When I was reading Steph's latest post (talk about moxy), I was reminded of this informative post, wherein I note a similar theme.
That theme is, and I hate this term: back fat. Egad! What is the world coming to when we can't find a more elegant name for such a thing? I'd settle for simply avoiding the topic!
In truth, though, it is a concern for many women. I know this because they email me about it. Or they talk to me about it over a drink. Or we discuss it at length when I'm
goading them helping them to find the new
bras that will undoubtedly improve their lives. (No, I'm not being
bourgeois or glib.) People have the same kind of horrified response to
"back fat" as they do to cellulite. Apropos of which, let me tell you a
One day, a long time ago, I learned about a new cellulite product, purported to be revolutionary. Of course, the marketing grabbed me. (I am so at the mercy of good marketing and green potions with "microbeads".) Anyway, I went to the store and came home with this ridiculously expensive product, which was essentially caffeine-laced goo. It was a total pain in the ass to apply (pun intended). Before using it, I needed to exfoliate in the shower, then I had to wait till it soaked in or it would wreck my clothes. It smelled weird. About 3 minutes after I began my "slimming regime", I was reminded that I DON'T FUCKING CARE ABOUT CELLULITE. I have never once observed it on someone else and pitied her. It has never undercut the inherent sexiness of anyone I've ever met. Dammit, I'm half inclined to like my cellulite. I mean, it's hard won. BTW, I have slim legs. I'm known for my slim legs. And I exercise them daily. So if I have cellulite under these circumstances, who the fuck doesn't?
Anyway, I threw that shit in the garbage and started wearing short shorts. The Man's not gonna smother me. The end.
Which leads me, in a very round about way, to my next point:
So-called back fat can be the result of a number of factors, many of them out of your control. Some people just store body fat there. Others don't have fat, so much as they lack tone. It stands to reason that women who have large breasts as a result of weight (vs. those who are genetically predisposed) are more likely to carry flesh around the entire torso, not simply the breasts. The phenomenon seems to be enhanced by fluctuating hormones (pregnancy, peri-menopause). Short waisted women seem especially prone to it. And, one of the things that seems to pull said fat right out of the air, is a firm bra band. (You'll recall from 8 zillion previous posts, firm bra bands are de rigeur as far as I'm concerned.)
Alas - and here's the rub - women with large breasts (all women really, but this is pronounced amongst this subset) need a firm band to provide the support (along with good underwires and cups that fit and secure straps) required when they're carrying around quite a few pounds on the fronts of their chests. I'll go one step further. Depending on your tits and your overall shape, you might actually need a tight band. (Not cut-off-your circulation tight, but a couple of steps removed.)
Unless it is extremely observable - and, trust me, it generally isn't - I'm going to notice (and judge, let's tell it straight) your unsupported boobs 8000 times faster than I'll notice your back fat.
Why? Because I'm apt to see your tits first. Because saggy tits are unsightly and avoidable. And because I recognize that women have flesh on their torsos made somewhat more visible by the compression of specific parts of that torso. By contrast with the part of your back compressed by the bra band, your back below your bra band may have somewhat more profile than you'd like. But it's not wrong and it's not unattractive (unless it's excessive, let me reiterate. And "excessive" is generally the result of a poor fitting bra.)
I did an experiment recently on my mother. The woman's gonna smack me when she reads this but, as she's on the Camino for the next 5 weeks, I'm going to take my life into my hands. My mother is - sorry Ma - a total wuss when it comes to supportive bra bands. Lord, it's thankless shopping with her. I won't get into the details but she really can't get with the "I can feel my bra band and it's ok" philosophy.
When I visited recently we went shopping for new bras. (Despite the fact that she doesn't appreciate my methods, I'm the only one she'll bra shop with. Go figure.) We found a few that fit really nicely - uplifting, nice shape, attractive - but my mother was unconvinced. For starters, the band was so "noticeable", said she. She was also unhappy that we sized up in a cup and sized down in the band on the premise that she didn't like the new letter. It didn't matter that I explained how cup size is volume based and is always linked to band size. Smaller band = smaller volume in the cup, which is why we have to size up in one when we size down in the other.
Anyway, I couldn't stand it anymore. I made her put on her old bra (loose band, stretched to hell), took out a pen and marked the point at which her breasts abutted her torso. Then, I got her to put on the new bra and I marked the spot where her breasts abutted in it. The bra with the band that fit had her breasts up 4 inches higher than the other.
This isn't rocket science people. It's simple engineering. FYI, she bought the new bra.
(BTW, don't you think that was a smart way to prove my point?! Pictures speak louder than words.)
OK, back to back fat. If it comes down to elevating your breasts by 4 inches vs. seeing a bit of differentiation between the part of your torso covered by a bra strap and the part of your torso above and below it, I'll let you decide which you prefer.
Now, I'm not all: back fat exists, deal with it. I do have ideas about how to mitigate its appearance and to improve smoothness under clothing by choosing the most appropriate undergarments. And I don't mean Spanx.
This is the subject of my next post so please stay tuned.
And do let me know about your thoughts on this topic. I sense it brings up a lot of strong feelings so I'd like to know which of you are on my side of the fence (it's no big deal) and which of you shiver at the thought of it.