Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

One of the things that I get a bit fanatical about with my friends (though actually I think the last of them saw the light on this about 5 years ago-hence my new mission to convert the Internet) is the importance of a well fitting bra. Here’s what most women do in this country:

Age 13-get measured in M&S by a nice, matronly lady who measures your ribs, adds 4 or 5 depending on whether it’s an even or odd number, sticks a letter on it and sends you out into the world wearing a 34B.

Age 16-buy some slightly more risqué 34Bs.

Age 20/25/30/35-have a baby and buy some 36Bs, non wired for the pregnancy/breast feeding bit, wired for the toddler bit.

Age 50/55/60/65-go back to non wired and buy some 38Bs.

Here’s the secret. M&S cannot measure women for bras FOR SHIT. If you want to be properly measured there are very, very few places that will do it properly, particularly if you are large of bosom. I recommend Rigby and Peller, Bravissimo, Leia Lingerie or an independent retailer who has been suggested to you by someone who knows what they’re talking about. A good example is Kathryn Rolfe Lingerie in York, though for some reason I can’t link to her website. The thing that all these people have in common is that they know that a) if you’re a pro you probably don’t need a tape measure and b) adding 4 or 5 inches to your rib measurement to get your back size is ludicrous as bras are all now elasticated! It may have been necessary pre war, but it honest to God is not necessary now.

The problem with women believing the nice ladies in M&S is that if they wear a back size that is too large it will ride up their backs, rather than sitting in a nice, straight line. This will then mean their boobs aren’t supported by the bulk of the bra, so they sag. These women then have a choice-they can tighten the shoulder straps as much as possible to hoik their boobs back into the right place, thereby giving themselves painful and unsightly red marks in their shoulders, and meaning their shoulders take all the weight rather than their (much stronger) backs, OR they can leave the shoulder straps loose, let their boobs hang free and pretty much negate the point of wearing a bra in the first place.

What they SHOULD be doing is wearing a back size that is actually their back size. A tape measure comes in handy for this bit if you’re starting from scratch and doing it yourself. Measure round your back, under your boobs, in inches. That’s your back size. If you come out on an odd number the chances are you should go down an inch, though this will depend on the make and fit of the bra. So if you measure 30″, you are a 30″ back. This blows lots of people’s minds, mainly because M&S seem to only stock 34s and 36s, with the occasional nod to a 38. However, the chances are that if you are a size 6, 8, 10 or 12, you are much, much more likely to be a 28, 30 or 32 bra size.

To put this in perspective, I am now a size 10 or 12, depending on the shop and the item of clothing, and I wear a 30.

Now to balance this out, (as my giant boobs balance out my hips, ha ha!) I am a 30G. Or even a GG in some brands. This is huge but not as huge as it sounds. It’s roughly equivalent to a 32FF, a 34F, a 36E (sounding more like what you’re used to?) or a 38D. I could wear any of these sizes and my boobs would fit in the cups. BUT, without a well fitting back band, my boobs will be round my knees, unsupported, and swinging free. Also, my silhouette will be crap. So if you’ve merrily been wearing a 34B since you were 13 and I’ve convinced you it’s not right for you, try a 30D, or a 28DD. You may be amazed.

The trick with cups is to find your back size and then try on a variety of cup sizes in the bra you like. To do this properly:

a) do up the back and put your arms through the shoulder straps
b) lean forward
c) hoik each boob from the outside into the cup
d) stand up and observe
e) press the middle bit so it’s flat between your boobs and check it stays there. If it bounces forward it’s not fitting properly.
f) turn round and check the back band-it should be dead straight. This will feel tighter than you’re used to if you normally wear ill-fitting bras.

If you have the dreaded 4-boob effect, try the next size (or sizes) up. If there’s excess fabric, try going down a size.

The other lie that the M&S ladies peddle is that when you buy a bra it should do up comfortably on the middle hooks. This is rubbish-and I can’t even think of a good reason why they might think it’s true! You want it to do up on the loosest hooks because bras-like all clothes-stretch with time. In order to get longevity out of it you want to be able to periodically move in a set of hooks and get the same level of support. If you get to the tightest hooks and the support isn’t there anymore, it’s time for a new bra.

Yesterday I bought this in two colour ways from Leia:


It’s gorgeous! Fantasie, Freya and Fauve are all great brands for big boobed ladies. There are many more, particularly in palaces (not a typo, I love it) like Rigby and Peller, but they cost quite a bit more. They’re worth exploring though. No price is too high for boobs that sit high so it’s obvious you do have a waist after all, make you look slimmer, make clothes fit better, and generally are worth showing off.

Glad I got that off my chest.


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The website My Virtual Model, found at is a great motivational tool.  It’s really for ‘trying on’ different styles of clothes, but if you ignore the clothes and focus on the model herself you get a good idea of what you’d look like at different weights.  Here’s me at 13st 10lbs and me at 10st:

Quite a difference!  (The site only allows you to have small/medium or medium/large breasts though.  Hah!  No option for the more realistic ‘bloody enormous’.)  Fingers crossed in a year or less I’ll look more like the second picture…

I haven’t used the site above to look at clothes or think about style, mainly because I like to think that I dress quite well whatever my size.  In reality of course, there are things I wear and then look back on and wonder what on earth I was thinking.  As a chubster my main strategy has been to wear clothes loose enough to ‘skim’ over any rolls, but slim-fitting enough to not make me look like a giant, walking tent.  That’s actually quite a tall order.  My main trouble has always been my tummy, which I can’t remember ever being flat, even when I was otherwise pretty slim.  The key is to wear jumpers and tops that are loose-ish over the shoulder and fairly long, so they cover a bit of hip, but quite straight up and down in the middle to disguise the flab.  (Though you’ve got to be careful with fabric as this can quickly look very 80s if you get it wrong.)  I also love my ‘Not Your Daughters’ Jeans’, which I mentioned the other day.  They are very American – quite high waisted.  They slightly run the risk of making you look like a 90s Deep South line dancer (just add cowboy boots for instant fashion suicide) but I tend to wear tops that hide quite how high they come up so it’s less of a problem.  I don’t know how they do it but they manage to suck you in like a corset would and simultaneously lift your bum a good couple of inches.  They are genius.  Unfortunately they’re also cripplingly expensive – about £170 which is the same price as proper designer jeans, and which I resent a bit!  Thank goodness for Black Friday.

The other thing I rely on a lot is dresses.  With boobs as ridiculous as mine shirts are impossible (unless worn over a vest and only buttoned over the stomach, which can look very slutty very quickly when your cleavage threatens to suck in and drown passers by) and I don’t tend to wear t-shirts as they can look stretched over the chest (again, slutty), not to mention a bit teenager-ish I think.  Dresses get over the modesty problem and can be dressed up or down depending.  I rely a lot on places that cut for curves like Hobbs and Jigsaw.  Whistles dresses are fabulous and made for my figure – I love them and wish I could afford more.  I loved Boden’s maternity range but find their normal range quite slim fitting.  I’ve bought trousers from them before that are flattering on my legs, fit my bum, look great from behind but won’t zip up at all – my hips are too big for the way they cut I think.  The perennial hour-glass fashion favourite of Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses are also brilliant, but they’re so expensive I only have two and they don’t currently fit.  Another reason to get to goal as quickly as possible!

A little-admitted problem of the modern fatty is the dreaded thigh chafe.  There is not much that is more unpleasant, and it makes tights or leggings a must with dresses.  I didn’t really get leggings until I was pregnant; I remembered a couple of horrendous BHS pairs my mother made me wear when I was at primary school (it was the 80s, to be fair) and vowed never to wear them again, but they’re far more useful and flattering than I gave them credit.  I still don’t get the three-quarter length ones worn with tops that don’t cover the bum though.  Just, why?!

Today is day four of the 30 Day Shred.  Just got to kick DH off the X-box so I can switch on Jillian in all her glory.

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