Andera's Story: Zero Good Options

Andera's Story: Zero Good Options

By: Andera Novak

Even in fourth grade, I had friends wearing women’s bras. My friends always seemed so proud of being developed, and thus, I felt shame at not being there yet, even though my mom tried to remind me that it would probably happen when I was older.

At the same time, with my friends becoming more confident with their growing bodies as we entered fifth/sixth grade, I found myself shrinking (metaphorically). They were exploring wired bras with patterns and lace. But, while I found them pretty, I couldn’t stand how uncomfortable they were for everyday wear. Sports bras were almost as bad, and on top of that had the added downfall of pressing into all the places my tweenage insecurities hated.

It seemed to me I had zero good options to be comfortable in. Most wired bras I purchased just never fit right: tight on my shoulders or too loose; cutting into my ribcage; not fitting my growing breasts properly. On the other hand, most sports bras had as many drawbacks: the padding constantly moved; they were either too loose or too tight despite being single sizes apart. 

For a period, I found myself wearing tank tops with bras built in. They were the only solution I could find to escape the pain of underwire push-up bras and the tightness of sports bras, neither of which gave any level of support nor looked good. The tanks I found had sewn-in padding but due to the nature of the material were more flexible and moved with my body. Ironically, I tried to hide the fact I was wearing these, because I felt like an imposter for coping out and avoiding “real” bras when everybody else seemed to love them (obviously not true, but please try and tell 10-year-old me that).

In retrospect, this reaction was a result of having little to no good options for bras. I had to make the best of a crappy situation because bras weren’t meant to be supportive of growing bodies. Either you had no breasts and were wearing a training bra to prepare yourself, or you had the fully formed breast of a woman. At the age of 12, you don’t exactly want to feel like a child, but you likely don’t feel like a woman either. Yet nothing available to me offered the perfect blend between being proud of growing up, while acknowledging that I wasn’t yet a grown-up.

Had I had comfortable bra options that were meant for my body, I wonder what my relationship to my body would be now. Hopefully, as we move forward, and options like Apricotton’s bras become more readily available, the landscape of the tween/teen bra realm can shift, and girls can focus on doing what they love, rather than what their body looks like doing it.

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