Product Review: Trusst Lingerie Prototype

Hello Everyone,

In my previous life, I was a computer programmer and all around Math geek, and lately, I have been getting in touch with my roots with a book entitled How Math Explains the World by James D. Stein.  I know what you’re thinking:  “That’s nice, but what the heck does that have to do with bras or lingerie?”  Well, one of the frequent trends I observed throughout the history of the field is how so many brilliant minds of the time hit insurmountable roadblocks on a given problem.  In many instances, the failure to progress originates because the men and women tackled the problem using the same tools as their mentors and/or predecessors without imagining another, possibly revolutionary technique.  It was only when young, fresh-eyed mathematicians entered the picture that solutions were found (or sometimes proven not to exist). Does this remind anyone of the lingerie world at all?  I know I, along with other bloggers and our shared readers, have complained not only about aesthetic retreads across fashion seasons but also how new styles are fraught with the same fit issues as the original.  Entire demographics are never represented, and we hear from the titans of the lingerie industry that they just can’t figure out how to help these women or how to address the problems.

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Trusst Jessica in 32J

Enter industrial engineers Sophia Berman and Laura West.  Upon reflecting that the bras have essentially been evolving from corsets, they decided it was time to rethink the problem:

We are both product designers by training. We worked as both consultants and in corporate environments designing and managing for others before we decided to tackle a problem that is very close to home. As two friends who were dissatisfied with bras as they were, we hated how they wouldn’t last long, how they were always a bother and how honestly, they didn’t do much to take the weight off our backs (literally) even with professionally sized and fitted bras.

We started this venture as a side project, with a strong passion for wanting to solve this problem. We became so enamored with where we were going that we quit our jobs to pursue this full time. We’re now about a year in, we have our first collection finalized, and we’re gearing up to launch our Kickstarter.

Our new system of support is unlike anything else on the market today. It was developed from an engineering standpoint, focusing first on function (placing the support where it REALLY matters). From there, we designed a line of classic, beautiful bras that we feel many different women can relate to. We are pairing high tech, innovative fabrics with feminine, modern laces to blend comfort with fashion.

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Interior support system in blue

When I heard how they were attempting to not only eschew the traditional underwire design without treading into the full coverage, often-matronly soft cup territory, I was intrigued.  As they were finalizing design ideas and preparing for their Kickstarter campaign, they offered me a chance to review a hand-made prototype in my size—a first for my little blog.  Consequently, the pictures and fit you are about to see are not the final product, and as such, there are a few areas which are rough around the edges or need improvement.  Please be open-minded as you read my initial impressions.

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Trusst Lingerie had me measure for the correct size using a pretty interesting technique which I do not see on their website at the moment.  Instead of the standard underbust/bust measurements, they wanted me to place my larger breast on a piece of paper and trace around it.  From there, I measured the effective root of the breast as well as the perimeter.  It was a little tricky to ensure all of my tissue was on one piece of paper, and it may be easier if you have someone who can trace for you.  For comparison, I also measured directly on my body and found the measurements comparable.  Ultimately, they sent me the 32J which is roughly a UK 32GG.  I think I needed a 32K as I do get some overflow if I do a full scoop, but the band feels true to size and quite comfortable.  Given that I am wearing a 32H to HH these days, I think the entire system is pretty consistent to what you would expect with UK brands.

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Instead of using underwire to tack in the center and encapsulate tissue, Trusst, so named for the trusses in bridges, utilizes a high tech suspension piece made from 3-D printing technology to rest against the ribcage and lift from the bottom.  Now, obviously, this is pretty outside-the-box thinking here, but the question remains “Does it actually work?”  Based on the prototype I was given, I think they’re off to a great start.  The bra does provide impressive lift, and the flexible, 1″ wide side stays keep tissue from becoming too East-West.  However, my main gripe is with the shape of the composite.  The center does not tack properly, and when examined from the side, a visible lump exists where the harder support piece ends and tissue begins.  If the designers tweak the shape of this element, I think we could be looking at a unique product on the market.  Furthermore, if the piece sits flatter against my sternum and the straps were either fully-adjustable or shorter,  the lump would be more minimized, thus improving the overall shape.

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On the positive side, the seven hook-and-eye closures in the back as well as the inherent longline shape feels amazing and extremely supportive.  Because of the shape issue, I don’t anticipate using this as “going out” bra, but the comfort is perfect for a lounge/weekend piece.  While underwires have never bothered me per se, I did find it refreshing to have the height on the side of a Comexim/Anna Pardal bra without the underwire there, and the support piece did not feel uncomfortable at all even when sitting.  In the future, I think I’d like to see them work with its overall shape and maybe create a version which has a narrower center gore for close-set breasts.  While the center height is very low (and thus very comfy for me), I think a narrower gore area would help with those shape/fit issues.

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While I know the pictures of the bra do not showcase the polished finishing touches you expect from other manufacturers, I think we really need to keep in mind that this is truly a prototype piece which will be improved on in the future.  Plus, this had to be hand-made for me, so there are ares where the lace has rolled up a bit or where the strap could be shorter.  Having said that, I do find the fabrics to be very soft.  PJs could be made of the fabric lining the entire interior of the bra.  That’s right.  It doesn’t just stop on the inside of the cup but instead extends onto the wings for a comfortable, breathable fit which lessens the pressure on the skin.  Furthermore, the delicate lace exterior is also a higher quality and not abrasive.  Sometimes laces can feel very scratchy, but this one is lightweight and smooth.

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From the prototype alone, I can visualize how much potential this bra has, even from aesthetic point of view.  For some reason, I am addicted to black bras lately (maybe it’s the ease of finding matching undies?  Eh, I don’t know), and I love the appeal of the lace overlay here as well as the way it extends up to become a sheer cup and then a sheer shoulder.  A fully-adjustable strap or a shorter strap may be necessary for future versions to fit more people, but I just love how the sheer lace extends upward.  One of the goals with this bra was to support the breasts without relying on the straps, and I have to say the bra does succeed here quite well, meaning there is less stress and tension on the shoulders than in other bras.  Fully-finished, I envision this bra to be a stunning combination of sophistication and elegance for the fuller bust.

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If any of this has intrigued you, I encourage you to not only visit their website but also read this article where they discuss the process further.  Also, consider donating to the Kickstater Campaign:

We are launching our Kickstarter on April 22nd – it serves as a platform to reach as many people as possible during our product launch. We are excited to be giving women the opportunity to be one of the first to buy one of our bras before we sell them through our own e-commerce site.

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I know many of us are used to the standard ways bras are made, but I think it’s important to explore alternatives, particularly since many women are forced to settle or struggle with comfort issues because of the current options on the marketplace.  When we support small businesses like this one who are attempting to do something different, there’s no telling how we can reshape the face of the lingerie market and what new solutions we will find.

Erica

P.S.  I did not shoot a video for this piece since it is still in the prototype phase.  Once the tweaks are implemented and a final product is released, I would love to reevaluate and then include a video.

UPDATE:  Since not everyone reads the comments section, I want to update my post here in the hopes more people will see it.  Since launching their Kickstarter campaign, Trusst has received sharp criticism, on several platforms, regarding their support system and the overall shape of the bras.  Before I address this, I want to note that I am not attacking any individual nor am I denying anyone the right to an opinion or the right to criticize.  I am not here to censor anyone.  What I want to discuss is the importance of remembering that we are looking at prototypes from a group of women trying to address a problem they noticed in the marketplace.  This is not a multimillion dollar company with large design teams and resources.  The Trusst ladies are trying to offer a different solution than what conventional manufacturers already produce, and whether or not you have faith in the prototypes does not change the fact they put their hearts into a business and tried to offer something unique.

The bras we see on the marketplace now are the evolution of styles dating back to the 1950s and have been tweaked and revamped by multiple designers across a long time frame.  Trusst is in the early stages of development, and it’s natural to have failings.  I am hard-pressed to think of many things which are perfect at the start.  These improvements require time, and they require money.  Some complaints have focused on the poor construction in some areas, which is a valid point.  The strap was twisted on one side, and there were issues with the lace rolling.  Again, I feel like this is part and parcel for being a prototype design, especially one hand-made quickly.  It’s true they may have sold their products better with a prototype with nice finishing touches and details, and I hope they will learn from this experience in any future PR work.  In this line, while many people may disagree with their decision to go to Kickstarter without a perfected prototype, I imagine they probably need more funding to continue forward.  I don’t see why it matters so much that the prototype is not perfected.  They are not misrepresenting their products, and the photos of the women in the campaign show the bras as they currently are.  They aren’t attempting to deceive any of their donors, and if a person sees these designs and thinks it’s not worth their money, they aren’t obligated to contribute.

Having said all of this, I do think constructive criticism is essential to furthering the design process, and I hope people will continue to weigh in with thoughts on how it could be improved.  It has bothered me the last couple of days because some people have taken their campaign as an opportunity to mock them for doing something which is exceptionally hard for most us:  letting our ideas out into the world and listening to what people think of them.

Product Review: Trusst Lingerie Prototype
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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25 thoughts on “Product Review: Trusst Lingerie Prototype

  • April 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    This looks amazing! I think that I am just over the edge of available cup sizes.

    I love that 3D printing is getting cheap enough that people can experiment with solutions that are out-of-the-box and customizable.

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    • Erica
      April 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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      Hi Kerri! I was so excited to get a chance to test something like this. It’s fantastic that fresh minds are looking at bra design and wondering: “Well, why can’t we try something totally different here?”

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      • April 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm
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        I know! Frankly, even owning one bra that has enough support that doesn’t also contribute to the permanent underwire bruise under my arm would be amazing. There are so many women I know with larger chests that simply can’t wear underwires. I have one friend who wears sports bras exclusively because residual pain from surgeries won’t let her wear an underwire, and non-underwires put too much stress on her shoulders. I’ve talked to my chiropractor about this too, and she said that the number of women coming in with back/shoulder pain from bras has easily doubled in the past 10 years.

        From what I can see, it looks like the truss support has to be made a bit smaller and the bras need some finer sewing details. Right now the bras do look a bit intimidatingly large, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare this to, say, a Cleo Marcie. It is a completely different support system, so it makes sense it will look different.

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        • Erica
          April 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm
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          That’s a good point about issues with wires combined with shoulder strain from soft-cups, Kerri. I know Goddess has worked with this more with new frames like Audrey, which has movable pads on the shoulders, but it starts high in the cup and still only supports so much without relying on the shoulders/back. Then, there’s issues with inflammation too which create problems with how bras fit too. For some people, there is no easy solution to the problems the experience unfortunately. 🙁

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  • April 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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    Bridges support weight? You don’t say! 😀 I love underwires but am happy to try any new experiment that approaches bra functionality differently. I tried looking at the support problem myself while programming in a 3D renderer, but gave up after I figured out how many test cases I’d need.

    I’m sad that the simplest bra I like is only in a beige/cream color definitely lighter than my skin. So I’ll have to decide on whether to go for that (and have it say hi under my clothes) or the black lace. I understand this is a first run, but I hope they make some darker neutrals if they can keep going.

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    • Erica
      April 23, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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      Hi Lee! Like you, I would love to see a variety of neutrals from later collections! Since the line is going to be more classic and less fashion-oriented, I think having a few basic colors would be lovely. I figure they are probably starting pretty simple since this is new ground and new technology, which I imagine makes the process more expensive too.

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  • April 24, 2015 at 7:23 am
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    E: I’m really intrigued that you reviewed this. And of course, I have much respect for your perspective on bras. I’ve seen a bit on this (and checked out the KickStarter page) and I have to say, I’m not seeing the potential. I think there are flaws in the design. I also think it looks pretty horrible on everyone in those pics. It def looks better on you than in any other pics, but even on you, I think this fit is not on. I also feel that, if one is going to market – asking people for money – one’s prototype needs to be a hell of a lot better looking than this. I understand the challenges of trying to perfect a garment and of trying to make something for sale on limited funds. But this just smacks of shoddiness.

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    • April 24, 2015 at 8:11 am
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      I kind of agree. I don’t think these bras look very nice, and the lift sure isn’t great.

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    • Erica
      April 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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      Hi K-Line! I commented a bit more thoroughly above, but I think the main issue I don’t see a problem going to Kickstarter is that contributing is totally voluntary. If people don’t like the way it looks (and the pictures they have are a fair representation of what the prototypes look like now so there isn’t an element of deception), they won’t contribute. However, if they *didn’t* go to Kickstarter, they may not have been able to go any further. I think my past in engineering/computer science makes me very sympathetic to anyone attempting to crack a problem with a different technique, and I like to see how ideas improve or grow with more input, even if the initial attempt is far from perfect and perhaps even fails in some regards. I guess I just feel like you never what success will come from learning from a failure. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 24, 2015 at 8:43 am
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    Well, it’s different.

    I think they’ve made a huge marketing mistake giving you this poorly fitting and executed piece for blogging purposes.

    And I don’t understand how they can be targeting “big boobs” and have missed the very vital gore width issue.

    I also wonder how in the hell that bridge will work on someone with my ribs. Also, all of the bras look so…big, and tall. Where would the band/bridge sit on a high set and short waisted woman? I’m thinking it would be sitting on my waist?

    I wish them luck, and hope they succeed.

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    • Erica
      April 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm
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      I think there was a time element to the Kickstarter campaign and prototype which may have also contributed to some of the unfinished edges, but they are open to feedback. I spoke with them on the phone, and they listened to my concerns and discussed how they hope to improve it, including the gore tacking and the shape of the support system itself. Since there is a heavier piece of material on the ribs, I know that it may not work for some people, but then again, not all bras on the market work for all people either. My hope is they will focus on finding a way to make this a viable option for some people and then figure out how to expand to incorporate others later on.

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      • April 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm
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        I agree, not every bra works for every person. Or in my case, 1% works.

        I can see how this *could* work for flared ribcages, depending on flexibility of the truss and construction of the cup; however, I only saw one model in the group photo that hinted at my shape and the bra, quite frankly, looked terrible the same way most bras look terrible on me (second from left). Like all brands, they will have a fit bias. I’m still waiting for someone to have a bias towards my shape.

        I have a lot of imagination, and hope. But I still cringe at that prototype on you – as in I have an urge to remove it from your body.

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  • April 24, 2015 at 11:18 am
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    I applaud what they’re trying to do here. Frankly, I for one am growing weary of underwire & the utter lack of improvement or innovation to its use. However…I do tend to agree on the ‘that looks like alotta bra’ assessment. And I do wonder if a sleeker bra & comfy fit might be better achieved by just employing foam-wrapped, softer, shorter wires. Like Cake is using, for e.g. At least for the outer cup. That, combined with the intriguing center panel might result in comfort with definition & less…tallness.

    Still, I’m going to support any female-led efforts to do something different & better. I’m at the point of consumer disgust that I am willing to sacrifice shape for comfort. It would be nice if I didn’t have to sacrifice beauty as well, though. Remember Claudette’s using soft mauve as a neutral instead of dreary beige? I care less about a skin tone match than avoiding beige. That could just be me, though.

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    • Erica
      April 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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      Hi Alicia! Cake’s wires are definitely something special. Freya has followed suit some with the Pure, but Cake’s are so soft and flexible. In higher cup sizes, I have seen it create tacking issues though, but it’s better than a lot of the other nursing bras out there. It’s a shame companies are content to keep using underwires the same way after all these years. Like you, I’d love to see some styles with encapsulated underwires a la the Panache sports bra.

      Oh, and yes, that soft mauve was gorgeous! Elomi used to do their Amelia (then Hermione) in a “Fawn” color which was so nice and flattering. It worked better across skin tones than their horrid “Nude” (aka yellow beige) color ever does. 🙁

      Reply
  • Erica
    April 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm
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    I just wanted to let anyone know who may be following the post that I did update the bottom of the review to reflect some of the feedback I was seeing across social platforms.

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    • April 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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      Thanks for the update.

      I can tell you a HUGE drawback to giving you that prototype – it doesn’t look like the items on their Kickstarter or web page. In fact, I’d call it unwearable.

      I understand they’re trying to do something different, to “start”. But it totally distracts from their message and what they’re trying to do.

      When they put their first run out, and it looks good I will cheer. I promise. And i did donate.

      I think they’ll get funded, and I *hope* they give you a second, improved sample while there’s room in the first run for more orders.

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  • Christina
    April 25, 2015 at 10:48 am
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    I think this is wonderful. Too many of the big names are doing nothing to address issues a lot of us bigger bust smaller band—bigger band smaller bust women are having. Instead they try to scale a bra that is designed to fit a niche core.

    As yet another engineer, I can appreciate that a prototype is nowhere near the end result. The definition of the word lends itself well: “[…]a first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.” What I think is being overlooked/lost in the translation, from what I comprehend from reading your review, is that not only is the bra you got a prototype, it is a handmade prototype that was specifically scaled to your measurements. It’s not going to look like the other bras on kickstarter or their website.

    I can’t begin to tell you how disheartening it is to read negative criticism that offers nothing in the way of suggesting improvements. I’ve designed prototypes in my field, which is male dominated, and have had my designs torn apart at first sight. I filtered out the negative comments that were ad feminam and incorporated the negative ones that offered suggestions to advance my work. Doing so has allowed me to see my ideas go through multiple evolutions of progress to a final product.

    I love that TRUSST was willing to have you review the prototype. It shows they are open to receiving input. It also shows that they are vested in finding better alternatives to what is currently available. Think about it, not long ago people laughed at the idea of home computers. Companies estimated there would only be 1 for every 10 households. “Today, your cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon.” –Dr. Michio Kaku Technology advances. With those advances come new and improved ideas that wouldn’t have been feasible even a few years ago. 3D printers anyone?

    Not having multimillions or a big conglomerate backing them, I can understand why they are using kickstarter to try to fund themselves to grow and expand in order to take the prototype to final product. And I agree, if anyone doesn’t see the potential or think it will be a worthy investment, they don’t have to donate. I recall my father speaking about having the chance to get on with a company in its early stages. It was called Q-Link and they were offering shares at .50 cents a share to try to get funding. That company relaunched itself as AOL. My dad couldn’t see the potential because, like I pointed out earlier, only 1 in every 10 houses were going to have a computer. I wonder how many prototype server farms they went through to get AOL to the mega giant it became.

    They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. They are trying to improve it. As was done with the first wheel. I don’t see round rocks on cars today. 😉

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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      Thanks for sharing your perspective! Male-dominated engineering fields can be particularly brutal, and I think it’s great you have kept your head up and not lost faith in yourself. It’s true that there have been some pretty substantial technological innovations which started out rough but became vital to how we interact with each other. I hope Trusst can find their footing and continue improving in the same way.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    I was very interested to see Truss recently on a social media website. I like the idea of challenging tradition that supportive bras need to be structured with wiring underneath, a la mini-corset. I think the surge of bralettes and molded bralettes in the past several years has shown that women are craving support that is more comfortable and conforms more to their shape. Victoria’s Secret has done well with this concept. However, its S/M/L sizing system is not really practical for women with women whose chests aren’t the “expected” size for their rib cage (I have to assume VS just picks a cup size for each S/M/L band, throws in some significant stretchiness, and calls it a day). There is a large portion of the market whose demands are not met, so I think there is room for Truss’s product in the market. I think Truss would do well to showcase the flaws of each classic bra type (the sports bra, the underwire, the traditional wireless, the bralette) and then introduce its product as the solution for everyday wear.

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    • Erica
      May 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm
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      That’s a good point about the bralette market. It’s certainly been expanding recently with more options for that bust-size range. As you pointed out, it’s not a fix for all women and is more oriented toward smaller busts, but it’s been a trend to see manufacturers embracing the demand. Wacoal has come out with quite a few, and for women who prefer unpadded styles, Yummie Tummie’s are lightweight and fantastic. The truth is some women hate underwire but need something more supportive. Plus, I know there are some customers who experience issues related to their health that make underwire or tight bras a problem. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • September 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm
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    I must have been hiding under a rock to miss this product and post. You have to applaud this brilliant idea. It may have been a wee bit early to review but at least you got the word out. Any forward thinking for a product that basically has been unchanged for a long time is great, good or bad its definitely a step in the right direction. As with any developing product feedback is crucial for refinements. I firsthand know about the struggle to bring inventive changes as I am still attempting to make my idea a reality. Erica this is Bryan, the guy with the “big idea” that should rock the bra world. I have made significant progress in my materials. Discussed this with a few people and had nothing but positive feedback. Hopefully soon, I would like to invite you to be an excellent tester. As always you are the most informative reviewer on the net. Keep up the great work.
    -B

    Reply
    • Erica
      October 13, 2016 at 2:17 pm
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      Hi Bryan! I replied to this comment earlier, but in my server migration (more on that in a future post), it was lost. Anyway, I am excited to see what new prototypes you are developing, and I firmly believe that sometimes we have to think outside of the box to come up with new solutions, particularly when there are so many people still struggling with the existing options. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
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