Why I'm Not a Bra Fit Blogger (And Why That's Okay)
The Lingerie Addict is not a bra fit blog.
Last year, I spent a lot of time and e-mails explaining why I wasn't a full bust blogger and why my blog doesn't focus on my bra fit. At some point over the past couple of years, the default assumption became that all lingerie bloggers should be both full busted and bra fit enthusiasts. Because I'm neither, I'm sometimes made to feel a little awkward. I get e-mails from people who think my lack of bra fit advice makes me a "bad" lingerie blogger, or who are convinced I'm in the wrong bra size (and therefore "spreading false information" about fit) simply because I have a different body type, different priorities, and different preferences than they do.
Though this kind of commentary bothers me, in a way, I understand. The vast majority of lingerie bloggers today concentrate on bra fit, making the handful of us who don't seem a bit odd. And just to be clear, I have absolutely nothing against the subject of bra fit. It's an interesting topic. It's a worthwhile topic. And it should be talked about more. But not every blogger has to dedicate themselves to that subject. So this year, for the first time ever, I felt like it was time to talk about why I'm not a bra fit blogger.
I'm not a bra fit blogger because that wasn't what made me interested in lingerie. I didn't become a lingerie blogger because I was unhappy with my bra. Even now, bra fit isn't my primary concern when it comes to lingerie. My interest in intimates was first piqued during a relationship, and then later, after that was over, I stayed interested in lingerie because it was a new way of expressing my fashion sense and personal style and even aspects of my identity. To me, the world of lingerie is much bigger than bras. I love girdles and slips and stockings and peignoirs and chemises and lounge sets and robes and corsets and so much more. Bras are just a small part of my lingerie landscape.
I'm not a bra fit blogger because I believe personal preference is at least as important (if not more so) than rules and formulas. Some women prefer looser bands. Some women prefer tighter bands. Some women prefer wearing no bra at all. Bra fit depends on so many variables --- age, body type, disability, breast shape, breast width, rib cage shape, muscle vs. fat ratio, etc. etc., that any "one true fit" formula will, by its very nature, only apply to a fraction of women. On the rare occasions I do talk about bra fit here on the blog, I prefer to focus the conversation on how a bra should fit, rather than teaching any one hard and fast rule like +4, +0, +2, -2, -1, or otherwise. When a reader has a bra fit question, I direct them to where they can find good answers, and that frequently isn't this blog.
I'm not a bra fit blog because I'm passionate about making the conversation on lingerie bigger than just a conversation on fit. Bra fit is talked about everywhere, not just among lingerie bloggers and fitting communities, but also in the mainstream media. I come across bra fit advice, tips, and that 80% statistic multiple times per day. Bra fit is a very popular lens for viewing lingerie, and it's an important one, but it's not the only one. Fit is not the center of every woman's experience, nor is it the starting point for every woman's relationship with her lingerie. Some women don't even consider fit to be relevant! There are many, many perspectives for discussing lingerie, and they're all valid... even when they're not about fit.
Please don't interpret this article as an attack on bra fit blogs or bra fit communities. That's not what this is about. I'm glad there are more lingerie bloggers now. I'm glad there are more bra fit forums and communities now. I'm glad people are talking about their bras on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and their own websites. An open, public conversation on the issues surrounding fit and sizing was long overdue, and I'm so excited that lingerie consumers are leading the way.
However, in some ways, the conversation on lingerie feels smaller now than it ever has before. Even more distressingly (and frustratingly), the way some people talk about fit actually contributes to making other women feel marginalized. An environment prioritizing bra fit above any other perspective (like ethnicity or sexuality or disability) is what motivated me to write several articles explicitly touching on these subjects in the past year (which you can find here, here, and here). It is completely unacceptable that I've been told, on more than one occasion, that issues which affect me and matter to me are unimportant because they're not about fit.
It also bothers me when fit advice is couched in body snark or when it's used as a weapon to imply a blogger cares less about women. I've frequently been put in the awkward position of strangers expecting me to explain my body to them, because it's "impossible" (for some reason) for me to wear the size I actually wear. That kind of uninvited, dogmatic commentary is not only aggressive, it's arrogant and it's alienating. My body isn't weird or strange or wrong because it's different from yours. I shouldn't have to "prove" my measurements or weight or dress size to legitimize the bra size I say I am. And it certainly shouldn't be implied that I don't really care about women because I've chosen to focus on something other than bra fit. It is an incredibly ironic thing when women who've felt ostracized for their body type begin to do the same to other women. If I'm okay with how my bra fits and feels, why in the world should anyone else have a problem with it?
Caro, founder of The Lingerie Lesbian and herself a frequent recipient of this kind of commentary, shares her thoughts on the subject via e-mail:
I think a major problem with deciding to weigh in on someone else's bra size (or any size) is that you're saying that you don't trust them to know their own comfort. When someone seeks or asks for help, they should be responded to-- but when you don't believe someone who is telling you that they are happy and comfortable, one wonders what the point of your whole mission is. The more time I spend learning about bras and bra fitting, the more I see how taste and preference plays such a large part.
If you're a woman who was in the wrong bra size for a long time, I understand that bra fit changed your life, and I'm happy for you. Every woman deserves to wear lingerie she loves, that she feels comfortable and confident in. Fit is a major part of that. However, it's misguided to insist that everyone else's lingerie conversation begin and end with fit too. For me, breast support and fit isn't the first thing on my mind when it comes to my lingerie and bras. My personal passion for intimates tends to fall along the lines of fashion and social commentary, and both of those perspectives are just as valid.
As I'm sure is obvious to everyone reading this, women are not some monolithic group with the same identical concerns, priorities, and necessities. We can and should have a variety of experiences and ways of relating to lingerie. There's nothing wrong with making the focus of what you talk about bra fit, but there is something wrong with implying (or stating outright) that other people are doing lingerie "wrong" because they've chosen to put their energies elsewhere. Bra fit wasn't how I started my lingerie journey, but that doesn't make my interest in lingerie any less authentic than anyone else's. It just makes it different. And there's enough room for all of us.