Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Hip & Curves bralettes and balconette

This is a brand supposedly designed for curvy women, so I gave a few items a try. 

Conclusion: when they say 'curvy', this apparently means from the waist down only. Literally, their fitting approach seems to be tailored completely toward an extreme bowling pin shape: big hips and A/B cup sized boobs.

The lounge pants and panties I tried both fit beautifully: very pear friendly, with fitted waist and generous hip and thigh room. The bra and bralettes however....Not. At. All. 

I tried two different styles. The one on the left, especially, I thought looked workable in terms of cup capacity and more substantial straps. The one on the right, ehhh. 
Related imageImage result for hip and curves bralettes

Both turned out to have ridiculously tiny cups. I mean....incomprehensibly small. Maximum capacity would fit a small B-cup. 

Even then, the design is so inadequate for real boobs, I would not choose either style. The tiny straps have so much stretch they basically function as yo-yos. Cups have little stretch and zero depth. Bands run quite large and stretchy, so sister-sizing up is a non-starter.

I cannot post pics of these bralettes on me because, well, it would be basically pornographic. There is zero side cup, and basically no inner cup.  But here is a pic with a 38G bra on top....and the hysterically inadequate, flat-cupped bralette below it.


I was not expecting a great fit, but these actually have less cup capacity than your average bralette aimed at core A-D cup sizes. A lot less. 

The poor design is a shame because the fabric is wonderful. Literally the softest lace I have ever encountered. 

Chloe Soft Lace Cup Bra

I fared better with an actual bra in the line. But it was not a success, either.



Beauty & Shape.  Very pretty indeed.  Flat stretch lace, soft and non-irritating. Despite its horizontal seam structure, it gives a nicely rounded shape due to the very stretchy lace upper cup. The lower cup is lined in a soft knit fabric which is supportive without being stiff. 

Comfort & Fit.  The fabric has great comfort potential. But the wires are a dealbreaker for me. Nice and narrow-to-average, with an upright shape, but waaaay too tall for comfort.


And because the sizing runs quite small and I need at least a cup up, in my proper size the wires would be even higher. Which would put them basically at the level of my eyeballs. 


Because the wires are narrow, but the inner cups lack projection, while there is plenty in the center and outer cups, it seems that the cups do expect projected boobs - but just think that smooshed-together cleavage is the proper fit result. 

So again, great fabric, but a design fail for big boobs.

Sizing: I tried this in a 40G, as a starting point, based on my experience that most US bands run snug and cups a bit large, with greater increase in each cup size. That turned out not to be the case here. The band runs incredibly snug. This fit like a tight 36. And the cup also runs quite small. Because of the very high wires and awkward cup shape, I don't think sister-sizing would be successful.

What Shape Might This Bra Fit?

 Non-high-set, medium-to-narrow, balanced to full-on-top, non-projected boobs, without much in the way of inner fullness.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Glamorise Sport Low Impact Cami Bra

So, I really have no need for an actual sports bra. Because I am all about the low-to-no impact. One of the great things about a cross-country ski machine - besides having no impact on my cartilage-damaged knee - is that is causes virtually no bounce and so little need to corral the boobs. (Irony alert: I live in a place where actual skiing is a thing, but the injury risk is too high for me now.) 

So, really, yeah, I'm just looking for another wire-free bra option. And this one's not bad.


Beauty

Comes in many color combos, and the center panel hides cleavage and controls bounce, while looking like a very casual camisole, due to the perforated nylon material that resembles a basketball jersey. 


Comfort & Fit

When I searched for reviews, all I had to go on were comments left on amazon. If you've ever tried to order a bra there, you'll know how generally unhelpful those reviews are. Very rarely is any frame of reference given - such as the wearer's size - and when that is provided, it's often pretty obvious that there is no understanding of bra sizing. So, what you get are a lot of comments like 'Uncomfortable' or 'Runs small' or 'Runs big - band kept riding up'. Yeahhhh. Unless the reviewer gives enough info that I can tell they know what they're talking about, I pretty much disregard all of them. Exceptions: I pay attention to details about the fabric: if it was scratchy, or flimsy, etc. And I look for patterns. e.g. did a lot of people mention the cups run large? Even without the sizing context, that can help me determine my correct size in a brand. 

In this case, the mention of cups running large and band running snug were consistent. And that turned out to be correct. But multiple comments about 'no support' are baffling, especially as they came from folks just looking for a leisure bra to wear around the house. This bra has plenty of support. Definitely enough for yoga or weightlifting. Anything but jumping up and down, I would say.

Shape.  Overall, the shape and structure remind me a great deal of Panache's iconic sports bra. 

There is definitely lift and containment, though no flattening. There is plenty of depth in the cups. This angle looks almost like the shape has a touch of 'elf shoe' (for the origins of that fabulous term, see: Bras I Hate & Love - Also, I adore her for lighting the shining beacon of hope for all full-on-tops, and wish she would come back). However, there is no real elf shoe and the profile shape is actually quite rounded and compact:


Straps.  Wide, flat and comfortable. 

Seams.  Non-irritating and very diagonal, which usually results in a nice rounded shape. 

Breathability. Meh. A bit better than Panache, which wears really warm, but not super ventilated.

UnderbandA+  Glamorise really got this right. It is not too deep and tall, only about an inch high, has the perfect amount of stretchy give, and it is covered in soft, soft satiny fabric. It feels like a cloud of angels floating about your ribs. And then they went and undid all of that comfort with....

Clasp.  Five rows of hooks on an unpadded clasp. With sharp, scratchy edges. That can be felt at all times, from all angles. Really, Glamorise? Really?

When Do I Wear It?

When I want more support than a Bali bralette can provide and will be active enough that I do not want any wires rubbing. Say, when I am going to the garden center and lugging home a lot of shrubs. Or rambling a rocky beach with my wee beastie. And I am willing to contort myself to wedge a folded Kleenex between the clasp and my back.

Size: 42F
The comments about the cups running large were frequent enough that, together with my own experience of often needing less cup capacity in a wire-free stye, I opted to drop down a cup, but keep my normal band size for this brand. That turned out to be the right call. 

Keep in mind that Glamorise is a brand from the 1920s, and as such, is very wedded to the +4 sizing approach. The 42 fits me like a snug 38 in a UK brand. Most US-sized brands follow this older sizing model, from the time before the wonders of spandex, when the inches had to be built in for give. Brands such as: Playtex, Wacoal, Curvy Couture, Comfort Choice. 

Due to this, I have learned that often I am not sized out of these brands. I wouldn't even say I am sister-sizing in these cases, but rather taking their sizing on its own terms. So, while I am a 38GG in most UK sizing, and 38I in Euro, wearing a 42G in these brands is simply following their own system of measurement, which is different from sister-sizing, i.e. compromising on a too-big band to finagle enough cup capacity. Being willing to consider other sizing systems on their own merits will open up many other choices, at a whole range of prices.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Cake Sugar Candy Everyday No Wire Bra

I really wanted to subtitle this post 'In Which My Wire-free Dreams are Crushed To Dust - Again'...but I ran out of space. 

I had high hopes for this one. Cake is a maternity brand from Australia and they do lots of small-to-regular band sizes, and large cup sizes. They also have great names, all based on confections. The Sugar Candy is the only non-maternity bra they make. Based on the photos, which are helpfully shown on an actual curvy, full-busted model, I thought it really might work. 

(Hint: keep your eye on the shoulder/strap area. No digging, no hint of problems, right?)

http://images.shoprw.com/belliesinbloom/Cake-Lingerie-Sugar-Candy-Full-Cup-Seamless-Wirefree-Maternity--Nursing-Bra_23005F.jpg 

Structure

It is a lot like the usual comfort/leisure Bali-esque bralette, but with a good deal more structure. True, it is a stretchy nylon/microfiber fabric without actual cups. But - the fabric is thicker, and the interior has a sling/shelf made of soft padded fabric, so it is far more substantial and supportive than the usual stretchy leisure bra.

The sling seems like it would be a great way to add lift and support, without wires.


And you would expect that it would give a rounded shape...but you would be so very wrong.

 Shape & Fit

Here is how the Sugar Candy looks on me. For reference, I am similar in size to the model above, perhaps a 1/2 cup larger. But likely not similar in shape.





Yeahhhh, that sling is doing my boobs no favors. It is reminiscent of the boob-in-a-bag shape I achieved with the Breast Nest though certainly less extreme. I imagine in order for the sling/shelf to give the nice round-mound shape the model is getting, you would need to have wider, far less projected boobs than I do. 



Some angles look a bit better. 

Like this one. 

And if the bra were actually comfy, this would not be a deal breaker.






 


Although the profile view is pretty lackluster, it's not actually downward drooping...much.



And at least the sides are nice and low, while still being substantial and supportive.  





Comfort

Ah, here we are. Now we are in deal breaker country. 

Straps. i.e., Are you f**king kidding me?!  They are appalling. Just regular, on the thin side, bra straps. They are not restricted stretch and they are a rough fabric that I imagine is meant to be grippy, but just feels like sandpaper. But they are in no way equipped to deal with the weight of actual boobs. The digging in was immediate - and actually immediately painful. 

Note: my shoulders are not super-fleshy; they're broad, a little bony at the edges, and have a fair amount of muscle on the tops. I hate to think how these straps would feel on softer, fleshy shoulders. Pretty much like dental floss cutting through your skin, I would think, based on how they feel on mine. None of the pics I have seen of this bra show even a hint of digging, & I'm not sure how that's possible.


The straps are correctly adjusted - neither too tight, nor too loose. 


The band of the bra is the correct size for me: snug and sitting properly horizontal around my back.

I cannot emphasize enough how awful these straps are. 

They are far beyond mere discomfort, such as a Curvy Kate strap with sharp edges, that, if determined, you can semi-ignore.

They actually hurt. The harsh texture, but most especially, the cutting in. 


This pic of my shoulder was taken after having the Sugar Candy on my body for less than 5 minutes





When Do I Wear It?

This one makes me sad as I had hoped it would be a real option for an everyday bra. But there is just no way. For this price point of $60 I would expect better engineering along with the nice cup fabric. There is a real need for this type of bra in large cup sizes and it is a complete gap in the market. To be fair, if you have skin that is not at all sensitive, and you are a small(ish) cup size, say, an E or F, and you have a shallow shape, perhaps this would be a great option...? I don't know.

I am coming to the conclusion that something better than the Bali Comfort Revolution Wirefree simply may not exist. Recently, I was slightly alarmed when I went to buy another. There is a new version with foam-lined cups and it is not big boob friendly. The foam does not stretch and so reduces the cup capacity drastically. I am now going to stockpile the original version since the minor quibble I have with the strap seems even more minor now, by comparison.   

Size: XL  per the size chart, fits 36H-38GG, which is quite accurate. 
For this style, the sizing is much more specific than the usual, which is great. Sizing tops out at an XXL (38H-42G) and begins at XS (30F-GG)