What’s to Blame–the Bra, the Bust, or Something Else?

Our friends shared their U.S. Open tickets with us on Monday night, and if I had realized who was playing, I would have been even more excited than I already was. No, I wasn’t excited about Maria Sharipova’s return to Grand Slam tennis. I was excited when I found out her rival was Simona Halep, the player who had had a breast reduction in 2009 and supposedly went from a 34DD . . .

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. . . to a 34C.

simona halep smallerMr. Campbell told me about her a couple of years ago, saying she had blamed her lack of success on her large chest but that the surgery hadn’t made a difference. Maybe it did because she is now No. 2 seed!

As you know, at Hourglassy we don’t judge anyone for getting a reduction. How you decide to live with your chest is up to you. We’re just here to help women who want to live large with a large chest.

With that being said, now that I’ve raised the subject, I’m almost tempted to follow with, “Nothing to see here, folks,” because in interviews Halep insists she hated her large breasts in regular daily living and would have had a reduction whether or not she played professional tennis. That’s nothing new, is it?

But it’s such a high profile reduction that I can’t help musing about it here. Here are my thoughts and questions on the subject, and I’d love to hear yours:

1.Thank God for Serena Williams. If the top female tennis player in the world had also had a reduction, just think of the message to all the young women out there who love playing sports but are beginning to develop larger breasts than their peers. Instead, Serena found a sports bra that worked for her. (We still haven’t tried Berlei.)

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Venus Williams of the US during the women's singles final on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2017. / AFP / PAUL CROCK / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images

2. Between the two of them, the message is more nuanced: do what works for your body and your goals with the best information available to you. I have never seen Williams or Halep side by side, so chime in if you have, but my impression is that Williams’ build is more muscular than Halep’s, and her cup size slightly smaller. Halep complained about the weight of her breasts, and this may be why. (Of course, Williams may not have complained about the weight because she’d found a sports bra that worked for her.)

3. Halep had her reduction in 2009. The Panache sports bra hadn’t even been invented yet. There were only a few of us blogging about living with a large bust. Department stores still labeled anything above a C cup as full-figured. Today I continue to meet women who think a DD is enormous, so imagine the dearth of information available to Halep when she was 17. (The media continues to perpetuate the Double-D’s-are-Enormous myth. Some sources say Halep’s waist measures 26 inches and Williams’ waist measures 28 inches, yet they both presumably wear 34 bands.)

5. While most of us can only imagine the pressure facing a professional athlete in her teens, we all know how it feels to want to shed any possible distraction in pursuit of “the zone”, to be perfectly present and focused on the task at hand. An extra bounce at the bust as you walk into your boss’s office or a bulge at your buttons when you stand up for a presentation can throw off your game. That’s why we rave about great bras and clothes for big busts on this blog (and why I make my shirts). If only every full-busted woman could experience the carefree confidence that comes from clothes that fit.

Simona Halep, of Romania hits against Mari Sharapova during the opening round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Simona Halep, of Romania hits against Mari Sharapova during the opening round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

And if only the right clothes or a routine surgery were all anyone ever needed to reach her goals. Halep is known for letting opportunities slip through her fingers, and I witnessed this several times on Monday night. That’s going to take more than the right sports bra or a reduction to fix. That’s going to take a lot of hard internal work, something else we can all relate to.

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing the Freya Freestyle Crop Top

This week I’m reviewing the new Freya Freestyle soft crop top. The Freya Fancies bralette (my review here) gives enough support for what it is, but it’s so difficult to get over my shoulders that I barely ever use it. So I’m still on the hunt for a bralette that gives enough support that I’m comfortable walking the dog or going to the corner store in it, yet it’s easy to get on and off.

The Freestyle crop top is the answer to my prayers! It’s super soft and comfy, gives slightly better support than the Fancies bralette, and has a hook and eye band closure that makes it a breeze to get on and off.

Now that the weather has turned warm and I no longer need a jacket in the morning, I’ve been putting this top on every day under a tee shirt to walk the dog. There are always tons of people out and about in my building and on the sidewalk early in the morning, so I’m just not comfortable going bra-less.

On the front side, the Freestyle top is made of one large piece of mesh that’s gathered on the side seams (instead of at the band), to give three-dimensional volume. Then there are stretchy, somewhat firm panels that cross over and provide additional support.

The back side is a racerback lined in your standard micro-mesh, with a single layer of fabric over top. The shoulders and sides are the same grey stretchy fabric as the front panels, and the center of the back is mesh for breathability.

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I’m wearing a size medium. The Freestyle top uses the same sizing scheme as the Fancies bralettes, so my 28G/GG puts me perfectly in size medium.

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However, I find the neckline awfully low, and the band, which when laid flat stretches from 13” to 19”, a little on the loose side. When I first put it on, I have to aggressively swoop and scoop to make sure my boobs don’t fall under the band (which of course creates more cleavage and makes it look even lower-cut).

That being said, while I wouldn’t go running in this bra (and probably wouldn’t even do yoga in it for fear of falling out), it is sooooooo comfy, and just perfect for walking around the neighborhood early in the morning, or lounging at home on a hot day. It gives enough lift that I don’t have underboob sweat, it breathes beautifully—and it’s just plain cool-looking! Seriously, I’m obsessed with this heather grey-turquoise combination.

A-plus, Freya!!

 

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.

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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.

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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…]

Book Review: The Bra Zone

I recently finished another book that Hourglassy readers will be interested in: The Bra Zone by Elizabeth Dale of The Breast Life. More than a how-to-fit instructional, this book promises to delve into all the different styles and shopping experiences that could work for a woman–hence the “zone”–and I was excited to receive a review copy.

Even though I was already familiar with most of the content, I love having all of this information in one place. It’s become a handy reference book for me.

Other than a personal reference book, would I recommend this book to a less knowledgeable friend who needs a well-fitting bra? My answer is yes–if it’s a friend who learns best by reading and I could highlight the points most relevant to her ahead of time. The book is only 142 pages with appendices, but Elizabeth covers enough scenarios in it to make it applicable to a variety of friends with a combination of different issues. It originated from the kind of conversations that you and I have all the time: “During conversations with fellow bra wearers, I suddenly realized that despite years of bra wearing, no one felt confident about their own bra shopping skills. Everyone knew what they liked, but no one seemed to know quite how to find it.”

Here are the things I especially like about this book: [Read more…]