I’m here to share some fun and useful things with you, but before we get started: this post was inspired in equal part by Esty’s piece for The Breast Life, an excellent roundup for college students, and by the hideous, hateful, true evil that is Weight Watchers’ app for children. CHILDREN. I remember thinking, upon seeing the title of the article at The Breast Life, “oh! that’s so smart! Bodies are still changing so much well into our twenties, it would be really helpful to set up an 18-19 year old with lingerie and knowledge ready to meet that change,” and then, from the depths of hell, my brain remembered the phrase “the freshman 15.”
That phrase is always brought up in a sneering manner, as though people who gain weight in college have somehow failed at something. It is always mentioned with the intent to censure and shame, it is particularly lobbed as an insult at women, and it suuuuucks. Here’s the thing: yes, your lifestyle usually changes radically if you leave home to go to college, and yes lifestyle changes affect your body’s size and shape, but also, your body is just not designed to stay the size and shape of an 18-year old forever! Puberty doesn’t magically end at 18; many people’s bodies continue to grown and mature well into their twenties (and beyond), and it really would be more surprising if people didn’t get bigger in college. Your bones, your muscles, your skin, and yes, your breasts: they change. It’s not a flaw, it’s what we’ve evolved to do. Be kind to yourselves and ignore this fucking awful Weight Watchers BULLSHIT. They are putting CHILDREN on diets, my god, I need to go lie down.
All that being said, it is not uncommon for some people to head off to college and find themselves wanting or needing to update their underwear at some point (or several points) during their time in school. This post is designed to suggest bras that might be useful for different students’ lifestyles, but I also want it to be a bit of an intro to D+ bras for folks who’ve never worn them before but find that, as they’re settling into campus life, their old sizes aren’t working anymore. These are the bras I wish I’d had (or even known about) when I was in college myself. I’m trying to stay away from luxury stuff and really focus on a variety of everyday styles and trusty basics, but I had to throw a couple of fun ones in too.
One last quick note: almost all the bras in this roundup use UK cup sizing conventions, so if you’ve only worn US bras that keep adding Ds (DD, DDD, DDDD, etc.), or bras that don’t use double letters, you may wear a different size in these brands than you’re used to. UK cup sizes progress from a D cup like this: D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K, KK, L. For some reason there’s no EE, yeah, I don’t know why, but it’s the industry norm. So if you try on, say, a 34F, and it’s a little small in the cup, the next size to try is 34FF, not 34G.
I think of “everyday bras” as a catch-all for t-shirt bras, nude bras, support-focused bras, and easy-to-throw-on bras. These bras offer excellent shaping and support in comfortable fabrics, with options for those who want molded cups and those who want sheer, breathable fabrics.
I played some sports in middle school, and I did ballet until I was 18, but I didn’t really start using a gym for anything other than P.E. until college, where I … did not have good sports bras. I’d wear an underwire bra under a crop top sports bra under a shelf-bra camisole. Times are better now! I’ve already written about the only sports bra I can wear for distance running that doesn’t shred my skin, but there are tons of other cute styles out there you can try for cardio, team sports, yoga, dance classes, or even just relaxing.
Underwires are fantastic for shape, lift, stability, and support, but sometimes you just want to chill. There are some great options on the market beyond the shelf-bra camis of my college years that will allow you to study, relax, and even sleep with support (but without aggressive underwires).
These bras offer the same great D+ sizes as the everyday bras above, but there are some fun “extras”- crop type styling, decorative straps, super-plunging cuts, bralette-inspired details, and more!
Have fun at school y’all!