It's like parent trap only in that it involves twins. The rest is up for debate.
No bare breasts are shown in this post and it is SFW.
Ah, the not-so-humble bra. I'm no lingerie blogger, but I've got a thing or two to say about it. Because this was the year I decided enough was enough.
If you're also one of the 50% (ish) of the population that has breasts, you'll know the pain of tangled messes in sweaty changing rooms, trying to get through the trauma of trying on bras with minimal injury to both your body and dignity. Ill-fitting bands, quadra-boob inducing cups, questionable quality lace that itches, and things with extra straps that you're not sure what to do with - you've been there, right?
I mean maybe you've had a bra-trauma free life, in which case I frankly think you ought to write a book that gets passed out in PSHE lessons! But for most of us, living with breasts has been a bit of a rough ride, especially at the beginning. Do you remember your first bra - the training bra? What exactly were we training our breasts for? In my case, 10+ years of clueless bra-shopping, back pain and wardrobe malfunctions.
When I started choosing bras for myself I had no idea what I was doing. I just picked up whatever looked pretty and an approximate fit, tried it on and hoped for the best. Usually it cost £3 from Primark and inevitably I would get stabbed in the chest by wire a few months later, or a strap would snap partway through the day leaving me stranded with wonky boobs and refusing to take off my jacket.
Utterly convinced that I couldn't possibly be a larger bra size than I'd been reluctantly measured as at 16, I spent my late teens and early twenties in a series of boob-squashing contraptions that left me sore and red by bedtime. I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that this was the norm, and my body was just awkward.
Susannah Constantine, one half of Trinny and Susannah, looks a damn sight less fraught than I was
Fed up eventually of none of my bras fitting me properly, earlier this year I took my life in my hands and let my friend Charli, the boob genius of curvygirlthin, bundle me into Bravissimo. She was very patient, considering almost everyone she ever shops with does the same. They had an excellent fitting service, and although I was in complete shock at my correct measurements, it was a relief to walk out of there with something that fit me properly, possibly for the first time ever.
Newly resplendent in my beige booby prison, I discovered I could get through a full day without having to adjust it or my clothes around it. I also discovered that not all larger bras are beige, white or black - Bravissimo have every colour under the sun, and brastop.com became my new favourite online shopping haunt. But as with anything with so many variable factors, a good fit is hit and miss and I'm still learning what brands and styles work for me and which ones don't.
Part two of this year's bra adventures has been the discovery of Ms Pomelo. A chance encounter on Twitter pre-Curvy Convention back in May led to a phone conversation with Ilona, who was looking for someone to model Ms Pomelo bras for fitting tutorials at the event. What was meant to be a brief chat turned into a pleasantly rambling discussion about body image, confidence and the health aspects of a well-fitting bra - I could tell Ilona was genuinely passionate about what she did, and I was excited to meet her and try on the bras her company created.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was stood in a church hall in Hackney in my skirt and the bright red Showstopper bra (below), casually chatting to strangers about underwear. Well, when in Rome! The great thing about events like Curvy Convention is there's a camaraderie that encourages the dropping of defences, and the Ms Pomelo team were no exception. We had a little impromptu photo shoot:
Ilona was as engaging in person as over the phone and I really felt we had something in common: the desire for bras that are actually as comfortable as they are attractive, and a focus on practicality rather than sex appeal. Personally, as pretty as some sexy lingerie is, I don't see the point if I can't actually wear it under clothes or it cuts into me! But with the soft cups, floral lace and rich colours, I did think the majority of the Ms Pomelo bras were very beautiful too.
And the fit! This is honestly the most comfortable bra I've ever worn. I'm wearing it today as I write, and it fits so well I can pretty much forget I've even got a bra on (without the doing-yourself-an-injury-while-going-downstairs part of actually not wearing a bra). Ms Pomelo's ethos is very much about support and health, so they place a lot of emphasis on how your bra ought not to dig into you. I feel that with the firmness of band needed for a good fit, some marks are not entirely avoidable, but I get no shoulder pain or red sore marks from the wide, soft straps on the Showstopper. At present all the styles are full coverage which isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for an everyday comfy bra this is now my go-to.
My own experience aside, I was encouraged to see Ms Pomelo engaging with the needs of bra-wearers beyond my own. They offer post-surgery day-and-night bras which have been especially designed for the kind of support and compression needed during surgery recovery, and they are very reasonably priced. They also produce a mastectomy bra with pockets for prosthetics, and have just brought out a nursing bra. For a relatively new brand it's nice to see this range developing to cater to lots of different women.
So these have been my recent bra-wearing adventures. I'm thankful to curvygirlthin, Bravissimo, and Ms Pomelo for making them far more positive than any others up to this point! I personally resolve to be clueless and prudish no longer... For anyone out there finding the whole bra thing a bit of a pain, I highly recommend a good fitting and going after what keeps you supported and looks after your health.
This is not a sponsored post; all views are my own :)