A while ago, Miss Cavendish emailed requesting a recommendation for a really good unpadded sweater bra, one that contains the evidence (as it were) while highlighting her actual - un"enhanced" - shape. I had no idea what a challenge this is for a woman of small-moderate breast size (34B, for example) until I started looking. I mean, the world is your oyster if you want something with lace and seams - but yikes on the "real", smooth look.
Different women aim to achieve different shapes under the sweater but I'm with Miss C in desiring a seamless, lifted silhouette - one that contains the "pop out nipple" effect which many of us experience in the chilly winter. Thing is, just about every such bra for the smaller breast seems to contain some padding "enhancement" a) to give extra shape and b) to hide nipple protrusion. Giving extra shape is often a euphemism for adding the perception of a cup size to one's frame. Personally, I don't want my boobs to look any bigger than they are. I can totally understand why Miss C doesn't either.
Y'all know I have large breasts. Padding is not something I entertain under any circumstances. And bras, as they size larger, reduce padding or kill it altogether. I recognize that padding achieves a couple of easy effects for the small bust, but if you don't want to make your breasts look a size larger and you do want to stay seamless, your options seem slim.
What's a chic professor to do?
I'm going to suggest a couple of possibilities (below) that may do the trick- based on my reviews of product specs or knowledge of the brands. Needless to say, I'm not an expert on this and as I've been work-fixated lately, I haven't had a chance to check out the shops and feel the goods.
Bra Queen provides some excellent reviews of many bras (though I didn't find an answer to this particular conundrum there on quick inspection). But I'd also like to appeal to you - bra wearers of the world.
Do you have a bra that provides support without a lot of padding - one that keeps the shape without augmentation? We'd really like to know.
In the meanwhile, here are my suggested try-ons.
Chantelle Ultra Invisible T Shirt Bra
This brand makes good quality bras and this one seems fitted - perhaps almost teflon-coated. It's referred to as very lightly padded - looks more molded to me. Note: It doesn't fit the model well, but that doesn't mean it won't fit you.
Fantasie Smoothing Underwired Balconette Bra
Disclaimer: Fantasie is an excellent brand but it specializes in larger sizes. This one appears to be available in 34B (smallest size) but may be hard to find unless you order it. Also note: Couldn't find a decent photo of the beige version - which I own and which is awesome - so that's why I've posted the brown. The cups emphasize one's actual shape and hold everything beautifully in place. I have heard this bra either suits the shape of your breasts or it doesn't - because the cups are so strong (not molded, mind you, they are completely flexible) there's no give.