Because the boobs need discussing

By Mir
March 6, 2007

When I woke up this morning, I was planning little more than an ordinary day, albeit starting off with a coffee date with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.

I didn’t even have breakfast on the table when she’d called to cancel. (Damn those unpredictable children and their foolish illnesses when we have coffee to drink! Damn them to hell!)

Oh, well. I’d just stay in and do my work.

Then I checked my calendar and realized I had a mammogram appointment at lunchtime. Clearly I was in for a treat.

This mammogram was actually a very special mammogram; after some calcifications were spotted during my first-ever mammogram, I was put on Orange Boob Alert, or something. I had to go in and be rechecked at six months and then AGAIN six months after that, which brings us to today. Assuming that I didn’t bust out with a tumor for today’s fun, I now get to step down to Yellow Boob Alert and only go have mammograms every year. Or maybe not even that often, because I’m not 40 yet. I have no idea. All I know is that I am tired of letting other people grab my boobs.

My friend the Eager Mammography Receptionist With the Bad Wig was nowhere to be found, today, but in her stead was an equally aged and enthusiastic woman. I’ve decided that our Imaging Center has made a commitment to hire only ancient little ladies who cause the patrons to feel that perhaps this is where the elixir of youth is stored. Come for the mammograms, stay for eternal life (even if it does have bad hair).

Having been there twice in the last year before today, I’m pretty good on the whole drill. But the receptionist lady was only too happy to take me through the paces. You’ll come right in here! And remove your clothing from the waist up! Are you wearing any powder or deodorant? Wipe it off! Put the gown on! Take your clothes and put them in a locker over here! Keep your purse with you! Go wait over there for the technician to call you! Truly, I never knew someone could be quite that fired up about breast health. Good for her.

My first trip to the Jaws of Despair, I had two technicians who were chatty and nice and the whole thing was An Experience. The second time, I had the world’s most efficient tech, and the entire ordeal was unmemorable. Today, I think I had someone who used to fry ants under a magnifying glass for sport.

I’m not saying she was bad at her job. I’m just saying that in neither of the other two scans did I ever feel that I was in danger of passing out from the pain. Also, should one of my ribs also be caught in the plates while scanning? There was a moment today when I wondered how far, exactly, my body could fall to the floor (once I went unconscious) with my breast clamped between the plates. Would I just dangle there, several feet above the floor? Or would my beleaguered mammary remember the years of pregnancy and lactation and streeeetch to allow me to rest on the vinyl below? I never did find out, though I saw some impressive stars when the machine let me go after that one difficult positioning.

I tried chatting with the tech, but she was having none of it.

Her: This one may feel sort of tight.
Me: Oh! Good! Because that last one definitely wasn’t tight enough, because I think I was still breathing!
Her: *stony silence*
Me: Okay then! Shutting up now!

There is nothing worse than a mammography technician with no sense of humor.

Anyway, we finished up and I went on my merry way, if by “merry” I mean “with my chest now covered in welts.” Good times.

When I got home, I had A Box. And in the box was the dress I bought for the wedding. The dress that was sold out at the store, and for which I resorted to eBay and a size too large in desperation. I removed it from its wrappings with great trepidation.

And then the planets aligned and the angels sang, because the dress is lovely and it fits. It FITS! Had I gotten what I thought was my size, it would’ve been too small. [This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that the more expensive something is, the smaller the size you take, but jives perfectly with the eBay listing of “this just didn’t fit me.” So. Anyway, I am not looking a gift dress in the mouth! Or, something! It fits, and that’s all I care about.]

Here is the issue (you knew there was an issue): This beautiful, lovely, silk dress that I cannot stop PETTING is a halter dealie. As in, it ties behind the neck, plunges in the front, and goes down to my waist in the back. (Apparently I decided I’d like to be married while only half-dressed.) Anyway, somehow I have managed to get to age 35 without ever having worn such a garment before, and I find myself utterly befuddled as to what to do with The Girls.

I know there are long-line corset-type undergarments that will go low enough in the back, but I fear such a thing will not be low enough in the front. I also hear tell of items that can be just, um, STUCK onto the pertinent areas for a bit of coverage and support, but I’m leery. Going without a bit of bust bolstering is out of the question, so what to do?

Yes, Internets, we’re close enough now that I know I can ask you this. What do I do with my slightly-flattened breasts in a halter dress? Additional pointers on dealing with my utter lack of shame would perhaps also be useful.


  1. Cathy

    I wish I could help more specifically, but when I needed a similar garment, I went to my local Macy’s and got it on a big sale with help from a saleswoman who must have been about 70 years old. It was scary. But efficient!

  2. Crisanne

    I second the idea of going to a dept. store for help. Yes, there will probably be a little old lady to help – but she’ll be much more friendly than the lady today!

  3. Melissa

    Well, clearly your lack of shame is going to come in handy when actually shopping for the bust-bolsterer. Do you have a good lingerie shop nearby that you could take the dress to?

    If not, you could always google “bridal lingerie.” That should turn up a few (million bazillion) hits. Two or three might even be what you’re looking for.

  4. getsheila

    It was, in fact, Macy’s where my friend and I found The Item. She could not bring herself to say “self-adhesive bra,” so we all had to use double-secret code any time we discussed it. I hear they are reusable. Good luck on your mission.

  5. ChristieNY

    My Mom owned a wedding shop when I was growing up so I can help here! You have two good options to go with. One is to buy a bra that is “backless” which means it attaches low, as well as “strapless” which is, well, without straps, heh.

    We used to sell a brand called Carnival Creations that was a bustier, but now they have all sorts of contraptions to lift, support, stick to you, etc.

    The other option is to have cups sewn in. Probably your best option here because it becomes part of the dress and still offers support and no worries!

    I’d give the taylor a call that you took your jeans to and ask how much it would cost to have them sew cups into your gown. I bet it would be worthwhile, I have a closet full of formalwear and most have cups sewn in. So much easier than fussing with a bra and still gives that nice, supported look!

    Good luck, and congrats on finding the man, AND the gown. Now you just need to set a date, eh? ;)

  6. crazedparent

    I believe you are in need of a visit to the Nordstrom lingere dept. (And I, too, can endorse The Item of which GetSheila speaks. The self-adhesive bras are pretty cool, only they hurt like a motherf*&cker when you peel them off. Kinda not the thing you want to happen on your wedding day. Er, night:) And so not reusable.

  7. Jean

    My daughters have used the self-adhesive bolsterers with prom dresses and they seem to work just fine. Of course, you don’t get the “lift” that you would with a regular bra, just coverage. Being young, that wasn’t much of an issue for them. Post-pregnancy “girls” may need a little more.

  8. The Babe

    Complete with cheesy salsa music:
    OR maybe (no music, dangit)…
    Or even here, which appears to be the mothership site of the first link…

    My personal boobage would take three pair of adhesives just to contain one of ’em, but some of my students (changing between numbers in a variety show, natch) have even used masking tape in a pinch. No pun intended, of course, and their youthful perkiness notwithstanding. :D

  9. tammy

    I wore one of those self-adhesive dealies once. It wasn’t too bad until I tried to remove it. I can’t remember any of the details, all I remember is one minute I was going “1… 2… 3… YANK!” and then I woke up on the bathroom floor two days later.

  10. Melanie

    Go to a lingerie shop or a bridal shop and have the always elderly, always slightly creepy lady there help you out. There are more contraptions for your boobs than you could ever imagine lurking out there in those places.

  11. Sharkey

    I saw just the thing online the other day! “Re-perkify your breasts” with (not safe for work) Liftits. For some reason, I find the little demo compelling–I watched it 5-6 times with a mixture of fascination and horror.

  12. Lady M

    Yay for a terrific dress! Having cups sewn into the dress is really nice, because you don’t have to worry about anything (undergarments or otherwise) showing. I’ve also had good luck with long-line boned/strapless bras for various revealing costumes.

  13. Zee

    I haven’t ever worn a halter, but a friend of mine, who got married last winter, wore a strapless dress and she had her bustier thingy sewn right into her gown. I think she went to a regular ole seamstress but I think any good bridal shop should also have a wide selection for supporting your boobage.

    And I just have to say:
    1) as someone in boob-agony at the moment due to impending menses (TMI probably, sorry) I can’t imagine what sticking your girls in one of those machines might have felt like! SO sorry, but glad it’s over for a while!! :)
    2) Sharkey, those Liftits things are wacky. I had to watch the video a buncha times too (and I don’t think that woman’s boobs are entirely real, btw.)
    3) Do we get to see the dress? Pretty PLEASE?? :-D

  14. TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre

    They make these sticky-poo things that are designed to hold small to average sized girls up in such situations, but I was never blessed to be small-to-average-sized, and have no idea how they work. Worth a try tho!

    As for the mammogram, I find it simply FABULOUS that they have you wipe off your deodorant, then make you sweat for an hour in strange positions. Your tech not only burns ants in her spare time, she also probably has a special thing she does with firecrackers and kittens.

  15. Cele

    How come when I get my breastesses squished inbetween those icy cold plates of 3500psi capablity, I dont’ EVER get a pretty dress afterwards? I do want to see the dress. :) pretty please, we’ll ban Otto for the week from here.

    Well okay that was just a thought. bad, but a thought.

  16. Kate

    Im not sure what size your girls are but I have to let you know that anything over a C cup shouldn’t use the self adhesive ones!! Oh and make sure that on the day you have a roll of double sided sellotape with you because it is inevitable that some part of the dress will decide to relocate itself at an inconvenient time, so you need to get it stuck in place before the show can begin!!

  17. Heather

    Those liftits look amazing. I really want them and that horrifies me.

  18. Rachel May

    What is this shame of which you speak? Clearly your loving commenters have none — myself included, because I watched the Liftits video and have no fear of admitting to myself and you, beloved other commenters, that, in my post-pregnancy weakness, I was jealous of her… um… self, even pre-Liftits.

    Tammy, you actually made me spit coffee this morning. Holy crap — I’ve never had the guts to try the self-adhesive ones, partly because The UnIdentical Twins (DH’s name for them) have never been petite, and also because of what you describe. That’s funny stuff, right there, I don’ care who ya are!

  19. MomCat

    All good options. I’d go with having cups sewn into the dress – much less work. Then have that dress altered to closely skim your ribs and, when you put it on, tape it to your bod like you’re never removing it! There is a special tape at Bliss Spa catalog called “Hollywood Fashion Tape.” It halts wardrobe malfunctions in their tracks and isn’t too ouchy when removed.
    Here’s the URL –

    In fact, all the shapewear is fun to browse.

    I’m a personal fan of the Spanx Power Panties. They take twenty years off my tush. Well, in terms of “height.”

    Congrats on the wonderful dress, Mir! :)

    BTW, I used to dread the annual boob-squish. Now I drive a bit further to go to a digital mammography lab recommended by my gyno. The women in there are nice, and not in a scary, fake-hair, I-drank-the-Koolaid sort of way. They said it shouldn’t hurt at all – and it hasn’t in three years. If you have dense breasts (and mine are probably idiot breasts, from the description) it’s definitely the way to go.

  20. Sara

    You had me at “Jaws of Despair”–a descriptor I shall forthwith use when discussing having a mammogram. As for the support issue, I just have to say that when even thinking of those stickybra deals, if my boobs could, they would snicker, roll their eyes and walk away while shaking their head. Yep, just call me Iron Cups…
    Good luck.

  21. foodmomiac

    Can you get to Boston or NY? I think you need to go to a bra store that really specializes in fitting. If you can get to NY, go to Town Shop – those woman are BRILLIANT with the boobs. Love them. Can’t help you on Boston, though I know I read a blog post somewhere last year that listed the best bra fitting shops in all of the major cities. I’ve tried major department stores, but I just don’t think the level of training is there. You want a specialist. (At Town Shop, they just LOOKED at my boobs and then brought me the perfect bra. It’s like magic.)

  22. Dee Dee

    If your boobs will fit them, I’d say go with the sticky things. There is also a great store in the CT/RI area Good luck!

  23. Judy

    I don’t have any suggestions to make… it seems like everyone else has pretty well covered the gamut. One thing I would suggest is wherever you go…take your dress with you. But, I’m sure you would have done that anyway!

  24. tori

    When I got married, they just sewed the cups right into the dress. I see other people have mentioned this too. It worked out great until I went to change afterwards and then had no bra because I had packed everything I owned for the hotel, and all my luggage had been taken already. Just saying…if you go with the sewn in cups, remember a bra for when you try to change later.

  25. Heather

    I agree that going to a place that specializes in ‘breast control’ would be your best bet,… and even if they’re a little pricey, you’re worth it! And you’ll look (and more importantly, feel!) so beautiful in your dress:)

    The cup-sewn-into-the-dress thing works in certain situations,… and the sticky cups just scream wardrobe malfunction!

  26. Katie

    I totally get that the wedding dress is a size larger than you normally buy. Both my sister and I had to order double digits (okay, 10!) but we’re both 6’s normally. (I should point out that’s were). Stupid wedding dress makers. It’s not as if you don’t have enough to freak out about but then going up in dress size on your special day? It’s a lucky thing that brides don’t starve themselves to death.

  27. Kate

    My wedding dress was a halter dealie too, and I found that it was easiest to have cups sewn into the dress.

  28. hollygee

    Then there is always Fredericks of Hollywood [nyuk, nyuk, nyuk].

  29. Melisa

    I learned so much today! Who knew?

  30. Heather

    I second The Babe’s idea. While along with her, I am not able to wear these, I have a friend who is a B cup and she uses these everytime she wears a formal dress. She swears by them. Good luck.

  31. laura

    I have no pointers for you, but HA – you said pointers.

  32. Dawn

    Another vote for the self-sticking bra thingys – if you’re much larger than a B cup, they might not work, but otherwise they should be fine. Having cups sewn into the dress would also be a good idea (probably the ideal situation, actually, unless you’ve got a massive rack or something), if time/money permit.

  33. Brigitte

    Otto could probably buy light-colored duct tape and work up a home-made version of the “liftits”, if you want to also get about a gallon of mineral oil to take the tape off afterwards . . .

  34. Juliness

    Heh…you said “boob.”

    My two cents? Sew the cups in. That whole sticky thing scares me. In my mind, tape + nipples = ouchie.

  35. Woman with Kids

    Like it was said above, go to a good lingerie shop (I’m not sure Victoria would be up to this?) and bring the dress. They can help you. Or? Duct tape works for everything.

    And pictures of the dress are where?

  36. Aimee

    I am of the opinion that tape and boobs do NOT mix, and SHOULD not mix. Ouchee. I would go with the getting cups sewn into the dress option. That way you don’t have to worry about an additional garment.

  37. MomOf3BoysMadness

    Ok, now I have something to look forward to. A Mammogram. My doc always tells me I can prepare by slamming my boobs in between two bricks. Or in the toilet seat. Whichever works. Mir, I had tears streaming down my face from this one. Being that I’m well endowed myself, I say go for the sewn in cups. And agreed-don’t forget a bra for later. The sticky thingies just scream pain.

  38. Ben

    I think “Liftits” sounds like the dreamgirls backup band.

    “Now introducing… the Dreamgirls, supported by the Liftits!”

    Oh, c’mon, I’m tired and cranky, let me make bad jokes. And you can tell you have a lot of women readers since it took so long for anyone to bring up duct tape (which comes in pretty colors, now, and will be useful perhaps on your wedding night if, well, you happen to need duct tape for anything else)

  39. shannon

    You know, I just thought to myself “what we’ve not read about lately are Mir’s boobs” and here you go and post about the girls. ;)

    As for those things you tape to them? Not worth the money! If it’s going to be at all warm, your sweat will just make them slip right down. I vote cups sewn in, but only go to a seamstress you have absolute faith in!!!

  40. bob

    it is my goal for this to be the only comment where “thingies” aren’t mentioned. but in stating this goal, I have introduced the topic anyway. so this is now just another in a long list of “thingie” comments. I have helpfully not included any non-thingie links.

    Well, I actually do have one bit of advice: duct tape. I used it in our wedding, but not for thingie support. (a pair of rented tux pants weren’t hemmed. An ironed crease and a few strips of duct tape later *stringed instrument* a hem was born.

  41. Brown Eyed Girl

    I have no advice. Ask me why?

    Why, you ask? Because halter type dresses make me look like a middle line backer, therefore I always opt for the standard “completely covered looking like my Grandma might wear this” so I can wear my regular ole bra or the “regular wide tank straps boring dress” again so I can wear my “good ole industrial strength, get the girls up to the level they SHOULD be had gravity not taken over level” bra.

    The End.

  42. jenn2

    Don’t laugh but I got married in a halter dress and found a pretty awesome halter type/ lift and separate/ and oh-my- god-did-you-get-a-boob-job bra at Fredericks. The bad thing is you have to go in and try stuff on which is MORTIFYING!

    And the self adhesive thingies hurt worse than a mammogram.

  43. lifeasamama

    oh. my. goodness. hysterical post, replies are just as good. i have to say those liftits are a little weird. i can imagine that being comfortable for oh, about ten seconds. but then again i’m breastfeeding and my boobs grow a size an hour… and then shrink. it’s like magic.

  44. Whimspiration

    Wowe, all these great ideas for bras, and here I am suggesting that you get the dress taken in about 1/2 size below where you want the girls to fall, put on the dress, pull the girls where you want them and go. Some of my best attribute dresses are just a tiny bit tight at the top. For me, it’s either that or one of those huge granny bras with the uberpadded straps that give me mega-torpedoes od rocketing doom…

  45. Heidi

    Sharkey, I too got sucked into the Liftits film loop. (Liftit: pronounced “lift it” or “lift tit”? Heh.) Anyway, it looks like they’ll pull your puppies up high enough to scan the heavens above. Oh my.

  46. MommyGidget

    OMG…Heidi…”lift tit”!!!! I thought that same thing! Not only do I LOVE Mir and her wonderful sense of humor (and shame thy name is NOT Mir) but I love the wonderful group of women who comment and make the laughter grow more and more.

    My 2 cents…get them sewn in you won’t have to worry about them in that case.

  47. Sheryl

    Okay, I’ll say what all your other readers are too polite to say: We’re dying to see a picture!

    Wait, is it bad luck if your blog readers see your wedding dress?

    You don’t have to try it on for us, just snap a pic of it on the hanger.

    As for your boobs, just prop your arms under them, while you’re holding your bouquet, no problem.

  48. The Other Leanne

    You say LiftTit and I say Lift It, lalalala…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, sitting here at my desk in my professional office, grimacing in horror and crying with laughter at the same time…and wondering, what if just one side sliiips and falls?!
    Thanks for the girl-chuckles, everybody.

  49. Liise

    Dude, if you have any boobs at all those stick on things? a no go. Trust.

    You should have seen my mother behind me while I was bent over and the things were being placed and OH THE SHEER HORROR of pulling them OFF WHEN THEY ARE NOT PLACED RIGHT and will you EVER GET THEM PLACED RIGHT? uhm, no you won’t. Go braless.

  50. Christina

    OK, now I’m in pain just thinking about all the things the world does to our girls!! I would have to go with the sewn-in option if you have a good seamstress :)

  51. Liise

    Oh and dear god the self adhesive bra. Again, I implore you – STAY AWAY

  52. Carol

    You have too many comments for me to read through before posting this although I have caught a glimpse of warnings against the stick-ons.

    *I* wore stick-ons when I got married and they worked great for me. Of course, I was not quite a B-cup back in those days so maybe that was the difference. Also, I have a high pain tolerance so maybe that’s why I don’t recall them hurting when it came time to peel them off. Or perhaps I was just too drunk? Hmmm…probably the latter, actually.

    Good luck!

  53. carrien

    Lindsey of Suburban Turmoil has apparently had success with duct tape. I’ve never tried it.

  54. Carla Hinkle

    That Liftits loop is completely mesmerizing. I could not look away.

    I think I prefer the sewn-into-the-dress cups rather than self-adhesive — but do have the dress altered so it fits like a second skin for maximum effectiveness.

    Can we please, pleeeeeeaaaase see a photo of the dress????

  55. cce

    Uhmmm, when’s the wedding? Is there time for cosmetic surgery. I’ve been told that once medically enhanced, the girls no longer need pesky things like bras or stick ons or cups. If this is ethically, financially or religiously out of the question then I vote for having the dress outfitted with it’s own brasserie jobbie. I’ve worn a backless dress to a wedding without any bra. This was after nursing two kids…Big mistake. Whatever you do, don’t do that!

  56. AKD

    I’m really glad to learn that those self-adhesive bras don’t work for those larger than a B. I always wondered about them, and now I don’t have to suffer the pain to find out.

    I was recently helping my best friend from high school (even more well endowed than me) shop for a wedding dress. The teeny-tiny salesgirl helping her get into the dresses kept saying, “How are the Mamas doing?” referring to her boobs.

  57. theotherbear

    I also had cups sewn in to my wedding dress. Fab decision.

    I have tried 2 types of stick on bras. One was like thick rubber plastic thingies that looked hillarious and did not stick. I worried all day about the fact that they were slipping down inside my dress. The other was like thin really sticky stuff and while they didn’t fall off did not feel quite right.

  58. sillyme

    I tried these and LOVED them. They are by Braza and the name is the “Reveal” Bra. They stuck well (even after repositioning) and did not hurt coming off. They lifted me up and I felt like even if there was a wardrobe malfunction, I would still be covered. (I’m modest that way)
    anyway, here they are:

  59. Allanna

    I have no suggestions, but I’m so THRILLED that you got your dress! And it FITS! And it is your dream dress!!


    I bow to your eBay prowess. You da bomb!
    (And I’m sorry that your mamogram hurt like a sonuvagun. That’s not happy news. At all.)

  60. Caroline

    Go with the sticky bra. It is not as uncomfortbale as it sounds : ) Certainly not something you would want to wear every day, but one day won’t kill you. It is reusable. I’ve had mine since August and wear it on avergae twice a month – just give it a rinse after you take it off. Removal isn’t painful for me — less so than taking off a band-aid. Unlike the band-aid, don’t rip it off quickly, go slowly. I think I got mine in the Macy’s lingerie dept.

    Alternately, you could bring your dress to a seamstress and have bra cups sewn in.

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