Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

June 11, 2006

Uncovering Underwear!

I have trouble finding underwear. No, I'm not joking! It sounds weird right? But for both panties and bras, it's a pain in the butt to find stuff in stores. Ok, I admit, I have a rather boyish (read: flat and straight) body type, so it is harder to find *grownup* underwear that fits well and looks, well, sexy. Most panties I find are too baggy in the back and aren't exactly the sort of things you want to wear when you have tight pants on. And as for bras, I know I don't need one for the support the same way fuller women do - it's more for the shape and, eh, extra volume.

The easy and *painful* thing for me to do is to shop in teen stores. But then the problem becomes a selection limitation. I'd have my choice of training bras or sports bras that aren't really doing the job that I want them to - mainly to maximize what nature didn't give me (and no, I'm not going for elective breast implants). And the panties are still to baggy (or other implants for that matter either). My goodness, where are all those skinny 10-12 year olds girls shopping??? Besides, I'm almost afraid to find the perfect underwear at these places. I'm sure you'd be as equally disturbed by the idea of 10-12 year old girls wearing naughty little things for their...boyfriends? I'll stick to the adult stores, thanks.


This side of the equation is only moderately annoying. From a purely practical standpoint, I look for durability (will my washing machine eat these in one wash?), comfort, and fit for plain "I'll wear this everyday" kind of underwear. And that's only because I'm generally cheap and don't want to buy the more upscale "sexy" silk/satin/super fancy expensive stuff. I can definitely find items, but it's only in a few select places. Flat out, I'm unwilling to spend more than $20 (more like, under $10) per piece. And I've stuck to the usual "I hate the department store experience because nothing fits" attitude (I admit, I am biased). So I've only really sampled stand alone stores. Basically, it's just an annoying affair to shop for this item, as you can't just say "hey, I like that style", and then grab and go.

What Works -
  • Victoria's Secret PINK collection: It's obviously for the younger, pre-baby crowd. Colors are more fun and flirty, but it fits. My personal favorites are the string types, as there's less fabric to (not) stretch on me for less bag in the back. I find the place funny and infuriating to shop in as VS seems to sexualize women more than the pages of nuddie magazines (Ok, not quite true, but it's women shopping here for the most part!)...and because they don't carry a bra in my size. Their signature panty collection tends to have more issues in the wash, and is too full cut/baggy for me.
  • Banana Republic: Intimate apparel seems to be an on again/off again affair, but when I find something I like (that's on sale usually), it works well for me.
  • Thongs and G-Strings: For some reason, these fit better, I guess since no matter how much you weigh or where the weight is distributed, it's not gonna affect the fit all that much. Fit is merely a matter of your rise and waist size, not hip. But who wants to wear these around all the time??
What Baggified my Bottom - (obviously not a complete list)
Express, Delia's, Gap, Brooks Brothers, most other Victoria's Secret lines, etc. If you've got a bony butt like me, don't go for more coverage, as there's not much to cover here. It'll just wind up being extra fabric you don't want.


Now comes the unbearable part. I wear a 30AA but probably should be a 28AA. I can't find bras in stores. At all. Except for...Limited Too (and just remember, the catch phrase is "Fun fashion for tweens!"), which, as I check, seems to no longer carry anything I remotely want to wear. Great for me! Two years ago, I bought two styles of strapless bras from them. I snatched them up as they were actually functional - I was tired of having only crappy unlined training bra type stuff that did nothing. They only came in 30A, so I stuffed them with half shoulder pads I got from a crafts store. Ok, there, I admit it - I stuff. Just to acknowledge a general enlarging trend, I came across a rare find when Victoria's Secret was dumping their entire 30AA stock about 4 or 5 years ago. They've never had them since. I bought probably 2 dozen then - you can still find some floating around on eBay.

Most American stores don't carry anything less than a 32A, and if they do, it's a 32/34/36AA. I've even looked in department stores with mammoth intimate selections. The amusingly labeled "petite" sections - where it's clear that this is the only body area that women are wanting more rather than less, seemed to stock 32AA as the lowest they go. What gives? I guess there are a ton of very small chested but broader women out there. Searching online for 'adult style' bras proved enlightening. Since I'm only familiar with American sizing, I am perhaps hampered a bit, but what I've discovered is that most companies that carry 28 or 30 sized bras are across the ocean! Marks & Spencer manufacturers smaller sizes, but currently doesn't deliver to the US. AA Lingerie does deliver across the ocean, but charges about 6 pounds to do it. I've obviously not delved into other parts of Europe or the gigantic Asia continent. More on that when I figure out their sizing system, or go for a visit!

Rooting around for something closer, I've discovered, which does stock items as low as 28AA! I rooted around online for coupons, and found one for $10 off. Since they offer free returns, I figured it'd be ok to spend a little on shipping ($4.50). I'll be waiting to see what turns up. Lula Lu also seems to stock a few items in smaller sizes and has an actual store in San Mateo, CA.

If anyone knows of anywhere else, definitely keep me posted!

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Blogger Steven Swain said...

I tell you what; you are thorough :-) I didn't realize how much trouble you'd have to go through for your body type.

June 12, 2006 12:19 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Honestly, I have to admit that I am pickier than the average shopper - and that's on top of it being harder for me to find things.

So in that sense, some of the frustration is self-inflicted. But I don't really think general standards of "does it fit reasonably well and does it look good" should be lowered.

Yes, it is harder, but it doesn't have to be this bad either :)

June 12, 2006 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about the same size on top... I just wear the 32A because there is nothing else with a smaller band.

Try lily of france's perfect match bra. Also, take a look at Target's intimates section. They tend to stock a lot of 32A's in surprisingly cute styles.

April 22, 2007 6:02 PM  
Anonymous shell said...

just randomly came across your blog. great to see that i'm not crazy and there are other ppl who have as hard a time shopping as me :) you should try american eagle underwear. some come in xxs too. i got some bikini and cheeky ones last year that actually fit me.

June 15, 2007 11:42 PM  

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