Here is the first in a series about weight, curves and body image from June, the fearless blogger behind BralessinBrasil. If weight loss is as loaded a subject for you as it is for me, please read my philosophy on it in the post immediately preceding this one.
First off, I want to thank Darlene for asking me to write this series of guest posts on body image with curves. I’ve enjoyed reading her blog so much and it’s fun to find a kindred bra-soul. 🙂
I’ve been all over the place in terms of weight. My highest adult weight put me just shy of morbidly obese whereas my lowest weight put me squarely in the healthy category. In the past year and a half, I’ve lost over 55 pounds from my highest post-partum weight of 225 pounds. However, no matter what my weight, I’ve always had a large bust in terms of the ratio between my waist and bust. I’m quite a bit curvier now than I ever was when I was pushing morbidly obese.
Let me tell you a dirty little secret that the folks on the biggest loser don’t want you to know. It was a lot easier for me to dress as a curvy girl when I was plus-sized. Yep, you heard it right. I could just waltz into Lane Bryant and find shirts that were cut quite generously in the bust. Many times they were made out of stretchy material so I could even grab my size and run without trying it on first–something that I can’t even conceive of nowadays! Part of it was that Lane Bryant and other plus-sized stores expect plus-sized women to have curves. Basically they buy into the idea that plus-sized = curves and really push it to sell their clothes and make their customers feel better about their weight. Just look at a dress from their current catalog. It looks quite generous in both the bust and the hips
Fifty-five pounds ago, I could even buy bras in stores. Sure, the band size was about one size too big and the cups were slightly too small, but the bras were wearable, came in a wide variety of styles and were easily available. Now that I wear a 30GG/H there’s no way in the world I could even dream of buying a bra that remotely fit me in a store.
However, one thing that is pushed so often in the weight loss industry is that once you reach your goal weight you can shop anywhere, and everything will look nice on you! Um, no. Really, no. Not at all actually. I’ve found that the closer I get to a healthy weight the harder it is to find clothes. I wear about a US size 6-8 at the moment. Pants aren’t too bad, just the gapping at the back of the waist, which can be fixed by relatively simple alterations, and pants appear to be going in the direction of providing different sizes according to your curve, which helps a lot.
Shirts and dresses are another story entirely. It’s become infinitely clear to me relatively quickly that shirts are pretty shapeless and are being built with very small busts in mind. You see a lot of baggy peasant T’s. Sure, they can fit a wide range of body shapes due to their bagginess, but they can be extraordinarily unflattering on a large bust because the shirts hang straight down from your bust. If you’re a 30GG then that can make your waist look up to 10″ larger! Just imagine this shirt, for instance, on our pretend 30GG girl
As is, it makes the model’s waist look a lot bigger and it’s certainly not because she’s remotely overweight.
It was a hard pill for me to swallow when I realized that I wasn’t going to have my big shopping spree at the mall when I hit my goal weight. Instead, I’ll have a lot of researching and ordering online. While it’s fun to get new clothes, it’s not the same thrill as looking in the mirror at your favorite store and realizing that the size you’ve been coveting for years finally fits on your new body.
Fascinating June. I’ve never been a plus size but I’ve been a US size 10 since I was 18 and have always known that mainstream fashion does not cater to curves. I had never thought about the promise of being able to wear anything you want only to find the clause *no boobs allowed. Very interesting.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!
I actually lost a bit of weight while leaving in Brazil and when I came back home and could buy bras again, I thought “Great! I might fit a 34J again and have more options”…. Wrong! I had gone from a 34K to a 32KK.
I guess, from the point of view of big women that are not too curvy, the experience would be opposite, as they would find the clothes geared at them to be too big on the bust and hips, but would find it easier to shop after loosing weight. Anyway, my current size (UK14, American 10) means that I can buy both in regular shops and in plus size shops, so I’ll keep an eye on that!
Thanks! I had a similar experience too with my bra size. There was a time when I just kept losing an insane amount on my underbust but not on my bust. Then it stablized for a bit so I ordered some bras but right before they came my cup size dropped, arg!
Claire, I’d say this a quite common promise in the weight loss industry. I have to admit I watch a lot of weight loss shows like the Biggest Loser/Heavy etc. I’ve often heard contestants say “I can’t wait to lose weight so I can look good in everything!” or something to that effect. It helps to perpetuate the myth that when you lose weight you’ll have this perfect body. While we all have amazing bodies it doesn’t mean that it will look exactly like some predetermined ideal at goal. I’ve found that it’s very important to accept that if you really want to keep the weight off. Learning to accept and love your body is an extremely important first step. 🙂
Yes, yes yes. I’m usually a US size 8, although if I have to buy shirts and stuff like that, I often need a size 10 or even 12 for it to fit around my bust – and really I only need a size 6 for my waist 🙁 I really wish they would do more sizes and styles to fit different shapes.