Busted at the Seams In Detroit

BY AJ TRAGER

DETROIT - "I have a commitment to humans. They come in all different shapes or sizes or whatever and if you want to wear a bra, who am I to say you can't wear a bra?" says Lee Padgett, owner of Busted Bra Shop.

Busted opened in December 2013 and at the time was Detroit's only lingerie shop. Today the shop has cup sizes from AAA-O (as in the letter) and 26-56 available for band sizes.

Padgett owned Cafe Detroit from 2003-2006 during a time when Meetup was really popular, as was speed dating. While it was open, the shop would combine those two ideas and host speed dating nights for the LGBT community.

Padgett and her husband moved down south for a period of time following 2006. It was there that she got her first taste of running a bra shop when she took over a management position while her friend, the owner, was out on maternity leave. She woke up one day and decided to convince her husband to move back to Detroit to start Busted.

"There's more than just fashion. Boobs are functional, but they can cause problems. I wanted to be a help. I felt it would be a great way to employ people. Everybody wears them. We try to make our customers comfortable. And we have a lot of customers that say they're no longer suffocating in their bras after we fit them," Padgett said.

The shop caters to all sizes and body shapes and has products from 45 vendors. Padgett goes to New York City twice a year to shop the lingerie market, and sometimes the vendors come to her. Busted also sells sex toys from LeLo, but it is best known for its array of bra styles and the willingness to cater to any body size.

Whether clients need everyday, sport, nursing, plunge, wire-free, backless or just pretty bras, Busted is the place to go. The shop is the first in the nation to offer what is called the Nubian Skin line and features designs and colors from a designer who wanted to provide women of color with lingerie that is close to their skin shade without having to dye their undergarments in tea or even furniture polish.

Padgett says that some clients come from across the country to peruse her stock and make a purchase that is just for them. One trans woman, and long-time client of Padgett's, comes to Busted twice a year from Colorado because she knows that she is purchasing quality products from an inclusive and educated vendor.

When getting a new bra, Padgett says the most important thing to consider is trying it out for a test drive.

"Always try them on just like shoes. It's tough to buy a shoe without trying it on first. You want to get measured every time you go into a bra shop, even if it's one you frequented multiple times -- I would suggest getting a sitter," Padgett explained.

Things to consider when trying on a bra:

- If the band moves when hands are raised, the cups are too small and/or the band size is too big.

- If the bridge between the cups doesn't lay flat to the sternum, the cup size is either too big or too small.

- If the back of the cup doesn't fit into the arm pit, it needs to be resized.

Bra wearers should also do what Padgett calls a "tune up" and make sure the straps are tight and in the right place.

As part of their showcase for the 2016 LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo, Busted showed off the fun and easy additions brides (or grooms) can put under their formal wear to spice up the day.

"We wanted to be fun and flashy," she said.

Busted has performed in other shows including one in the Penobscot Building and one at the Carr Center in Detroit. The shows have featured trans and cis-gender men and women, including models from the Flyhouse Circus group and the Detroit Derby team.

To learn more about Busted, visit their website at http://www.bustedindetroit.com/.

Busted is located at 15 E. Kirby St. Suite A, Detroit.

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