We’re gonna get all up in TMI-land here, folks, so if you don’t want to read about bras and boobs (specifically mine), you should just click away now and come back another day when I talk about normal runner TMI stuff like blisters and poop.
Still with me? Cool. This is a post that’s been percolating a long time. And this is a topic that I’ve explored a lot in other venues, like the one-woman play I wrote for a class my senior year of college called “Sweater Muffins.” So I’ve got a LOT to say.
In case you haven’t caught on through various hints and complaints throughout my blog history, I am what you might call “busty.” In fact, I am a size 32G. Yes, that’s a real size. And actually, bra sizes can get even larger than that. But, yeah. I have big boobs. And while general consensus would have you believe that being big-chested is the ideal, I am here to tell you that it is not, in fact, awesome. It is, in fact, a giant pain in the neck/back/shoulders.
This video from Buzzfeed pretty accurately portrays just a few struggles faced by busty women:
I have always said that for a society like ours that idolizes large-breasted women, you’d think that lingerie, sporting, and bathing suit companies would do a better job making large-breasted women feel comfortable, supported, and sexy. But my friends, that is simply not the case. So I’m gonna break down for you a few of the struggles that I and other busty women face, and why it really, really sucks to have huge boobs.
Bra shopping is impossible.
Most commercial lingerie retailers only carry up to size DD. For someone like me, this is obviously a problem. I have to go to specialty stores. I am VERY lucky in that my city has not one, but two specialty stores that actually carry bras in my size. But then there’s the fact that most larger cups size bras are U-G-L-Y ugly. There are automatically less color and style choices for women with larger breasts. Straps are automatically thicker and less attractive because we need more support. Our bras have 3 or 4 hook and eye sets on the band, rather than the typical 2, so the bands are wider and more likely to show when wearing a low-back top. And to add more insult to injury, specialty bras are generally WAY more expensive. You think paying $50 for a VS bra is bad? Try paying $150 for a bra you don’t even like, but are stuck with because it’s all that fits. Yeah. It blows.
Sports bras are the devil.
Finding a sports bra that a) fits and b) keeps my breasts from punching me in the chin when I run is like finding a unicorn–the realm of mere fantasy. Not only that, but they’re once again butt ugly. See photo below.
On the left is the sports bra I currently wear–the Panache Sports Bra. First of all, it costs $70 minimum. Second, look at it. It practically comes up to my neck, which means that anything lower than a crew neck top shows the top of my sports bra. The straps are thick and wide-set, which means that they usually stick out from under tank sleeves. It is so “supportive” it feels like I’m wearing a chastity belt around my chest–I can’t wait to take it off after a workout. And the color? Snore city. AND, the hooks in the back chafe the crap out of me if I forget to bathe in Body Glide before a run. I actually have scars on my back from the first time I wore it. ALSO, because it’s so expensive, I have one, repeat, ONE sports bra (I can run in) to my name right now, which really doesn’t work.
On the right are just 4 of the myriad options out there for less-busty women. Interesting colors and patterns, cute, thin straps, breatheable, mesh material. And generally a much lower price point. Just go Google D+ sports bras and take a look at the options–they’re all bulky, ugly, and expensive.
It’s not even that I’m concerned about my breasts sagging some day–let’s be real, gravity takes its toll no matter how supportive your bras are. It’s just that it’s plain uncomfortable to go for a run with my boobs bouncing all over the place. I would give anything to be able to buy a $16.99 C9 sports bra from Target and not feel like a bowl full of jello was strapped to my chest, and have my boobs be more sore than my legs after a run (yes, this has truly happened to me).
There is a huge, wide-spread misconception that larger breasts are only found on larger women.
This is simply NOT TRUE. Look at me–I have a relatively slender rib cage, and large breasts. Many, many women fall into this category. And yet, take a look some time at a size “large” sports bra or bathing suit top. Yes, the cups are larger, which is to be expected. But the band size is also larger. This means that when I grab a size large (or extra large, let’s be real) sports bra, sure, it fits my boobs, but it doesn’t come in snug against my rib cage, meaning that my boobs will just hang down through the bottom of the thing and it’s totally useless. But if I grab a medium or small to fit my ribcage, I’ve got breast tissue spilling out the top and sides.
There are SO many other things I could touch on with this topic, and I’m sure I will at some point. I’m just feeling really frustrated by my lack of options right now, when I’m more active than I’ve ever been. I need good sports bras, but I can’t afford them. I want cute sports bras, but I can’t find them. I need more sports bras in general, but am too frustrated to buy them. Boo.
Any other busty runners out there? What do you do to balance cost and efficiency with your sports bras?
**Edit 02/07/17: If you are a fellow busty runner, check out my review of the Lynx sports bra. Since I raved about it, they’ve made more improvements and it’s literally the best sports bra I’ve ever owned, and the ONLY one I use currently.