Thursday, April 27, 2017

Does a Training Bra Provide Any Actual Training?

Knowing what size you are can be a super important thing for anyone who is transgender.  I think this is primarily caused by doing much of their clothes shopping remotely.  Transgender people often rely on catalogs and online purchases.  Thus, you need to know your size before you order anything.  You have to put it into the darn forms before they will send you anything.  Plus, there's added pressure for TG individuals as buying anything brings with it a certain amount of excitement.

This excitement is not exclusive to TG people.  Many people are happy, interested, desirous of receiving what they are purchasing.  Why else buy something, if you don't actually really want it?  But for transgender people there are often a whole host of other emotions.  Like a sense of freedom for  bucking social conventions, or of just pure unadulterated joy and excitement at the prospect of finally ordering some elicit item you have lusted after for much of your life.

When transgender people buy clothes it is often very different than it is for cisgender people.  Take bras for example.  Many women express many negative emotions about their bras.  Maybe they have forgotten what it was like when they were a growing child/teen and they were informed that they needed to buy a training bra.  This is a pivotal moment in many women's lives.  Something that was indicative of a change within them.  A change for themselves and for how the world viewed them as well.  This may be an exciting time for some, while for others it is their introduction to a massive nuisance they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.  (Hmmm.... too dramatic?  Talk to someone who hates their bras but feels socially compelled to wear them.)

Buying a bra for a male to female transgender person though is a major event!  Especially their first one.  Oh my!  The first bra is an unbelievable event.  It is filled with such joy and excitement and anticipation that I am seriously hard pressed to give the description justice.  Suffice to say, it is a big deal.

Thus, can you imagine the heartache and pain when the garment finally arrives in the mail, only to find that it doesn't even come close to fitting?  Yeah, talk about crestfallen!  It is such the massive bummer to finally buy it, sometimes after years and possibly decades of denying your wants, finally have it arrive, finally, after all this time, you have the actual item in your hands, and it is far better than you could have ever imagined, but AAAAAACCCCKKKKK, it doesn't freaking fit!!

That is when the doubts arise.  Obviously it doesn't fit because you're a dude trying desperately, foolishly to fit into something that is totally wrong for you to even want, let alone try.  Or maybe it is because you are just too ignorant to buy the right thing.  I mean after all, if your mother had informed you that you had to go get that training bra when you were just heading into puberty, then of course you would now know exactly what size bra to purchase, because you would have been trained for all things bra related!  Ha!

Maybe you even took the extra step of reading up on bra fittings, and took the additional step of actually taking your own measurements.  Did you use those handy "How to Find Your Bra Size" websites?  The one that say, if your under bust measurement is ______ and your across the nipple measurement is ______ then your magic bra size is _______.   So what does it mean then when your newly order magic garment of boobage is ill fitting?  Does it mean that you're just a different kind of failure?  Now you're so foolish that you can't read directions well enough?  You don't know how to use a measuring tape?  Or maybe you just can't use those measurements because you're mathematically challenged?

Really, what is the answer to these mysteries?  You need to get somebody else's advice!  Yes that is certainly the answer!  Somebody out there would know how to help you know your number.  That one number that would work for every store, every garment, every single time, without fail.  Maybe, ideally actually, somebody who has been trained in these things.  Like you know those lucky girls that got that privilege of being trained properly.

(Do you think I am mistaking the meaning of the whole training bra thing much?)

Okay, enough malarky!

There is only one assured way of getting something that actually fits you well:

Try it on!!!!!!

Sorry.  That's it.  No there is no magic mystical number that will always work, for every garment, for every store, for every season, for every age that you will ever be.  Clothes and bodies just don't work that way.  Not for dresses, or pants, or tops, or underwear, or bras, or even socks!  Come on, please, can't we at least have socks that universally fit?  No, you can't!

Listen, I know the struggle is real.  But seriously, don't for a moment think this is a transgender exclusive problem.  My wife has such a typical, and awesome female body, and what did she grow up with?  A mother who told her that no pants would fit her, because of her odd body.  She now hates to hear the phrase - your jeans are pooching.  I mean seriously, come on, who says that jeans are pooching?  What does that even mean?  Apparently she thought it meant having lines at the top of your jeans where the legs meet at the crotch.  Umm, okay, weird.  Maybe there was nothing wrong with her body and it is just the nature of bodies and clothes?????

But what is a public-shop-a-phobic transgender individual to do?  Well you could try the following:

  • Take a deep breath and go shopping while dressed in your socially preferred manner.  You can pick up a variety of clothes, male and female, and take all of them into the dressing room and just try on what you would like.  Yeah, it's a bit different, but I have done it.  Imagine, what would you do if you had to buy clothes for an opposite sex person because they weren't able to?  What would you do?  I know that when my wife broke her leg, I shopped for her.  She couldn't do it!  There are non-cross dressing reasons why somebody might buy clothes from the "wrong" side of the store.

  • Buy more than one item's size while shopping on line.  Buy the size you think you might be, and then one bigger and one smaller.  Then you have greatly increased your odds of getting the right size.

  • Buy one item online, with the understanding that it probably won't fit!  And have every intention of trying it on, and sending it back if it isn't just right.  Maybe the store will offer free return shipping; so look for it.

  • Dress how you want, and for the gender of clothes you will be shopping for, and go for it!  My personal favorite is visiting outlet malls in the morning when they open on weekdays.  I get the best service at those times and it is much lower pressure than any other shopping time!  But if you do it, you MUST try on your clothes before purchasing, and if you need to, go get a different size or five different sizes to try on!  Try them on and work to find the right size regardless of what the tag says.

Here is what I think you should not do:
- try to find your size and expect that it will always work.  It won't.  For anybody.  Ever.  

Well, okay, your size could serve as a general guide, but that is about it.  Think about it as a starting point.  Seriously.  I have had my size down for a certain manufacturer and then the next season, I am a different size.  I go from one store to another and I am a different size.  Sometimes I am two different sizes depending on the fabric that was used to create the garment.  This has happened for all the types of clothes that I wear, socks and shoes, and most especially bras.

Okay.  I guess I had more to say on this topic than I thought I originally did.  Hmm.  Interesting.  Well,  maybe just to me.  But I have had many people contact me inquiring about my size, and it bothers me.  Not because of anything other than, what does such an irrelevant ever changing number ever mean to anybody else when it barely means anything to me?

What have these numbers been used for?  Possibly only to discount my knowledge of gender variant dressing.  Oh, I see, you don't know anything about finding female shoes for size 15 feet because you can just walk into any shoe store and find your cute little petite size 9.5 shoes.  Well then phfff on you.  You may as well just be a girl.

Yeah well, that may be true, but trust me that regardless of how special you think you are, there are a million other people suffering just like you.  I have heard men complain about this size thing towards male clothes and female clothes.  I have heard females complain the same way, about both genders clothes as well.  I have heard overweight people complain this way.  I have heard underweight people complain this way.  I have heard average weight people complain.  I have heard completely flat chested people complain about bras as well as breast-gifted people complain about their bras.

Which group of people generally don't complain about clothing issues?  Those of us who have conquered the fear of shopping and who work hard for what we have!  It's the truth.  Deal with it.  Go shopping.  Enjoy yourself.  Have a drink if that helps.  Have a pretzel from Wentzle's if that is what it takes.  Do what it takes!  Get over the BS reasons of why you can't and go do it!

So... even though I never had a training bra, somehow I figured out how to get some things done.  Besides, I don't really think training bras train you for anything, from what I can tell.

I do think I've got the whole training part of the training bra wrong.  Hmm..... maybe it's training for understanding that your life is quickly changing and you better adapt quickly and get used to it, or figure out what else to do about it?

See.... I'm still rattling on and on about this!  Okay.  I've got to stop!

Love you!

Love you!

Love you!

Love yourself!

Learn to love TRYING things on!


Do it!


photo credits:'s_clothes_designed_by_women_(1903).jpg


  1. Charlene PetersonApril 28, 2017 at 1:20 PM

    Hi Nadine.
    Shopping is hard work. But with the right attitude it really can be a lot of fun!!!
    How are you doing with your holiday from shopping??

    1. Thanks Charlene!

      My shopping diet is going well. It turns out that I have lots of clothes already! Yay for me! I'm sure I will give a more detailed update on my blog soon.


  2. I have shopped - and bought my first bra there - at a transgender store. I received a fitting and tried it on, and it all went well. Except, their clothing selection is so limited! Of course they can't be a Macy's, Dress Barn, and ... all in one. So, I buy a lot of my clothing on Amazon which has a huge selection and as a Prime member, free shipping to me and back to them if it doesn't fit or I don't like the look.