The Airing of Grievances (Happy belated Festivus!)

As a full-bust blogger, I’ve tried my very best to cheer on new brands that offer D+ styles. I’ve tried to write about new companies so people will hear about them, to offer advice, and to support them when I do have the funds to buy a full-priced bra. But when “fresh, innovative!” new companies are popping up left and right offering the same 28-40 D-G/GG range in bras that are poorly scaled and “bust-friendly” clothing companies are making clothing that just looks… large all over, I get tired of it.

We have enough brands that offer terribly scaled 28-40 D-G/GG bras. And to be frank, D-G/GG cups barely even scrape the lower end of the actual “full-bust” range. If you’re going to do 28-40 D-G/GG, do it well. Don’t just make the same crappy bras that every other brand offers.

One major thing we do need is H+ cups and sub-28 bands. Just fyi, when the few small-band H+ cup bras that are available all have wires that wrap around our backs, it barely even counts. Oh, and if you’re going to make H+ cup bras, maybe consider actually making a few longlines, which give SO. MUCH. MORE. SUPPORT. than standard bands… which is what we need. Why the hell are there no H+ cup longlines?

And clothing… oh god, clothing. (See Bras I Hate and Love’s post on this issue.) Do you know how many places I can go and find a cowl-neck shirt or sweater? Or how plentiful cheap stretchy spandex/jersey dresses and tops are? And if I wanted to wear a top/dress that I have to wear with a belt to get any waist-definition, I’d just get it at Marshall’s or TJMaxx. I’m so sick of seeing made-for-the-busty clothing companies build their collections on cop-outs. You know what we need more of? Well-tailored button-downs, non-stretch dresses with actual waists, winter coats that button…

I’m just so frustrated. I’m sick of cheering on every new and misguided company that tosses around the terms “full-bust” and “bust-friendly”. I want to see a brand actually listen to what we need and want. I’m not naming names, I’m not keeping a public shit-list… but I’m not going to cheerlead companies that aren’t clearly listening to the needs and wants of their target audience.

Project: removing the padding from a bra

Remember this bra? I mentioned it a while back. It’s the Chantelle Icone push-up bra in Iris- one of the most beautiful pieces of lingerie I’ve ever seen.

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I worked hard to find this bra. I hunted it down, had a retailer from France order it direct from Chantelle for me, and payed way more than I should have for it. It was a 36DD (back when I was wearing 32Fs) and I thought I could make it work. Of course, as luck would have it, it never really fit me. I took the cookies out, but it was still too small for me to actually wear.

And so it languished in my drawer for a while… I took the band in (sloppily) and made it into a 28G(ish). Still too small for my breasts (which were still growing), I stubbornly kept it around.

I was a little sad to find it when I was unpacking a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been worn in ages, and it was miles too small… it was 4-5 cups too small and the band felt tight (partially due to the cups being too small). Since I was going to have to throw it away, I decided to experiment a bit. I wasn’t sure whether it was possible (or worthwhile) to remove the padding from the bra, but I figured that I had nothing to lose, and quite a bit to gain.

Here are some before photos:

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The horrific overspill:iconebefore1

And the total lack of support (my breasts are barely even in the cups):iconebefore2iconebefore3

And it was fairly successful! I don’t get much support, and it looks odd from the front… but it’s no longer cutting in, and it’s definitely wearable as boudoir lingerie. Here are some after photos:

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No more overspill!

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Still not great from the front, though…

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How did I do it? I didn’t manage to get any photographs of the process, so I’ll try to describe it clearly. 

Step 1: Pick out stitching that holds the lace overlay to the foam along the top and sides of the cup. The elastic bits on the sides will have to come apart in order to separate the lace from the foam. You can resew this later.

Step 2: Cut (very, very carefully) the foam as close to the underwires as possible, being sure to avoid cutting the lace.

Step 3: Fold the lace back into the elastic part at the sides of the cup and, using a loose zig-zag stitch, sew the lace back to the elastic.

Step 4: Feel brilliant. And thrifty!

Anyway, I’m happy I didn’t have to part with it, but it’s still not great on me. If I get around to it, I’m considering taking out the bit of fabric between the cups and sewing the underwires together, which will make the cups a bit more stable. I am also considering finding a fabric to create an inner “sling” with, which would help give the bra a bit more structural support.

What I want in a bra

Over the past few years, I’ve tried countless bras… very few have actually fit me. It’s not a sizing issue as much as a shape/construction issue. Here are some of the things I’d love to see in a bra:

1. Deep cups and narrow underwires. As cup sizes go up, the cup takes up more and more of the band (a 30H has less band than a 30G). While I have breast tissue farther back than VS thinks, my boobs don’t wrap all the way around my torso! If I want a bra that contains my breasts, the wires usually end up almost at my back… and a bunch of the cup is empty and effectively part of the band. This isn’t solved by a larger band and smaller cup, as then the band is just too big (and the cup is still too small). I still want a small band… I just my cups to project outward, like my boobs do!

2. Shorter cups. Similar issue. It seems like designers think that boobs expand in every direction other than out. Sometimes it feels like the only difference between a 30GG and a 30H is how tall the cups are. I have big breasts, but I don’t need a bra that goes up to my collarbones…

3. Cups with immediate projection. I’d like my boobs to actually sit in the bottom of the cup for once. That’d be real nice.

4. Smaller gores and cups/wires angled inward. I don’t want my bra to pull me east-west. I want a bra that holds my breasts up and pushes them together a bit. I want my cleavage, damnit. I’d really love a G+ push-up bra. :)

5. Longline bands, 4+ rows of hooks. Why do I only see longline bands in smaller cups!?!? If most of the support is coming from the band, then longline should be an obvious solution for heavier breasts! I see them all the time in the B, C, and sometimes D cups… and occasionally up to a G-cup with Freya. But why stop there? Let’s see some GG+ longlines, please.

6. A band that extends below the cups. My boobs start high on my chest. Cups that dip lower than the band pull my breasts downward, which is really not what I want from a bra.

7. A band made of one material, with the same tension throughout. I’m so sick of bands that fit, but cut in due to sharp, thin elastic at the edges of a much looser fabric. Give me one thick elastic as the band! Or a stretch satin with no elastic at the edges! Really, that would be amazingly comfortable.

As soon as I find a place to live, I plan to make my dream bra out of an old and almost totally destroyed Ewa Michalak half-cup bra and some gold stretch satin. Wish me luck? (I welcome anyone who has helpful bra-making links to share them with me!)

Curvy Kate Entice, take 3

Okay, so I really wanted this to work. So when I saw a 30H on zulily, I jumped at it. I originally wanted a 30HH, but the 30H was the closest thing available.

The 30H was miles better than the 28HH… and the band was better than the 28J. While I could successfully stuff myself into the cups, moving did make me pop out quite a bit… so I think a 30HH would have been optimal.

Here’s how it looked:

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Not bad, eh?

Look, here’s a photo of me with 4 fingers under the band. (Seriously, if you are going to send me snarky comments about how my bands are too small, please don’t waste your breath or my time. I’m obviously only going to wear what I’m comfortable in.)

30HHband

Except that playing with the band revealed that the cups were actually still too small. I totally popped out.. and did not settle back in. :/ The cups are definitely too shallow for my shape- you can see some empty space at the bottom and I definitely feel like my boobs are being smashed against my chest. (EM bras, by contrast, fit me really well. I guess I just need deep cups.)

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I think I’ll probably end up wearing it anyway… I just won’t move too much. I may try to alter the gore (which also adds space to the cups!), which could help things.

Claudette En Dentelle: when sister sizing doesn’t work out

I wear a 28HH or 30GG… or 30H… and sometimes a 30HH. Also occasionally a 28H or a 28J. And I’ve found a few 32G bras that I can wear on the tightest hooks (though I should really just alter them), like the Parfait Casey.

So when Claudette showed up on zulily, I thought I’d see if I could make a 32G work. Claudette only goes up to a G cup and I really, really love the En Dentelle collection. I decided to go for it, and then had to make the extremely difficult decision between violet and green. I went for green, since I rarely see green bras and have enough purple things to last a lifetime (that’s what happen when purple is your college colour).

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Wow, this has to be the most beautiful set I’ve ever seen. But the band is clearly too big for the model. :/

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See? Gorgeous.

In person, the lace is just as lovely and delicate. The colours are a bit less vibrant, but it’s still clearly green.claudette32Gclaudetteclaudettegreenclaudettepanty

How did it fit? Not so well. :/

It gives my breasts a weird tear-drop “natural” shape that makes me feel saggy and totally unsupported. And the band, predictably, is way too loose. (And the cup fit is much worse when it’s on the tightest hooks!)

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From the front, it’s really East-West. It felt like the cups were pulling my breasts down and out… which is exactly the opposite of what I want a bra to do.claudetteshape

Part of it was that the cup was too small. But it was only a size (or two) too small. I think the underwires were also extremely flimsy. Look how easily I can pull it away:claudettegore1

And even without my pulling on it, it doesn’t come close to sitting nicely against my sternum.claudettegore

Since I bought a sister-size, I feel unfair reviewing this fully. I really, really wanted this to work out, since it’s such a lovely bra. Maybe Claudette will consider adding more sizes?

FYI: I’m selling it here. If you need a 32G, this is an amazingly gorgeous set…

Tutti Rouge Betty Review!

Disclaimer: Tutti Rouge provided the items for this review. 

When I heard about Tutti Rouge a few months ago, I was extremely excited to see cute and youthful styles available in a much needed size range (28-38 DD-HH (sometimes J)). I was obviously ecstatic when they offered to send me the Betty bra and panties to review. I had originally asked for a 28HH, but I’d been more of a 30GG lately, so I changed it to a 30GG.

The package arrived beautifully wrapped. The lingerie inside was even more lovely!

TRBetty

My photos didn’t manage to capture the wonderful amount of effort put into the detail and construction of the bra. The bra feel really well-made and the cute heart-shaped adjusters made me giggle. I had been skeptical of all things pink, but the pink bow works pretty well with the creme-coloured satin. And the fabric is amazingly soft!

Trying it on, though, was a mess. My ribcage is currently 29 inches, so a 30 should fit easily… and I should be able to at least fasten a 28. Not so with this bra. I could barely get the 30 to fasten… and then it felt like it was suffocating me. (It was okay with an extender, though.) Unstretched, the band measured 22 inches. Fully stretched, it only made it to 28 inches, which makes it a tight 28 or a loose 26 band… not a 30 band.

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The cups were also way too small, but that may be partially due to the cups becoming part of the band (as well as my needing a larger cup in general). Given this, it’s hard for me to estimate how the cups fit. I think a 32GG or 32H would fit me, though.

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The shape of the bra also isn’t quite right for me: the cups are shallow and wide (like most UK brands)… but a looser band would definitely alleviate some of the flattening!

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(FYI: The panties run a bit large. I normally wear a medium, but I really should have asked for a small! They are lovely and comfy, though! There is an adorable keyhole with a bow in the back… )

But since the band ran so small, I wondered if perhaps Tutti Rouge might be a good solution for my friend who needs a 24/26 band. I had her try on my 30GG and the band fit pretty well on the tightest hooks. The cups were a bit big on her, but I’d guess that the Betty would fit her in a 28GG. For the record, she really loves the bra!

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I’m really hoping that, instead of simply making their bands bigger, Tutti Rouge simply relabels them. The size range could be 24-34 (maybe 26-36)… and, with the styles that Tutti Rouge offers, would be a perfect fit for that demographic. (See that pun there?)

Anyway, the bra is exceptionally well made and really, really lovely. My fingers are crossed that the sizing issues are sorted out soon, because I’m really excited to see more of what Tutti Rouge has to offer!

Bra shops in Ireland

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I recently returned from Ireland with my choir. (Couldn’t resist including a photo of the gorgeous scenery!) The trip was fun! I didn’t have a lot of free time, but, since I am always interested in seeing the bra stores available in cities, I did make sure to check out the shops.

Dublin: I saw a few things listed, but only had time to check out one place. I decided to check out Bramora and I am really glad I did! I’ll be writing a review of the shop in a separate post.

Galway: There were a few places in the city and I managed to check out 3: Elegant Undies, La Femme (by Anthony Ryans), and Change Lingerie.

  • Elegant Undies– bands start at 30 (even though most of the bands they carry start at 28 bands) and cups only up to G (the person helping me did find one 30GG, though). I didn’t get any weird looks when I asked for a 28HH or 30GG, which is a giant plus. Not sure of fitting abilities, since I didn’t have time to get fitted. I tried on the Panache sports bra in a 30G, which was too small in the cup) and they suggested I try a 32G, since the band ran tight anyway. The 32G felt alright, but I think I’d want it in a 30H (with extender) or 32GG.  The shop was small, but they did have a decent selection of bikinis. Oh, it’s also in a mall, which is kind of interesting.
  • La Femme– similar size range (though they did have a few larger cups). I tried on the Wonderbra strapless bra in a 32G (hoping the band ran small), but the cups were too small and the band was loose even on the tightest hooks. The fitter said I could get away with it if I needed a strapless, but stressed that it was my body and I should wear what I feel comfortable in.
  • Change Lingerie– this is up there in my top 3 worst experiences in lingerie stores. I walked in and asked if they had anything in a 30GG, but the person working there would not let me try on bras before she “fitted” me. She “fitted” me as a 36G (EU sizing… like a UK 36F). Curiously, she measured me with my bra and clothing on and I never even felt the measuring tape touch my ribcage. When I mentioned that I was currently wearing a UK 28H, she said that it was “impossible” because I am a 36G. When I asked if she would just bring me bras in a 30 band to try on, she refused. She brought me a few 32Gs and 34Gs (all way too small in the cup, since she’d measured me as a 36G) and claimed that the cups fit wrong because the band was too tight. I explained that it would be impossible for me to fasten a 28 band if I really needed a 36 and finally convinced her to bring me 32s in larger cup sizes. (She brought some 34s, too.) The 32H was too loose even on the tightest hooks and too small in the cup. I gave up and left. This is really odd, since their website uses +0 sizing method and asks for a tight underbust measurement. According to the website, I need a 65J… which is a 30J… which the fitter would not let me try on.

Whoo. Sorry about that long-winded rant about Change Lingerie. It’s a shame- the bras are cute and the website seems to have decent information on fit. Anyway, if you can make it to Dublin, check out Bramora! If you can only get to Galway, I’d recommend Elegant Undies or La Femme, but the selection is limited.