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!!!! No, I’m not pregnant...

 
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I wanted to post this on my blog but with only an iPhone in hand... I figured this might be a better place for now.

Throughout this ‘pandemic’ year, I heard many people talk about the quarantine 15. I really couldn’t relate to their experiences. Due to living internationally in a small community, I really didn’t see/feel a majority of the pandemic effects. I am really thankful for that. I don’t at all mean to sound like I don’t have compassion for anyone’s painful or devastating experiences that they have experienced this year. I am no stranger to loss and I understand the trauma, fear, and suffering it can bring to a person.

Thankfully, for most of this year, I could not at all relate to people or memes poking fun about the quarantine 15, eating lots of takeout or junk food. For most of the last 12 months, I was at my normal weight and getting a lot more daily movement in my life, than when I worked a full-time job. However, after getting back from a trip visiting friends in Southern Mexico, my clothes just didn’t seem to fit right and I kinda felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t own a scale or normally weigh myself more than a few times annually. It’s my firm belief that weight has little to do with an overall picture of someone’s health. (*I’m not a doctor, nor am I giving any medical advice.) I couldn’t believe what I saw, after I hopped on the scale. I was 10 pounds above what the high of my normal weight range has been for the last 10 years!

Was it all the tortillas? Was it the lack of daily movement? The poor sleep at night? Too much eating dinners after dark? Because I’m getting closer to 40? The stress about deciding what in the world I’ll be doing in the next season of my life? Perhaps, my fast metabolism finally decided to slow?

Perhaps, rather than just one of these… the answer is more of a “yes… and.” I’m now understanding why people who wear leggings all the time have difficulty going back to wearing regular clothes. Leggings seem to just grow with you… Truly, the hardest thing I find about wearing ‘real’ clothes is the unnatural/unbreathable fabrics they’re made in and the restrictions of movement ‘regular’ clothing present. The most all around comfortable leggings that I’ve found have been:https://sweetskins.com/product/high-waist-leggings/  I like the natural fabric and comfortable high waist. I also love that I can #knowwhomademyclothes and that the owner/creator normalizes female body hair in her advertising. Because of my long legs the leggings weren’t really the length that I wanted but I just wore them anyway. I’ve also loved the skirts from Una Pluma https://www.etsy.com/listing/173583555/freedom-skirt-organic-cotton-maxi-skirt?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=una+pluma&ref=sr_gallery-1-20&from_market_listing_grid_organic=1&frs=1&bes=1&col=1  but they are pretty delicate and I already ripped a hole in one of them.

A friend recently gifted me some skinny jeans, she knows how I don’t like things to feel constrictive on my waist, so they were her maternity jeans. It was a bit awkward having a giant-belly-sized piece of stretchy fabric around my waist, at first, but it certainly beats a more traditional jeans’ waistband. It was in these jeans that I first noticed the weight change. When I live in Mexico, I really enjoy washing my clothes by hand (granted I don’t have small children, nor do I get super dirty doing my daily tasks.) In Southern Mexico, it just made more sense to have my clothes washed at the local lavanderia due to time constraints and lack of water. Unless you’ve researched where you can get natural fragrance-free products prior to your trip to some parts of Mexico, if you are a ‘crunchy’ person, BRING YOUR OWN SOAP for everything including for your laundry and give the workers specific instructions on how much to use. Where I lived in Mexico many of the products sold were over-artificially fragranced. Even the toilet paper and baby diapers were sold perfumed! Anyhoo, that was a rabbit trail tangent. Once I put on my jeans after getting them back from the lavanderia, I was certain they had put them in the dryer. My jeans were uncomfortably tight. Well, they hadn’t and even after 3 wears… the jeans didn’t get any cozier. I came to the conclusion that it had to have been me. And when I returned to the states, I realized… yup… there was at least 10 pounds more of me! My friends and family said that they really didn’t notice any changes in how I looked. Phew!

I was in need of some other ‘new to me’ clothing, while I figured out how to lose this extra 10 pounds and for an out of state trip, so I visited some of my favorite thrift stores. I found a few items on my list but I still had a long way to go. The thrift stores don’t have dressing rooms open right now and I felt like there really wasn’t a way to know if any of the jeans they were selling would fit properly… so I bought two more pairs of maternity pants… ones that would grow or shrink with me. I modified the hem line and wore the blue linen blend and they are quite comfortable and don’t restrict most of my mobility. The maternity band however is an icky unnatural fabric that isn’t breathable. The size 10 khakis didn’t fit.

So 2 pairs of maternity jeans, 1 pairs of maternity pants, some maternity tops, a nursing bra, and some nursing pad inserts as breathable nipple covers... but no, I’m not pregnant.

Maybe I should consider learning how to consider making maternity waistbands for all my clothes?

Anyone else out there fallen in love with wearing maternity clothes even though they’re not pregnant? Any experience making them? What are your favorite pieces of clothing that don’t restrict natural movement or are made from natural fibers?
Longer-pants.JPG
Much better for my long legs
Much better for my long legs
Organic-cotton-skirt.jpg
Una pluma skirt/dress
Una pluma skirt/dress
 
Alana Rose
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Not sure why the post only showed 2 of all the pictures I posted...
Maternity-Jeans.jpg
Free jeans
Free jeans
Maternity-pants-from-thrift-store.jpg
Thrift store finds
Thrift store finds
 
Alana Rose
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...pictures of the process
Changing-the-hem-line.JPG
Changing the hemline
Changing the hemline
Finished-hemline-.JPG
Finished hemline
Finished hemline
 
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Alana Rose wrote:Throughout this ‘pandemic’ year, I heard many people talk about the quarantine 15. I really couldn’t relate to their experiences. Due to living internationally in a small community, I really didn’t see/feel a majority of the pandemic effects. I am really thankful for that. I don’t at all mean to sound like I don’t have compassion for anyone’s painful or devastating experiences that they have experienced this year. I am no stranger to loss and I understand the trauma, fear, and suffering it can bring to a person.



It's funny, I never gained the College 15, or even the Post-Birth 15. I've always been around 130 pounds, since I was at least 16 (so 20 years?). I'd gained weight while pregnant and lost it within a few months (thanks to never-ending pacing while carrying colicky baby, or wearing my second while trying to keep up with my 1st and maintain my garden). But, I have, evidently, gained the Panedemic 15. I'd noticed my pants weren't fitting as well, and it wasn't just after they went through the dryer. They ALL were too tight, even the ones that had been too lose. Since I didn't have a scale, I really had no way of knowing. But, when I was at my parents' house, I stepped on their scale: 145 pounds! I'm not quite sure if it's due to the pandemic, or--more likely--due to me picking up a work-from-home job and just sitting on my butt for 2+ hours a day.  One advantage to gaining the weight is that my "mom-wrinkles" seem to have smoothed out and I seem to look a bit younger. I'm not sure I'm really too keen on loosing those 15 pounds! But, I do want to get strong(er) again.

As for maternity clothes, I wore my maternity pants for quite some time after I gave birth. They were comfortable and fit nicely, and they still had belt loops, so I could just cinch them to my decreasing waist. But, when someone commented on me wearing maternity pants, I switched to wearing normal ones. I just didn't want to face those conversations!

(And yes, that weird waist-band fabric is not comfortable. I got one of those belly band things, and it was always itchy. I wish I'd known to find them in natural fabrics! The ones that came on my maternity pants, I just rolled down so less of it touched me).

I also still wear my maternity bra. I'm just happy to have a bra that is comfortable, supportive, and relatively affordable. It's hard to find a good bra for a small ribcage with large cup size. I don't want to mess around with buying bra after bra, only to find they're uncomfortable. I'm just going to stick with these. I should probably buy a bunch more of them, in case the company stops making them!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote: I don't want to mess around with buying bra after bra, only to find they're uncomfortable. I'm just going to stick with these. I should probably buy a bunch more of them, in case the company stops making them!



A bloke's perspective:  When you get a bit of a stash it will need protection from moths, silverfish, heat and light.  Clothes being eaten and elastic failing  due to heat exposure is never a good thing.  A camphor wood box at the back of the wardrobe is a great way forward to keep the trove safe from the beasties, heat and light.  My mother in law had a camphor wood chest in the hall to hold her linen.  It was not only decorative but functional. No matter whether it is bought, home made or a family heirloom, it is a crying shame if it is spoiled because of avoidable damage.

Specifically with Bras, they are the vestige of the whale bone corset.  Inspite of advertising and what mothers tell their teen daughters, there is no scientific evidence that a bra actually prevents gravity taking its course over years.  The worst effect on breasts is from cigarette smoking - weakening of connective tissues and increased risk of cancer.  Natural resistance to droop is achieved by Cooper's ligaments that are connective tissue in the breast to help maintain structural integrity. They are named for Astley Cooper, who first described them in 1840. Like all ligaments, they stretch and weaken over time irrespective of any supporting garment.  Thus gravity always wins!!

So to the question at hand, do we wear what we wear for comfort, style or to look good because we are in competition? What we wear is often dictated by what we think others expect.  When the real truth is that they don't give a damn because they are self absorbed worrying about what others think. My wife has taken to not wearing bras 90+% of the time, even when out.  No one, to our knowledge, actually notices or cares.  Can I add, that she is a little bit cuddly - what I call value for money :-)  Be comfortable first, consider safety, and then if necessary be on trend. But be true to yourself and your god.



 
Alana Rose
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Paul Fookes wrote:
When you get a bit of a stash it will need protection from moths, silverfish, heat and light.  Clothes being eaten and elastic failing  due to heat exposure is never a good thing.  A camphor wood box at the back of the wardrobe is a great way forward to keep the trove safe from the beasties, heat and light.  My mother in law had a camphor wood chest in the hall to hold her linen.  It was not only decorative but functional. No matter whether it is bought, home made or a family heirloom, it is a crying shame if it is spoiled because of avoidable damage.



Thank you for this suggestion Paul! At one time I did use cedar blocks in my closet in attempts to protect from moths and bugs. They didn’t work very well for me in my last home so I resorted to putting my Smartwool socks and base layers in closely woven Woolite brand lingerie bags. A larger box or chest to store these in would’ve been great.

Paul Fookes wrote:
Specifically with Bras... Inspite of advertising and what mothers tell their teen daughters, there is no scientific evidence that a bra actually prevents gravity taking its course over years.  The worst effect on breasts is from cigarette smoking - weakening of connective tissues and increased risk of cancer.  Natural resistance to droop is achieved by Cooper's ligaments that are connective tissue in the breast to help maintain structural integrity. They are named for Astley Cooper, who first described them in 1840. Like all ligaments, they stretch and weaken over time irrespective of any supporting garment.  Thus gravity always wins!!

So to the question at hand, do we wear what we wear for comfort, style or to look good because we are in competition? What we wear is often dictated by what we think others expect.  When the real truth is that they don't give a damn because they are self absorbed worrying about what others think. My wife has taken to not wearing bras 90+% of the time, even when out.  No one, to our knowledge, actually notices or cares.  Can I add, that she is a little bit cuddly - what I call value for money :-)  Be comfortable first, consider safety, and then if necessary be on trend. But be true to yourself and your god.



Another EXCELLENT point. I was just thinking of 2 other posts I wanted to do and they were on the topic of bras. I’d like to make my own. Like Nicole, most stores do not carry my size 34H unless it’s for people who’ve had boob jobs. I think it’s wonderful that you, Paul, support you’re wife going bra free. There are societal pressures to wear bras (despite research like you mentioned that they don’t prevent sagging and even in their connections with breast cancer.) I was just reading an article about this a few days ago! “Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy Bra?”  https://wellnessmama.com/270161/healthy-bra/?ck_subscriber_id=2696640 As a teacher, I try to always read the school’s/district’s entire handbook of requirements and bras were a requirement listed under dress code in one district’s policies. Now, I think with a doctor’s note or maybe with the research articles in hand, one could’ve pushed for rights not to wear one but I didn’t.

Another challenge I personally find is within the spiritual/religious community (including the ones in a part of.) Not wearing a bra or having nipples showing is considered to be immodest. I would not want to ‘cause my brother to stumble’ by my choices but I don’t want to be more at risk for cancer because societal norms and modesty norms push for wearing unhealthy things. It has less to do with me caring for what they think and more to do with my desire to be honoring and appropriate.

Pregnant or breastfeeding mamas do have another challenge which could support bra/bralette wearing which is milk leakage. Perhaps this could be remedied with a snug fitting camisole and nipple covers that absorb milk?

Living in from community since March 2020 unfortunately has caused me to go from wearing a bra 30% of the time to wearing one 42+% of the time. The huge lack of bra wearing time comes from when I’m sleeping or in bed reading or in my room alone. Prior to living in community, it would be anytime I’m home doing things including garden work or tinkering outside.

I have wanted to try “How to Make a Comfort Support Top for Ladies” by Rain Country


It’s been on my reading list for some time so I ought to pick up a copy of “Dressed to Kill” by Sydney Ross Singer.

Has anyone read his book? Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?
 
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Alana Rose wrote:Has anyone read his book? Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?



I’ve never actually considered going bra free... until this week because I started feeling tender and I think it may be because I wore a wired bra (Twice) for the first time in 3 years!

Of course I reverted back to my comfortable, wireless nursing bras but I still don’t feel great. Idk, maybe it’s because I finally weaned the kiddo and for some reason my milk won’t go away even though it’s been a month.

I’m amazed some of y’all are willing to do it in public, I can’t even get over the mental hurdle of doing it at home minus those days when I’m too lazy to get out of my pajamas until the afternoon.

I have a similar problem as y’all of getting bras that fit my small rib cage and larger bosom. But also because of that I’m less inclined to go without one, especially if I’m doing any kind of manual labor.

And a short commentary on them dropping over time, might I remind everyone that simply having a child does that to you? Forget gravity lol!
 
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Alana Rose wrote:Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?



I very rarely wear a bra anymore, for a couple of reasons, one being that I hate them.  I have fibro and wearing a bra for any length of time causes major sensory issues and will likely send me into a flare so there's no point in doing something that will cause me problems.  I was pretty self-conscious about it at first and, truth be told, I'm not entirely over it because my girls aren't the same size anymore because of having breast cancer several years ago.  Now, with all of that being said, I don't wear form fitting tops when I'm bra-less because I'm not THAT over it.
 
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Rebecca Blake wrote:

"Of course I reverted back to my comfortable, wireless nursing bras but I still don’t feel great. Idk, maybe it’s because I finally weaned the kiddo and for some reason my milk won’t go away even though it’s been a month."

Rebecca, fyi, you can still get mastitis / breast infection after weaning.  Underwired bras themselves can also cause breast tenderness and infection.  I speak both from personal experience, as well as a (former) postpartum doula. May I suggest that you apply warm  compresses while massaging the tender areas in a circular motion, pushing towards the nipple? Also, try a few drops of (organic, therapeutic grade) oregano oil in a capsule, filled the rest of the way with olive oil, twice a day for a few days, or 24 hours after the tenderness has dissipated.

"I’m amazed some of y’all are willing to do it in public..."

During the winter, I wear undershirts, beneath shirts beneath sweaters.  Under all those layers, no one notices!  Now that the weather is warming up, that doesn't work 😟.   I had some all-cotton bras made for me last year, and at least I can wear those without feeling wrapped in plastic wrap!

If one is quite well-endowed, not wearing something to hold the girls from swinging back and forth can get uncomfortable.  So I'm told, not being in that category myself 😉

 
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I've passed up some some otherwise well fitting jeans before because the waist was too low for my tastes... but a band like that in a pleasant to touch material might be a good solution to that, and if it was visible it'd just look like I was layering shirts. I'm going to have to remember this.

If one is quite well-endowed, not wearing something to hold the girls from swinging back and forth can get uncomfortable.


As someone who's slammed herself in the chin before... yes, yes it can.
 
Nicole Alderman
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K Kaba wrote:

If one is quite well-endowed, not wearing something to hold the girls from swinging back and forth can get uncomfortable.


As someone who's slammed herself in the chin before... yes, yes it can.



Or when you jump and your body makes a clapping sound, but your hands were not involved.  

I personally like a good underwire, and find they dig in less than a non-underwire bra. It just has to be well-made and the right cup size so the wire is below the breasts, and the chest band is nice and tall, so the weight is distributed along it nicely. These are my go-to bra. I never had any problem nursing, and I still wear them now because they are supportive and comfortable. The non-underwire bras I'd gotten were all really uncomfortable for me.
 
Alana Rose
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K Kaba wrote: As someone who's slammed herself in the chin before... yes, yes it can.



I literally laughed out loud because I can relate and I’ve even accidentally knocked over people’s drinks in passing when I worked at a restaurant... underestimating the distancing.
 
Alana Rose
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Nicole Alderman wrote: Or when you jump and your body makes a clapping sound, but your hands were not involved.



More laughter out loud!!! I’m gonna have to save that line.

I didn’t mind well-sized/well-fitting unwire bras (Nordstrom and a specialty store in South Coast Plaza were the only places that carried my size at that time) when I worked in the public school setting and stood for a majority of my workday but I find for working a long day of sitting in front of a computer or commuting really makes me feel uncomfortable.

I’ve just done cheap stretchy sports bras or second hand nursing bras for the last few years but having custom cotton ones made or making some myself seems like a great alternative.
 
Paul Fookes
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Rebecca Blake wrote:

Alana Rose wrote:Has anyone read his book? Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?



I’ve never actually considered going bra free... until this week because I started feeling tender and I think it may be because I wore a wired bra (Twice) for the first time in 3 years!

And a short commentary on them dropping over time, might I remind everyone that simply having a child does that to you? Forget gravity lol!



It is the same for the blokes going commando ......  After lots of years in the Army and knowing that a lot of blokes were commando, I had a need to be comfortable, hence always wore jocks under the uniform.
But rashes, sweating and itch were all good reasons for going free for some.  Getting the correct jocks - is just as difficult believe it or not

The biggest issue for women in getting bras is that there are over 40 breast types described in the literature, including that for some percent, the attachments for each breast are not symmetrical so a normal bra is never going to fit no matter the brand or style.  Most are made in places such as India, Bangladesh and Indonesia where the western mammary as described here is an alien concept.  Of note, the costumers are still rolling out 12 -14 B as a standard size but the current standard in most developed countries is now 14 - 16 C - D because of better standards of living and obesity.  Often the fitters get the sizing wrong because with an under wire, the wire should start just central to the natural lie of the breast and finish mid auxilla (the midline of the armpit) and there should be no folding or bulging of the breast in the cup and it should contour to the top side of the breast with no gaps.  The band should sit firmly but not so that there are back bulges. One way of checking for comfort is to put the bra on and have the cups at the back.  Check that the band is not tight when done up on the last hook (s) This allows for the band to tighten as it stretches over time. There is no excess pressure around the sides and when you breath in it stays put.  For a lot of women, an active wear bra with wide bands and shoulder straps are the best most of the time because they are generic for a size and provide the level of comfort required for most activity.  Also remember that there is some research suggesting that ill fitting bras contribute to shoulder, neck and back pain as well as causing trauma.  As a keen observer of the human kind and a nurse, it is unbelievable what some people try to squeeze into for fashion.  My take home for fashions is that if they don't like how I am dressed, they are free to put their hand in their pocket and buy my clothes.  Comfort and safety first.

If you are going to make your own under garments, a commercially manufactured bra has 22 +/- bits to it. so anything less is a saving.  I did know a lady who used to go to an op shop to buy second hand bras and then redesign them to her needs.  Just a thought: Life = droop :-)

 
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No, for me maternity clothes are not the right solution. If I start wearing those, I'll get used to them.
Now I go on wearing the same pants I always wore I can feel those pants 'did shrink in the closet'. That means my tummy has to shrink back to its normal size too.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Paul Fookes wrote:
The biggest issue for women in getting bras is that there are over 40 breast types described in the literature, including that for some percent, the attachments for each breast are not symmetrical so a normal bra is never going to fit no matter the brand or style.  Most are made in places such as India, Bangladesh and Indonesia where the western mammary as described here is an alien concept.  Of note, the costumers are still rolling out 12 -14 B as a standard size but the current standard in most developed countries is now 14 - 16 C - D because of better standards of living and obesity.  Often the fitters get the sizing wrong because with an under wire, the wire should start just central to the natural lie of the breast and finish mid auxilla (the midline of the armpit) and there should be no folding or bulging of the breast in the cup and it should contour to the top side of the breast with no gaps.  The band should sit firmly but not so that there are back bulges. One way of checking for comfort is to put the bra on and have the cups at the back.  Check that the band is not tight when done up on the last hook (s) This allows for the band to tighten as it stretches over time. There is no excess pressure around the sides and when you breath in it stays put.  For a lot of women, an active wear bra with wide bands and shoulder straps are the best most of the time because they are generic for a size and provide the level of comfort required for most activity.  Also remember that there is some research suggesting that ill fitting bras contribute to shoulder, neck and back pain as well as causing trauma.  As a keen observer of the human kind and a nurse, it is unbelievable what some people try to squeeze into for fashion.  My take home for fashions is that if they don't like how I am dressed, they are free to put their hand in their pocket and buy my clothes.  Comfort and safety first.

If you are going to make your own under garments, a commercially manufactured bra has 22 +/- bits to it. so anything less is a saving.  I did know a lady who used to go to an op shop to buy second hand bras and then redesign them to her needs.  Just a thought: Life = droop :-)


Some years ago I started making some bras for myself. Not only because then I can make them exactly my size, but in the first place to make bras of natural materials and without wires in them. The hardest thing is to make a bra fit, I have not yet succeeded in that. But my bras feel OK because they are made out of cotton and linen.
 
Paul Fookes
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Barbra Goody wrote:

Alana Rose wrote:Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?

I was pretty self-conscious about it at first and, truth be told, I'm not entirely over it because my girls aren't the same size anymore because of having breast cancer several years ago.  Now, with all of that being said


Hi Barbra, love your candor. A friend of mine chose to have a bilateral mastectomy because she had ductal tumours and did not want to go down the road of chemo and radiotherapy.  Before she looked like she had 2 two gallon buckets down her shirt.  Being so observant, I did not notice until she flung as set of B cup (used to be triple G) falsies at me.  The reality is that you know but the average punter out there is not going to notice or, to be perfectly honest, care.  Most people in the wider western world are too self absorbed to notice others.  Believe me when I say: your comfort and well being is way more important than what others think. After 43 years as a nurse, I can categorically say all people are more or less the same and as for women their, by far, biggest issue with their body is their boobs - too big, too small, lop sided, different sizes, droopy, nipples in the wrong spot, wrong shape and it goes on.  Critique by others only serves to reinforce the fact that we are right about us not measuring up. Not true we all measure up it is just that each of us measures up in a way unique to each of us.    To wear, or not to wear, that is the question?  And bugger anyone who thinks their opinion should matter to you. As a caring sharing bloke, my advice to you would be treasure your health, celebrate your girls, be comfortable and enjoy life.
 
Alana Rose
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Paul Fookes wrote:...  I did know a lady who used to go to an op shop to buy second hand bras and then redesign them to her needs.  Just a thought: Life = droop :-)



I have done that twice now with Cacique bras by Lane Bryant company (or at least they used to be.) Nice, well fitting bras in my size usually cost me $100-$200 a piece from Nordstrom or a specialty store. I have a similar challenge as Nicole. I was a 34G or GG, now I’m an H or bigger cup size. On rare occasions, I could find a bra at Nordstrom Rack that fit well and was my size for $14-$32 on clearance but with wire and unnatural fabrics. I’ve tried two alterations of Cacique bras and they looked pretty, fit was okay at first but after 5 minutes not comfortable. I think I got each bra for like $3 from a local thrift store and the sizes were something like 44 DDD, so I need to make the band about 10” smaller. Great fabric though, wide shoulder bands, wide elastic, and pretty colors. It seemed easier to alter an existing bra that fit the cup size than  create one from scratch but I need to deconstruct them more to see if I can get the right fit.

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
Some years ago I started making some bras for myself. Not only because then I can make them exactly my size, but in the first place to make bras of natural materials and without wires in them. The hardest thing is to make a bra fit, I have not yet succeeded in that. But my bras feel OK because they are made out of cotton and linen.



Making a bra or comfortable ‘support top’ is one of my goals for when I get home. I like cotton and linen too. Cotton has been easier for me to work with. I wanted to upcycle a cashmere sweater from the thrift store for a winter bralette. We’ll see how soon I get those on my project lists.
97A6E3E5-87A5-40B2-818F-82462974CE3E.jpeg
Alteration: Test 1
Alteration: Test 1
D5D346C2-BF8E-42AE-A429-454B7390E6D1.jpeg
Alteration: finished product
Alteration: finished product
F26EE90B-760E-48F9-AFF5-471FDE114EEA.jpeg
Closeup of seams
Closeup of seams
8EAA5BE0-630A-4C05-8935-DB5A97FBEFFA.jpeg
Other alteration: original
Other alteration: original
82449EE4-100C-43FC-A238-065F902BCFB3.jpeg
Altered by cutting fabric from both of the sides
Altered by cutting fabric from both of the sides
C58571B9-8A76-40A3-B3C4-C256EF8478DB.jpeg
Added some lace to cover the seams
Added some lace to cover the seams
 
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Hi Alana, I can totally relate to you with the weight fluctuation confusion. My story is a bit complex, I was ingesting synthetic estrogen for years without my knowledge (long story, our ex-neighbor belongs in a looney bin). To give some background: I eat a healthy balanced diet, zero refined sugars, not a heavy drinker, always been very fit and active, lean body type runs in both sides of my family; but at some point about 3 years ago, I started gaining weight and couldn't stop. I gave up grains entirely at one point, started intermittent fasting, obsessively doing pilates, getting more sleep, but nothing helped and it continued to get worse. I was the biggest I've ever been in my life, at the worst I think I had gained 30 pounds. I was sure sometimes that there were indeed rumors in our small community that I was pregnant, but my husband loved my body so I just bought bigger jeans and carried on. We eventually figured out what was going on, started clean with all our food aka got rid of the sources of the synthetic estrogen, and it took about a year for the symptoms to finally clear up. I went through horrible mood swings (weepy/raging/anxious), bloating to look like I was 6 months pregnant, awful breast soreness/tenderness (I would scream at my husband just for brushing up against me, and I am normally a really low-key kinda gal), and of course the general weight gain already described. It was a rollercoaster ride!! And I am sooo glad that it is over and I finally am beginning to look and feel like myself again. Since y'all are discussing all of this, I just wanted to share some of the lessons I learned during my hell with hormones:

1. Nobody notices as much as you do. My husband of course noticed that I changed, but he was just glad that there was more to grab. He said it was warmer at night and cushier to cuddle with. And I swear that I never got catcalled on south american streets as often as I did when I was...curvy.
2. Weight standards are cultural, period. When I felt so awful about myself and my weight gain, I started researching this. I found victorian porn, and the girls looked like me! Full thighs, round bellies, and sagging ample bosoms. They were gorgeous, and the height of sexual attractiveness at that time. It's not our fault that stick-thin has been shoved in our faces ever since we were babies, and even more so now with social media and easily-accessible editing software.
3. Every woman envies another woman for something. When I was looking at other girls, envying their flat bellies and thin arms, they were looking at me and wishing they had a big booty like mine. And when I was admiring the effortless loose flowing tunic dresses of my bigger friends, they were looking at me wishing they were "brave enough" to squeeze into jeans. So I finally figured, we're all sitting here wasting these mean small-minded thoughts when we should just be glad for what we've got.
4. Health doesn't always have everything to do with weight. I was far unhealthier as a bone-skinny vegetarian teen with chronic IBS, than I was as a slightly overweight mom with a good diet and a paunchy belly.
5. As a good friend told me years ago (sometime the best advice takes years to sink in), "you're never gonna be able to keep up with current fashion, so why try? Wear what you like and feel good in." I have really learned to lean into this philosophy since dealing with weight fluctuations. If I feel comfy, who's to tell me otherwise??

Alana Rose wrote:Has anyone read his book? Any other females going bra free out there 90+% of the time?



Haven't read the book, but saw a synopsis of it 6 years ago and that was enough to make me take those stupid bras off for good. I can't imagine having gone through hormone hell and that awful breast tenderness while wearing bras. Given how bad it was, and the fact that my mom died young from breast cancer, I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't quit bras when I did I would have cancer by now.

Although I'm so glad I gave up bras when I did, I am not sure that the social anxiety ever goes away. I see people outright laugh at me as I go down the street. Women seem to automatically hate me when they see me walk in the door, and I'm not ever really sure why I get waited on so well (by males) in banks and lawyers offices. I have learned to wear light scarves to cover up in summer, or wear a camisole and a flowy top if it's really warm out. Of course winter is easier, unless I am wearing a sweater and I get chilled.  Thankfully my husband isn't the least bit jealous, and just watches everybody squirm with a mischeivous smirk on his face. I'm not so comfortable as he is, but I'm not going to let puritanical cultural norms give me breast cancer. Boobs are for babies, who cares if they jiggle when you walk. And yes, I did breastfeed my son braless. It was easy access for him, and I learned to cross my arms when I felt a letdown coming on or everybody would get sprayed. I got to where I just carried an extra shirt everywhere, or had enough sense to let baby nurse before it all came out on its own. I had basically zero mastitis or blocked ducts with him, whereas with my daughter (back when I wore bras) those things were constant problems.

So I can attest that, at least for me, braless has helped my health. I hope that as more women hear good stories about braless or less bras, that the movement will spread and we can start losing one more cultural hangup.
 
Paul Fookes
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Marie Abell wrote:1. Nobody notices as much as you do. My husband of course noticed that I changed, but he was just glad that there was more to grab. He said it was warmer at night and cushier to cuddle with. And I swear that I never got catcalled on south american streets as often as I did when I was...curvy.
2. Weight standards are cultural, period. When I felt so awful about myself and my weight gain, I started researching this. I found victorian porn, and the girls looked like me! Full thighs, round bellies, and sagging ample bosoms. They were gorgeous, and the height of sexual attractiveness at that time. It's not our fault that stick-thin has been shoved in our faces ever since we were babies, and even more so now with social media and easily-accessible editing software.
3. Every woman envies another woman for something. When I was looking at other girls, envying their flat bellies and thin arms, they were looking at me and wishing they had a big booty like mine. And when I was admiring the effortless loose flowing tunic dresses of my bigger friends, they were looking at me wishing they were "brave enough" to squeeze into jeans. So I finally figured, we're all sitting here wasting these mean small-minded thoughts when we should just be glad for what we've got.
4. Health doesn't always have everything to do with weight. I was far unhealthier as a bone-skinny vegetarian teen with chronic IBS, than I was as a slightly overweight mom with a good diet and a paunchy belly.
5. As a good friend told me years ago (sometime the best advice takes years to sink in), "you're never gonna be able to keep up with current fashion, so why try? Wear what you like and feel good in." I have really learned to lean into this philosophy since dealing with weight fluctuations. If I feel comfy, who's to tell me otherwise??



Well said Marie. The reality is that women are each other's worst enemy.  An amply portioned lady walks down the street, the blokes will have a look, check out the bags and go back to what they were doing ........  Women on the other hand will critically pull every bit of the lady concerned apart  and nothing will stack up for them.  The other truism is that they say the same thing about each other when each is not present.  It is an interesting study in human nature to sit quietly in a cafe, bar or lunch venue and listen to the all boy and all girl conversations.  As I proposed in an earlier post, comfort and safety first and then conformity if it bothers you that much.  Worked with a nurse once who had huge letdown when she thought about her baby or talked about her - Pads and things were no match for her capacity.  It was in the operating theatres so she would just go and change.  I do not remember anyone being offended, commenting or otherwise making cracks.  It really is a maturity thing.  We try to pull others down so it makes us look better.  The reality is that if we are happy to "go free" forget envy and use what nature has given us and not worry about the small minds, we are less likely to get stressed and develop stress induced physical maladies and depressive illnesses.

Your other great observation is that obsession made you sick.  Most of the heart disease in non-smoking people is in those who obsess over fitness and healthy eating.  We need to listen to our bodies and they will tell us what we need to eat and do.  We have had two locals suffer heart attacks in the past 6 months.   Both were fitness obsessed and one died unfortunately.  One of the Buddhist mantras is never to excess, all things in moderation.  It is no good a mere male telling the ladies that they are each other's worst enemy.  It has to come from within.  Never care what they are but love what they bring to the table.

In short Marie, you have nailed it.  And you are an inspiration.  Be true to who you are not what you are :-)

 
Rebecca Blake
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Marie Abell wrote:Hi Alana, I can totally relate to you with the weight fluctuation confusion. My story is a bit complex, I was ingesting synthetic estrogen for years without my knowledge (long story, our ex-neighbor belongs in a looney bin). To give some background: I eat a healthy balanced diet, zero refined sugars, not a heavy drinker, always been very fit and active, lean body type runs in both sides of my family; but at some point about 3 years ago, I started gaining weight and couldn't stop. I gave up grains entirely at one point, started intermittent fasting, obsessively doing pilates, getting more sleep, but nothing helped and it continued to get worse. I was the biggest I've ever been in my life, at the worst I think I had gained 30 pounds. I was sure sometimes that there were indeed rumors in our small community that I was pregnant



Interesting story.
Before I just kind of read everyone’s bit on being braless and forgot it but now I’m thinking I need to, at the least, be braless at home. I’m a stay at home mom so that would be 50-90% of my time (depending on the season).

Your bit on estrogen is relatable to me. I’ve done quite a bit of reading now how pretty much everyone has excess estrogen slowly but surely deteriorating our health... we get it from all the plastics (both food/drinking products and clothes!), bad foods, bad cooking oils, lies of the food industry, and of course our fast paced society puts greater stress on our bodies than our ancestors had. We may have many more comforts than our ancestors- but we do have a more stressful way of living.

I have since been working on detoxing any excess estrogen within my own body and have gained weight! I was always stick thin before- even after having a baby I lost the weight fast.
I haven’t gotten 30 lbs but I fluctuate between a 15-20 lb gain- which is noticeable on someone as short as me with certain clothing. I’m pretty sure at least one person in my community thought I was pregnant with the way she was acting...

The literature I read always says it is expected to gain weight when you first go on this diet to detox estrogen. I suspect that is because it encourages the estrogen to release from the muscles and organs in order to be able to come out of the body.

But I celebrate my weight gain since I have seen health benefits from it :) I am starting to think a little pudge is good for every woman- but only the right kind.
 
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I hate being braless, because everything sticks together. I HATE skin sticking together and getting damp and chaffed from rubbing. Maybe you have solutions for this? Or maybe I'm just larger and saggier (thanks to previous pregnancies!) and so have issues you don't?
 
Emilie McVey
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Try powdering your skin that chafes.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've never used any powders on my skin--do you have any recommendations? Thanks!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I hate being braless, because everything sticks together. I HATE skin sticking together and getting damp and chaffed from rubbing. Maybe you have solutions for this? Or maybe I'm just larger and saggier (thanks to previous pregnancies!) and so have issues you don't?


Nicole, for me that's the reason too for wearing bras. I do not have large breasts, only size C, but they hang down (as you say: saggy).
 
Marie Abell
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Paul, thanks so much for your kind comments! I was laughing recently about International Women's Day, all of these women bellyaching about the patriarchy and doing the typical feminist male-blaming. Now, without minimizing the abuse that many women (myself included) have suffered at the hands of men, I would personally beg women to look at what they have experienced from women and themselves done to other women. I even have a theory that women get with abusive men because they are overly trusting of men because they never bonded deeply enough with females in their life. Women should be bonding over issues like freeing our bodies and moving towards true health, rather than comparing edited selfies and judging others to, as you say, make ourselves look better.
Fascinating and sad your observations about the health of health-obsessed people. I've never felt better since giving up on things like jogging and pilates, instead spending lots of time outside barefoot in the sun and grass, getting exercise by building our future. Body, mind, and soul, all getting healthy together.

Rebecca, estrogen sucks sometimes doesn't it? Methinks you're on the right path with your diet because as soon as I threw away all the foods that I knew had been contaminated, I did gain a bit more weight but then it leveled off and now seems to be normalizing. Your research obviously explains that. I agree that it is healthier to have some squishy--some curves!
The thing that helped me the most in getting it all back in balance was eating maca root every day. I am not a fan of supplements, but I really did notice health benefits from the maca; my mood swings dissipated, my mental clarity improved, and my breast tenderness all but disappeared. Just make sure that you get authentic gelatinized Peruvian or Chilean maca, not the counterfeit stuff from China.

Nicole, totally get you on that icky sticky feeling of being braless. I had a big problem with that at first, and it drove me nuts. I compromised for the first few months by sometimes wearing a 100% cotton nursing bra, which was soft and wireless and didn't constrict, but did hold up my floppy nursed-out girls. Now I've discovered elasticized cotton camisoles, but after years of complete freedom they are just too tight for me. In the beginning I needed some support just to help with the transition, but as time went on it seemed like my body got used to the new situation and tightened things up to compensate. Or maybe I've just gotten used to it. I think that when you stop wearing the underwires and more constrictive bras, your lymphatic system functions improve and your breasts are able to clear out retained fluid and they become less inflamed, both of which shrink their size a bit. All just theories! But I hope you find something that works for you. Even if you just switch to softer cotton bras, that's a big improvement from the typical tight underwires.

 
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Nicole, what is the name/sizse of your nursing bra?  I have a small rib cage and large cups... it's a challenge!  TIA
 
Nicole Alderman
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nancy sutton wrote:Nicole, what is the name/sizse of your nursing bra?  I have a small rib cage and large cups... it's a challenge!  TIA



Same here! I'm a 32G.
 
Paul Fookes
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Emilie McVey wrote:Try powdering your skin that chafes.



NO to powder!!  Sorry but powder is the worst thing for your health.  Yes it dries things out but it is where it gets as well.  There is a pending class action against J&J.  Powder has been loosely linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and other issues in that area. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/woman-gets-417-million-verdict-johnson-johnson-baby-powder-cancer-n794771 When my mother in law died, there was nearly a 1/4 inch of powder on the bedroom cupboards.  She used it in the bathroom and to freshen up her nighty.  We used to use it in intensive care way back when and it used to get into the ventilator filters and clag them.  Not to say what it did to the patients folds and creases.  It is mildly abrasive even though on mohs hardness scale it is one.
For the girls sticking together. my wife has a flat pendulous set and uses a cotton top or does not wear anything if there are no guests.  In the days when I had to run as a part of the basic fitness test, my legs would rub until they bled.  My solution was to use an oil based cream such as lanolin (hydrogenated wool fat).  A good olive or nut oil ointment would do the same.  Infuse a bit of lavender or similar as a nice smell.  Like any change, it is a matter of getting used to it.

Sorry Marie for your bad treatment.  Violence, affirmative action, equality and quotas are a discussion to be had elsewhere.  I am a firm believer in equity which is based on respect of other's opinions, diversity and that each of us has a right to succeed in what we can do.  I tow out:  I do not care what you are, I do care about what you are prepared to bring to the table.

Look at how much cardio you get from gardening as well as resistive exercise and load carying?  Stay well, stay happy stay beautiful and true to yourself.
 
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