Breast Friends of the Busty, Bold, and Beautiful

I love my boobs. I really do.

It was not always this way. From my teen years into my mid-20s, I tried to hide in oversized thrift store sweaters and bound my breasts in too-small minimizer bras. Nicknamed “hooters” in my junior high school hallways, groped and gawked at, I tried to cover and contain my full bust.

Then, a turning point. An episode of Oprah that aired in 2005 revealed that most ladies live in the wrong-sized bra. It inspired me to get the bra fitting that changed my life. Turns out, having big boobs doesn’t have to be such a bummer. Once I got a proper fitting and real support, I started to feel uplifted.

Still, how to express my femme and fabulous side, clothing-wise? Many department stores and common clothing lines offer up trendy clothes for the voluptuously full-figured in plus size. But, what about those of us who are bust size?

Don’t Hold Your Breast

How can a culture be so very breast-obsessed and yet, at the same time, entirely overlook the needs of the ample bosomed in mainstream clothing design?

I’ll tell you how. Because that’s what we do. We ignore reality, exalt exceptions and treat what is actually common as abnormal. The vast array of body types and wide variance in gender expression are largely omitted from the cultural conversation about beauty and bodies.

Then, there is the glaring contradiction that runs throughout our confused culture in the US. It’s the paradox that makes sex at once the center of consumer culture, salaciously taboo, while also refuses to offer sensible sex education in our schools or have frank public discourse around sexual health & freedom.

And so it was never surprising to me, though it was thoroughly frustrating, that my breasts got all kinds of noticed by leering eyes when I’d have preferred respect and then no kinds of noticed when I needed sexy support and feminine style.

Busting Out of Boob Shame

After years of shopping fatigue and fitting room disappointment, I long gave up on dress shopping. I could work with the shirts. Tops that accommodated my chest usually had sleeves and lengths I swam in or, alternately, fit my waist and arms but pushed in my boobs so that they came spilling out the front. Not ideal, but workable. I had to wear something.

The dresses, however, were a complete bust. I could not manage to squeeze my chest into any dress my size. That is, a dress that fit my hip and waist measurements could not handle my gigantic boobs.

Over the long years of living in ill-fitting outfits and bras, I sometimes researched breast reduction surgery, I often complained of the discomfort of having large mammaries, and I generally felt awkward and tried to hide and cover what I saw as a source of stress and unsavory stares.

Looking back now that I have such a changed relationship with my breasts and have a deep appreciation for my uniquely curvy body, it’s troubling to think I spent so much time rejecting myself. It saddens me that others out there, because their shape is not reflected in mainstream media or popular clothing options, may also think that something must be wrong with how they look.

How to Look Your Very Breast

Buxom babes already know that it’s barely worth looking for a bra at Victoria’s Secret or other popular stores. Getting online may be the way to go, but first, an in-person fitting is essential. It’s typical for women to compensate for too-small bras on sellers’ stacks by wearing a bigger band when the size that needs to go up, is the cup.

Since many retailers don’t carry DD+ cups, it’s important to find a lingerie boutique that specializes in getting the right fit for its customers. Nordstrom is a fine place to go for a professional fitting. If their prices are beyond your budget, get your measurements and head over to figleaves.com, barenecessities.com, or herroom.com and choose a style and price that is right for you—beware of European conversions, though, and shoot customer service a message before ordering if you need clarification on your size. Chantelle is my brand of choice for sexy, lacey, and strong, durable bras, but there are many other affordable options.

As for stylish apparel? Form-fitting and flattering attire is out there for the big breasted. It’s just not always easy to find. Here are the best breast-sensitive and customized clothing retailers I’ve found on my journey to bold & boobacious living.

Pepperberry –UK sister company to Bravissimo that I’ve found to have lots of versatility. For those of us not based in the UK, making an error in sizing can be costly when it comes to return postage. So I recommend emailing your measurements to get the size for each order, as the staff seems to know whether an item runs big or small and have always been friendly and accurate in suggesting the best size for me.

BiuBiu –A Polish brand for big boobies, mostly casual, some office appropriate, fit according to waist/hip size and then 3 levels of bust sizes from B-BBB. Email to ask your size when in doubt!

Urkye—More Poles with more super cute clothes with more room for your boobs. Select waist size then bust size and you’re good to go!

Lady V London –Vintage 50s style for full-busts and full-figured gals! Beautiful, fun fabrics!

DDAtelier—Gorgeous clothes from Russia that don’t fit my body, but are perfect for thin waist women with large busts. The style is cut to flatter the very slim and curvy figure.

eShakti —Cute, fun, colorful prints customized for your body. Get a friend to help get the right measurements, pay $7.50 to get it cut perfectly for your curves.

Synergy Organic Clothing —while not expressly aimed at voluptuous women, their offerings are plenty stretchy and roomy for boobies. Whimsical appliqués and sweet designs.

Gilli (as found on ModCloth)—not everything on ModCloth, as adorable as it is, works for my body. Gilli is a specific brand whose dresses are roomy up top for big boobs but fit still fit well at the waist and hips. Mostly knee-length summer dresses.

Caslon (as found at Nordstrom)—t-shirts that fit like a dream!

Etsy (various shops)—doing a search for dresses on etsy.com will get you tons of tailor-made options. Find styles you like and check to make sure the creator will do custom size. A shop I’ve ordered from and love is Herban Devi and I am tempted by Lirola.

Since discovering Pepperberry 4 years ago, wearing bras, bikinis, and clothing that actually fit my body has boosted my confidence and spirits. Turns out, I seem to draw less of the unwanted attention when in tops and frocks that fit, and more of the happy and appreciated attention.

Finding clothing that makes us feel attractive and more ourselves helps hugely to step out in the world feeling bold and beautiful. It can also help to catch ourselves when talking critically—internally or to others—about our bodies or breasts and to start to say words of appreciation and admiration instead. Practices that focus on bringing awareness to the sensations in the body such as Nia, yoga, 5 Rhythms, or body-based meditation can also support a stronger connection to the wonder and miracle of our bodies as they are right here, right now, and help to turn down the volume on culture’s messaging on how bodies “should” look. Hopefully more North American clothing makers will get in gear and start loving our lady lumps. Until they do, let’s love ourselves and each other, all bodies, fiercely and without apology.

Vanessa Soleil

Vanessa Soleil is a Life Coach who partners with clients on their path to personal & spiritual growth to help them move through strong emotions, self-criticism, and doubt to better love themselves, enjoy life in the here & now, and take action toward their dreams. A lover of 5 Rhythms, a certified Nia instructor, a 2007 graduate of a 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training, she incorporates body-based mindfulness into her coaching. On days off, she can be found wandering through woods near her home in Carrboro, NC, napping in the sunshine, and cuddling with her boo & their 11 pound chihuahua mutt. Learn more and sign up to receive insight, meditations, and more at her website.

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