Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shout Out To Everyone: Wanted - A Plain Beige Bra (and the Prospects are Dire)

Lord help me, I'm half considering trying to make a rub off of another bra - just to see if my recent issues are with the Lola clone specifically or with bra-clones in general. Please stop me. I don't think it would be good for my blood pressure. This scenario is made all the more challenging on the basis that, this week, I picked up SIX lingerie sewing books from the library that I put on hold a while ago - all came available at once. These stupid books are staring at me with their beady, paper eyes. I suppose there's no harm in reading them.

At any rate, it's time to return to my ever-more pressing sartorial issue:  
 
Wanted: A plain, beige bra that fits the following description:
  • No thick seams (though seams are ok) 
  • No lining or padding or (though molded fabric is ok - just not the kind that holds its own shape in any way)
  • Preferably no lace - but if there's lace it has to be the kind with very little topography
  • Although I love a pointy shape, this bra would be good in a round shape since it will be worn under slim jersey items (like wrap dresses or T shirts) which tend to match best with spherical silhouette.
  • It's gotta be beige - light beige is fine, dark beige (but NOT brown) is fine. Even super light beige is fine. But white is a no go. White bras are the worst things evah, IMO.
  • It must have a narrow centre gore that tops out at 3 inches max and narrow(ish) wires with deep cups. Three-piece seamed is best for this but I'm willing to experiment.
Since it's very possible I'm not going to be able to make my own, basic balconette in time to replace the one I'm currently wearing (which is no longer available anywhere on the planet - the Freya Phoebe), I have to put it out there, serious-style. Please, my internet friends, help me to fill this wardrobe need.

So that you understand, it's not that I'm lazy:
  • I used to wear the Fantasie Smoothing Balconette. It was awesome till they changed the material slightly - and my boobs became a bit less full on top (ahem) - and now it's a wrinkly mess.
  • I've tried the Fantasie Helena balconette but gives wide-boob and there's no lift. Mind you, it's a lovely bra. Just not for me. Fantasie bras, in general, fit this description on my frame, fyi.  Note: the Helena in full cup is horrendous. The smoothing bra in full cup is the stuff of horror. If you're going to do Fantasie, I highly recommend you stick with the non-full cup styles.
  • I've tried the Wacoal Retro Chic Full Cup and, seriously, since it's mega-ugly in the larger cup sizes, it's gotta meet every other target. As it is, this may be the most uncomfortable bra I've ever owned and I don't think I've ever complained about another bra being uncomfortable. Really, I'm kind of impervious to discomfort of this variety...  Although it is extremely well-made - and it fits many other women (with different shapes than mine, and in different sizes) with more success - on me the gore is too high (and digs in), the wires are too wide (and coupled with the extremely firm band, they wrap around in such a way to cause pain). It also provides NO lift. Mind you, the support is incomparable. Too bad I'm looking for a lifted, attractive, pain-free experience. Oh, I should mention that unless you're wearing the most modest of crew-necks, the cups come up too high on the sternum to actually wear underneath anything without being visible in the most "no can do" way.
  • I've tried on, in store, every plain Empreinte beige bra in existence and they all look totally drab (except for this one which is made with a slightly napped fabric, aka something with a bit of tug which may cause some slim jerseys to drag over it). All of the Empreinte seamless styles have gores that are too wide for me (and which don't tack) and the one seamless bra in cup size that fits (almost) is too large in the back. Remember, there's no "sister sizing" with Empreinte. Every bra size has a different wire size.
  • I've well and truly had it with Freya so, unless someone can convince me that they've come out with something beige, that doesn't have a band 6 inches longer than it should be (and ill-fitting, not-so-great material), I'm not into it.
  • Sadly, there's nothing on offer in Cleo, in beige, as far as I can tell. Really though, if I'm wrong - please advise! I love this brand.
  • I won't be giving Ewa Michalak my money again any time soon. Nor can I justify ordering bras sight-unseen from any other Polish vendor - I got burned once. The language-barrier, coupled with unfamiliar customer service standards and tricky returns, is too risky for me.
  • Curvy Kate, Change and Elle Macpherson are too shallow in the cups for me.
  • Gossard Glossies has piqued my curiosity but I've heard that it has a shallow cup (do advise if this is not true). I also wonder if it will have enough support.
  • I already own the Triumph Doreen in beige and, while it has its jolie-laide appeal, it's not an every day T shirt bra. For one thing, it's too high cut. For another, it's very thick material that can be bulky under thin fabrics - and too hot for the summer.
  • If I'm not mistaken, this leaves Panache. And I've looked at everything Panache. The Tango has too much texture - I own it in other colourways. The Melody is too flattening and shallow and, with the exception of the Idina (which in no way flips my switch), I sense that brand may be out too. BTW, I loathe the Andorra.
So, there you have it. Doncha just love it when people tell you about all the things that don't work. Makes it so pleasant.

Really, though. If you have any suggestions, with the exception of 8000 provisos, I'm open.

32 comments:

  1. Kristin, Have you considered trying Freya sports bra? Their bandsizes are pretty accurate and have enough depth. Too much depth that makes it pointy, which I found out last week, through one of the links from your blogroll that it can be altered from pointy to round. The only thing that you can't change - thick seams! Sorry! But they do have some foam sports bra to do away with thick seams - the problem with that is the design... How on earth are you supposed to put that thing on? I sent it back and wrote a review on Figleaves. They deleted my review. :(

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    1. Oh, Kay, I really can't get with that bra. Or sports. Or sports bras. It's just not my scene - though I know there are so many women who love it for exercise or just getting a great lift.

      I can't believe Figleaves deleted your review! Did you follow up? That's really Big Brother.

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    2. Kristin, I figured you might not like it. I don't like it too... It's ugly. but hey, it's beige. ;)

      Yep, they deleted it. I didn't follow up. The review wasn't harsh -just facts. No expletives either. Seriously, that foam bra must have been designed by a guy. If I needed my husband to help me get in and out of that bra every time I wore it, it's crappy design.

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    3. They deleted your review!!?? That is so counter-intuitive to reviews, isn't it? Sad. I wear very simple, lightly padded, almost camisole type bras, no underwire. Sort of like sports bras, but more delicate. They come in most colours.

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  2. It always amazes me how many styles of bras you personally know. I can't even keep track of 2. I wish I could help you on the hunt but I do not have your bra skills.

    Read the books, but don't start a new one. You need some magic closet time with bras I think.

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    1. As people make suggestions, I'm thinking of more brands I've tried that I just forgot to mention!

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  3. Monica Bravo does personal consultations, maybe you could give her a try. Or take a mini-vacation and come to California for her class in October.
    http://www.bravobellabras.com/shop.html

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    1. Thanks Maureen. I might need a vacation intervention! Alas, we've spent quite a bit of money on travel this year and I'm not sure it's in the cards, with some other things planned. The consultation (over the phone, I imagine?) could work.

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  4. What are your feelings about Chantelle? Narrow enough? I like the Rive Gauche (narrow body, want everything forward and center), but there are other options that might work for you as well.

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    1. I feel I should reconsider Chantelle but my real feeling is that it's a bra that does 34DD and smaller, quite elegantly. Like Wacoal, once the bra gets to a certain size, they torment it and it gets matronly (entirely unnecessarily). I can only imagine what the elder market is. I also find it shallower than the brands that work for me. But thank you for the suggestion. Rive Gauche I've never tried! I sense it's a sexy French brand for small boobs. Love those lines, but they're not for me.

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    2. Rive Gauche is the name of a popular Chantelle bra. It's been recommended to me as a good bra for small-busted petites, but I have no idea what their upper range is like.

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    3. Oops... Rive Gauche is a model of Chantelle.

      If they're too shallow for you that gives me more data points for how stuff I haven't tried might fit me, though--which is no help to you but does help me.

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    4. I was wondering if it was a sub-brand of Chantelle or a style. Thanks for clarifying. Either way, alas it's not for me!

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  5. Bravissimo own brand bras have some lovely basic beige bras

    I find their alannah and jasmine bras very good for myself

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    1. Anon - thank you! That Alana is the most promising thing I've seen in a while. Does it fit deep? (Looks it...)

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    2. BTW, I bought it - first Bravissimo purchase I've ever done given that I find the prices a bit high (esp. for shipping). Still, the bra was very affordable and, if it works, I'll buy a couple more :-) Thank you so much for reminding me about this bra. For some reason, Bravissimo just falls off my radar no matter how often I see reviews of the styles.

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  6. Panache is set to release the Envy and the Dahlia this fall. They both may be worth giving a shot.

    The Dahlia has lace trim, but it looks nice and flat (and incidenally is gorgeous). The cut is supposed to be like the Jasmine.

    The Envy is plain, but textured, in a manner that closely resembles the Prima Donna Madison. I own the Madison in black and find it reliably very well behaved under knits.

    It occurs to me that you might want to try on the beige Madison. I don't appreciate Prima Donna's high prices, given their very uninspired design and at-best-adequate shaping; I could get a new-release Fauve for that kind of money. But they deliver on comfort and utility. They have gefuct sizing, however. Band tightness varies across models, and the cups are built very deep and quite wide, so you'll likely end up a cup size or two down from usual even if you're projected and need a lot of depth. In addition to that, your best size may differ among the fullcup, the balconette, and the plunge. In addition to THAT, none of those three styles act just as you'd expect either for their generic style or in comparison to one another, so it's best to give all three styles a chance. I realize this adds up to completely absurd and is pretty much prohibitive of mail-order experimenting even with all the good sense and expertise in the world. Sorry about that. TL;DR Prima Donna is basically a horrible and offensive lotto crapshoot but the potential payoff is annoyingly worthwhile, so if you're interested and you have an Intimacy nearby, go and try a ton of them on and sort out your best size and style empirically.

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    1. I know - but it's never fall when the new bra season comes out here. Somehow, I feel it will be spring before I get my hands on those goods. I did note the Envy when I read Miss Underpinnings the other week. It's quite elegant. And I don't much like Prima Donna (in fact, I don't much like the Dahlia on the basis that it reminds me of the Madison). Thanks for the info!

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  7. The Cleo Maddie was supposedly released in beige recently, not sure if it's the shape you wanted though. I've been lurking the interwebs but it hasn't shown up at any online retailers yet. =(

    http://www.panache-lingerie.com/us/cleo-by-panache/collection/21542042/Moulded-Balconnet-T_Shirt-Bra/

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    1. I think it's actually padded, no? I have to look into it! Thanks.

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  8. Is the Cleo Juna too shallow?

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  9. i am waiting for you to find the right bra, as I've got the same need and I think what will work for you, will work for me. I don't mind seams (as long as they are not horizontal) or flat lace in a T-shirt bra. So far the best I've done is a Freya Gem. It is okay (I'm not having a loose band issue at all) but it isn't a bra I want to run and get 3 of. A bit to pointy and the cup isn't 100% right.
    If only their was a Cleo with a solid fabric, non molded bra in beige. A non molded Juna would be perfect for me. It looked lovely on me, but terrible with clothes over it.
    The Panache Tango II fits me very well, but in addition to the lace not working, the shape is only good under a limited # of tops.

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    1. Ha! Well here's hoping my good fortune is yours. I bought the Bravissimo Alana online yesterday. I'll be sure to write about how it fits. FYI, I went up a cup and band size because I understand it fits quite small. Not sure if you saw my post(s) on the Gem. It was around the time that it came out that I realized that Freya is basically done. The fit on that bra - at least of the first iteration of the blue version on me - is horrendous. Never mind the band, the shape of the cups and wires makes the boobs spread out at the underarm. It's even visible on the models.

      I'm glad you have found better luck with it. In what way do you find the "cup isn't 100% right". Is it in the upper outer cup?

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    2. The Alana looks promising so I'll wait to here your take on it and the sizing issue.

      The Gem isn't spreading at the underarms and though visually it looks fine it feels like it doesn't hold me in the same way as the Cleo Lucy. Yup its an upper cup issue.

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  10. My go-to beige basic is Prima Donna's Madison balcony bra.
    http://www.primadonna.eu/en/primadonna/madison/caffe-latte/productdetail-balcony-bra-0162123cal

    I find the top lace is smooth enough to not show through most knits. The centre gore is just under 3" but I'm not qualified enough to comment on the narrow vs. wide issue of the wires. Hands down the most comfortable bra I've ever owned and comes in a variety of colors.

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  11. Oops, just saw your comment about the Madison. I agree with Odeannna about the variations across the styles. While the balcony worked well for me, the full cup on me was a contender for ugliest bra of the year award.

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    1. M: Thanks for your feedback on the Madison. The great thing about bras is that what doesn't work on one person can be just the thing on someone else.

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  12. Is it weird that I'm thinking you just buy a white bra that fits you, and dabble with dyeing? (If it's weird, I blame the two incredibly tasty beers I've consumed in the last half-hour.)

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    1. Yes R. That is incredibly weird! :-) But you do have a point... Here's hoping I don't hit this point of desperation!

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  13. Fantasie Serene? That's what I was going to buy before I found the Smoothing (which is still the best completely seam-free option for me). There's also the Fantasie Esme, which as far as I can tell might just be the Smoothing with slightly textured fabric.

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    1. I thought of the Serene but in all pics I've seen of it it widens the breasts towards the outer upper cups and that gives it a slightly shallow fit (plus unattractive for my shape). The Esme is actually vaguely puffy with this kind of mystery fabric (I've tried it, if it's the one I'm thinking of) but it has the same fit as the Smoothing.

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