Welcome back, readers! After Hourglassy was hijacked by nefarious Russian hackers for several weeks, I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. Here’s a long-overdue post that I wrote 2 months ago, but remains timeless!
Way back in September, I stumbled across a super hip lingerie shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I happened to catch The Rack Shack’s sign in the corner of my eye while on the way to brunch. I didn’t realize at first that it was a bra shop, though, so I kept walking.
But when my friend and I selected a restaurant just on the other side of the corner, they had a little booklet of local businesses. Under the “clothing” section was a lingerie shop whose description said they carry sizes 28A – 38HH. Then I looked at the address, and realized it was the shop I’d just walked past. So naturally, I dragged my friend there the moment we finished our meal!
The Rack Shack bills itself as a “lingerie and lady sneaker boutique” that “empowers all shapes, colors, and genders.” It’s LGBTQ and trans-friendly. The tagline repeated numerous times on their website is “everyone is welcome.”
Once inside, it’s a small yet light and airy shop with a tidy, well-curated selection. One wall features a rack of bra styles with drawers beneath to find more sizes. Then there are a couple floating racks with negligees, nighties, panties, stockings, and novelty boudoir pieces. There are breast-binders and other practical pieces, too.
In the back of the room is a stack of trendy sneakers and an amazing peacock painting. In addition, the weekend I visited was Open Studios Weekend in the neighborhood, so there was an art exhibition on the basement level.
I love this type of lingerie shop! It’s not so much a place to go for basic beige and black bras, but rather it specializes in fun pieces from brands both familiar and unexpected. The smaller selection also meant the staff had an encyclopedic knowledge of how each individual piece was running size-wise. The owner of the shop was on-hand during my visit, and she was able to advise me about sizing before I even tried anything on, and ended up bringing me the correct size on the first try for all but one item (but that was a clearance item with limited sizes left in stock, so I’m not sure it even counts).
I tried several bras from Tutti Rouge, Gossard, Curvy Kate Scantilly, Panache, and Cleo. I was especially excited to try Tutti, Gossard, and Scantilly since those are rarely found in brick-and-mortar shops and I’m not familiar with their fit. Here are the mini-reviews:
The Panache Jasmine was a perfect fit in size 28GG. The stretch lace is a dream, and it gave a shape that was somehow super perky yet natural-looking at the same time. I absolutely must buy this bra soon, but I didn’t really feel the need to buy it in a shop when it’s so readily available online at sale price.
Next up was the Scantilly Showtime bra. I don’t honestly remember what size I tried with this one since I (stupidly) didn’t write it down. But I think it was 30G. Whatever size it was, it appeared to fit correctly, but the bra just didn’t suit my shape. The cups were very stiff, and the upper edge really dug in to my breast tissue.
Next was the Tutti Rouge Jessica bra with pushup pads. Again I’m not 100% sure of the size, but I think it was 30G here too. I tried it with no pads, with the mini pads, and with both the mini and big pads at the same time, but it didn’t work for me any which way. The seam that separates the top of the cup from the lower portion dug into my boobs noticeably. Definitely not one for soft breast tissue.
I also tried the Tutti Rouge Sukki in the same size (30G?), but this one was a fail too. The cage straps were too tight, giving me phantom quad-boob even though the cups fit fine. And the shoulder straps were too far out to the sides, cutting into my armpits.
Finally, I tried the super-old (2015, I believe) Tutti Rouge Beatrice bra in mint polka dots. It was sooooooo cute, and I wanted it to fit sooooooo bad, but there was no chance. I don’t remember what size I tried, but the band was too small to close and the cups were clearly too small as well. Unfortunately, there were no other sizes to try since it was a clearance item.
The final failure bra I tried was the Gossard Olympia VIP High-Apex Plunge Bra. The major issue with this one was that it came up way too high in the arms. I was also not really feeling the extreme padded cups.
Finally, the one item I did end up buying was the Cleo Piper in acid coral. Yes, the same Cleo Piper for which I lamented the terrible fit only one season prior! I couldn’t pass up the color here, and this time the fit was improved. I’m normally 28GG in Cleo, but the shop owner warned me that this bra runs small in the cups, so I tried 28H.
Last time, even 28HH didn’t have enough projection in the cups yet had super wide wires, so I was skeptical. But either my boobs changed, or the bra’s design was improved, because 28H actually works! To be honest, the wires are still a bit too wide, the straps a little too wide-set, and the cup edge not stretchy enough so it digs in a bit…but the projection fits pretty well, I still get a decent round shape, and for once in my life, the longline band actually stays put instead of riding or flipping up. So it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to take for the glorious color.