Cleo Sasha (take 2)

So I bought the Cleo Sasha in a 32FF a while back. I loved it, but I knew it didn’t fit. It’s a gorgeous bra, though, and I wanted one that I could at least get away with wearing… so I set out on a search for one in the 28H-30H territory. Knowing that a 28HH would probably be the best fit (but worried that a 28 might be too snug), I went for the only size I saw available: 30GG.

As you may recall, this is the same size as the problematic black Cleo Lucy. The cups on the Sasha, however are a tad more generous, so a 30GG is wearable in the cup. Unfortunately, I was wrong about how tight the band ran and wore it on the tightest hook right out of the package. A 28HH would be amazing in this bra (hint, nudge… if you see one available, let me know!). After breaking the 30GG in a bit, I will probably alter the band.

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The slight indentation:

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I also have the same issues with the pokey underwires. Has anyone had any success in bending Cleo underwires? I don’t want to end up breaking my bra. 

For now, though the 30GG is wearable. And I have the matching panties, which is a definite plus!

NB: I ordered from Breakout Bras. They are wonderful. After having issues with shipping last time, they told me to call customer service and order over the phone. I placed the order on Monday morning and received the package on Wednesday morning. Amazing.

Grab Bags

Sorry for the long hiatus. I had some rather large and unexpected things come up. I should (hopefully) be posting regularly again.

Over the summer, I’ve lost about 10 lbs and (with some gained in my boobs). At the moment, 28HHs are fitting relatively well.

I recently ordered a “grab bag” of 2 bras from Breakout Bras. It appears that they are not currently offering the grab bags, but it’s a pretty good deal when it’s around. You get two mystery bras (not new styles) in the size of your choice for $35. While you can’t exactly ask for specific things, they will try to honour requests for certain colours/styles/brands. I ordered a grab bag of 2 28HH bras and said that I preferred padded plunge bras (unpadded Cleo bras okay). After dealing with some issues with my shipping address, I received two Cleo bras: Lucy and Chloe.

I love Lucy (haha) and the 28HH was a perfect fit… but I’m very much not a hot-pink kind of gal. I’m hoping to sell/trade this for something a bit less hot-pink:

Chloe is gorgeous, but the fit is strange. It’s definitely a tight 28 (mostly due to the non-stretchy fabric that makes up part of the band) and, though the bottoms of the cups fit perfectly, the lace section at the top is huge on me. I have “full-on-top” breasts, so I really wasn’t expecting this:

Since the band and bottoms of the cups fit, I’m considering just altering the lace section. Plus, I prefer low-cut bras.

So I’m still sort of without well-fitting bras (with the exception of the hot-pink Lucy), but I am hoping to remedy that soon.

Curveturiere: a new US D+ lingerie brand!

While checking out Butterfly Collection’s facebook page, I saw a post about a new US D+ lingerie brand: Curveturiere Intimates. As you may have noticed by now, few bra-related things get me as excited as hearing about progress in the US bra industry… so I decided to investigate a bit:

Their first collection, available in August, will include sizes 32/50 D-K (UK D-H) Now, if you’re used to buying UK bras, this doesn’t sound all that impressive… but for a US company, this size range is (I believe) unprecedented. Most “full bust” companies offer up to an F or G cup (UK E and FF). There are a few larger cups available, but it’s almost impossible to find them. Though US bands run slightly tighter than UK bands, I would still advise adding no more than 2 inches to your underbust. I haven’t yet had the chance to try out these bras, but I’d guess that the effective size range is 30-48.

Since most women who wear an XS (or even S) in panties probably wear a 26-30 band, I decided to email the company and ask whether they were considering smaller band sizes. As it turns out, I was not the first to ask. They are indeed considering smaller band sizes (28 and 30) and might introduce them even as soon as their Autumn/Winter collection, if the see a high demand. If you need smaller band size, contact them and let them know!

I was invited to their preview in NYC, but, alas, I will be on the other coast that week! I did, however, have the opportunity to speak with Mary Pifko and Kelly Moore on the phone and to hear a little more about the company.

Their story: Mary and Kelly both have many years of experience in the lingerie industry and met while working for the Home Shopping Network. Both women wear a US F cup and, with their experience in the lingerie industry, it became glaringly obvious that US D+ bras were just… ugly. Fed up with the lack of colour and style options, they decided to start a company that made lingerie that they would actually wear.

When I asked them what US brands inspired them, they couldn’t think of one (yes, the US bra scene is that bad). They did, however, tell me that they loved the way that Curvy Kate uses fashions colours. Though their products are meant to appeal to a slightly older customer base, they believe that D+ lingerie can and should be fashionable. Having a large bust doesn’t mean that you aren’t fashionable and feminine and Curveturiere makes bras that are practical and pretty. In their own words, they “aren’t reinventing the wheel”, but they are certainly revolutionizing the US D+ bra scene.

The products: Curveturiere Intimates aims to provide bras for the whole wardrobe. The first collection introduces 2 sleepwear pieces, 4 panties, and 8 bras. Some of their bra styles include: strapless, wire-free, moulded-cup, and a cami-bra.

Sizes: The first collection includes sizes 32-50 D-K (UK D-H), but they are considering adding more sizes. Though their moulded cup bra is currently only available up to an H cup, they are working with their suppliers to get larger sizes.

Oh, and the pricing? They aim to keep everything under $70, which is more good news.

Here’s a taste of what they have to offer:

This D+ strapless bra is more than just a feat of engineering… it’s also pretty!

Animal print isn’t usually my thing, but this is certainly an exception. The retro-vibe is great!

The mint-cobalt bra is definitely my favourite- the colour combination is unique and refreshing.

I’m really excited about what Curveturiere Intimates is doing for the US D+ bra scene. Again, if you need a smaller band, I would urge you to let them know. You can find more images and information on their facebook page.

Falling out of Love with Freya

So I seem to either have glowing reviews or downright rants. This one is a little more complicated- I still like (some of) their products, but I don’t feel like I can buy them anymore.

To be honest, the Deco is the only Freya bra that flatters my shape. I always love the way their bras look on models… but most Freya bras look strange on me. The soft cups all give me bullet-boob and the half cup bras always seem to squash me into a weird square shape, so I pretty much liked Freya for the Deco (I guess I also like the sweetheart bikini tops). But still, I loved the Deco so dearly… the shape is great, the nude is almost pale enough to match my skin, and I’ve been lusting after the ocean color for ages. Plus, the Deco is the bra that convinced me that D+ bras could be low-cut, sleek, and supportive!

So why am I falling out of love? Here are a few reasons:

  1. They offer the Deco is B and C cups… but cut off the 38 band at a G and the rest of the band sizes only go up to a GG (the 28GG has just been released, though I’ve only seen it available at Bravissimo). Honestly, I don’t know how many B and C cup-wearers would splurge $60 on a really supportive bra designed for D+ bodies, when they can easily find a $30 bra that’s more attractive and just as supportive. (I realize that B and C cups are hard to find in smaller and larger bands, but a small-bust company should take the reigns there, since they could provide a bra better suited to smaller breasts.) It would make a lot more sense to offer the Deco in H and HH cups than in B and C cups. Plenty of H+ women wear the Deco in the wrong size, because it’s such a great bra. Is Freya really a full-bust brand? (Les gros bonnets raises this question here.)
  2. The Deco is weird size-wise. It runs a bit loose in the band and an entire cup size too large in the cup. I’m normally a 30GG, but a 30G is my “best size” in the Deco (I can’t find a 28GG to try on). Everyone has noted the sizing problems with this bra. It really confused me when I first started figuring out my size and it doesn’t need to be so confusing.
  3. This one might be the last straw: my relatively new 30G Deco just broke. It was worn maybe 5 times. I was wearing the bra, feeling great, and then the underwire popped out. (The retailer refused to exchange an item that had been worn, which is absurd, given the reason for exchange.) Had I worn the bra a for a few months, I’d be sad, but I wouldn’t think it reasonable to complain… but the bra was new. I contacted Freya about the problem, and they said that, while the bra was obviously defective, there was nothing they could do. I would really like to see Freya stand behind their product, especially if they claim that it was defective, so I emailed again asking them to do so. Instead, I got a rather snippy response from Freya customer service, the first line of which read: “Legally your contract of sale is with the shop where the item was purchased not Eveden“. I had never questioned the legality of the situation, but had rather asked Eveden to stand behind the quality of their products when the retailer refused to do so. Not only was the reply exceedingly unhelpful, it was also downright rude. I understand if there is truly nothing that they can do, but the rude response was unnecessary.

So in all, it seems that Freya just doesn’t care about their customers. They make some great bras and bathing suits, but their customer service is terrible and they have been ignoring requests for larger cup sizes in their popular bras for ages. For now, I’m uncomfortable buying or recommending Freya (or other Eveden) products. If Freya starts really listening to customer feedback, I might try their bras again.

For the time being, I’m going to stick to brands like Panache (and all of their sub-brands), which offers an incredible range of sizes (there is talk of their considering sub-28 bands) and, at least on their Facebook page, has helpful customer service. I also want to check out Curvy Kate, but I’ve been unable to try their bras on and am terrified of ordering online without trying on first. I’ve been stalling on trying Ewa Michalak bras for the same reason! These are all brands that have proven their dedication to supporting (in all senses) their customers.

In the mean time, I really need a t-shirt bra. I’ll probably try to repair my defective Deco, but I really want to try the Parfait Casey (below). The problem is, I can’t find anywhere to try it on (the info on the Affinitas website is not up to date) and I’m worried that the 30G will be too small in the cup.

This bra doesn’t seem to get much publicity, but it looks like a great bra! Does anyone know of any stores in MA that stock Parfait bras? Any advice on sizing?

Mall Store Experiences and the Real “Average” Size Range

Part I: Mall Store Experiences

I feel lucky every time I walk into a mall bra store and a clerk doesn’t try to force-fit me… or give me weird looks.

Today, it was probably over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the apartment, so I decided to check out what the mall had for sports bras. I stopped in a few stores: Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret (mostly to see if they carried DDDs in store), Target, and EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports).

  • Surprisingly, Macy’s only had a few sports bras, mostly sized S-XL, so I didn’t try any on. Instead, I asked about what cup sizes were available in store. The clerk told me that they carried up to a (US) G cup and looked at me incredulously when I looked disappointed. G CUPS ARE NOT GIANT! I really can’t stand it when people give me looks like that… ugh.
  • Last week, I mentioned that Victoria’s Secret had started making some of their more popular styles in a DDD cup. When I stopped in and asked, they said that only some locations carried the DDD cup, but they were all available online. They asked what size I wore and the fitter gave me one of those looks. She asked if I’d humor her and try on a bra, since she wanted to at least try. She handed me a 36DD. I put it on… even on the tightest hook, I could pull it at least 6 inches away from my body… and the center gore was about an inch away from my sternum. I pointed these things out, but she said a 34DDD would be fine. Thinking I’d been unclear, I said that the 36 was very loose even on the tightest hook, but I got the same reply. I tried once again and gave up. The cup was a little bit too small, but the band was giant. It was clear that she just really, really wanted me to fit into one of the available sizes.
  • No one bothered me at Target, since I was just wandering around and there were no clerks present. I found a 38DD sports bra, which would fit in the cup, but not the band.
  • Eastern Mountain Sports had a limited selection and also only went up to a DD cup. The clerk was very nice and suggested some other stores. Oh, and she didn’t look at me like I was crazy, which was a plus.

On a slight side note, I found this awesome bra at Victoria’s Secret:

It’s a push up bra for the “gorgeous” collection. The shape of (or perhaps lack of) the center gore would give the most amazing push up effect. Sadly, it only goes up to a DD. If I find a really, really cheap 38DD, I might consider buying it and altering it.

Part II: the real “average” size range

But seriously, what is WITH the incredulous looks? First of all, a G cup isn’t “giant”. Second, I’m not saying that I’m a (US) 30J compared to their 34D… I’m a 30J and they are probably a (US) 30G (or a 30F, if they aren’t bulging out of their bra).

Which reminds me of something that needs to be said: 32-38 A-D are NOT “average” sizes! I am sure that there are people who really are within that size range, but they would have larger than average ribcages and a very small difference between underbust and bust measurements. For example:

  • 32A: 32 inch ribcage, 33 inch bust
  • 32D: 32 inch ribcage, 36 inch bust
  • 34C: 34 inch ribcage, 37 inch bust
  • 36B: 36 inch ribcage, 38 inch bust
  • 38C: 38 inch ribcage, 41 inch bust

Not many people have these measurements. In fact, these, if any, could be considered “specialty” sizes. Assuming they are wearing the correct cup volume (and no more than +4 band), they should probably be wearing:

  • 32A should be 28C (or maybe 26D)
  • 32D should be 28F (or maybe 26G)
  • 34C should be 30DD
  • 36B should be 32D
  • 38C should be 34DD

So the “average” size range should probably be something like 26-34 C-G (UK C-F). It’s still not very inclusive of larger cup sizes… but it’s certainly better than carrying bras that very few people actually fit! The only difference here is that the bands have shrunk… the cups have stayed the same. But if we consider all of the 28Js and 30Ks that are squeezing into terribly ill-fitting bras, sometimes going up to 38DD to get a bigger cup, I think it’s safe to expand “average” up to a K cup. A US K cup is equivalent to a UK H cup, which is still well within the bounds of “not-huge-looking”… I border on a US K cup and I am frequently mistaken for a D or DD cup (carried in most stores), so I think it’s fair to include at least a K, since most brands make up to a DD. Anyway, if the real “average” is 26-34 C-K, stores should be carrying those sizes.

That range doesn’t include bands smaller than 26 or larger than 34. It also excludes cups smaller than C or larger than K. Don’t get me wrong, people DO need these sizes and I’d love to see every store carry every size. However, if the argument is “we stock what there is a market for”, then 26-34 C-K is a perfectly reasonable size range for a regular store to carry. Now we just need to convince bra companies that you shouldn’t add inches to the underbust measurement to get the band size…

Sports Bras

I climbed Mt Monadnock on Sunday… and now regret not owning a sports bra. My back and neck are in incredible amounts of pain! Thus, sports bras were on my mind yesterday when I stopped by the mall after visiting a friend (and walking a lot). I walked into Aerie (no, they have no bras beyond a DD cup) to see if they had gym shorts and a salesperson convinced me to try on a sports bra. Their sports bras are sized S-XL, and I figured that the front (with the quasi-cups) would be too small, and the back to large.

I figured correctly. I wish I’d had a camera with me… I tried on a large and an extra large. The large mostly fit my chest girth-wise, but my breasts were spilling out of every direction. It also provided no support, since the back was riding very far up my back and my breasts were dragging the bra down as though it were just a camisole. The extra large was better as far as containing my tissue, but the band was 2 inches away from my body at the front and the back rode up even worse than the large. I would have actually been better off wearing no bra! The salesperson was shocked that they didn’t work… but she also claimed to be a 34D and was clearly spilling out of the cups and no larger than a 30 band… so I don’t think she’s used to bras that fit. (In case you’re curious, I did end up buying a pair of comfy $10 (short-)shorts.)

So sports bras are still on my brain, but I’m a little wary to get one while I’m still changing bra sizes. Is the Panache ultimate sports bra as awesome as it sounds? Because if I get it in a 30G or 30GG and then change sizes due to its awesomeness inspiring me to exercise 24/7, I’ll be a little annoyed. ;)

Wishlist again

I really, really want to try Ewa Michalak… but I really can’t tell what size to go for, since her calculator puts me at a 34GG. The cups sound like they would be way too big. Should I just get a 32FF or 32G and use a band extender, since I am hoping to lose weight anyway? Or do the cups run small?

My 32FF Freya Deco fits nearly perfectly (band and cups are is slightly big- almost the exact same fit as my 32G Masquerade Tiffany). Anyone have sizing advice for Ewa Michalak?

I might, however, wait a month until I figure out how the changes to my hormones affect my breast size (and ribcage measurement). I don’t want to suddenly be a 30HH and get stuck with a bunch of 32FF bras…

Update: I think I’ve decided on the CH shape (maybe CHP). As for band size, I’m leaning toward getting a 32 and using an extender if it’s snug. No word yet on cup size…