You’ve already read the blog about how I found it difficult to get back into a Kayak because my boobs kept getting in the way. But that’s not the only problem I’ve had with having big boobs.
My country wants me to go braless
Take for instance the fact that bras my size are not manufactured in Spain, Italy or India. How is that possible, you say? I have no idea either. All I know is that bra manufacturers in Italy, India and Spain are under the mistaken impression that women with band sizes of 30 or 32 cannot have cup sizes bigger than J or K. It’s just too disproportionate for their thinking.
So what do I do? What I’ve always done. Buy bras in the UK or France. Now this is no small feat. I don’t have the funds to travel abroad regularly just to buy bras. So taking into account various modes of transport, it’s economical to have friends or family bring the bras over when they visit me. And worst comes to worst, have the necessary bras couriered over to me. Now anyone who’s busty knows that the bigger the cup sizes you want for smaller bands, the more exorbitant the bra prices. But add the cost of the courier to that, and I’d probably have been able to take a weekend getaway for the price of 3 bras.
And then this summer the government decided that no, a weekend getaway was not enough. It needed to be the cost of a mini vacation. So what do they do? On a random inspection of the courier parcel of my bras, the Customs department decide to slap me with a luxury tax, because you know bras are not a necessity, they’re a luxury. How awesome can they be? Oh, and while we’re at it, why don’t we charge her a luxury tax on the courier as well? All for the good of the country, isn’t it? Or do they really want me to go braless?
Okay, enough of me and my peaks. Did you hear about Kate’s Sexy Gold?
Sexy Gold in Singapore
It’s a real pain trying to buy swimsuits abroad when you’ve got a larger than average chest. A few years ago, we were in Thailand and my swimsuit fell apart. Salt water will do that eventually. We were in a tropical country, with more than its fair share of beaches, so I didn’t think it would be a big issue to find a new one.
In one of the beach resorts, I browsed some swimsuit shops to try and find something nice. Everything was tiny. Everything! There was nothing at all that would even vaguely fit. It was all quite disheartening.
Eventually, a shop assistant shouted “We have big size” at me as I looked in. “Big size” was labelled XXXXL. Awesome for my self-confidence! I chose a couple of possibilities and took them to the changing room to try on.
Too small! Even so-called XXXXL was too small for my boobs.
The very helpful shop assistant decided to help me out, and started collecting her suggestions for me to try on.
One of them was a bikini so small that the entire thing, top and bottoms, wouldn’t have fit over one of my breasts without risking arrest.
Another was gold, and had ‘SEXY’ across the top in big metal letters.
I’m not sure what kind of impression I was giving to this shop assistant, but she wasn’t the best judge of my size, or style.
Kris, meanwhile, was sat in the shop, literally crying with laughter after inappropriate swimsuit after inappropriate swimsuit was brought to me.
After a while of this, I made my excuses and escaped the shop. I later found a swimsuit that didn’t require me to expose most of my chest to the world in an Australian branch of a shop in Singapore.
I buy all my swimsuits in the UK now.
And then there was Naomi who actually found one of the right size in Spain. Read on!
Buying a bathing suit in Spain
I was looking out of the airplane window, thinking of my upcoming 10 days in Andalusia and I smiled. I would have such a great time with all the things I already planned. Food tours, cycling tours and of course, a visit to the Hammam! All of a sudden I sat up right in my chair and I’m sure my eyes bulged in my head. The hammam! I forgot to pack my bikini!
How on earth am I ever going to find something to wear to the hammam when I already have so much trouble finding something that fits me when I have all the time in the world to find it at home?
Once I landed and found myself some Wi-Fi, I immediately turned to the internet and googled large size bikini stores in Spain. I found a few but didn’t have time to go shopping in Malaga. Once I got to Ronda, I walked through the streets and found a sports wear store. I decided to give it a try and see what they have.
I managed to find the swimwear department and looking through the rack. The sizing was a bit different and all bathing suits looked hideous. In despair I looked around and the sales lady came over. She asked me in super fluid Spanish what I was looking for and if I needed help. Or at least, that is what I think she asked. I know a little bit of Spanish and when people speak slowly, I can manage with the usual conversation but this was a bit out of my league.
But I managed to say something like that I would go to the hammam and forgot my bikini and wanted a cheap solution. I gestured at my chest to indicate where the problem usually lies and she nodded. She showed me 3 bathing suits, all under 25€ and all hideous. She said something like, they are cheap, you’ll only wear them once and the hammam is very dark.
I tried them on and they were all so uncomfortable. A bit tight and looked horrible. But the cheapest one did cover my boobs enough to not feel too naked. The sales lady repeated through the curtain that I’d only wear it once and it was cheap. I saw what she meant. I settled for a bathing suit that was €9,95 and once I paid, the sales lady also recommended me a great tapas restaurant for locals.
Together with buying a bathing suit in a foreign country and having great tapas, I had a great evening in Ronda, Spain! Who would have imagined?!
Guess where Darcy found something that held the girls in place?
Swimsuit heaven in Juan-les-Pins
Ever since they showed up, my boobs have been a pain. Finding bras the right size, hunting for tops that didn’t look slutty, and especially swimsuit shopping have always been nightmares. Not only does the average bikini make me feel super exposed, but it also is a huge challenge to find anything that actually holds the girls where I’d like them to sit. While traveling in the French Riviera, though, I finally managed to find a bikini I loved, due to a combination of fortunate circumstances, including:
One – I was skinnier than I’d been in a long time, thanks to lots of walking in New York and generally being too stressed to eat in grad school;
Two – I was in France, where pretty much every woman on the beach was walking around in a teeny tiny bikini, regardless of size;
Three – The first thing the French shop owner asked me was my bra size.
This last one shouldn’t really be a revolutionary idea, but for some reason it is. In the world of swimwear, why do we so infrequently care to consult our actual bra size? After she asked, I hesitated, assuming she’d have nothing in my 32DDD. In my mind, French women are all fashionably thin despite eating bread all day, so I thought she’d laugh and turn me away.
Instead, she pulled out a whole box of swimsuit tops that would fit me and support my breasts with underwires! (Cue the fanfare!) I’d never seen anything so beautiful! I tried on suit after suit, feeling my confidence grow with every bikini top that lifted my boobs to where they really should have been all along. I would’ve bought them all if they hadn’t been over 100 euros each. Still, the one that I did get still makes me feel like a million bucks. Turns out, if you’re struggling through bathing suit boob hell, you just have to fly to France and stumble into a random store in Juan-les-Pins to find the perfect suit for you.
And Karin found something on the other side of the planet, literally.
To make peace with your breasts travel to Colombia
I have always struggled with finding my bra size in my home-country; somehow, most of the girls in Slovakia are skinny and the choice in the clothes stores reflects it. However, when I moved to Bogotá, Colombia, I was surprised to see a whole different trend!
The ideal of beauty there dictates to have big boobs and many women get plastic surgery done to achieve them.
While I was a bit shocked when I heard women with perfect bodies dream aloud about bigger cups, it also meant I was finally able to shop for bikinis in my actual size that wouldn´t squeeze my breasts or make them spill in weird formations.
I moved to (far more comfortable) sports bras since then, but sincerely, if you wish to get a good choice when looking for a bikini top, take a trip to Colombia. Along with all the natural wonders you will see, you will hopefully also make peace with the size of your breasts.
Do you or does anyone you know have difficulties buying bras or swimsuits? What’s your boob travel tale?