Tres Bra-zarre.

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Here’s something a little lighter for the end of your Thursday…
Strangely, the brassiere has been getting a lot of media attention as of late. AlterNet has everything you’ll ever need to know about the bra, including the myth that it was almost named a Titzling. (Come on, you can’t tell me that’s not a little funny.)
Playtex has also been getting crazy press for the new launch of their new bra campaign called “Girl Talk” in which they tell you to basically treat your boobs like people. You know, “The Girls.” I suppose it could be seen as a step up from the ’94 ad (mentioned in the AlterNet piece) after the jump.


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33 Comments

  1. Posted August 30, 2007 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Alas, the Otto Titzling thing is a total urban legend. Here’s the full story from Snopes.com, the urban legend debunking website.
    Which frankly, makes me doubt the accuracy of anything else in the piece. That’s a pretty big thing to get wrong, and an easy one to get right.

  2. Elzbieta
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Except that the article says outright that it’s an urban legend, which took about five seconds to find out, since it’s the second paragraph on the first page:
    “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s a total fabrication, based on a spoof 1971 history by Wallace Reyburn, and is just one of a thousand tales and myths that punctuate the history of the small double-dome of cloth that encases the female chest.’
    C’mon.

  3. Vanessa
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Wowzers. My bad, that was actually a typo on my end. Correction made.

  4. Pheather
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    My god I have seen Beaches way too many times. I have the song Bette Midler sang when she was on broadway (in the movie).
    Gaah, its in my head now.

  5. Dorion
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    “The girls.” Gahd that’s obnoxious. We really need to disembody our OWN parts? And what shall we call our left and right hands, hm?

  6. Posted August 30, 2007 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I know a lot of women who refer to their breasts as “the girls.” Mostly young women, but when I worked at a Leggs Hanes Bali Playtex outlet store, the 50+ year old woman I worked with used the same euphemism.
    I happen to cringe every time I hear them referred to that way. I also hate “boobies,” though I’m fine with “boobs” (I prefer breasts, however, or tits on certain occasions ;-) )

  7. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Alas, the Otto Titzling thing is a total urban legend. Here’s the full story from Snopes.com, the urban legend debunking website.
    Which frankly, makes me doubt the accuracy of anything else in the piece. That’s a pretty big thing to get wrong, and an easy one to get right.

    You obviously didn’t read alone enough to see where the author explain it as an urban legend and the real history of the bra.
    I would have liked to see some of the social history as to why everyone pushes for big breasts but they make very few (and at a point none in the US) bras in larger cup sizes. Like why most brands go up to only C or D and 99% of all others stop at F.
    Honestly, I hate reading bra articles. I’d love to be able to go into a store, try on bras, go up to the register and check out, but I have yet to find a store in the United States (that is not mail-order only) that carries my size bra. I normally have to order them from Britain (and thank god their sizes between actually seem standardized, I know if I am one size in one, I will be that size in another). Because of this and the sheer expense (dollar to pound exchange rates SUCK) I have to rotate between two bras.
    So many people suggest just buy a bigger band size and a lower cup size (every band size you go down you have to go up two cup sizes to get the same size cup, I’d have to get a 42C to get the correct cup size when I trim the band down to 34 – you do the math if you want to know my bra size, lol.) and take it in but you can only take in so much. My ‘girls’ are natural and so going braless or anything less than a top-grade bra doesn’t work.
    Sorry, got off topic and ranted. Just one of those day’s I’ve been up WAY too long. :P

  8. Posted August 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1174841&lastnode_id=124
    Here’s an amusing piece in the “breasts as people” vein.

  9. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Alas, the Otto Titzling thing is a total urban legend. Here’s the full story from Snopes.com, the urban legend debunking website.
    Which frankly, makes me doubt the accuracy of anything else in the piece. That’s a pretty big thing to get wrong, and an easy one to get right.

    You obviously didn’t read alone enough to see where the author explain it as an urban legend and the real history of the bra.
    I would have liked to see some of the social history as to why everyone pushes for big breasts but they make very few (and at a point none in the US) bras in larger cup sizes. Like why most brands go up to only C or D and 99% of all others stop at F.
    Honestly, I hate reading bra articles. I’d love to be able to go into a store, try on bras, go up to the register and check out, but I have yet to find a store in the United States (that is not mail-order only) that carries my size bra. I normally have to order them from Britain (and thank god their sizes between actually seem standardized, I know if I am one size in one, I will be that size in another). Because of this and the sheer expense (dollar to pound exchange rates SUCK) I have to rotate between two bras.
    So many people suggest just buy a bigger band size and a lower cup size (every band size you go down you have to go up two cup sizes to get the same size cup, I’d have to get a 42C to get the correct cup size when I trim the band down to 34 – you do the math if you want to know my bra size, lol.) and take it in but you can only take in so much. My ‘girls’ are natural and so going braless or anything less than a top-grade bra doesn’t work.
    Sorry, got off topic and ranted. Just one of those day’s I’ve been up WAY too long. :P

  10. Posted August 30, 2007 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear says “the girls.” I don’t like it, but I’m not sure why.
    Speaking of What Not to Wear: Taisa-Marie, on that show, women with larger breasts often go to a store called Intimacy. They’re professional bra fitters and have cup sizes ranging from A to HH.

  11. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of What Not to Wear: Taisa-Marie, on that show, women with larger breasts often go to a store called Intimacy. They’re professional bra fitters and have cup sizes ranging from A to HH.
    There is an Intimacy store (Alla Prima) in San Francisco, which is the closest to me and still three hours to get to. I’ve been there once and I wasn’t really impressed, they had a few bras in my size but the exact same ones I order from Britain but the ones I order are 20-25% cheaper even with shipping. Bravissimo is a wonderful site, I wish I could afford their shirts (like pants are made in short, average and tall, they have shirts in, for example, 8 curvy, 8 really curvy and 8 super curvy). But a grad student’s budget only goes so far, lol.

  12. alison052579
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Taisa-Marie… I also share in the horror of bra shopping… I have the most common breast implant size… unfortunatly (or fortunatly as I see it) I do not have implants and thus it makes bra shopping hell… You see breast implants dont move ro shift in a bra, however my real breasts do… The problem with this then becomes I get “four boobs” from any cute bra. I have remided this with the Victorias secret full coverage lift bra and the IPEX… both are avaliable up to DD in store… also Fredricks has proffesional fitters and mail order to the store for what they dont have in stock. I go crazy looking for bras!!!! I totally agree that we as woman are made to feel inadquate about our breast regardless of size…

  13. prairielily
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Regarding the euphemism “the girls”:
    I can understand why young women would treat their breasts like a separate entity, because I used to do it a lot. I still do it sometimes.
    When I was younger, my breasts just kind of sprouted up. I didn’t ask them to show up, and they just seemed to get it my way. They were painful during sports; I had to hold them in place while running up and down stairs; I felt like everyone was looking down my shirt; I was spending way more than I wanted on bras, etc. I didn’t feel like a “big-boobed chick” because I was just me, and it didn’t feel like they had a place in my identity as something other than a caricature and a stereotype.
    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more accepting of my body. The breasts never changed my sense of humour or my brain or my compassion for others, and I think that I’m comfortable enough with myself now to just dismiss anyone who doesn’t see past them. But even now, when it seems like they’re getting in my way, I feel like they’re not really part of me, but just hanging out where they’re not welcome.

  14. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    alison052579,
    I haven’t been a DD since 9th grade when I competitively swam and practiced 4-5 hours a day 6 days a week, and back then I only weighed 110 lbs!!! Lmao… I think the swimming is the only thing that kept them that small! I have a few extra pounds on me now but my bust measurement has been steady for years (just the damned band measurement keeps changing). If you count each cup size as a single letter (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, etc… since depending on what country your bra is from depends on what size they say it is) I am currently a 34k. Been fitted plus having a knack for sewing without patterns helps (means I really have to know the measurements of the person I am sewing for). I take in most of my shirts, I have to get an XL or XXL to fit my chest when my waist is a Medium in most brands.
    I am pretty fine with my body in general, but I hate going shopping be it bras or anything else. Even if I am not the one shopping and just going along to get out of the house/university I get dirty looks by anyone in a lingerie department or store. I get people I don’t know asking me about my ‘implants’.

  15. dhsredhead
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I agree with Taisa Marie that there is some bra discrimination of sorts going on.
    When I got pregnant with my daughter I was a 32 B. Now I’m a 32 D or higher. I normally wear nursing tanks because they hide my stomach while I’m feeding my daughter and the only nursing bra I have is too small. I went to Target to buy a bra for a dress I am wearing to my sisters wedding in Nov. The largest size they had was D, of course they didn’t have any 32 Ds (actually I’m not even sure if they make that size) so I got a 34 D, but my boobs were still popping out of it because the cup size wasn’t large enough. It was the best I could do, so I bought the bra, but would have loved to been able to try on the next cup size up. I was even more depressed when I went to look at other bras besides strapless ones and only found cup sizes A-C for any of the bras I liked. All of the bras I was interested in were under wire bras, I’m not sure why anyone who is an A would need an under wire…but I really don’t understand why stores don’t stock bigger sizes. I’m a size 4/5 pants size and I normally wear size small or medium shirts. Surely there are women out there alot bigger then me, with alot bigger boobs, where are they getting their bras…or are they just wear the wrong size? I also wonder about maternity and nursing bras because they don’t seem to carry those in large sizes either, yet women who are typically a D, may end up a E, F or G during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
    Oh and getting a larger band size is not getting a good fit. The band should be doing most of the supporting so it has to be the right size to lift. I see lots of women whose bra bands are up to their necks, that’s not the proper way to wear a bra!

  16. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    dhsredhead,
    Fredericks of Hollywood has a good selection in your size, as well as most of the European brands.
    One of the biggest problems I see with many pro bra fitters (not all, some are really well trained, but department store ones are normally blah) is that they suggest a band size 3-5 inches larger than the actual measurement here in the US for ‘comfort’ (meaning too big). A person should really be wearing a band size that is within one inch of the actual measurement (ie, my band measurement is 33″ and I wear a 34). The larger cup sizes (d through f, not the ubber sizes like me lol) are really common yet women get band sizes too big to fit into C cups because they don’t make many ‘pretty’ bras in the bigger cups (unless you went to Fredericks for those sizes).

  17. Posted August 31, 2007 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    “You obviously didn’t read alone enough to see where the author explain it as an urban legend and the real history of the bra.”
    Everyone who said this is right. Sorry about that. I got irritated early and didn’t stick with the piece. My bad.

  18. Posted August 31, 2007 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    For those of us who have trouble finding larger cup sizes or bras that consistently fit, check out the site above. They have told me if you wear a C cup at Victoria’s Secret or a department store you are most likely a size D or Possibly E. I believe they go up to a K cup.

  19. turtledove
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    While we’re all complaining about hard to find sizes…Does anyone know where to find bras with different cup sizes? Nursing my daughter left me with one breast a cup larger than the other. I find it impossible to find anything that fits. If anyone has ideas, I’m all ears.

  20. hellotampon
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I wear any combination of 32-34 and D-DD, and I can never find affordable bras in my size. When I do find them, they are always ugly. I don’t see why they can’t make the same cute bras you see in A, B, and C cups in my size, especially when big boobs are supposed to be the ideal.
    The straps being way too long is another problem I frequently run into, and it’s not like my boobs (or should I say “girls”) are perky and up to my neck or anything.

  21. jm
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I just got fitted by someone at a small fancy shop, and found out I’m a 32F or 32G, depending on where I am in my cycle. I’d always had a hard time with bras, but I thought I was just picky. Now I’m just too big. I can’t even get bras that size in my town; I have to travel 3 hours or order off the internet. And I don’t get it. I’m not that big! As for cute bras, I had a saleswoman tell me that the physics involved with larger cup sizes requires different bra construction, which is why it’s so hard to find a demi-cup I can wear. I can’t deal with shopping anymore. I’m going to try to lose weight.

  22. jm
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I just got fitted by someone at a small fancy shop, and found out I’m a 32F or 32G, depending on where I am in my cycle. I’d always had a hard time with bras, but I thought I was just picky. Now I’m just too big. I can’t even get bras that size in my town; I have to travel 3 hours or order off the internet. And I don’t get it. I’m not that big! As for cute bras, I had a saleswoman tell me that the physics involved with larger cup sizes requires different bra construction, which is why it’s so hard to find a demi-cup I can wear. I can’t deal with shopping anymore. I’m going to try to lose weight.

  23. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    turtledove,
    The one thing I will say positive about the Intimacy stores (look up intimacy lingerie on google and it will bring it up) is that most of them will tailor bras for you.
    Jm,
    If you are only a 32 band you probably dont need to lose weight! The last thing you want (like I experienced) is loosing weight and the band size going down but the bust size staying the same. For example, a D cup on a 32 band size is only going to be a C/B cup on a 34 band (normally every band size you go up you lose 2 cup sizes, every one you go down you gain two). It isn’t really that your chest is big, but now you have a bra that fits and fall into the ‘american bra makers suck’ because they can’t imagine anyone with a small frame having breasts.

  24. Kimmy
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    To answer the question of why an A cup would need an underwire: speaking solely for myself, if I don’t have an underwire, my breasts tend to disappear off the side of my chest. I need the underwire to keep them pointing in a forward-type direction. Non-underwire bras just don’t do the job as well.
    I never realized before how difficult it can be for women with larger breasts. Those of us less well-endowed by Mother Nature are raised, of course, to wish that we had larger breasts. I knew back problems were a downside, but I didn’t realize bra shopping was so difficult. Just another way society punishes women for having what they’re “supposed” to have.
    Of course, shopping at my size isn’t easy either. I have to go to more expensive places, because according to the cheap stores, I don’t exist. You can be a 34A or a 36B, but in their experience there is no such thing as a 36A. I’ve tried doing the different band size/different cup size thing, but it never works out right. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s not a weight thing. There’s a thin layer of flesh over my ribs here. It’s not getting any smaller unless I figure out how to shrink my rib cage.
    So, between the larger breasted and the smaller breasted, I’m forced to conclude that lingerie designers just plain hate women in general. Or maybe that’s the bitterness talking (and the knowledge that I’m going to need to go bra shopping soon).

  25. marle
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    normally every band size you go up you lose 2 cup sizes, every one you go down you gain two

    That’s really weird. I don’t think works in the smaller sizes because in the band sizes I’ve been in or tried over the years (30 to 36) I’ve always been the same cup, A. I think Kimmy and I have the same problem. I stuck with 32-34s for years even though they were too tight because they were all I could find, but you know where you can find a large selection of A cup bras? The girls section or a dedicated girls store like Limited Too. Yeah, it feels weird being there if you’re long past being a teenager, and often times they overdo it with the pink girly styles, but at least they have a lot of options in the small ranges.

  26. AnneThropologist
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I think the problem is that there is a very small range of “acceptable” sizes/structures for women. We must be between a size 6 and 10, and within that size range, we must be a certain height, cup size, waist size, and hip size.
    Otherwise, we can’t find clothes that fit.
    I’m a pregnant/nursing mama, and I’m currently a 38F. I can find nursing bras in this size, but not ordinary bras.
    I can never find a swimsuit that fits (even when not pregnant) because the top part never fits right.
    I heard once that fashion designers make all womens’ clothes to fit a B cup, whether it’s a size 4 or a size 24. Frankly, I think that’s ridiculous, since larger women are likely to have larger breasts.

  27. marle
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I heard once that fashion designers make all womens’ clothes to fit a B cup, whether it’s a size 4 or a size 24. Frankly, I think that’s ridiculous, since larger women are likely to have larger breasts.

    Ohhh, I hate that. I wish shirts would have cup sizes. I have one shirt that, while it fits fine everywhere else, looks like I should stuff a few grapefruits in the front to make up for the breasts it appearently thinks I should have. Grrr! Guys get multiple numbers on their clothes corresponding to their measurements, why can’t we?

  28. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    marle,
    There are places that make shirts in cup sizes… they just all happen to be in Britain >.

  29. Taisa-Marie
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Ack… my last one got kinda cut… anyway Marle, Bravissimo.com does make clothes based on bust size, just they are in Britain and exchange rates against the dollar suck right now. :P

  30. Posted September 1, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, I’m pretty grateful for the Intimacy store by me- I’ve never been able to find bra’s in my size (30/32F), and I don’t really want to order something like that off the internet- you know, I wanna try it on first. Also, the free tailoring thing is amazing- I feel like I wear out a bra after 6 months- and in larger cup sizes you can forget about finding anything under 50 bucks.
    I think a lot of the problem is that women with fake breasts don’t need bras- those suckers stay up on their own. It seems like the fashion industry seems to think that women with implants account for the vast majority of thinner, large breasted women (which really isn’t true), and thus only make bra’s for either small breasted thin women, or large breasted bigger women.

  31. Shanpo
    Posted September 2, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This has turned into a really interesting thread. I can really relate, Prairielily, when you say that the ‘girls’ do not really feel like a part of who you are, and get in the way more than anything. It’s good to hear feedback from other ladies on here as well that are more endowed. I have been telling other women for years how much of a burden and disability I consider it to be having 34DD’s and a small frame (and 125 lbs). Of course you get all the typical responses that women are raised to believe in, which are that big breasted women are fortunate and those with smaller cups would love to trade, etc. The reality is I suffer from a lot of back and neck pain, posture problems, and resulting tension headaches quite frequently. I can also relate to the having to hold on to the damned things just running up the stairs; to say nothing of what that’s done to exercise possibilities for me. It’s impossible to find bra’s that fit (that I can actually afford) and more impossible still to find a good sports bra that can hold up to the task. Sorry for venting, but this has been on my mind a lot lately!!

  32. Shanpo
    Posted September 2, 2007 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    This has turned into a really interesting thread. I can really relate, Prairielily, when you say that the ‘girls’ do not really feel like a part of who you are, and get in the way more than anything. It’s good to hear feedback from other ladies on here as well that are more endowed. I have been telling other women for years how much of a burden and disability I consider it to be having 34DD’s and a small frame (and 125 lbs). Of course you get all the typical responses that women are raised to believe in, which are that big breasted women are fortunate and those with smaller cups would love to trade, etc. The reality is I suffer from a lot of back and neck pain, posture problems, and resulting tension headaches quite frequently. I can also relate to the having to hold on to the damned things just running up the stairs; to say nothing of what that’s done to exercise possibilities for me. It’s impossible to find bra’s that fit (that I can actually afford) and more impossible still to find a good sports bra that can hold up to the task. Sorry for venting, but this has been on my mind a lot lately!!

  33. kissmypineapple
    Posted September 4, 2007 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I frakkin’ hate bra shopping. I’m a smaller breasted woman (well according to the cultural ideal anyway…I think I’m proportional) but can’t find a bra measurement to save my life. I’ve been wearing a 34B for seven years now, but Victoria’s Secret said I was a 32C. When I wear that the band is too tight, but the cups are wide enough (it’s like manufacturers don’t know that natural breast tissue extends to the side of your torso…they aren’t little globes that magically float on the front of your body), but the B cup pinches on the sides and the straps are too wide.
    To complicate matters, when I measure myself the American way, I’m 28″ around the ribs, add 5, 33″, round up to 34. But then I’m only 35 and a half around. No one on earth looking at me would say I’m an A cup. Plus I’ve tried, and they’re not fitting in that cup. I don’t know if it’s because my breasts are set abnormally high on my chest or what. They seriously start right below my collar bone. I totally understand that big breasted women have it worse, but I don’t think having breasts and needing to clothe them is easy for anyone.
    Also, I don’t believe for a second that most women’s clothing is cut for a B cup. I try things on that fit my little waist, but then it seems like I need to be a D cup to fill the top. Obnoxious.

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