I’m 17 and I’m a bra-a-holic.

The trouble is, I also happen to require a 28J bra – this does not help when I want to buy pretty, age-appropriate bras! The choice seems to be white over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders resembling a load of scaffolding, or super-sexy please-let-me-sleep-with-you contraptions. I would give pretty much anything to be able to walk into Topshop like my friends and buy a bra. But I can’t. When I go out to Oxford Street, my friends spend hours in ‘normal’ high street shops buying armfuls of cheap clothing and bras that somehow they know will fit, even without trying them on. Yes, I’ve measured them. They are genuinely a 32A and a 30C. I am not. So, because they’re lovely people, they agree to get dragged to Bravissimo/Pepperberry with me, in the hope that I might find a nice bra or even a top that goes over my chest (shock horror!) Shopping trips are sometimes a bit of a nightmare, because nothing will go over my boobs. I’m a size 8 on the bottom, but often have to go up to up to a 14 or even a 16 to get a top to go anywhere near fitting over the top of my J-for-Jinormous chest.

I remember buying my first bra with my mum, aged 11, in M&S. It was a super-girly, non-wired pink frilly crop top, and it was a 30A. I felt seriously grown-up. At 12, I was in 32A bras, from cool, teen-appropriate shops like Topshop and New Look, and at 13 I was still wearing the same size, and I wished my boobs would hurry up and grow! At 14, I despaired because I’d lost weight and gone back down to a 30A, leading me to stuff my bra with enough chicken fillets to open a branch of McDonalds. But at 15, I had a sudden growth spurt and discovered I needed a 30F bra. This was the point when I realised that my clothes were not going to fit nicely over my chest, and so I spent a year or so living in men’s t-shirts, with the occasional Pepperberry top when I could afford it.

I’m now in sixth form college, so I can wear stretchy t-shirts or Pepperberry tops, but in secondary school, the compulsory uniform involved wearing a white button-up shirt. Busty ladies will know that regulation white school shirts from John Lewis are not friends with large chests. So, instead of the £3 regulation shirts, I went to Pepperberry and bought some for £30 each. This was all very well, until my male head of year asked me, “Why are you not wearing the regulation school shirts? That one is not part of our school uniform!” The response “Sorry Sir, my boobs are too big” got me a detention, and he got months of dirty looks from me and my Pepperberry-clad chest.

By 16, I was wearing a 28G bra. Yes, I’d lost weight and gained  a cup size. Bummer. Men would come up to me in the street and ask if me boobs were real, and occasionally reach over for a quick grab-and-run. I also got a bit of stick at school, because according to a group of stroppy, unruly teenagers, having big boobs made me a ‘slut’. The fact that I was a virgin and had never had a boyfriend was apparently not relevant.

At 17, I’ve moved to another school to escape the bullying, and am buying 28J bras. My current favourites are the Bravissimo ‘Bettie Mae’ and the Curvy Kate ‘Showgirl’ range – although the designs are slightly moving into the you’re-way-to-young-to-pull-this-off category. Despite all the challenges they bring, I actually quite like my boobs. Coupled with a larger-than-life bum and a fairly little waist, I have quite a nice hourglass figure (albeit one with a few extra minutes). The one thing I’m really grateful for is that I have the necessary boob-knowledge to put me in the right size bra – I think my chest is quite thankful for that as well! The reason I know about bra sizing is partly down to my Mum, who introduced me to Bravissimo at the age of 15, and partly down to blogs like Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, who teach great bra fitting and body confidence. I’ve come to realise that just because my size isn’t stocked in Victoria’s Secret, Topshop, or Primark, I’m not a freak. Or a slut. I am a 17 year old girl, and I just happen to have size 28J boobs.

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