Lynx Love for a Large Chest: Cross Back and Ladder Back Sports Bra Reviews

Here’s a sports bra look I admire. In the past I would have lamented how off limits it is to women with large chests.

big bust sports bra dream

But here’s a change. I took this photo of a woman at the airport simply to show you my style twin!

big bust sports bra envy

Thanks to Lynx Sportswear, women with large chests can now add back interest to their athleisure. Today I review the Lynx ladder back sports bra and the Lynx cross back sports bra that I teased you with in December.

Disclosure: Lynx gave me the cross back sports bra as a review sample, and I purchased the ladder back bra with my own money. All opinions are my own.

Quick Summary:

Both are great for wearing under wide armholes and low or cut-in backs. The cross back is a high impact wonder.  The ladder back is good for low impact sports.

The Concept:

Lynx bras support from the sides–just like hands holding you up. In fact, that’s exactly where founder Cynthia Smith got the idea. I’m going to write more about her inspiration on the Campbell & Kate blog soon. [If you wonder where I’ve been for the last two months, the C&K blog posts show that I’ve been pretty busy over there. I have more great posts planned, so why not subscribe to the C&K newsletter? That way I can alert you when I post new content.] There are no underwires, and the only thing hard is the hook in back. The ladder back doesn’t even have a hook, which makes it especially nice for floor work. You know what else is great? Being able to throw these bras in the washing machine.

One of the tenets of bra design is that the bridge between the two breasts must be stable. It’s never supposed to stretch. Cynthia reversed this by using rigid side panels for support (the hands) and a stretchy center panel that lets you move and breathe. It’s not an encapsulation bra, but it’s not a compression bra either.

lynx sports bra up to a J cup

The purple arrow points to the stretchy center panel. The yellow arrow points to the princess seam going down the middle of the rigid side panels. You may also notice that the seams are finished in a way to prevent any chafing.

I was a complete skeptic as I listened to her explanation, but when I put the bras on, it didn’t even feel like I had breasts anymore. They felt weightless. More on why below . . . . [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Styling Visible Bra Straps for Hot Summer Days

It’s been just disgustingly hot in New York this week. With my freelance work, I spend two days every week going around Manhattan and Brooklyn running errands, stopping at various clients’ houses, etc. There are subways and buses, but I still end up walking a lot (and the underground subway platforms are usually hotter than it is outside thanks to a complete lack of air conditioning, fans, or even the least bit of ventilation in some cases), which means I need to dress as cool and comfortable as possible.

Ironically, the last thing I want to be wearing on a 90+ (Fahrenheit) day is a strapless bra. The ones I own (Freya Deco, Le Mystere Soiree Bustier) are molded and slightly padded, and thus quite warm. Further, once I start sweating, they basically turn into sponges that hold a lot of sweat against my body. Ugh, not pleasant at all.

Rather, the bras I find most cool are all-over sheer mesh, like the Ewa Michalak BM style or the Claudette Dessous. Of course, these bras also have brightly colored straps that are difficult to hide. But this week I was inspired by one of my colleagues and a random girl I spotted (in the subway, no less!). Both were wearing a colored bra with visible straps, but both of them chose a bra that set off their strappy top in such a way that it looked intentional and did not look at all sloppy.

So here are my suggestions for ways to wear visible bra straps in the summer. Of course, this requires a bra collection that matches your wardrobe to a certain extent. I prefer to avoid white, black, or nude straps because, well, I think they’re just plain ugly! And there’s really no hiding the fact that those are bras. I just don’t think it’s possible to have these strap colors sticking out and still look intentional or fashionable.

For an example of how to do it right, here’s my sneaky shot of the subway girl:

Apologies for the blurriness; we were both walking quickly when I snapped this.

Apologies for the blurriness; we were both walking quickly when I snapped this.

As you can see, her bra, dress, and accessories are all earth-toned. The dress was a warm ivory and the bra a beige-y army green shade. I think it really helps that the bra band fits properly and is not riding up. Further, it had a thin band and thin straps that perfectly lined up with the dress straps. Finally, the horizontal string across the dress runs perfectly parallel to the bra band. I have no idea if this girl planned it so specifically, but to me this looks edgy and cool.

Since most of us probably don’t own skimpy bras that so perfectly pair with our clothing, I’d say the next best thing is to pair your bra with a top or dress that just matches in color, such as this pink-trimmed tank with a bra that has hot pink straps in almost the same shade:

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Unless you’re looking really closely, I think the bra and the shirt blend into each other and just look like a shirt.

If you don’t have a bra that matches so closely, I think you can still get away with one in a similar color family. Here, for example, is a bra with neon lime straps with a tank that has minty green straps:

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I try to avoid having any part of the bra other than the straps stick out.

As for my colleague, I don’t have a photo, but she was wearing a strappy racerback tank with a strappy racerback bra, only the two backs didn’t line up. However, they were both different shades of orange, so they were complementary, and the two sets of straps looked sporty and modern. Here’s my attempt at a similar look. I’m wearing the Passionata Starlight, which actually does stay hidden under every racerback tank I own, so I just paired it with the same pink and purple top as above:

Two sets of straps in the front.

Two sets of straps in the front.

Interesting shapes in the back.

Interesting shapes in the back.

Finally, what if you have colorful bras but no shirts to match? This requires a little more bravery, but in that case I’d recommend going all out with the bra! Pick a basic and neutral solid-colored top and the brightest bra you own. I’m even on board with letting some of the cups stick out if they’re colorful too. Here’s a black tank with my neon lime straps sticking out, and the camouflage print of this Dessous bra making a little appearance too:

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I think the only way to “pull off” visible bra straps is to make it seem intentional. There’s no way I could have accidentally chosen such a bright bra to wear with this black shirt. But if I was wearing a beige bra, it would seem like I was trying to hide the bra against my skin (and failing). Black would seem like I was trying to get it to blend in with my top (again failing). And white…well no one wants to see our dirty, discolored white bra straps (you know they never stay white for long!).

 

Full Bust Finds

Sometimes I stumble across full bust finds that I wasn’t planning to write about, and I want to share them with you while they’re fresh on my mind and still available in stores. So I’m creating a new category for this type of post. Today’s discoveries came from yet another venture into Macy’s. I couldn’t help it–I passed it on the way to get buttonholes sewn into one of my shirts, and I had to see if I could fit the Jessica Simpson seersucker dress in size 12.

Only there was no Jessica Simpson seersucker dress left in size 12, and it’s no longer available on their website either!

However, I found another great Jessica Simpson dress that you’re going to love. It’s not even on the Macy’s website, but you can find this chambray Jessica Simpson sundress on the Dillard’s website.

 

jessica simpson chambray sundress

I found the size 12 to be boob-smashing, and they didn’t have a size 14 in stock, but this gives you an idea of the fit.

jessica simpson chambray sundress side

 And I’m not even bothered by the armhole bra display because guess what? Those wide grosgrain ribbon straps are adjustable in back (and I was wearing them at their very loosest)! Plus, the elasticized smocking is great for contributing a little more give to the boob area.

jessica simpson chambray sundress back details

Next up is a Betsey Johnson dress that I only wish I had an excuse to buy. This could work for any event that requires dressing up–weddings, cocktail parties, graduations, etc.

betsey johnson lacy polka dot dress

 It’s lacy and stretchy and oh so feminine. Other than needing to be slightly shortened, I felt like the size 14 fit perfectly.

perfect big bust dress for a wedding betsey johnson illusion

 And guess what? It even has back interest!

betsey johnson illusion dress back

(Ignore the pink hanger loops.)

The keyhole back actually lay flat when I wasn’t contorting myself to take this picture. In both photos, you can see my beige bra through the lace. I’d want to wear a prettier bra under this dress, but the visibility otherwise wouldn’t bother me.

Off the Rack ~ Le Mystere Soiree Low-Back Bustier Reviewed

Last week I showed you my wedding gown choices, which turned out to be a little problematic in the undergarments area. Surprisingly, though, I found a solution rather quickly.

The dress I finally selected was a bit too low in the back for a traditional strapless bra, but also didn’t work with the Masquerade Hestia basque I’d already purchased. Then I remembered the low-backed bustier I had seen at CurvExpo in February 2012. Lucky thing I wrote about it on Hourglassy, because I was able to look at my old post and find the manufacturer, Le Mystere. I then discovered that the bra is called the Soiree Bustier.

Le Mystere goes up to a G cup, but it’s not the British G cup I’m used to. The brand uses European sizing, so with no double letters, a Le Mystere G is equal to a British F. With my usual 28G, that means the smallest band I could do would be a 32G. Since I don’t know of any other low-backed strapless bustiers above a D cup, this seemed like my only option. Knowing how well tailored a wedding gown should be, though, I figured it would work well enough.

However, more than “well enough,” this thing is a miracle! First off, the 32G fit like a 28. Seriously. It was a real struggle to hook it all up, and it felt like it was not going to move at all. After intentionally wearing it to a big dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant, I actually decided that it was too tight. With it going so low in the front, it was really uncomfortable on a full stomach and felt like all the boning was digging into me.

Since I anticipate eating a lot at my wedding (the food’s gonna be awesome), this simply wouldn’t do, so I exchanged the 32G for a 34F. It feels so wrong to be ordering a 34, but this thing certainly does not fit like one. I measured the new 34 and it’s only 27 inches long under the bust, and stretches to a mere 31. I don’t really understand Le Mystere’s logic here, but I’ll take it! (In fact, I wonder if all their bras run this ridiculously tight…)

As for the 34, it’s a little looser than I usually go for. I’m starting it on the middle hooks instead of the loosest. And after some vigorous activity, it does feel like it’s shifted just a bit. But it still stays up enough that I don’t feel the need to yank it up all day and the support is shockingly phenomenal.

The rest of this review will be in the form of a photo essay. First up is the backside of this contraption:

The Soiree has boning on the sides and in four spots under the bust, helping stabilize it and stay in place. Four rows of hooks. It comes with a pair of removable straps that you can wear in a variety of ways, but I haven’t tried them yet. (When the strapless version works so well, who needs ‘em?) The band fabric is your usual stretchy and shiny “bra” fabric lined with strong mesh. There’s a thin and light strip of silicon along the top seam, but none on the bottom. Cups are molded and a bit thick, but not real stiff and with no contoured padding.

The Soiree has boning on the sides and in four spots under the bust, helping stabilize it and stay in place. Four rows of hooks. It comes with a pair of removable straps that you can wear in a variety of ways, but I haven’t tried them yet. (When the strapless version works so well, who needs ‘em?) The band fabric is your usual stretchy and shiny “bra” fabric lined with strong mesh. There’s a thin and light strip of silicon along the top seam, but none on the bottom. Cups are molded and a bit thick, but not real stiff and with no contoured padding.

I don’t normally include photos of myself in bras, but there’s so little skin here that I’m making an exception. I just don’t think you can get the full impression without a photo. The 32 stopped a little higher on my torso than the 34, which ends at exactly my natural waist, and even looks like it’s digging in just a tiny bit. Since I have a very long torso, I guess I wouldn’t recommend this garment to petite or short-waisted ladies. You can also see that the cups (as usual) are a little shallow at the base for me. But the wires are surprisingly good on my narrow roots, so it’s no big deal.

I don’t normally include photos of myself in bras, but there’s so little skin here that I’m making an exception. I just don’t think you can get the full impression without a photo. The 32 stopped a little higher on my torso than the 34, which ends at exactly my natural waist, and even looks like it’s digging in just a tiny bit. Since I have a very long torso, I guess I wouldn’t recommend this garment to petite or short-waisted ladies. You can also see that the cups (as usual) are a little shallow at the base for me. But the wires are surprisingly good on my narrow roots, so it’s no big deal.

Here, you can see that the cups are not super tall on the sides, thank goodness. I have no worries about it peeking out of my dress, but it also encompasses all the breast tissue. Perfect!

Here, you can see that the cups are not super tall on the sides, thank goodness. I have no worries about it peeking out of my dress, but it also encompasses all the breast tissue. Perfect!

Here is an image of the back. The pink line is where the top of my normal bra band sits. The blue line is where the Deco strapless sits after a full day of wear and never yanking it up. (Imagine that both these lines are curved a little to follow the body’s contours, not straight across.)

Here is an image of the back. The pink line is where the top of my normal bra band sits. The blue line is where the Deco strapless sits after a full day of wear and never yanking it up. (Imagine that both these lines are curved a little to follow the body’s contours, not straight across.)

Now this is the not so perfect, yet not at all surprising, part. The gore is laughable. It doesn’t even come close to tacking. Here you can see that it’s nearly an inch and a half away from my chest. But I wouldn’t really expect anything better since the band is so low. There’s just no way to pull the gore in place. This was the same on the 32 band as well, so I know it’s not a typical case of too-loose band. And despite the wonky gore, my boobs still felt contained and very well supported.

Now this is the not so perfect, yet not at all surprising, part. The gore is laughable. It doesn’t even come close to tacking. Here you can see that it’s nearly an inch and a half away from my chest. But I wouldn’t really expect anything better since the band is so low. There’s just no way to pull the gore in place. This was the same on the 32 band as well, so I know it’s not a typical case of too-loose band. And despite the wonky gore, my boobs still felt contained and very well supported.

Finally, we have the bustier underneath a thin camisole. As you can see, the shape is quite uplifted and very round. You can’t even tell I’m wearing anything other than a normal bra!

Finally, we have the bustier underneath a thin camisole. As you can see, the shape is quite uplifted and very round. You can’t even tell I’m wearing anything other than a normal bra!

Here’s a shot from a three-quarter angle so you can see the profile a little better. My fiancé said this bra produces a “good shadow,” and I have to agree.

Here’s a shot from a three-quarter angle so you can see the profile a little better. My fiancé said this bra produces a “good shadow,” and I have to agree. Also, please take a moment to appreciate my seasonal manicure of snowy white with a gold accent finger. (My bra addiction is rivaled only by my polish addiction.)

Overall, I’m really pleased with this bra. It may end up being my go-to strapless from now on. Since the fabric is sturdy and has all that boning, there are no little seams to “bite” into my skin like the Deco. Though of course I’ll still have to keep the Deco around as well, since it has a much deeper plunge and still provides superb cleavage.

Most of all, this bustier opens up my wardrobe to lots of “back interest” potential. Backless is still out (and will remain so forever), but no longer will I have to avoid low backs and funky cutouts. My next trip to Forever21 should be super fun!