Sunday, December 18, 2016

Review: Wacoal Dual Control Underwire Bra

My first (accidentally) properly fitting bra was a Wacoal BodySuede 15 years ago. It was in a 38DD, and I was an actual 34F at the time. I now know that it fit perfectly; however, back then, I only knew that it was very, very comfy due to its foam-wrapped wires and high-spandex cup fabric. I didn't care for it's higher sides and gore, but otherwise loved the way it felt on the body.

Fast forward and I've rarely worn Wacoal in the intervening years. Partly because their aesthetic is well, utilitarian, but mainly because I'd thought I was sized out. The BodySuede stops at a DD. I did not yet know the magic of sister-sizing, or the fact that Wacoal uses an older system where the band sizes run much smaller so there's a lot of room to size up. Anyhoo, I decided to give the brand another try.


Hahahaha!  Yeah, I had to give up on that one immediately. 
It's beige. 
And plainer than plain.


Here is where I was glad I stuck it out. Because this ugly beast is COMFY.

WiresAhhhhh. They are everything I remembered and have hoped for ever since. They are indeed wrapped in foam. Let's all just pause a moment and imagine that: a soft cloud of actual foam is encircling those wires. Those foam-wrapped wires are then sandwiched between the layers of microfiber cup fabric. The inside of the bra looks just like the outside: no harsh, scratchy underwire casing ever touches your skin. They are medium in width.

Cups.  Composed of two (quite thick) seamless layers of stretchy microfiber. This makes for a fair amount of opaque coverage and a very secure, no-bounce fit. 

Band.  Quite tall and deep. While the outer layer is the same fabric as the cups, the inner layer is a very soft mesh. It does not irritate my skin and means the band will remain stable and not stretch out quickly.

Straps.  Very center-pull. Zero chance of shoulder slip or dig if you are narrow-shouldered. Soft, medium width, and restricted stretch.

Shape.  Round, and a bit minimized. A lot like the Fantasie Esme, actually. 

It doesn't flatten, but rather doesn't have a lot of depth in the inner cups so it holds the boobs quite close to the chest and arranges things in a compact way. The wires are not wide at all, but actually medium-to-narrow in width.  


The cups are not particularly full-on-top friendly in shape and don't have as much depth as I need near the gore which is floating about 1/2" at the top.

The sides are higher than I prefer. Toward the very end of a long day, I will get some slight irritation there. However, the wires stop 1/2" from the top, so the wire height causes no issues for me.

The appearance of loose wrinkling is due to the wires being sandwiched between the two layers of cup fabric. There is no empty space. Likewise with the area beneath wire. That's just caused by the hidden channel beneath.

And, as mentioned before, the Dual Control - like its name - will never be accused of being pretty. 

Ummm, ever.

When Do I Wear It?

When Comfort is queen. And I'm not wearing a wide or deep neckline; the straps will show on even a slightly open neckline. Totally workable as a T-shirt bra; the double-layer fabric gives more coverage than you'd expect. (Keep in mind I'm taking pics in a 64F house in Alaska). I would definitely wear this for travel: on a long plane trip, digging wires make me miserable, as does the sticky lack of separation of a soft-cup. The Dual Control solves both problems, and in comparison with my other top comfort choices, gives a much better shape than the Anita Twin, and better coverage than the Natori Satin Fleur.

Size: 42DDD 
Wacoal very much uses the old +4 sizing system. They are in no way kidding when they tell you to add 4" to your measured band size. The 42 fits like a 38 - just like the 38 I wore 15 years ago fit like a 34. The 42DDD fits me like a UK 38GG or a US 38I, and I'm wearing the band on the loosest hook. E.g. a UK 32G would fit quite well into a 36DD in this brand.


I forgot to include pics of how this bra looks under clothing. So here it is under a mid-weight cotton sweater: the shape is round - but not orb-like - with softened projection; your boobs aren't so much minimized as just not emphasized. I really like this shape for work, and any time I just want my boobs to less of an focal point.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Elomi Imogen Half Cup

Elomi is a brand that doesn't really work for me. Although technically I fit into the 'plus size' metric they are aimed at, the gores and wires are generally too wide - & just too heavy gauge - for me, and the cups too shallow. Not to mention the matronly seam structure of their balconettes: the almost horizontal seaming gives me a frumpy look and is visible under most clothing for me. 

However. The half-cups are different. And worth a look for full-on-top shapes.

The only Elomi that has worked for me, thus far, is the Lara half-cup:
Image result for elomi lara 
With that in mind, I decided to try a newer version of the style, the Imogen, and see if it worked as well for me now that I am cup size larger. I was also curious to find if there were any improvements or tweaks to the design.


I don't find the Imogen to be as lovely as the Lara, but then I prefer ornate details and lush styling. Imogen is far more subtle. Like Lara, she has a sheer black mesh over a satiny base; in this case, the base is honey-amber, which doesn't show in the pics at all. Again, this is a very subtle pattern. Still, I find it preferable to plain black.


Wires.  Less wide than Elomi's other styles. These are almost just medium in width. Also, they are less tall under the arm, which is a solid plus for me.

Band.  Meh. Like all Elomi styles it is non-soft power mesh. I don't like mesh, and I don't care for 'power' in my band. I'm not interested in intense scaffolding, just gentle support. 

Straps. Elomi does these right: wide, soft, restricted stretch.


Cups.  The thinly padded dual vertical seam shape of the 1/2 cup gives a nice rounded profile: uplifted, but not overly projected. 

The cup is slightly open on top, so no cutting in or mashing down of my natural full-on-top shape. Full-on-bottoms would likely do fine as well.

Gore.  Wider than I need. It results in the gore floating a good 3/4". 

There is enough depth in the cup, but the inner cup is a bit shallow and I'd actually prefer a lower gore. 

When Do I Wear It?

I generally wear lightly padded 1/2-cups instead of a Tshirt bra. So with thinner or clingy knits. And especially with deep scoop or portrait style necklines. The gore is too high to make the style useful for plunging necklines.
Size: 40G