Sunday, January 14, 2018

Menstrual Cups & Soft Tampons For the Sensitive Skin Win

So this post has nothing to do with bras, but it has a lot to do with sensitive skin. Also, by virtue of the topic, there could be some TMI, but to be of any help here, the info needs to be specific. 

Cups are, quite simply, amazing. They really transform the whole period experience. Much of the time, I actually forget my period is happening. They are so far superior in comfort and function to tampons and pads, there is no comparison.

Let me give some background here: I have a great deal of experience with menstrual cups, or, moon cups, as I call them, which sounds so much nicer. Prior to that, I used the contraceptive cap for years; it's a little known option in the U.S., but easily obtained in the UK. And before I found the perfect cup for me, I used OB tampons, the brand with no applicator. In other words, I know this particular internal terrain very well.

OK, because this blog is not monetized I can tell a lot of blunt truths. So let me just say here that if you tried the most easily available brand in the U.S., the DivaCup, and it was a horrible experience, I am not at all surprised, but do not give up. 
 Image result for divacup
Look at the size of that beast. I shudder to remember the one and only time I tried a "small" (hah!) DivaCup, and almost gave up on the whole concept entirely. It remains the worst cup I've ever tried. Why? It's gigantic, for one thing. And it's harsh and rigid. Call it the Panache of cups. And that stem? Also rough and harsh and it dug in painfully. Note: even when you manage to get a cup like this inserted, getting it out again can be far more painful. Cups should never cause you any pain. 

And if UTI's are a problem for you, note that cups that are this large and rigid can compress and irritate the sensitive tissue of the urethra, which is basically a recipe for a UTI. Conversely, if this brand happens to suit your specific anatomy, and you're happy with it, that's great. But if not, then it may help to realize this is not a universal cup shape or style, and it does not suit a huge segment of women. It's a shame that many women come away with the idea that this is what all menstrual cups are.

I've tried other brands, including Lunette (less rigid and huge, but still leaning that way), Sckoon (thick and clunky, but softer), and others, none of which even merit a mention. The result: I found only one brand that works for me, that is comfy and a match for my shape. And because they offer so many combinations of size & shape, you'll very likely find a match for you, too. It is very rare for me to be so brand loyal, but this company deserves that loyalty.

MeLuna

MeLuna (my moon) is a German brand and they do have a U.S. online storefront, but the link above is to their European online store. That's because there are far more choices there, for reasons I'll get into below. 

Why does MeLuna blow other brands out of the water? Behold the vast landscape of choice. Choice of softness level. Choice of color. Choice of shape. Even choice of stem style....Choices.
 

Related image




Here again, MeLuna demonstrates that they just get it. Along with 4 sizes: Small to X-Large, they offer 3 - three! - different levels of firmness. That is just an unheard of level of customization. It's the equivalent of a bra brand offering sizes 26A to 54J, all in both FOT and FOB options. It's hard to imagine that someone couldn't find the right fit. 

There are some great blogs with cup reviews, and plenty of YouTube reviews as well, so you can find a great deal of info. Here is a really comprehensive one:
Menstrual Cup Reviews

As with any review, they are all going to be weighted somewhat toward what is important to the reviewer. In my case, that's comfort and sensitive skin issues. Most reviews I have read focus on cup capacity (not very important to me) and how easily they pop open upon insertion (also not as important to me, since I'm an experienced cup user).

How Do You Figure Out Which Style Is Right For You?

In my experience, the biggest factor that determines this is your own shape. Much like full-on-top vs. full-on-bottom. In this case, it's high cervix vs. low. (Cervix = that firm, doughnut-shaped ring that is the opening to the uterus) How do you know which you have? Time for some TMI. 

Tampons. If you've used the more common applicator style, how did that go for you? If, when the plunger was pushed, you felt a bump of discomfort, or, if the tampon was not far enough in and sitting uncomfortably, that's a strong indication that you have a low cervix, i.e., it sits naturally lower in your body, giving you less vertical room in that area. Alternatively, if your problem is that you sometimes have trouble reaching the string to remove the tampon, your cervix is likely quite high.

Sex. If you routinely find certain positions painful, like something is being bumped, and there just isn't enough vertical room in there for what you're trying to accomplish, you almost certainly have a low cervix. Likewise, if ride 'em cowgirl is your go-to, you likely have a high cervix. 

OK, now that we've all got those visuals in our heads, what does it mean for cup selection? It means that if you have a low cervix, your cup choices are greatly reduced. Just like bras for full-on-tops. But the good news here is that MeLuna actually makes a cup especially for you. It's called the Shorty. Nice, right? (In the pic above, the Shorties are in the front, with the Regulars behind them. And if you google it, you can find So.Much.Info. with pics and video, so I won't repeat all that here.)

It is more than just the Shorty's reduced length, however.  It is also shaped differently: wider at the top, and much more tapered at the bottom. That last part is really important; the lack of the bulbous tip means that it won't compress or chafe against the tissue of the urethra or bladder, and that you should never be able to feel it when you are sitting. Ever. You are going to lose some capacity, which is perfectly fine as a trade-off for comfort and health. 

In real terms, this means that on my heaviest day (which is not super-heavy, but probably on the heavy end of average for most) I would need to empty my size Small Shorty every 4 hours. In the Medium, I could go 6 hours. Whereas on all the other days of my period, I could go a full 8 or 9 hours.

By comparison, the Regular is more narrow at the top, but longer and bell-shaped, rather than pyramid-shaped. I can wear this style in a Soft, but it is not the right shape for me. (Another hint: if you notice reduced flow on your trips to the Ladies', that means the cup is pressing on your urethra, and interfering with your bladder's ability to fully empty and you are moving into UTI risk territory.)

Figured Out the Shape, What About Size & Firmness?

The size is a bit more tricky than the shape. Your cup size has virtually no correlation to your body or clothing size. Your best gauge here will be the tampons/sex litmus tests. For e.g., I have never used a super-sized tampon in my life. Likewise, the Medium Shorty is the largest cup that would ever be appropriate for me. If you have any issues with sensitivity or UTI's, my advice is to go smaller and softer. The drawbacks are that you may have to empty your cup more often, and there is a learning curve to getting a softer cup to pop open once inserted. I suspect this is the main reason that the U.S. storefront does not even offer the soft cups. American women don't have much experience with them, as they haven't been available here as long, and the firmer cups will  indeed pop open easily - which also makes them more uncomfortable to remove. 

I find that the Soft Shorties pop open more easily than the Soft Regulars due to the wider top. The Regular firmness pops open easily in either style. There is a 3rd firmness option, called Sport, and I have never tried it as it would be way too rigid for me. But it's a nice option if you have non-sensitive skin and really strong pelvic muscle tone, which would make using a Soft version impossible, since it couldn't open. The Sport version make leaks very unlikely because of the rigidity. 

The Soft really can't be topped for comfort. It's often recommended for those who have less muscle tone, due to multiple childbirth, or other issues; the reason being, that stronger muscle tone would overpower the cup, keeping it collapsed. I can't really speak to that, as I'm child-free and don't have an issue with muscle tone, but that means it does take a bit more work to get the soft cups to pop open for me, but it is so, so worth it. There are techniques to do this, such as letting the cup unfold earlier in the insertion process, waiting a few seconds, then twisting at the end. Occasionally, such as on very light days, these techniques don't work, and then I simply use the Regular firmness Shorty in size Small. You can read about the many folding techniques for cups, kind of like menstrual origami, but for myself, I find the C-fold works best for me with softer cups, and the 7-fold for larger cups.

Basically, I think the Regular firmness will work well for most women, so if you are not an experienced cup user, it makes sense to start there. It's still far less rigid than the dreadful DivaCup and I can use it comfortably most of the time. But the Soft Shorty in size Small is what I choose 80% of the time. 

Your final option is which stem to choose. Again, how great is that. All of the stems are pretty soft and unobtrusive, but the ball stem is the most popular, apparently. And I get why: it's quite soft and doesn't dig in any way, and they improved it a few years ago to make it flattened on two sides and easier to grip. On the Regular shape, you can opt for no stem at all, which I do, as I can't spare the extra room, and have no trouble reaching it, ever. However, if you have a high cervix, you have the awesome option of going for the sturdiest choice, the ring stem, and, if you still have trouble reaching the cup to remove it (I'll admit, I can't even imagine having this issue, but I know it exists) you can even buy a handy little tool that you use to hook the ring and remove it. 

Your final, final option: Colors. Why would you settle for a dingy yellowy-clear cup when you don't (and shouldn't) have to? In addition to their usual rainbow of options, MeLuna comes out with 'limited edition' colors, like this fabulous Fairy Dust (violet glitter) that I acquired:

Image result for Meluna fairy dust


But my love affair with this brand does not stop there. Oh no, because they offer several other things that we, as American women, are unfairly deprived of. Namely, Soft Tampons. These are pure genius - and can be very difficult to find (at reasonable prices) on Amazon or eBay. 
Related image
I love the tagline. That's right: these are perfect for tennis, sauna, and sex. They are nothing like the 'sea sponges' which I've also tried, and which I don't find to be soft at all, but do find to be leak-prone. But these are completely different: VERY soft synthetic foam. They are meant to be tossed after one use, so would get a little spendy if you used them exclusively, but if you have serious sensitivity issues, I imagine that would be completely worth it to you.

The beauty of these is that they are so soft and comfy, they can be used even if your skin is having a moment where it is irritated by everything else. They are heart-shaped darts and come in regular and mini. The mini especially are perfect for use during sex. They are completely undetectable and a partner would be unable to tell your period was even part of the equation. There is also a round version that I like equally well and provides slightly more coverage.

Finally, they have an awesome little gizmo that costs around $4 (that they appear to be out of now) that you can pop onto a water bottle and create a mini-bidet. I mean, why do we not have these awesome, low tech, inexpensive, life improving things on U.S. shelves? Oh, and that's the cherry on top of my love for MeLuna: they are incredibly reasonably priced, have regular specials, and cheerfully ship to the U.S. And they waive the high Euro tax, which is something like 17%.

If you've tried a cup and failed, and need some 'tech support' but don't want to ask your question publicly, feel free to submit a comment and include your email. I won't publish it and will instead respond to you directly. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: Glamorise Cami Wonderwire Bra

I am always on the lookout for a comfy large cup size cami-bra. Because:

1)  I am both full-on-top and fairly high-set. Result: cleavage is always a factor for me. I have no philosophical issue with cleavage as such, but I simply prefer not to display more than a minimal amount at work. 

2)  I seriously dislike wearing layers of clothing. Indoors. Because dry, overheated air is a huge pet peeve of mine. I define overheated as above 70F. Frankly, I think 68F is plenty, and my own home is kept at 65F. For some reason, gov't buildings here are always 72-75F degrees, which is ridiculous. Especially given that there are constant bulletins about 'fiscal austerity'. So what we have are moratoriums on buying pens and paper, while the heating oil bills don't merit any review. 

Digress much? Don't mind if I do. But my point is that even a camisole is just another layer I do not want to pile on. 

Beauty

Very pretty. The lace is substantial and semi-opaque, so gives very good coverage. For reference, although the cami portion appears to come up quite high, my cleavage begins juuust below that top strip of lace. If you look closely, you can see the faint tell-tale shadow.


Since black is hard to photograph and the details are not showing, here is a stock pic. The colors are more muted in person, so somewhere between these:

Image result for glamorise lace cami bra 

 Comfort

When I put this on in the morning, I really expected to be writing a rave review later that day. However.....

Wires.  These are wonderful. They are medium-narrow and cushioned with a thin layer of foam which makes them very comfy indeed. This is the 'wonderwire' in the name. They tack fully. There is an additional side sling that adds a bit more padding to the side wire and shapes very nicely.

Cups.  One vertical seam, resulting in a very rounded shape, which is not wide thanks to the narrow wires and side slings. The fabric is smooth and very supportive. I had zero jiggle. In terms of capacity, they run true to size and have moderate stretch. This is a real plus. Both full-on-top and full-on-bottom shapes are easily accommodated in this style.

Shape.  The best I've seen from Glamorise, which, as a more old-school brand, tends to favor a more pointy shape. It is a far better shape than I get from my other go-to cami-bra,N by Natori Truly Soft Bra. As an aside, this pic gives a very clear example of what a full-on-top shape is.

Here is how it looks under my favorite 'cut-way-too-low-for-anything-above-a-B-cup' top.  

    Compromises

Sides & Band. The band is very tall and the sides come up quite high, which is never a plus for me. And unfortunately, the elastic edging the top of the band and armholes is not soft and caused chafing by lunchtime. I really considered taking it off at that point. The only positive here is that there are no side stays. That also means, however, that there is nothing I can do to improve the comfort. 

I don't think this is a matter of softening through washing, either. The irritation it causes is similar to what I get from 'comfort' bras like the Ahh Bra, where the sides are just cut too high for comfort. The fabric is simply covering too much skin area so that even normal motion causes chafing of sensitive skin. If you do not have sensitive skin, and are not high-waisted, this may not even present any difficulties for you. 

When Do I Wear It?

When I want to wear a blouse that, when combined with my cup size, would otherwise risk making me look like I was on my break from working the pole. So, for going out with friends on weekends, when I'll be wearing it for 4 hours or less. If you don't mind tall bands and high sides, this is a very well-made bra, that is both practical and pretty, at a decent price. 

Size: 42F  Remember that Glamorise sizing is old-school US, i.e. the bands run tight, and you must add +4". This fits me like a 38GG (UK) or a 38I (US/Euro)
 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review: Rosme Marta

From what I can tell, Rosme has what they consider their 'Classic' (read: pointier) collection and their newer styles. Marta is firmly in that former category. There are real differences in shape in all of the styles I've tried, with the best shape (for me) being the newer Rosabel and (far & away) the worst being Annija with this one, the older classic Marta, being 2nd worst. Unfortunately, the 'classics' are also the most comfy with softer fabric used for the lace, band and clasp. The Mona is in between these two shapes, and is also the most comfy.

Beauty

Here is how the Marta looks on (much) smaller boobs:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/ft0AAOSwEK9TvTUx/s-l400.jpg

Definitely no wow factor with the very basic colorways but the contrasting lace makes it less plain and the strap detailing is a nice touch. 


Comfort & Fit

Fabric.  The microfiber is smooth and the lace is on the softer side and has moderate stretch -not as much as the other styles, but enough to prevent cutting in or gaping on different shapes.

Band.  2-hooks, as with all the styles I've tried; it's not a dealbreaker, as it does not cut in like say, the dreadful band of a Cleo. It is mesh, but reasonably soft. I find Rosme bands to be true to size, maybe slightly on the loose side, but not enough to drop down a size.

Cups.   Decidedly aimed at full-on-bottom boob shapes. Though not to the  extreme that the Annija is. A balanced shape might do well with the Marta, though you are still going to get a shape that is on the pointy side--just not to the degree that I am getting here. 

Shape.

Good lord, I feel like I'm in danger of putting someone's eye out.

This is similar to the shape I get with Curvy Kate (see Dreamcatcher) though this shape is actually a bit better than CK.  




The cups are cute quite low for a balconette and are almost giving a hybrid plunge effect.



The cup is not too small, but I'm getting that squared-off triangle shape I also get with Curvy Kate.  

The shape of the cup is just not a great match for my full-on-top shape. And the lace isn't stretchy enough to overcome that, the way it is in the Mona



When Do I Wear It?

It's not going to be very often. Even under a structured blouse, the shape will be too projected and pointy. Under a drapey knit fabric, this shape would cause epic boob-tenting of circus proportions. Which really just leaves sweaters. Very thick ones. Which I cannot wear to my overheated office. So the usefuless of Marta is very limited for me, pretty much just to weekend grocery shopping. However, if you are full-on-bottom--and you happen to like that moderately pointy/perky shape--this would be a good choice for a fairly comfy work bra that is a bargain
Size: 40H 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: Wacoal Women's How Perfect Full Figure Wire-Free Bra

Wacoal is not really one of my favorites - with the exception of the few styles that have the glorious foam-wrapped underwires - but in my quest for more wire-free options (that can be worn outside the house) I gave the How Perfect a try. 


The details are always tougher to see in a black colorway, so here's a view of the dreaded beige (which you know I did not buy, hah):
 https://images.prod.meredith.com/product/f2f0f4e0d2e5c3a7926b9c67c69ce88d/1503129462599/l/wacoal-womens-how-perfect-full-figure-wire-free-bra-naturally-nude-38ddd

It's quite plain, but the crossover style is 'faux', so there is no gaping or possibility for boobs to make like escape artists. 

Comfort & Fit

Fabric.  A very thick, smooth microfiber, with -unfortunately- only a small amount of stretch.

Cups.   Due to the lack of stretch in the fabric, the cups really have reduced capacity. 


And very little ability to mold to your shape. 




The top of the cup is surprisingly closed and is definitely cutting in on the top.




There's also a whole lotta uniboob smooshing going on.


And forcing of my full-on-top shape into a  downward ski-slope droop.





Shape.   Pretty lackluster, though not terrible. 



It's kind of compressing the boobs in from the sides, rather than lifting from the bottom.












Dealbreakers


Side Stays. They are the thick clunkers and oddly taller than the sides of the cups, so they are decidedly digg-y.


 
Straps.  It's not the straps themselves -those are actually nice and wide and fairly soft. No. It's the slider which is just obnoxious:

I tried to balance it over the curve of my hand, to give an idea of how it lays against the skin of your back, and for scale.

So you can see just how big this honker is. 

The sharp edges of that huge metal slider extend well past the strap...and cut right into my back. 

Even when I was just standing still.





When Do I Wear it?

You guessed it. Never. I really can't see who this style might work for. My back is not super fleshy, and has a fair bit of muscle, i.e. the straps are not sinking into any fluffy bits. Yet, due to the size of the sliders, they are still cutting into my skin and highly irritating. If you do have a bit more fluff on your back, then I imagine this issue would only be exacerbated. But if you don't have sensitive skin, and you are a shallow, full-on-bottom shape, this could be a workable wireless option with decent shaping. Full price is around $55.
Size: 42DDD (fits like a UK 38FF)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: Rosme Rosabel

Because I quite liked the Mona as a practical, versatile, lightweight work bra, I decided to try another style, making sure this time that it contained stretch lace, to avoid another debacle like the Annija

Here is how Rosme describes the Rosabel collection:
Soft romantic collection in a colour of a light pink marshmallow. Combination of Italian base material and elastic laces makes this collection unbelievably light and elegant.

Beauty

I was looking for a light-colored neutral - which for me is not the same as beige. And the colorway of Rosabel functions very well for that: a delicate pale blue base, with the lace and pattern detailing in a shade that is referred to as 'marshmallow pink', which is a very pale -barely there- ballet pink. I find it pretty, subtle, and on the elegant, rather than kitschy, side.

None of my winter-lighting pics can show this colorway accurately, so here is one that does:
Image result for rosme Rosabel


Comfort  & Fit

Wires.  Pretty perfect. Nice and low, in a straight Euro 'U' shape, with no winging UK swoop toward the sides. Medium-narrow and light-medium gauge.

Fabric.  There is good and bad news here. The lower cup is lined in a soft knit fabric, which is very comfy and supportive. The lace upper cup is meh, not the softest, but not the worst, either; just average stretch lace. The edging along the band is not soft; that may soften with repeated washings...or it may not.

Cups.  Quite deep. Less so than Gorsenia, but more deep and narrow -& certainly lower at the side- than any UK brands I've encountered. The lace has lots of stretch, and is a medium-weight, so plenty sturdy, with very good shape retention I.e. it plays nice with full-on-top boobs, but should not gape on full-on-bottoms.



Band.  There are some problems. Worst of all is the actual clasp -which is only 2 hooks, as with every Rosme I've tried. But's it's the fabric edges of the clasp and hooks that are incredibly sharp and highly irritating; it actually feels scratchy against the skin. This was not the case on the other Rosme's I tried. It was irritating enough that I tucked a folded tissue beneath the clasp to protect my skin. 

Straps.  Average. They are a bit wider in my size, so less thin than they appear in the first pic. They are comfortable enough and do not dig in. There is a semi-padded version as well, and that appears to have the wider strap style.

Shape.  Better than Annija. A little more rounded and the seams lay flatter and are not visible under knits.


When Do I Wear It?

To work, mainly. I appreciate the lightweight fabrics in an overheated office, as well as the moderate shape, low wire height, and (with the exception of the clasp) reasonable comfort. All at a price point under $30. 
Size: 40H (fits like a UK 40G or 38GG and a Euro 38I)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Curvy Studio bralettes (at Target)

This is one of the few brands that actually makes bralettes designed to fit up to an H-cup (US). Curvy Studio is a cheaper line of Curvy Couture, found at Target. I haven't found much success with bras in either version, but the bralettes looked promising.

Beauty

I tried two styles, the Perfect Lace Bralette and the (oddly -& inaccurately-named) High Apex Lace Bralette. Both styles share a similar look, and suffer from the same issues, but the shape is different. And I find the High Apex prettier, with it's laced-edged straps and deeper V-neck.

The Perfect Lace Bralette:


 High Apex Lace Bralette


The only real difference between the styles is the shape. 

The weirdly named High Apex has better shaping due to a vertical seam (more on that later) in the cup. This has nothing to do with a high apex, but simply a deeper cup - which would have been a far more sensible -& helpful- name.

While the Perfect Lace is more of a smooshed sports-bra style, without any defined cup shape.  



Both styles look really promising on paper:
  • Soft-ish lace fabric is lined with mesh for actual support
  • Longer-line band, for more stability
  • Cups sized to fit up to an H-cup (US)

In reality, both suffer from the same serious design flaws: 

Straps are not restricted-stretch and totally dig in. Which is just really silly, when they went to the trouble to make an H-cup with mesh lining.


Band.   Incredibly, deeply annoying. It instantly scrunches itself up. It literally would not stay in place long enough for me to snap a pic.

Here is how long it is - if I hold it in place with my hand.


Annnnd when I let go:

It's basically like wearing a scrunchy around your chest. I have a natural figure-8 shape, i.e., a defined waist. So I can't imagine what shape rib cage/waist this would actually work for. 

Seams.  And the final flaw for the High Apex style is that vertical seam that gives such an improved shape. Take a look at the inside - this is what is actually against your boob:

Yeah. That is appalling. The last time I encountered a seam that ridged and rugged was on a canvas cushion for outdoor furniture. Not really something I want on the sensitive skin of my boobs. 

When Might You Wear These?

For lounging around the house -though the High Apex could be wearable as an out-of-the-house weekend bra- assuming you don't mind that 6" scrunchy around your ribs, and you can tolerate that crazy seam against your skin.

Sizing: A very large range for a bralette: M to XXL (36C-42H)
High Apex in XXL (per size chart, fits 40G-42H). This style definitely has more cup capacity.
Perfect Lace in XL (38G-H)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: Rosme Mona Unpadded

Rosme is an Eastern European brand that is worth trying. It is easily available on Amazon & eBay and most of their styles are under $25. Their aesthetic is pretty utilitarian: simple styles - and beige, black & white are the only colors you're likely to find. However, there is a wide variety of styles, which are truly aimed toward different shapes. 

So, unlike brands such as Panache - and especially Freya & Elomi, which really only cater to one single shape - your chances of finding a style that suits you are quite good. Case in point: the Annija was one of the worst fits (for my shape) I've tried in quite some time. But the Mona is a different beast altogether:

 Beauty


It is very difficult to make out in photos, but the upper cup is a very open, stretchy, soft lace; the bottom cup is satin. Overall, the design is quite plain and streamlined. 


Comfort

Band. Non-mesh, 2-hook, runs large and stretchy (as do all the Rosme I've tried). I actually bought this bra a couple of years ago, but it fit a bit too loose for good support, so I packed it away. Now, 20 lbs later, it fits quite well. The band is actually comfy. Not something I'd expect with 2 hooks, but the fact that it is not made of crappy, rugged mesh really helps with that. 

Cups.  Wires are on the softer side, and nice medium height; upright U-shape. The upper lace is an open pattern, which provides lots of stretch and ventilation and makes it full-on-top friendly. The whole bra feels very light on the body; I could feel air flow just walking around. The Mona is the opposite of 'a lotta bra'. The cups have good capacity and depth; the Mona tacks better than usual on me. 


Straps.  They have those ring-connectors I absolutely hate - except when I don't, in this single rare case. Surprise: they are actually comfy. Because they are designed correctly i.e. the ring sits where it should: not smack on top of my shoulder, but over it, and about 1/3 of the way down my back. So there is no weight or pressure. The front of the strap is broader, but not actually padded. 


Compromise

Shape.  And it's iffy to even list it under this category because shape is more a matter of preference, really. And Mona does not give a horrid shape like, say, Curvy Kate's ski slope (for FOT's). It's just not quite as round (under clothing) as I'd like.


And this pic shows really well how Euro designs differ from UK designs. See that area from the strap to the band? See what's not there? Yep: that deeply annoying extra fabric that comes up way too high on UK bras and cuts into the underarm area. Whereas this Euro design is cut perfectly to follow the lines of the body, giving you full range of motion with zero cutting in.

For comparison, here is the Panache Jasmine, one of their 'lower'(!) wire styles.
I'm a good 20 lbs thinner in this pic, but from the way the bra cuts in & encases me, you wouldn't guess that. The band was even a little loose on me then. 
 


 When Do I Wear It?

This is another good 'anytime' bra. It's a good work bra, especially for overheated offices, since it is so lightweight and cool. It's perfectly comfy for weekends, too. The only time I wouldn't likely choose Mona is under thin, loose knits. The lace pattern is flat and invisible, but the seam is a little prominent and the shape a little more projected, which makes a high likelihood for boob-tenting.

Size: 40H (Euro sizing) Fits me like a UK 40G
The bands do run quite loose and stretchy, so sister-sizing won't be as useful here. The stretch-lace and projected cups makes this very workable for FOT's, though it's probably aimed at a balanced shape. I do think full-on-bottoms could also do well with this style, especially if you have some projection; the lace is more substantial than say, Jasmine, and is unlikely to gap.