A Plea for the Seams

Hello Ladies,

I am the owner of A Sophisticated Pair, and I speak for the seams!  Dramatic?  Maybe, but today I wanted to defend one of the most overlooked but important parts of bra design.  Ever since Oprah started showcasing tee shirt bras, and fashion gurus praised styles that “worked under everything,” lingerie has been all about the molded contour cup.  Many women stock up on these invisible-under-tees bras (in basic beige, of course) to hopefully maximize their budget and streamline their morning routine:

And ya know what?  There’s nothing wrong with that philosophy, but when you close yourself off to other alternatives, you never know what beautiful, comfortable, and well-fitting bras you could be missing.

It’s no secret that some of the most gorgeous and innovative lingerie sets have seams . . . and lace . . . and patterns . . . and embroidery . . . and, you get the picture.  At the end of the day, there’s only so much that can be done with a molded cup bra although the people designing the many incarnations of Freya’s best-selling Deco really do try (and succeed):

However, there’s something to be said for the sophisticated and even grown-up feeling that can be captured with a beautiful seamed bra—of lingerie that harkens back to bygone beauty rituals, of silk robes, real stockings, and garters, of Liz Taylor standing in the doorway of Paul Newman’s room wearing that iconic, white chemise:

Beautiful lingerie lets you take time each day to enjoy being a woman, to go beyond dressing for utility and purpose, and to feel confident and sexy in your own skin.  Even if you only buy one set for special occasions, you’ll still be able to experience the joy and the naughty fun of wearing something so feminine and so sultry:

My musings on the hidden power of lingerie still not selling you on seams?  Then, let’s get practical.  Seamed bras often fit better than their contour cup counterparts.  A foam cup will have its own unique shape that your breast needs to fill completely; otherwise, you’ll experience fit problems such as gaping near the strap or difficulty separating the tissue near the center gore.  Similarly, seamless, non-foam cups are composed of a single piece of fabric that needs to stretch and then contour to your breasts.  For many women, finding the perfect seamless and/or foam cup bra can be time-consuming and expensive.

With a seamed, or cut-and-sew, bra, however, you have at least two pieces of fabric that can adjust as needed to your shape.  Seams also act like support beams for your breasts so the tissue can be lifted higher and shaped better.  If you don’t believe me, look at bra styles with size ranges up to a K cup.  All of them feature a multi-section seamed cup because that is the only design that will truly fit and hold a large, heavy bust.  Not to mention, many cut-and-sew styles are designed to blend well under knits through the use of smooth, stretch lace, soft but firm fabrics, and discreet seaming:

I think it can be tempting to look for that Swiss Army quality in your bra (“It must work under everything I own!”) instead of looking for what will work best for any given outfit.  T-shirt bras definitely have a place in your wardrobe, but so do seamed bras.  They can give you out of this world shape, boost your confidence, or perfectly support that killer new cocktail dress you bought.  Don’t let all the details fool you into thinking you’ll never be able to wear a fun style either.  My Curvy Kate Tease Me works under a staggering 50% of my wardrobe, and considering this is a style designed for maximum show, I think I can live with that percentage.

But, how do you ladies lingerie? Are you strictly about utility, fashion, or maybe a little bit of both?

Erica

A Plea for the Seams
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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13 thoughts on “A Plea for the Seams

  • June 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm
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    Agreed! AND if you take a Thrill Me and cut off the ruffles it can definitely double as a T-shirt bra. 😉 Well, it has seams but does pretty well underneath clothes. 🙂

    Personally, I really prefer lift after everything else being that I have a long torso and the smallest part of me in my underbust, so I want to show it off! That being said, moulded bras don’t come in my size (well, not yet, hopefully the Smoothie will at least give me that option) so it’s not something I’ve really been able to think much about until now.

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  • June 13, 2012 at 11:15 am
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    Seams are definitely king. The fit is so much better. They are by far superior when a woman is trying to find the correct size bra after body changes or just her first fitting. Once you find your size in a seamed bra it is so much easier to know what to look for in a smooth bra.

    Like June I do not own a T-shirt bra. Most of my tops have some kind of design, so a seam isn’t a big deal. I’d love a smooth bra, but they do not come in my size. I do wear the Tease Me in place of a T-shirt bra quite often, but I don’t mind some bra showing. It seems to be a big issue for US ladies to have their bra seams showing where it isn’t as much of an issue in other countries. Everyone knows we wear them, so I don’t have as much of a problem with it.

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  • Erica
    June 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm
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    I own one (ill-fitting) Freya Deco for when I want that plunging neckline, but otherwise, all of my bras have seams. My Freya Faye really doesn’t show through under my tees, but then I buy tee shirts with a bit more heft to the cotton. I despise the tissue-weight ones anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m limited by my bras. Lift is paramount to me because I feel that if my boobs aren’t up where they should be, my waist is obscured, making me seem bigger overall.

    As a fitter, I find it so much easier to get a woman in the right size bra if it has seams because there’s less variation there, but I live in the south. We’re all about the tee shirts down here, so molded cup bras are in high demand. I’m working on converting one customer at at time!

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  • June 14, 2012 at 8:41 am
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    You will laugh. I don’t own a single T-shirt bra. And not a single good white or beige one….I am all over the colors and the lace or the prints or what not:) Is challenging with my white tunic sometimes, but somehow I find something in a hue that works and if you can see a bit of my bra, tough shit. That’s just the way it is.
    🙂

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    • Erica
      June 14, 2012 at 11:15 am
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      I always thought you needed lots of light color/white/nude bras so they would “work under everything,” but I wear so many dark colors or black that it’s not the case. Now, I’m all about color and pattern! Each woman needs to find what works for her personal preferences and her lingerie wardrobe. 🙂

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  • June 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm
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    I want to chime in and say that I also own NO unseamed bras. For me, seamed bras ARE t-shirt bras. I do get frustrated when the seams show, because I think it calls more attention to my breasts. But a mini-cami can solve that problem.

    he main reason it bothers me is because I have worn high-end bras that are seamed, and the seams are totally flat and do not show beneath a tshirt. I also have a Cleo bra which is invisible under a tshirt. So I know it can be done, and I wish Freya and Fantasie, etc, were more into doing it.

    I also think that a seamed bra will emphasize your own shape more, whereas a molded bra, especially contoured, has its own shape.

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    • Erica
      June 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm
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      Pris, you are exactly right that seamed bras will emphasize or fit your shape whereas with a molded cup, you have to fit the shape of the cup. It’s a big difference. One of the things I plan on mentioning in my blog post for Catherine is the discreet seaming that many manufacturers are using to give that seamed bra more versatility.

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  • June 19, 2012 at 2:01 am
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    I do like the look of most bras with seams over most t-shirt bras and agree they tend to fit better, but the majority of clothes I wear from May-September are pretty thin fabrics (I do live in the southern U.S. after all) and have yet to find seamed bras that don’t show through. I suppose you could say they work for nearly 100% of my wardrobe in winter and nearly 0% in summer. Would you have suggestions on summer-weight clothing/fabric for heat & humidity that does cover seams?

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    • Erica
      June 20, 2012 at 10:57 am
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      Hi Catherine! Your comment deserves a longer answer than a comment, so I will be writing a blog addressing your question this week. 🙂

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      • June 20, 2012 at 11:32 am
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        Thank you! I have been wondering this for longer than I care to admit and wearing a 30G t-shirt bra in summer instead of the closer-to-26-than-28 band that I need and find only in seamed bras. It’s not doing my shoulders any favors, I know.

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  • June 20, 2012 at 9:14 am
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    I agree completely, Erica!! I have been on the hunt for the perfect T-shirt bra since my surgery, and it hasn’t been a successful venture 🙁 I currently own the Fantasie 4510 Moulded Cup T-shirt bra for emergencies, but even for me it doesn’t conform to my breasts the way it should, so I haven’t even found an occasion to wear it yet; it’s just sitting in my bra drawer waiting for that perfect shirt for me to wear it under. I’ve pretty much given up and decided that I can live with the seams, and honestly I don’t really wear regular T-shirts, anyway! It’s more for my camis, and I’ve found that I like to wear a complimentary color sexy bra under my camis 😉 For summer I’ve been wearing my hot pink Panache Andorra, and violet mix Ariza under my camis. Because they are full coverage with no cleavage, I don’t get that “look” from people when I’m in public like, “OMG, I can’t believe she’s wear a bra that she wants us to look at!”, it’s more like, “gee, why didn’t I think to do that?” LOL!!!

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    • Erica
      June 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm
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      I’ve had trouble with the 4510 myself, but I know that some women absolutely love it. Molded cups mean you need to be patient and try a lot of different styles to hit on the ones that work for you, unfortunately. I love your idea of the complementary cami!

      Reply
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