My ongoing love affair with the Cleo lift, shape, and fit has been well-documented on the blog, so naturally, I was eager to see what styles Cleo had in store for spring. With trees and flowers in full bloom, the decision to mimic nature with bright colors and leafy prints makes satorial sense, but Cleo added its own vintage inspired twists to the collection.
Lucy in Red
Style: Three-section mesh balconnet bra with embroidered top cup
Matching Pants: Thong and Brief
Sizes Available: 28-38 D-J
Basics Available: White and Black
Bra Price: $53.00
Pant Prices: Thong — $25.00, Brief — $28.00
Ship Date: January 15, 2014
Minnie in Red Spot and Blue/Orange
Style: Three-section balconnet bra with embroidered mesh top cup
Matching Pants: Thong and Brief
Sizes Available: 28-38 D-J
Basics Available: None
Bra Price: $55.00
Pant Prices: Thong — $28.00, Brief — $29.00
Ship Date: Red Spot — January 15, 2014, Blue/Orange — May 15, 2014
As soon as I received my first Freya catalog, I fell into passionate love with a brand that finally spoke to my personal aesthetic. Banished were the boring beige and black bras in favor of something effortlessly fun and cool. Of the Eveden sisters, Freya reminds me of the quirky Zoe Deschanel of the bunch with her atypical prints, stunning color contrasts, and thoughtful use of design touches–all of which manifest in the latest collection!
Gem in Blackcurrant
Description: The soul of seduction, Gem returns in delicious, bold blackcurrant. The pinstripe satin bows in fresh lemon add a little extra romance to this look. Based on the best-selling Rio frame. Check out my review for more info on the balcony bra!
Style: Underwired Balcony Bra and Underwired Half Cup Bra
Sizes Available: Balcony Bra – 28-38 D-J, 30-36 JJ-K, Half Cup Bra – 32-38 B-C, 28-38 D-G
Pants Available: High Waisted Brief, Short, and Brazilian
Basic Colors: Black, White, and Beige
Other Options: Chemise and Suspender (Available in Black Only)
Bra Price: Balcony Bra D-G – $62.00, Balcony Bra GG+ – $70.00, Half-Cup – $60.00
Pant Price: High Waisted Brief – $38.00, Short – $32.00, Brazilian – $30.00
Release Date: May 25, 2014
Deco Honey in Topaz
Description: Deco Honey knows just how to strike a stunning, sexy, and sophisticated pose. Her delicate lace frames a vibrant new topaz shade created for instant attraction.
For years, Fantasie was my go-to brand, due in large part to the easy access I had to their smoothing series; however, after I opened the shop, temptation from other brands was powerful and magnetic. Slowly my lingerie wardrobe shifted toward fun, quirky brands like Freya and Cleo and away from the brand which helped me love my boobs again. However, when I saw the Elodie in the amazing teal colorway this season, I knew I wanted to rekindle an old flame.
Sizing: For both Fantasie and Freya, a 30H typically fits the best, and the Elodie conforms to the rule. While Freya’s bands can sometimes tread into stretchy territory, I have always enjoyed how Fantasie fits firmer. The 30 band feels perfectly snug while the cups contour to the top of my breasts without any overflow, gaping, or puckering.
Fit: Because my breasts are close together on my chest with very little side tissue, I prefer bras with narrow underwires and deeper cups. Elodie sports a narrow gore and fairly deep cups, but the underwire on the side extends backward too far, leaving empty space near the underwire. Furthermore, the cups could be deeper near the center gore where the design is forcing my breasts apart. The silhouette is not quite East/West, but the contrast from Cleo has me more critical of too much separation. Nevertheless, I am still getting good forward projection from the added side support panels, but I think a slightly deeper cup would have been perfect for me. To this effect, I am also experiencing some space issues at the bottom of the cup where my breast tissue sits above the underwire. The coverage level on this bra is also a bit too much for my liking, and the sides of the cups dig into my arms, restricting my movement and causing pain. Finally, on the purely aesthetic side, the profile created by Elodie is exceptionally pointy (even for this gal who will rock the vintage silhouette). In fact, the design creates a sharply angled shape which does not make me feel as though my breasts are being lifted enough, and under clothes, it looks rather odd. Continue reading →
Given my busy schedule, Saturday Spotlights have fallen by the wayside recently, but I am hoping to post them more regularly because there are so many amazing businesses, bloggers, and companies I want to showcase! Today, I want to promote newcomer to the bra blogosphere Filling a Niche: Yes, You Might See Boobs Here. Drawing inspiration from other bloggers, writer Missy has created a nice mix of bra reviews, lingerie wishlists, and generally interesting reads on complementary topics. As someone in the process of going green in more aspects of my life, I found her discussion of the reusable menstrual cups to be informative and thought-provoking.
None other than Missy herself!
Furthermore, her size is a little more mainstream, and she often wears a 30F or 32E. Many bra bloggers tend to fall into certain categories, and Missy is right that she definitely fills an underrepresented niche! As our readers know, Dezi also fits into this size range (although lately she teetering into the 28FF/30F range), but I think what makes Filling a Niche fantastic is that Missy is a mother of two, meaning she has experienced the myriad of breast changes incurred by pregnancy and breastfeeding.
I’ve enjoyed her blog so much that I have offered to help sponsor a giveaway for her readers. You can win a $50 Sophisticated Pair gift card by participating, so definitely visit her blog and check it out. Have a great weekend everyone!
Over the last couple of months I have been watching Erica review a ton of fabulous Tutti Rouge bras, which gave me a serious case of bra envy because they’re all so friggin’ cute! I mean, heart-shaped adjusters, flowers, ruffles, frills—what more can a girl want? Even though I am on a self-imposed pretty bra buying hiatus at the moment, I couldn’t resist trying on the gorgeous Betty when I visited the store:
Sizing & Fit: When Erica reviewed the Betty, she said the band ran tight, but the 30F I tried (my standard size) fit pretty well in the band. The cup was too small though, so I bumped up to the 30FF which fits amazingly. Of course, I actually tried on Erica’s bra (should have gotten a picture of that since it was pretty hilarious!), and I can attest that hers is definitely A LOT tighter than the one I am sporting for the photos. So, I guess my only suggestion is to order a couple of sizes if possible and return what doesn’t fit.
While I tend to dress more conservatively, I occasionally want to channel my inner Sofia Vergara and rock some killer cleavage. In the past, my go-to bra has been an ill-fitting Freya Deco in size 30GG. If I only partially scoop and play with my neckline, you can barely see the overflow. I know, I know. I’m supposed to be a professional, and I’m admitting to wearing a bra in the wrong size. Consequently, when I saw the Curvy Kate Desire, I put aside my turbulent relationship with their fit and ordered one to test.
The lovely Laura Butler modelling the Desire
Sizing & Fit: I vacillate between a 30HH and 30J in Curvy Kate bras, and since the Desire is a low coverage plunge, I opted for the larger cup size. In retrospect, I should have ordered a larger band size as well because the band on the 30 is tight. For the pictures I am wearing an extender to allow an inch of extra space, and I would estimate the 30 band is comparable to a standard 28. On the positive side, women needing firmer 28s or 26 bands may have an option here. Sadly, I think the J cup is about as good a size as I will find because the fit is abysmal. I hate labeling a bra terrible, but the fit for this cup size should never have received final approval. My breasts are spilling over the center, and the gore does not tack properly. The combination of wide underwires extending too far back on the side and overly tall cups results in a lot of extra space on the side of the cup and gaping near the top. However, the strangest aspect of the fit is how the cups do not maintain a consistent shape across my breasts. Continue reading →
During my yearly statistical analysis series, I briefly explained how poor sales in certain size clusters could be attributed to poorer quality options produced by manufacturers. While the materials and craftsmanship remain unimpeachable, the fit of a bra can deteriorate rapidly depending on the size. Mainstream sizes for brands seem to include UK 32-40 C-G, and while this customer can often struggle with fit problems too, there seems to be enough options on the market to find at least one or two bras. However, venture outside the mainstream, and suddenly fit problems multiply, leaving women in these less common sizes frustrated and unrepresented. When the scaling process fails and the design no longer translates, a slew of repercussions follow. Most notably, manufacturers assume that women ostensibly have “options,” but the poor fit deters women from purchasing them, especially at full price. Alterations become a standard practice which increases the price of the bra and the potential risk of worsening the fit. In turn, women request more styles or size expansions only to have manufactures callously claim “Those sizes don’t sell well.” We have entered a dangerous cycle where women’s buying habits are being judged on the basis of the horrible selection offered by the manufacturer. If you create a product no one wants to buy, is it fair to criticize them for not buying it?
Furthermore, if a manufacturer steps outside the proverbial comfort zone to offer new sizes or styles, they are too often choosing polarizing colors or prints. For example, Freya finally expanded their best-selling padded half-cups to include GG and H cups, but the color palettes are brown and black or brown and ballet pink. Why not add a colorful solid into the mix? Moreover, Elomi offered a new longline bra up to an H cup, but the wildflower print and denim accents lacked broad appeal.
While the fan print is cute, most women have an aversion to mixing black and brown.
Returning to the original complaint, I want to give a cursory analysis of some of the issues I have seen as a bra fitter for several of the size clusters in question. Continue reading →
After I posted my original article and video deconstructing the poor fitting techniques advocated by both the Victoria’s Secret website and many of their “professional” bra fitters, I received a flood of comments and emails stating that until I tried an actual Victoria’s Secret bra, I could not comment on the methodology. Victoria’s Secret bras, asserted my detractors, are special, and even though a 38C in Affinitas or a 36DD in Natori fit poorly, that did not mean a VS bra in those sizes would not work for me. I just didn’t try one of their bras, so how could I say for sure? For newcomers to the blog, check out the video below for a demonstration of their fit system as well as an analysis of why it does not work:
Glossing over my horrible experiences at VS when I was a teenager, I consider myself to be an open-minded person willing to listen to and incorporate feedback. However, my skepticism was not abated when I visited Bratabase and noted the measurements for VS bras were inline (if not more generous in the band) with any run-of-the mill bra sizing scheme:
In the spirit of scientific inquiry, Dezi and I headed to our local VS to test both a 38C—the size originally suggested by the measurement system—as well as the 36DD, which is what all of the comments recommended. The 38C was so indecently small, I could not take a picture without exposing too much skin; as a result, below are the pictures of a 38D and a 36DD. Incidentally, Dezi and I had to dig through several drawers to find any DD cups as the majority of the inventory was A-D only. To maintain consistency, both bras are the same style from The Nakeds line albeit two different colors. Finally, the pictures were taken using my cell phone, so I apologize for the lower quality.
After a small hiatus, the statistical analysis of our sales returns with a discussion of bra size! Earlier we dissected demographics, band sizes, and cup sizes, and today, we are pulling all of the information together to examine what bra sizes we sold the most often since opening. Below are a series of graphs demonstrating which cup sizes sell the best for each band size:
For a few weeks now, I contemplated the ongoing confusion plaguing the millions of women searching for a bra that fits—confusion due in part to the persistent misinformation circulating the web. However, until now, I have been so busy working at the shop that I was unable to give the issue the time and attention it deserves.
At the end of May, Jockey made waves in the lingerie world by launching a new fit kit which tosses out the band/cup combo of old in favor of a band measurement paired with a series of breast molds used to identify the best cup volume for you. Women were promised a simple solution for their bra woes although many were left scratching their heads at sizes like 2-32 or 5-36. For more information on the sizing system itself, read these comprehensive reviews from Sweet Nothings, Ali Cudby, and Elizabeth Dale.
In addition to Jockey’s system, intrepid bra shoppers can turn to the expansive and resourceful reditt /ABraThatFits which addresses sizing and fit issues on a massive, interrelated, and somewhat jumbled scale only made possible by the Internet. Finally, there is always the advice found on manufacturer’s and retailer’s websites. Of course, if you pick ten different guides and compare the advice, often you will find varying and sometimes conflicting ways of measuring, a limited explanation of why that method is the best, and/or not even a cursory examination on how to ensure the suggested size actually works for you.
Jockey’s promotional picture for the kit.
This confusion has led Jezebel writers (among others) to ponder whether bras actually come from outer space because the garment most women wear seems to baffle just about everyone, and the lingerie industry keeps piling on layer upon layer of complexity. So, what’s the deal with bra sizes? Are they the result of some conspiratorially complex code only Robert Langdon can unravel? Or is there a simpler way of figuring things out?
Let’s start with band size. We recommend breathing normally and measuring your underbust with a soft tape measure, keeping it level around the torso and pulling firmly but not tightly. Why? Most modern brands cut the band to fit that measurement, meaning the average 32 band is designed to accommodate a ribcage measuring approximately 32″. Consequently, if you add inches to the initial measurement, you may buy a band intended for a woman proportionally bigger than you. With the larger band, the rest of the bra is usually scaled for the bigger frame, including the length and shape of the underwires, the height and width of the center gore, and the position of the straps on the cups. The resulting shape change may not work well for your figure.
Women with narrow ribcages and less padding and/or smaller busts may find a band in their actual ribcage measurement is too tight. Because the ribs have less padding, the pressure of the underwire and the elastic band can feel binding and painful. Bumping up a single band size can alleviate the problem although some women prefer to move up two band sizes. Another potential reason to size up is if you do not require much support from the bra and want to keep the band from stretching too much on a daily basis. As an example, both The Lingerie Lesbian and The Lingerie Addict add inches onto their band size.
Having explained the exception, I still recommend testing your initial band size first and then deciding whether a larger size would work better. For instance, if your starting point band is a 28, try it before jumping right to a 32. For every woman who fits the profile of someone who would add inches, there is another who would rather have a tighter band. Like all clothing items, some things come down to personal preference.
Resident blogger Dezi, for example, prefers to wear a 30E or F instead of a 32DD or 34D.
Now that we have a band size, we will examine cup size. Since the band component represents the torso, all cup size does is relate the volume of your breasts to the size of your band. As the band scales by proportion, the cup sizes alerts the manufacturer to how much breast tissue you have relative to that band size. This is why cup sizes mean nothing without the band size. A woman who wears a 30D has proportionally the same size breasts as a woman wearing a 38D, i.e., both women have bust measurements approximately 4″ larger than their ribcage measurements; however, the woman wearing a 30D has significantly less breast volume. In fact, a 38D bra has the same breast volume as a 30FF!
A 28G Cleo Jude in the foreground with sister size 34E in the background
To find your cup size, stand upright and use the soft tape to measure around the fullest part of your bust, pulling the tape loosely. You do not want to compress any breast tissue with this measurement.
Subtract your band size from the bust measurement and use a chart like the one below to find the corresponding cup size:
Our bra size calculator is available to use as well. If you’re between cup sizes, I recommend starting with the larger one first, but again this is only a starting point size. In certain styles you may need to size down in the cup while others require moving up.
As I mentioned in my post on our calculator, another way of determining your cup size involves measuring the bust while bending over at the waist. Even though some women report a more accurate size with this method, I cannot recommend the technique over the one above as I have dealt with several returns through our online store from people who bought cup sizes way too large based on the bending over method. Others recommend averaging the two measurements; however, if you have no idea what size to buy, start with the upright measurement and use the good fit criteria to judge whether you need a larger cup size.
Once you have a general idea about your bra size, the rest becomes a trial-and-error process based on what styles you like and how a manufacturer designs a bra. Some bras, no matter what size you try, will not work for your breast shape. In fact, entire lines from a manufacturer may be at odds with your figure because the fit model they use differs too much from your shape. For example, my struggles with Curvy Kate have been well-documented. The design of the bras is wider and shallower than my breast shape allows, and as a result, nothing seems to fit properly. Meanwhile, I have better luck with Cleo by Panache which features narrower underwires and deeper cups.
Despite the added headache to the bra shopping experience, it’s actually a good thing manufacturers utilize different cuts so that the diversity of women’s bodies can be better represented. Since most brands keep the same model in mind, you may decide to stick with a brand you know works for you.