Tuesday 12 August 2014

Thoughts for the Road: Full-On-Top Boobs in a World of Lower Fullness

Today I spent a long time thinking about why I stopped blogging.

Part of it was (I’ll be honest) the hurt of reading questions on forums when I’d spent hours writing up detailed posts answering those very questions. It seemed like it wouldn't matter if I disappeared.

Another part of it is my continued ambivalence about my boobs. I've never been the type to enjoy showing off cleavage; I'm all about bras that minimize and tops that smash my boobs. I have to deal with having big boobs, and I refuse to act like it's hard (it's not), but I don't necessarily have to like it. And sometimes I just want to cling to the Tutti Rouge Liliana and live it up in flowy crop tops. (At the end of that post you can read about my concern that this bra would allow me to relapse into my insecurity. I guess maybe it did.) And that doesn't really give me much to blog about. I don't want to spread my ambivalence, but right now I've retreated into it.

Part of it is that my passion faded. The bra world dealt me a few minor blows, and a few major ones, which snowballed together and everything started to seem disappointing.

Tutti Rouge abandoned their cute aesthetic in favor of this upcoming Fifty Shades of Gray foolishness. Meanwhile their shipping to the US remains so high that I can’t justify ordering the bras I love from their current collection, even as they sell out one by one, never to be replaced.

Even worse news came from Freya. The Marvel, the best bra I ever found for my shape, didn’t even make it to a third season.  They’re “replacing” it with a modified side-support full-cup which doesn’t look like it will be open on top at all. They’ve also recently added piping to the top edges of their Deco, which will reduce gapping experienced by full-on-bottom users, but will mean it no longer works for full-on-top boobs. You can see from these comparison photos the way in which the Deco has been edging away from being full-on-top friendly for years. 
Old Freya Deco (Pomegranate)

Freya Ashlee (Deco Variant) in a cup size BIGGER
The new Deco has a tighter top edge like the Ashlee pictured, but the biggest change is a deeper, smaller apex that just does not work with full-on-top boobs.

Both these moves, I must assume, are meant to correct issues encountered by buyers with lower fullness, who make up the majority of the market. I GET all this, I understand. It is not really news to me. The best bras for full-on-top boobs will always live fast and die young. I know that the majority of boobs have lower fullness and I know that companies want and need to cater to the largest sections of their audiences. Still, I wish…

…that there were more of us?

That companies were willing to produce smaller runs of bras for us and just warn off the full-on-bottom buyers?

The alienation I felt as a woman with full-on-top boobs was the biggest, most painful, and most important reason I started a blog in the first place. I guess it’s ironic that now it’s the factor that’s forcing me out. At the time, it was so hard dealing with what felt like a world of bras that wouldn’t fit me in any size due to cutting in on the top edge. It was so hard having bras that looked cute on so many people make my boobs look so sad. The hardest thing was struggling with the fact that people erroneously assume the shape is a synonym for "perky", when in reality full-on-top boobs have a lower apex and tend to point down naturally. I know now that full-on-top boobs are not something to be ashamed of, they are just different than what most people have and are familiar with. But, oh, it was SO hard back then.

I try to be more philosophical now. I try to keep in mind the expanded options. I try to forget the worst slights . I try to snap up the best bras when they come around. I try to spread knowledge so that those who share my shape can feel okay with it.

But right now, I just don’t have the love in my heart, and I'm sorry. Let’s go over it one more time, together, because I don’t know how long it will be before I come back. Here’s how we full-on-top ladies can navigate a world of bras that just won’t work for us.
Bravissimo: The Boudoir Beau is the only unpadded balconette that can work. It’s still a wiggle, but it works. Half cups are always good (Bravissimo’s run small).
Cleo: Marcie is a good bet. Avoid Meg. For other balconettes, wide gores allow you to take in the gore to make the shape more open on top—another good bet (try Lucy, but expect to take in the gore).  Half cups (Juna) are always good.
Panache: Avoid the sea of full cups. Avoid Tango like the plague. Avoid Tango knockoffs. Seek only the rarer-than-hens’-teeth balconettes (like Sienna) and the full-cups with elastic on the top (Jasmine, Envy, Andorra, Clara).
Freya: Avoid the unpadded balconettes. (I know, I know… but save yourself the grief. Avoid them all.) Marvel is perfect (wide, though, if that’s not your thing). Patsy and other padded half-cups are a great bet. That includes the longlines. Unpadded plunge swimwear is a miracle. (Wear as a swimsuit, wear as a bra, wear as a shining shield of good feelings.) Look for the oldest Decos without the trim on the top edge.
Curvy Kate: Avoid all the balconettes, especially the padded ones. Half-cups (currently Ritzy, formerly Tease Me/Thrill Me) are a good bet.
Fantasie: Most are not ideal.
Masquerade: Half-cups (Rhea, Delphi) are always a good bet.
Tutti Rouge: Liliana works for the shallow. Betty (half-cup) is a good bet. Sophia/Mae is okay. Avoid Frankie/Olivia and Birds of a Feather/Evelyn and their knockoffs.

Avoid anything with horizontal seams.

Seek vertical seams.

Good luck out there.