Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Discovery: Underwires and TSA

I have to say that I’ve never been stopped for my underwires at airport security. I’ve been stopped for other reasons: “Your library of books is too dense to show up on the X-ray”, “We can’t see through the metal box holding… oh, these are pencils”, etc. I’m also insanely paranoid about getting through the machine that you walk through; I hold my breath and creep over, every time! It’s illogical because I take everything off and shouldn’t set it off but I feel like half a criminal anyway.

Anyway, I’ve heard a few stories about underwires setting off these TSA machines at airports, while plenty of other women (including me) have never had this happen.

I FOUND THE REASON *cue rising chorus of aahhHH*

According to an airport screening officer who did an AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) thread on Reddit, the machine detects the total amount of metal on your body, not specific pieces of/or specific densities. So if you’re wearing jewelry, have dense underwires and maybe metal somewhere else on your person, you might set the machine off even while the next person wearing the same underwires doesn’t set it off. The machine has some unannounced allowance for the amount of metal going through, and any higher amount will ring. Also, light metals will go through more easily / contributes less to this allowance.

The new machines are all-over scanners, I think.

Also, a bit about TSA and public opinion:

I like the TSA. Yes I get anxious going through security (personal problem), and yes some rules seem arbitrary (they’re there though and they’re clearly labeled throughout the airport), and yes it can take forever (get there earlier), and yes there are sometimes very grumpy security officers (there are grumpy people in general, in all occupations), and yes I’ve heard people legitimately questioning their effectiveness/usefulness (I also question the usefulness of various school administrators but we can’t throw them all out can we), BUT as an extra procedure, it really doesn’t hurt anyone. The officers I’ve met for longer than a minute have always been friendly and helpful. I remember a lady TSA officer who had to search my bag after the X-ray, and I had a massload of pads because I was on my period then. She was a classy lady, that one. She searched my stuff good and thoroughly but rummaged through my pads without taking them out and embarrassing the crap out of me in front of my dad and other airport people, which I’d totally been expecting.

I really don’t think they deserve this really poor public opinion. It makes me sad 😦

Standing all day, looking at and through people’s stuff, herding person after person through the same spots, some cooperative and some uncooperative, and explaining and repeating information that is widely broadcast and clearly posted… this is not an easy job. Please don’t give airport staff any unnecessary grief and do give in to your urge to make everyone’s day at work go smoothly and happily!

Where Is Your Sternum?

Thanks to WordPress, I get to see some of the search terms that bring people here. A surprising number indicate that people are stumbling into my corner of the Internet on their mighty search for… where exactly the sternum is located.

This absolutely warrants a dedicated post.

Bra fitters advise (well, they’d demand it if they could) that the center gore of your bra tack to, or be firmly touching, your sternum.


For that matter, what is it there for?

First, location: It’s in the center of your chest, between your breasts! (If you do not have breasts, then they are between where your hypothetical breasts would be in those situations when you have hypothetical breasts.) Your ribcage is basically two mirror image half-cages, right? (Right?) They are symmetrical with a vertical line of symmetry going from your chin to your navel The sternum is the flat bone that runs along that line of symmetry, connecting the two ribcage halves. (It’ll be positioned upwards from the lowest point in your ribcage, because your lower ribs angle up before meeting. The sternum is not nearly as long as your full ribcage. )

What is it for?

From the point of view of a Googler (read: not a medical professional but good at looking things up online): it supports and is the core for your clavicles/collarbones and your ribcage. You know, the ribcage that protects your heart and any other vital organs hanging out in that vicinity? That one.

Since it’s kind of… in the middle of your body… beneath skin and tissue… your bra’s not exactly going to have direct interaction with the actual sternum bone. When we say “tacking to your sternum”, we mean it should be firmly touching that location marked in red in the above diagram, on your chest.

The sternum is also called the breastbone.

I’ll ask my nursing friends for any input on this cute primitive-dagger-shaped bone, see if there’s anything interesting on their front.

Sources: Yahoo Education ; The Free Dictionary

Review: Contact with Affinitas

The night I received and tried on the Affinitas bras, I emailed Affinitas with a comment and two questions: First, oh wow thank you because these are amazing; second, since the Honey’s straps are removable and interchangeable, was the bra at all functional as a strapless; and third, would they please ever ever expand to making 28 bands because despite my feverish love for these two 30-back bras they’d fit me much better if in 28.

Of course, my language was slightly more formal and less stream-of-consciousness than that.

I thought my email was appropriately enthusiastic and friendly while polite and professional. I have to admit, though, that I was slightly disappointed with the reply–with the content a bit, but mostly with the writer.

First, from a professional point of view, the English was too imperfect. There were some very basic grammar errors that really should not happen in professional dialogue; yes, I’m sometimes particularly strict about language due to my field but these were things that bare-bones spellcheckers would have caught. Also, there was no punctuation. I’m okay with this in blogs, IMs, and text messages, but not in emails and printed material.

From a customer’s point of view, I didn’t read any friendliness in the reply. I was thanked (which is good) “for [my] interest” (which I think is bad; interest and interesting are in my opinion the most semantically and sentimentally empty words possible in professional and educational dialogue [unless interest refers to political ambitions in which case it is pretty heavy]); dude, I told you that I bought your product, please acknowledge my support and message with sincere thought), and my questions were curtly answered with a minimal number of words. I didn’t sense any reflection of my enthusiasm or any original enthusiasm from the representative for her own company.

To be fair, I’ve been pretty deeply imbued with fuzzy warm attitudes online and should not have assumed a company representative to be as friendly and inviting. Objectively, the representative answered my questions precisely (sorry guys, no 28 in sight; AT ALL. And no on Honey being strapless-able). Anyone else have experience talking to Affinitas or other brands?

Review: Parfait by Affinitas, Kimberly and Honey


Remember that Totsy sale and how I wanted to try Affinitas despite their bands ending at 30? I went through with it, received the bras and have introduced them into my rotation.

So, I should really be a 28-only now but the Totsy sale put these gems up for about $18 each, which is even cheaper than typical cheap bras, and with free shipping (first purchase deal). It was a pretty low-risk gamble and I’m so glad I took it.

First Impressions

I got the package about a month after my order. My first reaction upon unwrapping the bras: “Oh dude these cups are HUGE.”

Then I tried them on: “Oh dude these cups FIT. What’s going on?”

And then… I caught a glance at one of the tags and was promptly struck speechless.


Affinitas is rumored to run one band size small and one cup size small, which is theoretically perfect for me because those are the exact dimensions and directions by which I size out of their range. However, I find that the bras are a bit more true to size. The 30 band is tighter than other 30 bands but is nowhere near a 28, and an ever-so-slightly larger cup would not be amiss. I’d say that my bras run about half a size out in those directions. The bra bands are okay for now, but they’ll stretch very quickly, and I expect (with a sad sad face) that they’ll be too loose sooner than usual. So at the moment, they’re both under special treatment in that I wear them as a deliberate pampering factor 🙂

The Honey and Kimberly have, to my delight, three hooks. They are also thickly lined (or lightly padded) and molded, which I didn’t realize I liked so much. They feel so soft and smooth, and they’re supportive without being scratchy, which is something that grumps me out about wearing unlined bras all the time.

Another thing I noticed, this time about both of these Affinitas bras; they’re squeaky! I haven’t found this problem with any other bras before, and it’s not so much loud and disruptive but startling and slightly annoying. Also, I’m a little sensitive to these raw *eeeeek*ish sounds (like scratching and styrofoam) so I pick up on these a bit more than other people might. I wonder why they’re squeaking at all.


This bra is a bit different from my recent preferences; I’ve realized that most of my bras are rather loud/dark colors. For some reason I’ve stayed away from muted and/or cute colors. Even for my Honey purchase I was hmming over the color, but I decided that I might as well splurge all the way through to the pastel color as well! Although now that I think about it, pastel colors seemed to be the only options. The only other color I remember is a pastel purple.

The one I bought is a really soft pink (soft but still having personality~) and it’s definitely my “cutest” color bra.

It has a nice thick lining (someday I will research and properly use the difference between lining and padding. Not today.) which I’ve really missed. The cups are totally comfortable and don’t show up at all under clothing.

The Honey is packaged with ruffled straps by default; that seems to be one of the highlighted features. However, I found the ruffles to be a little too thin and scratchy and rough for my taste. I would have preferred something thicker and softer and flowier. I’ve been wearing the bra with the alternate, ruffle-less straps that were provided.

(See the Affinitas general comment for band size comments.)

Here are some other opinions: Bratabase (only one review); one review on (sounds like I’m not the only one finding the default straps uncomfortable!); mixed reviews from Her Room customers; and a review of the babydoll version on Invest in Your Chest.


This bra may beat out the narue Princess in terms of my favorite bra, looks-wise. It looked great in pictures but is absolutely fantastic in (on?) person. I love how it looks so modern and classy. The stripes, the colors and design really work well together. Affinitas has someone genius in their midst.

The Kimberly came in two different styles: “Molded Padded Bra” (above) and “Balconet[te] Padded Bra” (below; seems to function also a strapless). Both colors were available in both styles, but the black one looks much sleeker and cooler to me. (This is where my mom scoffs at a bra-buying decision being made on account of how cool it looks.)

Regarding the past tense: The Kimberly is probably not being produced anymore. Its information is no longer accessible directly on the Affinitas website. If you found and followed my secret link in the preceding paragraph, you’ll notice that it’s in a directory named “_old”. So sad! I hope they put more products out along this trend.

(See the Affinitas general comment for band size comments.)

The dangling portrait (“cameo charm”) on the gore is pretty distinctive, but I honestly don’t notice or spaz over it as much as other reviewers.

Here are some other opinions: Bratabase page (they don’t seem to really like this); and Leah from Hourglassy (who actually tried both versions).


Do I recommend Affinitas/Parfait by Affinitas? Absolutely, if you’re in their range! I vote that people wearing usual 28 bands won’t find the 30 tight enough, though. Best if you can try it on first, of course, since their sizing is under dispute by our population. Across the board they’re said to run tight and small; I’m finding them more true to size than not.

Stay tuned for yet another post about Affinitas; I wrote to them and received a reply from a representative, and would like to share my first experience with writing to a bra company!

Perspectives: I, too, Am Miss I-Cup?

I haven’t spent much time with US/UK system comparisons because it’s so impractical to think in US. However, when I unboxed my Affinitas package and caught sight of the tag, the side-by-side numbers really took me by a bit of surprise.

I didn’t realize that UK G translated into US I! Massive mental blank-out “oh.” moment.

Also, I love the Parfait tag; it’s fun and sturdy. I’m thinking about making a nice bookmark out of it with some ribbon in the hole (but then I stop and realize that I rarely pause in the middle of a book worth continuing unless it’s one I’ve read at least ten times).

Review of the Parfait by Affinitas Honey and Kimberly coming soon!

Perspectives: Pain (None of) and Thanks

I accept, among other things, that I’m fairly large-busted. I denied this when people (family, friends) pointed it out through high school, deflecting “Sure I have a chest but I’m not that big.”

I did struggle with pain, a bit, but never fully realized that really really wanting to hold your boobs steady with your hands as you ran your weekly mile for gym class meant that they were in pain, in that many words. That, and not being really athletic, along with other factors, really came together to make me a person who could not run. (I still ran. Just… really embarrassingly slowly. I may be the only kid in America who worked her butt off to get a B in gym. Thank god for swimming and tumbling units.)

But pain from bouncing really only occurred when I ran (or jumped, but now all of that is gone because I have awesome bras now, whooo).

There are other kinds of pain that large busts contribute to, primarily shoulder and back pain.

I’m really grateful that, despite wearing completely wrong bra sizes for years, I have not experienced shoulder or back pain that could be linked to my bust. (Sometimes, I wonder why not, and then I go back to being happy that it didn’t happen.)


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