The Bra I Love Most Right Now: Sculptresse Chi Chi in Black and Taupe (Sadly the fashion patterns are hideous.)
For starters, my bra-fitting friend extraordinaire (formerly known as Veronica) is actually named Sam and she has opened her own shop in the east end. Alas, I'm about as far from the east end as can be (actually and spiritually - there's a divide, people!) so I see her entirely too infrequently. The boutique (called Broad Lingerie) is rather new and already developing a cult following. What I'd recommend - if you're making a pilgrimage from far away - is that you give her a call to ensure that she's got good stock in your size range. New business owners need to be prudent about overstocking and Sam's offerings are very popular. Trust me, there is no better fitter in this city and I know practically all of them. She's friendly, absurdly knowledgeable, respectful, collegial. She knows all the bras and, over 15 years, has seen pretty much everything. She understands that finding a bra that fits is about the wearer's interpretation fit as much as anything else. When you work with Sam, you have a partner in fitting - and I cannot say enough about how I appreciate that.
So, Sam ordered me the Chi Chi, in black, as a lovely gift, and I LOVED it so much, I made her sell me the one she'd brought in for herself, in taupe!* Remember, she and I are boob twins (even though our body shapes and heights are completely different). I wear these bras at least twice a week and often more. They wear excellently, the ultra-soft but strong band is a joy. They provide AMAZING support and lift and that boobs on a plate shape I love. The upper lace is stretchy, like the Panache Jasmine's - but happily less flimsy - and the proportions of lace to firm under cup are better, IMO, in the Chi Chi because there's less lace and more non-stretch, under cup lift. It's also really comfortable. Though Panache wires are the firmest you'll find (and some people find them painful), I believe the brand has modified construction to ensure that said wires are more comfortably inset into the newer styles (Floris is another example of this.)
This bra will accommodate many different shapes but probably caters most to the evenly projected client. The stock photo, above, gives the impression that it's wider at the under arm than it actually is...
Until very recently, Chi Chi was made exclusively with the plus-sized wearer in mind. While this brand continues to make terrific bras for women in the 36-46 band with ample cup needs (up to HH), it recently started to make a couple of the styles in a 34 band. And those bands are quite firm. So, I can wear this in a 34 band and it fits fantastically.
Moreover, I can assure you that it is excellent for people with heavy or dense projected breasts. Though it looks very elegant and sexy (if not Cleo-style youthful), if you're an ample-chested woman - plus-size or no - and your breasts are heavy - this engineering is up to it.** Sam and I concur that this is as close to an Empreinte fit you'll find without going there. And this bra is infinitely more affordable and easier to size into (given that there are way more sizes to choose from and those sizes are more incremental than Empreinte's).
Cleo By Panache Piper Longline - Unlined / Unpadded
|Photo courtesy of Dreams And Underthings - check out the review!|
There are few reviews at this point because it's just come out but, fear not, I will let you know what I discover. I am concerned that the wires will be too short for the channels (as the review linked to, above, indicates) and that the boning is plastic (which I find suboptimal from a support perspective). I also worry - quite legitimately - that the length will not work for me. I'm short in the waist and ever less narrow from my real waist to my hips. (That zone may have the same general proportions but it's inches larger than it used to be.) I'm concerned that this band will flip up if it cuts in at the wrong spot - especially with plastic boning.
Mind you, that eyelash lace at the hem is absurdly gorgeous so I have to try...
Today's questions: Have you tried either of these bras? If yes, whatcha think? If no, are you tempted? Do you think padded longlines are an affront? Would you never wear a seamed/unlined longline cuz you only love padding? Let's talk!
*Don't worry - Sam stocks both of these bras in store.
** This bra, while it would work on a woman of any age, is particularly suited to the woman of a certain age. Breasts tend to become fuller and heavier at this time of life - especially if one has started off with proportionately large breasts - and good engineering is SO important to ensure maximum lift. It also caters to those with moderate monthly size fluctuations and to those who require more outer cup support, for example, if one's weight has shifted to the outer torso (as it may, in middle age). One other thing, just to clarify: Genetics-depending, dense or heavy breasts can still hold their own. When I say heavy, it's not a synonym for sagging or deflated. This bra is particularly good for those of us with self-supported fullness who need a lot of immediate centre- and lower-cup projection.