Working Out–How to Get Women into Sports Bras

Reader Kara made this comment when I asked for some inspiration in January:

sports bras
how do we get the word out that there ARE options for sports bras for “large chest women” (or whatever we call ourselves)
a) sometimes you are walking down the street and see a woman jogging and everything is bouncing and she’s a stranger so you can’t say anything
b) womens general interest website (or blogger) posts an article whining about how it’s impossible to find a sports bra in her size and she has to wear 2 bras – never sure if these articles are serious or bait for page views to get a bunch of comments telling the writer about the options out there

It might be difficult to approach a stranger on the street, but I think there’s great potential for helping women who regularly attend the same gym classes we do. In the past, I’ve given women my card or scrawled my number on a scrap of paper. So far no one’s ever called me, though. Then in an aerobics class two weeks ago, I watched a very average-busted woman clutch her breasts with both hands as we jumped up and down. It was enough to spur me to action.

Right now, I have a vague plan for getting the word out:

  1. Get permission from the gym’s owner to put a poster up. (A week later I spoke to the manager, and he said he’d ask the owner. It’s a sad testament to my commitment to exercise that I haven’t been back to the gym to follow up. Now I have both a cold and jury duty, so it won’t be this week either.)
  2. The poster will (a) advertise the need for sports bras and include cards with discount codes to one of my favorite bra stores; and/or (b) advertise a sports bra fitting event that I or the bra store will sponsor, ideally at the gym itself. I already spoke to the favorite bra store owner, and she likes the idea.
  3. Test the concept, tweak it, and then scale it through Hourglassy readers and other Bosom Bloggers.

What do you think?

P.S. If I don’t respond to your comments, it’s not because I’m not reading or thinking about them. It’s because I’m being a good Alternate Juror #1 and paying attention to the negligence case I’ve been assigned to.




D+ Coat Finds for Winter’s Last Gasp

On Saturday, I had a fun lunch with a group of bloggers and lingerie enthusiasts that included the amazing Miss Underpinnings. As we left, her coat caught my eye with its zipper closure and nipped in waist, and I had to snap a photo of it for you. ‘It’s Jessica Simpson,” she told us.

Of course! Both Leah and I have written about the potential of Jessica Simpson’s brand to fit full busts, but I’d never even considered her coats. A quick Google search for them yielded several cute results, including this brown number on sale at Amazon for $125.

I also like the feminine detail on the back of this coat, on sale at Zappo’s for $89.99.

It’s quite a shift to go back to winter coats after our recent discussion of spring trends, but this is the time to find them on sale!

Corporate Curves Report: Patterns to Avoid

In my last weeks post I decided to give anything I like a go at a high street store, even though knew some dresses would look terrible on a bustier bodytype. There you can see a pink / black color block dress which only managed to emphasize my bust and make me look smaller everywhere else…

This inspired me to make a basic list of patters I’ve learned to avoid since they do no favors for the big bosomed ladies general shape. Spring trends are offering a wide selection of patterns this year so we need to be careful what to pick from this trend.

First lets look at the black and white trend. I’m personally a big fan of graphic print and you’ve seen me rock a striped long skirt this year already which to my surprise suited my shape well!

Can just see the effect around the bust area how the stripes will widen and draw extra focus there, also doubt the stripes pointing both ways around the tummy will be forgiving.

Love this dress BUT can see the umph that a bigger than average bust will get from the stripe placement at the top when there’s umph enough naturally.

This pattern is purely designed to emphasize the bust. Need I say more :)

Of course there are lovely black and white items for us curvy women too in the spring collections, just not the ones above.  The dresses are all from ASOS.

Color blocking has been around for a while now and I’ve picked out two examples I’ve learned to steer clear from.

If the top was entirely white then this might just so so work but with the black armhole edges – this will just widen the bust and create a so called matronly look which is not the point of this design.

Hourglass silhoutte enhancing design? So you might think, I did before. The problem is how the red block widens all the way to the shoulders and with a big wide bust it creates a very top heavy look which is out of balance.

There are other patterns and designs commonly for sale at the moment which don’t work for a curvier figure but these are my prime examples. As a general rule, any design that is clearly emphasizing the bust area will usually be a bit of a disaster on a naturally busty shape. This is because many clearly bust emphasizing designs throw the design off balance for curvier ladies, especially for the ones with narrower hips. Also from a corporate point of view, being a busty woman is challenging enough so emphasizing the bust even more is a bad idea for a corporate work environment.

Spring Theory: Trends and the Busty Woman, Part 2

When the fashion industry tells me what to wear, I waver between rebellion and compliance.  Today’s post looks at whether trends matter, the busty challenges of trying to follow them, and a few guiding principles for meeting the challenges.

Why should we care about trends? When I first saw this graphic yellow and white pattern from Louis Vuitton, I found it fascinating. Now that I’ve seen it in multiple magazines, I’m already bored–and spring is still weeks away!

Every time I see another model wearing this pattern, it loses a little more of its edge of originality. Although each of us needs to find ways to maintain our own originality, here are reasons to pay attention to trends.

  1. Department and chain stores seem to go overboard on trends, thereby limiting our choices. Remember the Invasion of the Babydoll Tops a few years ago? Paying attention to trends when they’re first announced gives us a chance to figure out how to adapt to them–even though there was no adapting to the babydoll for a busty woman, but more on that dilemma below.
  2. Eventually we’re going to see someone who adapts a trend in a way that we admire and we’re going to want to make it work for us, i.e.,  “I’ll have what she’s having.”
  3. It’s important to remain current. There’s a difference between trying to look retro and never leaving the period in the first place. Also, the sooner you buy something that’s on trend, the more wear you’ll get out of it. Wait until it’s on sale or off-price, and its lifespan is much more limited.
  4. We get bored and want change, but most of us don’t have a fashion designer’s creativity or resources. It’s more efficient for us to let the fashion designers come up with the ideas, and it’s more efficient for the fashion designers to mass produce their ideas.

However, it remains especially challenging for busty women to try to follow trends because:

  • Few mainstream clothing companies use fit models with D+ boobs, and when we find something that fits, it often doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to.Take this gorgeous BCBG Max Azria dress in my favorite color of the season (they call it poppy, but I’m calling it flame).

    This knit fabric and scoop neckline are great for big boobs, but why did the designer have to add a waist seam? For a G cup woman, it’s going to ride up to just below her bust, looking more like an empire waist, and the hem will be higher in front than in back. If the waist and hem don’t ride up, then be ready for major cleavage.

  • Busty clothing companies offer fewer options. After I fell in love with this dress, I had the bright idea of checking out Pepperberry’s spring collection to see if they had anything comparable. Of course they didn’t! Neither did DD Atelier, BiuBiu or Urkye, although each had items I would like to own that would fit as the designer intended. I am super thankful for the companies that manufacture especially for us, but I also appreciate the St. Bustier business model that cherry picks full-bust-fitting pieces from mainstream fashions for us.

What’s the best way to approach seasonal trends if you’re busty? I’ve come up with the following list, but please add to it in the comments.

1. Concentrate on fit, but don’t forget the other variables that flatter a woman with big breasts:

  • context-appropriate deep scoop, square or V-neckline,
  • fitted and/or defined waist,
  • drape-y fabrics (vs. stiff),
  • accessories that focus the eye away from your bust (unless that’s where you want the attention).

2. If you can’t get the right fit or meet the other variables, look for workarounds:

  • Get alterations. (By the way, I have some BIG news for you: on a trial basis for the next three months, Leila Breton of Three Dresses Project has agreed to write a monthly column about alterations related to being full-busted !!! Look for her first column about altering my tunic on March 6.)
  • Use layers to create the illusion of a more flattering neckline (V-neck cardigan or V-shaped bib necklace over a top that covers your collar bone, for instance).
  • Belt things.
  • Invest in well-fitting classic separates and dresses from the busty clothing companies and accessorize or combine themwith trendy pieces.

    The waist won’t ride up and the neckline won’t ride down in this stretch wool dress from DD Atelier. The flame-colored handbag makes the classic dress more current.

  • If you absolutely MUST own a trendy garment that either doesn’t fit correctly or isn’t flattering according to the “busty rules”, then go for it. Indulge yourself, but avoid cameras and mirrors for the life of the garment. If you do catch a glimpse of yourself, you can always sell the item on eBay or donate it.  (Seriously, it’s okay to wear these things, but 90% of the time that  I’ve done so and then caught a glimpse of myself, I’ve ended up with buyer’s remorse.)

Now that I’ve thought through my approach to the trends that I’m going to write about here, I can’t wait to get started!