Shopping for bras can be bloody miserable. Trawling for hours with my mum under the fluorescent lights of TKmaxx looking for anything that’s not a 36B, or being aggressively handled by a bra fitter in the cramped confines of an M&S changing room. I don’t think many people associate the experience with anything other than pure disdain.
Bra shopping was never a dream day out for me. I have quite an androgynous look, which I love, I love looking like a boy or girl whenever I choose, I love the duality of myself and expressing that aspect of my sexuality through the way I dress, but that’s now. Growing up with a boyish figure, I felt silly and immature in the satin push-up bras that were available to me, not fitting into that unattainable sexy aesthetic, I opted instead for ill fitting bra letters and cotton grip tops that I thought were practical and unassuming.
I spent longer than I care to admit in the same two greying, stretched out crop tops that did absolutely nothing for me or my self esteem (pictures not included to protect my dignity). How is a teenage girl supposed to understand her sexuality, when her underwear (which through years of devouring Mizz magazine and streaming Victoria Secret fashion shows, she has been told is her only form of expressing it) is ill fitting and makes her feel insignificant.
My struggle with harnessing my own femininity has gone hand in hand with identifying my sexuality. Until I realised that I don’t have to be one or the other, I don’t have to choose between being pretty or practical, I can be both. I don’t have to choose a single demographic of people that I want to love,
I can do whatever I bloody want.
Last year I came full circle and got a job as a bra fitter and I don’t think I could love a job more. Partly because it is my job to make women feel sexy and there is nothing more fulfilling, but also because it’s given me the tools to find my feet with my own femininity. I enjoy playing with colour and texture because it’s fun and sexy and comfy! We don’t have to be either or, we can be whatever we bloody want. Underwear shopping can be incredibly stressful, but it can also be fun and playful, it can be a dream.
She / Her | London | Bra fitter
Ruby Byrne is a bra fitter, coffee drinker and all round normal woman. She enjoys long walks in the beach, turtlenecks and girl power. When Ruby isn’t up to her ears in lingerie, you can find her eating through her overdraft at London’s tastiest restaurants.