Saturday, 15 December 2012

What's on BrasiHate's Holiday Wishlist? Something For All Of Us...


Sometimes it really strikes me how far the G+ lingerie industry has come in the past few years. When I first got fitted into a 30GG from a 34DD in 2007, Cleo by Panache and Curvy Kate were not on the map yet. Bravissimo hadn’t started making their own brand bras, and even if they had I didn’t know they existed. The only options available to me then were Freya, Fantasie and Panache. So sometimes when I consider how far we’ve come, I’m just staggered by the massive number of options that are available to me now in a 30H. There are even department store brands (Debenhams) and brands I haven’t even heard of (Gorteks, anyone?) or know next to nothing about (Kris Line) that make bras in my size and are sold on accessible websites at low prices.

But at the same time, there’s something missing for me: the science. Even as the options increase, and as new companies add their offerings, I find the D+ and G+ lingerie scene isn’t really changing that much. It seems like everyone wants to make cute, frilly bras in fashion colors, but I don’t see much innovation in the actual structure of these bras. I have been really glad to see lots of companies starting to regularly add side support panels to their full cup bras, because those panels are necessary for a full-cup bra to give a fully uplifted shape. For instance, Panache’s Emily, Andorra, and Jasmine have side support panels; most of Fantasie’s full coverage bras now have them; Elomi uses them in most bras; and Bravissimo’s new full-cup Melrose and Linear Rose bras have side-support panels too. So I can finally update my bra seam structure graphic to reflect this:


But on the other hand, I also haven’t seen any brand make true advances in the quality or design of their bands or underwire. Instead, everyone is just bringing out fashion color after fashion color, floral print after floral print, without making any real changes. It’s great to have those options, but I’m really hoping for more this year. So I present Bras I Hate’s rather unconventional holiday wish-list—it’s not things I only want for myself, as I have so many bras already, but things I’d like to challenge the lingerie industry to create!

1.      A babydoll that isn’t sheer in the body and is long enough to cover the butt.

 Even if I didn’t mind a sheer babydoll, there’s nothing right now that comes in my size! My closest bets would be the Parfait by Affinitas Honey, which goes up to a G cup but runs small, or something from Figleaves, again in a G. Cleo is going to be coming out with a babydoll version of the Marcie in black, and I expect that to come in my size—but even when that comes out, it will still be sheer and short and that’s not what I want from my nightwear. What I’m really looking for is a nightgown that is attached to a well-fitting bra with proper underwires. Here is my mock-up of what that might look like:


Curvy Kate Tease Me babydoll, featuring the lovely Lizzie
Babydoll with Curvy Kate Elegance, featuring the beautiful Emma
       In the spirit of experimentation, in the new year I’m going to try my hand at making one of these. It shouldn’t really be too hard; all it would require is some fabric sewn to the bottom of a bra band and finished off nicely. I’m planning to use one of the Curvy Kate Showgirl half-cups, which is what I sleep in, or maybe the Curvy Kate Elegance that fascinated me so much last year for a sexier effect. Expect updates as I figure this out!

2.    A bra with an included camisole in “ahh-bra” material, that zips up the front. 

To explain this one, I am essentially looking for something like a very practical, everyday basque with no boning in crazy-stretchy material. I’m of the firm belief that the stretchier a bra band is, the better—cut it really small, but let it stretch a lot! I hate bands that are too big but simultaneously un-stretchy—those lead to back pain AND bulges.

The camisole material would ideally be somewhere between shapewear and the kind of material you get in a seamless camisole. I like the idea of having a super-super-longline cut because there are days when I really would love to be able to spread out the support over my whole torso, rather than just focusing on a small area of my back. Big boobs get heavy sometimes!

Finally, I’d like this comfy everyday contraption to be easy to do up oneself. So I’m going to suggest something that may cause gasps—a front closure. And because it would need to have the proper strength in this closure, I’m going to put my vote forward for a thin zipper that would go all the way up the front.

Here’s a mock-up!

My idea for a bra/camisole--featuring the Freya Deco
       3.   My third wish-list item is simpler. I’d like to see more practical options—more beige, brown, black, and light pink bras that are simple, but still pretty. I’m not looking for a twenty-way convertible, and I’m not looking for anything plunging or molded or seamless—I just wish there were more well-fitting options in colors that blend in under clothing. The brands that make the best unpadded bras continue to focus HEAVILY on fashion colors and prints. I wish there were a better balance. And I think there is also a gap in the market when it comes to CUTE practical options. It seems like the majority of bras in beige-y colors are also a bit boulder-holder-looking, or very plain with no decoration at all. I’d like a few little bows and maybe a lace texture—that wouldn’t effect the practicality of a beige, light pink, brown, or black bra, but it would make it a better ego boost!


      4.      Bras with bands that have a higher stretch content and are positioned lower on the back, to eliminate bulges. 

          I've talked about this before. I wish bands were wider, made of thicker material, and more 'seamless' to prevent awkward bulges. I also feel quite strongly that bra bands should be positioned at a slightly different angle than is common to give the best support and comfort, and to eliminate those bulges. Most British brands have their bands angled like so:

Bra with band angled too high creates bulges even when it fits

Whereas the ideal bra band should be positioned at a slightly lower angle:



Ideal lower angle for a bra band eliminates back bulges

In my few experiences trying Ewa Michalak, I’ve noticed their bands do sit lower, as in the second image. The difference in comfort and appearance is really revolutionary.


5.    Bras with cushioned underwire… seriously, G+ companies, get on this!!! Victoria’s Secret has been making bras with underwires encased entirely in a foam channel for YEARS. If a company that doesn’t even admit G cups EXIST can manage this technical innovation, I’d really expect the more enlightened companies to start working hard on it. Whoever introduces this first is bound to see a BIG bump in business because everyone will flock to them.

Well, there you have it--that's what I'm hoping to see from D+ and G+ lingerie companies in the coming year and beyond. Let me know in the comments if you have any other bright ideas for innovative bra design!

42 comments:

  1. The bra-cami may need some boning to stop the bottom from rolling up?

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  2. Another very cool post of the best lingerie blog there is in the world (I think). Thank you very much for providing us with so much in-depth information all year round and Merry Christmas!

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  3. Awesome post! For a babydoll that would fit a 30H bust, I know it is sheer, but Hourgassy has featured the brand Bijte.

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  4. Love your comments...I'm a lingerie design student, and my specialty is fuller cups (I'm a 34H) and I have similar sentiments to you...we'll see what I can come up with. ;)

    Kim

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  5. LOVE THIS! I know Curvy Kate does have a Babydoll in the works but no clue when it's set to come out (there was a picture floating around facebook awhile back that I can no longer find...).

    YES to the lower back bands and weight distribution. It drives me NUTS that longlines are non-existent in higher cup sizes when that's exactly what is needed to help redistribute the weight.

    One thing that is on my wishlist is a soft cup bra that SEPARATES larger breasts. It would definitely take some innovation because what currently out there doesn't cut it.

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  7. by the way, in Italy we are ages backwards, I've beeen only buying from abroad since long, you rarely see a decent looking bra after a 36, only a few companies mention cups and they usually only have 1 cup size for each measure. No underwired bras after 34 either. It's a nightmare to find anything after 38. No wonder, all big breasted girls here hate themselves and their bodies!

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  8. Oh god, yes please to all of these!

    Especially with you on the point about the band material. Something thicker with more stretch, that is also more resilient, would be fab. Changing the elastic at the top and bottom of the band may also help. I think maybe the elastic there needs to be wider, say to the same width as the shoulder straps on a good bra?

    What I'd love is more pinstriped, semi-sexy bras, and interesting darker colours, and for the love of all that is holy, pretty patterns that do not involve FLOWERS! I love many of the designs at Ann Summers but they make the wires much deeper/higher at the arm sides as they increase the cup size. The only make where the wires don't stab me in the armpit are the Freya ones. :(

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    1. I think some of the things that Ewa Michalak has right now could fall under the "interesting darker colors" category! And of course they have narrow wires that would probably work for you. I don't know what your definition of "semi-sexy" is, but Ewa Michalak's bras fall under that category for me.

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  9. Oh what a great post! Love posts with innovative thoughts about constructions and new designs.

    I totaly agree with the no 4. and 5. on your wishlist =)wide bands in thick material all over, its both comfortable and looks better. And cushioned underwires! I think the panache sportsbra have something like that, its one of the most comfortable bras I have, and I use it on everyday basis (at least while working)since it so comfortable and soft.

    On my wishlist is a long-lined (maybe down to the waist) with some boning both in front and at the back, to prevent it from rolling up. With the shape from the cleo marcie or something similar..

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    1. I sleep in my Panache Sports bra, ha! I know that's kind of gross because I sweat in it. The cushioned underwire is just so amazing! I might buy another one so I have one for working out and one for sleeping!

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  10. Couldn't agree more about the bands on bras needing to sit lower. The reason I love Ewa Michalak and the Miss Mandalay bras I've tried so much is because they sit lower than say, Panache or Freya. Larger bands would also be wonderful.

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  11. Totally agree about bras with cushioned underwire!! My favorite brand right now is Ewa Michalak, but the firm band combined with inflexible, unpadded wires leads to some discomfort at the end of the day sometimes :(

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  12. I wish there were longline bras in larger cup sizes. I also wish there were larger cup sizes in RTW period. I have been working on a bra prototype for the last few months for myself. I'm so far past the end of the spectrum- I'm squished in a Panache 38KK, I already tried the Ewa Michalak custom bras to no avail and I was at the end of my rope. Hopefully I will be able to make myself everything on your wish list (those are on mine too!).
    Kudos to Ms. Kim, the lingerie design student who posted earlier. Bra engineering is akin to rocket science. Maybe she will be the one we flock to next since she hears and understands us :-)

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  13. Yes please to the cushioned underwire!! And I agree that bands should be a bit wider--there's simply no excuse for a two-hook bra to exist, except maybe in training bras. My only other wish list item would be to have the bra companies seriously look at how far apart the straps are on the bras with small backs--I have a small back, wouldn't it make sense that perhaps I'm small across the front too??? The size of my breasts doesn't make my shoulders wider...

    I'm surprised you couldn't find some sort of sleepwear like that out there. Though I suppose that most of it out there is less for sleeping and more for other late night bedroom activities....I have no doubts you'll be able to figure out how to sew something up though. :-)

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  14. Cushioned underwires - million times "yes, pleaase". I have to size up in the band because otherwise underwires kill me at the end of the day.
    And I'm with you about wider bands, thin band may be nice for bedroom bra or going out bra, but if it's sitting 10+ hours in front of computer bra, or driving and shopping bra then I do prefer wide and comfortable band.
    I would also love to see more nice looking everyday bras in variety of skin tones and also black and light grey (it goes really well under bright prints).

    +100500 about too far apart bra straps, it's really uncomfortable to have them starting in my armpits (well, part of the problem could be addressed to wearing 32 instead of 30, but my old 36B Victoria Secret bras straps were set more narrow, may be Freya and Panache think that shoulders get wider with cup size?!).

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  15. Strange isn't it how the straps are often set so far to the side. I often feel that I'd get much better shaping from the straps if they were attached one inch further in. They definitely don't do the 10-15% of lifting they're supposed to do when they're tucked under my armpits. Putting the straps closer together at the back would help too, preventing shoulder-slipping and angling the strap away from the underarm. I wear a 34F, so it's not even like I have a particularly small-back-large-cup ratio. Must be a nightmare for girls in a GG+.

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  17. Ok, am I the only one who hates the side-support in the ones I've tried? Because I just get boob-bulges at the side, since the fabric tension is different than at the front of the bra. I get side-whoomps, mis-shapen lines, look 20 pounds heavier once clothes are on, and they are way less comfortable due to the wobble.

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    1. Bulges, and misshapen lines, are indicators of poor fit. It sounds like too-small cups.

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    2. I think it depends on the bra. Which bras did you try? I've tried some that totally sucked, but the Panache and Fantasie ones I've tried with side support didn't have the issue with the bulge cutting in. I've definitely heard of that happening to others, though, in bras that are poorly constructed.

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  18. Can I ask where you buy your bras? I am a 32HH and I really want in on these CK Showgirl bras but I can't find any in my size for under $70 (US). Also, do you know which sites get the new styles in first?

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    1. The trick is to order from Britain, but find a low enough price that you will save loads of money even with the higher shipping. First I'd suggest eBay, search "Curvy kate 32HH" and make sure you filter to include worldwide results! Order the results by lowest to highest price and you'll find the best deals.

      If nothing good shows up on eBay, next stop is Brastop.com! You can search by size there as well. They have the new season Curvy Kate bras for their proper UK retail price (usually $40-$45) and they also have loads of sales, so you will likely be able to find an old-season color in the Showgirl bras for closer to $25 or $30. Then the shipping is about $12 to the US. Even if you buy a full-priced bra, and especially if you buy more than one, you will still save over US companies that charge $70! The only big drawback is that you do have to pay for your own return shipping if what you order does not work out. So that can put you in the hole a bit, but it's a learning curve and once you figure out what will work for you, you can usually get the order right on the first try.

      Large Cup Lingerie is another website to try; they offer free international shipping all the time, and have a good outlet section with sales, but unfortunately they mostly offer only Freya and Fantasie bras. It may still be worth a look, though.

      Good luck!

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    2. I wonder if the band thing is a matter of build? All of my UK bras (Panache, Fantasie, Freya, Cleo, Masquerade, and also the French brand Empreinte) have bands that sit low as in your drawing. None of them angle upward. The low band makes a line across the back, below the shoulder blades, so a blouse can theoretically drape from the shoulders and there will be no bulges (I say theoretically because in reality I wear a lot of tight stretchy tshirts.)

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    3. Build might affect where the band sits--you may have a higher waist than me, which could cause the band to be able to reach the waist and sit there--but it would not affect the actual angle. I can take photos of a comparison between the angle of the band on a Cleo bra vs an Ewa bra, for instance.

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    4. I have a theory that it depends on breasts weight distribution in the cups. I'm fuller on sides and my breasts push cups down and to the side and that's why almost all bands sit low on me (they are slightly angled downward where they are attached to the cups). If you don't have this side fullness thing then if cups aren't deep and a bra isn't constructed clever enough then I think you will get much more cleavage, but also a band that angled upward.

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    5. Note that the Showgirl models are often reported to run small and many people have to size up one or two cup sizes. You may be sized out of them; I wear a 34H and can't fit any of the Showgirl bras I've tried (they stop at HH).

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  19. That would be great! I would love to have new plus size bras if they have new designs for my size. I hope to see more new collections over the web too.

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  20. If there is one thing that I would want it would be for bra manufacturers to clearly indicate what type of shape they are designing for, and to indicate when a bra has the same construction as another bra, even if the pattern and decoration has changed. Things are getting a little better in this regard, and Bratabase helps, but it can still be quite difficult to figure out in advance how a bra might fit, which means lots of trial and error - quite a pain when online ordering is involved. I'd love to see bra sizing changed to also reflect shape.

    More options would be great, but I'm still stuck on the basic bra problem.

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  21. What I'm always wishing for is wider bands, and also ones that sit lower. WHY ARE THEY ALL SO NARROW. I don't necessarily mean more longling styles though. Does nothing nice under a shirt for me, makes me look lumpy. Seamless bands or something smoother would also be really appreciated.

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  22. It's very hard to find big lingerie before but now, they're all over the internet. You just have to know the right size for you.

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  23. Personally I love sheer babydolls, but I hope there's a market soon for you :D And I totally agree with encasing the underwires. Even though I'm sticking to strictly "big bra" companies now, sometimes the bras I get stab me, even when they do fit! That's because I am thin and I don't have much 'cushion' in my ribcage. I miss my comfy VS underwires :(

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  24. I work for BlueBella and we do have larger busted basques, such as the Gigi and Babydolls (of which I own both at a 36G/38F) I think time will tell as lingerie companies grow as I know our company has only been getting bigger and better, with our clothe sizes also ranging 6 - 26 (plus the odd 28).
    www.bluebella.com/rachaelnicholls

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    1. Seems to stop at G.

      Why do so many things stop at G? Not just BlueBella but also for instance Urkye and BiuBiu button-downs don't work beyond G. The larger a woman's bust, the more likely she is to consider buying stuff which is cut for the bust, because she becomes less and less able to make do with standard fare. I wish someone would start off introducing a brand in H - L (UK) or so, and only then expand it down to D.

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  26. Hi!
    I found your blog a few weeks ago and I just feel the need to say a great big THANK YOU! It's so informative and made me actually dare to order my first 32e bra. Yes, order, since stores here in Sweden are so bad at underwear. If you actually find cups bigger than d, the band will be like 38 och bigger.

    These kinds of "nerdy" blogs are the best when it comes to really understanding something for me. Please note that I say nerdy with the sincerest respect, that is a positive word for me.
    So again, thank you!

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    1. Oops. "or bigger", not "och bigger". Of course.

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    2. If you live in Stockholm, I can recommend Details - they have A-K cups in 60-105 bands. Mostly black/white/nude bras, but still.

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  27. I love this list. I agree with every part of it.
    I would love love love #2. I've wanted to try a longline bra to help with the weight, but they all stop just at the edge of my ribs.
    And unpadded underwire is the worst part of my day.

    And #4. I think more people would wear the right band size if they didn't feel like it was giving them backfat, which let's just be honest, makes people feel fat.

    And i don't have money to buy bunches of cute bras. my bra budget is so limited they have to be functional so i'd love to be able to buy something that doesn't feel like a grandma bra and is still really good for my enormous chest.

    If you make this list up and send it to all the big companies I'll add my signature to it.

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  28. 28DDD here. 3 - more sensual color and pattern please! Plus, those can be functional also. I can wear a tan pinstriped bra under my shirt as well as a plain tan bra, and far easier than neon yellow with fuschia lace or flowers on an acid trip. Also, bras with minimal or no center gore. My boobs touch, constantly. With 98% of the gores, the wires will be poking into my boobs, which means I won't buy it. I want some bra other than a plunge bra. Also, hubby has linebacker shoulders, I do not. Move the straps in a good inch or more.

    4 has to be build related. Unless I'm in too big of a band, the back stays level or just below level. Doesn't matter what line.

    5 - yes please!

    Also, a nice soft cup that doesn't squish the boobs out.

    Plus, grrr. I got more than enough boobage. I do not need or want a bra that adds two cup sizes. I can already be slutty with what I have, adding will put me to obscene.

    Last - I want less side support. I don't need it. Mom taught me early how to wear a bra correctly, my boobs haven't moved out to the suburbs. I don't mind support, but it routinely moves the underwire placement, so then my ribs are poked all day.

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  29. As my underwires sit here weighing heavy on my ribs I almost cried thinking about foam padded underwires. Didn't know this existed.

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