Welcome to the eighth weekly Corporate Curves Report. I’ve been writing this column for two months now, so I have finally picked up the courage to share my views on the much debated subjects of cleavage, large busts in the workplace, and breast reduction. I’ve read The Rack column here on Hourglassy, which is an excellent series on breast reduction, and I’ve been wanting to write this post ever since reading it.Â I must stress that I respect everyone’s own choice, and as long as it is what makes them happy, I have no problem with it. However, personally, it makes me physically nauseous just thinking about it. It’s literally a physical reaction that I can’t control. The reason I felt like writing this post right now was an article about Sophia Vergara in which she said she had once considered a breast reduction because her publicistÂ recommended she “reduce a couple of things that may have gotten in her way”.
My first point is what people really notice first when they meet someone they’ve not met before:
Some background first. I’m beginning to think that it’s fairly common these days for women to have a D+ bust, so why is it still supposedly a big deal in a woman’s career? But then I asked myself, “Has having a bigger-than-average bust ever gotten in my way in my work life?” and I have to say no, I can’t think of a single thing that my bust has gotten in the way of.
Nor have I ever been assumed to be dumb because I have big boobs. That in my opinion will only happen when one dresses to look like a music video girl. Flashing a lot of cleavage at work is a personal choice, and my choice is no, and my bust has never been frowned upon. The few other busty women in my workplace don’t flash theirs either, nor does any woman in my workplace. There are 88 core team members in our huge ERP project, out of which 29 are women, plus 6 assistants are are women.
It’s only when women themselves think of their bust as an issue that it becomes that–at least in their heads. But honestly, at work people do not concentrate on the bust size of coworkers, and in bigger workplaces for sure noone is the only one with a bigger bust. Sure bigger boobs are noticed, how can they not be? But so are big ears, haircuts, women who use tons of makeup, very thin or very big people. Generally any physical aspect is noticeable that you would use to describe a person so that another person would recognize who you are talking about if they’ve never met, but only seen, that person.
For example, yesterday I had to describe a coworker of mine to someone who said they had not met that person but needed to speak with him. So I described him asÂ “fairly tall, bold, dark beard and a very loud deep voice”. If a woman might not like to be described as “average height, dark medium length straight hair and a big bust”, then I do think that some men might not be so keen on being described as bold – but then both are true and noticeable, so it should not be a big deal.
What is your eye drawn to in the pictures below? I don’t think it’s the bust for most people. As for the photo on the left, it isÂ probably the color of the dress and then face. In the second photo, even with cleavage on show, your eye is most likely first drawn to the smile. The second picture was taken to demonstrate why the old Bravissimo dresses were too cleavage-y for work without scarves, a situation that has since been corrected in their latest collection.
Finally,Â some ramblings about breast reduction.Â I can see why many women who’ve had a breast augmentation might end up wanting to be reduced. The bust is not natural to them, they’ve not been used to being busty, so they don’t know the challenges it’ll bring, and it all might be too much in the end. As a naturally busty woman, I wonder why they don’t think of it before they do it: where will they find clothes that look respectable, where can they get bras and bikinis, and how much large breasts weigh.Â In this Dina Manzo interview, she discusses her breast reduction after a boob job.
If you have health issues because of the bust, then such an invasive operation is probably a good choice. BUT–and this is a big but here–a correctly fitting bra, especially early enough, will greatly help prevent shoulder and back aches. Even later later in life withÂ me, it has helped and I have no health issues that have to do with my bust. For younger girls it would be crucial to get them correctly fitted and into pretty bras early in their teenage/young adult lives, especially sports bras. There is no reason to need to feel ashamed over bouncing boobs and yes, there are pretty undies for busts too. A properly supported bust will lift the whole look and posture so it’s easy to stand up straight and not feel any shame over having a larger bust.
I am also linking to an excellent blog post by The Butterfly Collection on bra fitting, about who needs to add inches and who doesn’t, and how the band and cup correlate. Personally, I have never considered having a breast reduction and could not ever imagine doing so. Ugh – I’ve spoken, long ramble over 🙂
You are right. It’s not all about your bust even if people can’t help notice.
I think that what is appropriate really depends on a workplace and culture. In my country something like your black dress is absolutely not a big deal at work, in fact it could be even more open in the places that have no dress code (like banks and so on). Hot summers, poor air-conditioning.
But in almost any country your behavior and professional level are main factors defining your carrier.
Agree, what is appropriate is highly cultural and workplace related. Like marketing industry is more open minded and free dress code while ie. finance is usually quite strickt. And the weather is a factor for sure as well, I’m from a 4 distinct seasons country so guess we like our scarves and long sleeves more than people who live in much warmer areas.
Reading this blog has made me revisit something I hadn’t thought about in many years… I’m 33 now and my breasts developed quite quickly to a near D cup when I was 15, and I’ve always, always, absolutely always hated having big boobs.
Just that. I have spoken.
I’m not considering reductive surgery or changing the way I look. It is what it is, but… damn it. What is my problem, really? Not that anyone has ever complained or I’ve had any problems with it (well, a mild tasteless comments from other teenage girls, but I’m not blaming them). Buying a bra has always been a traumatic experience and I feel so embarrassed when my cleavage shows or is outlined…
Really, what is my problem?
I’m not expecting you to provide an answer to me, of course, but it’s just that I found your blog recently via youlookfab.com and it’s struck a chord with me, and I’m trying to figure it out. All of my self image problems are centered around the issue of having large breasts, and nursing was quite an ordeal for me because I didn’t want my breasts to become common topic of conversation or sight.
Well, this was just some much needed venting. Thank you for having the place to do it.
Great to hear from your experiences Julia and feel free to vent out here, so do I! 🙂 I’m 34 now and discovered well fitting bras only about 4 years ago and that changed my attitude towards my bust greatly. Having nice lingerie sets that fit me when I thought all I could get is granny bras gave a confidence boost and discovereing clothing companies who tailor for bigger busts gave me noticeable self confidence and I started loving my bust – as well as the fact that I looked slimmer in well fitting clothing.
I never really have had much of an issue with my bust but was a bit ashamed of it in my early twenties cause bras were ill fitting and also because many clothes I liked did not fit my bust or fit me at all.
Don’t know where you live but if you ever have the chance to go to Bravissimo for a fitting or Butterfly Collection (their Skype fitting sounds amazing especially for those who’ve had unpleasant experiences). Before I was fitted correctly to bras and clothes I had never wanted nor dared to blog about style and looks, nor speak this freely about what it’s like for me as a busty woman in both work and life in general. Was happy being me but not entirely happy with the way I looked due to ill fitting clothing under and over.
Any of this strike a chord with how you feel? x
Thank you for your reply, Tina!
Oh yes! Granny lingerie or sports bras are the only affordable ones that may fit me, and yes, there are clothing styles that are sooo not for full bust figures
The other way round also happens, my best friend wears a B cup and she also struggles with some less than flattering styles.
I think in this era of mass made clothing it’s as important as it was when clothes were harder to come buy, to learn to sew. Not to make them from scratch, but to become better buyers and to know how to alter them.
Thanks again for replying to my comment. I didn’t expect any answer, but yours really made me feel much better. Have a good day!
thanks and you too! And I’m always happy to speak with my columnd readers x
Breast reductions are such a contentious issue. Everyone talks to me about them — my mother, my friends, random people I know. I’ve never wanted one, but I think there is some perception among the general population that they’re a quick fix for women to “normalize” their bodies. In my mind a reduction has always been a serious elective surgery, one which I wouldn’t undergo unless it was medically necessary.
I realize that my attitude isn’t everyone’s attitude, and I know lots of women who felt really happy and empowered after their reductions. That said, it’s not for me and I think everyone should explore bras that fit and other options before having surgery.
That is a bit of an odd thing, here noone has ever talked to me about breast reduction so probably why I’ve never even thought it necessary. Sure I’ve know it’s a possibility. I became more aware of it once the online community and bloggers started writing about busty lives and one thing was reduction which seemed to be more popular and talked about on US blogs. I do share the same issue that such a serious elective surgery would not enter my mind unless necessary for my health. Having gone through 2 surgeries for medical reasons my personal opinion has only strenghtened. But have heard that some women who have done it have been very happy with the results. And well, I don’t think I’d mind fitting into high street clothing without bust issues but it’s not a problem for me, certainly not a reason for me to consider surgery.
I have big boobs. Since age 12, I have had big boobs. At age 47, I now sport 36H boobs on a 5’0″ petite body.
At work, professionalism makes all the difference. I used to work with an entire team of Coast Guard men, 9 of them and me. (I’m not in the CG, but worked with them.) Never once did I ever feel uncomfortable about my body in our workplace, and I’m sure none of them did either. Indeed, professionalism in our workplace was much more about wearing shoes one could be ready to climb a lighthouse in, than about cleavage.
It was a great job, and a real confidence booster for me. It afforded me the opportunity to get over my big boob hang-ups and get on with being proud of my body and the amazing things it carries me around to do.
brilliant Kelly, love your spirit! And sounds like many workplaces could learn from Coast Guard mentality. I wish all women could have and experience where they could be rest assured nothings never ever about the cleavage.