’d love to have to deal with big breast problems.

    …and yeah that sign is disgusting, size doesn’t matter.

  16. kimberly says:

    That just ticks me off!! How sad!!! Just another thing to make women feel terrible about their bodies. Last night I was fitting a group of women and the last one was very excited to finally get a great fitting bra to help her with uneven breasts. After being fitted and looking fantastic and evened out in her clothing she broke down crying because all she could think about was the issue of one breast much larger than other. I had to console her and help her see how she really looked beautiful in the mirror fully dressed, lifted several inches!! I said the F cup meant Fabulous.

  17. Sarah says:

    I had to take a break before I wrote this – I was so angry. It is beyond me how this outfit think that they will get anyone through their door. How can they describe women in this way: fake, enormous, get a reduction – what? I’m a 34K which makes me kinky apprently – well I hadn’t noticed until now. How dare they. I am absolutely fuming. And, while I’m in the mood, I agree with your comments on fitters too – I could write a book.

  18. Patricia says:

    I have just written them a strongly worded email expressing my disgust towards this, and explaining to them how this encourages women to wear badly fitted bras. If anyone else wishes to do so here is the only email I can find for them: info@fittobust.com

  19. Poppy says:

    This is disgusting. As a 30J/28JJ, I’m apparently well past fake and need a reduction lest Jordan be jealous of my ‘jugs’. As a young teen I used to hate not being able to wear the pretty bras like the others and my breasts for the bitchy comments other girls seemed compelled to make upon sheer sight of them. I was made to feel like a freak. Later I learned there was no problem with my breasts and I was just in the wrong fitted bra. This sickens me because information like this perpetuates bra myths like “I don’t have big boobs I can’t be a DD” or “Her tits are huge, must clearly be fake” or that a reduction is necessary for someone with larger breasts. Whether it’s a joke or not, it’s offensive to large breasted women, and small breasted ones for that matter. Almost boobs? What’s that all about? I could rant for ages on about this.

  20. XL Hourglass says:

    wow, that sign? Where is that?! I feel like going straight there and giving them a piece of my mind!!!!

  21. Tracie says:

    Couldn’t agree more with this! I spent years in baggy clothes to disguise the ‘4 boob’ look that my supposedly ‘perfect’ bras gave me. Now, aged 30, I’ve finally discovered the difference well fitting bras give me. I look thinner, my boobs look perkier, and I can finally wear clothes that show them off!
    It’s sheer stubborn bloody-mindedness why large stores, such as M&S, refuse to change their outdated fitting methods, so campaigns like this are really important.

  22. Suzie Rush says:

    I’ve often thought about a reduction, and when i was younger was even advised to get one by my GP in response to severe back pain (due to there being nothing above a C-cup available anywhere accessible and the internet not yet being an option so squeezing what were at the time DD/Es into a C…yeah), but having become more confident with questioning the way bras fit, thanks in a large part to blogs like yours, I’m sure that there are non-surgical alternatives to at least be explored before that should be a real consideration.

    The one thing that still causes me trouble, and which you may be able to advise on, is making bras suit my body shape as well as my size. I am very definitely a UK 36G (allowing for some variations based on brands). In a plunge bra, I’m all good, but find that, as my breasts are heavy even or their size, that these style of bra do not last very long before ‘bagging out’ and losing support/lift in the cup. Moulded-cup balconettes are pretty much the only style that last me longer than a month or so without dying, but here lies the problem: my breasts in the middle have pretty much no space between them, and this style of bra tends to have too wide of a center gore, so that while every other part of the bra fits like a dream, the top inch or two of the gore gets pushed away from my sternum, and after a few wears the two adjacent wires cross over as they’re squished together. This results in small marks on the breast tissue where the wire tops press in, and eventual fraying of the material due to strain and friction which allows the wires to escape (always fun to look down and find half a cup’s underwire protruding from your top!). Any soft cups I’ve tried haven’t been able to support me, aside from sports bras, which don’t do much for shape or sex appeal, so I’m at a loss. Essentially, do you think it’s possible for me to find an underwired balconette bra that would not suffer these problems, or am I doomed due to me ‘wide’ breast base (and if the latter, is there any solution other than live in sports bras or shell out for a new underwear drawer every few months)? I’m mainly still keeping the reduction thing as an option because surgery would in the long run be cheaper and less painful than muddling along like I am.

    Sorry for the ‘personal shopper’ request, I’m just at a loss and would trust your input better than some shop assistant. 🙂

    • Hi Suzie, sorry for the late reply… I’ve been buying a house and it’s gobbling up all my boob time. It’s true that some bras sit further apart than others, just as some boobs sit closer together than others – it’s not necessarily a size thing, but often a brand thing. For example, Freya is (usually) pretty much a perfect match for me, but Curvy Kate bras tend to be a fraction too wide in the middle for my body and I get the cross over them.

      It’s difficult to tell just from reading this comment, but I wonder – could you use a firmer band? (if the band is taking enough weight, a well cared for bra (hand washed, air dried, etc etc) should stand regular wear for about six months or more.) When you buy your bras new, do they fasten only on the loosest hook, does the band stay horizontal to the floor even when you move about/raise your arms, and is it so firm as to only pull away maybe two inches when you tug at the band? If you’re quickly moving to the tightest hook or if there’s enough flex to pull it away from the body easily, then you may need to consider a 34GG. If this is the case, you may also find your ‘middle’ problem disappears in some styles too, because there is not excess band.

      Give it a go and let me know how you get on (I’ll be quicker at responding next time!). If it doesn’t fix it, we’ll try something else. It’s a hassle now, but there must be more alternatives before leaping to surgery. Good luck, and stay in touch! xx

      • Suzie Rush says:

        Popping back for an update and a massive THANK YOU! I tried the 34GG (in the same style as I’d just gotten, so could compare new with new), and while it doesn’t sit perfectly flat, it does lie within a hair of my sternum, and without leaving any marks or causing pain, and since it was a Curvy Kate, which as you say tends towards being wider in the gore, it was a damn significant improvement. Since then I’ve tried the same trick in a few other brands, and while in some the 34 just will not close around me, and yet others just sit ‘wrong’ in the cups, it does seem to be generally a good move.

        I’d not considered going down yet another band size, since I actually measure as a 38 and in the cheaper brands find even a 36 I struggle to close, but now that I’m putting a bit more effort into finding decent bras, I should have accounted for them not being quite so, well, shite. I guess it’s like the rage over promoting the +4 over the +0 when sizing bands: I apparently need -4, which would also explain how several so-called professional measuring assistants have tried to punch me into a C-cup to account for the mahoosive back sizes they decided were right.

        I now have three very pretty bras which fit me perfectly (or close enough that they support and shape correctly without causing any pain, even if they’re not 100% by the book) and they seem to be standing the test of time and not bagging out like the rest. I assume that that was because, even when they seemed to fit right apart from the gore, and weren’t leaving marks from the shoulder straps, too much of the support was coming from the straps or the cups themselves, rather than the band. I do think my days of opting for cheapo bras are over, as even the GG in the lower band size leaves me spilling out five ways from Sunday in the likes of Asda or even M&S styles, but I don’t mind paying that bit extra to get decent brand-name bras from Brastop etc. when they’ll actually last and are comfortable as well as attractive.

        So, thanks you a million times, you’re a life safer (or boob-saver at least)!

      • I’m so happy! That’s fantastic news, thank you so much for coming back to share. Congratulations on your new fit! xxx

  23. I suggest we *all* write to them at the email address Patricia gives above, with a link to this blog so that they can see the strength of feeling. If you look at their website it sounds like a lovely shop that really makes an effort to help women, but the sign is so horrible and that makes it all very mixed messages. It seems to me that all of us who have commented here, and probably everyone who reads the blog, are all ladies with full figures, and therefore we are their core customer base. I run my own business and if a bunch of people who I hoped to get business from wrote to me and said they were pissed at me and wouldn’t be using my services, I’d certainly sit up and take notice of it. Grrrr. Looking at the picture again has got me angry all over again. How DARE they?

  24. Pingback: Rant for a Monday | Sweet Nothings

  25. Pingback: Link Love (23/09/2012) « Becky's Kaleidoscope

  26. Sarah says:

    i am an 36L CUP!!!
    1) i cannot find bras that fit
    2) i get back pain
    3)they sag a mile!!
    4) they have 3 inch diametre arelolas
    5) i cannot run
    6) if i walk for more than 5 min my breasts hurt ALOT

  27. Helen says:

    Clothes are as difficult ….get tops to fit are a nightmare, any advice for that??

    • Properly fitted bras and carefully chosen necklines! In a seriousness, I’m fortunate that my 30Gs aren’t so huge that they are too much of a problem [they were more so when I was struggling in badly fitted 34Es] – and over the years I’ve got good at choosing clothes and brands that work in my normal dress size [although shirts are an impossibility]. Pepperberry by Bravissimo specialises in tops fitted for big boobs if you’re stuck – although I find their ranges to be a mixed bag style wise. Worth checking out though x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s