A bikini-shopping-induced meltdown

I’ve had a bit of a rant before about how current trends seem to be strongly anti-boob, or at least anti those who require a decent amount of underwiring and strap action to get any kind of lift and shape, but a recent shopping experience has prompted me to revisit the topic.

Bikini shopping is fairly traumatic at the best of times, and for those of us who are rocking anything more than a C-cup it’s downright stressful.  Those little bandeau tops that offer bugger-all in the way of support?  No thanks.  Monokinis?  Hell no.  Flimsy little triangles that barely cover your nipples?  Piss off.  I’ve recently lost a bit of weight, resulting in boob shrink-age, so rather optimistically I thought that this year’s bikini shop would be slightly easier than it has in the past.  Cue bitter retrospective laughing…

Off I went, merrily skipping along to Topshop, which it turns out is the worst place you could possibly go to buy a bikini that fits anyone other than teenagers with small breasts and large allowances.  For a brand that claims to be at the forefront of high street fashion, Topshop really doesn’t seem to have a clue how the female figure works.  There I was, confronted with a whole wall of pretty-looking bikini tops and bottoms, thinking I’d hit the beachwear jackpot, until I started looking closer at the sizing.  Instead of getting 32C, 36D, 34A etc, sizes 8, 10 and 12 glared balefully back at me from the tags.  WHAT IS A SIZE 10 BOOB??  How does that even work?  Why were there no cup sizes?!  With steely determination I grabbed a range of sizes off the racks and stomped over to the Topshop changing rooms, aka awfully-lit cubicles of hell where you’re pretty much guaranteed to develop an eating disorder.

My changing room experience went something like this:

  • Minute 1: strip down to underwear, try to avoid looking at self in mirror but fail, question whether this is one of those mirrors that adds about 6 kilos
  • Minute 2: try on Size 10 bikini top with tie back, conclude that Size 10 is too small in terms of cup size, also conclude that this is one of the worst mirrors I’ve ever encountered, consider starving for the next week
  • Minute 3: try on Size 10 bandeau bikini top, boobs have never looked worse, take the thing off so quickly that I pull a muscle in my shoulder, lots of swearing
  • Minute 4: now sweating quite a lot and really regretting this whole outing, try on Size 10 bikini top with un-adjustable back, cups definitely way too small but strap across back is too loose.  What the hell is going on?!
  • Minute 5: changing room floor now littered with rejected items, reach for Size 12 bikini top with tie back, turns out whoever designed this has no idea of how an individual breast is shaped
  • Minute 6: mutter under breath about sadistic bikini designers who are out to banish all women with anything larger than bee stings on their chests while struggling back into normal clothes
  • Minute 7: give up trying to put bikinis back on hangers, storm out of cubicle of hell, grimace at changing room assistant and flee shop

So, I’m now going to use the money that I would have spent in Topshop on counselling.  Quite frankly, I’m baffled by how such a prominent store can get something like bikini top sizes so wrong.  The ridiculousness of it was compounded when I went to H&M straight afterwards and found a whole host of bikinis in proper cup sizes.  Hooray!  Clearly the head honchos at H&M understand that breasts cannot be reduced to the even numbers of clothing; I’d like to shake their hand.

Why is the fashion industry so strongly anti-boob?  Why does each new summer trend present major problems for those of us requiring some feat of engineering to get a decent silhouette?  We’re all being encouraged to show side boob and cleavage and wear tops and dresses that are slashed to the navel, but for all of the women out there that need to strap down their fun bags so they don’t end up taking someone’s eye out, this is pretty much impossible.  Even if Kim Kardashian is doing us curvy ladies a favour by flaunting her assets and unapologetically so, she’s taking some of that away by frequently going bra-less and proving that her lady lumps defy gravity.  So what are the rest of us meant to do?  Get uplift surgery?  I’ll start saving now…

bikini

Please, no more Moss

Picture courtesy of The Guardian

Picture courtesy of The Guardian

Am I the only one who’s getting, well, a little bit bored of Kate Moss?  This week saw the launch of her latest collection for Topshop, and I can hand-on-heart say that I will not be buying any of it.  Clearly this is the opposite of the teeming hordes of women aged anywhere between 14 and 40 who braved the tube strike chaos to get up to Oxford Street on Tuesday night.  It seems that there’s still a large proportion of us that still want a little bit of Mossy.  My question is: why?

Yes, she’s beautiful.  Yes, she’s had an incredibly successful career.  Yes, she’s lasted much longer than nearly every single model out there.  I’m not trying to take anything away from the fact that she’s been the most successful model of the last 25 years.  But I still don’t get the hype.  Last week I read an article where Cara Delevigne was quoted as saying, ‘everyone wants to dress like Kate Moss’.  Erm, everyone?  I don’t know about you but I quite like wearing a bra, and clothes that aren’t distressed and/or see-through, and not looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.  There are many women out there who want to look groomed and put-together, more Kardashian than Kate, and who want to cover up a bit.  Also, most of us are not the same size or shape as Kate Moss, and therefore can’t get away with pale grey skinny jeans or barely-there little dresses.

I get that there’s that unquantifiable ‘cool factor’ that people want to attain.  Perhaps that’s why so many women buy Kate Moss’s clothes at Topshop – by wearing something that has the Moss stamp of approval, they’re a little bit closer to having her style and glamour.  Well, if you want to go and spend a ridiculous amount of money on some beaded and fringed little scrap of nothing that will never actually make you look like Kate Moss, be my guest.

Everyone seems to have happily forgotten Cocaine Kate, the 2005 scandal that saw her dropped by H&M, Chanel and Burberry.  Everyone seems to ignore the fact that she’s a strong advocate of the champagne-and-cigarettes lifestyle and has been quoted as saying ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’.  Despite Vogue and other fashion magazines stating that they’re against Size Zero and are campaigning for a healthier look in ad campaigns and on the catwalk, they’re still putting Kate I-Like-Feeling-Hungry Moss on their covers on a regular basis.  In an age where female role models have more power than ever, is this really who we want today’s teenagers to be looking up to?

Picture courtesy of The Mirror

Picture courtesy of The Mirror

 

Please let me wear my bra, PLEASE!

Has the lingerie industry recently stopped production?  Is there an anit-bra movement that I’m unaware of?  Because it seems that nearly every celebrity female has given up on wearing the things recently.

kim

image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Fashion has given us many un-wearable trends (Alexander McQueen’s ‘bumster’ jeans, anyone?) but this new idea that women should go out in attire that is slashed to the navel and doesn’t allow any form of mammary support really upsets me.  I, along with a vast proportion of the female population, cannot go bra-less.  30E doesn’t work without underwiring and sturdy straps.  I hate to think what might happen if I wore one of those dresses and then proceeded to bust out some energetic moves on the dance floor.  My fellow drinkers might get to see a lot more than they originally bargained for…  Also, it’s COLD outside!  Unless you want to be poked in the eye by erect nipples left right and centre, this whole ‘go free’ fashion really needs some re-thinking.

Fine, if you have the body and boobs of a Victoria’s Secret model (who were, like, totally nailing the bra-less look last night at their after-show party – slightly ironic I think) and are happy letting the gals be released, by all means go for it.  I also don’t dispute that these outfits can look amazing on the right person, and there’s probably a bit of jealousy tied up in this resentment.  Us well-endowed ladies are denied a whole host of trends such as backless and strapless, and now frontless can be added to that list.

But this is the real world, and we’re not supermodels with small perky breasts that don’t threaten to whack you in the jaw when you run.

So now the fashion industry can add ‘boob-less’ to its long and anorexia-inducing litany of preferences that already include tall and skinny.  FML.

VS

image courtesy of vogue.co.uk