I spent my teenage years in a haze of beige and tan ugliness.
I remember the first time I truly believed my right to pretty lingerie was gone. I was with my mother in a department store dressing room, trying on a plain white blouse. It was clear I was going to be full-figured pretty early on, and my mother seemed to take this on as her personal cross to bear.
“Everything looks terrible,” she lamented loudly as I turned beet red in front of the saleslady- “Your chest is just so…inconvenient.”
It was hard to disagree with her. I’d hit that point in life where boys were already asking if my breasts were real, and girls would look at me in the locker room while they turned their noses up and casually informed me that they had that same bra in a much smaller size.
None of that had really bothered me until this moment though, the moment when the salesperson came in carrying the ugliest bra I’d ever seen. It was a smooth tan Wacoal bra with thick straps, and my mother was nodding at it with extreme approval. My mother shoved it on me and pulled the straps tight.
“It’s a minimizer bra, honey. It’ll make you look more normal.”
My chest felt squashed, and the bra looked awful. I felt like crying. As I looked in the mirror at that beige bra and the approving faces of my mother and the saleswoman, I had a terrible realization.
Girls with big breasts didn’t get pretty underwear.
I accepted my curse throughout high school and college. When I shopped for underwear by myself, I bought cheap pretty bras that wouldn’t stay on me. When I shopped with my mother, I bought bras with the structural integrity of the Eiffel Tower and not much else. They were all ugly; a parade of beige, white, and tan that was occasionally livened up by some black that I begged for. I desperately wanted to be sexy underneath, but no one would tell me how. Sexiness wasn’t for full figured girls, it seemed.
I discovered The Lingerie Addict the first year I became a writer. My writing fueled my income, and that income funded my first attempt at a real lingerie collection. Part of it was desperation: having discovered how to properly care for bras too late, the last set I had bought with my mother were torn up and bent from months of washer and dryer abuse. This time I had changed. I had read about lingerie for months. I knew all about full-figured lingerie and how to buy it. I knew my correct bra size, and had come to terms with being a 36G.
As they say, knowledge is power.
I took the plunge, and invested in five matching lingerie sets. It felt like the ultimate luxury, even though it made far less of a dent in my bank account than I had ever imagined. I could hear my mother commenting on each of them. “Too much lace!” she’d say, “So impractical.” I bought them anyway.
I was still nervous when they showed up at my door, but I knew I’d made the right decision once I tried everything on. They were beautiful, but there was something else. For the first time in my life, I felt sexy and beautiful in my underwear. It felt like a secret superpower.
I felt so changed by the experience that I couldn’t stop talking about it. I told my friends about it at dinner while they smiled politely and tried not to ask if I’d gone crazy. I dressed up more because my clothes seemed to fit better with the good bras underneath them.
My closet lingerie addict, the one who begged and begged inside my head for the pretty bras when I was a teenager, had finally been set free.
Want to know what a full-figured woman’s starter collection looks like? Here’s mine: