Karen’s Small Band Large Cup Bra Pilgrimage to Barbara’s New Beginnings in Indianapolis

Back in 2011, I introduced you to Barbara’s New Beginnings, a bra store that falls into the category of “one of the good ones”. However, I’ve never had a fitting there myself, so I was extremely interested when reader Karen tweeted that she had found “a store” carrying 28 bands in Indianapolis and was on her way to a fitting right then. Sure enough, it was Barbara’s New Beginnings.  Karen has written great posts for Hourglassy in the past (DIY Nursing Bras; Shape, Cut and Confidence from a DIY Mother; and A 28G Guest at the Wedding), so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the detailed email that she sent me after her experience at Barbara’s. I asked if I could share it on Hourglassy, and happily, she said yes.

We drove up to Indianapolis because Bloomington has a non-existent selection of maternity clothes, and while I was trying on some new maternity shirts and reveling at how cute my tiny little bump is (13 weeks pregnant!!), I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was busting out of my 28G Panache Porcelain.  So, when the girl on the line from Barbara’s New Beginnings said that they had a lot to offer in 28 and 30 bands, I cried. Yes, I did.  I may be a little hormonal, but I’ve been around Milwaukee, and I’ve visited Chicago, and no one has ever carried a 28 band.  It’s so hard to make that decision to buy the 30 band or 32 band and have it altered to something that might fit when done.

When we arrived (I had the whole family with) at Barbara’s, a fitter named Susie met me at the door.  She put some of my information in the computer (address, phone number, email), and then took me back to a fitting room.  I told her the bra I was currently wearing and why I didn’t like it anymore. She asked me what I was looking for, and I said something to get me through the next six months before I’m in nursing bras again. I was looking for a nude bra and a colored one. I shared that I usually wear three-part bras with the A-frame support to help pull side tissue forward, but I’ve been having problems with the seams digging in with my current bras, likely because they’re too small in the cups. She had me take off my shirt, measured my underbust at 27.5″ and said that I could probably wear a 30, because in all likelihood, I’d be getting bigger.  True, but bands stretch, and I just wasn’t ready to drop my 28 bands to the wayside on that possibility.

She went to the back room and brought back two bras at a time. I had an immediate let-down feeling as I saw granny-bra after granny-bra pile up. Each bra was nude in color with 1″ or wider straps, a seamless full cup, and in 30 bands. After trying these bras on and not finding one that even slightly fit, I asked if she had anything more “fun” and would she mind bringing me an identical bra in a 28 and a 30 band so I can compare the two for a better fit. Susie said that, unfortunately, all that they had in my size were seamless full cups and that they don’t carry many of the fashion colors because there are not as many women buying in this size range as in the 34-38 bands; the nudes stock better. She did bring me the Panache Porcelain that I was wearing when I came in, both in a 28G and in a 30FF.

This is where I actually learned something! Though there are sister cup sizes, and the width in these cups will be the same, those cup sizes won’t be exactly identical in volume because of the placement of the straps and how high the cup is designed to come up the breast. You could go to a larger cup size in a smaller band, but your breasts still may not fit. This has apparently been my case! I need the greater volume, even if I do benefit from a smaller band. I have full-on-top breasts, so the 28 cups have not been fully encompassing the breasts.  It will be better in the future to purchase the 30 bands and have the bands altered.

So, she didn’t have exactly what I was looking for, but I did purchase one bra that fit very well, in purple no less. 🙂 I’ll likely purchase what else I need from online, but I’ll be going back to the shop for nursing bras!

Corporate Curves Report: Trying Spring’s Black & White Trend

I’m always trying to find shirt dresses or tunic length shirts that fit. At a local high street chain store called Seppälä today, I spotted these shirts on the Just Arrived rack, plus a long black and white striped skirt nearby. I decided to try the ensemble on and was hugely surprised by how much I loved it.

First the shirt: it has some stretch to it, being cotton elastane. The fit at the bust is so-so but decent.

Size 44 EU cotton elastane shirt from a local store Seppälä. The belt comes with it. I love the length and sleeves.


Side view of the fit. The belt makes this shirt look quite good.

Then I added the skirt. It has a nearly knee length side cut which makes it easy to walk in. The skirt is a size L, but since I was in a hurry I could not be bothered to take my jeans off so I just pulled the skirt over the jeans. This makes me wonder if I could get away with a size M skirt. The stripes are narrower at the top, but with this length shirt, the tummy effect is well hidden and it balances the look.

Wanted to try this long skirt on even though they are not usually my thing, but I love this monochrome look.

This ensemble is especially good for those like me with narrow hips because by adding width, the skirt makes me look more hourglassy than I really am. With the top being one color and the skirt drawing the attention to the straighter bottom half of my body, I see this as a flattering outfit.

Now I’m just wondering if the shirt is a good enough fit over the bust. It was also available in a lovely coral color which would be so lovely for spring. Hmmm… need to sleep on this!

Demi-Coverage Reading Roundup for D Cups and Up

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that last week was pretty crazy. Wednesday was a family holiday to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. On Thursday I took my 14.5 year old calico cat Cleo to a specialist vet for a biopsy of the spot that had showed up on her liver during a recent ultrasound. (If you’re a fellow cat lover, you can read more about this at the bottom of today’s post.) In between these two events, my 22-year-old niece moved in with us from Florida! This is very exciting to me because she is my only niece who wears a D+ bra, so I have a LOT of blog post ideas to try out with her.

Now that I’ve given you a roundup of my life, let me give you a roundup of a few big bust items of  interest that have caught my eye this past week.

1. Are fashion magazines finally getting that “big bust” does not automatically mean “fat”? February’s issue of InStyle covers reader shape issues, and two of them focus on boobs!

A few pages later, they use Katy Perry as an example of “curvy” and recommend her “go-to” designer, Roland Mouret.

Since Katy Perry is often spilling out of her dresses, I’m not sure Mouret is actually giving her enough room for her famous curves, but some of his styles are definitely meant to flatter an hourglass shape.

It looks like this dress could even work with a strapless bra.

2. Octavia Spencer

First, isn’t Octavia Spencer an hourglass?

Next to the photos of Katy Perry, InStyle uses Octavia Spencer as an example of plus size and recommends her “go-to” designer, Tadashi Shoji. I agree with the Tadashi Shoji recommendation, but not only for plus-size women. Tadashi Shoji makes enough room for curves and uses fabric and styles that flatter them.

In the advice below her photo, plus-size women are told that “cinching a shirt, cardigan or dress can accentuate the waist and help give the illusion of an hourglass shape.” I may be blind, but from what I see, Octavia doesn’t need to create an illusion of an hourglass shape because she already has one. So maybe it’s one step forward but another one back–there’s acknowledgment that all busty women aren’t plus-size (or augmented); now we need acknowledgment that plus-size women can be hourglassy.

Second, is Octavia Spencer even plus size?

I’m not entirely persuaded. My theory is that it only appears as a possibility because of all the actresses who wear sizes 0-4 around her. Regardless of the label, she impressed me with this Facebook quote about her weight: “I am NOT WORRYING ABOUT MY WEIGHT! I AM NOT TRYING TO CONFORM TO an unrealistic model of beauty. I AM however being proactive in being the healthiest I can be.”

Third, did Octavia Spencer get the breast lift she was talking about after last year’s Oscars?

She’s only 42, so it’s hard to believe she even “needed” one, but if she seriously tried to get a better bra and it let her down, then I can understand the temptation. Below, the photo on the left is from October 2012 and the photo on the right is from this January.

 3. Empreinte

If you’ve ever wondered if a $100+ bra is worth it, check out the Empreinte review by the sister of the Bras I Hate and Love blogger. I didn’t have the same experience, but I’m hoping to give the brand another try someday soon–either when I can fit into their G cups or when I try their H cups.

Ali Cudby was even able to go to the Empreinte L’Atelier Lingerie in Paris this month! It would take a lot of courage for me to venture into their museum-like space, but it would be worth it to be sized there and then have “a rack containing every bra they stock in [my]  size . . . wheeled into the room”!


More about my cat . . .

The liver spot is likely benign, but a chest x-ray revealed that fluid had filled up Cleo’s chest cavity, decreasing the room for her lungs so that she could barely breathe. When they removed the fluid and gave her an echocardiogram (my cat has seen a cardiologist!), they found another mass somewhere in the chest area, and we’re waiting to see what the lab will be able to discern about it from the fluids sent to them. In the meantime, I’m trying to coax Cleo to eat as much as possible, and anytime she snuggles onto my chest and blocks my view of the computer or newspaper I’m trying to read, I drop everything and just enjoy the vibrations of her purr.

Off the Rack ~ Urkye Review Part III

This is my last Urkye review for a while, I swear! But the site recently had a sale in which items were up to 50% off from January 10 through 20, and I had a 20 zloty credit (more about that in a moment), so I couldn’t very well turn down another order, now could I? With the sale and my store credit, I ended up paying just $37.00 including shipping for these two items.

As for that store credit, it’s another testament to their great customer service. After my last post complained about the uneven sleeves on the Kieska dress, the store found my post and emailed me to ask if I wanted to send it back for repair, or accept a 20zl credit. I’ve never had a store follow up like that, not even on business review website Yelp.com, which is actually designed to allow local businesses to respond.

So on to the reviews! This time I ordered the Groszki faux wrap top and the Wodnik tee, both in black. I purchased the Wodnik in my usual size of 38o/oo because I wanted the sweeping back to be wider and more loose in the hopes that it would show off my back tattoo. I selected the Grozki in my sister size of 36oo/ooo because I preferred the tighter look on the model.

First up is the Wodnik. It’s a little hard to see all the seams due to the night time lighting under which this photo was taken, but it’s basically split in half horizontally a little above my natural waist. It also has princess seams from the shoulders to the horizontal seam.

I’m not crazy about the horizontal seam. I think it’d look a lot sleeker with one piece of fabric all the way down, with princess seams that continued from shoulder all the way down. But the princess seams, as usual, are perfect for fitting boobs into and looking polished.

As you can see, there’s only a tiny bit of my tattoo visible, so that idea was a bit of a bust (or maybe I just need to get another!). But I still think the back is quite pretty and clever. The black band you see under the swoop of fabric, by the way, is part of the shirt, not my bra band. This is a nice feature that allows for the “backless” look while still allowing you to wear a bra. I also think it could be cool to wear a necklace backwards (especially a lariat-style one) so that a little sparkle is dripping down my spine.

Next up is Groszki:

I really love this top. I’m a big fan of polka dots and splatter-like prints, so this was perfect. It allows me to show off my figure big time, without actually showing much cleavage. As I ordered a smaller size and the fabric is more clingy and thinner than the solid shirts, it does show off my tummy more than I’d like. But I think the dots hide it pretty well unless I’ve just eaten a big meal.

The one thing I’m not totally sold on is the tie. I didn’t realize it was intended to be tied in the front, as the Urkye models do, so it was unnecessarily long in the back. But I guess it’s better to be too long in back if it allows you to tie it different ways. I’ll have to try it in the front slightly off to the side next time.

I do wish the body was a little longer, but I just looked up both these shirts and they’re actually the same length. So I think this one is just riding up because it’s tighter and is made of more clingy fabric. Still, the tightness and non-excessive length means I’ll be able to tuck it into all my high-waisted pinup-style shorts come summer (regular crewneck tees do not work with those things).

I’m really looking forward to wearing both these tops once the weather’s warm enough!