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November 2011

The Official Miss Underpinnings Manifesto

1. I want to bring awareness to the American public about the range of bra sizes available to full busted women. When I was first fit into my correct size, my reaction was completely typical: "A 30G?! Since when do they make G cups?!". Little did I know "they" also make 28 bands, 48 bands, and J cups. Sure, these sizes aren't widely available, but these sizes aren't "strange" or "gigantic" either...they're just rare. Harder to find. Occasionally more expensive. Which brings me to my next point...

2. I want to empower lingerie consumers. I strive to be a better consumer myself and I think that has a lot to do with independent feedback. A few days before I began dating my boyfriend, I met his father. My boyfriend's father is an intelligent consumer who has since changed my retail perspective. He regularly reads Consumer Reports, he comparison shops for the best price before he makes a major purchase, and he buys in bulk. He reads reviews of merchandise and makes informed retail decisions. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports doesn't run an annual "Guide to Full Busted Lingerie" section (although that would be a dream-come-true!), so here I am.

3. I want to bring attention to local and independent businesses. Luckily, I grew up in a town that has always had a plethora of interesting boutiques, funky restaurants, and cozy entertainment venues. It's forced me to realize that when you spend locally, you're not only investing in yourself, but in your community. This principle extends to bra shopping; it's a luxury in the United States to try on a sub-32 band or a DD+ cup in a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. I will always be open to promoting small businesses that accommodate or cater to a full bust, plus size, or small band shopper.

4. However, I realize that for some bra shoppers there are no local or independent options within a reasonable driving radius from where they live or work. If you must shop online or from a mall-based lingerie retailer that stock the sizes I've mentioned, I will provide reviews of the sites/chains that are available and why you might like to shop with one over the other.

5. Like curvy girls worldwide, I have been told what to wear to minimize a larger bust line a dozen times. Dark colors on top. No double breasted coats. Slight v-neck t-shirts. These are all accurate and useful tips, but I'm more interested in what works for real women. What specific items happen to be tailored for an hourglass or bustier profile? What garments can be ordered that are cut exclusively for larger breasted women?

6. No bra blog would be complete without some discussion of body issues and physical self-perception. When I was younger, if anyone mentioned my breasts, I would groan inwardly. I hated discussing the size of my chest, drawing attention to it, looking at it in photos, and getting dressed in the morning. During that time, I was extremely vocal with medical professionals about how badly I wanted a breast reduction. I lived in baggy, formless t-shirts. My boobs, for me, weren't just another part of my body; they were a trigger point for a whole web of other issues.

Some days, I wake up and this is all still true. I'll catch sight of myself in the mirror and feel swelled, ache-y, or clownish. When I catch strangers looking at my chest, I feel ashamed! I'll see a photo of myself on Facebook and think, "Whoa, who's that stripper that looks vaguely like me?!".

But you know what, slowly and surely, I'd like to embrace myself and my shape and help others do the same. I think it starts with just owning it: My breasts are all mine and pretty lingerie is one of the biggest perks (pun intended!). And to all the creepy strangers out there, you're being rude. If this blog helps just one person have a more positive self-image about their chest, I'd be a very, very happy lady!

Welcome to Miss Underpinnings!

Hello and welcome to Miss Underpinnings! My name is Cece. I started this blog because I LOVE lingerie -- anything with a ruffle, bow, polka dot, flower, stripe, or bit of lace puts a huge grin on my face. However, that hasn't always been true. There was once a time when I believed that bra shopping was the lowest depth of misery.

I went for my first bra fitting when I was in the fifth grade and I was a C-cup! I remember because I was 1.) the first girl to wear a bra in my grade and 2.) my mother took me and I remember being mortified that I had to show her AND the fitter what the product looked like on me and 3.) it was the last time I ever wore a front-closure bra.

For a little while at least, my "boob garments" and I got along alright. Around a 34D, I remember really, really digging those bra-top camisoles from Vicky's. But then...I got bigger. And bigger. The day I sized out of Victoria's Secret, I cried. One afternoon during my sophomore year of high school, a friend told me that she minimized her, uh, movement (the bouncing/sagging/bulging issue that inevitably comes with wearing an ill-fitting bra) by layering one regular wired bra and two additional non-wire sport bras. I thought she was a genius.

[caption id="attachment_12" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Me and my sister, one of us looking a little bustier than the other."]
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And that's how the Bravissimo fitter found me five years later in one of their Edinburgh dressing rooms: three grungy bras, back bands riding up, and breast tissue spilling out of every available crevice. She put me in a Panache Porcelain 30G. In all seriousness, it changed my life. It looked great, it felt loads better, and the correct fit minimized me enough that I was able to wear blouses and dresses I would have never considered.

After graduating from college in the Midwest (go Big 10!), I moved back to my hometown in Massachusetts. I also began working as a bra fitter at Great Barrington Bra and Girl. I love my job; it almost feels like fate. It's incredibly gratifying to help other women with these mysterious and beautiful products.

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