A Way Out of the Full Bust Bra Fitting Desert with My Bra Concierge

When I fit a customer into my shirts in person, I often take along a set of bras in a range of sizes. That way, when I measure a woman with a 31″ waist and a 40″ bust who is wearing a 36DD bra like the woman below, I can show her how a better-fitting bra makes a better-fitting shirt. In this case, a 32G bra did the trick.

bra difference before after

It’s another story when a woman emails her measurements and bra size to me before placing an order online. Then I have to remind myself that they came to buy a shirt, not a bra. However, when Sharon (not her real name) from Wisconsin told me she had the same measurements as the woman above and that she wore a 38D bra, I couldn’t help myself.

“Are you happy with your 38D bra?” I asked.

“I struggle with bras, but I have spent a fortune on them,” she answered.

I knew of a great lingerie store an hour away from her, but a quick check on Yelp showed complaints that the store was now cutting the size tags out of its bras! There was no way I could send her there. I also didn’t feel comfortable fitting her by email and giving her a shopping list at Bare Necessities.

Instead, I remembered My Bra Concierge (which purchases advertising space on this blog). When I met Jenn Baker and Velaire Elliot in April, they told me that they had also grown up in small towns with limited bra shopping options, so I knew my customer who lived hours away from a reputable bra fitter would have a special place in their hearts.

Regardless of their hearts, however, I couldn’t recommend My Bra Concierge without trying it first, and since my last fitting was for Ewa Michalak, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to find my current fit in the mainstream busty brands. Armed with the discount code you see in their ad, I began their TruFit Survey.

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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 . . .

Simona-Halep-at-Wimbledon-988732

. . . 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.

A Big Boob Brainstorm with Three Major Benefits: The Brobe

At Curve last week, I kept admiring one woman’s magenta dress worn over leggings, and when I got the chance to compliment her, she told me, “It’s a bra AND a robe. Come visit my booth!” That’s how I discovered the Brobe.

brobe 3

Benefit #1: Easy Lounging and Boob Sweat Eradicator

Living in super hot Texas, large-breasted founder Allison Schickel hated having to dig out a sports bra to wear while she drank coffee and put on makeup after showering. When a five year search for a simpler solution yielded nothing, she had an epiphany. [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Curve Expo Spring/Summer 2018 Part I: Fortnight and Impish Lee

It’s time for the semi-annual Curve Show roundup! For Spring/Summer 2018, I mostly checked in with our usual favorites, but I also stumbled upon a couple brands I’ve not covered before, which I’ll be sharing in this post.

First up, some great news from Fortnight! A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to try one of their Luna bralettes on a trip to Portland, Maine, but the largest size was still one cup too small for me. When I emailed Fortnight later, they told me there had been so much consumer demand for larger cups that they were planning on introducing bigger cups—and with the SS18 collection, they finally have! The “Luna” longline will be available in G-cups.

Unfortunately, that’s an American G, which is only a UK FF, and the new G cups will only be available for 30 and 32 bands. But at least it’s some progress. Perhaps if it sells well enough, they’ll keep expanding.

The Fortnight reps I spoke with were very excited to explain that the brand wasn’t created with a specific body niche in mind, so every item is engineered to its individual size. As such, the gore height will vary depending on the size, going higher with larger cups, and some sizes will include interior side-slings for more support. Additionally, they’ve added sizes XL and XXL to all their slips and bodysuits (which previously only came in S, M, L).

For all the extended sizes, plus-size model Candace Huffine (who’s on the May 2017 cover of Elle magazine) collaborated with Fortnight to ensure great fit, and she features prominently in the new collection’s marketing materials. She also helped design the inkblot leopard print that runs through the collection (see below). Here are the two new Luna colorways, which are pretty yet still true to Fortnight’s minimalist, slightly androgynous aesthetic:

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Next up is Impish Lee, a brand I’ve seen making its way through the blogosphere but never paid that close attention to. Started as an Etsy shop by sisters Kali and Noelle, Impish Lee has expanded to an amazingly designed website and are now seeking brick-and-mortar distribution (hence why they were at Curve). [Read more…]