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If you have any doubt that clothes are powerful, just talk to a secret big boob girl — if you can find one, that is.
Secret big boob girls are the ones who cleverly conceal their most prominent physical trait, technically on display before your very eyes, to the point of CIA-level secrecy. These are the women walking around with bras labeled D, DD, and upwards, but you’d never know it.
I am one of these secret big boob-havers. A lover of loose tees and menswear-style shirts, I dress to hide my chest at all costs. I won’t be caught dead in a tight crewneck; there’s not a single turtleneck sweater in my closet. My clothing choices from the waist up are focused almost exclusively on supporting, minimizing, and ultimately "flattering" (that tyrannical concept) the large breasts strapped to my chest.
It doesn’t matter if something is trendy. If it showcases the size of my chest (or, god forbid, makes my boobs look even bigger), I won’t be partaking. That includes the babydoll tops of the early 2000s all the way through the ubiquitous off-the-shoulder looks of this past summer.
I go to all the trouble because otherwise my boobs would be the star of the show, so to speak. There are plenty of women who don’t mind that, choosing to accentuate their big busts instead. And that’s great if it makes them feel good! But I prefer my own body to not be quite so obvious, so on display. I don’t want my chest to be the first thing people notice.
And so, because of my conscious effort, few people realize I’m walking around as a size 34DD. When the topic of bras comes up in conversation — which, as a woman with lots of oversharing female friends and a job at a shopping website, it does often — people are surprised to hear me gripe at my own lack of lingerie options. When I mention how I have to buy $150 bikinis from speciality stores instead of cheap trendy ones from Target, I’m met with bewilderment.
I realize the ability to conceal my breasts is a privilege, both of size and income. Minimizing bras are expensive, and even if you can spend the money, women with chests much larger than mine simply can’t minimize them away, no matter how flattering their shirts or tight their bras. Not everyone can pull a boob disappearing act with the mere tuck of a sweater or button of a shirt.
But lucky as I am, I wish it weren’t a calculation I had to make. Sometimes I say screw it and decide to wear a form-fitting sweater or body-con dress. The inevitable result: stares (from other people), fidgeting (my own), and the subsequent self-doubt. It’s not that I hate the way I look in tight dresses; it’s that I don’t like the attention and double-takes, the feeling of carrying around a literal burden.
So for now, I’ll continue to use the power of clothing to present myself — and decide what I’d like to not present at all, thank you very much.