This should be called the Forgotten Edition because I found it in my December emails this week.  Since Leah is on vacation from Off the Rack today, it’s the perfect time to share it with you. You’ve met its author Laura before–she’s the fabulous Undressed to Impress blogger, and I linked to her Panache Page swimsuit review in my last Full Coverage Reading Roundup. Here’s more about Laura in her own words:

I finally figured out my proper bra size about a year ago, and it totally changed my attitude to clothing and my body. Shortly after, I moved to France and became frustrated with the complete lack of full bust brands and fitting awareness. I’m a teacher and every day I see girls who are wearing the wrong size bra and either hiding their bodies under shapeless clothing, or trying to squeeze themselves into the latest fashions. I hope that one day in the not too distant future we will see bra fitting and body confidence on every school’s curriculum so that teenage girls can have one less thing to worry about at an immensely difficult time in their lives.

If I had to grade this letter, I’d give it a big E–for major Empathy and super Encouragement.

When I was a teenager, my number one priority in life was to look like my friends and “fit in” by wearing the right clothes and listening to the right kind of music. But I had a small problem. My body looked different to my friends. I felt miserable and left out when I couldn’t wear the latest fashion because I simply couldn’t fit it over my boobs unless I bought a huge size. Does this sound familiar to you? I hope not, but if it does, don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Next time you’re out on the street, spend some time just looking around at the people you pass. Look out for women who look confident and happy. If they’re all dressed head-to-toe in Topshop and have no curves, I’ll eat my bra. Most of the curvier older women you see will have felt like you do at some point in their lives. But they know real women come in all shapes and sizes, and beauty does too. You’re beautiful, just like they are, and I want you to see that in yourself too.

Hiding your curves won’t make them go away and swamping them in shapeless layers will make you look bigger. Go shopping and try out all sorts of different kinds of clothes. Take a friend with you who you trust and help each otherfind the styles and shapes that suit your bodies. Wearing clothes that suit your figure will make you feel beautiful! Not only that, but your friends will be so jealous of your beauty and confidence they won’t even notice you’re not wearing shoulder pads/wet-look leggings/a boyfriend shirt . . . whatever Glamour says is fashionable this week. If you’re lucky, the latest fashion will suit your body shape and you’ll have loads of choice when you go shopping. If not, who cares? Make a day of it and have fun finding the perfect dress for YOU.

Getting fitted for a bra can be really embarrassing, but it can make a huge difference to the way you look. I was never confident enough to go when I was a teenager and I wore the wrong size in misery for years! If you’re like me, go online and learn about bra fitting. Most of all, don’t worry when you find out your real bra size. It’s just a number and a letter, and even if it doesn’t look like it at first, I promise there are gorgeous, girly and pretty bras out there in every size. Remember that your boobs are as normal a part of your body as your arms or your legs and they deserve to be treated well. Try out some sports bras for exercise – you won’t need to hold down your boobs to stop them bouncing around and hurting any more!

Everybody has occasional bad days when, despite all your best intentions, you don’t feel confident about yourself. Don’t worry; your body confidence won’t come overnight. It’ll take some time to learn to love your curves but I promise it’s worth the effort. Once you see how beautiful you really are, you’ll never look back!