Best Breasts Forward ~ Wasting Money on a Sports Bra?

I know what you’re thinking. “What in the world has gotten into Mia?” Don’t fret ladies. I have not gone mad. I did however happen upon a bra designer who is of the opinion that we don’t NEED sports bras. They believe sports bras are a waste of money.

Okay. Knowing me as y’all do, I’m quite sure you can imagine my initial reaction.

(Pause for laughter)

So let me get this right. I’ll use my favorite, most comfortable, supportive and well fitting bra, the Andorra as an example.image

This perfect everyday bra should also be the bra I train in . . . the bra I run half marathons in?

Rather than just telling you, I can show y’all why this is an absurd notion. A couple months ago I had my Andorra on and I had dressed too warm for the weather. I did not have a chance to change clothes so I hurried around town running my errands. Two hours later I was in pain. When I got home I saw that I had sweat through my bra under my bust and the lace that I adore had rubbed me raw! It has since healed but I do have a scar.image

Moral of the story is your everyday bra was not made to stretch, move or react to sweat the way a sports bra is.

For us busty ladies there is no doubt that a properly fitted sports bra is NOT OPTIONAL. It is a MUST! Your sports bra should provide optimum support while adding to physical ease and comfort. It has to hold your breasts in place without being too tight. Because larger breasts are heavier, we need to be sure that the straps will remain secure and won’t slip, allowing them to loosen. Too much bounce can lead to the stretching of the ligaments.

Sports bras also help in absorbing sweat and keep you comfortable and dry while exercising. Larger busts will create more sweat in between your breasts and especially under the bust. Special attention must be paid to the fit and feel of the band.

I’m always open to others’ opinions, but I draw the line where it comes to spreading misinformation that is harmful. Especially for those of us with very large breasts, wearing properly fitted sports bras is not just about fashion; it is a health and wellness issue. Wearing an everyday bra in place of a sports bra is simply not ok.

Behind the Scenes

My writing lull continues as I wait for a few ideas to germinate, so while that’s happening, I want to try to use this time to do some much-needed blog housekeeping and organizing. Feel free to weigh in with any ideas of what would be helpful to you. I know that the “Big Bust Clothing Options” page is practically obsolete. Also, last year  seemed to have a dearth of swimsuit reviews to link to on other blogs, and I want to avoid a similar famine this year. If you know you’re going to buy a swimsuit this year and would be willing to review it for Hourglassy, would you shoot me an email  at darlene [at] hourglassy [dot] com? Or  if you’re a blogger who is planning to review swimwear, please make sure I catch your review! Later this week I plan to post on the Campbell & Kate blog about Bottomless Closet, a NYC non-profit that provides a valuable service to disadvantaged women entering the workforce, and I’m going to link to it here. I hope you’ll click through and read about it . . . and perhaps dream with me about how we can support organizations like it.

Off the Rack ~ My Core Bras

Hey readers, I’m back from my honeymoon to Yellowstone National Park! We saw tons of animals (wolves, coyotes, foxes, bighorn sheep, elk—a million bison), got up before sunrise nearly every day to squeeze in as many activities as possible, and enjoyed all sorts of winter fun—cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and visiting the otherworldly thermal features in the park. It was amazing.

While on the trip, I had planned on piggybacking on Darlene’s recent post about discovering her core wardrobe through travel. But since all I wore every day was a bunch of thermal layers and a down coat, my “core” wardrobe consisted almost exclusively of winter gear—not very helpful. However, I did wear one busty item every single day, and that was my Panache sports bra.

I know I’ve written about this bra before in a conventional review. But I think my original review was a little mixed, and at this point I absolutely love these bras. I now own three, and it seems like every season Panache comes out with another color that I adore. I’m currently lusting after the lime colorway from last year and the new magenta with black trim. But I don’t think I can justify owning five of these babies, especially since they don’t fit in my bra drawer and have to live in a pile in my bedside table’s open cubby.

pan_lime

pan_mag

I wore them every day of the trip because I wanted to be strapped down during strenuous activity, avoid boob bounce on a snowmobile or bumpy snow coach ride (a mini-bus outfitted with treads instead of wheels, for driving over snow), and also take advantage of the bra’s general comfort.

Well the comfort was definitely the best part! Unlike most of my regular bras, I completely forgot I was wearing it at all. The sweat-wicking capability was also stellar. One of the worst things you can do in cold weather is get overheated. As I understand it, since sweating cools your body, becoming sweaty can actually lead to hypothermia faster than if you were just a little cold. Of course, it wasn’t even that cold while I was there (only a few degrees below freezing most days, while back in New York it was barely above zero [Fahrenheit]) and there was no threat of hypothermia.

But when we went cross-country skiing and worked hard enough that our thermal underwear got sweaty and sticky (pleasant!), I was nice and dry on the skin under the bra when we finally finished.

Further, on a more vain note, I really, really appreciated the fact that the Panache Sport doesn’t hide or even minimize my breast size or shape. If I have to be swaddled in several layers, I’d prefer to maintain at least some semblance of my figure, and this bra let me do it while still being practical.

Aside from my Panaches, I did also pack three other normal bras. Well really I packed two and wore one on the plane. I guess you could say the two I packed are my “core” styles. It was the Fantasie Molded Smoothing Tee Shirt bra and the Ewa Michalak S Bambino.

The Fantasie is a core piece because it’s the smoothest tan/nude bra I own. I always, always bring one with me so I don’t have to worry about print or seam show-through. The Ewa S-style, on the other hand, gives me my favorite profile. If I could own every single S bra that Ewa makes, I would be a happy camper. It’s slightly more open than the CHP and has slightly better uplift than the PL, the other two styles I own.

As for the one I wore on the plane ride, well for that I just wanted something really light and with a non-pinchy band. The one I chose is a bra I never even got around to reviewing on here! It’s a somewhat generic Gossard full cup lace bra, pictured on the left here:

gossard

I find that Gossard runs small in the band and a little small in the cup, so I size up from 28G to 30G. With this one, the cup is a bit big on my smaller boob, but perfect on the bigger one. It’s smooth, non-itchy lace with a satiny, floral-print side sling to keep everything tucked in. What I really like about Gossard bras, though, is the back of the band:

gossard2

This thing is so cool looking! And also really comfortable when I want a band that won’t dig into my back while wearing a backpack or being stuck in the uncomfortably upright seat position on the plane. It’s maybe not quite as firm and supportive as a normal bra band, but I really like it anyway. I’d love to get more Gossard bras, in fact, but most of the time I’m not thrilled by the design, and non-padded ones are few and far between.

 

A Cure for D+ Indifference

Well, my long weekend ended at midnight last night, which was the departure time our surprise weekend guest thought best for avoiding traffic. We thought she would stay one night when she arrived on Saturday, but then she spent Sunday night with us as well, so we thought her plan would be to leave on Monday. However, on Monday we learned that her son had no school Tuesday. So the afternoon that I thought I would spend blogging was spent entertaining instead. We love our weekend guest with all our hearts, but I am SO HAPPY to be back to work today.

When it comes to blogging, however, my current 32FF bra size is causing me a bit of an identity crisis. I feel like I have it so easy now! More clothes fit me off the rack than they did as a 36H. I’m also not spending a lot of time shopping–I have that capsule wardrobe I told you about, and my clothing budget is miniscule–so I don’t encounter D+ retail challenges on a regular basis. It’s also because I’m tapped into a network of women with far larger breasts than mine who have figured out how to make their wardrobes work for them. In my head, I know there’s still so much to explore and write about being big-busted, but I’m just not feeling it in my chest–er, heart!–right now.

Then I got a phone call Sunday night from a woman I met in October. She and I have a lot in common, but the last thing I ever thought we had in common was our busts. When I told her about Campbell & Kate last fall, I assumed she couldn’t relate, so I wondered on Sunday why she kept asking me about my company. Finally, she mentioned almost as an aside that everyone always feels the need to tell her how big her breasts are.

Was I hearing her right? When I’d met her, I’d done my quick surreptitious boob check and assumed she wore a C cup. Now she was telling me that any time she dons a swimsuit, her friends tell her, “I had no idea you were so huge!” She also told me that, as an adopted child in a family of ten kids, she was the only girl in her family not to turn out small-chested. Her adoptive mother always made her feel bad about her breasts, so my new acquaintance wears her baggiest clothes and hides all cleavage whenever she goes to visit her.

Of course I had to ask her bra size.

38DD.

And her pant size?

12 or 14.

I’m thinking there’s no way she’s a 38DD. How about you?

I hope to explore this subject more with her as I get to know her better. We may even get together for coffee this weekend (instead of my idea to meet at a lingerie store for a bra fitting–another sign that I’m de-sensitized about big boobs. It doesn’t seem strange to me to suggest to a stranger that we meet for a bra fitting!). I think it will be extremely informative to explore the challenges of having a D+ chest with a woman who has never even heard of Pepperberry.

I know I can help her. That’s the point of Hourglassy. And thinking about how to help women like her is one antidote against my current identity crisis. But I’m also curious: how can we help those of you who are well beyond this woman’s beginner stage when it comes to big bust knowledge?