Saturday, March 2, 2019

Review: Tutti Rouge Eve Fuller Bust Bralette

I have a lot of love for Tutti Rouge's design aesthetic of frothy confections and whimsical touches. Who doesn't love their now-iconic heart-shaped strap adjustors? But I no longer wear my Tuttis due to the discomfort of the rigid wires and the aggressively tacking gores. 

But I was tempted by this bralette and curious as to what kind of support it might give. 

Beauty


Oh, Tutti, you heartbreaker. 

Eve is gorgeous and opulent. A baroque lace pattern with a sheer tulle overlay. With polka dots. That's right. Only Tutti Rouge can combine lace and polka dots and not have it look over the top.

But is she wearable? Here we go:

Comfort & Fit

Band. There really isn't one, just a deep strip of lace that is elasticized at the top; that provides your minimal baseline support.

Cups.  There is true support here. The soft lace, combined with the mesh overlay, actually gives moderate lift due to its not-very-stretchy effect. The deep-V shape provides a lot of separation -it is holding my relatively close-set boobs further apart than they naturally sit. 

This means you won't get any smooshed together cleavage or sticky boob-sweat, so yay for that. It also means that, unless you are wide-set, you are going to slowly migrate to the center and have to redistribute your boobs repeatedly.

Straps. A regular bra strap with the wider panel of mesh layered over it in front. They are comfy and this combination does increase the support, which is welcome as there is no real band to distribute the weight. I am less enamored of the hybrid harness/cross-back style. It's tough to get a pic of it, but if you ignore the glare & the toothbrush reflection, this gives you some idea:

It is not uncomfy per se, but it makes it needlessly difficult to get into the bralette, as there is no clasp. You really need to have it perfectly aligned before pulling it over your head, as if a strap is tangled, you have zero hope of straightening it out once on. You will have to pull it off and start over. 

Shape. Round, wide, minimized, and surprisingly contained. You can definitely wear the Eve bralette out of the house. I did and found her supportive enough to stand in for a bra. 

Compromises

Straps.  Yeah, they look cool, but the annoyance factor is high. It often takes me two tries to get into the thing. A set of hooks in the back would have improved the whole experience. 

Comfort.  I was ready to take Eve off after about 4 hours. No specific areas of discomfort, except that section of the strap/upper cup that runs close to the armpit. This is really just an ever-present element of UK bra design and I'm not here for it. 

When Do I Wear It?

When I'm feeling that Beauty is more of a priority than Comfort. So, weekend sexy times, basically. Or date night out. Which works out nicely, since you're going to want some assistance in removing Eve. Because crazy straps.

Size. 42F (UK) Tutti bands run quite snug, so this fits me like a 40G, which is my actual size these days. It equates to a US 40H. 

Pricepoint. Regular price on ASOS is $19.50, which is a bargain for the brand. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Review: ASOS Design bralettes

Yes, I know I said I didn't believe there was any better large-bust bralette out there than Bali's Comfort Revolution - and that's still true in terms of support and pure comfort. But there are prettier bralettes out there, and they have their place. Plus, who am I kidding, what would I do with my spare time if my quest for holy grail bra/lettes ever succeeds?

So I decided to try ASOS' house brand. They also carry a lot of well-known UK brands. They unhelpfully (for anyone who understands UK sizing) convert the sizes into US...so you have to convert it right back if you're used to UK sizes - as most of us with big boobs are. 

ASOS DESIGN Fuller Bust Microfibre triangle bra


Despite the name, this is not a bra - it's a bralette. And it's barely that, more of a boob sling. That's not necessarily a bad thing when you want barely there, minimal support. It's very similar to a skimpy bikini top, especially the 'band'; we'll get to that.

Beauty.  
Very pretty, with sleek, clean lines. The cups are matte and the straps have a textured sheen. And it comes in multiple hues, including a range of skin tones. That's right: not just a single 'skin tone' option, but black, white, golden, chestnut and beige. Serious props to ASOS for this.

This color way is called -very strangely, if you ask me - Rust. Yeah. Something that puts you in mind of an old jalopy would not be my first choice, and clearly, it's a creamy muted coral. Which, coincidentally, would've been a much better name. Just sayin. 

Comfort & Fit. 
Cups. The microfiber cups are mesh-lined and actually provide some support. Yes, I would've preferred the silky fabric next to my skin, but it's still softish, so a decent trade-off. The triangle cut means there is minimal coverage on the inner cup. This causes two interesting effects: lots of cleavage, and lots of separation. Most bralettes have the opposite effect and tend to create a smooshed boob-loaf. Here, the vertical seam and wide-open center actually keeps my fairly close-set boobs totally separate. So that alone creates comfort. Because of this feature, plus the far more flattering style, I'd usually opt for this over the Breast Nest if I wanted to embrace that 'free range' feeling.


Band.  Yeah, the 'band' design is pretty silly. Literally a very thin - perhaps 3/4 or 1" elastic band with a 2-hook closure. That's it. They missed an opportunity to use a 2" microfiber-covered band that would have been comfy and increased support greatly. As it is, it's still surprisingly comfy-is, but wow, is it ever minimal. Here, let me magnify, in case you blinked and missed it:

This is it. Your entire 'band'. And very quickly, either one or both of these two things is going to happen. Your fluffy bits will roll it up until it practically disappears into said fluff, or, the weight of your boobs will drag it upward like this:


Do I care about this? Eh, not so much. This is that boob-sling effect I mentioned, and because it's not actually transferring much weight to the straps, it's not causing discomfort. And the shape I'm getting is all I need or want under pj's, for example. Is it ideal? No, of course not. Is it wearable? Sure, if it's comfy and if all you are looking for is gentle support in your own living room. I did actually wear it to the store today, under a loose dark sweater, and it was fine for that purpose. But normally, I wouldn't wear it out of the house/garden. 
Size: US 38I (UK 38G)

ASOS DESIGN Fuller Bust Roxy lace triangle bra




The only difference in these two styles is the fabric. This one is called, imaginatively, 'Red'. The mesh-lined lace is medium-soft. The lace edging did not irritate my skin, but is not as comfy as the microfiber style. 
Size: 40H (UK 40FF) 

When Do I Wear Them?

When I just want very light support and gentle, minimal containment. And I want something a lot prettier than my ultra-comfy Bali bralettes. So, ideal for weekend lounging and sexy times. While Mr. ComfyCurvy is politely neutral on the beauty quotient of Bali, his response to ASOS was "I'm here for it." So there you have it.

Sizing  The sizing is specific, not S-XL ranges. Bands don't run snug (I still have a hard time calling these 'bands') and I would say sister-sizing downward will work better than upward. I did get a more secure fit with the 38I than the 40H. The cups are not especially generous and are not meant to give much side coverage. The mesh lining means they are not overly stretchy. If you're full-on-bottom, no need to size up. Again, let the triangle bikini look set your expectations here. 

Pricepoint  I bought them on sale for $13 each on ASOS US website. Other colors are $19. The quality is pretty decent, too. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

How Should Bras Fit?

There is a lot of info out there on 'proper' bra fit, and a couple of different schools of thought. But there is general consensus on a few points: bands should be snug, cups fully encasing the boobs, not too much weight on the straps. From there, opinions diverge: high vs. low wires, wide-set vs. close-in straps, tacking of gores, Euro vs. UK vs. US cup shapes.

My opinion is: if it's not comfortable, then it is not 'proper' fit. Even if it looks perfect and meets all fit criteria. Yes, I know this is a minority opinion. 

The purpose of bras -and beliefs about the way they should fit- has changed over the decades. And centuries. But, with the exception of the 1950s, bras were mainly meant to make women more comfortable. And that didn't always mean support, so much as protection from rougher fabrics and a little bounce/flop reduction. Let's take a short walk through the last century to see what I mean.

I remember my grandmother talking about what bras were like in the 1920s, when she was a young woman, and probably around a 34B/32C. They were like a loose bralette-cami, and served more as a liner under a dress, to protect the skin and give you a smoother look; "lift" or separation was definitely not a goal. Something like this would be what she would have chosen to wear under a dress:

For a little more support, she described a crop-top style that she would wear if she was going to be more active, such as dancing or a lot of walking:
nowthatslingerie.com
Cue the '40s and onward and Nana embraced the 'cross-your-heart' style and pretty much wore it for the last half-century of her life, into the mid-1980s. 
Though I very much doubt she would have worn any color but white: too racy, plus she was of the generation that believed Clorox could kill all the ills of the world. And I'm fairly certain she never wore an underwire in her whole long life. She probably considered it a pointless invention, like the cordless phone. Bras were simply not much of an issue for her, at her time in history: all she expected was a slight amount of support and separation; lift and shape were simply not a priority as we view it today, when clothing itself provided the shape and involved non-stretch heavier fabrics, shaped with princess seams or darts.

Next, cue the 1970s. My mother, around a 36DD (we see bust sizes begin to increase generationally at this point) absolutely loved the minimalist, seamless, sheer, front-hook styles of that era. I never saw her wear anything else until the late-80s. Every single bra my conservative-with-4-kids mom wore looked very much like the current Gossard Glossies bra, and that's what my friends' moms all wore, too:

Nobody cared about nipple show-through during that time (that freak-out would begin in the '80s) and everybody was just happy about the sheer lightweight nature of bras. T-shirt and foam bras weren't a thing yet. And still, nobody cared much about lift. I wore these styles from ages 13-16 when I was a 34D and they were pretty comfy. 

In the '80s things shifted, with push-up coming onto the scene and more padding, but the styles were still similar to the above, but in thicker, opaque silky nylon; but still seamless, with very centered straps. Nana switched to the lace-edged, triangle soft cup style, still with the front-hooks; there were a plethora of these in the '80s:
Image result for soft cup lace triangle front-hook bras
Alibabaexpress
By the '90s, Victoria's Secret was on the scene and the foam dome culture shift was in full swing. Here is when I started to find bra shopping torturous and was no longer able to find a comfy fit for my full-on-top 36G's. I did what most women that size do: try to make a 38D work, because it's in the matrix of what is available and with firm, young boobs the size mismatch isn't as apparent. I had a lot of bras like this into the late-90s:


And I even had one of the old Body by Victoria styles that was very comfy: lined in super-thin foam, including the wires, with laser-cut band. It didn't fit especially well in a 38DD but it was so comfy I wore it for years - even through 20-lb weight fluctuations. Looking at old photos of me in the bra, I'm surprised that it looks as good as it does under clothing. Like here, a dozen years and 40 lbs ago. 
I didn't yet care about bras. Why? Because I was not uncomfortable. Yet. When I finally had to toss out that old VS bra because the elastic was literally shot, I was living on the edge of the wilderness and very quickly realized I was in bra purgatory. And so began my now decade-long obsession with finding comfy bras that fit. By my definition. I'll go off about that more later.

After feeling pretty much alone in caring far more about comfort than the (pretty historically recent view of) fit, it is really gratifying to see what an article in a UK paper referred to as a 'revolt against VS' in favor of 'athleisure' i.e. bralettes. It is literally a return to the '70s in terms of prioritizing comfort above firm support - and then some. The current movement is bringing along the beauty, too. And I'm here for it!

Things are moving away from this kind of rigid, encased containment:
Image result for panache sculptresse
Panache
And a lot more in this direction:
Cosabella

However. I have seen a lot of near (and not-so-near) misses in terms of executing the comfort part in large cup sizes. There are some truly great options -as there have always been- for bras & bralettes for the 32A-36C crowd. But I really welcome the support for embracing our natural shapes (heh, see what I did there) and insisting bras are for our comfort, not our containment. 

Bottom line: If it is not comfy, then that simply is not proper fit. And perhaps it's our definition of 'fit' that needs to change. It really doesn't matter if your side-boob is not fully encased in a tall harsh wire, if it's not comfy; that is not proper fit for you. If a tight band hoists your boobs an inch higher, but doesn't feel good cutting into your flesh - again, that's not proper fit, regardless of what the tape measure says, or what current ideas on proper fit may be. Feel free to rebel and define what fit means to you. Decide what you want your bra to do for you: gentle support, bounce control, total separation, barely there softness? They're all valid goals and you get to choose which is important to you. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Reviews: 3 Options from Leading Lady

Based on how useful and comfy I have found my Leading Lady cami-bralettes - which, naturally, now appear to be discontinued - I tried three more styles: a T-shirt bra, a long(ish)line bralette, and a sleep bralette. Let's see how they worked out for me:

Brigitte Molded Padded Seamless Underwire

Beauty.  Lots of pretty colors and patterns. I opted for Classic Cranberry, a juicy jewel tone with a subtle pattern. 

Fit & Comfort. What in the actual...?! Just no.....oh dear, no, no, no. I was not expecting this bizarre shape. It is both shallow AND pointy. I can't imagine how they accomplished this. Or...why they even tried to. The majority of the depth is way over at the outside of the cups, practically halfway around your back, with virtually none at the center of bottom. The gore is around 4" from my chest. A larger cup would not help since it would be up to my eyebrows, and still wouldn't have any depth. I can't assess comfort because the shape mismatch is so extreme.


I don't think this is a full-on-top issue, since most full-on-bottom shapes will not have the extremely shallow and side-weighted shape the cups demand. Perhaps the bra scales better in smaller sizes, who knows. But with the ultra-pointy silhouette, i.e. boob tent creator, I'd give this one a hard pass. 

Greta Wirefree Bralette

Greta had real potential, ruined by what, for me, is a fatal flaw - but may not be for you. 

Beauty. I find this sleek and pretty in the color way Modern Violet.

Comfort. Wonderful soft modal fabric, which is the gold standard for sensitive skin. The deep band is also soft and stretchy; in smaller cup sizes it gives more of a longline effect. The darted seams are actually non-irritating.

Fit. The cups have a lot of depth and capacity. The size range is impressively large, from S-5X. This is a 3X which equates to 38F-40H (US). Lots of stretch to accommodate different shapes.

Love the low sides! They taper away almost to the band in back, while still giving coverage where you actually need it. There is a very decent amount of lift and a nice rounded shape with some separation, too.


So, why oh why didn't this work for me? The straps. For some reason they decided to try to get fancy and make them an X-shape. 


Yeahhh, a really bad design move, especially for non-adjustable straps. It was the main complaint mentioned in reviews. Though I did not find them too tight, I found the place just endlessly uncomfortable. And awkward. I was constantly aware of them and hated the feel of them creeping ever more toward my neck. There is just no way to fix this, short of cutting the straps and reattaching them in a more sane configuration. Which is a real shame, as Greta is a stellar bralette in every other way. Bummer.

Bamboo Crossover Sleep Bra

This one was almost a keeper.

Comfort.  Bamboo is right up there with modal for sensitive skin nirvana. Once I had turned it inside-out so the seams and elastic would not annoy my sensitive skin, of course. This is something I have to do routinely, and was expecting. It's definitely comfy enough to sleep in.

Fit.  You can probably already see the issue coming.....Yeah, even though there is nice cup capacity on the sides:


There simply wasn't enough cup capacity in the front and center. Sadly, this style tops out at a 2X, and I really needed a size up. I thought about keeping it anyway, but I knew that the cutting in, especially on my larger side, would drive me nuts over time. Not to mention the annoyance that boobs tumbling out would cause if I actually tried to sleep in it. 


I actually liked the style and have no real complaints about the design. The drawback of reduced size capacity that always accompanies a crossover style are balanced by it being super easy to step into, as there are no hooks. Because Leading Lady bands run on the snug side, I think this size could work for you if you're between, say, a 36E-40F (US) especially if you're full-on-bottom.

Who Will These Work For?

I'd honestly just give all their wired styles a miss. It's just not worth the trial and error to -possibly- find that one style that doesn't have that truly bizarre shallow yet pointy cup shape. 

But the bralettes are actually worth a look. If you're petite, or actually like racerback or X-back styles, then Greta would be a great, very comfy option for you. And one of the few available in a truly large cup, smaller band size range - and at a decent price point. The Bamboo Crossover is a nice sleep bra option in you're in the size range. It's unfortunate they discontinued the highly practical and comfy cotton cami-bra style, but I will keep an eye out for new styles from the brand, in case they come out with something similar.

Price: All styles were around $30.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Review: Delimira Women's Comfort No Padding Wire Free Seamless Bra (Bali Comfort Revolution bralette)

Yes, I am still happily on my Delimira kick. That's because I've been pleased with every bra I've tried from the brand. The consistency in sizing, the crazy low price point - which does not correlation to the fairly high quality - and the unexpected fact that their generic versions of famous bras are often better made and more comfy than the original? Well, color me impressed. 

When I saw that Delimira makes a version of the epic level comfy Bali Comfort Revolution? The bralette that I have bought many times, that remains the most comfy, supportive -enough to wear out of the house, even- bralette I've found in my long searching. Yeah, I had to try that. 

And I was not disappointed.

Beauty

 Plain and sleek neutrals.
Black & gray or black & beige; those are your choices.

Everyone reading knows my thoughts on beige, so here's the gray:

 Comfort & Fit

Fabric: Thick, ultra soft, comfy, stretchy nylon/spandex.

Cups.   As with the original Bali, they expand a good deal and the XL can handle a G-cup and even an H, though you'll have more cleavage. I think they are slightly more supportive than the original as they are slightly less stretchy - in a good way - resulting in your boobs being held closer to your chest. The effect is a slightly minimized, very rounded shape with impressive bounce reduction. The cups do not encourage a uniboob and there's some slight separation, which is a big plus. I'd wear this out of the house in a heartbeat.



Band.  Stretchy, snug and stable, with 3 hooks. I find those pull-over styles frustrating to contort myself into, so I love that this has regular hooks. And the padded clasp of the Bali remains! In fact, they've gone one better and padded it with memory foam, which is a more dense and deliciously pillowy foam. Win! (The actual Balis I've bought on Amazon are sometimes inexplicably missing the padded foam in the clasp, which makes them likely 'imperfect' 2nd's.) One more reason to opt for this high quality generic over the original.

Straps.  As with the Bali, this is my sole quibble with this otherwise divinely comfy bralette. They are wide-ish and overall comfy, but have the rolled elastic edging which I don't care for, but again, it's a small quibble.

Price.  The Bali Comfort Revolution goes for $35 full price. 
Brace yourself: a 2-pack of the Delimira version? $19


When Do I Wear It?

All day every weekend. To work when I'm feeling under the weather or experiencing PMS swelling which causes sensitivity to wires. I actually do wear this bralette under formfitting Tshirts; the thick, substantial fabric gives more nippie coverage than you'd expect and a natural, rounded shape. Also, the very rounded shape avoids boob-tenting under looser draping tops. The one time I wouldn't choose this one is with something that requires a high bustline, such as an empire waist dress, since you need some lift for that to fit properly. While I prefer to sleep free range, you could definitely sleep in this if you're so inclined; the padded clasp ensures no hooks will dig in and the 2nd skin stretch will allow it move with you.

Size: XL. Like all Delimira (save the Wacoal Awareness version that runs small) this runs large. The XL fits me just like the XXL in Bali's original version. 

Rough guide:  the XL should work fine for 38F-42GG, the L for 34E-36G, etc.
There's quite a bit of leeway in sizing.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: Delimira Seamless Soft Wirefree No Padding bra (Wacoal Awareness)

And my Delimira kick continues. Btw, I only noticed that 2nd 'i' a few months ago; before then, my brain had missed the first 'i' and my earlier reviews note 'Delmira'. Anyhoo. This is another bra with a hilariously literal name. 

But I recognized the style immediately: it is a very beloved bra by Wacoal called Awareness which comes in neutral colors and also a pretty jacquard print. Allow me to demonstrate my Generation X trivia brain: about 15 years ago, Whoopi Goldberg called it the most comfy bra ever. No, I cannot explain why that stuck in my brain. 

Beauty


Delimira's version of Awareness comes only in basics -white, beige & black- in the plain fabric version. Wacoal's version is $60 and Delimira's is $15 and I find them almost equivalent in quality. So there's that. This is a very plain style that disappears under pretty much any fabric. There is a very narrow mesh strip down the center that is meant to provide some ventilation and breaks up the look of what otherwise resembles a crop top style.


Comfort

Very, very high. This is the most comfy wire-free bra I've tried in a long time. And it is a bra, rather than a bralette, though there is some overlap in those categories. 

BandWonderful. They solved the problem I often have with wire-free bras which is that the underband is either rough or constrictive. Not so here. The underband beneath the cups is quite narrow and it has stretch, so is not at all constrictive. But the best thing? It is lined with a soft fabric. No rough elastic edging or rigid fabric. This simple thing equates to a huge comfort upgrade. 


Oh, but that's not all. The band is also low, so no cutting in when sitting and no chafing during range of motion. And even better: it is not made of crappy mesh. Nope. It's kind of a unique fabric, a textured, slightly open-weave microfiber that is soft and breathable. 

Cups.  They are double-layer and provide support without a lot of bounce. Just as the Wacoal does, these do run small and shallow. They are not designed for a lot of projection. If you are full-on-bottom, this likely won't present any problems and I doubt you would experience any gaping as the fabric has good stretch and will conform to your shape. I could actually use a cup up, but that will also result in less lift. 

Straps.  Wider in the front, and no ring connectors. Very comfy and supportive.

Compromises

Shape.  You are not going to get any separation, which is just how wire-free bras roll. If you hate the feeling of your boobs being pressed against each other, my fave hack is to take one of those tiny, soft microfiber squares that are used to clean glasses, and tuck it right between your boobs. Feels soothing and eliminates that sticky, smooshed feel.

I do get a soft, natural shape that is slightly minimized, and with minimal lift.

Here it is under a thin, drapey knit.

And for comparison, here is Delimira 'Ethel', the cotton bralette with projection, which gives a better shape, but I find to be a lot less comfy.

When Do I Wear It?

All the damn time. To work and on weekends. Whenever I want to go wire-free, and when comfort matters to me more than shape, the not-Awareness is what I reach for. Particularly when I want slightly firmer support than a bralette gives.  The one time I would hesitate is under a snug, clingy T-shirt where shape will be in the spotlight. But then, that is the specific situation that T-shirt bras were made for.

Sizing.  After I sized up with Ethel-the-bralette, and it turned out there was no need, I stuck with my usual Delimira size of 40F. Hah - Psych! This turned out to the one time I actually do need to go up a cup, since this bra is so faithful to the Wacoal original, which only goes up to a DDD and definitely runs almost 2 cup sizes small. The good news is that while I am totally sized out of the Wacoal, that is not so with Delimira's version. 

In summary, if you are full-on-bottom, you will be fine with your usual size (for the brand). If you are balanced in shape, you may need to go up a cup, particularly in the black. If you are full-on-top, definitely go up a cup.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Brand Breakdown: What Does Delimira offer?

Where is Delimira made? Good question. No one seems to know; they're pretty mysterious. My best guess is India. 

 Where Does the Brand Excel?

Price point.  Below $20. That's in Hanes at Walmart territory, but with a far higher level of quality, not to mention size range. This is the brand I suggest you start with if you are on a tight budget, or have no idea what style you will like, or, alternatively, you do know what brands & style you want, but you want a cheaper version, or have been sized out. 

Sizing.  While the brand doesn't use either UK or Euro sizing, it's incredibly consistent. Once you know your size, it works all across the brand.

Choice!  They have a wide variety of styles, meant for a variety of shapes. Each one is a generic version of a popular bra from a US or UK brand - but in a bigger size range. So if there was a bra you wore & liked when you were still trying to cram yourself into the DD zone, you may find a version of it here, in higher cup sizes. Half the fun with Delimira is trying to identify which famous bra it is. There are a few I don't recognize, so it's like a fun puzzle.

Examples:   The 'Floral Lace Underwire' is based on the Lepel Fiore 
                  This one is also my favorite of the many Delimiras I've tried.

 

             
                 The 'Floral Sheer Unlined' is a version of the Panache Envy 
                                     It's more comfy than the brand name, too.
 
 And, the Bali Passion, here:



What Is the Brand Not So Good At?


Naming their bras. Heh. Like the name of this bralette  

They could at least give you a clue, like naming their version of the Envy 'Jealousy' or somesuch, to help you figure out what you're getting. But again, the puzzle is part of the fun.

Sizing.  This is both a plus and a minus: Delimira goes their own way and does not use either US or UK cup sizing. The good news: they are extremely consistent - far more so than the name brands; once you know your size, that's your size. Which is a huge advantage when buying online.

I give sizing advice in each of the reviews, but the general rule of thumb for finding your size in Delimira is this: bands are fairly true to size -keep in mind that I do not believe in the theory of tight bands; a properly fitting band for me is +2 inches added to my actual measurement. That said, the bands definitely don't run tight. Cups are generous and there are no double letters. Do not be put off by the smaller letter sizes.

If you are converting from your UK size: keep your band size and drop a full cup. E.g. 40G to 40F, or, 34H to 34G. For double letters, I would err on the smaller cup side, as they run so generous. 

If converting from your Euro size:  keep your band and drop 2 cup sizes, E.g. in my case, that means from a 40H to a 40F.

Who/What/Where Will Delimira Work For?

  •  Anyone on a limited budget. You can build a core bra-drobe: seamed, seamless, bralette, minimizer, very inexpensively. The bras are quite decent quality and hold up well. All of mine are still going strong 2+ years onward.
  • If you experience a lot of fluctuation in your size, due to weight or cycle changes, the extremely low price point makes it very practical to buy a bra you like in multiple sizes.
  • There is a style you like, in a brand you can't normally wear. I would never be able to tolerate the harsh, sky-high wires of Panache, but I love the subtle checkerboard and lace pattern of the Envy. Yahtzee! Delimira's version has lower, softer wires and is 1/4 the price.
  • If you hate dealing with the hassle of returns. Honestly, at this price, if you get lazy and forget to return it within the window....ehhh.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: Delimira Lace Soft Wirefree Non Padded Full Coverage Cotton Bralette

First off, I think we can all agree that naming their bras is not Delimira's best thing. Heh. I mean, they really need to consider using women's names, like, say, Gorsenia does. In fact, I'm going to do it for them and call this bra Ethel. Because she's no-nonsense and does not care what you think of her beige-ness.

Beauty

Ethel is a practical cotton bralette; beauty isn't really her bag, baby. That said, she does have a single strip of lace trim around the band and a dipping V-neckline.



Comfort & Fit 


Fabric.  Cotton knit of medium weight with a little spandex. Softness is just okay; could be better, but could be worse.

Band.  Higher at the sides than I prefer and the elastic is a little rough. Ethel's band means business: it closes with 4 hooks and has 6 rows, making it very preggers or size fluctuation friendly.

Cups.   These are kind of interesting: they are heat-molded and provide quite a bit of depth - a welcome design, but one I wasn't expecting, which plays into sizing. In fact, they are actually a bit too large on me, which is more visible in the pic above. So the capacity is quite good.

They also have this feature, which was almost genius, had it been better executed: A little vertical strip of fabric between the boobs that is about 1/2" wide. It doesn't provide shape separation, of course, since it's just a flimsy strip of cotton, but it does provide a tiny physical barrier against boob sweat. Had they made it 1" wide, it could have been a brilliant sleep bra, especially for side sleepers like myself. I actually tuck my sleep shirt between my boobs when I'm sleeping free-range, which is always. Oh, the glamour of the big boob life.


Shape.  The cups are deep enough to allow for a full-on-top shape -though I'd say they're intended for a balanced one- and they allow for a fair amount of projection. The lift I get is more than I'd expect from a bralette.

Here's how Ethel looks under a thin, drapey knit shirt: Not bad, really.
 

 Compromises

  •  Fabric is just semi-soft
  •  Band elastic tends toward the scratchy side
  •  Deep V-neckline allows boobs to migrate toward the center 

 

 When Do I Wear It?

Well, in the pic above, I actually wore it to work on a day when I felt puffy and PMS-y and just Could. Not. Even. But I have to say, I did not find it comfy enough for a full day of active wear, mainly due to the higher sides and not soft enough (for me) elastic band. I also found the tendency toward central uniboob migration annoying. For work especially, I would choose the Leading Lady Bralette, which is similar, the same pricepoint, but has much softer fabric and a higher neckline that works to keep the boobs surprisingly separate, but not splayed looking, while hiding any cleavage; it looks way better under clothing than it does alone. I wear Ethel mainly on weekends when I'm working in the garden or writing, want something breathable, and don't care about showing cleavage. 

Sizing.  Yeah, despite my experience of Delimira running very consistent with their sizing, and knowing that my size with them is always a 40F (which fits like a UK 40G or Euro 40H) I was worried there wouldn't be enough cup capacity because the pics of this bra online look like it has no formed cups. So I ignored my own advice went with a 42F. Result: It's about a cup size too large, fitting me more like 42G UK, 42H Euro.

Because it's cotton, I then did what I would never advise you to do: baked it in the dryer on high. And it barely shrank a 1/4 cup. Which means the cotton is pre-shrunk, and the quality higher than I expected, though I wish that was reflected in softness. Anyway, don't be like ComfyCurvy; actually take ComfyCurvy's advice. 

Price point: $16  
 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: Rosa Faia by Anita: Aurelia

Beauty

Aurelia is very similar in design to the Twin, but done completely in lace, and seamless inside & out. Although I am a lover of lace, I can't say the particular pattern of the lace is my favorite, but it's pretty enough. Aurelia reminds me a bit of both Empreinte Grace and Prima Donna Divine, but I find it far superior to both in every category but shape.

The color is a dark cream with a hint of blush, which is not exactly 'skin tone' but works well as a neutral for me under lighter colored clothing.

Comfort & Fit

Fabric.  Though sturdy, the lace is very soft and lays completely flat. It has a bit of stretch -but is not overly stretchy & therefore very supportive- and is very comfy against the skin and undetectable under clothing. If you find lace scratchy and uncomfortable, the Aurelia would likely be the exception you can wear. It is unlined and does snag against my fingernails a bit when I swoop & scoop, but this lace is not flimsy and won't tear. Still, I do the lean & jiggle instead, just to be safe.

Cups.  Like all Anita/Rosa Faia, they are meant for a balanced or full-on-bottom shape; though they do have quite a bit of room at the top, they don't have much space near the center to accommodate a lot of projection or inner fullness. So I was surprised when I got a nice soft tack. They do run 1/2 cup large, so if you're between sizes or very FOB, I suggest dropping down a cup. 

Band.  The usual Anita silky, stable, 3-hook hand. No power mesh; very comfy.

Wires.  These were surprising. They are on the narrow side! Anita wires generally run wide. They also run an inch taller than I prefer, but are still the usual more flexible wires in a complete 'U' shape, so they stay very close to the boob and do not poke the armpit or move around. They are designed to be supportive without resorting to a harsh rigid Panache-y or Elomi-esque style wire. I did opt to sister-size to mitigate what I suspected would be higher wires, & I'm glad I did.

Straps.  The usual wide, flat, very comfy and supportive straps you'll find in this brand. Anita straps are nice and long; I never have to extend them all the way, but they still work for petites. The straps are graded by size and are slimmer in the smaller cups; in mine, the lace cup tapers up into the strap, adding lots of support without cutting too close to the armpit and chafing UK-style. I did not get a good pic of that, but you can see it here:

Image result for rosa aurelia bra
 
Shape.  Rounded, slightly minimized, but not wide, due to the narrow wires. 
You can see how it compares to the near-perfect shape of the 1,000 times less comfy Prima Donna Divine. 
Aurelia on a rare sunny day


Divine

You can also see how Divine sits nicely below what I call my 'line of demarcation fluff in the sand'. I like wires to sit below that horizontal line of muscle 'n fluff to avoid the digging & discomfort it virtually always causes me when wires sit there. But Aurelia is an exception.

When Do I Wear It?

Aurelia is a great bra. My single quibble is the wire height, but I still find her very comfy for a full day's wear. She is a perfect choice for work: both flexible and securely non-bouncy. And a fine summertime bra, giving a rounded, non-projected T-shirt shape that is not too wide, and in a light and cool open lace fabric. The lace is very sensitive-skin friendly, but substantial enough to lend some helpful nip-camouflage. She is also very useful with empire waists and button-downs, as a not-really-minimizer, but more a 'projection softener'. And the more narrow wires actually make it more balanced and full-on-top friendly than the Twin. And, of course, this is a very comfy choice for PMS size fluctuation and tenderness. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of how it looks under a blouse. 

Sizing:  42G. This fits me like a UK40G or a roomy Euro 40(90)H. I opted not to go for my usual 40H because the bands run snug and I suspected the wires would run high, so I dropped down a cup & went up a band in order to drop the wire height. Good plan. Because the cup runs a little large, I may even drop to a 42F next time. If you are full-on-bottom, you're going to need to drop a cup.

Price point: Full price runs $65, which is more than reasonable for this level of quality, which is much higher than, say, Panache or Wacoal, and obviously, much, much higher than budget brands like Delimira or Rosme. Still, I  buy a lot of bras. Clearly. =o)  And I do not have the benefit of personalized service in a local boutique (where I would happily pay full price); I have to do the research and order online. So if you do the same, I'd advise putting it in your Amazon cart and letting it sit there until it drops to $50 or so due to their super-annoying 'dynamic pricing'.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Brand Breakdown: What does Anita offer?

Anita is a German brand, a family-owned company founded in 1886. And if comfort is your top priority, they are worth a look, particularly their Rosa Faia line. 

Where the Brand Excels:

  • High quality materials and construction. You are not going to find rough seams or crappy elastic in an Anita.
  • Very popular with pregnant women; many styles are also available in nursing versions.
  • Seamless styles with silky microfiber and high spandex that fit like a second skin.
  • Wide wires that are on the soft and on the flexible side, yet supportive. These are the only wide wires I have ever found to be non-irritating on me.
  • Well-designed bands that are soft, stable, and have 3 widely-spaced hooks; their support does not rely on a tight, constrictive fit as many UK brands do.

Their flagship style is the beloved Anita Twin, one of the first bras I profiled here as the most comfy I'd found. It still holds up well years later. It is an outwardly seamless bra, with a single very flat seam on the inside of the cup.

The Twin is the only style I have found to be super-comfy - and it is really comfy. 
Anita Twin   Anita.com 

It comes in other versions, including a wireless, the Twin Firm (less spandex) and the Twin Art, which is just a pattern, always on the tasteful side, that changes every few years.  
001
Anita Twin Art       Anita.com
The regular Twin and Twin Art are the comfort queens; the other styles have different fit and fabric. I do find the wireless version to be less comfy, simply because I don't like the pressure a non-stretch underband causes for me when sitting, but that's just a personal preference. If you like wireless, this is a wonderful choice due to the very generous cups (their F fit me like a G, not the case with the wired versions) and flat, wide straps.

Twin Wireless      Anita.com

 Annnnd What the Brand Does Not-so-Well

Lift and Shape.  You are not going to get a boosted, lifted shape from Anita. That is just not how they roll.

Beautiful colors or flashy patterns. They are proudly focused on basic neutrals and the occasional quietly elegant pattern.  

Seamed and balconette styles. These are pretty much all dreadful, with horizontal seams and a high frumpitude factor, especially in the larger cup sizes. See Exhibit A.  

All styles are meant for a balanced or full-on-bottom shape. The Twin can accommodate some upper fullness, but none are built for inner fullness. But if you have lots of side-boob, you're in luck; the cups are very friendly for that. 

Who/What/Where Will Anita Work For?

For me, the comfort far outweighs the shape mismatch for projected full-on-tops, but the brand will be a great fit for:
  • Wider boobs that are on the shallow side
  • Lots of size fluctuation  
  • Sensitive skin
  • Pregnancy & PMS
  • Long hours of travel or work
  • A more natural, slightly minimized shape

 Sizing & Pricing

European sizing. Bands run slightly snug. When I measured 36" and wore a 38 band in most brands, I was able to wear a 40 in Anita quite easily, on the loosest hook. Now that I'm 37-1/2", I can still wear it due to the high spandex. Cups run true to size and are forgiving due to the high stretch, supportive fabric.

The Twin has the widest size range, from 32C - 40H, and bands up to 46 going only to an F cup. The Wireless stops at an F, but runs about a cup size large, and sister-sizing works well here. The Art likewise stops at around a G.

Full price is between $70-80. They are well worth that. The high-stretch fabric is buttery soft and still lasts for years. The bands do not stretch out at all and the cups keep their shape. You will frequently find them on sale for around $50, on anita.com and amazon or eBay, but I have rarely seen them go any lower than that.