Bra Shopping: My Mom isn’t Supportive!

“My mom doesn’t believe my bra size exists.”

“My mother is making me wear a 38B, even though it’s really uncomfortable and I measured myself as a 32F. She says that I’m not ‘that kind of girl’ who would wear an F cup, whatever that means.”

“I tried helping my mom measure herself to convince her that I need a better size too, but she wouldn’t believe that she could be a 34E, since she’s been a ‘C cup all her life’. Her bras are all completely worn out and offer her no support.”

“My mom won’t take me bra shopping, and she just keeps buying me larger band sizes in the same cup that I’ve been wearing since I was 13.”

“My current bras give me a lot of pain and discomfort, but my mom won’t take me to buy new bras.”

“My mom does all her bra shopping at Target, and won’t buy bras anywhere else – for me or herself.”

“My mom makes fun of me for what I told her my correct bra size is.”

Sound at all familiar?

I seem to hear stories like this every day. Readers – usually teens or college-aged women living at home – email and comment about how their moms won’t take their need for a new bra or a new size seriously. Stories of similar situations pop up all the time in online forums, discussions, and even conversations with friends. And honestly, even though I can sort of understand where the mothers in these stories are coming from (lack of awareness about proper sizing, being comfortable with their own old way of doing things, being afraid or reluctant to change), these situations tend to make me upset.

If I could, I would have a nice chat over a cup of tea with these (probably mostly well-meaning) ladies and tell them that their daughters need their support and help, not their ridicule. I would direct them to posts like “A Guide to Parents of Busty Daughters” by The Butterfly Collection, or Linda’s Braducation post for mothers of teens.

I have to assume, though, that most of my readers aren’t going to be the “moms” in these situations. Thus, I’ll have to just address those of us who are having to deal with moms who don’t understand (or care) about proper bra sizes. Bra shopping by itself can be a frustrating process, but it’s made all the more difficult for those of us who are at a stage where we don’t have any money, can’t drive ourselves, and have a mother who’s reluctant to support or help.

[Of course, I’m not trying to bash mothers here. For every mom making fun of her daughter for her bra size, there’s a mom who’s loving and supportive about the subject. However, I feel that situations like these are so common that there needs to be some kind of discussion/resource guide here.]

If you’ve properly measured yourself and your mom refuses to believe the result…
Put yourself in your mom’s shoes for a minute. It’s going to be a bit of a shock to hear your daughter – whom you thought all this time was a 36B – tell you that she needs a 30F bra. Most of this “shock” is going to stem from old, improper views on bras. All your mom will be hearing is, “I went from a B cup to an F cup!”, and that’s going to sound crazy to her, especially if she thinks that “D cups” are huge!
One solution might be trying to “braducate” your mom. Explain how cup size is relative to band size, and a 30F is not equal to a 38F. A simple explanation of “all this means is that I have a 30-inch ribcage, and a 7″ difference between my ribcage and bust measurement” may help. You can try showing her picture examples of well-fitting bras, explanations of how to measure yourself properly, the results of a good bra calculator, or an actual bra in your estimated size, if you can get ahold of one.
However, this may only trigger the “I’m far older than you, have been wearing bras for much longer than you, and I know more about bras than you! This can’t possibly be right. You’re a B-cup. You have small boobs.” response. If so, you can try a different tactic…

If your current bras have obvious signs of ill fit and are causing you pain and/or discomfort…
You can try explaining to your mom that you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort with your current bras. Describe how the band’s riding up, and you feel you need a firmer band. Describe any painful or annoying rubbing or stabbing that the wires give you. Explain that your old bras are worn out and ill-fitting and you need to go shopping for a better size, just as you would with any article of clothing that was worn-out or too small.
However, your mom may instead dismiss your concerns or even say “Bras are supposed to be like that.” In this case…

If your mom remains dismissive, but you sometimes go clothes shopping with her…
Try convincing her to look at bras with you while you’re both out shopping for clothes – ideally at a place like Nordstrom (or Nordstrom Rack) or Dillards, which will have a better range of sizes. If you can get your hands on your estimated size and show her how it fits well, she may be convinced.
Or, better yet, you can see if she’ll agree to actually go out bra shopping with you at a good boutique or the bra departments one of the aforementioned stores. If you go get a proper fitting with her, or you appeal to the knowledge of a well-trained store fitter, this may also really help your cause.
Also, Butterfly Collection has a free sizing consultation form (strictly though email) that may help if you show your mom the results; you can even get a free Skype fitting from them.
If your mom is at all open to re-thinking her own bra size and getting a proper fitting herself through any of the above places, this will really help (not only you, but her as well!).

If your mom won’t go shopping with you, but doesn’t care if you go yourself…
So you can’t convince your mom to listen to reason or take you shopping. There’s still hope! If you ever go out shopping with friends or by yourself, you can take that time to try on bras and buy yourself something if you’re able. Or report back on your success to your mom, and this may convince her to come around.
Alternatively, there are lots and lots of great online bra shops that you can shop and order from (a must if you don’t live near a good lingerie store in any case). The caveat here is that you’ll need a credit or debit card to buy from most of them. However, if you’ve done all the work and research, you might find that your mom is willing to pay (or, at least, would be willing to use her card and have you pay her back); another option is getting a pre-paid Visa card (sometimes sold at grocery stores), which should work for online purchases.

If you don’t have the means to buy yourself a bra at all…
The above advice is no good, of course, if you simply don’t have any money to buy yourself a bra. If your mom isn’t adamantly opposed to you getting new bras, then you can try asking for new bras as a Christmas/birthday/graduation/etc present. Or save up any gift money to buy yourself a bra. Or ask if you can do extra chores or jobs to earn money, or if you can have a clothing allowance. Or check the for-sale listings on Bratabase (as long as you’re able to receive packages at home) – sometimes you’ll find free bras there.
Getting someone else involved – a grandma, aunt, or family friend – who is more sympathetic may help as well, either to help you talk to your mom or to go shopping with you.

However, after all of this, some of us will still find ourselves in the situation of having tried everything, having a mom who just won’t listen, being unable to go out bra shopping or receive packages at home, and not having the means to buy a bra ourselves. If that’s the case – I know it can be frustrating. The thing to remember is that it’s only going to be a temporary situation! Hopefully (within a few years at most) you’ll either be able to purchase bras for yourself – even if that’s not until you move away – or your mom will eventually come around. And once you start wearing comfortable, well-fitting bras, your mom may even realize that maybe she could use a bra update, too!

Does anyone have any other helpful tips for girls who find themselves in situations like the above? Did you have – or have you witnessed – any similar experiences yourself?