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Betty Magazine founder and new mum Charlotte shares her heart-warming bra story.
Bras. They have always been an uncomfortable issue for me, quite literally. From begging my mum to get one when I clearly didn’t need one in year 7, to navigating my 20s, pregnancy and beyond, bras have been quite frankly getting on my tits for years.
Whilst I put one on everyday, and have done for the past 20 or so years I don’t think I have ever cared so much about what I sit my boobs in all day until now.
Let me go back a bit to pre-baby, I could generally get my boobs in anything. I started off as an A cup and graduated to a B cup in my late twenties. However, unlike so many of my bigger busted friends, I’ve never had to think about what style of clothing I could wear to accommodate them.
Pregnancy came, and the bit I was most looking forward to, was those boobies getting bigger. Well a word of warning, be careful what you wish for. They grew, and they grew some more, clothes began getting tighter and the ethereal vision of me flouncing around in floaty tops draping my baby bum, began fast fading away. Everything started to gape and popped open over my lady lumps. My top complaint about pregnancy was my rib pain, this weird ache came every night and kept me awake. So out came the bra extenders, not just one – but two, I’d committed to my maternity bras now, there was no way I was buying more.
During pregnancy it is advised to not wear underwired bras, I embraced that soft cup and after many tears in changing rooms later found two bras that saw me through those nine months. June was born, and for one reason and another we decided to bottle feed. Three months had passed since June’s birth and after being loyal to those soft cup bras for nearly a year, I thought it was time to get these new boobs of mine back in a more structured bra.
Off I went, back into those high street changing rooms where tears had been shed before and I began the search for new bras. I discovered I had a changing room threshold, something that never existed pre-baby. But after wrestling in six different bras here and six different bras there, I couldn’t take any more digging in of wires, fat popping out under my arm pit any more. Back in the old maternity bras I went.
I was more than happy living in these two bras for the rest of my days. I had one black, one white – what else did I need? However one day my mum came to visit, and she isn’t the kind to say a bad word about much, but even she said ‘Charlotte, what have you got on?’ I knew she was right and it was time to say goodbye to my frumpy underwear.
However, where to start? I’d tried the usual shops I’d got bras from for the past 20 years, if they couldn’t help me, who could?
Step in Figleaves, I had no idea people were buying their bras ONLINE. I’ve bought everything online from hand steamers to nappies, why were bras any different?
Opening up a whole new world to me, I bravely logged onto Figleaves to see what they could do for me. First things first. I needed to know my size, their size guide is pretty helpful but what is even more helpful is their live chat function. I chatted to Lynne and she so helpfully guided me through measuring myself. So whilst I stood topless chatting to a stranger on their internet, we decided that I was now a 40C. I TOLD YOU THOSE RIBS WERE MOVING MOUNTAINS WHILST I WAS PREGNANT.
I filtered the website through size, they have such an extensive selection on there. Whilst very helpful for other people, my new mum brain likes to make as few decisions as possible. Now here were some nice looking bras, not a bobbled cotton once white jersey or a bra extender in sight. I quickly filled up my basket like a kid in a sweet shop and waited for them to arrive in the post… isn’t technology brilliant.
They arrived on a sunny Saturday morning, I remember it well. My other half went out with June, to which I warned him I could be a while. I was ready for more blood, sweat and tears but dear reader, I am pleased to inform you that this is where this tale has a happy ending. THE BRAS ACTUALLY FIT. Out of the five styles that came, two did not feel comfortable but three, that’s THREE, actually did. Because I’m vain, I also ordered a 38C as I didn’t want to quite believe I had jumped up two back sizes, however someone once said the key to self love is acceptance and boy were those 40C bras comfy.
I decided upon nude, black and taupe colours. Surely that would work with every outfit scenario? For the past couple of weeks, these three bras have been on rotation and I can confirm I am so happy with them. Come 5pm, I haven’t wanted to whip my bra off through my sleeve, which I think is the definition of a good fitting bra. You will often find me cupping my new shaped lumps at inappropriate times of the day and my clothes actually fit better. I thought that squishing them down in the soft cupped maternity bras would make my clothes looser, I now know this weird belief to be incorrect.
Investing in a bra wasn’t something that was high on my to do list, I’ve always thought it better spent where people can see it. They don’t ride up my back, the straps don’t fall off my shoulders – it’s a revelation. Most importantly they’ve given me a bit more confidence which can be easily be lost as you navigate motherhood for the first time. I vow never again to neglect my underwear drawer like I have done over the past year or so. Ordering and trying on bras in the comfort of your own home is the only way I’ll shop now. I can’t believe I didn’t start sooner. It meant I could look at the fit from all angles and try them on with my favourite clothes.
The three bras I chose:
EMPREINTE THALIA UNDERWIRED BALCONETTE BRA IN TAUPE
The design was what drew me to it, I’ve never owned such a pretty bra. This is the one that gives me the biggest spring in my step after a long night with June, and it comes in five colours. Whilst this bra is the most expensive of the three, I think it’s worth every penny. Rather than having a whole drawer of bras, I’ve now slimmed it down to three good quality ones. I’m a big believer in price per wear, and this is going down everyday
EMPREINTE MELODY UNDERWIRED SEAMLESS BRA IN NUDE
I’d never even heard of this brand prior to Figleaves. And I now own two, they certainly know their stuff. Melody is a non padded bra (pre pregnancy I only wore padded) underwired bra. It comes in five colours and the best part about it for me is the shape it gives me, and the straps are SO comfortable. I’ve been wearing this one under white/lighter clothes mostly.
MARIE JO AVERO PADDED BRA IN BLACK
I’ve wanted a plain black bra for everyday, and the daisy straps sealed the deal for me on this one. Marie Jo was one of the few brands I was familiar with before and I’ve had my eye on this style for a while. Avero comes in four colours and is slightly padded but nothing too serious, it gives very smooth lines for a nice silhouette. I’ve been wearing this mostly under jersey.