Best Breasts Forward ~ The Junior Edition

It may be because I have daughters or it may be from my own past experiences, but for whatever reason I have a special concern when it comes to girls and body issues. I developed early and for a quiet girl who only wanted to sing and study, having boys ogle at my growing breasts was horrifying. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t know what to wear so I struggled to make what was available to me fit. Not knowing much about bras and their proper fit made it worse. I often think of how different those years would have been if I was better prepared for what was happening to me.

Why is it that we talk to girls about getting their period and all that entails but we shy away from exposing them to the truth about their breasts and how to take proper care of them? Because we live in a society that hyper-sexualizes breasts, it seems we are afraid to embrace our daughters’ growing busts.

Do you know what it feels like to have someone look at you and shake their head because you’re a C cup in 8th grade? It feels like slut-shaming.

We must begin to teach our girls early on that there is no shame in being busty. This is not an easy task. Preteen and teenagers are inherently self-conscious. Because of this, it’s up to the older women in their lives to take the initiative and begin not just telling them but showing them how to embrace their breasts. If you are slouching and hiding, then so will she. If she sees you frowning at your reflection in the mirror, she will do the same. If you have not accepted your own body, honey, you’ve got to fake it till you make it, at least in front of her.

I’d like to open up the dialogue between us, busty women seeking and sharing knowledge with each other and younger girls who are just developing. I want us to speak to them frankly but with humor, love and care about what we’ve learned, how we’ve felt, and the solutions we’ve found to issues we encounter. The more information we give them, the more comfortable they will be with themselves.

I have my own list of specific topics that I’ll be focusing on, but I’d appreciate input from you all.

What would you tell or explain to your younger self about having large breasts?

This is something I will be working on in the upcoming months and I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Remember, confident girls become confident women who raise confident girls.

Best Breasts Forward

D+ Donation Dreams

Leah isn’t able to post today, so I’m using her space to link to my blog post about Bottomless Closet on the Campbell & Kate blog. What important work this non-profit is doing! However, I admit that I’m slightly conflicted about encouraging Hourglassy readers to donate their bust-friendly tops, jackets and dresses to this organization. If you do that, how will you have anything left for our next Big Bust Clothing Swap? I should probably just get over my scarcity mentality, shouldn’t I? Sounds like another blog post topic worth exploring.

When I visited Bottomless Closet a few weeks ago, I already knew that they didn’t accept used bra donations, but I hoped to encourage them to reconsider. After all, how can anyone dress for success without the right foundation? But when I saw all the clothing that they sort and heard about all the services that they provide, I realized there was no way this non-profit could also take on all the sizes and fit issues that bras present.

If you check out the pictures that I posted on Campbell & Kate, you can see that the boutique is pretty amazing. Here’s a picture of one of the back rooms. The wall of cubbyholes is just for shoes. Can you imagine adding bras to the mix?

bottomless closet shoe donations

So if you’re a bravangelist looking for her calling in life, this could be it. Why not set up a non-profit that does nothing but provide bras to the clients of other non-profits? A woman could pick up a referral to your fitting room at the same time that she picks up her interview outfit from Bottomless Closet! (One problem: many Bottomless Closet clients visit the boutique the day before their interview–NOT an ideal time for breaking in a new bra!)

You would have no problem getting bra donations. The now defunct Support 1000 has already proven that women everywhere want to help other women in this way. It wasn’t lack of donations that caused Support1000 to shutter. It was lack of time. The organization was 100% volunteer driven. To resurrect its mission, there would need to be salaried staff.

I’d better be careful or I’ll talk myself into starting something myself. However, if anyone out there wants to dream with me, let’s set up a conference call!

 

Best Breasts Forward ~ Giving All You’ve Got

I wanted this week’s column to be about what spring collection offerings were in my “hood”, but unfortunately I didn’t find anything worth mentioning.  I’m sure this is something that has happened to us busty ladies often as finding clothes off the rack isn’t easy for us.  I admit that I was frustrated,but after reading Darlene’s post from yesterday realize that there are those that have bigger things to worry about than what’s the latest warm weather wear for us.  There are those that have nothing that fits from last year or the year before.  So, instead of venting about what I didn’t find, I’ll be digging in my closet to find clothes and bras for those who are in need and am hoping that all Best Breasts Forward readers will do the same.  Let’s do our best to get these ladies into bras and clothes that make them look and feel as brave and strong as they are.

Full Cups with Full Hearts: Let’s Help Aging-Out Foster Teens in Florida

We all know (from experience!) how hard it is for a large-busted teenager to find a well-fitting bra, but at least the majority of us had parents to help with the cost once we found one. A full-busted teen that ages out of the foster care system in Florida, however, has an entirely different experience. In fact, for her 18th birthday, she receives notice that she’s no longer the state’s obligation.

When I turned 18, I thought I was the smartest girl in the world, but if my parents had turned me out on my own, I would have discovered right away how much I didn’t know. For instance, I knew how to drive a car, but I had no idea about insurance. I knew how to budget my allowance, but I’d never had to support myself. I knew how to make fried rice, popcorn and brownies, but I’d never had to plan for a week of meals.

There’s an organization in Sarasota, Florida, that understands the challenges of being 18 and on your own. Among other things, Joining Our Youth gives youth who are aging out of foster care:

  • bicycles and bus passes so that they can get to school and work;
  • a housekeeping starter kit with things like sheets, towels, tools and cleaning supplies;
  • free age-appropriate clothing through a store called Trendy Threads.

I’m writing about Joining Our Youth because Cheryl Burke, the owner of Sea Cup and Up who herself wears a 32G, is asking for new and gently used bras for the young women who shop at Trendy Threads. Right now her project is in its early stages. Trendy Threads is only open once a week, and it’s a challenge to coordinate schedules with every young woman who needs a bra. But from what I know of Cheryl’s passion to put women in the right bra, it’s only a matter of time before Cheryl is putting these aging-out girls into bras that make them feel like they can conquer the world. [3/27 update: Cheryl hopes to fit each girl with at least three new bras.]

The more bras we can donate through Sea Cup and Up, the sooner Cheryl’s vision becomes a reality. Right now, many of the donations are 36D’s because that’s the size Cheryl’s customers donate once Cheryl puts them in the correct size. We know all about being mis-sized in 36D, don’t we? And we know there are a lot of teenagers out there who are nowhere near a 36 . . . or a 34 . . . or a 32.

Why not spring clean your bra drawer this season? Then ship the bras that you love but don’t wear to a full-busted teen who will wear them? Mail your bras to this address, and include a little note mentioning that you heard about this project through Hourglassy:

Cheryl Burke
Sea Cup and Up
1810 S. Osprey Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34239

If the bra’s size is no longer visible, write that down for Cheryl as well. Finally, if you’re wondering whether your bras qualify as “gently used”, check out my post, Is Your Old Full Bust Bra a Lost Cause or Can It Go to a Good Cause?

If you don’t have any bras to donate, send a check instead. That way Cheryl can fill in any gaps in her donation inventory.

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Here are two other non-profits that would also be happy to receive your donations:

Foster Care Support Foundation in Georgia

The Gathering Place in Colorado, via SOL Store of Lingerie

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If Sea Cup and Up sounds familiar, here’s where I mentioned the store last year:

Bolero Beachwear

Physical Features in a Brick and Mortar Store that Make a Difference to Bra Shopping