Bras and Body Image is moving!

Yes, finally ūüėČ From now on, I will be posting at my new domain of www.brasandbodyimage.com. WordPress and email followers should have transferred to the new blog already, but if you follow on Bloglovin or just check in from time to time, make sure to update your links/follows. This site will remain up for a few days and then links will start redirecting, so if you’d like to carry on keeping up with my posts, please go and follow the new blog!

You can sign up for email updates in the new blog sidebar, or follow me on Bloglovin here. See you on the other side!

Brastop Awards 2013

BrastopAwards2013HeaderBrastop are one of my favourite retailers, stocking high quality D-K lingerie at bargain prices. They have grown and grown over the years, and today, Brastop are launching the Brastop Awards.
There are seven awards for different categories, with the winners to be chosen by public vote. You can select as many of your favourites as you like in each category, with the option of naming any other bloggers you would like to add recognition to.

Categories:
– Best for Lingerie
– Best for Swimwear
– Best Lingerie Blogger
– Best Sports Brand
– Best Brastop Model
– Best for Maternity Wear
– Best Celebrity Curves

To my surprise, my little old blog has been nominated in the category of ‘Best Lingerie Blogger’! I am very flattered to have even been nominated, especially considering the other blogs in the category – I definitely have some big competition! I’m not going to get my hopes up for winning, but if you do enjoy my blog or find it useful, I would love it if you could vote for me.

To vote, go to the Brastop Facebook page any time before the end of 23rd October. Thank you!

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Sexism and children: Why it’s not “just a joke”.

Today’s post is going to be a bit different from the usual. A couple of weeks ago, my niece turned 4. I’ll be honest, I find it quite hard to pick presents for my princess-loving nibling! I like giving her something a bit different from the mountains of pink, so I usually try to find her something princess-with-a-twist, and this time, it seems I picked a pretty good one: a Princess Merida dress with a bow and arrow set.

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When she opened it, she was so excited to find a princess dress, but she had no idea what the bow and arrow was. After I explained what it did, and I showed her a picture of Princess Merida wielding it, she couldn’t wait to try it out. So I started showing her how to use it. Obviously it’s just a toy, and it isn’t all that sturdy, which means you have to hold it a very specific way to shoot it, and the arrows only go a few feet.

While I was trying to show her how to use it, I started hearing comments from a couple of men standing behind me.

“What’s this, a girl teaching a¬†girl?!¬†Hahahaha! Well that’s never going to work!”
“What does she think she’s doing?! Having a bit of trouble there, love? Want me to take over?”

I ignored them. When she got the elastic lined up and tried shooting it for the first time, the arrow slipped sideways.

“Ahahahah! Well, what did we expect from a¬†girl? Leave it to the men next time, eh?”

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Forgive the language, but what the fuck? Really? I am teaching a 4 year old girl how to use a bow and arrow. She has never done anything like this before, and it is hard to get right. And these two absolute asshats think it’s appropriate to stand there ridiculing both of us on the basis of us being female?

Let’s get one thing straight. Comments like this are not a joke. Society constantly bombards us with messages of what we’re supposed to be, how we’re supposed to act, what we should enjoy. If you say things like this, a child will not think you are joking. You are telling her that she is, at core, incompetent, because she is a girl. You are giving her the impression that it is absurd for women to be smart, or to be able to teach or explain. They knew nothing about me, and they assumed that I was stupid because I am a woman. You are telling her that she is expected to fail at anything she attempts that isn’t regarded as a female pursuit. You are telling her that anything she does, a man will be able to do it better.

I told her to ignore them, but I could see the seed of doubt forming. The look of confusion, then unease, the wondering if she should really be doing this. And it doesn’t stop with the use of a bow and arrow, something that (let’s be honest) doesn’t have many real-world applications. I’ve heard similar comments whenever she tries to play with her brother’s toys: lego is for boys, girls don’t play football. Even just looking around at the shops, the message is clear: Construction toys, science toys, sports and superheroes fill the boys’ section; Kitchens, dolls, cosmetics and princesses fill the girls’, something that infuriates me no end!

boy-vs-girl-toys

They’re all little things. A kitchen joke here, a casual “leave it to the men” there, an amused look of surprise when a girl is interested in a stereotypically male-pursuit. Adults may be able to separate these jokes from reality, but kids haven’t yet developed the perspective to do so.¬†Individually, these jokes might be nothing. But they add up, and together they create an environment where our children learn the realities of sexism from the moment they begin to talk. It perpetuates a culture in which the things that we can and should do are dictated by gender. And it normalises the idea that women are lesser simply because they are women.

I don’t pretend to think that this post will eliminate sexist jokes and thereby conquer sexism, but please, consider the things you say around children, and realise that sexist comments can have a much greater effect than you would think – even if they’re “just a joke”.

My Lingerie Christmas Wishlist

Following the lead of a few other lovely bloggers, I thought I’d list what I’m currently lusting after in the world of lingerie!

Lingerie santa

1. Stockings and Romance girdles

Pin up girdle

Polka dot girdle

I am an absolute sucker for retro-styled lingerie. Combine that with polka-dots and quirkiness, and I will probably faint from giddiness!

Pin Up Girdle and Kiss Me Kate Polka Dot Girdle, both available at Egg & Chips Clothing.

2. Cleo Zia in Pink Spot

Cleo Zia pink

Mmmm! I love the flashes of pink from the polka dots and bows!¬†The Zia is made with the same cut as my true loves Alexa and Olivia, but apparently runs smaller in the cups. Here’s hoping we get on well whenever I get to try her out!

Panache Cleo Zia in pink available at HerRoom, 28-38 D-J.

3. Boudoir Beau in Jet/Emerald

Boudoir Beau

Something any of my friends will know of is my quest for the perfect emerald green bra. Green is such an uncommon colour in lingerie, and I thought I had found my true love in CK’s Tease Me…only for it to go out of stock and never be found again! The Boudoir Beau combines the oh-so-elusive emerald green with sophisticated black lace, and I am¬†so in love. This may just be one that I have to get the matching briefs for, when I can finally afford it! Please please please stay in stock!

Boudoir Beau available from Bravissimo, 28 DD-J, 30-38 DD-K.

4. Masquerade Rhea in Champagne/Pink

Rhea champagne

An oldie but one I am currently wishing I had! Though it only goes to an H, I’ve seen many H+ ladies rocking the hell out of the Rhea.

Available from ASOS in limited sizes, 28-38 D-H.

5. PL Milady

PL Milady

How fabulous is this set? I think it’s pretty clear by now, but I am a¬†huge¬†fan of red lingerie. Something about the colour is just so sexy and exciting! Combine that with my ever-loved black lace, and add in the option for high-waisted briefs…

The PL Milady is readily available from Ewa Michalak in 30-40 A-GG, though they will make almost any size to order.

6. Giselle high waisted knickers

Giselle brief

The lace panels, bustle, suspenders, the peek of skin through the nude panels,¬†oh god why don’t I own these?!¬†This is one piece I will probably never manage to afford, but a girl can dream, right?

Tatu Couture Giselle knickers available from Violet’s Knickers.

7. Curvy Kate Gia in blush

Gia

Though I still haven’t found the unpadded CK for me, after seeing the Gia on Laura, who wouldn’t want to try her?! Combine that with the realisation that I don’t own any nude bras, and I’m definitely going to have to hunt her down!

Curvy Kate Gia in blush available at Brastop, 28-40 D-K.

8. Spellbound Retro briefs

Spellbound retro brief

Another oldie, the Spellbound Retro high waisted briefs from Blush are another one of those pieces that just tick all my boxes. I love the navy polka dots and little coral details!

Spellbound briefs available in limited sizes from Funlove.

9. Morticia corset

Morticia corset

Last but not least, the Morticia corset. Another piece I wish I could afford, but will sadly have to wait a while! Phenomenally modelled by George and Cheryl, is it any wonder this made my wishlist?

Morticia corset available from What Katie Did.

I think I should stop myself there, I could keep going all day! What’s on your wishlist?

“Bras and Body Image” Facebook Page

I’ve made a facebook page!

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I’m hoping for it to basically be a more community-based version of my tumblr, so if you’re interested in discussions on feminism and body image, lingerie news and tips, blogs I find interesting and similar things, please head on over and click like!

Photo credits: Feminism buttons; Love all the bodies; Who needs feminism?

Bra fitting at M&S

Today, after a visit to Bravissimo, I decided to nip into Manchester’s M&S. I initially planned on just trying on a 36G to show how poor a fit the +4/5 method gives…

Hand indicating where the wire needs to be

Green lines showing roughly where the band should start and end on me

Which it obviously does. With my measurements of around 30/43, I usually wear a very comfortable, very supportive 30JJ. Today, measuring closer to 31,¬†M&S suggests I wear a 36 band. Pictured is a 36G, the size suggested by House of Fraser. All of the obvious signs of a poor fit are there: the wires are not flat against my ribcage, I have “double boob” at the top, the band rides up, and the wires are sitting on breast tissue at the side.

I was going to leave it there, until I saw an empty appointment slot, in just 20 minutes. Having been told that the fitters have been re-trained, I booked it and grabbed myself a 38F to be fitted from.

My fitter initially looked at my bra to see how it fit me. She quickly noticed the band was riding up and checked the label, seeming absolutely horrified that I was wearing a 38 back. I was hopeful for a good fitting…until she reached for the tape measure. She measured my underbust (measurement 3) at 30.7, and my overbust (measurement 1) at 36, and proclaimed me…a 36 band. 36. She then observed the cups were too small and went to fetch a 36G, a cup bigger.

…It, of course, had all the same problems as the pink bra. I instantly put it onto the tightest hooks, which she did point out, explaining that the tighter hooks are for as it stretches. However, she did not suggest going down a back size, just re-hooked it onto the loosest. Once again, she observed the cups were too small, and went to fetch a 36GG.

Once again, I put it straight on the tightest hook. This time she remarked that the band seemed slightly loose, re-hooking it onto the middle hooks, but still not suggesting a smaller band size. She then looked over it and proclaimed it a perfect fit. And, to be fair, if you ignored the band it didn’t look half bad. For a completely unadjusted bra. However, if she had instructed me to scoop my breasts fully into the bra (as any good fitter will do), it looked more like this:

It was still clearly too small in the cups, the wires were sitting on breast tissue at the sides, and I could easily fit my arm under the band. What really confused me was that she seemed to know what the signs of a poor fit were, but she didn’t recognise them in practice. She told me about overspill, about wires on breast tissue, about a firm band, about using the loosest hooks, but she still did not notice that the fit was all wrong. It almost seems as though the fitters have been re-trained to parrot the facts, but not to apply them.

A good fitter should be friendly and welcoming, but also knowledgeable. She should be able to educate and fit the customer, preferably without the use of a tape measure. A starting point is fine, preferably one starting at the underbust measurement, but the result is not set in stone – I was shocked that my fitter remarked that the band was still slightly loose, but did not suggest perhaps a 34H. There was a sign saying they have bras up to a J cup right next to me, so it wasn’t as though they didn’t have them. A good fitter should make sure the bra is put on properly and all breast tissue is scooped into it. She should adjust the straps, and she should pull on the band to check it is firm enough.

M&S frequently advertise their fitting service with the fact that 80% of women are wearing an ill-fitting bra, but it seems to me that they are doing nothing to decrease that percentage Рinstead manufacturing gimmicky bras to treat the symptom, but not the cause. M&S is where most women in the UK go for a bra fitting, yet it is very clear that they are doing a huge disservice to women. A badly-fitting bra can lead to back pain, migrated breast tissue, depression, poor body image, permanent shoulder dents, migraines, poor circulation and so many other things.

Women deserve better than this.

EDIT: For comparison, here is a picture of me, properly fitted, in a 30JJ:

Good evening!

I made this a few days ago and didn’t get round to my first post – so hello! My name is Anna, and I plan to write about bras, bra fitting, body image and clothes, in particular for those sporting a “bigger-than-average” pair of tatas.

After a lifetime of terrible bra advice and fitting, I was finally better fitted in August. Since then I have become quite enthusiastic on the topic, and want to share my knowledge and experiences with whoever will listen.

I will start writing properly soon but for now, on the off chance anyone reads this, I hope you have a wonderful christmas!