Photography by Catherine Losing.
I’ve just got home from another great Parent Pause event about style confidence featuring Zoe ‘Dress like a Mum’ and Louise from SASS Rugby. It was a lovely relaxed event with lots of Mums asking some great questions regarding what they should and shouldn’t be wearing. I’m definitely feeling more confident to hit the shops and buy clothes that make me feel great!
If you were there you would have heard me ask a question about the difference good underwear can make to an outfit, and to be honest to your comfort and confidence too. If you are anything like me then you are very guilty of buying lovely matching underwear sets, then relegating them to the back of the underwear drawer and instead wearing your trusty old plain black t-shirt bra, or what were once nude coloured bras which now are a weird greyish colour (with bobbling on the straps from being washed too much). Sexy! Pants never match either and are usually the most comfy pair from M&S. Sorry Husband!
When I had my second child I started joining some online groups and looking on places like Instagram and Pinterest to try and find breastfeeding outfits. I came across a group on facebook called ‘Can I breastfeed in it?’ This amazing community of women help others to find outfits from the highstreet that Mums can look stylish in and successfully breastfeed. This is also where I first stumbled across ‘Dress Like a Mum’ and discovered that I no longer needed to buy frumpy, overpriced, breastfeeding-specific tops (*ahem* Jojo Maman and H&M I’m looking at you!) that I would only use for as long as my breastfeeding journey lasted.
I could also realise the freedom of moving away from stripes. Don’t get me wrong I love a breton stripe far more than I probably should, but it is nice to wear something different that doesn’t emphasise your mum tum. There’s such a wealth of clothes that you probably have in your wardrobe which you can feed in, and it may be just as simple as wearing a vest underneath for the ‘one up, one down’ method. Anyway, back to the point….
On ‘CIBFII’ lots of ladies were recommending another page ‘Boob or bust,’ so I investigated. I was breastfeeding at the time and wanted to get out of crop top bras (and the dreaded mono-boob that came with them). And, what I came across confirmed what I had seen on the streets for years, that most ladies bras do not fit properly.
How many ladies do you see suffering from back boobs, double boobs, mono boobs, or sore strap marks on their shoulders? Far too many. It looks uncomfortable and can ruin the look of a well put together outfit. Now most of us know that we ‘should’ get measured every year but never quite get round to it. What most of us don’t know is even if you do get measured, places like M&S are measuring in an old system leaving most of us in far too big a band and too small a cup size. Ever wondered why they say measure yourself then add 4-5 inches? It seems crazy because it is wrong!
So, what if I told you that a good bra can improve your posture and make you look slimmer….well read on. ‘Boob or Bust’ is a movement aimed at getting women into the right size bra. They have a super simple bra size calculator which you don’t even need to leave the house to use. As long as you have a measuring tape (or even a phone charger cable and a ruler) you can measure yourself in the comfort of your own home without having a stranger reaching around you whilst you stand in a bra. You then take your measurements, enter them in, say if you are currently BF and hey presto you get a recommended bra size and sister sizes! Now, nearly everybody that has tried it looks at their screen laughs and says “really??? How the hell can I be such a big cup size?” This is totally normal! You can look at ‘Bra Band Project’ to see real life pictures of different sizes on different people.
When I was feeding I had been wearing a 34DD fitted at Mothercare, my ‘Boob or Bust’ size was a 30G! Scary stuff indeed, but when I tried one on in Debenhams it was like someone had given my boobs the gentle hug and lift they needed. Absolutely amazing! Band vs cup sizes seems to be some kind of weird science that I can’t explain but this picture helps:
Bra styles make a huge difference too, after all boobs are different shapes, sizes – you wouldn’t expect everyone to suit the same jeans style. Once you get your size it can be a trial and error to find your new favourite bra that support those bad boys, gives you a great shape, a less sore back and a new lease of life, but my god can it be worth the hassle. You’ll soon be walking down the street feeling amazing, confident and above all else comfortable!
Happy measuring ladies!