Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Bra Adventures: I'll Be The Judge of That

So, for the past 10 days I was at jury duty - 6 of those days were spent participating in an actual criminal trial and, let me tell you, it was fascinating. No, Law and Order it is not. But I have so much respect for this democratic convention. My fellow jurors were intelligent, caring, thoughtful and they approached the process with fairness and an open mind. I highly encourage everyone to embrace jury duty (as long as it does not put you in a position of financial hardship, of course)...

On other matters, my spirit of judgement is alive and well - when it comes to lingerie! (How's that for a dicey segue?)

To wit, my latest - the Retro Chic Full Cup Bra from Wacoal - which comes, of course, with a story:

Photo from here (not where I bought it) - this is the "cappuccino" colourway cuz I couldn't find a decent shot of the beige. I do like the fact that this small woman has an actual, ample bust.
I know - right now you're thinking one or all of the following things:
  • That bra is splendidly ugly.
  • Doesn't Kristin constantly go on about her hatred of the Wacoal brand (despite knowing that Wacoal purchased Eveden - the parent of numerous other brands she's liked)?
  • That's a 2-piece cup. I thought three-piece cups were better from a fit perspective.
  • How much money did she spend on that thing?
Allow me to address each of these.

I am diligently on the hunt for a new "nude" bra. I have one left and it's on its last legs. I'm actually about a week away from panicking over its demise, and the impending hole in my wardrobe, so keep your fingers crossed. And, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Now, having conceded that, I'm not insane. I did go to the store to try this thing on. It's one of those bras, like the Triumph Doreen, that you must wear lest it wear you. And, my friends, if it wears you it's a bad scene.

Here's what I can say: The versions of this bra in contrast colours (black/white, rose/white etc.) are potentially very unflattering to a large bust, given the two piece construction. This bra provides a pointy shape. Often, pointy bras are seemed horizontally over the midline of the bust with the larger cup being on the bottom (naturally) and the top cup pushing breast tissue down (delicately, of course), towards the centre seam. This is a common way that seaming is used to achieve a retro shape. In women of larger breasts, the downward-pull pushes a lot of volume into the lower cup, enhancing its appearance (particularly when clothes are not on). When the lower cup is in a darker contrast colour, that appearance is magnified still further. 

I think the beige colour is very flattering against my skin-tone. It's also very easy to match with numerous undies I already own. Furthermore, the straps are fairly delicate (maybe in contrast to the tank-quality of the rest of the bra). Because the beige version is more or less monotone, it doesn't over-emphasize the lower cup. But don't be mistaken, it's definitely a bra that goes in that direction. Like I said, you have to work your 1950s sexy when you wear this. You can only wear it in that spirit and to project that attitude.

Now, if your breasts are large, heavy, dense and very full on the bottom - this bra can look bad. (It can also look good - fit is very personal - but be advised, it has a lot of matronly potential.) Further in response to the claim that it is ugly, this bra is SO high in the upper cup that you cannot wear a scoopy shirt. I'm cool with that. I have lots of tops that it will work very well underneath (namely zillions of sweaters and crew tops I own). The gore is very high (but so are the cups, so the proportion isn't odd like it can be with certain Panache styles, for example). You could wear it with a blouse, just nothing that goes much below the breastbone. This bra is meant to repress cleavage, not to encourage it.

I sense I'm not helping to dispel the idea that this bra is ugly.

So let's move on to the topic of my omnipresent displeasure with Wacoal. A while ago, I took a friend for bra-fitting and we purchased this style for her in the black and white colourway. It looks surprisingly elegant on breasts in the 34C-36DD range, fyi. I observed, at that time, that the bra is very stable with a fantastic, firm (and wide) band. It is well-constructed from good materials. It's old-school and, in that respect, of good quality. The matching undies complete the retro look. BTW, it's not insanely pointy by any stretch. I've seen way pointier in my time.  What I also appreciate about this bra, my feelings about the brand notwithstanding, is that it comes in a wide range of sizes, and it's available at most department stores. Sure, Wacoal does ridiculous sizing - A-D, DD, DDD and then F and G (I think it stops there and, what's bizarre is that the seems to be half US and half UK) - but it's readily available and affordable. 

I'm a bit anxious about my recent purchase (story will follow) because Veronica purchased one about a year ago and she said it doesn't lift well and that one's breasts tend to descend in the course of the day. Needless to say, that's a deal breaker, but neither of us can say, at this point, if she got a bad bra or if it's bad design. I guess I'll be the guinea pig.

Getting back to the two- vs three- (or more) piece cup debate, three-piece cups (depending on a variety of factors) will fit a wider range of breast shapes with a more natural silhouette. They also tend to provide more projection. So yeah, I almost NEVER opt for a 2-piece cup (given my size and shape), but it has its place. It really does provide that lovely ski-slope silhouette.

Finally, do not imagine that I spent the standard retail price on this bra. In Canada, it goes for $75 at the big box stores. That's a fair price for the quality, I think (if it actually keeps gravity at bay). I found a NWT one on eBay for 30 bucks all in. That's my kind of experiment. 

So, today's questions: Have you tried this bra, owned this bra, thought of burning this bra? Are you aware that Butterfly Collection is selling it online in a beautiful colourway (though, again, mind if you're above a DD cuz the contrast may emphasize lower bust volume). Do you think it's hideous, jolie-laide or kind of cool (in a retro way)? Let's talk!

PS: Totally off topic - Figleaves is having a very good sale on the Panache Jasmine (in the floral colourway). The set is 30% off! Do let me know if you opt to get it. You can refer to my review of the bra (in the bird pattern) here.


  1. At Dillard's, they claim this is their "fitting" bra, to see what size you wear (because knowing when you go in simply isn't good enough *eye roll*) so I've tried this one on several times in the black/white combo. I'll agree that it looks very pretty in the picture with the small-boobed model, but on me it was the epitome of a "hot mess". However, it has to work for someone, or they wouldn't be selling it. I wish you luck, but it sounds like you aren't out much of anything even if it doesn't work.

    1. Oh, that one is the WORST on me! Makes the bottom of my boobs look ridiculous.

  2. Ugly? It's not real pretty, but it's better (IMHO) than some of the two-tone and animal-print things I've seen. (I buy beige so it doesn't show through my clothes, anyway.) And, really, no-one but my husband is going to see it . . . and, well, he's not going to be looking at it for all that long, under whatever circumstances. Does it fit, is an infinitely more important question. It looks like it would fit me the way a "minimizer" does, which would be good.
    - Sandy in TX

    1. Sandy - I find this comment so interesting that I wrote a post around it! Thank you for sharing your perspective...

  3. Hiya Kristin, I just nominated you for a Wordpress Family Award as a big thank you for being a regular source of info and inspiration! You can see what I wrote here for more info and if you want to take part in the process... Thanks for making blogland so fun! ;-)

  4. Along with a Freya Lauren in black and a Chantelle in nude) I just purchased this bra in nude at a local shop here in Ottawa today:

    So it turns out that I have seriously, seriously underestimated the power of a really good fitting bra. I mean, it was sort of a complete revelation!

  5. So glad to hear you've found some new bras that work. It really is life changing :-)