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A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self About Breasts

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

Dear E,

Surprised to hear from your 60-year-old self?

After several decades of boob ownership, I thought it might be useful to share some advice about breasts. We have them in common, but I don’t feel the same way about them as I did at your age.

Bras aren’t everything. You can’t measure your breast self-worth by one bra style or a brand’s crazy sizing. Remember how excited we were to get our first bra? Only to find that we didn’t look at all like the models in the ads? Soon after, our breasts grew and didn’t fit into any cute, standard sizes. Yep, that was a depressing. The bra industry will expand sizes and styles in the future (although they can’t seem to fix that sizing thing). Believe me; there are way more bra choices in your future.

about breasts

1962 Warners Bra Ad
via Guilty Pleasures
 
about breasts
 
Bestform Bra Ad 1967
via TheJumpingFrog.com
 
about breasts
 
Wards 1970 via Flickr.com
 

Boob trends come and go. I know how frustrating it was for us to have to wear bras when everyone else was ditching them in the early 1970s. Wait another 15 years, and it will be all about push-ups and cleavage, which you will totally rock.

 
about breasts
 
Janet Reger 1970s Lace Lingerie
via Inspirational Images
 
about breasts
 
Bestform 1971
via Lingerie History
 

Nevermind the male gaze. Yep, I know our breasts get their share of unwanted attention in high school. But you must stand up to these juvenile comments. Embrace your body and confront the bullies. Sexist behavior won’t change anytime soon because it pays to exploit women’s breasts. You could pay attention to this phenomenon and explore ways to change attitudes. Maybe write a book? Just a thought.

 
about breasts
 
Maidenform 1983
via Pinterest
 
 
our breasts
 
Bali Bra Ad 1986
via JumpingFrog.com
 

Lovers love us, whatever our breast size and shape. Spoiler alert! Our boobs change over time—and you might even think about a breast lift or reduction at some point. It’s fine to manipulate how our breasts look with a bra. But don’t feel super self-conscious when you take it off. Our lovers prefer us naked, no matter how sideways or saggy we consider ourselves.

 8-eva
 
 Wonderbra Ad 1995
 
s-l1000
 
Playtex 2001 via Ebay
 

Motherhood changes everything, not just our boobs. You’ll freak a bit when they grow out of proportion to our body during pregnancy. We will figure out breastfeeding, although it’s not the same with every kid. (Not telling you how many, lol.) Don’t let all the skinny airbrushed lingerie models scare you away from reclaiming our breasts after nursing. You’ll find new bras that you adore, just maybe not at the mall.

 09_christmas_dreams___fantasies_vol_1
 
 
Victoria’s Secret Christmas 2009 Catalog
via My Fashion Insider
 
 6a00e54ef964538834019b017df6f1970b-350wi
 
Chantelle 2014
 

One thing that won’t change? The public’s constant fascination with breasts. There’ll be even more ways to look at and read about them in the future, although not all of it is accurate or factual. The good news is that you’ll be okay. And in the end—even when our breasts look nothing like what we see on billboards and in movies—we’ll be happy about our breasts, just as they are.

Hugs,

e

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Breast and bra expert, author, and founder of TheBreastLife.com. My latest book, The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Style, Size, and Support, busts common bra fitting myths and helps consumers navigate the confusing world of bra styles and sizes.