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...
DO NOT WASH IT!! least not in the washing machine

So, is it accurate?

In a nutshell?  No, not by correct bra-fit standards. 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.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bra Review: Panache Envy

When I started this blog two and a half years ago, I tried on SO.MANY.BRAS!!!  I thought it was just a matter of finding the one or two that fit and that would be that.  That was in May 2015.  I went through four rounds of different bras from Bare Necessities.  I was a 36FF, in general, and tried on nearly 100 different styles.  A few months later, I found a local bra store and that made trying stuff on so much easier.

Two years ago, I completed my last PT test in my military career and thus began a very torrid affair with Ben...and Jerry.  That continued through January 2016 when I had a surgery that required a month of bed-rest recovery.  Two months after that, as part of my military retirement celebration, I embarked upon a road trip that took more than two months.  It put 12,500 miles on my Jeep...and my ass.

Why do I share this?  Because I gained 30 pounds between December 2015 and June 2016.  I was SO no longer a 36FF.  No problem.  Now that I don't have to worry about 12 hour shifts, the weight will just fall off.  Uh, nope.  So much nope it's not even funny.  But, then again, it is.  Did I really think that what took me six months to gain would take only one or two to lose?  You know how life is what happens when you're busy making plans?  Yeah, right here, baby!

The remainder of 2016 was stressful in epic proportions.  That weight was going nowhere.  It was me who needed to give in and make the adjustment.  So I ventured up a little further in my little state of Delaware and found Bare Essentials.  That's where I've been doing my shopping for the past year.
In that time, I've learned 1) I don't maintain a static size for very long and 2) Never get rid of bras that don't fit if they're still good 'cause they might fit again, no matter whether they're too big or too small.

So, on with the review...

On my most recent shopping expedition, I bought three of these.  As a 36FF, this style didn't fit me but, since I'm not a 36FF any more, I figured why not try them again.  For reference sake, the bra calculator on the sidebar puts me at a 36H/38GG.  If I remember correctly, I started in the area of 38FF for all the bras that I tried. I have short roots, even (top/bottom) fullness, pendulous, and narrow to medium root width.

This one is the Panache Envy in a 38FF.  It's a balconette style which works at this size but, when I was smaller, there was emptiness at the top of the cup.  You can see some "flappiness" at the top of the cup in this picture but that results only when my arms are raised vs all the time.
The gore tacks very nicely.  It doesn't dig in and it doesn't sit on any part of the inner breast.  It is fairly tall though so some may not like this bra if the top of their breasts touch each other.
There are a few areas where I had to compromise on the "perfect fit".  The cup doesn't project at the underwire so when I swoop and scoop there is space at the bottom, between my breast and the underwire.  But not so much that I didn't buy the bra (or the two others in different colors).  It's also a little wide in the cup but, thankfully, the wires aren't that tall so I'm not getting stuck in the armpit.
Another area that lessens me being a fan of this bra is the shoulder strap placement.  If you have narrow shoulders, this is NOT the bra for you.  In the picture below, I positioned the straps to show how they'd lay if they were in line with where they're sew on the bra itself which ends up being ON my shoulder bone.  Most people tend to wear their straps just inside of that, in the little divit instead.
A few more tidbits about the bra:
Although the lace is soft, the rest of the bra is a little stiff and can be itchy.  It's a kind of mesh textile that are in many unlined bras least ones that I've seen anyway.  Also, even though it's labeled 38, the band doesn't measure that length.  Unstretched is 30 inches; stretched is 36 inches.  I measure 37 inches in a snug measurement and 34 in a tight one for my underbust.

The smallness of the bra measurement isn't surprising.  Panache is notorious for running "small", just as Elomi tends to run "large".  Just one of those quirks that brands have.  What I'm getting at is: Don't be surprised if you wear a band size larger than your larger underbust measurement.  Sizing among brands is known for being inconsistent.  Just buy and wear what fits.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Running While Boobed: The Lesser of Two Pains

Anyone who is on the breast spectrum has probably encountered the problem of too much bounce while running or doing other cardio.  When you're outside of the matrix sized sports bras, the problem is even worse.  Many of us choose to wear two garments to reduce the ache and pain of bouncing to as little as possible.

When I was 20 pounds lighter, it wasn't as much an issue.  I could shop in a store in the mall and get something that would hold me in place, comfortably.  Then I passed my final Air Force PT test, started an affair with Ben, Jerry, and Haagen Daas and it all went to crap.  Now that I'm closer to 200 pounds versus the 175 that I was back then, I have to go to a specialty store for bras or shop online.  In the course of buying bras, I'm more likely and willing to compromise when it comes to regular, everyday or "date" bras but definitely not willing to compromise when it comes to sports bras.  I don't want my breasts to move at all...or as little as possible since that's what I have to live with.

And I enjoy running.  I enjoy working out and breaking a sweat.  I love getting in a great weight lifting session, too, but I often have to compromise portions of form in order to accommodate my boobs.  It's quite frustrating and, sometimes, terrible for the posture because the accommodating posture isn't correct form for the actual movement.  Ugh!

I get an encapsulation sports bra--one that has separate cups for each breast--and top it with a compression bra--one that smooshes the crap out of them.  The result: A serious inability to breathe.  Truly.  I can't take a deep breath when I'm wearing this combination and, when I run, I'd like to be able to take the occasional deep breath.  I'm a big fan of breathing.  I think most people are.  It's kind of necessary to life.

The irony: I can't get to the physical composition again for not wearing this combination of bras WITHOUT enduring it, for the time being.  Huh??  You might be asking.

I can't get back down to the smaller size without doing occasional bouts of cardio so, that being said, I have to endure the lack of breathing until I get back down to that smaller size.  It's coming along but, again, because I LIKE breathing, I don't do high impact cardio all that often. get there, I get to choose the lesser of two pains:

I can either breathe (and bounce all over the place)
I can limit the breathing (AND limit the bouncing).

I'll take the latter.

The other 68% probably weren't able to breathe!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bare Essentials--A Wilmington, Delaware Store Review

I was quite sad when Buttercups closed last year.  They were fairly convenient to where I lived and, pretty much, on the way to my part-time job at Christiana Mall.  They closed at a time that wasn't a big time of bra need for me, though, so I didn't really feel the loss until some months later.  They closed just before Valentine's Day 2016 and it wasn't until I returned from my post-military retirement road trip(s) in June that I was really wishing they were still open.

See, those trips were a total of 2.5 months and 12,500 miles of traveling.  Sitting, really.  And often.  Even when I wasn't driving, I wasn't super active.  As a result, I gained a good 20-25 pounds (on top of the ten that I gained in late 2015 but I digress) and could no longer "make do" with the 36FF bras that I'd been sporting for the better part of a year.  Come June/July of 2016 I HAD to get new bras.  I was measuring close to a 40 band.  BUT, I hadn't yet ventured to Bare Essentials yet so I just got some "make do" bras at the local (overpriced) department store.

Come September, though, I was tired.  Tired of being tired and tired of being the (overall body) size that I was so I hit the gym.  But not after ordering a few different size sports bras from online.  I kept the two that fit and then ventured to Bare Essentials to get some more of the same style.  And, three months later, there was no denying that I needed new bras...again.  I had lost about 20 pounds and the 38FF Elomis were swimming on me.  Even the sports bras, which I purposely bought a little snug, were a bit too big.

Now it was time for some REAL shopping at Bare Essentials.  I was helped by Victoria.  The woman knows her bras.  Even more important, she knows there's more to bra fitting than just band and cup sizes.  I think it helps that her own quest is as "fun" as the rest of us--we, of the sizes that they just don't carry in midrange department stores like Macy's, JCPenney, or the like.

Anyhow, she brought me everything.  Well, except for Elomi Cates and Caitlyns because I was just tired of wearing those styles.  They'd been my "make do" bras for the past six months.  I actually found five or six styles that I really liked and left with a pretty full bra wardrobe.

But, let me tell you about the store.  Bras everywhere.  From floor to ceiling and all along the walls.  Beautifully arranged and in a huge variety of sizes.  They may not have ALL the colors on hand but ordering is easy and they ship right to your house.  LOVE!!  They also carry Spanx and bra-sized swimwear.  The fitting rooms are spacious; though the lighting isn't the best.  It's kind of well-lit but the way the fixtures are positioned, they cause shadows and that can skew how you view the fit of a bra in the mirror. They also have a bathroom that is located conveniently near the fitting rooms, on the main floor, and it feels much like a home bathroom vs the "industrial" feel of many store bathrooms.

The store is easy to get to from Interstate 95, via Hwy 202 N--just make sure you're in the outside lane of either road so that you can turn into their parking lot, as it's right on the southeast corner of Hwy 202/Concord Pike and Silverside Rd.

Most importantly, the prices are comparable and the owner has implemented a reward program that is based upon $$ spent.  You can also Like them on facebook.

So, if you're in the region of Wilmington, Delaware, take advantage of our states complete tax free-ness and pick up some new pretties at Bare Essentials.