There was a blog post I came across yesterday that stirred-up quite a debate. A young Hollywood actress, who recently had a breast reduction, was criticised in the media for her choice.
When I first saw the headline, and then the post, I was upset. I had felt that people who didn’t know this woman were judging her and shaming her for her choice. Many others felt the same way, commenting their concerns towards the author. The article did share some of the same concerns that I have about poor education surrounding bra fit, as well as sizing information shared from surgeons.
The author of the blog had advocated for properly fitted bras, and I am too a huge advocate for wearing properly fitted bras, so much so that it’s become a part of my life, as I’ve focused my education and career around it. A good fitting bra literally changed my life.
But I can relate to this young actress, at the age of 17, I considered a breast reduction, and had a consultation with a surgeon. Only out of sheer fear did I not proceed. I am completely terrified of needles and the idea of willingly allowing surgery on my body was just too much for me to handle at that time. The whole process also seemed too quick, or easy, and I was scared to make such a lasting decision at 17. There were real risks, scarring and weeks of healing. All I had to do was say "yes" and I'd have been on the 1-year plus wait for the surgery. That's a lot for a 17-year old girl to take in.
I was active during high school, a member of the track & field club and even competed (only once!) at the provincial level as a sprinter. My breasts were out of control. I was buying both 38DD and 40DD from Wonderbra, and it was miles too loose around the back. I reckon I was likely a 34/36FF. It was because of some of these issues that I had investigated this option.
My relationship towards my breasts changed when I finally was properly fitted, and began to buy bras that were imported from Europe. As a young woman in Canada, there were no other options to find a 36G or H in traditional retail stores. These bras cost a small fortune to a student, that in the end I had to get a job at the shop so that I could get a small discount on these necessities. The change in size and structure of the bra was incredibly painful for the first week to ten days. I had felt bruised and raw from the pressure of the bra on my frame, but looking in the mirror, and knowing how a good bra fit, I knew that I had to push through. If I hadn’t, I’d likely still be in that horrible Wonderbra, in another life, doing a job that I didn’t love.
That properly fitting bra did change my life though. I slowly became more comfortable and confident with my body. I felt supported physically and was not fighting with my bra so much throughout the day. The straps were not slipping, the band was not riding up, my breasts were not trying to escape from the bottom. My clothes fit better, as did my seatbelt! My wires were also not breaking, so I was no longer replacing my bras, but building a collection. I finally felt sexy, being able to get the colours I wanted with bottoms to match in beautiful and luxurious fabrics. Something that was never available to me, even in a 40DD.
These days, I still have a love-hate relationship with my breasts. I’m more confident in my figure now than I ever was in my youth, but most days, my breasts hurt. I now regularly sleep in a Bravissimo sleep top in order to contain them. I find without a sleep bra, my tender or swollen breasts (more so during certain times of the month) get in the way, or my skin is pinched, or my long hair gets trapped or wrapped around them.
I’m a lingerie designer, and I’ve spent the last year and a half working with some of the largest lingerie retailers for big cups in Europe. I still struggle to find bras that are comfortable for my squishy frame and fussy brain. Wires that poke and dig, or flimsy laces that don’t support, bands that cut or dig, as well as shoulder straps that are too short, or even fold in half and bunch up, are just some of my fit issues.
I’m not certain that I’d have a breast reduction at this stage in my life. I know I’m not at my healthy body weight. There was a period in my life where I had nearly reached my goal weight, and I was able to fit into a 32F in a brand that had a smaller fit. I can only imagine how someone may feel if they were happy with the rest of their body and their weight if their breasts were causing them a lot of physical, mental or emotional grief. I would also encourage anyone considering surgery to try to find the best fitting bra that they can, and attempt to reach their goal weight, if they are drastically far from it. Surgery isn’t the only choice, but for some it’s necessary for their body or mind, and shouldn’t be criticised by others.
The article also criticises the sizing of the young woman, before and after her surgery. They go as far to suggest that she wasn’t wearing a properly fitted bra. We all know that brands fit differently - and we all know that not everyone, including surgeons, are up to speed on bra fit education. It is frustrating, because as a bra fitter, I have seen the disappointment so many times on women’s faces when they realise that their after-surgery size is still a large cup.
It’s been in my experience, a great number of times, that women post-surgery are usually not too far off from their pre-surgery size. A great deal of breast tissue can be removed, but I have found that the width of the breast root, has stayed relatively similar for a large number of these women, instead the depth of the breast has been reduced. If I had infinite resources, this would actually be a strong lead for my next round of studies, like pursuing my Masters degree.
I’ve had women in tears where they were a 36H prior to surgery, and still require a 36FF post-surgery, when their doctor had told them they’d now be a C cup. It’s disheartening because these women have very much tied their bra size to something emotional, and a surgeon, has led them astray. The opposite can also be true. Many women with smaller busts having enhancement surgery, believing they’re a 36A or B, and then get fitted post-surgery in 30G, where the style options are radically different from what they were expecting.
But with that said, I can't think of a single woman that told me she had regretted her decision. Of course, post-surgery, these women will still struggle with finding well-fitting bras, but many have been released from they physical, emotional and mental issues surrounding their breasts.
In general, so much more needs to be done to educate women about bra fitting. There also needs to be increased access to more sizes in retail stores around the world (I’m looking at you North America) and they have to be available at all price points.
I believe so passionately in that last statement, that it’s my life’s mission. That is the goal I am working towards, and I hope to be able to make a difference in the lives of women, so that they too can experience a good fitting bra. I really do believe a good fitting bra can change your life, I feel that I’m living proof!
Share - have you had a breast surgery, or ever considered it?
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice