The Itty Bitty Titty Committee

(or: Ladies of Less-Than-B-Land, unite!)

the problem:

In nine-odd years of bra shopping, finding a bra that fits in the cup has been ridiculously hard. To begin with, an A-cup or smaller is a rare beast in most shops. You won’t find one in the va-va-VOOM section at Victoria’s Secret; your only option is “cute”. As themselves come in a pleasing assortment of colors and styles on department store racks, this is true, but forget a AA in the adult section. You’re headed to children’s — not juniors’, children’s — for that.

And in children’s, you may actually score a bra that fits.

Why? Well, the answer lies in the shape of the cup. I want you to take off your shirt for a minute if you can, or at least reach up and cop a feel of what you’ve got. Then I want you to be a masochist and find an image of the “average” breast, the kind you’ll see in an ad or a magazine. How well do the two (or four, in this case) match up?

In my case, once I started to wonder what was going on, I took a good, long look at my breasts. I didn’t just have size issues. I was the wrong shape entirely for the average A-cup. They sat differently on my chest, and no pushup addressed the dreaded gap; I simply didn’t have the flesh to fill out the bra. Besides which, I was kind of getting sick of camouflaging my perfectly lovely, if small, breasts as those of Miss December. I’d just learned to love them, and here were the bra manufacturers telling me, in a roundabout way, that I actually needed to fake it ’til I made it to the plastic surgeon. What other message can a flat girl take from the preponderance of “ADD THREE CUP SIZES INSTANTLY!!!” styles?

I’ll admit I own two pushups, okay? And they do fun things to my chest. But they’re awkward. I have contemplated taping my nipples in place because, yes, they gap when I move. I’m not talking acrobatics, either; I mean the second I leave the “breasts perched” position, down they sink, into the depths of the cup. This, my fellow flat chicks, is not on. Don’t you want to wear tight-fitting shirts, too? — It’s totally okay if you don’t, by the way. I love my modest readers.

the solution?

Fear not! You have alternatives! Kind of!

I say “kind of” because the least-expensive bras for flat-chested women (not teenagers) start around $30 (US), and much of what I saw when I went looking hovered around $50. This would be the part where I sighed and bookmarked the sites anyway, but resigned myself to ill-fitting bras until after grad school. Not only am I your stereotypical broke college student, this recession has not exactly resulted in the creation of the kind of jobs where I can afford to drop fifty bucks on a bra.

If you have the money and no other options, here are the two sites I liked best:

itty bitty bra — gorgeous stuff, designed just for AA, A, and B-cups. In fact, they’re having a half-off sale right now, which is tempting me something fierce.

Eve’s Apples — cute play on words; wide selection of brands; home of the Bra Finder, which takes your individual shape into account.

If you’re me (aka “your boyfriend buys you bras as birthday gifts”), consider heading into the girls’ section of your local JCPenney or Sears, especially if you’re just looking for a good, everyday bra. For some reason, girls’ bras actually do account for the inherent differences in shape between an A and… bigger. I forget where I read this, but women’s bras start in B territory and get sized up and down, with no shape adjustment whatsoever. Girls’ bras? Not so much. I actually had to put a bra in the Goodwill bag because I had quadriboob issues while wearing it. The cups are just shallower, and some bras will plunge down the center while covering the usual gap area.

my solution

Otherwise known as “don’t try this at home, kiddos.”

My aunt and I are similar in size, to the point where I have several of her old bras as hand-me-downs. They’re really nice bras, too! I hesitate to get rid of them because they’re just so pretty. Unfortunately, they are also about a cup size too loose.

I was going through my bra drawer today, trying to declutter, and I had an idea which is only brilliant in hindsight: why not tighten up those cups? So I put my test subject on backwards — because, let’s face it, there is no dress form in existence quite like one’s own bosom — took a stitch somewhere around the nipple, for a guideline, and made a new seam along the resulting contours, at the bottom of the folds I’d just created. Rather than fuss with trimming the excess fabric, I then stitched it down flat. When I turned the bra right-side out again, I had a custom-fitted garment with years of wear to go!

The only reason I was able to do this is because my aunt’s other hand-me-down is a knack for sewing. I’ve been hand-sewing longer than I’ve been wearing bras, over half my life now. I have learned how to navigate carefully with that needle instead of just shoving it through the fabric. Every stitch took thought and a light touch. I still pricked myself a few times, though never hard enough to draw blood. Also, I used my good hand (one has developed a disturbing twitch). If you are at all unsure about your ability to do this safely, don’t even try.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s