Full Bust Finds ~ Bra:30 Review

I told you that my only goal this month is to be wearing a bra by 9:00 AM every day, but my latest purchase has changed all that. My new Bra:30 tank top is the first thing I want to put on in the morning.

I’m as surprised as you are! Despite repeated broken promises from clothing companies (remember the Aah Bra?), after I placed my order online, I got my hopes up, fully expecting them to be be dashed. The clever packaging raised them even more.

big bust support bra30 packaging

Inside was a very ordinary-looking ribbed tank top that I could barely squeeze over my head. Once I got it past my chest and down to my waist, however, I was pretty impressed at the effect of the 10% Spandex content.

big bust support bra30 spandex content

The photo on the right shows the inside of the tank top as I stretch it. You can see the sheen of the Spandex between the ribbing. This doesn’t show from the outside.

I could actually scoop and swoop my boobs to the desired height on my torso, and the elastic held them there! Would they stay there over time? Not really, but as you can see from the images below, they never descended all the way to my waist, and they never went completely East-West.

big bust support bra30 front views

On the left is how the top looked immediately after scooping and swooping at 9:00 AM. In the middle is how the top looked by 10:16 AM after working at the computer. Afterwards, I changed into street clothes and later that evening back to the tank top to cook dinner, empty the dishwasher and watch television. On the right is how the top looked by the time I was ready for bed.

big bust support bra30 side profile

Same left-to-right time sequence as above.

Initially, I was extremely conscious of the compression and wasn’t sure it felt any more comfortable than an underwire. After the first half hour, however, I became less aware of it, and on subsequent days that I’ve worn it, I’ve only noticed the compression to appreciate

  • the way it helps center my boobs, and
  • the lack of bounce as I walk around the house, including up and down stairs.

Unlike other bra-free lounge options, when I’m wearing this tank top, I don’t feel sloppy. I like that I look as good as I feel when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I would definitely answer the door and take out the trash in it, and I might even walk to the corner store for milk in it. If I felt too self-conscious to walk to the store, it’d be easy to throw a layer over it instead of having to undress and put on a bra.

You may wonder if this is simply a basic ribbed tank top re-packaged for the gullible. I certainly did! I haven’t searched for other 10% Spandex tees to compare, but here are three technical features that make me glad I purchased this top:

  1. The front is slightly longer than the back. I discovered this when I lay it flat to dry after the first time that I washed it. I wondered if I’d accidentally stretched it out, but a quick call to the Bra:30 office confirmed that the designer had intentionally made the front longer to accommodate breasts.
  2. The back has full coverage almost up to the neck. I’m probably reading too much into this, but I believe this adds to the support. It also keeps my skin from sticking to the back of my office chair. (It still has the racerback style armholes in back.)
  3. It isn’t necessary to size up. Although it can be a struggle to get the size medium on at first, that’s actually a good thing once it’s on because the compression can do its work of holding me in. I also tried the top in size large, and the more relaxed fit definitely meant more relaxed boob placement. That being said, if you wear an H+ cup, you may want to try one size up from your waist size in dresses because the scooped-out armholes mean less boob containment.

Of course this top isn’t perfect, and here are the drawbacks you may notice if you buy one:

  • There will be under- and between-boob sweat. It doesn’t really bother me right now, but it would be a factor in the summer. (I post a photo of the sweat effect below.)
  • The colors aren’t as saturated in person as they are on-line. I ordered the hot pink and ocean blue. The latter seemed more washed out than a sophisticated pale, and the hot pink is a nice pink, but it isn’t what I would consider “hot”.
  • Even though the colors seem slightly faded, they still run in cold water–at least for the first wash (see picture below). Despite the color run, the pink still looked nice after drying.
  • There is some riding up and clinging at the waist.  However, I don’t notice it as much after a few wears, and I like that this top shows off my waist (no tent effect).
  • If this were a bra, it wouldn’t  necessarily be a “perfect” fit because the sides don’t contain all breast tissue, and I imagine this is more significant in the larger cup sizes.
  • Yes, there’s monoboob. This doesn’t bother me, but you can see that it exists.

By the time I could order this tank top after first seeing it at Curve in February 2013, my enthusiasm had waned and I almost didn’t bother, but I’m so glad I did. My Bra:30 tank top is quickly becoming an essential part of my big bust wardrobe, and I can tell that the cost per wear is going to be excellent.

bra30 sweat marks

Sweat marks at the end of my first evening of wearing this top. However, what you DON’T see are any stretched out spaces where my boobs used to be. Impressive.

bra30 wash

So glad I took the precaution of hand washing it separately. Even though the care instructions say “tumble dry low”, I’m not going to shorten the lifespan of the elasticity by putting it in the dryer.

 

Corporate Curves Report: Pepperberry Full Skirt Coat

After Trinny and Susannah got me to see grey in a new light a few weeks ago, I finally purchased the Pepperberry Full Skirt Coat from the sale. Before this I always needed to buy a size 16RC in their coats despite fitting 14SC in their dresses, but since there was no 16RC left, I took a chance and ordered the 14SC. Thankfully I did as it’s a perfect fit! With my Fustra regime (which I will write about in my final post next week), I’ve managed to tone up enough to fit my shoulders in size 14, which makes me super happy!

Pepperberry full bust coat 1

The coat is a beautiful pearl grey with a blue-ish tone to it. It’s also well tailored and keeps its shape extremely well. With the full lining, it doesn’t itch even if wearing a short-sleeved dress under it–I’ve had to do that a lot as it’s actually a very warm coat even by my Nordic standards. It’s much warmer than my blue full skirt trench coat from Pepperberry.

pepperberry full bust coat 4

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I haven’t bought much from Pepperberry in ages as a lot of their patterns are too flowery or ditsy for my personal taste. But one thing I do always buy from them is trench coats! There is just no way I could ever fit a high street one as trenches are so tailored.

This technically isn’t a classic trench as the buttons are hidden under the concealing panel. Also there’s no belt so this coat does kind of need to be a good fit.

All and all I love the coat. I’ve been wearing it almost every day. It makes it easy to look put together when running errands no matter what dress I throw under it, as it’s a beautiful, classic, tailored piece. I would recommend this as value for money! Thumbs up definitely.

pepperberry full bust coat 3

Review to Come

I first discovered Bra:30 at Curve in February 2013, and for the longest time after that, I could only locate it at a boutique in South Carolina where they charge a restocking fee for returns. Finally it became available online. I spent last week testing the hipster that I bought, and I’ll review it later today or Wednesday. If you’re curious before then, you can read this review by a new blogger I found while researching before I made my purchase.

Best Breasts Forward ~ Sports Bra Mileage

After my last 10 mile run I noticed that my back, shoulders and neck were aching. As a large busted runner, my first thought was “Is my bra still fitting correctly?” The next day after washing and drying it, I tried on my running bra, a 32HH Shock Absorber Max.

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I looked in the mirror and the obvious was starring back at me. I’d put too many miles on my sports bra. This is something I’ve never seen nor heard mentioned in running circles. We talk so often about how many miles you should put on your shoes before replacing them and how to tell by looking at them if it’s time for a new pair, but never our sports bras. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. It makes perfect sense. Especially for busty ladies, sports bras have an expiration date.

How is it I’d overlooked this? Well that’s another “Aha” moment altogether. I never look at myself in the mirror before I go out for a run until I’m fully dressed, and by that time my mind is focusing on my run. Of course I give myself a general “once over”, but because my bra still felt snug and I hadn’t felt any noticeable bounce, it never crossed my mind to look at myself in just my sports bra in the mirror.

When I did look, the first thing I noticed was that I could see more cleavage than before. Even with the band in the correct position on my back and the straps at the same length I always wore them, there was more cleavage. The other thing that stood out to me was that the front of the band seemed to be collapsing.

I took my bra off to examine it further and although I couldn’t see any abnormalities with the straps, the band looked strange. The Shock Absorber Max does not have an underwire. It has what can only be described as a “heavy duty” elastic band. When I laid the bra out after trying it on in the mirror, I noticed the band was rippling. No matter what I did, it would not lie straight or flat.

I’m sure after taking most of the summer off from running that my posture needs work, but a new bra was way overdue. I had been wearing the same bra for over a year! This time around I’m going to be sure to periodically check for signs that my bra has too many miles on it.

How often do you replace your sports bra? For you, is there a tell-tale sign that it’s time to do so?