Friday, October 2, 2015

The Most Comfy Bra I've Found So Far

Over the last 5 odd years, through 3 different size changes, I realize there is one bra I have purchased multiple times. One bra that I reach for automatically when I have to fly, or am facing a 10+ hour work day, or have PMS tenderness, or my skin has been irritated by another bra.

The Anita Twin.

And, on me. Excuse the awful photo quality; I have northern gray light to contend with, plus a mediocre camera phone. But I wanted to give an idea of how it looks on a larger cup size, and the fit compromises I discuss below. 

It is quite plain, but comes in several soft colors.  I own it in Twin Art, a special edition, 
which is the above, but white on black, as well as an unusual coral adobe type color. It does come in the dreaded beige, and this is that rare bra th I would close my eyes, grit my teeth, and wear the beige. But I have instead combed the Interwebs to find the rare colors on sale.

Anita is a German company, founded in the 1880s. It as well-engineered as a Volkswagen and almost as quirky. There is also a  wirefree version, but I find the wired more comfy; and a Twin Firm version. But I love this one, the Twin. Sometimes you see the name Rosa Faia used with Anita as well. It says it is seamless, and it is - on the outside. I side, there is an unusually placed curved seam with very flat, almost invisible, stitching. That quirky engineering.

What makes it meet even Princess and the Pea standard for comfort?
  • Fabric.  Simply amazing. A buttery soft microfiber with a high spandex content that means it really stretches and fits like a second skin, while being very supportive. It is not thin, and does not allow a lot of bounce.
  • Band.  The same soft, firm fabric as the cups. No crappy, scratchy harsh Freya-esque mesh here. Also, unlike Freya, there is a smooth wider band of elastic; no thin elastic edging to bite in tighter than the rest of the band. 
  • Straps.  These are wide, soft, and lie very flat, as do the adjusters.
  • Wires.  Softer and more flexible, they conform very well to the sides of my breasts and allow for some fluctuation. At PMS time, that is incredibly important for comfort. The shape is also more of a U; it does not wing back at a slant like Panache, so does not stab the armpits but stays close to the body even when you move around a lot.
Now for the compromises:

Size range:  It tops out at an H cup. That's a European H, so a British FF, or an American G. I wear this in a 40H. Because the band runs more snug than many UK brands - closer to an American brand, say, Bali or Playtex, so the 40 is actually more like a 38. And the band is so well-constructed it provides plenty of support, even when it's looser.

Shape:  Not the shape under clothing, which is pretty good: rounded, natural, not overly boosted a'la Cleo, but rounder, more compact shape that fits well under button downs or dresses with limited bust room. 

No, the shape I mean is my own full-on-top, fairly projected shape. The cup is meant more for a balanced-to-full on bottom shape, and is on the shallow side. It's also a wider shape than I need. Not Elomi wide, but a good 1/2" wider than I need. 

Tacking:  It doesn't. For some, that's a deal-breaker. For me, meh. I find it is just not that important in terms of support for me, and it certainly does not add to the comfort. My personal preference is for a 'soft tack'; I like the gore to touch my chest lightly, or to float 1/4" or so. Think European brands like Comexim or Chantelle. 

Now I don't mean I don't care if the gore cantilevers from my chest, with the gore tilting 2" away like it would if I tried to crowbar myself into a DDD cup - but a 1/2", or even 1", is OK with me if the cup is not cutting in and otherwise fits well. It just means there's not enough immediate projection in the cup near the gore, i.e., the cup is not quite deep enough for me, and isn't meant for my own specific shape. But it does not disqualify a bra for me.

So this is go my go to comfort bra, the Anita Twin. I've bought all three of mine on amazon and eBay, for under $40. Full price is $65 or so. They have other styles which look as comfy as this one, but aren't: the Twin Firm is very different, as is the Alisha (higher wires, less stretchy cups, but wonderful straps); their seamed bras are less successful for me also.

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