Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Butch & Her Bras

Or rather, "sports bras".

Do any of you other Butches out there feel out of place when you wander into the women's lingerie section looking for a sports bra?  I certainly do.

While wandering around my local Fred Meyers this afternoon I ventured over to the women's lingerie section to see about picking up a new sports bra.  First off, I noticed that as I wandered through any of the women's sections I felt as though I was being watched.  Like that pervy guy that wanders through those sections just to get his kicks or the guy who shows up trying to buy something for his girl and has no clue as to where to start.  You know the guys I'm talking about?

Anyway.  Whenever I wander into those sections, I always expect a sales person to stop me and ask if I need help picking out something for my girlfriend or my Mom.  It's happened a time or two but what mostly gets me are the stares from other customers in the store.  Those stares you get when they think you are somewhere where you don't belong.  Maybe it's just because I really don't feel like I belong there and maybe it's all in my head, but maybe not.  I've seen those stares from the women shopping around me.  The Mom's who grab their little girls hands and stare me down as they pass by or the old ladies who quicken their step and head in the other direction.  I've caught them out of the corner of my eye and do my best to ignore them and go about my business.  I mean, seriously, I know I look like a guy but do I look like a creepy guy?

Today was no exception.  There weren't any sales people around but the stares were there.  Specially since I was wandering around in boots, dirty jeans (I just finished changing the brakes on a friends car so they were pretty dirty) and a black hoodie.  I stood my ground though and looked around for all of 2 minutes.  It was enough time for me to figure out that I wasn't willing to fork out $36 for one (yes, ONE!) sports bra.

So I walked away.  Quickly.

I think I'll go look for something online and have it shipped to me.


  1. Yup. Same here, I do a lot of online shopping for under garments. the problem for me is that I have a seriously hard time finding a comfy bra. I pretty much HAVE to either try it on in the store, OR, order one online and hope it fits. They usually don't. It sucks.

  2. Been to Title 9? If not, try bra shopping there. Much less lingerie-ish.

  3. I haven't. Hmmm...I'm not sure the idea of walking into a store that's just for women would be all that comfortable for me either, oddly enough. I'd have to think about that some more. Thanks!

  4. Ha--excellent post. I second the Title Nine idea--I'm guessing you won't be the only butch in there. REI has a great selection of sports bras, too. You can order everything online, pick it up at the store and try it all on there, then just keep the ones you like.

  5. Jeez - I'm so sorry you deal with being stared at like that. Whenever I see a butch woman out and about I have to stop myself from BOUNDING over and hugging her for being out there for people like me, who just look like suburban moms with a couple of attached kids.

    On the bra-buying front, that particular misery is unrelated to gender presentation, just so ya know. I found a way to buy bras online after years of agony, and it has saved my sanity.

    Bra shopping. Phhht.

  6. I'm femme, and I get stares when I'm in the bra section or the lingerie store, too.

    Because I don't have any boobs to speak of.

    It's a pity sort of look.

  7. First: lmao at Amber. :)

    Second--Smile. Seriously. Smiles and eye contact make people far more likely to leave you alone and realize you're NOT that pervy guy looking to wear frilly panties in front of the school yard. It works in bathrooms too. Not that you want to smile when people are looking at you, displaying their own insecurities and ignorance, but it might help you get your shopping done. :)

    Sports places are great places to get sportsters, as my partner calls them. (she hates the word bra). Rei, camping placing, etc.

  8. I can heartily recommend Title 9. I'm an obviously out dyke, somewhat masculine of center, and they don't give a rip. I can't wear those accursed underwires so I always need help searching for the most binder-like bras. I have 3 different styles that I got from them and I love them as much as I can love a bra. They're spendy, true, but they last a long time. And, once you know what fits you can order them on line.
    The store is in the Pearl district (more's the pity).

  9. Meh....who cares what other people think? Why do you care so much about that? Its how you feel about yourself that really counts. I agree with Victoria...smiles work wonders (and makes you feel good, too). Just saying.

  10. Indeed. It is how you feel about yourself that really counts. I struggle with that part of it daily, but I'm working on it. It's a constant process for me.

    Thanks so much for everyone's comments and suggestions! I will certainly check out Title Nine and REI for something new!

  11. As an update, today I scored 2 (yes, two) sports bras from Old Navy for $20 total. Plus, no hassle. Hopefully, they'll last for a little while. We shall see.

  12. I never knew...

  13. I am undercover security and get the same looks on and off the job, so annoying! Bathrooms are the worst, half tempted to go into the men's; at least I wouldn't get kicked out by a little old lady with cane!

  14. First I want to say that I enjoy reading your blog. So far I've only found two blogs from the butch perspective (I haven't really looked to hard yet), but its nice to read about issues I deal with too.

    Second, I have a question on the bra matter. Do sports bra's give a good amount of support? I am very large busted but hate bras and wouldn't wear them if I were small but I kind of have to since I'm so big. I'm trying to figure out what works for me best and haven't tried sports bras since I was in high school and a lot smaller in that area. What do you suggest?

    Thank you for your time,

    1. Hi RaeAnn,
      I'm larrrge and wear sports bras. The trick is to find one with enough support that your boobs don't fall out of the bottom.

      I usually buy Champion brand, in a strong support, but one or two sizes smaller that I normally would wear. Keeps it all tight, but with enough flex in the boob area for the boobs to get air.

      I've also had some good luck with back-hook style sports bras that are built more like a regular bra but with tighter support.

  15. Hey RaeAnn! First off, thank you for reading! I think you'll find quite a few blogs around that are written from the butch perspective. Check out the link list on the left!

    As far as bras go, I find that sports bras are the most comfortable for me because they don't feel too 'girly'. If that makes any sense at all. Support wise, they're good because they hold your chest pretty firmly since they're made for sports. I'm not on the large size nor am I small so it's been a bit of a challenge but I do know a few larger chested women who've tried the Enell Sports Bra and swear by it. Maybe start by checking them out if you're interested. Here's a link:!ENELL/Enell+Sports+Bra+EN-100

    Hope that helps!

  16. Wendi,
    Thanks! I will check that out.


  17. Im very butch looking and have people mistake me for a guy all the time. I hate going to womens clothing stores. To top it all off I have huge breasts (48i). I took up karate two years ago and running this year in an effort to get in better shape. I discovered they don't even make sports bras in my size - anywhere. Yes I have tried the internet. The closest thing I found online was a low impact yoga bra, which was better then what I previously had. Last year I finally broke down and went to one of those boutique places where they don't even really have anything on the shelves they just talk to you and bring you out stuff to try on. I finally got the best bra I have ever owned. Its not a sports bra, they really don't make any that work for me. It is a ridiculously expensive underwire bra made out of some space age materials that cost me over $100. I'm hoping to get a breast reduction before I have to buy anymore freaking bras.

  18. First, I'm really enjoying your blog. Second, I want to share something. I moved to Oakland, California a few years ago, and the starring stopped. Now, I REALLY notice it in places I visit - Maine (for the in-laws), and particularly in South Carolina (for the parents). I realize not everyone wants to (or can) move, but I thought it might be hopeful to realize it's not the same everywhere.

  19. Thank you! Yes, it's absolutely true that it's not the same everywhere, thankfully! Fortunately, Portland is a pretty progressive town and it doesn't seem to happen all too often. Only when I am in the outer pockets of the city do the stares begin again. For the most part, I just smile at them and go about my business.

    Moving is a definite option for this sort of thing. There's something to be said about finding comfort in a larger crowd of others like you. There's also something to be said about those who were the first and stayed to change people's perspectives, you know?

    Thanks again for reading and enjoying!

  20. A couple of commenters are talking about how hard it is to find butch bras--my girlfriend is butch, and her favorite bra (also, my favorite bra of hers!) is this:

    Good for the butch rack. Plus, the zipper is dyke-sexy to go with her Charles-Lindbergh aviator jacket...

    I know it can be really hard for butches to "deal" with their breasts in various ways: buying sexy but not femme-sexy bras, allowing a partner to touch them--thinking, is it too girly to be turned on by this touch? and having to learn that either answer is okay--possibly even nursing a baby. But if you can find a really badass bra, isn't that a great way to be butch?

  21. Absolutely! Thanks for the link!

  22. If I saw a butch walk into the same lingerie store I was shopping in, I'd probably stare too... but I'm femme, so it'd be the good kind of stare lol! But no wonder I never see any butches in there, ya'll are shopping for sports bras! I need to check out sports stores more often :)

  23. Shop online. Dilemma solved.

  24. I bring a femme friend along when I shop. Then I only get the double takes & puzzled looks, but that's easier to handle than the you're a perv look. When I find a bra I like buy several. Wal-Mart has cheap sports bras