YOU ARE A PERSON WITH BOOBS
AND THEY ARE EXTREMELY LARGE.
THAT IS FANTASTIC!!!! WE HAVE SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT!!!
I HAVE WRITTEN YOU A LOVE LETTER.
Part I. Calibrating the Mirror.
Actually, there’s something we have to do first.
We have to see what you look like.
Luckily, here at the House of Glass, we have an amazing, incredible, revolutionary, magical new piece of blog technology. It is a patented, highly clever BLOG MIRROR! This will allow us to determine what you look like. Scroll down, please, so that the Blog Mirror can acquire your image.
BLOG MIRROR ACQUIRING: 10%
BLOG MIRROR ACQUIRING: 35%
Let’s see your three-quarter view. Show it to us.
BLOG MIRROR ACQUIRED.
Hm. Let’s see what the mirror has to say.
Oh my god, you’re totally hot. You are beautiful. You are gorgeous. Where have you been hiding, you astonishing human being? This mirror is at a loss for words. It chokes on them. It can’t stop looking at you. You are a universe.
This mirror loves your eyes, like polished stones, and the way they catch and hold the light; the way they lie about their exact color, shifting and flickering like fish in a river, and the sweet way that they sit in your eyelids, like jewels in a fine setting. They sparkle with your intelligence, gems of the highest clarity.
This mirror loves the map of your skin. It loves the textures and travels, the lines of joy and movement and sorrow that it reads in your skin. It loves the story that your mouth tells, and it loves the secrets hidden in the corners of your lips, which give you so much of your beauty. It loves your beautiful human teeth, the hardest and toughest part of your body, because they are so perfect, so useful, so strong and fine and good. It loves the clever, architectural way that you’ve put together your curves with your angles, straight lines and swoops, in the presentation of this lovely piece of art – how intriguing, the shadow that lies under your eyes, and the line that runs down your nose, and the effect of the overall sculpture. What witty ears you have! And what interesting contours! This mirror also really gets your eyebrows.
Oh! This mirror loves your breasts! And this mirror loves your fat. Your lush, plush fat, whether it is hidden in little pockets at your hipbones, or worn all over like the costume of a queen. Is that a little softness under your chin – a layer of richness under your skin? The mirror loves that most of all. Do you know what that fat is? It is love, protection, warmth and wealth. This mirror values that. Those are some of the words it uses to define beauty.
And you are so beautiful. You are such an interesting and lovely story, sorrowful and strong, with notes of humor and desire…. But you don’t really seem to believe this mirror. If I had installed tear ducts in it, tears would be springing into them. How could you not believe something that loves you so much and speaks to you so truthfully?
How this mirror loves you! In order to calibrate it properly, I have shown it many beautiful things. I took it to a museum and showed it the most lovely things that human hands can create. I took it to work, and let it look in my microscope; I took it around the laboratories and offices of my colleagues and friends, and it saw fossils and lasers and jewels and planets and the feathers of parrots, and the slow dreaming of the lungfish, and the piece of the fallen star. It thought they were all very pretty. I took it around my city, pointing out the way the light catches the bellies of the seagulls, and all the nicest bits of architecture, and the beautiful people in their expensive shoes. I carefully instructed it on the notions of beauty prevalent in Western society, by showing it magazines and movies, and it took them all in solemnly. I showed it my husband, and it agreed that he is very fine. I am confident that its taste is good, as pitch-perfect as it is possible for a mirror to be.
And it has never seen anything as gorgeous as you, sitting there, looking at it, with your splendid eyes.
If this contradicts what your own mirror at home tells you, then your mirror is lying, defective or faulty. It may be eligible for a refund. Have a talk with it – see if it’s something you can fix? My mirror has been carefully calibrated, and it is completely correct. I am a scientist, you know, and I have no patience for faulty equipment. And furthermore, now that I’ve found you, I won’t have a cheap piece of stupid glass insult my beautiful new friend. Are people in your life agreeing with your broken mirror? Fuck ‘em. It’s not polite, but neither are they. My mirror is smarter and more superior. Did you not see the motto of the House of Glass? In vitro veritas! In glass, there is truth. My mirror uses the most truthful glass in the world.
We can fix your broken mirror at home, if you like, with a careful process of recalibration – but you’re always welcome to come back and look in this one. How it loves to see your beautiful face, your fascinating body.
How happy it would be to see you again.
Part II. The Society of Women With Boobs Welcomes You.
RIGHT! Now that we’ve finished looking in the Blog Mirror, let’s feast our eyes upon the mighty prow of Christina Hendricks.
RIGHT! Now that we’ve done that, we’ve… forgotten what we were saying. It can sometimes be hard for us as curvy queer ladies to write clearheadedly about body positivity, what with all these distractions.
Right, for the third time! Okay, here’s the thing. Whether your base figure is slim or fat or in-between or athletic or fluid or not really definable, once you added big breasts to it, you became, for this blog’s intents and purposes, a big-breasted person. We love you. Welcome.
Welcome, because now we are going to rant. This is the ranting portion of the article, and if you don’t want to read it, skip to Part 3.
Western culture is not kind to big-breasted people. Sure, it says “BOOBS!” all the time in a really annoying voice, often like this: “HURR DURR, LOOK AT THAT WOMAN. BOOBS!” but it never seems to have anything helpful or valuable to say on the subject. It will tell you repeatedly that the only attractive woman is one with giant ladyknockers and a small waist. Small-breasted women get insults like fried eggs and mosquito bites; it is widely implied that they are un-beautiful and inferior, and that they must get implants to mimic the Correct Female Figure. But it’s not like big-breasted women get a lot of support, either – not from our societies, and sometimes not even from our bras.
Do you know what type of figure you have? Oh god, you probably do. There’s the Apple, the Pear, the Ruler, The Strange, the Charmed, the Snail that Overturns the Nougat… the Hourglass. Because women love identifying themselves with fruit and objects! Pick up any magazine with Clothing Tips. It’ll rhapsodize on the natural, feminine beauty of the mythical Hourglass, probably saying something like “lucky bitch!” before going back to how Rulers can make their breasts look bigger, and Apples can make their everything look smaller. Let’s get rid of those notions now – let’s throw them out the window. You are a large-breasted person, yes. You are beautiful, yes. But fuck those magazines. Fuck ‘em. They don’t know you.
They don’t have to get dressed in the morning, in an entire culture that venerates bouncing breasts but has no interest in producing nice clothing to cover them. A culture that demands busty women and then makes them the butt of jokes; a culture that considers the sight of the gentle swell of the top of the breast to be an invitation to sexual assault, and the shadow-line between nestled breasts – the cleavage – to be a flashing banner ad that shouts “DO NOT RESPECT THIS WOMAN! SHE IS NOT A NICE, VALUABLE, OR PROFESSIONAL WOMAN! HOW DARE SHE HAVE CLEAVAGE!” Our culture also thinks that large breasts are coarse, vulgar, comical, brashly sexual, trying too hard. Sweet Machine put it very well in a good article about this ambivalence:
“The problem is that her article perpetuates the distortions about the female body that are so prevalent in our culture. Big breasts are gargantuan, improper; small breasts are elegant and let you wear pretty clothes. 34E is a “massive” size, but 34B looks like a 12-year-old. The range of acceptable racks, like the range of acceptable dress sizes, is shockingly narrow. On either size, you’re not “really” a woman at all: you’re a transvestite or a prepubescent, unwomanly, unnatural even if what we are talking about is your natural body.”
And oh, yes, we know the pain of simply Getting Dressed in the Morning. We, the Society of Large-Breasted Women, love this comic by GingerHaze:
Later in the article we’ll cover some delicious bra stores that will probably have your size in scrumptious styles, but yeah. Go into a normal store as a normal human woman with a rack that a magnificent stag would envy, leave a lumpy, undressable freak of nature with un-classy cleavage. Lucky bitch, the magazines gloat, good luck getting dressed, Hourglass, when nobody will sell clothes to you! HAHAHAHA!
Oh, we hear you. We are standing right there with you, in front of the stores that only sell sundresses with spaghetti straps, looking at pretty things that we can’t have.
Here in the clubhouse of the Society for Large-Breasted Women, we’ve got a lot of thoughts about Society, and we know that you, a large-breasted woman, aren’t exactly going to be able to hide your light under a bushel. We love your light. We think it’s grand.
We, too, live in this world, where every article that mentions the beautiful Christina Hendricks mentions her mammaries, where reporters are incapable of speaking about her acting work without bleating about her breasticles. She is certainly welcomed as masturbatory material on the magazine covers that she graces; she is laved over; people call her a Role Model – how daring, how racy to be a large-breasted woman in public! We, the Society of Large-Breasted Women, know that your feelings about all this are complicated.
We know that your relationship with your breasts may be complicated.
We know that your perceptions of beauty – your own, and that of other people – are complicated.
We know that the society that we live in is complicated, and that that is where these problems come from.
So fuck it. Fuck it all. There is a trash can over there. Throw your bad, mixed-up feelings about breasts into that trash can, and then kick the trash can. These feelings are big, and they’re not going to go away, but they can’t control how you view your body any more. This is how we start.
You are not inherently a pin-up, although you can be one.
You are not inherently a busty bar wench, although you can be one.
You are not inherently the default object of male desire, although you can be one.
You are not inherently the awkward girl with her shoulders hunched protectively to minimize the size of her chest, the girl who is not comfortable in her body – although you may have lived in her skin for a while.
Your breasts are amusing, comical, hilarious. Of course they are. They’re bags of fat. BAGS OF FAT. And they are also yours, which means: they are of value.
Even though everyone in the world wants to take ownership of your mammary glands, to judge them and juggle them, to compare them to your belly fat, to weigh them and weigh their opinions – those opinions do not carry weight. They do not carry water. They can be damaging opinions, or pleasant opinions, or opinions that make you evolve. You may agree or disagree with them, and you may change your mind. But you are not inherently anything because of the size of your breasts, except for the fact that you are inherently human, and the fact that the Blog Mirror thinks you are beautiful.
You are inherently you, with a pair of breasts stuck on the front. You’re beautiful. They’re great. People doubtlessly appreciate them. But they don’t define you any more than your eyebrows do. Nobody owns them but you. Your lovers don’t own them, and neither do strangers, or your well-meaning mother, or wolf-whistling men on the street, or the artists you inspire; not even the children you may feed with your breasts own them. They’re yours, a part of your beautiful body, something you can look down at and smile.
We, the Society for Large-Busted Ladies, understand this, and we are happy to talk about your feelings, and to sit with them, and with you.
One thing we don’t want you to say is things like “REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES” and “GENTLEMEN PREFER BOOBS.” Real women come in all sizes, you see. And it doesn’t really matter what gentlemen prefer. Bodies are beautiful. Yours just has boobs.
There are so many great things about being boobtacular. And that’s the attitude we’re going forward with, now.
III. Optical Illusions and You!
See Figure 1 (top of article) for a demonstration. You’re not going to look the same in a candid photo with a soft jersey top and skinny jeans as you do in a posed photo wearing a fitted, structured dress. YOU’RE JUST NOT. And why should you? You’re an organic creature. Fat has shape. You have shape.
The picture on the left, with the soft jersey top, shows a pair of straining knockers that resemble the tethered balloons of airships. (In the background, a tiny friend in a blue jacket is almost completely eclipsed by the burgundy magnificence of the Looming Breasts.) The phrase that springs to mind is BOOBS. And then, “Skinny jeans look good on nobody.” <strike>(Elodie why won’t you learn this)</strike>
The picture on the right doesn’t really evoke snide thoughts. It looks good, if bland. The person looks balanced, has good legs – might even be slender. Boobs are don’t look big, so there aren’t those connotations of “coarse” or “trashy” or “look at that WOMAN, out in PUBLIC with her BODY!”
They’re the same person at the same weight, of course. Same breasts, same weight, probably the same bra. Admire how one person can be simultaneously “skinny” and “overweight.” Cameras lie! Mirrors lie! Your own damn head lies! See the following experiments with Schrodinger’s Dress:
Large-Breasted Woman, you are a chameleon. You can be Apple, Pear or Hourglass with the snap of a belt; you can be Ruler with a sports bra or binder; you are Woman, you contain multitudes. You can be fat or slim or both at the same time – look at Schrodinger’s Dress.Yours are the realms of witty belts and tall boots. Yours is the sex appeal, the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen.
You deserve a good bra and good clothing.
III. How to Get Dressed in the Morning: Buy More Shit! Hack What You Already Own!
Here, finally, we are talking about Shit You Can Buy. The bras and the fitted shirts and the quirky dresses. Also, how you can manage the things you already own. And then how to wear it.
Freya - up to K cup; they do good swimwear and underwire-free options.
Sierra Trading Post is where I get my sports bras. For DD+ cups I recommend the zip-front options – they’re actually magical.
Fig Leaves , recommended for jersey knits in larger bust sizes. UK BASED.
Pepperberry, recommended for button-up shirts (shown below) and the dress in Figure 1. Have bought new and liked, though apparently earlier incarnations had issues with quality. UK BASED. Limited plus sizes. Read the reviews carefully.
AJ Rumina , has button-up shirts by bust size. US BASED, haven’t tried them.
This Page at Hourglassy has a great compilation of more places to shop, with reviews!
Stuff you can buy to work with what you’ve already got:
Modesty panels. These fake camisoles come in different colors and clip onto your bra, so you’re not adding an extra layer. Great for v-necks, and for converting former too-sexy-for-this-shirts into modesty work wear. Buy them online or make your own – there are plenty of tutorials.
Bosom buttons. Pin necklines in place with a little clothing pin. Again, easy enough to make your own, once you’ve seen one.
Chunky belts – within reason. If you have big clothes that fit your chest and shoulders but billow at your stomach, use, with caution, the Chunky Belt. Similarly, the waist nipper worn over the clothes.
Fluffy scarves with pretty brooches. Drape artfully over your neckline to add that professional, feminine thing that women at work are supposed to go for. Business casual? Is that what that is? Same goes for shoulder scarves/continuous scarves/infinity scarves/neckwarmers.
Bra strap converters/holders pull your bra straps together at the back, making a normal bra into a racer back. This increases support in a bra that has lost faith. It’s also a good trick to extend the life of your bras, shoring up weary elastics and sagging straps. Bra sellers tell you to replace bras every six months, and this is doubtlessly good and true, but if you’re between paychecks, use a converter.
When shopping, look for:
Whatever the fuck you like to wear, for starters.
1950′s styling. Retro dresses, in the style of clothes from the 1940′s-1960′s, favor wide built-in waistbands and full skirts.
Soft jersey knits that stretch, with accessories (note the lessons of the Schrodinger Dress. Admittedly, the Schrodinger dress is skintight and funny-looking.)
Stretchy, drapey knits with structure, like this nice neutral Evan Picone dress:
The material in that dress is a strange stretchy-slidy polyester. Seek out tops and dresses made with this fabric.
When I say “structure,” I mean sewing details that add support. The waist in the above dress is structured with ruching, a sewing technique that gathers folds of fabric together. Look for ruching under the breasts or at the waist – it flattens your belly. The button-up shirt has darts, those lines down the front of the shirt that add curves. In a stiff fabric, like button-up shirts usually are, look for darts – if the doesn’t have them, it will hang on you like a square. Pintucking (also present on the button up shirt – those flat pleats of fabric, close together) also adds structure, but frequently needs ironing. Boning is the most literal way to add structure – it’s how a corset slims you – and sometimes you can find shirts and dresses that have it built in. Boning can be uncomfortable. Fitting and tailoring in general are good keywords to look for; in a catalog, it usually means that the pieces have multiple darts to add curves, while normal clothes are made to fit squares.
Some details break up structure, like ruffles, flounces, giant collars, and large lapels. AVOID THESE on your top half. But hell, you’re big and beautiful, wear them if you want to.
If you want to learn to sew for yourself, learn about Dynamic Bust Adjustment – most patterns are for B-cup sizes, so you’ll have to develop them to your own measurements. It is easy to add darts to things, though, particularly t-shirts.
At home, do this:
Go through all of your clothes and unfuck them. Release yourself from the tyranny of clothes that don’t fit, clothes that have never fitted, clothes that you expected to grow into or out of. (Unless you’re pregnant, in which case, CARRY ON.) Get rid of the stuff that makes your boobs look bad. NOBODY NEEDS THAT SHIT. You have enough problems in your life. Get rid of jackets that don’t button across the top.
Get rid of bras that are older than two years old. Get rid of tired bras. Get rid of the ugly ones, and the ones that don’t fit.
Get rid of the button-up shirts that gape open at your breasts. You’re not fooling anybody. You can do better.
Get rid of bras that don’t fit, even if they’re totally sexy and you intend to only wear them provocatively for a few seconds before your lover tears them off.
Get rid of the clothes you never felt comfortable in. Get ones you like, instead.
And remember this:
Remember Schrodinger’s dress? You know another optical illusion? SIZE. Especially the little numbers that are written inside labels.
The Evan Picone dress above is, bafflingly, an American size 4. The burgundy top in Figure 1 is an Extra Large. The Pepperberry dress in Figure 1 is “UK size 10 Really Curvy,” while the button-up shirt is 8 Super Curvy. I’ve got clothes that say “14″ and clothes that say “small.” Sizes lie. There’s money in it. Wear what fits, and don’t be upset if you want to think of yourself as a Large and all that will fit you is an XXL. Get what fits you. Cut the labels out. Better yet, don’t bother looking.
I own bras that are 30F and bras that are 34DD. Neither are “wrong.” There is no “wrong.” You’re you, and you’re not wrong. You are not a square. Your breasts are not spheres, stuck at perfect right angles to your chest. Sometimes you’re going to be a different size in a different brand, or on a different day.
Yes, a proper bra fitting can change your whole outlook. Get one! I beg you! But your bra fitting will vary by store, and the size you want will vary by how you want to wear your bra!
Bravissimo, recommended above, just tells you to wear what fits. Their website has a good list of what to look for, but essentially:
- underwire should NOT dig in. If it does, get a bigger size. Congratulations!
- boobs should not muffin top, or runneth over the cup. They should not be split by the cup. Go up a cup size. Congratulations!
- Adjust the Bra Settings when you try stuff on – shorten or lengthen straps, settle yourself in properly, and see if you clip the back on the tightest or the loosest. Bras do lose elasticity as they age, getting looser, so if you can only wear it on the tightest setting, go smaller in the band size.
- The band should be a straight line across your back, not hiked up or bowed down.
If you’re ordering online, get a constellation of sizes, keep your favorites and release the rest back into the wild. Aren’t you dynamic, being so many different sizes? Go you!
IV. Required Reading For the Joyfully Breasted
Making it Big - chicklit, suggested by a friend. This one is set in a universe where fat women are considered the beauty standard. Unfortunately the heroine is vapidly white/blonde/straight, but the descriptions of fat beauty are very charming.
Okay, this is an emergency situation. I really want some more reading recs, if anyone can help out here.
V. Suggested Activities!
Belly dance. There is no wrong size to be a belly dancer. In fact, every woman’s body is perfect for it. Slim women can be graceful, swaying like snakes. Plus-size women swing their hips like the rise and fall of empires. There should be a good mix in every class, and if your teacher isn’t body-positive, drop her like a stone. But she will be. Belly dance can be empowering.
Art modeling. Nothing like a woman with mass to inspire fine art. If you think your personality can handle getting naked in front of twenty strangers, holding still, and being a Muse, this is a great way to redefine yourself and your body as art/subject. And when you walk around the room and see all the different visions and revisions of You as Art, maybe you’ll start to agree with Blog Mirror.
Horseback riding. Put on a sports bra and let a big gorgeous animal do the running around. Horseback riders use their bodies to communicate with gigantic, dangerous beasts, building a relationship with thigh-squeezes and gentle hands. That’s a good thing to know. And good thigh-squeezes to learn. For, you know, stuff.
Yoga. The only stuff I understand is dance-warm-ups, but I’ve… I’ve heard that it’s a thing? That people do?
OH SHIT I FORGOT TO WRITE A CONCLUSION!!!!