Archive for the ‘Body Image’ Category

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The Modesty Panel: Where do you stand?

May 16, 2013

The Modesty Panel

A group of bloggers, including myself, have teamed up to participate in something we have termed ‘The Modesty Panel’. We all felt very strongly on the topic of modesty and what it means for women all over the world. Understandably, we all have varying opinions – opinions that relate to different aspects of life, depending on where we’re from and the varying lifestyles we lead.

The other bloggers participating in the project are:

Boosaurus

Braless in Brasil

Bras and Body Image

By Baby’s Rules

Contrary Kiwi

Fussy Busty

Hourglassy

Miss Underpinnings

Nothing Ever Fits

Obsessed with Breasts

Red Hair and Girly Flair

A Sophisticated Pair

That Bra Does Not Fit her

Thin and Curvy

Two Cakes on a Plate

Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed

Windie Gardie

An example of a modesty panel

An example of a modesty panel

    Modesty is a controversial topic, especially as everyone has a different idea of boundaries, and where to draw the line. Some might argue that there should be no boundaries, and that’s an opinion I can very easily understand. However, having said that, I do draw boundaries for myself, and would also do so for my children. This is not to say that I feel I could judge others on what they wear, and of course I would never succumb to any prejudice that I may have. In fact I would do my level best to both understand and accept someone else’s choice to wear what they want and what they feel comfortable in, and question why I might have reacted with a certain prejudice to begin with. It’s the same with any controversial topic, whether it’s politics, religion, or something else, everyone should be entitled to their own beliefs and to embrace their own choices. I love that all my friends and acquaintances are different – the world would be a very boring place if we all believed the same thing – the same can be said about modesty.

    I’d like to try and articulate my own thoughts and feelings on the topic of modesty, but at the same time remind anyone reading this that these are just my thoughts, based on my own experiences and culture, and this is no way reflects how I feel about others with different opinions.

    While I was born in the UK and live here now, I spent a large portion of my childhood living and attending school in The Netherlands. These two cultures are very different particularly in terms of modesty. In the UK, we can be quite a prude bunch. I have a lot of that in myself; ignoring my own feelings for the sake of manners and civility, making snap judgements about someone who does not act in what I deem to be a ‘proper’ manner, not wearing a certain piece of clothing because it could be considered inappropriate. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, even to me, but this has a lot to do with my upbringing in this country, and the way my parents taught me to behave. At the same time, I have a bit of the Dutch in me too; I wholeheartedly do believe in speaking your mind when it comes to something significant, and not dwelling on what others may think of you, and I do believe we should be allowed to wear whatever we like without judgement. It is only through working on myself as a person that I have come to embrace the good aspects of both these cultures. In my perfect world, there would be a lovely mixture of these qualities brought together to create a place where people are respectful and polite, yet confident and individual, all while being kind to your fellow (wo)man.

    Speaking of embracing individuality, there has been a large amount of controversy lately surrounding school dress codes, particularly in the USA.

I’m going to list a few topics I have read about recently:

    – Cheerleaders from a school in Omaha were told their skirts were ‘too short’, and they could no longer wear their uniforms – despite the fact the school had purchased these uniforms for the girls themselves.

Well the first thing point out is that the school really has no right to kick up a fuss about uniforms that they had previously deemed appropriate. This implies that once the uniforms were seen on the cheerleaders, it was only at that point (with their curves and feminine figures) that they were apparently no longer acceptable. What a terribly damaging thought for a young girl, to feel that her own body turns a previously appropriate uniform into something completely unacceptable. We all have different body shapes, and the same piece of clothing can look completely different on one person to the next – does that mean some people shouldn’t be allowed to wear the same clothing as others?

    – The Principal of a school in Minnesota sent out an email to parents telling them that girls wearing leggings with a t-shirt instead of a long jumper, was inappropriate attire to wear at school. He claimed that the legging material was ‘too tight’ and distracting for other students.

This is bizarre. These girls are not even showing skin, they are wearing leggings. Now, while I myself wouldn’t choose to wear leggings without a skirt over the top, that is just my personal choice. These girls obviously feel comfortable with what they’re wearing, and as they’re not even showing skin, only shape, I cannot understand where the issue lies. Boys need to be taught that the female form can be both sexual and non-sexual depending on the context. Even if a boy was to be caught off guard by his hormones, it is the parents’ job (and the school’s job as well) to teach children what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour – hormones are something we all experience and learn to keep under control when necessary.

    – At a school in Michigan, a girl arrived one day wearing a pink & black pirate costume – the Principal informed her that she looked like a ‘porn star’. The student asked what a porn star was, and the Principal explained it to her informing her that ‘all men watch porn’. Needless to say, the girl was shocked to learn that that was what she looked like.

This is not the way for a young girl to learn about pornography! If the Principal felt she had to say something, there are countless better ways to explain about modesty other than relate it straight back to porn. The implication is she looked like she wanted to have sex, this does not promote confidence in young girls – it is one of the worst kinds of ‘slut-shaming’ and can only result in feelings of guilt and humiliation. Why didn’t she discuss the choice of outfit with the student? Why didn’t she ask what she liked about wearing the pirate costume and why?

    – Possibly one of the worst cases: At a school in Ohio, students were told to remove t-shirts that had the pro-gay rainbow image on the front.

This perhaps veers slightly off-topic, but I mention it because it shows how hard these schools are trying to crush individuality out of their students. Individual opinions are no longer acceptable, there seems to be just ‘one’ opinion that is encouraged. Some of these children are even being punished or suspended – what does that teach them? That having your own opinion or belief is wrong? Then it’s no wonder these children grow up so confused and unable to embrace who they really are.

    One particular area of modesty which can cause some very heated discussions is about women and girls showing ‘too much skin’. This has been talked about a lot in the media, and it usually goes hand-in-hand with ‘slut-shaming’. This then creates a direct link with rape culture, and the idea that a woman can actually be blamed for a rape because of what she chose to wear. Again, we all have our opinions of what clothes show too much skin, and there will always be people who choose to dress more modestly than others, but that should never affect how the person is treated. Accusing someone of being a ‘slut’ based purely on what they are wearing or what they look like, is a very sad by-product of our society, where it is assumed a certain image will provoke a certain reaction. In my opinion this is the very significant fact that needs to be dealt with – it is society as a whole that needs to change, not women and their choice of clothing.

    While I’m not keen on (for example) those tiny shorts that are pretty much just underpants in a more fancy material, or tiny crop tops that barely cover more than nipples, it is a fact of life that there will always be someone somewhere wearing clothes like that, and that is their choice.
Now, I personally feel a lack of clothing being worn in school isn’t really appropriate, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with boys being ‘distracted’ or other people’s opinions. The only fact of any significance is that school children are young. Young girls are sometimes under the impression that having more skin on show is a way to make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex (and a lot of this stems from what we see in the media). This is another aspect of modesty that is often ignored; the reasons why a young girl might choose to dress in a certain way – that to me is another very concerning point that needs to be addressed. I am all for people wearing whatever they like, but not at the expense of their self-respect. Girls and boys need to be taught that they should dress for themselves, not for anybody else.

This brings me to talk about one of my favourite campaigns; Beauty Redefined.

    Beauty Redefined was created by twins Lindsay and Lexie Kite. They spend a great deal of time and effort trying to change the way we view ‘beauty’ and writing brilliantly informative articles to back-up everything they say. They discuss the way media thrives off insecurity, highlighting the fact that these unrealistic messages aren’t going anywhere. They talk about how educating ourselves and those around us is the key to fighting back against the media, and learning that there is so much more to us than just the way we look.

    It is clear that modesty and the topics that accompany it, is something we should actively be talking about and dealing with. The good news – lots of bloggers and people all over the world are seeing the light, standing up for themselves and trying to spread the word, and this can only be a good thing. As long as we continue to fight and make ourselves heard, we stand a real chance of making a difference. Not just for ourselves, but for the next generation as well.

Love

Sophia xxx

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What to do with that ever expanding bust?

January 25, 2013

Being big busted, or even just an awkward bra size can be a nightmare. We all know this, we have all dealt with the trial and error of finding that perfectly well-fitting bra, but what do you do when your bust hasn’t stopped growing yet?

There are many reasons why breasts continue to grow, or start growing all over again. These reasons are numerous and include things such as; pregnancy, weight fluctuations, age (both younger or older), hormones, diet, or even just that time-of-the-month.
The fastest growing of these is usually pregnancy – it can be quite an overwhelming situation, and you may end up living in the biggest bra you own, afraid to buy anything new because it won’t fit you a few months down the line.

So, what can you do to deal with this constant growth? Well, I’ve put together a few solutions that may be of some use. Sure you’ve gotta ride out these hormones, but you shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable whilst doing it.

Before we get on to the bras, let’s talk about nightwear and around-the-house wear. You may remember a post I wrote a few years ago about Hot Weather and Big Bras, and in this I very briefly mentioned some of the M&S Secret Support tops. Well I’m pleased to say they are still around and still as useful as ever. While they are generally ‘inside’ tops, perhaps a little too free flowing to be worn in public, they are certainly good enough for the home. Having said that, they have now produced a version which has a bra clasp underneath, which actually is good enough to wear in public! They are fairly similar to Bravissimo’s supported cami tops, but an awful lot more affordable.

The M&S tops are listed as size DD-G; I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound very big. True, it’s not huge, but it will also depend on the clothing size you pair it with. A size 10 DD-G is going to be at the smaller end, the equivalent of a 30-band perhaps, but if you’re concerned about comfort more than looks, a looser top in a 12, 14, 16 or whatever size you choose, will give you a much more adequate bosom space. Of course if you do happen to be pregnant, then this is a wonderful solution for you, as you will need to be buying a bigger clothing size to make space for that bump anyway!

So, here are the M&S tops:

Secret Support DD-G V-Neck Stretch Camisole

M&S Secret Support Stretch Camisole

M&S Secret Support Stretch Camisole

I can say from experience that this is a lovely and very comfortable top. It keeps you supported and in place, and it’s great to sleep in. Unfortunately it only comes in white, which is slightly boring and also makes it a little see-through. But as I mentioned before, this is more of an around-the-house top in any case.

Secret Support Cotton Rich DD-G Bra Vest

M&S Secret Support Bra Vest

M&S Secret Support Bra Vest

This is the top with the bra clasp at the back, which makes it fully usable to wear in public, but not so comfortable for sleeping. Fortunately it also comes in black as well as white this time. I found that a size 14 DD-G was very comfortable, not too loose, and fits my currently 32H chest. In fact, there is even a fair bit of room to grow in there!

And lastly..

Limited Collection Secret Support Modal Rich Floral Lace DD-G Vest

M&S Secret Support Lace Vest

M&S Secret Support Lace Vest

Well, this one is fairly indecent for the bigger bust, but nice to look at. I have this also in a 14 DD-G, and it is particularly low cut. By far my least favourite of the three, but it is still comfortable, and still great for sleeping in.

So, on to the bras. What exactly do you do when you don’t even know your size anymore?

The first thing to do is to try and re-establish your bra size. Ok, they may not stay that size for long, but you need to have a starting point. If you are comfortable being professionally fitted, try Bravissimo or Leia Lingerie, as they are some of the few shops likely to fit you into your correct size. If you’re not comfortable with that, here’s how to work it out yourself.

Image from All Sports

Image from All Sports

Measure under your bust, this is your band size. If you are inbetween sizes, say 33 underbust, try both a 32 and a 34 band and see which fits you best. Next, measure your overbust (around the middle of your breasts) – the easiest way to do this is to lean over forwards. This is the more difficult measurement to take, what with breasts flopping about all over the place, so don’t assume it will be 100% accurate.
For example, if your underbust measures 32 and your overbust measures 42, that is a difference of 10. So, count 10 bra size letters. 1: A, 2: B, 3: C, 4: D, 5: DD, 6: E, 7: F, 8: FF, 9: G, 10: GG and so on. Match that with your underbust measurement.

You would then have a starting point size of 32GG – this does not necessarily mean that is your exact bra size, but you can be sure that if it isn’t, your size will be very close by. The next step is trial and error with different brands and styles of bras, not much fun but worth it once you find one that fits the best.
There are of course lots of criticisms of using the tape measure, mainly because measurements do not set your bra size in stone – breast shape and comfort play important roles too. However, the quickly and constantly growing breast often has to be measured – it’s the one time when you may struggle to keep up with your body.

One of the must-have bras for growing breasts, is a sports bra. Usually they are very boring and no fun, but perhaps you will change your mind when you see this one.

The Panache sports bra:

Panache Sports Bra

Panache Sports Bra

I have this in the purple-blue-grey combination, but I’m very excited to purchase the pink version. Plus, if you buy the pink sports bra, Panache donates 10% of the profit to the charity Coppafeel, who try to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Panache Sports Bra - Pink

Panache Sports Bra – Pink

I found the band true to size, and the cups fortunately run a little big. It is an underwired bra, but weirdly (to me) it does not really ‘feel’ underwired. If you are actually using it for sport, it has that brilliant racerback clasp option, which makes the bra even more firm and supportive if that’s what you’re after. When I used it for sports I much preferred it in the racerback style, but now that I’m using it to keep my growing breasts under control, it’s useful to have the standard option too. It is without a doubt, the most comfortable sports bra I have ever owned – just wonderful. I recommend it for everyone.

Image from Threads Magazine

Image from Threads Magazine

If you happen to be a whiz with a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you may be able to get some good bargains on bras, both in stores or on places like ebay. Looking for a 32HH, but can only find a 36G? Then grab one for cheap and turn it into the 32HH you need. Having the skill to alter a band can be a lifesaver, but remember you can also pop to a local seamstress (sometimes a dry cleaner’s as well) and ask them to alter it for you. This can become especially necessary if you get to JJ/K/KK and so on, when bras your size become increasingly difficult to get hold of, not to mention expensive.

If you are still eager to buy the same bras you’ve always loved, and not let breast growth or pregnancy get in the way of those pesky sizes or wires, you may want to think about the purchases you make. So you’re a 34J and you want to buy a bra that will fit you right now? Good idea, but while you’re there, why not buy a 34JJ as well to save you some time? With my breast growth I have been doubling up on my purchases. I buy bras less often, but when I do, I grab an extra bra one cup size up to make sure I have something to wear for next month.

One last thing would be to head on over to Ewa Michalak’s website. If you don’t see your bra size listed, sometimes they can custom make one in your size, so it’s always worth asking. This becomes especially useful when you are out-sizing most other brands.

Bust increase doesn’t have to turn into an ‘attack of the giant breast’ horror movie, even though it may feel that way. Just try and put your comfort first, and make sure to have a few fall back staple items to get you through each month. Remember to keep an eye out for any bra swap/sell groups online, and always keep one eye on ebay in case any great bargains pop up. If you are going through pregnancy breast growth, and perhaps have friends that have been through it too, make sure to ask them what sort of ideas they came up with, they may surprise you with some great growth solutions!

Love

Sophia xxx

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Body Image – Perfection is Overrated

April 25, 2012

One of the many things that I try to achieve here on my blog, is to remind women that it doesn’t matter what size you are, so long as your are comfortable with what you’ve got. Now while of course when I review underwear, I can only give my own personal opinions from how it fits and suits me –  someone of my shape and size – that doesn’t stop it being a useful starting point for others to lead on from.

Dove Campaign

In light of this, I’ll tell you a little bit about me. So whether you are similar or not, you know where I’m coming from, and hopefully you can relate, even if you are the other end of the spectrum.

I fluctuate between being a bra size 30GG and 32G, and currently 32G is the closest fit this month. My bone structure indicates my shape is possibly hourglass, but I have a big bottom and big thighs, so to me I have always felt slightly pear-shaped. I can fit into clothing anywhere between a size 10 and a size 16, so I have no real clothing size that I stick to, it varies too much between brands. I have only really started to have confidence in my body in the last few years which has been a very trying process, but worth it.
I would say that the majority of the time I am quite comfortable just the way I am. You’re always going to have the occasional body insecurity, but that’s just life, and we are only human. When I see others striving so hard to look like something or someone they’re not, I no longer get irritated, I just feel really sad that they can’t love themselves enough for who they are. All I want to do is say “look in the mirror, you are great, you don’t need to be anything other than you”.

That may sound cheesy and obvious, but when I was younger, no one ever said that to me. I never had anyone tell me I was great the way I was, or that I didn’t need to change, and without that, you can end up developing some fairly damaging body issues.
My grandmother, much as I love her, wasn’t so great with the words. She used to tell me “hold you bottom in, it’s sticking out, you know you didn’t get that big bottom from me!” which is actually the same thing she told my mother, who also consequentially developed her own body issues. Once this sort of thinking is passed down through generations, it’s really quite difficult to get rid of. You have to try quite hard to accept what you were born with, which, when faced with a parental figure giving their contradictory opinion, is not at all easy. We live in an age where the media subjects us to an enormous amount of scrutiny, and it becomes a serious challenge to say “no, I wouldn’t change a thing about myself”.

Oh the media has it so good don’t they? I like to think of the media the same way I think about Big Brother from 1984. It’s as if there’s an evil person hiding back there controlling it all, a person no one has ever seen, brainwashing an entire nation.
Why is it that we shouldn’t have spots? stretch marks? scars? cellulite? be a little overweight? a little underweight? have big breasts? or small breasts? have big bottoms? or small bottoms? have porcelain skin? or very tanned skin? or be ourselves AT ALL? Why are companies trashed for using slim models, then trashed for using ‘plus size’ models, then most likely trashed for daring to use models in the first place?
Oh what a world it could be if we all embraced every shape and every size. I once had a discussion with some of my fellow bloggers about what should really be embraced, and we decided upon health and happiness; a great combination.

Ultimo Campaign

I’m baring my inner most thoughts to your girls (and possibly guys) right now, because that is the point of my blog – discussing underwear actually plays a fundamental role in helping women feel better about themselves.
I want you realise you are not the only ones out there to question the media or the word ‘perfect’, and why such a word should ever matter to us. That word should not even be used in conjunction with human beings! We are the least perfect creatures, whoever made that word acceptable in relation to body types needs a good slap in the face.

May I just say, perfection is BORING!

Yes, you heard me, I said it’s boring. Too many people strive for this unattainable thing, and the reality is, humans would be incredibly boring if they actually were perfect.

So from one woman to another, I ask you, please, don’t try to change the way you look; just love yourself the way you are.

Love

Sophia xxx


Images from
Dove and Ultimo real beauty campaigns.

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The Bra Band Project – 30 Bands and Below

April 10, 2012

In the US recently it was stated that women who wore a 30 bra band or below are not catered for in the lingerie industry because they are juniors…

Following this, the Bra Band project came about. Here is the aim of the project:

“Recently at the Curve Expos in both New York and Las Vegas, brands that cater to large-busted women suggested that 30 bands and under were either for juniors, or that there was no market for them.  However, that is simply not the case. There are many women out there who need 30 bands and under, and we are not all juniors.  While we come in all different shapes and sizes, we all have a small back size in common.
To prove that we are not all juniors and that we exist as a market, we have decided to create the Bra Band Project where we are looking for photos of women who wear 30 bands or under. We will make a flickr album and eventually a collage with our photos to show that we are not just juniors, but women of all shapes and sizes that need small bands.
 
We’d love your help, so please submit your own photo and band size using the form below or email it to brabandproject@gmail.com.  Note we need both your bra size and your photo. We cannot include a submission without both of those. If you are a blogger who would like to help out with this project email us at brabandproject@gmail.com.”
 
While big-busted women struggle to find bras that fit in the cup, smaller backed women also struggle to find a band that fits their back. You don’t even necessarily have to be a slim woman to have a small band, and you can be any cup size from A all the way through to K.
I’ve got UK size 14 hips, and I still wear a 30 bra band. I am not a junior, and most definitely not close to being underweight. You can be any size or any shape, and still may need a 30 bra band or below. Perhaps if more women could really see what these band sizes look like, they would be much more open-minded about trying alternative sizes. There are women out there with 26 inch backs that cannot find a bra that really fits unless it is custom-made. We need the industry to wake up and see the giant gap in the market.
 
There are many other bloggers joining in on the Bra Band Project: Boosaurus, StackDD, Braless in Brasil, Bras I hate, and By Baby’s Rules.
 
We all want to join the fight to prove that 30 bands and below ARE NEEDED. Ladies we need your pictures ASAP. Please fill in the form below or email brabandproject@gmail.com with a photo and your bra size.
 
 
If you’re unsure of your size, you may find this bra calculator helpful: Curves and Corsets Bra Calculator
 
Love
 
Sophia xxx
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Are celebrities bad bra role models?

February 20, 2012

We’ve all heard the statistic that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, but no one really talks about why.

Countless times I’ve heard the phrase “but a DD is huge” or “a G-cup is glamour model size isn’t it?”, and often, these phrases come from women.

Both men and women need to be more bra-aware. How do cup sizes and band sizes relate to each other?
The most imporant thing to remember, is that a cup size means nothing without the band size. A 28DD and a 38DD are vastly different sizes.
The volume of a cup from a 28DD bra is equal to the volume of a 34B. If you held those two bras side by side, they would look the same size (excluding the band).

If you wear a 34E, and you find that the band is a bit loose, the next step is NOT a 32E. Each time you decrease the band size, you must increase the cup size – so a 34E with a smaller band becomes a 32F and vice versa.

DD+ cup sizes have somehow become taboo. There are jokes made about women based on bra size, and implications that if a woman over DD does not look like Christina Hendricks in the bust area, that surely she must be wrong about her size. These jokes and ignorant assumptions are so outdated, especially when there is so much more information about bra sizing available to us. Despite this, many women still insist on wearing the wrong size.

It is precisely this sort of thinking that bothers me – as I have blogged about before, Christina Hendricks is apparently something like a 38DD or 38DDD according to the media. Now whether she has confirmed this or not, I don’t know, but I don’t see why a woman in the public eye should let us believe she is a size that is actually incorrect. Frankly, that’s just being a bad role model for all the women out there unsure of their correct size. I have heard many a woman say “but I’m not as big as Christina so I can’t be over a DD”, and this really skews our perception of women’s bodies. (I speculated at the time that she was probably a 32H/32HH).

But, Christina is not the only one, she’s just a more obvious one. There are many more celebrities who really need to do a little more research to find out their correct bra size. Here are a few that come to mind:

Beyonce:

Beyonce is the ultimate independant woman, which is why this one stresses me out so much. She’s been both slimmer and curvier through the years, but always seems to be in the wrong bra size. Her gorgeous figure looks squished in that yellow bikini, and even in her very popular Best thing I never had video, she is wearing a basque where the wires are pretty much lying directly on her breast tissue; it’s even more obvious when watching the video. She is probably around a 30E.

Liz Hurley:

What can I say, Liz just never looks supported in the bust area. All her bras seem far too big in the band and small in the cup. Famously an advocate of diets and being slim, she is well known for once saying “I’d kill myself if I was as fat as Marilyn Monroe”. She claimed that having seen Marilyn’s dresses, she wanted to get out a tape measure to check the vast size. I get the feeling that as her breast size has increased over the years, she has refused to accept that she’s bustier than she once was, as quite clearly the label matters more to her than what she actually looks like; some role model.
A well fitting supportive bra could do wonders for her shape, my guess is that these days she’s more like a 30FF or 30G.

Tyra Banks:

The gorgeous model claims that she is a DD, but with what looks like a back size of about 28, it’s quite clear she’s bigger than a DD. More likely a 28GG or 30G. On the left she’s squeezed herself into a very small bra, and on the right, you can see that the band of the red bra is loose and not supporting her.
Tyra has embraced her curves as they grown over the years; I really think if Bravissimo could get their hands on her to measure, that she would be very surprised with the outcome. She could be a great role model with the correct size.

Sofia Vergara:

With roles such as Gloria in ‘Modern Family’, it’s hard to know whether Sofia creates this big cleavage-y look on purpose. I get the feeling she doesn’t know her real bra size, but I’d guess quite similar in size to Christina Hendricks. In my opinion, Sofia looks to be a 30HH, but most likely if she wore her correct size, she wouldn’t have her beloved chin-high cleavage effect.

Kelly Brook:

The bra on the left has a band that is far too loose, not giving her any lift or support. On the right, it’s a cup that is far too small, cutting into her breast tissue on the side (I’m certain that minus the airbrushing on that one, it would be far more obvious). I’d put Kelly at a 28H, possibly 30GG.

Katherine Heigl:

Katherine Heigl

Gorgeous, but often wearing a bra or bikini that is a few sizes too small. I’d put her as a 30F/30FF or similar.

The fact is, whether these women know it or not, they are putting out a really distorted idea of breast sizes. It’s no wonder 80% of women don’t know their own bra size, because these are the sort of references we have.

Take a look at the following picture of D/DD sized women, with varying band sizes:

D-DD Cup Sizes

And next, a picture of G/GG sized women with varying band sizes (65 = UK 30 and 70 =UK 32).

G-GG Cup Sizes

It just goes to show that you cannot estimate a cup size without estimating the band size too. There are far more sizes out there than A-DD, and we all need to be more bra-aware.

If you think you are wearing the wrong size, try putting your measurements in Curves and Corsets bra calculator (the most accurate one I have come across) and see what you get: Bra Calculator

A great place to go and get measured professionally, is Bravissimo, I highly recommended them for both the fit and service.

Love

Sophia xxx

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Breast Cancer – Think Pink

September 11, 2011

Next month is a very important month for me, and for millions of women (and men) around the world. October 2011 is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

In the UK, 50,000 people are diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year, and 12,000 of them die from it. It is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 35.

This year, I will be spending october with my mother who is flying over from France to exhibit her artwork in London. Every day I am thankful that she is still here. 

For the purpose of this post, I will give her the pseudonym ‘Sarah’.

Back in 2002, Sarah found a lump on her breast. She ignored it. 

She didn’t think it was anything more than a spot, and did not even consider going to see a doctor about it.

Months later, it was still there, bigger, harder, and painful too. Sarah finally went to a doctor with her concerns. They discovered that she had breast cancer, but it was already quite far advanced. The only solution was to have a mastectomy where one of her breasts was removed, and all the lymph nodes under her left arm were removed as well.
Afterwards she needed radiation and chemotherapy for years. Sarah lost all her hair, couldn’t eat, threw up constantly, spent most of her time exhausted in bed, and had terrible mood swings – it’s safe to say she wasn’t really herself during that time. The cancer seriously affected her, her life, and those around her. The chemotherapy gave her an early menopause, meaning she could never have any more children.

After the operation, the doctor told me she had a 30% chance of still being alive in 5 years. Now, here we are, 9 years later, and she’s still here and stronger than ever.

Sarah kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her experience:

Sophia: How do you feel about your mastectomy scar and what you went through?

Sarah: It’s very black and white. On a good day it doesn’t bother me, and I can go for long periods of time without even thinking about it – it’s just another part of me. However, on a bad day, it’s the worst thing in the world. It’s like a sinkhole dragging me down with it; everything bad happening seems to be because of that scar, and it hurts. It’s my real weak point.

Sophia: Do you feel like a different person since you recovered?

Sarah: Yes and no. Yes because I’m just so impatient these days, I can’t be dealing with the little things; I don’t have time to faff about. I’ve got to get things done, no emotions involved. The reason I would also say no is because inside I still feel 18 years old – I still have the same dreams and goals as I did then, and I think that girl is still in there somewhere.

Sophia: Are you particularly open about having survived cancer?

Sarah: I think so. With my friends and family, of course they all know what happened, and it’s not something I hide. With strangers, I wouldn’t bring it up unless somehow it was appropriate. I wear prosthesis so the question isn’t usually raised. 

Sophia: Have you ever considered having a breast reconstruction since you’ve become healthy again?

Sarah: I have considered it, but I still don’t really think it’s for me. The skin over my breastplate was pulled so tight; it’s already quite uncomfortable as it is. I don’t really fancy having any more surgery; I’ve grown to accept my scar the way it is. 

Sophia: What would your advice be for other breast cancer survivors, or others going through the same thing?

Sarah: Just remember that you’re still you. Cancer can’t take that away from you – you may feel the worst you’ve ever felt, but it won’t stay like that. Having family, friends and support groups is very important for moving forward and accepting what’s happened to you.


Thank you Sarah.


One of my very close friends lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just a little girl. Sometimes I wonder why I was so lucky, and she was not. It makes me both very sad and grateful at the same time.


For Breast Cancer Awareness month, I’m going to try and wear a pink bra, EVERY DAY! I think I can manage, but I may need to buy a few more pink bras before October! 🙂

Please visit my Just Giving page for Breast Cancer Care to make a donation. Every little helps, so if you can spare anything, please help the cause!

To make a donation, click here.

The first two on my list (currently my only two pink bras) are:

Curvy Kate – Princess Bra – Pink

The Princess bra is very true to size. It comes up very slightly tighter in the cup than the Emily bra, but otherwise is a very similar fit. Detailing as always is stunning, and it is very comfy once it’s been worn in a bit.

Panache Cleo – Lucy Bra – Pink

The Lucy bra I found slightly looser in the band, maybe not enough to size down, but if you are in-between sizes, pick the smaller one. Cups come up small, I would’ve preferred to size up one.  Very comfortable and it gives a lovely rounded shape – a much higher cut than the Princess bra above.

My plea to women everywhere, is that you all remember to check your breasts at least once a month! In fact, how about a free reminder? There is a great website called Coppafeel; you list the names of your breasts (mine happen to be Fred and George!) and they send you a monthly text message reminding you to check them.

Breast Cancer Awareness may only be October, but you must remember to check your breasts EVERY month. Be aware!

Love

Sophia xxx 

h1

Christina Hendricks – Bra Size Controversy

June 30, 2011

I have so much to say about the lovely Christina Hendricks, it’s hard to know where to start.

First of all, it’s important to say that I personally think she is a stunning, elegant and very talented woman. She rocks what she’s got like no one I have ever seen. Half the world has gone Christina mad, the other half seem to dislike her purely because she flaunts her curves – not sure I understand how that can be a bad thing, but anyway.

She has always been someone I admire, especially because I can be insecure about my own curves. Far less now than I used to be, but I think it’s a difficulty that a lot of women face.

The one thing that irritates me no end however, is the topic of Christina’s bra size. There are all sorts of apparent ‘facts’ circulating about her being something like a 36DD or a 38DDD (in the UK, DDD is not a real cup size). If she really measured 38 underbust, that would makes her a UK size 16-18 – something she is most definitely not. If I was going to guess, I would say she is probably a 32H or HH – or something along those lines. I often see her practically bursting out of her outfits, and it makes me think she has a lot of difficulty finding both bras and clothes to cover her bust.

Christina Hendricks

Sometimes it becomes more obvious that a bra just doesn’t cover her assets, and she’s gone for something in the wrong size. Of course she still looks gorgeous, but it does appear she might burst out of those dresses any second.

The sides of Christina’s breasts are not being fully encased by her bra.

Even more disappointing, is how companies using her in their advertising campaigns, also cannot seem put her in the correct size. Here are a couple of shots from magazine shoots with Christina. Below on the left, the cup is clearly miles too small for her, and you can see the underwire is actually sitting on the breast tissue. On the right, the centre gore of the basque is not remotely flat, and is being pushed out because the cups are again, too small.

Christina modelling in badly fitting underwear.

It is made more difficult to guess her size because unfortunately, I have noticed, she often wears a bra that is at least a few cup sizes too small, pushing her breasts up much more than her correct bra size would. This fact was actually pointed out to me by fellow blogger Brittany from Thin and Curvy.
We have both decided to test this theory out ourselves…and show you the results!

Wearing a ‘DD’ – four/five cup sizes too small.

Above I am wearing a DD – a size which some lingerie companies (who incorrectly use the ‘plus 4’ band method) actually recommend I wear.
You can clearly see that it is miles too small for me – but I do have the ‘Christina Cleavage’ effect.

Wearing the correct bra size ‘G’

For a fair comparison, I have used a deco bra, (which is good if you want to show a little cleavage anyway). This is in my correct size, and you can see that the amount of cleavage on show is far more toned down and appropriate – I say appropriate, but in real life I would probably wear a top underneath for modesty!

Brittany wearing a ‘DD’ – five/six sizes too small

Above, Brittany who normally wears a 26HH, tried on a size 30DD – this is apparently her ‘correct’ size according to Victoria Secret’s online bra calculator. Here is what she had to say on the subject:

“I had bought this Fantasie 30DD bra because it was on sale and I thought it might fit my little sister. It occurred to me that it is the same size that I would be according to Victoria’s Secret’s method of measuring that they have on their website, so I decided to try it on just for fun to see how awful it would be. It was just as bad as I expected, but what struck me about it once I had it on, is how much my cleavage looked like Christina Hendricks!
I have often wondered how she achieves such massive cleavage, since I have pretty full, close set breasts and mine never look like hers even with the best plunge bras. Now I know how she does it. Of course, this bra looked horrible from the side and cut into my breasts painfully. I feel very sorry for her, and anyone who goes around wearing such a badly fitting bra.”

What makes the ‘too-small’ bra idea even more bizarre, is that obviously on the set of ‘Mad Men’ (which I love by the way) Ms. Hendricks has clearly been fitted into proper garments of the correct size. Now fair enough, I don’t know what sizing method they use, perhaps it’s vintage sizing which would probably render us even more confused, but you’d think she might have been given a little information about sizing.

Joan Holloway – Mad Men

There is of course, the possibly that Christina is well aware of her correct bra size, and perhaps in her own free time she wears a HH and is perfectly content – I could quite easily imagine that she might put on a smaller size for public appearances, to show off her famous assets. Either way, I wouldn’t judge her for doing that. Why not show them off; she has a truly fabulous figure. I only hope that she really does know her correct size, and spends the majority of her time wearing the right one, otherwise she will end up (if she isn’t already) very uncomfortable and probably in a lot of pain.

Something I discovered today, is that Christina Hendricks plans to bring out her own line of swimwear. Again, it is yet another article stating she is a 36DD, click here to see it. I fail to see how she can design her own range of swimwear for a larger bust, when she isn’t wearing the correct size herself.

There is actually a photograph out there of Christina in a swimming costume that does imply she has a lot difficulty finding her size – a problem a lot of us busty women face. Soon I will be compiling a list of all the best places to shop for large cup bras internationally – hopefully this will help anyone having trouble (the way Christina possibly is) find well-fitting bras too.

I really hope the world can start to understand that a DD isn’t necessarily a big cup size and definitely not the biggest, not to mention that the band measurement must be taken into account.

I measure about 31″ underbust and wear a band size 30 to 32.
Brittany measures 24″ underbust and wears a band size 26 (finding a 26 or a 24 band is a struggle in itself, you can read more about that on her blog).
In my personal opinion, Christina doesn’t look much wider than either of us, in fact she looks to be about my measurements (or smaller) underbust. Does that sound like someone who should be wearing a 36 or 38 band? I don’t think so.