Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part I

Last weekend was the Curve Expo lingerie and swimwear trade show for Autumn/Winter 2015 in New York. Unless otherwise noted, everything you see below will be released for sale around October 2015–February 2016. This week I’ll cover some lesser-known brands I checked out at Curve, and next week I’ll go over the usual suspects of Claudette, Curvy Kate, Panache, and Parfait. I’ll be doing an Eveden overview all on its own, because Darlene and I went to their NY showroom and got to talk about and photograph everything from the current season and A/W15.

I’m just going to go in alphabetical order here, and provide some highlights of what I found:

 

Fit Fully Yours

Fit Fully Yours is a Canadian lingerie company that’s been in business for 11 years as of this April. Their bands go from 30 to 40, plus 42 and 44 in some models, and one model (the Maxine Moulded) that goes up to 46 band. Cups go from A to J in American/Canadian sizing, varying in availability depending on the bra. Here’s their sizing schema at D and up, with UK equivalent on the right:

FFY     UK
D         D
DD      DD
F          E
G         F
H         FF
I           G
J          GG

In going through their lookbook, it seems that most bras stop at G or H. The ones that reach J (or UK GG) include Maxine Moulded, Gloria Smooth Lace, and Nicole See-Thru Lace.

FFY bras include quite a few features that I’m often on the lookout for, such as straps that attach to the cups at the center instead of outer corners of the cup; double-layer bands where at least one layer is fabric not mesh; triple-hooks on all DD+ sizes; and straps that are closer together in back without being a racerback.

Another interesting feature that they told us about is that instead of using hard boning on the sides, they use a quadruple layer of fabric. As such, you still get the same support and structure, but it’s more flexible and won’t dig in.

The styles are fairly basic, but come in lots of great colors. Further, they keep the colors in production for up to two years (sometimes more), much longer than most brands. So if you find something you really like and it wears out over time, you can actually get a replacement!

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Above is the Maxine Moulded, in dark teal. The color is really saturated and lovely in real life, even better than it looks in my photo. I love the decorative bits where the strap connects, as it takes this from a basic to something a little more interesting.

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Above are all the colors of the Crystal Smooth, which has slightly less coverage than the Maxine. I’m a big fan of the lime green, and I think the little crystal decoration in the gore makes this design just a little more special.

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Finally we have the Elizabeth Smooth Lace. The little pearls are pretty fun, and I like the lace band.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the Gloria Smooth Lace. It has a lace sling around the outer edge of the cups, which continues onto the straps. But even though the straps are decorative, they’re still fully adjustable. How rare!

Overall, I’d say that FFY makes tee shirt bras with colors and little extra details that make them just a little more special than a totally plain one. Prices range from $49 for their wireless options up to $80, about on par with other non-luxury big bust brands.

 

Harlow & Fox

Harlow & Fox, the ever-luxurious indie British brand, has been doing quite well for itself. They weren’t at the Curve show, but set up shop in a local hotel to show the newest collection.

This year H&F are introducing two of my absolute favorite colors—bright cobalt (though they call it “indigo”) and a rich teal. My photos do not do the colors any justice whatsoever, but I’ll try to get across how absolutely stunning these pieces are…

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Here’s the complete Indigo Eleanor collection: bra, bikini, thong, garter belt, tap pants, half slip, and robe. They all have the most delicate and pretty black eyelash lace, which is so gorgeous and sultry paired with the blue.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

Augh, the color. I can’t deal. I saw a lot of cobalt at Curve, but nothing compared to this. And the silk is so soft. I wanted to swim in it.

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Above is my attempt to capture the teal, but nothing I did with my camera could get it right. It looks rather dull here, but it was really bright with a heavy blue tint. It was almost iridescent and made me think of peacocks.

The Augusta teal bra.

The Augusta teal bra.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

There were also some new black offerings, including a Viola longline bra, side-tie bikini briefs, lacey thong, long silk gown (in two cup options—DD-F or FF-G), and a kimono of transparent cream tulle with black eyelash lace on the ends of the sleeves and skirt portions and a wide silk sash.

I’ve never been much of a swishy, romantic robe kinda girl (I don’t even own a bathrobe), but I was totally into the longline bra, which I previously tried in gold and absolutely fell in love with. Apparently customers felt the gold one ran small in the band, so that issue has been fixed with the new model.

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Not the best photo, but let me assure you this thing is gorgeous and fits like a dream. Feels like a dream too! The silk is so soft, which is especially appreciated on the straps, and overall it’s a terribly light and comfortable wear.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

 

Kris Line

I realize Kris Line is not that new for most people, but this was the first time I got to look at some of their stuff in person. I am desperate to try out this Polish brand. They’re often featured on US flash sale site Zulily, but unfortunately they don’t accept returns (not even for store credit) with any intimate apparel, so it’s really only useful if you know your size.

Kris Line uses UK cup sizing from A to O (yes, O!), and bands from 60 to 115 (or 28 to 50 [yes, 50!]). They truly have the widest size range of any brand in existence that I’m aware of.

The most popular styles are Brillant and Fortuna, the latter of which also comes in a baby doll in white or black, sizes 30-50 B-KK (though each band size down loses the top letter, i.e. 30 goes up to KK, 32 up to K, 34 up to JJ, etc. Band size 50 stops at F).

Kris Line also offers a nice range of nursing bras and tons of awesome swimwear, including a gorgeous ombre collection that I’m really lusting over, though sadly I doubt I’ll be able to find it in the US since Kris Line has very limited distribution here.

Finally, of the brand’s large cup bras, there are just three styles: soft (no padding), semi-soft (padded on the bottom half), and Deco Plunge (molded cup). Once you know your size in each style, you can use that as a guide for all their bras.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but here are the few I have:

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

 

Passionata

Here’s a brand I’m really excited to share with readers. Coincidentally, I bought one of their bras just before the Curve show and I’m really pleased with it (review to come in a few weeks!), so I was really excited to speak with them in person.

Passionata is part of the Chantelle lingerie group, though they just launched in the US last fall. Since Chantelle is a French brand, Passionata uses single letter sizing. All their bras go up to an E cup (i.e. UK DD), and they also offer lots of really cute cuts up to an H (or UK FF).

Started in 1988, I was told that Passionata was created as a backlash against the Calvin Klein-esque minimalism and androgyny of that period. I think that aesthetic is still reflected today, with lots of color and flirty details. The point of view these days is also “all about comfort all day.” Price point is on par with similar brands, about $60 a bra.

All the models I’m showing here come in the larger cup sizes (up to H).

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style is apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

This is Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

This is the Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam on the right side.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam just right of center.

 

Rago

Just a little teaser here. Rago is the go-to shapewear brand for pinup girls. Their shapers have really nice vintage styling and attractive colors and seaming. Some have bra cups up to DD that offer a subtle bullet shape. The best reviews I’ve found are on MissVictoryViolet.com.

What I’m showing here is their “corset dress.” I would love something like this to wear under my ’50s dresses to suck in my tummy just a little and give some nice poof (but not too much) under the skirt.

This dress offers “extra firm” upper body shaping. Additionally, while it only comes in small through xl (with no cup sizes), the cups are actually expandable (see photo below), so it could probably work for busty ladies up to a point.

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The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

In NY, the corset dress can be purchased at Enz’s in Manhattan, or can be ordered online.

 

Tutti Rouge

Like Kris Line, this is actually a brand lots of bloggers have covered, but this was only the second time I got to see their pieces in person. The first time was at one of our busty clothing swaps, when someone had brought a 28G (I think) to give away, and it did not fit me at all (it was way small in both band and cup). I believe the sizing at this point is a little more consistent with other British brands, and so I’d really like to try it soon.

The theme of the A/W15 season is “kiss and tell.” I was told it’s about “loving the thrill of the chase” without necessarily being in love. So sassy! I really love it and think it’s great that the brand is here for the woman wearing the lingerie, not for her man. Additionally, all the bras go up to at least a UK HH and some go up to J.

After seeing the brand in person and getting to check out all the details and the lovely fabrics and fabulous colors and prints, I’m desperate to try it myself.

Which Tutti am I? Let’s see…

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.

 

Off the Rack ~ ModCloth’s Enticing Evening Half-Slip Reviewed

This week I’m reviewing something that isn’t boob-related, but is related to a lot of the clothing I’ve talked about here on Hourglassy.

I think it’s probably pretty clear at this point that I’m a total clotheshorse. I do try to keep things at least moderately reasonable (does taking up two-thirds of my shared closet instead of three-quarters count?), by getting rid of things I truly don’t wear or just don’t totally love when I get something new. Lately I’ve been trying to stretch my existing pieces instead of buying only slightly different ones.

To that end, this winter I’ve been wearing a lot of my full-skirted summer dresses with a sweater or cardigan over it and thick tights, so it basically looks like a skirt. However, all these lightweight frocks tend to stick to my tights and bunch up around my crotch when I walk. It’s really annoying and super unflattering . . . not to mention that I’m nervous I’ll be flashing people without realizing it as I walk the city.

Easy solution, right? Just get a slip! But I was also hoping to find one that would have a tiny bit of volume, like a mini petticoat. I don’t have the space for a real petticoat, and also wouldn’t know what color or length to get since my skirts are all different colors and lengths themselves.

Then ModCloth had a sale recently, and it included a mini slip with two ruffles of tulle at the base. Perfect! It’s called the “Enticing Evening Half Slip.” It comes in white, black, and bronze, though the white and black look like they have longer ruffles.

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Unfortunately, I don’t really think it makes any difference in terms of volume, but it certainly does the trick to keep my skirt from bunching up and getting stuck. Here’s the outfit I wore with it today. Also please take note of my “biker” hoodie. I’ll be doing a little biker jacket roundup soon, having just ordered another one to add to my collection a couple days ago.

This is the Heart of Haute constellation-print circle skirt that you may remember from a previous review [http://hourglassy.com/2014/11/off-the-rack-heart-of-haute-separates/].

This is the Heart of Haute constellation-print circle skirt that you may remember from a previous review.

On the left, the skirt with the slip under it, on the right without the slip:

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I see absolutely no difference in volume. I think a skirt would have to be feather-weight and practically sheer to get any volume.

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The front of the slip.

The front of the slip.

The back of the slip.

The back of the slip.

I vacillate between sizes medium and large depending on brand and fabric. In this case, there were several reviews of the white and black versions that said ladies with similar measurements as mine (29” waist, 41” hips) took a large. The waist is elastic and gathered, so there’s tons of space for waist variations, but I’m glad I went with a large so that it’s not super tight across my butt and hips. I want to be able to walk unconstrained.

Even though ModCloth says the 100% polyester fabric does not provide stretch, in truth it does. However, the upper layer of tulle doesn’t stretch at all since it’s sewn with a straight stitch. The bottom layer is sewn with a serger since it’s also the bottom edge of the under-fabric, so it does stretch there. Laid flat, the size large is about 21 inches across at the un-stretchy top layer of tulle. The waistband is just under 13 inches across.

Lots of room in the elastic waist!

Lots of room in the elastic waist!

The slip is just under 18 inches long, so it’s not quite short enough for super mini skirts, but it’s perfect for all my above-the-knee pieces. The elastic also means I can wear it lower for slightly longer skirts or higher up my torso for shorter ones.

As for the fabric, it’s silky and smooth, but hardly luxurious. It reminds me of the cheap character nightgowns I wore as a little kid. The tulle is not scratchy and looks and feels more like the power mesh you find on bras than true tulle, which is usually quite stiff. So I think that’s a good thing. It’s also machine-washable.

 

Off the Rack ~ Separates from Tatyana / Bettie Page Clothing

I’ve written before about my experience with Tatyana (formerly Bettie Page) Clothing, with a couple hits and lots of misses.

I’ve basically sworn off buying any dresses from the brand unless I can try it on (or there’s a decent return policy). But apparently I have not given up on their separates! Flash sale site Zulily.com has occasional Tatyana sale events, and sometimes a random few items will turn up in a themed sale like “vintage styles” or some such. When they’re so heavily discounted, I can’t help but consider the offerings.

Additionally, the Tatyana website has a substantial sale section itself. In fact, they’re in the middle of a winter liquidation sale right now. They also have the occasional coupon, like the 50% off they offered on Black Friday.

A couple months back, I was really inspired to find a couple not-too-tight wiggle-style dresses or skirts. I have a couple wiggle dresses from Pinup Girl Clothing, but they are very tight and sexy, and I wanted something a little more comfortable and also more authentic vintage-looking. I ended up perusing the Tatyana site on Black Friday and picked out the Vickie skirt in red. It’s also available in black, as well as a full dress version in black, green, and red.

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I was enticed by the gathering at the waist and the burnt shade (as opposed to a true red), ordered a medium, and crossed my fingers that it would fit. And it does!

I took these photos around xmas, so apologies for the non-seasonal décor and the blurriness thanks to the poor (but festive!) lighting.

The full ensemble of the day.

The full ensemble of the day.

A closeup of the waistband, which is two pieces that cross in the front and then button shut in the back.

A closeup of the waistband, which is two pieces that cross in the front and then button shut in the back.

The back. Love that big button and all those waist darts. There’s an invisible zipper under the waistband.

The back. Love that big button and all those waist darts. There’s an invisible zipper under the waistband.

Full view from the back. My butt is not being crushed!

Full view from the back. My butt is not being crushed!

The fabric is soft and stretchy and really comfortable. The waistband that wraps around to the back is really flattering on my tummy and gives the skirt just a little extra visual interest. I also find the burnt red shade quite versatile, which I don’t think would be the case with a fire engine red (which the Vickie dress looks like).

My only complaint is that I think this skirt is a little too long on me. You can really see how stumpy it makes my legs look in this photo:

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I think it’d be better if it just covered my knee, instead of being squarely mid-calf as it is now. I’ll probably hem it just a little, but I may also consider taking it to a real tailor so that they can also bring up the slit in back to maintain the right proportion. Here I am pulling it up a little and I think I look much taller, especially in these low-heeled oxfords:

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Next up is a top that I’ve seen around the internet in tons of vintage repro stores, but never really felt like spending $50 on. It’s the “All Aboard” top in navy stripes. This also comes in red stripes and I’m really kicking myself for not snatching both colors up when they were on Zulily, where I paid $35, because I just love it and have worn it tons since it arrived.

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Made of a thick, tee shirt-like cotton/spandex blend, it’s yet again super comfortable. There’s a little button behind the non-removable bow so you can open up the neckline to fit it over your head, and it features puff sleeves (that for once aren’t too tight!) and a Peter Pan collar.

It’s just long enough for me to feel comfortable wearing it with regular mid-rise jeans, but it does ride up a little as you move around so I really prefer it with my high-waisted pants and skirts, especially my 1940s button pants from Freddies of Pinewood.

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Check out the side dart and the dart up the front and back! Why don’t their dresses have this much contouring??

Check out the side dart and the dart up the front and back! Why don’t their dresses have this much contouring??

I made the right choice in ordering a size medium. I think it’s just the right level of tightness, though it’s so stretchy I could certainly size down if I wanted it even more fitted. The peekaboo window is small enough that there isn’t really any visible cleavage and certainly no visible bra. You can see in the photos that the peekaboo doesn’t lie perfectly flat (probably because it’s not really cut for big boobs), but it’s so minor that I don’t care and didn’t even notice until I took these photos.

By the way, for fit assessment, my measurements are 37”-29”-41” and I’m wearing the Fantasie Molded Smoothing Tee-Shirt bra in 30FF under the striped top.

 

 

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.