Friday, December 21, 2012

Bra Shopping: My Mom isn't Supportive!

"My mom doesn't believe my bra size exists."

"My mother is making me wear a 38B, even though it's really uncomfortable and I measured myself as a 32F. She says that I'm not 'that kind of girl' who would wear an F cup, whatever that means."

"I tried helping my mom measure herself to convince her that I need a better size too, but she wouldn't believe that she could be a 34E, since she's been a 'C cup all her life'. Her bras are all completely worn out and offer her no support."

"My mom won't take me bra shopping, and she just keeps buying me larger band sizes in the same cup that I've been wearing since I was 13."

"My current bras give me a lot of pain and discomfort, but my mom won't take me to buy new bras."

"My mom does all her bra shopping at Target, and won't buy bras anywhere else - for me or herself."

"My mom makes fun of me for what I told her my correct bra size is."

Sound at all familiar?

I seem to hear stories like this every day. Readers - usually teens or college-aged women living at home - email and comment about how their moms won't take their need for a new bra or a new size seriously. Stories of similar situations pop up all the time in online forums, discussions, and even conversations with friends. And honestly, even though I can sort of understand where the mothers in these stories are coming from (lack of awareness about proper sizing, being comfortable with their own old way of doing things, being afraid or reluctant to change), these situations tend to make me upset.

If I could, I would have a nice chat over a cup of tea with these (probably mostly well-meaning) ladies and tell them that their daughters need their support and help, not their ridicule. I would direct them to posts like "A Guide to Parents of Busty Daughters" by The Butterfly Collection, or Linda's Braducation post for mothers of teens.

I have to assume, though, that most of my readers aren't going to be the "moms" in these situations. Thus, I'll have to just address those of us who are having to deal with moms who don't understand (or care) about proper bra sizes. Bra shopping by itself can be a frustrating process, but it's made all the more difficult for those of us who are at a stage where we don't have any money, can't drive ourselves, and have a mother who's reluctant to support or help.

[Of course, I'm not trying to bash mothers here. For every mom making fun of her daughter for her bra size, there's a mom who's loving and supportive about the subject. However, I feel that situations like these are so common that there needs to be some kind of discussion/resource guide here.]

If you've properly measured yourself and your mom refuses to believe the result...
Put yourself in your mom's shoes for a minute. It's going to be a bit of a shock to hear your daughter - whom you thought all this time was a 36B - tell you that she needs a 30F bra. Most of this "shock" is going to stem from old, improper views on bras. All your mom will be hearing is, "I went from a B cup to an F cup!", and that's going to sound crazy to her, especially if she thinks that "D cups" are huge!
One solution might be trying to "braducate" your mom. Explain how cup size is relative to band size, and a 30F is not equal to a 38F. A simple explanation of "all this means is that I have a 30-inch ribcage, and a 7" difference between my ribcage and bust measurement" may help. You can try showing her picture examples of well-fitting bras, explanations of how to measure yourself properly, the results of a good bra calculator, or an actual bra in your estimated size, if you can get ahold of one.
However, this may only trigger the "I'm far older than you, have been wearing bras for much longer than you, and I know more about bras than you! This can't possibly be right. You're a B-cup. You have small boobs." response. If so, you can try a different tactic...

If your current bras have obvious signs of ill fit and are causing you pain and/or discomfort...
You can try explaining to your mom that you're experiencing a lot of discomfort with your current bras. Describe how the band's riding up, and you feel you need a firmer band. Describe any painful or annoying rubbing or stabbing that the wires give you. Explain that your old bras are worn out and ill-fitting and you need to go shopping for a better size, just as you would with any article of clothing that was worn-out or too small.
However, your mom may instead dismiss your concerns or even say "Bras are supposed to be like that." In this case...

If your mom remains dismissive, but you sometimes go clothes shopping with her...
Try convincing her to look at bras with you while you're both out shopping for clothes - ideally at a place like Nordstrom (or Nordstrom Rack) or Dillards, which will have a better range of sizes. If you can get your hands on your estimated size and show her how it fits well, she may be convinced.
Or, better yet, you can see if she'll agree to actually go out bra shopping with you at a good boutique or the bra departments one of the aforementioned stores. If you go get a proper fitting with her, or you appeal to the knowledge of a well-trained store fitter, this may also really help your cause.
Also, Butterfly Collection has a free sizing consultation form (strictly though email) that may help if you show your mom the results; you can even get a free Skype fitting from them.
If your mom is at all open to re-thinking her own bra size and getting a proper fitting herself through any of the above places, this will really help (not only you, but her as well!).

If your mom won't go shopping with you, but doesn't care if you go yourself...
So you can't convince your mom to listen to reason or take you shopping. There's still hope! If you ever go out shopping with friends or by yourself, you can take that time to try on bras and buy yourself something if you're able. Or report back on your success to your mom, and this may convince her to come around.
Alternatively, there are lots and lots of great online bra shops that you can shop and order from (a must if you don't live near a good lingerie store in any case). The caveat here is that you'll need a credit or debit card to buy from most of them. However, if you've done all the work and research, you might find that your mom is willing to pay (or, at least, would be willing to use her card and have you pay her back); another option is getting a pre-paid Visa card (sometimes sold at grocery stores), which should work for online purchases.

If you don't have the means to buy yourself a bra at all...
The above advice is no good, of course, if you simply don't have any money to buy yourself a bra. If your mom isn't adamantly opposed to you getting new bras, then you can try asking for new bras as a Christmas/birthday/graduation/etc present. Or save up any gift money to buy yourself a bra. Or ask if you can do extra chores or jobs to earn money, or if you can have a clothing allowance. Or check the for-sale listings on Bratabase (as long as you're able to receive packages at home) - sometimes you'll find free bras there.
Getting someone else involved - a grandma, aunt, or family friend - who is more sympathetic may help as well, either to help you talk to your mom or to go shopping with you.

However, after all of this, some of us will still find ourselves in the situation of having tried everything, having a mom who just won't listen, being unable to go out bra shopping or receive packages at home, and not having the means to buy a bra ourselves. If that's the case - I know it can be frustrating. The thing to remember is that it's only going to be a temporary situation! Hopefully (within a few years at most) you'll either be able to purchase bras for yourself - even if that's not until you move away - or your mom will eventually come around. And once you start wearing comfortable, well-fitting bras, your mom may even realize that maybe she could use a bra update, too!

Does anyone have any other helpful tips for girls who find themselves in situations like the above? Did you have - or have you witnessed - any similar experiences yourself?


  1. Because of blogs like this a whole generation of young women have somewhere to turn to when met with bra frustrations and ignorance. I have high hopes that future generations of Moms will have a much wider knowledge of bras. We are breaking these cycles and in the process some Moms are experiencing how wonderful it is to be in the right bra too! Great post Boosaurus xx

  2. I usually explain the history behind the plus 4 method and why its wrong today and that usually makes them go "Ohhhhhh." Growing up, my parents weren't judgmental or anything. Once I sized out of Victorias Secret, my dad took me to a semi-local bra/swimwear boutique and said in the car on the way over "Sorry. Your boobs are from my side. My mom and aunt were busty." Lol.

  3. You could try saying "the way bras are made have changed, sizing is different, F cups are normal."

    If all else fails. I suggest picking up sewing to alter the bands. Hold you off until you're able to purchase them yourself.

  4. Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat. Please ask your parents to put a Visa gift card in your hat. If they won't get your visa gift card a Amazon gift card will do and if they won't get you a Amazon gift card then God bless you!!

    1. Hahah, I love it! :D And that's a really good point - Amazon *does* sell bras, too!

  5. I can relate to this all too well! My mum has been wearing 38DD bras for years, (when she is probably closer to a 36G with what I roughly measured her as) and before I discovered my real size two years ago, I was wearing a 36DD (when my actual size at the time was something like a 32F). Luckily, I'm at the stage where I can buy my own bras now, but despite wearing a brilliantly fitting bra, my mum still seems to think that I'm not really a 30H (I was somewhat offended when she told one of her friends who was going to custom sew a dress for me that I was a 32E). Even though I've made efforts to educate her that a bra size of 30H isn't as nearly as outrageous as it seems, she still doesn't seem to quite get it.

  6. Excellent article! Another option is enlisting the professionals to help. If you're near a local boutique that specializes in fittings, you can explain your situation and have one of the fitters discuss bra sizing with you and your mom together. A lot of moms will listen to the fitter over their daughters (a mixed blessing!), so if a trained professional tells mom that a 32F is a normal size, she may be more inclined to listen.

    If you can get mom on board for taking your bra shopping, discuss what you are interested in buying before the fitting. I haven't seen mothers not believe their daughters about their bra size (yet), but I have seen some mother/daughter spats because the two women aren't on the same page. The fitting process can be a bit nerve-wracking as it is without adding personal conflict into the mix. Also, get your mom's price point too. You may fall in love with that $70 bra, but your mom may have a max price of $50 or $60.

  7. Jame (@jameane)12/22/12, 11:38 PM

    My mom "woke up" when she heard about the infamous Oprah episode. My mom is a "34B" or maybe something like a 30D or so actually. I haven't measured. So it was really hard for her to fathom, a. my sister and I could have cups larger than DD and b. where you get these larger cup bras, since the women in her family are similar in size to her.

    1. There are lots of great online shops (see the "Where to Buy Bras Online" tab above for a list) that would sell 30D's, and Nordstrom (and possibly Dillards) should, as well. :)

  8. I'd also suggest teens to look into alterations if there are no other alternatives. That way if their moms insist on buying a ridiculously large band size they can bring it in themselves with a needle and thread for a much more comfortable fit. It might not be perfect but definitely better than nothing!

  9. I have a thought which has been bumping around in my head for the last couple of weeks which could be relevant. I need to write it up and then I'll post to bigboobproblems.

  10. I'd love to help out those young girls. I spent all my teenage years in the wrong sized bra a 34B instead of a 28DD. Another idea is have the packages sent to a friends house. Help out your neighbors etc. I have a few bras in 30F and 30FF that id be happy to give away to these girls or 34b or 32c.

  11. I'm a 30f and I can't afford new bras. I got one 32ddd for Xmas this last year, and its all I have. I live off of 200 dollars a month so its not so easy. I wish cheaper places would sell my size.

  12. I'm a 30f and I can't afford new bras. I got one 32ddd for Xmas this last year, and its all I have. I live off of 200 dollars a month so its not so easy. I wish cheaper places would sell my size.

  13. I'm a 30DDD and my mum lets me only buy 32 or 34Csand is still skeptical that I'm a C. I'm so embarassed because my boobs fall out and such and it hurts and such, it's so obvious they don't fit I've had to sneak out and buy some better fitting bras. I have a 32DD and 2 32Ds now which fit much less painfully but that one 30DDD I have is like heaven for me. I wish my mum would understand.

  14. I've had friends or other people who don't believe my size, but luckily my mom has always been the one to tell ME my boobs are bigger than what I was wearing. As for fittings, once I went to Victoria's Secret for a measurement, and she told me the exact size I was wearing. The one that my boobs were falling out of, so from then on I've had to try them on most of the time

  15. Enormously helpful post.

    I'm 16 and I have EXTREMELY small breasts. My mom always takes me to shop at Wal-Mart, and there isn't much selection there. Unfortunately, she is so conservative she would never take me to a bra store. Any suggestions?

  16. I always come to this page when I feel bad about the fact that my bra doesn't fit properly! I started wearing bras in the summer of last year and I've hated them ever since I started wearing them! Nothing ever seems to fit me and I've tried pretty much everything but to no avail. I've only ever been measured once and that was a few weeks ago and they said I was a 30C but that doesn't seem to fit me! The only option I have left is a 28D and if that doesn't fit me, I don't know what will. My mum doesn't have any money so she said that I would have to wait until next month (which thankfully is only about a week away) but she was reluctant to agree to it. But I can understand why. Before I got (innacurately) fitted, my mum would measure me and buy all my bras online but she always bought them in the wrong size and when I tried to tell her that, she wouldn't believe me and she would just get cross with me. She's like that every time I tell her that my bra doesn't fit and I need a new one. She tells me that they do fit but bras are supposed to be uncomfortable and I'm just being incredibly fussy. So I tell her that I'm not being fussy, it's just because they really don't fit and she's not supportive of the subject and refuses to help me properly. I'm glad that she's taking me to get fitted again but I just wish I could ask her for a new bra without her getting cross with me and saying that it's not because it doesn't fit, it's because I'm being fussy! All my friends are able to ask their mums for new bras and they just respond with "ok we'll go tomorrow" my mum is the only mum I know who is that unsupportive. I guess I have been asking her for new ones a lot lately and that's probably why she's so cross with me (she used to be quite supportive actually) but it's not really my fault if my bra doesn't fit properly. But I know that I'm not the only one going through this. I know there are lots of girls out there who's mums are the same as mine when it comes to the subject of bras. I also know that this is just a temporary situation that won't last forever and I've just got to stay strong and suck it up until the time comes when I can get new bras.

  17. It's good to know I'm not the only one going through this. I'm 13 and I've been wearing bras for almost a year (I started wearing them in the summer of last year and before then, I'd been wearing crop tops and training bras for the past two years!) my mum was really supportive at first and I started off as a 28A which fitted but eversince I grew out of my first bras, I don't think I've ever actually been wearing the right size. So after I grew out of my 28A bras, I told my mum and she measured me again and got me new ones and I've basically been going through bras like money flying out the hand ever since. But after a while, I started to notice that the reason m pay bras never seemed to fit was because my mum a,ways measured me herself and then just ordered them online. I'd never been properly fitted before! So I asked my mum if I could get properly fitted because then maybe I wouldn't go through bras so quickly and she agreed so she took me and they measured me as a 30C but they said I could be either a 30C or a 28D but they said it would be best if I had a 30C so I bought that and I've only had it a few weeks and it doesn't fit! I think the band is too big so I need a 28D and if that doesn't fit me, I don't know what will! I told my mum this and she got really cross with me but after a lot of arguing, she finally gave in and agreed to take me. I have to wait until next month though because we haven't got any money to spare right now but I just wish I could be more open to my mum about this subject but I can't because every time I try to talk to her about it, she just gets cross with me :( it's a shame because all my friends can talk to their mums about it and they always take them when they need new bras but my mum just won't give in without a fight!