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Lingerie: Gorgeous range at Debenhams*

Those of you who have read my blog for a while might know how the biggest obstacle to finding peace with my body has been my breasts. It’s one thing to be fat, but unfortunately I didn’t get the typical fat girl pay-off in the form of big, full breasts. For years, I felt revulsion at the fact that I was a 44AA in a world of 42Gs, strapping up my boobs in whatever 3-cup-boosters I could find and despairing over the fact that I had more cleavage at my back than I did at my front (but that subject is a whole other post). I felt like a failure, and completely undesirable. How could I not? Desirable was a D+ cup and I felt like my own body just didn’t deliver.

When I first got measured by the team at Freya I was jubilant at discovering that a 36D was a closer fit, with their bras giving me as much of a boost and levelling out my silhouette as much as my Sainsbury’s bras held together with multiple bra extenders and willpower. It opened up a whole new world and imbued me with so much more confidence. I was a 36D. I could hold my head up high! I was an average woman!

Of course, nothing is ever that simple. Just as no two size 20s are the same, so too did my bra size fluctuate as I shopped around the high street for a new lingerie wardrobe. After huffing and puffing in Marks and Spencers when bra after bra didn’t fit, I actually cried (I was probably due on, to be fair). Maybe they got it wrong, I thought to myself. Maybe, after everything, I really was just a 44AA. The idea was too depressing to consider.

And then, a few months ago, I read a comment by an owner of a vintage shop who said that she made a point of asking women who entered her store what size they wore, not what size they are. And it blew my mind a little bit. How many times have we said “I am a…” with regards to our clothes or bra size? On the face of it it’s an innocuous piece of phrasing, just part of the english language that doesn’t need to be thought about. But there’s a deeper meaning: we are, literally, defining ourselves by what size we wear. Isn’t that silly?

And then, I thought about how women use their dress and bra sizes as a source of pride or – more often – deep shame. How back in the day men judged women on their “vital statistics”, meaning they would literally get hot and bothered by… three sets of numbers. Sexy. More recently we had the hip to waist ratio, of which Kate Moss is apparently the only living embodiment of perfection. The more I thought about it, the more illogical it became. Why is this a thing?

Armed with this new insight and a kinder attitude towards my body I got measured again, this time by the team at Debenhams as part of their lingerie promotion. A few of us got to see the lovely Freya team give a talk on bras for larger cup sizes before having a nose at all the pretty bras. This time, changes in my body meant that for Debenhams’ own lingerie, I felt and looked best in a 38C. This time, it really IS like a whole new world – I came away with four sets of underwear that are ridiculously comfortable and I that I like how I look in with my clothes on – and with my clothes off.

I don’t feel any shame or apologetic in any way the way that I used to. A bra is something I wear and in some places it’s one size, and in another place it’s another size. There is no magic number that defines me. Maybe we should stop saying “I am” and start saying “I wear“.

Change starts with the small things: I am Lauren. I wear sizes anywhere from 16 to 26, depending on the shop. In Freya I might wear a 36D; in Debenhams, a 38C. And that’s fine. I am not my bra size.

And neither are you.

  • http://www.wannabeprincess.co.uk/ Debz

    Love this post Lauren!!

  • http://www.sugar-darling.com/ Nancy Whittington

    Oh my gosh lady I actually cannot express how much I love and relate to this post. I currently live my life in ‘two sizes up’ booster bras that are way too small in the back so I use like tree extenders at once and the straps are constantly falling down and annoying me. I guess I need I get myself to Debenhams and have a fitting, but I’m terrified they won’t so a back size big enough for me…

  • Carin Basson

    I totally understand the bra-size frustration – every shop’s bras fit differently. I finally found the right size and shape, but it is a challenge.

  • http://extralargeaslife.com/ Natalie Mulford

    THIS! Oh, I hear you! As someone who went so long thinking she was a 22a, and then being told to try other sizes, I find an 18c (sometimes d) fits me best. It’s a bit like clothing in that not all brands are cut the same way, and once I kind of let myself think that, it opened up all new possibilities.
    (I don’t know what the conversion to UK bra sizes is from AU)

  • Christine

    I AGREE! I have had so many bra infuriating times that I could probably write a very lengthy book! I had big boobs with a smaller back and shoulders so those sizes seem to be ALWAYS be sold out. It the same with clothes various styles in different stores will fit differently.

  • Leah (Just Me Leah)

    YES! I love this post, and those pink and orange undies are seriously amazing! x

  • http://www.fatbeautyx.co.uk Fatbeautyx

    love this post Lauren! I hate defining myself with a number, i can be an 18 – 26 depending on what part of my body I’m wearing for! xx

  • Cherry Bomb

    EPIC post. well done girl!

  • Donalda Reid

    As an experienced bra fitter, I can tell you that every bra will fit a little differently, not just between brands but often with different styles within the SAME brand. Your “fitted” size is a starting point. Don’t be afraid to size up or down to get the right fit. 36D and 38C are “sister” sizes and I have often sent a woman home with three different size bras since those were the sizes that fit them in “that” bra. It is what fits you and provides what you want that is important, not the number and letter.

  • Agoprime
  • Buttercup Rocks

    This is so right. Why do we say “I’m a…insert size here…?” I shall endeavour to stop from now on.

    As someone who usually wears a 38FF in Freya and Gorgeous, my biggest bugbear is matching drawers. While the likes of Bravissimo have twisted the arms of mainstream manufacturers to extend their cup sizes, they and the majority of their suppliers are totally in denial that a large percentage of their clientele wear plus-sizes. (Because they seem to think that all plus size women have significantly broader back sizes than the 38 or 40 they generally stop at, which we don’t necessarily). So I can get bras to fit me in straight sized underwear shops but the knickers generally stop at a size 16/18 max. Even the Gorgeous range stop at a size 20 and I take a 22. I can get matching sets at M&S once in a blue moon but I find most of their bras pretty useless.

  • http://www.divadellecurve.com/ divadellecurve

    to me the big boob thing started as a kid, and in Italy it is really rare ti find a bra brand that has differentiated cups, people used to try the biggest sizes on me even when I started wearing a bra. It was a releave to shop for lingerie in the UK. Nowadays the struggle is with the ‘I have belly and not hips’ thing… until they will make clothes designed only for a certain type of body women will always struggle with their body shape and size…

  • Ago Prime
  • Bethany B

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this post! I thought I was the only girl with body fat and none of it landed in my boobs!
    I mean NONE of it. It’s ridiculous. It is hard to make peace with. and it’s hard to look at fashion blogs because they are still based on an hourglass figure – just a bigger one. I don’t know what I’d call my shape – but hourglass isn’t it.
    SO- Thank you. I am not alone! (and neither are you!)

  • payless4brands

    This is such a nice post, funny and relating to so many of us!! Thank you! http://www.payless4brands.com