Retired boobs: How I learned to relax and love my non-self-supporting breasts

Guest post by Dianna DiNoble
Boobs print wall hanging from Etsy seller 	 LonelyBirdVintage
Boobs print wall hanging from Etsy seller

Can I share something a little personal with you? My boobs aren’t “perfect.” They are healthy and reliable. I nursed my two children with them. They have always been there when I needed them. But, I have had an adversarial relationship with bras. Nothing ever fit quite right — even after several professional bra fittings.

Another little secret that I’ll share with you (because we’re all friends now) is that, despite running a custom corset and gown company for over two decades — drafting patterns from scratch, sewing all types of woven fabrics and leathers — I could never sew a bra. I had even taken classes… Four to be exact.

I began to feel like Zoolander, who couldn’t turn left. Make bras should be easy enough, or so I thought…

The stretch fabric confounded me. I love the precision of corset making, and woven fabric upholds the integrity of the pattern. It soothes my Type-A brain. Stretch fabric, on the other hand, is like a laid back hippie neighbour. And just so dratted un-precise. Precision to the millimetre is necessary for a perfect fit, right?

Boobs are different on everybody. Heck, boobs are different on the same body!

Boobs are different on everybody. Heck, boobs are different on the same body!

This is where I learned to calm down, give in to the beauty of stretch, and recognize that a little stretch means that the bra will fit breasts at all times of the month. That laid back hippie neighbor wasn’t so bad after all.

After embracing the fabric, the next learning curve was drafting a pattern that would work for “self-supporting” and “non-self-supporting” breasts. There is a big difference between a 34B that can stand on its own, and a 34B that breastfed babies, like me and my “retired boobs” (no longer supporting themselves, get it? Sorry).

Style is as important as function — some styles work great for smaller breasts, some styles work great for larger breasts, and some styles work great for asymmetrical breasts. But so many people with large, or asymmetrical breasts longed to wear any bra that didn’t look like it was from an Army Surplus Store — including myself, who was always in a uniboob-creating sports bra.

Fortunately, I have my body, and a small team of brave testers who are kind enough to lend me their girls for the greater good, to see if my patterns worked out.

Because large, small, asymmetrical, and retired boobs should still be eligible for pretty things. Not just those lovely small, self-supporting breasts we see sporting adorable strappy bralettes all over the internet.

The bra-making learning curve has been very similar to the corset-learning curve (puns intended) — a lot of trial and error, a lot of scrapping prototypes and getting physically stuck in prototypes. Eventually something worthwhile emerges triumphant from the prototypes!

So far, I have developed bra patterns for up to H cups. I have made bras with very different cups on either side (left is an A, and right is an E). And every time I get it right, the best part is hearing someone say “I can finally wear something that looks sexy!”

Have you embraced your asymmetrical, or non-self-supporting breasts? What kind of bras have you found that not just support them, but actually make you feel sexy?

Comments on Retired boobs: How I learned to relax and love my non-self-supporting breasts

  1. You did a great job fitting my giant boobs into a corset so I didn’t need a bra 😛

    lol, but seriously, let me know when you’re up to a K cup in your bra sizing. And if you need a tester, I volunteer!

    • I absolutely could! I can do custom sizing on any of the styles on the site. Let me know if there’s anything you like there, and I’ll make it to fit 🙂

  2. Actually I don’t worry too much about what bra and how it fits. I am 64 and my boobs have been traveling south for a few years now. It doesn’t matter whether I wear underwire, or a playtex 24 hr (honestly I want to wear a bra for 24 hours about as much as I want a man to have a 4 hour erection), they wobble like jello that has been sitting out for an hour. So unless someone designs a bra that can do for boobs what girdles used to do for butts, I am wearing whatever because I feel confident that in a few more years I will be able to toss the bras completely and don really wide belts that will multitask for my waist and boobs since the two will be close neighbors. Mmmm, I wonder if pantyhose would work, I just need to add a halter strap.

  3. This is why I prefer corsets to bras. Bras always give me back pain, straps dig into my shoulders, and they either look as floppy in a bra as out of one, or they are folded up in on themselves to fit in the cups. And this is with the $130 bras I had professionally fit. Corsets, thankfully, don’t care if your boobs are hefty swingers.
    Now if only I could my workplace to embrace me wearing them….

  4. I have asymmetrical, average, impossible to fit (42C – all available is either fugly or uncomfortable) non-self-supporting boobs AFTER a breast reduction, PLUS a godawful scar on my left one. I hate my boobs and wish I could find a way to love them; I think that ladies doing wonderful corsetiere work can help people like me tremendously, because, while we may still hate our boobs, we may absolutely love how they look in a great bra or corset. Much love to you!

  5. Growing up was tough. As a young girl who blossomed early and had big boobs, it was hard. All the girls in my class would gush about the cut bras they could wear, and I had to buy the ‘granny’ bras or so I called them back then.

    My whole life it seems (and it sounds weird saying that but it seriously feels like a lifetime) I’ve struggled to find bras. Most regular stores don’t cater to my size so I have a couple stores which I shop at. I’m so happy to hear you make bras for all sorts of boobs. As a teen I felt like there was something wrong with me because my boobs didn’t look like other girl’s boobs. But now I am realizing how silly I was to think that.

    I usually go for full coverage bras. But I love the Demi cup style bras too! My biggest struggle is finding bras that are comfortable for me to wear. At my size, most bras have boning in the sides (oh how I loathe the bonning!). I suffer from cystic acne, so that bonning really digs into the bumps during the summer.

    I found Penningtons has a wireless bra that I can wear and feel comfortable on the days when I just can’t wear a regular bra. Before I found that bra, I would just wear sports bras. But it was hard to wear those because they don’t give much support at all.

  6. This makes me cry. I never had good boobs. Left is a saggy, flat attempt at a C, and the right is a toneless almost-A. They never matched, they were never perky. The closest I get to a bra size is a 40C, and the only way I can look normal is by wearing a prosthetic on the right side. That didn’t even happen till I was nearly 40. Sexy is not in my vocabulary, and not within my grasp. At 52, I’ve pretty much missed my chance anyway. I wear sports bras, just to hold my prosthetic. Bras that fit across my broad back don’t fit right in front. I can’t wear underwires (90% of bras have the damn things), and it’s just not worth it to try anymore. I see places saying that their bras are ‘on sale’ at only $20 bucks, and I wonder how the hell anyone can afford that, let alone full price. Thank you for making it possible for others to have hope of a decently fitting bra. Thanks for letting me vent.

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