A few weeks ago, my friend Tina and I were making plans to get together when she asked, “Do you mind if we go bra shopping?”

MIND? I could hardly wait!

Since Eveden’s fit expert Freddy re-sized me in February, I’ve known that my 32FF Fantasie 4510 T-shirt bras were “too much bra”, as she put it. She actually fit me into a 30G Fantasie Susanna, but I found it uncomfortably tight.

The thing about contoured cups is that you can get away with an imperfect fit when the foam lining keeps you from looking deflated. In my case, the top edge of the cups didn’t gap, so I kept wearing it. At the August Curve, Tutti Rouge rep actually complimented me on how I looked in my bra!

Then something weird happened: every time I wore my 4510 or even my Panache sport (also a 32FF) for any length of time, my skin beneath the band became unbearably itchy. Even though the 32 bands felt fine when I put them on and the bands didn’t look stretched out, there seemed to be just enough imperceptible movement to cause irritation.

So when Tina suggested bra shopping, I suggested Suzette’s. We made a Sunday afternoon of it and ate lunch at Red Lobster beforehand. We felt positively suburban!

suzette lingerie bag

Just like the last time, we were immediately matched with a fitter and ushered into dressing rooms. Tina tried on a couple of seamless beige bras, chose the cheapest one, and was done.

I tried on at least 15 and took my own sweet time. Maria, my fitter, was a complete trooper. I told her I needed beige and black tee shirt bras and she began with Wacoal and Chantelle. That’s when I realized that I can no longer stand the way I look in molded, non-contoured tee shirt bras.

I ended up with a black Freya Rio in 32F and my all-time favorite, the Panache Idina balconette, in beige in 32FF. It is SUCH a relief to be wearing lighter bras that fit again. I’m still in the market for a lifting beige tee shirt bra to wear beneath my classic white shirts, but for everything else, the Rio and Idina are all I need.

Now that I’ve had a chance to wear them for a few weeks, here’s a rundown on how they’re working out. First, the Rio.

freya rio

Contrary to BrasIHate’s critique of this continuity bra, I’ve always gravitated toward the Rio’s interesting fabric and paper-clip-like decoration at the center. To me, the design is simple with “a little something
and feminine without being frilly. It also fits perfectly.

32F Freya Rio front

I liked the front view so much that I forgot to check out the side view, which I don’t like. At. All.

32f freya rio left side

As the day goes on, I find I have more space at the base of the cups, but it doesn’t affect the support. At only $58 (and full disclosure: a $50 credit from Suzette’s that favorably disposes me toward this store even more), I’m fine ignoring my profile.

Maria put me in the 32FF in the Panache Idina because it runs small in the cups.

32FF panache idina balonet front

I like my more rounded and lifted profile in the Idina.

32FF Panache Idina balconet side

Even in the store there was slight quadraboob, but I was able to adjust myself to get rid of it. However, the quadraboob keeps happening, so I wish I’d tried in a 32G. The stretchy top edge of the cups means this isn’t uncomfortable, and it hasn’t been noticeable under most clothes, so I tend to ignore this issue and simply enjoy the support. Like my last Idina, the band stretches quickly, and I’m already wearing it on the middle hook.

[Side note: Contrast this to the Panache Hepburn that was gifted to me by Panache last March. I wear my Hepburn frequently and still fasten it on the loosest hook. Interestingly, although this bra doesn’t give me quadraboob, it does indent across my breast tissue in a line that is parallel to, but lower than, the top edge of the non-stretch cup. Other than that, the Hepburn is excellent. It has no extra space at the base of the cups and gives me a nice lift, albeit less rounded than my Idina balconette.]

Once again, I had a great experience at Suzette’s. Maria was going to bring me bras until I found what I wanted. She brought me a broad range of styles in a lot of brands, including pretty options in Heidi Klum and Tutti Rouge. She had definite opinions but respected mine. If they didn’t have a size or color in stock, they could order it for me.

Suzette’s is a store that has something for everyone–as evidenced by the variety available to me. However, they get a lot of customers who wear U.S. M cups and higher, and they aren’t treating them as after-thoughts. Suzette’s constantly requests higher cup sizes from manufacturers.

[Interesting side note: You’ve probably heard that boutiques are the gatekeepers who determine what manufacturers produce, but Maria told me that department stores are even more influential. If giant stores won’t place giant orders for a size, then the manufacturer often chooses not to produce the size for small boutiques either. I’d heard an echo of this from the brand side of things at Curve last month. Natori + Support is a good example. We know that Pure Allure is made in 30 and 32 bands, but Nordstrom only offers it beginning in a 34 and calls it a “full figure” bra. Fortunately, this style is available in its full range of sizes and colors from Bare Necessities, another giant retailer. Perhaps Natori + Support would have continued to make Pure Allure in 30H without Bare Necessities, but I’m willing to bet that Bare Necessities is extra insurance for its offering.]

Today when someone in New York asks me for a bra store recommendation, I always include Suzette’s in my list because I’m confident that a trip to Yonkers won’t be a waste of time. If you hate shopping and just want to get in and out like my friend Tina, you’re going to find something. And if you love shopping and want to try on everything they have, you’re going to find something, too.

If you’re coming to our 4th Annual Big Bust Clothing Swap, you might be the lucky winner who gets to experience this store for yourself. Suzette’s is donating a $50 gift certificate as a raffle prize!