Product Review: When Every Bra Size is Wrong

Mallory Ortberg is the co-founder of The Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre and the upcoming Holt release The Merry Spinster

I have never thought of myself as a person who disliked wearing bras, or who disliked the way that I looked in shirts. You need not understand yourself as such a person to be interested in wearing a binder, so if that thought is holding you back, or ever has, take heart. I wish I could tell you there was a way to put on a binder that did not require a significant amount of graceless wiggling, but if there is, I don’t know it. Perhaps you will be able to manage a charming sort of shimmy. The magic comes after the gracelessness.

I cannot promise this will happen for you, but here is what happened for me: I put on a shirt over the binder and I saw a look on my own face I had never seen before. There was joy in it, and amazement, and utter delight. There were other things, too, that I do not yet have words for. I felt, at thirty years of age, a wholly new feeling about my own appearance that I had not known it was possible to experience, and that is worth something, in my opinion. I had no idea a person could feel that way about themselves, much less about the way they looked in clothes! How funny that is. It felt like a compulsion, but it was not. I made a series of choices, and they produced an overwhelming feeling within me. Writing about it now feels like a compulsion, but it is not; it is a choice that I am making, however difficult I may find that to believe.

There are things about living in a body in the world that feel inaccessible without quite being impossible; inaccessible in the sense that the gap between fantasy and reality is always present regardless of how one looks, inaccessible in that one often fears the extent, scope, and reach of one’s own desires, inaccessible in the sense that learning more about what one may want does not necessarily translate into being any closer to getting it, or even asking for it, or that there will be anyone to ask it of, inaccessible in the sense that what one wants is not always consistent, recognizable, or even legible, to oneself, much less anyone else. Read more via Shondaland