Ahhh Bra shopping most womens actual personal hell. For this blog post I’ll be solely focusing on the experience I have had with plus size bras, while I know a lot of women struggle with bra shopping – for me today plus size bras have become an absolute joke.
It was 2:15pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and there I am crying in my car on the way home from the shopping centre. It’s been a long ass while since I have let a store defeat me – but today Target you fucking won.
So let me backtrack to some pretty awful 35minutes prior. After a wishful visit to City Chic but ending in an anxiety I like to call ‘Danielle has $75 dollars until next pay day and can in no way justify another $69 Bra when she still needs to buy fuel and groceries’. I sigh place the lace pink bra back down and turn away.
As I am leaving this store I feel a pain in my back. This is from the Bra I am currently wearing, one of the last I have that fits but still yes has betrayed me on level aligned with judas! The clasp has worn, is bent and this traitor bra is now LITERALLY stabbing me in the back.
I head back to the car defeated wondering if that pink sports bra I have at the back of my closet still fits even though it makes me feel as good about myself as a potato sack. God I need new bras I think.
As I am heading to the exit I see Target. I think back to earlier this year when I saw plus size women in their ads. Sure hourglass and pear shaped women who in no way resemble my plus size body – but women who are closer to me than the models I see plastered around bras & things.
So I head in, I walk past their plus size section. It is as it normally is messy, crammed, right in the back, next to the sale items. I see moo-moos and unidentifiable black baggy things. I forge on, ignoring that sad display and thinking it’s okay maybe just maybe if the gods allow I will find something.
So there I am in the lingerie section, so many pretty things – I fumbled through countless designs over 20 different bras and they only go up to a Size 18C. At this point my head is saying just leave, look at City Chic you don’t need fuel or food… perhaps order online later when you can afford it. Nope I stay, I walk around in circles until I find one small row at the back that looks as if they might have my size.
Sure this section is sparse and these bras all look akin to something a 70 year old would wear but hey they are $15. I think ‘Wow I can afford that’! I mean I’ve always wanted to be one of those girls who picks up bras anywhere (Little do I know once again today won’t be that day) In reality I’ll have to continue to spend 25 – 35% of my weekly wage on one bra. I picked up a 20DD, 20E and a 22C (I could only find one size 22 bra in the whole store!). Sure they are ugly and not my first choice but buying plus size bras usually comes down to ‘What actually fits’ not ‘What is my favourite’.
I’m feeling confident and head to the change rooms, I go in and start with the largest bra thinking this will give me a good idea of how my sizing is at Target. I extend the bra straps to fit my long torso and from this point I know I’m pretty much hoping for a miracle that this bra is going to fit.
I squeeze it over my chest and try to clasp the back, now unless I am a cast member from Circus Soleil there is no way I can contort my body to fit in this bra. I start to get dressed and I a body positive proud woman doesn’t recognise herself at all. This woman I see glancing back in my reflection she doesn’t look happy. This woman she looks frustrated, sad and defeated.
I rush out head to the car and with each passing minute I’m getting more angry. I start thinking about how unfair it is that I can fit Target’s size 20 clothes and yet can’t squeeze into their size 22 bra. I am thinking about just how am I going to get by with one bra this week and how frustrating sizing is! Half way home I start thinking about how many times I couldn’t be bothered even shopping with smaller friends because there is nothing to try on and then how bloody awful it is to always be looking for ‘what fits’ rather than what I want.
Then I start thinking about the prices of plus size clothing and about how the only shop which houses clothes I like & fit that I can go to in Cairns is City Chic. A beautiful store but one which on our one income house hold is impossible to shop at. I can not afford a $100 item every time I shop.
By the time I am half way home a voice in my head says ‘Well should’ve kept trying to lose the weight fatty’ and why hello that’s my eating disorder… a tear falls and I’m now crying…
I’m sitting in my car outside my house angry at myself, dreading going in because my boyfriend will comfort me and tell me to splurge the $70 on a bra. I’m angry at myself… I’m sad… I’m pissed… but why?
It isn’t my fault that brands who have more affordable clothes discard us plus size ladies! It isn’t my fault that plus size sizing is as much guess work as it is – always and forever changing! This experience while petty to some reminds me just how far we have to go in this society, in fashion, in the world. I a 23 year old should be able to source a bra at a lower price than $70. I should also be able to find styles that I am excited to wear, that I proudly puts on my body. I should be wearing bras that make me feel good but don’t cripple my bank account.
I will not let this defeat me. I will not succumb to body bashing over a garment.
Neither should you – while bra shopping is a heinous experience this has given me a-lot to think about. It has made me think more about how I let brands ignore me, how I (and you ladies) deserve better!
Some women might even say girl don’t even wear a bra, and truth be told I have been going bra-less a lot more often. However the social stigmas and professional judgements at work still make me cringe and I do sadly succumb to wearing one. (I work with my parents and am a property manager during the day). I also know for some ladies going braless is hell for them physically, they need the support and love to wear a bra.
The main reason I wanted to share this though, is to reach out to my ladies who struggle and hate bra shopping. To the ladies like me finically stuck and unable to source items of clothes etc that are reasonably priced. I am writing this to say you are not alone and you should not be ashamed. Sizing, clothes and fit are never the same in every store or for every woman. So despite the tears and upsetting situation, I’m going back out in the world to find a bra. I won’t let this destroy me and please Do not let this defeat you.
Also if you know a place who sells everyday comfy cheaper plus size bras hook a sister up, okay?