We’re still working out a few details . . . pen name (any suggestions?) and which day of the week she’ll regularly post, but why let a few administrative details hold us back from sharing this great first column?  Happy New Year, everyone!

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a 24 year old musician living in NYC, and like most “starving” artists, I have worked many the odd job to keep food on the table and a roof over my head. These jobs have included: nanny, bartender, personal assistant, administrative assistant, salesperson, promotional model, personal chef, waitress, housekeeper, errand-runner, tutor, and finally (though I’m sure I’m forgetting something…) fit model, which is how I came to know the lovely writer of this blog, designer and director of Campbell & Kate shirts. You might remember me as “Amy Wine” from a couple of previous posts, most notably the one about the bridesmaid dress from hell extravaganza and my crafty but painful duct-tape solution. I’m going to be writing a weekly column full of wit and style and, of course, the trials and tribulations of being ‘little-in-the-middle-when-you’ve-got-big-*breasts*’ (points if you know which song I adapted those lyrics from…) Here’s my first.

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2005. I’m at a fancy bra boutique called “World of Bras” in Wyckoff, NJ, to provide moral support for my friend B who has gained some weight and can no longer ignore the fact that she’s popping out of her bras. I walk in and exhale loudly, relieved that I bought three 36DD bras at Macy’s yesterday, that I don’t have to shop in specialty bra stores like B does. Even though I measure 31 ½ around my ribs, I’ve discovered that the cups get larger as the band sizes do. I’ve beaten the system.

A saleswoman approaches us.

“What can I help you ladies with today?”

“I’m just here to hold her hand,” I chirp, pointing at B.

“And find some bras that fit!” smirks the saleswoman.

“I just bought this one yesterday….it fits fine.”

“Maaaaaaare! Bring me my tape measure……what size is the one you’re wearing?” I tell her. She laughs. “You’re at least an F, maybe a G.”

“Nope,” I retort. “I’m a DD.”

She laughs again.

34F. That’s what it says on the tag of the $72 bra being passed to me through the half-open curtain. How high do the letters go?! I put it on and turn to the side. No popping out. Back to the front. Perky. I hop up and down. Still no popping out. I stare at the mirror in disbelief.

“Everything all right in there?” The saleswoman calls. I can hear her smiling through the curtain. Tears well up in my eyes. Tears of happiness that this bra exists, tears of rage that it costs way too much money, and tears that the illusion that I can buy bras at “regular” department stores has officially been shattered.

I was in college when I bought my first “real” bras. I had been working as a part-time babysitter, and had grown to resent the amount of time I spent at the playground with the two adorable boys I was watching because I couldn’t run around after them. My poorly fitting bras had fine coverage, as long as I was standing upright and still, but the moment I’d try to run or bend over too far, I’d be popping out everywhere. Moreover, the awful support meant painful bouncing with every step. I actually had soft-tissue damage, a deep green bruise on my left breast from pushing it back into the cup so frequently. Every woman I know with the unique dilemma of “curves on top” has a similar story.

After years of “muffin top” and denial, of trying on the largest size at Victoria’s Secret because the polka dots and lace are so cute and leaving the dressing room crying, of the sheer torture that is swimsuit shopping at a department store…..finally, here is a bra that fits. It costs double, but it fits. The company makes swimwear, which fits! I can go to the beach, build sand castles with my sisters and run around, without fear of an accidental flashing, or of giving myself a black eye! A properly fitted bra put an end to a lot of embarrassment and frustration, and gave me the freedom and confidence to celebrate my awesome curves instead of loathing them.