This is the tale of two women and four breasts on a journey in Italy seeking something bigger than cup size. At each stop along the way, first in Rome and then in Tuscany, we'd peek into Italian lingerie shops and pose the same question. “Do you carry bras for fuller figured women?”
American woman are larger compared to Europeans. My friend and I are both taller and bigger by any standards, and if you’re someone with larger breasts (D and E cup) you know how frustrating it can be to:
Find beautiful bras that actually hold up your beautiful breasts.
Find any bra that doesn’t bind, pinch or constrict.
Experience the pleasure of wearing something deliciously sensual without boobage overflow.
Wear anything strappy without looking like you have a uni-boob.
Trapped as long as we both have been by the boobie wars, our wants were simple. We coveted the accessories of seduction. We wanted lingerie for our curvy bodies. We wanted to feel Italian lace holding our breast features forward. What we needed was something we'd discover only later.
If you are a woman with smaller breasts rolling your eyes at this, I get it. I know how annoying it is to hear a sister moan on about what others pay good money for.
Please be patient with us. Big breasts are cumbersome partners to pretty clothes, running, dancing, horseback riding, bending over without spilling out, seeing eye to eye instead of eye to boob.
Sometimes, just sometimes (many, many sometimes) we busty gals envy you for having what we desire:
Décolletage that defies the passage of time.
Silicon Valleys that stay in place as perky as a blood orange.
Breasts with get up and go.
Instead, we get wardrobe malfunctions that bring us down and we – my American friend and me as full figured as the Tuscan moon – carried a quiet hope underneath our ill fitting under wires. We had a dream to defy the droop and find a bra in Italy that was both exquisite in form and function.
There's a deeper meaning to lingerie. I’ve come to believe that bra shopping is a metaphor for many things including how a woman feels about herself. It’s about inspiration and hope and falling in love with that ONE ASPECT of your body after years of seeing only your flaws. You know exactly what I mean. If not your breasts, then what other part of you gets the brunt of self-loathing?
Find me a woman who isn’t sometimes drowning in the Bermuda Triangle of body shame. She’s the rare breed, bred to extinction through the onslaught of images that tell you just how imperfect you are…which is why I insisted to my friend that we keep looking. Somewhere, out there, we'd find what we were looking for. Even more, we'd find what we needed.
And then I saw the sign. Small and nestled under the eaves of an old Tuscan street paved with cobblestones, the window was filled with mannequins wearing big, beautiful bras and matching panties.
“Look!” I squealed. We held hands. We walked in happy, fast. It felt like it was really our personal shop, magically placed there for us to find. It was called Glamour.
Moments later we were standing in the back of the store NAKED FROM THE WAIST UP. The shopkeeper, an Italian woman of indeterminate age and exquisite fashion sense, spoke no English. We spoke no Italian. Gesturing with her hands she insisted we strip. Bossoms needed to be appraised. Breasts hanging out, nipples flying here and there, neither in the same direction, all for the mirrors to see and reflect back to us.
Our bra expert used no tape measure, just her seasoned eyes to tell her what style and size bra would work best for us. Then she went over to one of her many drawers and ruffled through it until she found exactly what she was looking for. We waited, holding our breasts up, praying to God no one else happened to walk in.
I was instructed to stand with my arms out. She laced them through the straps, turned me around and closed the back. Then she turned me around and without warning, her tiny hands went into the bra.
“Scoopa,” she said, her hands gently molding my right curves just so.
“Scoopa,” she said, treating my left breast to the same tender care.
Standing back, she said, “Bella.”
My friend’s eyes popped when she saw me in my new bra. We both had tears in our eyes. My breasts had never felt prettier, more sensual, more held up in perfect form.
They looked like Sophia Loren’s breasts. I was in love with the view from the top and the front. I was in love with ME. Scoopa Scoopa Bella.
We would both try on many bras that afternoon and walk out with two apiece. We would discover that we were wearing the wrong sizes coming in (I went from 36DD to 40D, she went from 44DDD to 42E) and that lingerie is something a woman wears for herself. We would spend more on those two bras than we’d ever spent on any bra in our lifetime, and what we gained was precious.
We escaped from our personal pain, shame and fear about our breasts. Yes, even someone who’s been on this spiritual sexuality path for a long time has anxieties that need to be healed. I’m still escaping bit by bit from the Bermuda Triangle of body shame, pain and fear, and I know how hard it is to do this work alone.
I did it alone for a long time. Now I do it with others, sometimes as a coach and sometimes as a friend and sometimes as a surprise, and each time another layer of that old story is peeled away, something powerful and sexy emerges.
You know what kind of woman really is magnetic?
The woman who can stand up naked and laugh in the mirror with joy and peace. A woman willing to take a risk. A woman who believes in her own personal magic. A woman with an appetite and wit, someone with presence and a Mona Lisa smile. A woman with an adventurous spirit and wide open heart, who is silly enough to laugh at naughty jokes and confident enough to open the door for her date. Someone who owns her intuition, her beautiful glow and her curves and knows she can manifest anything. A woman who lives for bliss and from the soul.
Did I learn all this from a bra? No, but I did from saying YES.
If I can keep taking risks, than so can YOU. What risks do you need to take? What parts of your body do you need to finally fall in love with? Did you ever go bra shopping and find something more than you expected, and if so, what was it?
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