FASHION | Bs to Es: A Short Story about My Breasts


Photo by Tommy Ton / Jak & Jil
 I will always remember, one day in primary school, waking up and realising that my body had changed. The embarrassment of being developed and womanly when you're still trying to understand who you are is enough to make any ten year old shamefully self aware.
The moment I realised I had boobs, I remember thinking, what do I do now? My little lumps were apparently something to be proud of, but as someone who was constantly walking around in my underwear, they posed quite the disruption. And the memory of that tight fitting, burgundy long sleeved -- yes, it was impractical for the tropics of Guyana, but I didn't give a damn, I had to wear it as it was oh, so Cher, from Clueless -- dress that my father cut in front of my eyes, because I refused to give them up, just sealed my social demise even more. Daddy, that dress was part of my identity! Parents never understand. I sulked for the rest of the year, but was still well behaved for fear that he might get his hands on my other 'inappropriate' gems.

As June came around it was time to go on our annual summer trip to the States. It was apparent that I needed some support for my little lumps, which seemed to be growing at an accelerated rate. So, my mother took me to buy a 'proper' bra, and thank heavens for that. My father had already had to deal with my 'first visit', as mother was away on business, and I don't think I could've handled his meddling in any more of my personal affairs. The trip was a success.We got a set of soft cotton training bras, which I was so grateful for, and was very much empowered by. It held me firmly in place, and my mother assured me that these will last me a while.

Summer was the best. I grew more comfortable with my new pair, and realised that my swimsuits fitted more comfortably, as I finally filled out areas that were meant to be filled out. My naive confidence also nearly got me into trouble, as I thought my breasts gave me a green light to dress like the adults. My Aunt was not too pleased when she saw me trying on her clothes without her permission, but I soon defused it by reverting back to my childish naivety. The girls and I made a quick exit from her room, and continued on our merry way to enjoy the rest of summer.
Then, tragedy struck! My little lumps were now a cup size too large for my new bras, which meant another trip to the stores before we left the country. I was just getting used to them, and now, as I did, they too had grown up. Initially, I celebrated their graduation from primary school to high school. Wait till I show the girls at school.
Then, I got to school. I had the largest breasts (or I felt as though I did) in my year, and in school anything that gets you noticed, especially a body part, meant social isolation, mocking, and glares. It was only a matter of time before I was denigrated, and the thought scared me. Yet, the glares, mocking and isolation never came. Rather, it was the boys. All I had to protect me from further attention was a good bra from JCPenny's.

My Bs magically grew and grew, like beanstalks on steroids. I was praying that Jack would come down and cut it down at the root to stop it from growing much further. And I thought he did, until two months ago when I went for another fitting as my bras were not quite fitting 'properly'. It was official, another size up from DDs to Es. The saleswoman in M&S asked if I would be buying any bras, and I said no. I wanted to get fitted and then stalk out the latest ethical lingerie brand.

That night, I went home and scoured the internet for ethical lingerie brands. There were loads. I couldn't believe my luck. The first site I went to was LuvaHuva, which had the most beautiful chantilly lace bras. Only problem was the bras only went up to a C-cup. Then I checked out another side, and the same dilemma occurred. I must've looked at fifteen sites, only to come across the same problem. Ethical Bras did not come in sizes that would fit my womanly bosom, so I went back to Marks & Spencer and bought the bras I had tried on. Perfect fit!
I was annoyed though. Not with M&S, but with the ethical fashion industry. I'm not considered full figured or curvy, but I do have breasts, which did not seem to be synonymous with ethical lingerie. It reminded me of the dress my father chopped up, and how they were not harmonious with my breasts as well.

A few years ago, a photo popped up (ON FACEBOOK no less) of me walking the catwalk around the age of 10. I was wearing my floral long sleeved dress, which was the sister to that darling burgundy dress my father butchered (to teach me a lesson I obviously didn't learn at the time). All I could see were my pointy little lumps protruding grotesquely from the dress, in an awkward display of my eminent womanhood. The fashion show was at my childhood Catholic Church no less -- I've been cursed ever since. As a child you are too self-involved to see it, but now that my otherness to my ten year old self is prominent, I can see why my father was driven to madness.

Today, I think back to how important a good bra was back then, and much more important it is now. Even my father was aware of the importance of the perfect fit. I am now comfortable, somewhat, with my girls. They still get in the way of my athletic activities and my ability to wear that strappy D&G dress I've been eying for years. So, the memories of my internal battles still manifest today in the importance I place on fit, and that starts with the very foundation - proper underwear. If only proper underwear was synonymous with my ethical lifestyle.

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  1. Thanks Stacy for very intimate share ;) Hope you find your EE (Ethical E) soon!

  2. Haha! Thank you Angelique! I must admit the thought of being a double E just sent me into a panic. My Ethical E hunt is on.

  3. I can sympathize. The perfect fit is so important. Great storytelling. I cringed and laughed at the same time.