Friday, October 7, 2016

Bra Review: Elomi Energise Medium Control Convertible Sports Bra

I first tried on the Elomi Energise Sports Bra at Bare Essentials, here in Delaware.  That's how I was able to narrow down my size.  I measure at a 38FF but this style runs large in the cup so I ended up ordering one each of tan and black in 38F.  I then went on to see if they had other colors.  They did--a snazzy pomegranate color.  Kind of red; kind of pink.  I ordered two of those.

On to the construction and fit...
The bra, unworn, measures at 31"...
...with straps that are just under 1" wide.  I know you can't really see that they're less than 1" but my camera flash was not cooperating.  They're approximately 3/4" wide.  You can also see the J-hook which I just may to try.

The cups have two vertical seams, one full (top to bottom) along the outer portion of the cup and one that goes up to the horizontal overbust seam.

And it has ALMOST enough immediate depth (fka immediate projection) to accommodate me.

The gore tacks beautifully and you can see, below (and above) that it has a closed top.  I have short roots and even fullness--making me "functionally" FoB--and this sits just right on me.  The underwires stop a full 2" from the top of the bra but the whole gore sits flush against my sternum. does it perform?  Well, the jury is still out.  I *have* jogged in it twice now.  However, I haven't jogged in quite some time.  I did do some running in my Natori Yogi bra.  It wasn't pleasant or comfortable.  So, really, I haven't ran regularly since I was a 36FF--about 30lbs ago--so I don't know if it was uncomfortable because it truly didn't support or if it was uncomfortable because of the extra volume on my chest.  I plan to keep them and continue to jog in them but I may end up getting a compression bra to go over top of them until I get used to running again.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bra Review: Brooks/Moving Comfort Embody Sports Bra

The Brooks/Moving Comfort Embody Sports Bra was recommended to me by someone who runs and is large chested.  She assured me that it was comfortable and fit great so I ordered one.  The first thing I did, though, was to eschew their method of determining for size.  To determine band size, it has you add as many as FIVE inches to what you measure under the bust.  FIVE inches!!  I measure at 37", snugly.  This would have had me ordering a 42 band size--two sizes too big for this 38 band size woman.  And their cup size determination...I can't even.  It has you in an AA cup if there is a three inch difference between your (actual) band and (actual) bust measurement and my 10 inch difference puts me in an F cup, by their chart.  If you'd like to experience this confusion, yourself, just click on "Expert Advice" and measure away.

Folks, bra math is fairly easy: 1 inch = 1 cup size.  It's the differences between the three main "sizers"--UK, US, and EU--that confuses many folks.   The part that you have to keep in mind is that UK sizing has no vowels beyond E and has double letters after F.  Here's a chart to show how US, UK, and EU sizing lines up.  Since Moving Comfort comes in FF cups, it's safe to assume that they use UK sizing.  But, by their measuring methods, I wouldn't need an FF.  I'd be in a 42F.  Needless to say, I didn't order a 42F.  I ordered my r/ABTF's calculated size of 38FF.

When I first opened the package, I was quite excited.  It appeared to have many of the features that I need for a bra in which I plan to run: wide straps, deeper cups, high gore to name a few.  And it really is just a nice looking bra.  My first step was to measure the bra--before I put it on so as to not skew the measurement.  Unstretched, it measured between 30 and 31 inches.  Eek!  I hope it's not too tight!!

The straps were great.  Nice and wide--a full 1 inch wide, fully adjustable--you can shorten them and lengthen them all the way from front to back, and you can criss cross them.
Checking out more of the construction, I see that it has two layers.  This is great if you like a little more coverage between your bra and your tshirt or don't want your boobs quite so "out there" in a bra.  It's also a great place to put your keys and ID without putting those items in the actual cup.  :)
The other thing that's nice is that the cup is multi-seamed.  This is an important feature if you have any sort of breast projection.  Your boobs won't be pushing the bra all the way down your ribcage, searching for a deeper part of the cup.
Okay, so how does it fit???
Not great.  The cup was too small.  The cups are compressing me enough that I have cleavage in this bra and that's not a goal of mine in a sports bra.  The gore tacked but you can see where the inner portion of the underwire is digging into said cleavage.    See the "dig" here:
The other indicator that it doesn't fit well, for me, is how the cup doesn't extend as far as I'd like towards my armpit.  This might be due to being too narrow, too, but I wouldn't know for sure unless I ordered a cup size larger--38G.  I also had more "wing overhang" than I was comfortable with.
I didn't order the 38G...yet.  Maybe sometime in the future.  I found another brand and style at a local store and purchased a few of those.  Be on the lookout for a store review for Bare Essentials in Delaware and a bra review for the bra that I bought.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Inspired to Help Women Find Their Size; Just Not Inspired to Post Anything New...Til Now.

A few weeks ago, I (as is stated in the military) got my "peepee spanked" for linking my blog willy nilly just for the sake of linking my blog.  And, even though I really was trying to help the person on whose thread I'd linked my blog, there was some truth to the statement.  As a result, my brain went into questioning mode.  "Do I really have anything to contribute?"  "Is what I offer valid/useful?" and on and on.  Granted, I haven't been as informed for as long as the moderators on the sub on which I was posting my links but my answer still came to a resounding YES.  Why?  Because I have mid-band, mid-cup boobs and that perspective is different from the "usual" 28, 30 and 32 bands that are on there and might be more useful to the 40, 42, 44 bands that post.

So, I continue to read and learn and I still post links that I know are helpful--even when there seems to be an ongoing discussion about what terms are correct to use and which ones are not.  The discussion on "Immediate Projection", alone, is enough to make your head spin.  But I press on, bowing to the "voice" of whomever is speaking the loudest about what terms to use.  I like the term Immediate Projection because you can explain that the breast tissue "projects immediately from the rib cage where the two meet."

I continue to tell folks that cross my path, at work and out and about in town, about my blog.  If only so that they go to the bra size calculator and discover that most retailers measure you incompletely.  I don't say "wrong" because they are using a couple measurements that determine a correct fit but they aren't using ALL of them.  Did it just the other day, at the gym.  I saw this poor woman with her bra band nearly up to her shoulders on her back.  I always try to mention the blog right away so that ladies don't think I'm some kind of stalker.  It also helps explain my passion for helping women get what fits.  If they're able to glean some nuggets about shape, great!  If it leads them to the reddit sub, even better!!  I just want them to find what fits even if it doesn't fit perfect.  Fitting *better* is good too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bra Review: Natori Women's Power Yogi Convertible Sports Bra (in Passion Pink/Orchid)

Sometime in April, I decided to check out the local Dillards--while passing through Montgomery, AL--and ended up buying a few sports bras to wear during my time of increased size--surgeries and vacation can help facilitate weight gain like you wouldn't believe.

With no exception, I tried on every sports bra that they had in my size.  And did jumping jacks while wearing them.  The Natori Women's Power Yogi Convertible Sports Bra performed the best in the small fitting room so I bought one in every color that they had--grey, tan, bright pink, lavender, and light teal.

This bra is definitely testament to the fact that bra sizes are completely inconsistent.  I measure at a 38FF/G.  This bra is a 38DDD, U.S. sizing (which is obvious if you know that the UK doesn't use triple letters *anywhere* in their sizing) and, in this case, the DDD equals an F.  The sizing lines up D, DD, DDD, G for this bra.  You can see numerous colors and the 32A to 40G selection on Amazon.

Now that I've had them a few months and worn them a number of times, I feel like I can give a good assessment of what I think about them.  First off, the coverage is very high--I don't say "cups" here because there are two layers to this bra (pic at bottom of this post).  So, the coverage is high--from the stitches that connect the strap to front and down to the bottom of the band it's nine inches, as best I can measure--but the underwires kind of slide down on to the band.  See both these attributes here: 

It's also a shallow bra.  After wearing it an hour, the band feels like it's halfway down my belly.  I also feel like I'm constantly swooping and scooping.  Evidence to the shallow...the non-tacking gore (also known as: A great shot of my cleavage lol): 

One thing in this bra's favor is the width of its cups.  They're narrow, like me.  :)  The width (6.75") is perfect for my breasts, even if the depth (~4") and projection (~.25" at the underwire) aren't.  I wish all my bras had cups at this width:

With all these things, though, they're not all that annoying.  There is one attribute of this bra that irks me to no end: the straps.  I can't get them to lay flat to save my life.  I love that they're so adjustable but that *extra* just doesn't cooperate.  See them waving?

I mentioned the bra being two layers.  This facet is great if you're looking to avoid headlights showing.  However, I think it's the two-layer feature that makes the shallowness so, well, shallow.  You can see the inner layer here: 

All these negative features, do I even like this bra?  I do.  And the main reason for that is that I can wear this bra as a visible foundation under a top and not care that it's showing.  I can wear it with a low cut blouse and it will cover up an excess cleavage.  

I can wear it and my workout shirt out and about without looking like I'm wearing Activewear as my Everydaywear.  A personal pet peeve of mine: Folks who wear gym attire yet have no intention of working out.  I just don't get it.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts on the Natori Women's Power Yogi Convertible Sports Bra.  Bottom line: I wouldn't run in this bra...and I've tried...but it's fine for medium to low impact sports like walking and bicycle riding.

Again, there are 24 different colors available on Amazon, six on barenecessities (sizes 32B to 40H there), and 15 on HerRoom (most are on clearance, 32B to 40G).  Department stores like Dillard's or Nordstrom might have them but they are definitely in short supply.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Breasts Have Roots? What Are They, Trees? (A Different Aspect)

Last year, I wrote a post about the height of breast roots.  This post is about a different expanse of the same roots: width.  Breasts can be anywhere along the width spectrum from very wide--with tissue attaching well under the armpit--to very narrow--with tissue starting very much in front of the chest wall.

Many of us may have been wearing bras with cups that are too wide for our breasts and that's one reason why the wire poke us in the armpit.  Those wires could also just be too tall but for the sake of this post, we'll assume that all cups are just too wide.  A downside to wearing cups that are too wide AND not swooping and scooping, is that you could end up with migrated breast tissue that never returns home.  What do I mean by this?  Tissue that should be closer to the front of your chest ends up hanging out under your armpit.  A too-narrow cup is the biggest offender for making tissue migrate--think of when you put on some jeans that are too small...where does what doesn't fit go?  Outside the jeans in the form of muffin top.  You can get muffin top in two main areas in a too small/too narrow bra: your cleavage and your armpits.

Here is one example of a bra that has too wide of a cup for me (the mis-fit is pretty obvious):

You can see where the bra is sitting almost flush to my skin between my armpit and my breast.  I think this one makes me look a little shrinkwrapped, don't you?  Most of that "shrinkwrap effect" is due to the fact that it doesn't have enough projection at the bottom of the cup but it's the only photo I have of an obviously too wide cup.

So?  How can you tell the width of your breasts?

From a standing position, you might be able to tell by where your ribcage starts to present behind your breast tissue.  I'm not able to tell from this position but I know others have been able to do so.  Here's a sketch to illustrate what I mean:

The top sketch would be considered narrow.  The bottom one could fall into the wide root spectrum.  I determined my own width be leaning over, with nothing on, and checking myself out.  My breast tissue starts in front of my chest wall.  None of it attaches under my armpit.  Therefore, I search for medium to narrow cups.

I have to make a slight reference to other aspects of fit so that the experts don't start nay-saying me.  In the sketch, above. I say "could" fall into the wide root spectrum because they could also just be *wide-set* not wide rooted.  I'll save that for another post though.

So, back to my lean over assessment.  Here's a pic of me doing this assessment.  Please note that, yes, the boobs are covered.  However, this tube top that I've slid over my breasts like a sock does NOT pull them in.  They are still dangling free.

Thanks to some uncalculated yet strategic lighting, you can see the the shadow of my armpit and how it is further away from the center of my body; whereas, the root of my breast--so brightly lit lol--is closer to the center of my body.  That is why I have determined that I am narrow to medium rooted.

I hope this helps you with shape determination.

As a sidenote: If you have narrow to medium roots, Elomi is not a brand for you.  :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Compromising An Aspect (Or Two) Of Fit While Searching For The Perfect Fit

I've been on my journey for the perfect fit for more than a year now.  In July of 2015, I found a style that would work for me while continued my search for "much better."  Along the way, I have tried more than 100 bras--some were the same style but different sizes; most were 36FF.  And then I gained weight and my shape changed ever so slightly.  But my size increased from that calculated 36FF to a 36GG/38G--two full cups.  I lean towards the 38 band because, at 39 inches around, my ribs won't be comfortable in a 36 band size.

As a result, I'm compromising even more.  Why?  Because I'm not going to stick at this weight.  This is road trip weight.  This is two and a half months of traveling across the United States.  This is sitting on my ass while I drove nearly 12,000 miles.  lol.  So, I compromise.  I bought some bras at a couple places during my trip--adjusting for my new size but not really able to accommodate my actual shape.  The reason being: the store that I stopped at didn't carry too many styles with medium to narrow cups.  They carry Elomi and other wider-cupped styles/brands.  I think it's because it's easier to put a narrow breasted woman in an Elomi and have her be satisfied with a "much better" fit than to try to carry the narrower cups and attempt to fit wider breasted women in them.  Most folks I know would rather have a slightly too big garment than a slightly too small any garment.

So, where do I compromise?

Usually in bottom of the cup projection:
(sorry for the blurry photo)
Yep, that's my finger sitting in the space that doesn't come out immediately at the underwire.  You get this when you swoop & scoop and the cup is too shallow.

I already mentioned cup width.  That's another place that I compromise.

My actual width is about halfway between where that underwire is and where that seam is.  If the strap came straight down to meet the underwire, that's my root width.  BUT the underwire doesn't jab me in the armpit, despite ending there, so I wear the bra for now.

As for other areas of compromise, when it comes to this specific bra, the cup is actually a hair too small.  You can see it (sort of) in how the breast tissue is being dug into by the center gore and I'm quad-boobing a bit.  

Luckily, the top of the cup is stretch lace so this makes it easier to just go with the flow until I can continue my journey for a perfect fit.

So...where do YOU compromise on your Perfect Fit journey?

Friday, June 3, 2016

I Found My New Size But Then My Weight Changed. Now What?

This is me in the past year.  Last May, I calculated my new size--went from a 36DDD (using VS methods) to a 36FF (using the calculator over there ---> ) --and proceeded to work my way through more than 90 styles in four different rounds of shipment from barenecessities.  Then, come December 2015, I started gaining weight.  It happened because I took (and passed!) my last Physical Training test for the military.  That initiated a very torrid affair with Ben & Jerry.  In January of this year, I had surgery that called for a month's worth of rest afterwards.  Bras were definitely feeling more snug but I was able to still wear the ones that I bought six months prior--four Chantelles that were starting to show their age.  Come April though, the weight gain had been significant enough that I could no longer wear them.  Luckily, I was on a road trip through the south that allowed me to stop at a few places and get some new bras (in a new size!!).  I bought three or four from bra te da in Abilene and was on my way.  In the six weeks since that purchase, I have, once again, outgrown my bras.  Ugh!!  The band is tight, the gore doesn't tack, and I have quad boob.  Unfortunately, since I'm still on the road (and there are no bra stores where I'm at), I have to make do with these ill-fitting bras.  So be it.

On /r/ABraThatFits, I've seen the question as to whether shape changes when your weight changes.  I can say, for me, the answer is YES.  It's not drastic but it is significant in that I can wear different styles of bras in addition to the ones that I was already wearing.  My shape at 36FF was slightly pendulous, short rooted, evenly Full on Top (FOT) and Full on Bottom (FOB), and medium to narrow width, as well as having bottom-of-the-cup/immediate projection.  Because of the even fullness and short roots, I was functionally FOB and that resulted in me not being able to wear any bras that had a lace panel across the top.  You can see what I'm talking about in the pictures of the Lily and Lucy bra in this post.

Well, now that I've gained even more weight, there's increased fullness all around.  That lace panel probably wouldn't flutter like it has in the past.  I am still medium to narrow, I still have the immediate projection and my roots haven't grown in height either.  The breast increase appears to be working its way towards an omega shape (where the breast tissue is wider than the actual roots) rather than adding width to the roots themselves.  When I take off any of the Elomis, the wire is still obviously wider than my breast, even if the cup itself is too small.  For reference I have the 8750/Jocelyn (36FF), 8810/Tiffany (38FF), 8011/Rita (36F & 38FF), and 8840/Etta (38FF) styles.  I will say that the Jocelyn has some great projection in the cup.  When I take it off, the wire indent is damn near right in my crease.  And the lace panel at the top helps alleviate some of the quad boob that I get due to it being too small now.

The bra fit veterans may ask why I bought Elomis if I have medium to narrow roots?  I'll tell you: Bra store owners who don't know what root width is tend to stock a lot of Elomi bras--every store that I've been in has them--not realizing that some women may need a narrower wire and a deeper cup.  The wide cup width tends to accommodate a lot of breasts; much like shaped/lined cups tend to accommodate a number of shape mismatches.

So, what's my plan?  I'm going to hit Bare Essentials in northern DE and get a few more "make due" bras.  Then I'm going to do what it takes to get this added weight off.  Some women may enjoy having an increased breast size--mind you, I'm still a fairly average size when you take into account just how many cup/band combos there are but I'd like to be on the less voluminous side of that scale.

What have you done when your weight or shape changed?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bras Plus--A Reno, Nevada store review

I've become spoiled by the boutiques that I've already been in and I really had to take a step back before I wrote this review.  Other stores that I've been in have been brightly painted and/or have very snazzy shelves and/or other furniture.  Bras Plus is decorated in a very spartan manner: very few and just simple pictures around the showroom--which isn't very large but isn't tiny either; one wall is all face-out displays and there are three or four racks of bras, nightgowns, and robes along the center of that side of the store--you can see what I'm talking about on their current cover photo of their facebook page.  The other side of the showroom has some clearance racks but is dominated by the sales desk.  The walls are painted a pale, pale blue (or they're white and just look that way from the light coming through the front windows.

They carry a few select brands--Fantasie, Elomi and Goddess--which is perfect for the wide-rooted customer--and have between two and five styles for each brand.  Their size range appears to be between 30B (and C) and 46H; though that H might be in the Goddess brand and, therefore, a U.S. H and not a UK H.  I did see a few Elomi bras in JJ cups.  They also carry some cup-sized swimwear, mastectomy camis, and longline corsets/bustiers.

The owner was very nice.  She wasn't knowledgable on many aspects of fit but she knew her stuff when it came to sister sizes and what-not.  We discussed the selection in the store and how long they'd been in business--almost 60 years; as well as the opportunity for such a store in Reno.  Reno has a population of more than 200,000 with its surrounding county having more than 400,000 so there is quite the pool of available customers and very few places, in general, to buy bras.  The city has the standard presence of department stores and stores for bras in the mall but Bras Plus is the only one with any selection of extended (read: non-matrix) sizes.

So, even though the store isn't all that fancy and isn't decorated in bright colors or with snazzy furniture, they do offer quite the selection for ladies who size out of matrix-sized bras.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

bra te da--An Abilene, Texas store review.

I've been traveling across the southern part of the United States and was able to stop into a bra boutique in Abilene, Texas during my visit to the town. The store is called bra te da.

I hadn't realized just how large the city was but, after some research, I learned that it has more than 120,000 people in it.  Surprisingly, the county in which it sits has just under 130,000 so Abilene is the lion's share of the population; however, this store serves the whole county and also has customers that have moved away from the area.  The reason that this bit of information is important is that I've found that boutique stores don't do well if they serve a population smaller than 50,000.

My visit to the store was totally legit.  Having gained a bit of weight in the past few months, I needed new garments.  The woman at the register asked if she could help me and I was happy to take her up on her offer.  She lead me back to the fitting room and asked me to doff my shirt.  She proceeded to measure me with my bra on (not unexpected since most stores won't measure you braless, a more accurate method), measuring me over the band of my current bra and over the fullest part of my breasts and sized me at a 38E/F-ish.  She pulled some Elomi styles and I tried them on--too small in the cup.  Elomi does tend to differ from what most calculators will put me at so I knew this was going to be a trial and error endeavor.  We bumped up to a 38FF.

After getting the bras picked out and paid for, I chatted with the owner for a bit.  We traded chuckles about customers who've only ever been sized at Victoria's Secret and are amazed when they get fitted into something that really, truly fits because they're really a 30C, trying to fit into a 32 band with little success.  We also talked about the customers who refuse (REFUSE!) to believe that they wear a cup size larger than a DDD and they end up walking out of the store.  Very sad but I, personally, take heart in the fact that just introducing the idea into their head will start them on a path towards a bra that fits.

All in all, it was a great shopping experience and I would recommend bra te da to those who live in or near Abilene or anyone traveling through the town.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Visualizing the Sheer Number of Bra Sizes Out There...

I got to thinking, last night, about the sheer number bra sizes out there--at least 400--and how few are actually available to the general (shops at bricks and mortar stores) public in the United States--between 50 and 100.

Can you imagine if there were stores that carried all the sizes?  It could even be multiple stores, owned by the same company kind of like Chico's FAS has two stores that cater to different demographics but either can shop in both.  (Was that confusing?  It sounds confusing when I read it back.)  Chico's FAS owns Chico's (which caters to (and features in their ads) the 40+ year old woman who likes to be put together but not necessarily "businessy") and White House Black Market (which caters to the mid-20s to early 40s "businessy" demographic).  They used to also own Boston Proper (which catered to a whole different--more "vacationy" and sexier--facet of women's lives) but that went by the wayside.

Anyhow, back to the bras.  You could have one store with 26-40, AA-HH; one store with 42-56, AA-HH, and a third with 26-56, J-PP.  Hell, make it a whole multi-floor department store with sections for each size.  Call it the Bra Emporium.  A girl can dream about a world of bras with very well trained fitters.

Wow!  I got a bit off track from my original thought: visualizing all those sizes.

So, here is what we "see" at most any Victoria's Secret store:

Not in all styles but, for the most part, their bras, IN STORE, fall into that chart range.

And this is what contributes to people thinking that a D cup is HUGE.  It's not.  By any means.

What if you go to a midrange department store like JCPenney?  You'll probably "see" this:
I have to caveat this photo.  I kept my items square for ease of cropping.  You're not likely to find the upper Ds in a lot of midrange stores for size 30 bands; A-C cups, yes, but not much above that.  Same goes for the A and B cups in the 40+ bands.  (I fixed the erroneously colored in purple on my original product but all the pictures in this post are from the same photo, just cropped accordingly.)

And folks are still thinking a D cup is quite large.  Nope.  Still isn't.

Okay, so what if you go to a place like Nordstrom?  If you're lucky, you might have choices like this:

And you might be thoroughly confused because "Is it a UK size or a US size or a EU size?"  "What size am I?"  (I used UK (with a slight US overlap) on these charts.)

But those are still a lot of bra sizes, right?  You shouldn't need more than that, right?

WRONG.  That's not even a quarter of what bra size needs actually are.

Oh, and see where that "HUGE" D cup falls?  Not even in the middle now.  And, realistically, we need to get over this "Huge" and "Tiny" thing.  Breasts are just breasts.  And, in many cases, they cause great consternation to the person to whom their attached because of how American society reacts to them, no matter where they fall on a size chart.

For those who fall into the coming chart, they won't be surprised by the range of sizes but a lot of other folks might be.  So where does the remainder of the 400 sizes that I alluded to come from?


A whole gamut of bra sizes that are not sold in bricks and mortar stores; mainly, I think, because it "costs too much" to make that many bras.  I think we'll get there but it's going to take time and lots of education, on the part of the consumer.  The more that we educate people on their real size, the more they'll place a demand on bra manufacturers.  Is that DD from Victoria's Secret really your size or are you buying it because it's the only thing that you knew existed, that seemed to fit your breasts?

Hell, if Barbie, an icon for generations who had only one body type for decades, can get tall and petite and curvy, then bra manufacturers will provide when the demand is placed on them.  Even if they don't get to all the other Aspects of Fit, in all the sizes, just providing more sizes IN STORES is 
a start.

Want to find out what size you measure?  Check out the calculator here.  All you need is a soft tape measure and something to capture your numbers as you take them.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

What If I Don't Have A Tape Measure?

The first part of finding a bra that fits, is determining your band size.  The band is the measurement off which everything else is based.  You can't be specific about your cup size until you get your band size because your cup size is X inches larger (or smaller) in circumference than your band.  You could, feasibly, determine your shape without your band size but you'll have better success in determining which new bras to try with that first piece of information solidified.

So...what if you don't have a tape measure...but you do have some fairly new bras?  How can you use them to determine your band size?

Put one of those puppies on upside down, cups over belly.  Like so:

For modesty's sake, I kept my Chantelle on while I put the Elila on upside down.  You will want to ensure that the bottom of the band (which is at the top now) is all the way up in your IMF (aka boob crease) vs being pushed down by the underwire like you see above.

Now, how much space is between you and the band?

After having surgery in January and not getting much activity (but enjoying tasty food) there isn't much space between me and the band of my Elila so I haven't been wearing them at all in the past two months but...I digress.

If the fit is loose, the bra band is too large and you should go down to the next one.  If you can fit a whole hand width between you and the band, you might need to go down more than one band size.  If the fit is uncomfortably snug--like my Elila is to me currently--you will need to go up in the band.  If the band is comfortable, it will stay the same but you may need to adjust for cup size.

You can also check for snugness by checking how much tension is on the upper and lower hooks of the bra.  If they're straining, go a little larger so that you don't warp the shape of the cup in front.

So...if it's comfortable, flip the bra right side up and swoop and scoop.  That will determine the next step in your journey.  Bon voyage!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Pink Corset--A New Jersey Store Review by a Guest Blogger

A friend of mine went to a New Jersey bra and lingerie store a few weeks back.  Because of her (not so great) experience, I asked her if I could share her story on my blog.  She had no problem with doing so.  Here is her review for The Pink Corset in Absecon, NJ (with only a couple typos edited, all else is direct copy/paste i.e. I didn't alter this story to make it better or worse):
As a lingerie lover, I love to stop and support local boutique even though I manage a small boutique. I went with a friend to get her wedding dress in New Jersey and checked if there were boutiques around where she was and found The Pink Corset. I walked into the shop and it was in a cute little town and parking was easy to find. The shop main color was red with all the bras were color coded hanging on the wall. Bras were everywhere and then a huge red set of drawers and drapes in the middle which held all the underwear. I was looking for a particular bra the Freya Hero in pomegranate. A saleswoman approached me and asked if I needed anything. I said I was looking for a 30HH and just looking. It was a very tight space so the owner asked me if I needed anything and I said I was just looking. She cut me off and told me they measure you and then pull bras. I said that I am pretty sure I know my size and she like how? I said I worked at a bra shop in Delaware and know my size. She preceded to tell me that I was not a 30HH and that I had no idea what I was talking about. I keep looking even though I was irritated that someone would tell me how my breast and knowledge was wrong. Curious, I asked the younger girl what size am I if I am not a 30HH. She said we would have to be in the fitting room to understand that. She pulled a panache sports bra in a 32H which she said was a sister size and I said I have that bra. I told her I was looking for something with a plunge because I found my perfect bra. Then I said why not get fitted, who knows I might be off by a little bit. So the fitter was waiting at the desk and I said I like to be fitted. The third women, the fitter, said she can not judge my size until I was in the fitting room and there was a women finishing. I was like ok, this bra I have on does not fit well but I found my perfect bra but there are some downsides because it is full coverage. The fitter said that the is  not the perfect bra then. So overly annoyed with the service, I waited. The women was done in the dressing room the fitter told me that I should go in the dressing room and take everything off except my bra. Being in the bra business, I was a little embarrassed by my bra because I gained weight so it was a little small. The fitter came in leaving the door open which made me feel uncomfortable. The fitter said this is a good bra but it does not fit which I had already told her. The younger saleswoman came in giving her a bra and the fitter shooed her and told her it would not fit. The fitter turns around and went into the Elomi bijous, which is a molded plunge that starts at 34 and I am a 30, interesting pick. The fitter unhooked my bra and gave me the Elomi Bijou and said it was altered for a 32. The fitter, without asking, decided to maneuver my boobs in the bra which made me feel uncomfortable. Once the bra was on she asked what I thought. The middle gore was an inch off my chest, I took my hand and pulled it from my body saying it was to loose. I asked if they had anything in my size, she yelled at me telling me they had up to a K cup but not in smaller bands. I asked if she had anything close to my size, she told me “No, we do not” and then just walked away. I would like to add that she left me in a bra with the door open. This experience made me feel like a was weird and violated.  

My takeaway: Not a great place to shop. However, if you would like to check them out, they are about halfway between E Moss Mill Rd and Atlantic 610 on the southbound side of Hwy 9. Their address is 3 N New York Rd Shoppe #36, Absecon, New Jersey 08205

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My Journey With A Few Cleos by Panache

I've received some feedback regarding my bra journey and folks wanting more details so I've decided to do some brand reviews in which I lump all the bras from that brand in one post.  This is my first one of those and I've decided to go with Cleo by Panache.

I've tried five different styles of Cleos--two in different sizes--and none have been successful, even when I adjust for size.  For example, I've tried three sizes in the Juna Balconette because the 36FF and the 36F fit very much the same.  

Here is the first try, 36FF:
You can see that there is a bit of a flattening at the front of the far cup as well as some muffin top.

The next round was a 36F (I think I fat-fingered when I meant to select 38F lol):
Surprisingly, there wasn't much difference in the fit, just a tad less room in the cup.

The final try was the 38F:
This one had a bit more give in the band but, as expected, the cups fit much the same as the 36FF.

Now, it was this last round that inspired me to actually measure a Cleo band.  Guess what the 38 band measured, unstretched.  30.5 inches.  And measured just 41 inches.  I knew Cleos were tight but dang!!

The only other Cleo that I've tried multiple sizes in was the Lucy Balconette.  
The first round was a 36FF (as are all my first tries since that's what I measured at when this journey began):
It fit okay but, as with all Cleos, the band was tight so I sister-sized to a larger band.  This was also before I was avoiding this general style altogether.  The combination of my short roots and even fullness makes me "functionally" FoB which results, every time, in that fluttering of lace that you see in the upper cup.

The 38F:
Just a hint of lacy flutter but this bra had a weird asymmetrical construction to it, so I sent it back.

Another Cleo that I've tried is the Lily Balconette.  Here it is in a 36FF:
This bra is super cute but, again, there was a lacy flutter that I didn't like.

If I remember correctly, this next one was actually one of the first Cleos that I tried.  The Maddie in 36FF:
At the top of the cup, you can see quad-boob, muffin top; and, at the bottom, you can see that it's not projected enough.  Very cute bra though.

In this last round, I tried what I think will be my last Cleo, the Marcie Balconette.
Here it is in 36FF:
It's projected enough and has only a slight lacy flutter but the material was itchy and the band too tight.  Since, like the Juna Balconette in 38F, I still had it on hand this morning and decided to measure the band.  This 36 band measures at 28.5 inches unstretched and 40 inches stretched.  Cleo is a great brand to go to if you can't find band *small* enough for your frame.  We average to bigger women...I'd suggest trying other brands.  lol.

I will say: in all of these, the gore tacked so the cup is pretty deep and the underwires didn't poke me in the armpit so they weren't too wide...nor were they too narrow.  It's really just the bands that I have any issue with.

That is my short journey with Cleo by Panache bras--the Juna, the Lily, the Lucy, the Maddie, and the Marcie.  All were Balconettes.  All were sexy.  None were suitable.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bra Review: Freya Deco Debut Plunge (in clover)

This bra was sitting right of top when I opened the box from barenecessities and I couldn't wait to try it on.  It's so pretty.  Now, I'm not looking to wear it for a full day but it would be fun to wear if I'm going out for the evening with my girlfriends or out on a date.  Knowing that I have on something so snazzy would give me that little boost of feeling good.

Lets' start with some details...
The bow at the gore and at the straps connection is a very feminine touch and I love the contrast between the straps and upper cup and the print on the main portion of the cup.

The material over the cup is cut and sewn in a princess seaming kind of way, making it so that it's not bulky.

The cup itself is one molded, non-padded, piece--which forgives all kinds of shape mismatch issues--and the wings are mesh lined.  The piece directly connected to the cup is a stiffer mesh than that of the actual wing with the wing being quite flexible and breathable.

The downside to this bra is that it's a little snug and the number of hook and eyes contributes to a little bit of back-roll.
Because of that, I'm going to try a sister size larger--this is a 36FF--to see if that alleviates the "snug" aspect.

You gotta admit, does look pretty snazzy...

I'll update this post when I get the new one in.