Tuesday, April 28, 2020

When Should I "Sister-Size" Bra Fit?

Let's first talk about what sister-sizing means.  It's a term used when you adjust to a smaller or larger band while still having the same fit in the cups.  Cups are based on volume and sister-sizing accommodates that, to an extent.

To illustrate...

A 34C "sisters" to a 32D when you need a smaller band.
A 34C "sisters" to a 36B when you need a larger band.
Image source: https://thelingerielesbian.tumblr.com/post/65660813129/im-feeling-alittle-confused-about-bra-sizesi

This really only works when you're working within the same brand and style.  Mainly because sizes between different brands don't translate exactly.  You can't go from a 34C in Panache to a 36B in Chantelle because they're constructed differently.  But it becomes even more important in the larger cups.  The sizing becomes quite disparate above a DD cup.  Panache uses UK sizing and Chantelle uses EU sizing.  So where a Panache 34F sisters to a 32FF, Chantelle 34F, sisters to a 32G.

Even within the same brand, you can't do a straight sister size from one style to the next because, again, the construction and materials are often different.  A cup with one piece to the cups--think molded cups--are going to fit differently than a cup with multiple pieces.  Always start with the band size that has been determined to be your best fit, check it for snugness (upside down is one good way to do that) then adjust for cup fit.

In some instances, sales associates at well-known stores have taken sister-sizing to the extreme, in an effort to fit the breast volume.  This is completely incorrect.  Always fit the band first.

But, what do I mean "to the extreme"?

Say someone is UK 32G.  In shorthand, sistering looks like this 32G - 34FF - 36F - 38DDD (UK E)

When you consider that the band is what your ribcage measures around its circumference, it becomes quite obvious that someone who measures 38 inches will, in no way, fit into a 32 band.  Conversely, someone who measures into a 32 band will be swimming in a 38.  Where the sales associates are able to "make it work" is when someone has breast volume well beyond any cup that they carry (example: UK HH cup) but they want to make a sale.

Well, if the store sells 38DDD, sales associates have been known to "encourage" their 32G customer into it because it "totally fits".  Yeah, no.

Say it with me: Always fit the band, first, then adjust for the cup.

If the cup sizes don't go up high enough in a particular brand, you're going to have to find a different brand.

This may help with that:

28J+ : Curvy Kate, Ewa Michalak, Comexim, Panache, Bravissimo
30HH+ : Above + Freya, Tutti Rouge, Fantasie, Kris Line, Parfait
32H: Above + Flirtelle, Pour Moi, Shock Absorber, Gorsenia, Samanta
34GG: Above + Elomi, Avocado, All Undone, Miss Mandalay, Ewa Bien
36G: Above + Claudette, Goddess, Gorgeous, Prima Donna, Sculptresse
38FF: Above + Wolf & Whistle, Gossard, Change, Chantelle, Alegro
40F: Above + Cacique, Natori, Wacoal, Fayreform, Curvy Couture
42E: Above + Montelle, Kiabi, La Isla, Addiction, Ava
44DD: Above + Bali, Soma, Wonderbra, The Natural, Best Form
(source: https://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/)

The main takeaway is this: Always fit the band, always trust your gut on fit, and don't let anyone pressure you into buying what you don't actually love.  Sister-size when the cup fits but the band doesn't quite fit.  If it still doesn't fit, it may be a shape mismatch and you need to try a different style and/or brand.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Bra Review: Elomi Morgan vs Elomi Meredith vs Elomi Mariella vs Elomi Molly

Morgan, Meredith, and Mariella are, essentially, the same bra.  They have a new "sister" named Molly which is a nursing bra made on the same frame.

In this short post, I'll point out the few notable differences between Morgan and Meredith.

The first one is that the "tan" color of Morgan is called Toasted Almond and the Meredith is called Sahara.

While all the bras are made with four-piece cups, Morgan (and Mariella and Molly) are constructed from a larger percentage of polyester (the silkier material) than the Meredith.

Meredith has a textured cup that looks like two pieces of material layered together but it's just one.  I tried to separate them by sticking tweezers into the little holes but it wasn't happening.

The only other difference is that Morgan has a solid piece of elastic running along the bottomside of the cups and Meredith is made from two that meet in a V at the base of the gore. 

So, these four "M"-named bras are all the same skeleton and would serve as good replacements or substitutes if you can't find one of the others.

Morgan--comes in basic tan and black colors that are often just prints in those colors rather than solid tan or black, as well as fashion colors each season.  I think white is considered a fashion color because the tan and black colors seem to be the ones that carry over from season to season.

Mariella--comes in only fashion colors which is a great addition to your Morgan collection.

Meredith--comes in tan and black colors.  I've never seen a fashion color for this one.

Molly--comes in blush at the present time.  If you don't mind the nursing clips, it's a great neutral if your skin undertones are more pink than yellow.

If you'd like to see how they compare to the Elomi Kim Plunge, go to this post here.  Elomi Kim, Jody, and Lucie are made from the same frame as each other.

Friday, February 28, 2020

When to Buy New Bras? Or...How Worn is Too Worn?

I've heard many people ask: When do you know to buy new bras?

For me, it's any time a new color comes out and then buy ALL the colors because I usually have six or seven bras in my collection, all in regular rotation.

Recently, though, I realized it had been awhile since I had bought any new bras.  Now "awhile" is a very subjective term.  For me, it's been five months.  I haven't bought new bras since September 2019.  I attempted to go buy a couple two weeks ago but the local store was out of the Fall/Winter colors that I wanted, didn't have any more from Spring/Summer 2019 (not surprised but I was hoping), and Spring/Summer 2020 is making it's way in but hadn't all arrived yet.  So, it'll be six months since I've bought new bras.  Yes, I can shop online but I'd rather shop small and help keep that store in business.  Too many small business fall prey to big box and/or online, I want to do my part to invest in them and our community.

But...back to "How do you know?"

Your bra will let you know.  Everything shows signs of wear eventually.  Again, a subjective condition.  My definition of "signs of wear" is probably minimal to the average person.  But here are a few things that I look for when I'm assessing for signs of wear.

The eyes have expansion, even when you haven't worn the bra in a few days.  As time goes by, one of the eyes will eventually separate from the material but, at this time, all stitches appear to be intact.
On the hook side, you may see pilling of the material.  Or the hooks don't have their normal bend.  To be fair, the hooks might also get bent out of shape when you wash them in the washer.  Yes, you're supposed to hand wash them but I don't take time for that.  The washing machine wreaks less havoc if it's front load and/or does't have an agitator.
Strings are another sign of wear.  The stitches are getting frayed and will eventually allow the different pieces of material to separate.
Another key indicator is when the bottom of the wings stay rolled.  It's not uncommon for them to roll when you're wearing them.  Especially if you have any level of fluffiness on your torso.  At 220lbs, 40GG, I definitely have fluffiness and these two bras that I bought at the end of summer are showing their continued loyalty.

Elomi Morgan in Toasted Almond (right)
Elomi Morgan in Ebony (below)

So, if you're wondering when to buy new bras, check your bras and see how much wear they have.  If it's at a level that is intolerable to you, it's time to buy new ones.  If you're good with their condition, keep on rolling.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bra Review: Soma Innofit (Disapponted but Not Surprised by the Results)

As soon as I heard that Soma was coming out with a new bra-fit gadget, I knew I had to get it.  I had to see for myself if it was accurate.  But, before I get to its accuracy, let's talk about its construction.

It's made from the same material as most microfiber panties so there's some stretch to it.  Unstretched, the band measures about 10" from side to side (not circumference) and the fullest part measures 14" (again, not circumference).  From the top of the shoulder to the band, it's approximately 12".  Here's a picture with a standard size computer mouse, for comparison.

And one without so you can see the happy little "underwire" that is not really any sort of underwire. 

It just gives you general guidelines of where it should sit on your person.  Once I put it on, and it was stretching for all its worth, it wasn't so happy.  Do you see those bands of stitching that run from side to side in the picture above?  Well, like stitching does, there was less "give" along those lines so my "fullest" part was compressed.  Also, because the stitching runs up and over--rather than in a circumference parallel to the ground--the fullest measurement was compromised.  By a good two inches.  But, I digress.
When you flip the Innofit over, you see the large Bluetooth transmitter.  It's bright orange.  You can't miss it.  It's the doodad that receives the info from across your boobs and sends it to the Innofit app.

Inside is the spider web of stitching.

One last thing before I get to its accuracy...
...at least not in the washing machine

So, is it accurate?

In a nutshell?  No, not by correct bra-fit standards.  But...it is by Soma standards, using the compromised numbers that it measured.

The four measurements that it calculated were:

Top line: 45.9
Second line: 44.6
Third line: 42.3
Bottom line: 38.8
Which a result of bras in size 40DD

When I use accurate measuring techniques, I get:

Loose Underbust: 39
Snug Underbust: 37.5
Tight Underbust: 35.5

Standing Bust: 47.5
Leaning Bust: 49
Lying Bust: 48.5
Which results in size 38GG/H UK sizing

If you were to turn that 38GG in a 40 band it would be 40G which is FOUR cups larger than what the Innofit put me at.  Now, to be fair, the Innofit DID NOT add four inches to the band measurement.  It merely rounded to the nearest whole band size which would be a 40.  That really isn't that far off of what I measure my own band at, if you left off the "Tight" numbers.

Unfortunately, if the Bottom line had measured at 36, it would have still put me in a 40 band because the Innofit is based off Soma's size guide and that guide is terribly inaccurate.  Also, because of the compression of my own bra--which you're required to wear under the Innofit for best accuracy--and the added compression of the Innofit, the cup size was not accurate, as I already mentioned.

All in all, the journey continues to get proper bra-fit education out to the masses.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I Plan For It To Be The First Of Many Workshops

To say that I'm excited would be an understatement.  To help educate women to determine their breast shape and starting-point bra size has been my passion for so long, that I can't remember a time that I *didn't* want to help them.  Even while at VS, and I knew so much less than I do now, it was exciting to see how women reacted when they found something that fit and that they loved.  With even more knowledge and experience, I feel like I can help even more women.

I'll be sure to share how it goes.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bra Review: Elomi Kim Plunge and Elomi Morgan Side Support

I decided to do a combined review for these two bras because they are the Elomis that fit me best though, to be clear, I prefer the Morgan.

For point of reference, I have short root height, narrow-to-medium root width (and starting to venture into Omega-shaped), and am evenly full (neither Full-on-Top nor Full-on-Bottom).  The combination of short roots and even fullness makes me functionally FOB.  The ABTF calculator sizes me at 38GG.

First, their similarities: They are both 38GG.  They both measure 32" unstretched.  They are both multi-paneled bras with an upper panel of soft, stretchy lace.  They each come in black and tan versions plus a couple "fashion" colors which means that you (currently) have four choices for each of them, provided they have your size in stock.

Band sizes range from 34 to 46 and cups range from DD to K with the largest volume cup being a 40JJ in the Kim and a 40K in the Morgan.  All UK sizing.  Both have three rows and three columns of hook-n-eye fasteners.

Moving on to their differences...

The most obvious difference is gore height.

The gore on the Kim is 3" tall.

On me, a gore at this height digs into the upper portion of my cleavage.  I wan't able to get a great picture of it but it's like I have a bit of "muffin top" at the top of the gore.  Long wearings would make this a very uncomfortable bra but it's fine for a few hours.

The gore on the Morgan is 4" tall.

That one extra inch makes all the difference in being able to wear a bra for a few hours and being able to wear it all day.

There is also a one inch difference in cup width with the Morgan being only 5" wide and the Kim being 6" wide (measured from inside portion of the underwires).  The Morgan also has a taller outer wire which makes sense because it's a "Side Support" bra though the difference doesn't appear all that different when you're looking at the outside.  Conversely, the Kim has a taller wing at 5".  Whereas, the wing on the Morgan is only 4" tall.

Kim, 6" wide cup, 5" tall wing.

Morgan, 5" wide cup, 4" tall wing.

They each do have great bottom-of-the-cup projection.  The best that I've come across in my bra-fit journey.  The Morgan even has accommodation for the pendulosity of a breast.

Another key difference between the two is the stretchiness of the wings.  The Morgan has a single-layer of mesh for its wing.  The Kim, on the other hand, continues the print of the cup on to the wing and this material is layered over the mesh wing.  This provides less give in the wing overall because there are two layers of material.



The Morgan has fully adjustable straps.  The Kim does not.

To sum it up, I have four Morgans--black, tan, purple, and blue--and only one Kim.  I just feel the Morgan is better suited to all my aspects of fit, not to mention my comfort level.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

It's Survey Time

I'm trying to capture information regarding only band sizes--I say "only" because I'm not trying to capture data regarding cup sizing at this time--and the various shades of "nude".  Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.

You will need a seamstress tape measure if you don't already know your Snug and Tight band measurements.

Please share the survey with other bra-wearers that you know.