Saturday, June 28, 2014

Body Politic, Part 2

Last time I entertained today's topic, it was to set the scene. Today, it's to discuss lounge lingerie, a popular garment in bra-obsessed circles, but not one I've ever got into in the past.

Mind you, a couple of weeks ago that changed. You can read the link in the first para for deets on my resistence (and the catalyst for my change of heart). But now let's talk about the goods.

You will never believe this - I barely do - but, after doing tons of online research (and recognizing that I wasn't going to be able to assess anything about a cup-free, wire-free "comfort" bra by looking at a model), I realized I'd have to go to a department store. Take a moment to absorb that Kristin-certified insanity. I, a woman with a bra size that does not factor into the generic bra matrix, went to a mid-range department store to look for bras. And I bought one?!

Why didn't I go to a boutique? Well, I didn't want to spend any more than absolutely necessary on a garment that I knew would be, ahem, practical at any price. Also, I don't believe that this sort of bra is best available in boutiques which cater to women who expect wired bras that fit beautifully for out-of-home use.

Look, I was hoping for the cutest thing ever. I did not find it. The best I can say is that I found something plain, that works quite well (now that I've altered it). I cannot post a stock photo of it. It's too unattractive to feature. But here's a link to the style. (FYI, the site posits that the large corresponds with a 38 back size. That's entirely not true. I'd put it at a loose 34 which is just what I'm looking for in a bra that's meant to be totally comfortable for lounge purposes.) BTW, you can find it all over eBay for 20ish bucks. I spent 40 at The Bay, but that's cuz I had to do my research.

How did I alter this thing (which I bought in a large, btw, and which I wear on the 2nd of 3 hooks, and that's firm)? The straps have no shortening clasps and, as designed, they are too long to give me the lift I desire. I simply took an inch of length out, at the original seam (top of the shoulder area) buy zig zagging at my new desired length and then cutting off the excess loop of fabric. It took 10 minutes and, while it doesn't look perfect at that join (given that the straps get wider at the shoulder and quickly narrow), it's barely noticeable. For what it's worth, I like that the straps have no hardware. It makes them very comfortable, even as it shortens the bra's overall life span.

Did I mention, no one's going to see me in this practical garment?

So, when do I wear it? When I get home, until bed.

How does it fit?
  • Surprisingly well for a cup-free, seam-free, wire-free bra. 
  • The back has 2x3 hooks and eyes that produce a supportive band that is not tight. I suspect I could wear the medium (if I wanted a tighter back) without much difference in the way the bra fits elsewhere, because all of the sizes more or less look the same size in the "cup" area.
  • The material is deliciously soft and comfortable. It's made of some wicking sort of material that has a bit of sheen and that can glide under clothing. I wear this with a fitted T shirt and it is not observable.
  • It's strangely supportive. Seriously, I could wear it out of the house. It gives no separation, obviously, though the "gore" area between the breasts is designed to keep breasts slightly separated. If you have projected boobs and/or boobs of a certain size, that's never going to happen. But this doesn't leave you feeling like you're wearing a compression garment.
  • A propos of compression, no doubt this works on the basis of compression, to some extent, but the band is very supportive (deceptively so) and my breasts do not sag beneath it. The "cups" also provide a lot of side coverage and support. So the shape isn't flattening. I do have to emphasize that the straps need to be of the perfect length to facilitate this. And there are no in-built modification options (clasps). So you have to be willing to alter this, which you could do by hand, or you have to get lucky.
  • It's a well-made garment, constructed with quality fabric and good design.
I tried on every similar structure in the entire Hudson's Bay Company and this was the only one that worked. Why? Because it's designed for breasts having a projected shape.* All of the others were too short (couldn't fit over additional length that projected breasts require), too wide (flattening breasts hideously), too flimsy (like stupidly so), or some combination of the three.

Moreover, this has put me in mind of my next foray into bra-making. Sure, I haven't been able to produce a handmade bra that I find acceptable for daily use (though now I have got some new understanding of how I need to alter the next prototype to suit my shape, gained via making the Hepworth fitted bodice!). But I do believe that I can find a way to make a lounge bra to meet my needs - and a predominant one of those needs is attractiveness.

So, today's questions: Have you tried this bra? If yes, did it work for you? If yes (or no) is your shape projected? Do you wear lounge bras and, if yes, why? Do you feel that wearing lounge bras provide any long-term protection against breast sag, or do you feel they are a comfort garment (which contributes, when worn, to improved shape)? Let's talk!

Next up, how I found a new sports bra. I know, what's the freakin' world coming to?

* Note: In truth, this style of bra is suboptimal for projected breasts of any size, but since it's the bra style that works for comfort and lounging, they've managed to produce something that walks a good balance for a non-compatible shape.


  1. Interesting! Glad you found something that works, at least. I ten to go braless around the house, which I think is fine for me because I've got medium sized, wide bewbs. I know the larger busted in my family like a good lounging bra, but not me! ;) That said, now that I've got a summer of lounging around my apartment ahead of me (and it's so stinking hot in here!) I've been thinking about making some summer pjs/lounge clothes. I'm thinking I'll try putting shelf bras in the tank tops, because it's annoying to have to put on a bra if I go to the laundry room or sit on the porch. (We're right on a busy street, and our neighbor is a student of Jamie's, so I feel like I have to be presentable!)
    Have you figured out a pattern to try for a lounge bra?

    1. Lounge clothes making would be very fun for you, I expect - you get to use colourful knits (or silky stretchy fabrics) - in a new way, but applying all of your knit-sewing skills. I haven't got a lounge bra pattern yet - but I'm not going to make anything shelf like. I need to come up with something that has cups (if unwired ones) or it will not work for me.

  2. This looks more like a sports bra to me - as long, as it's comfortable, then who cares what it looks like?

    1. It does in the pic, but weirdly it's not when you see it in real life. But it's not like a "pretty" bra. It has the functional component of a sports bra.

  3. Ah yes, this bra & I are old friends. I bought mine in white specifically so I could dye it a lovely lilac with food coloring thereby increasing the attractiveness factor by 1,000%. I get surprisingly good support in a 2XL. I am a 36GG & the band fits like a Freya 36 or Panache 38. My one quibble: the straps. I dislike the elastic edging & would have preferred a smoother solid surface. But the padded hook closure is bliss. I will say that I get better support, & a better shape, in Barely There. But I find myself reaching for the Bali much more often because of the 'can't be overstated' convenience of the hook closure. I wear it for lounging after work, plus gardening, or (it's true genius) unexpected guests dropping by.

    1. Glad to know you have good things to say about it! And great idea about the dye! The straps are the really unattractive (and least functional) aspect, I agree. I have to look up Barely There! And the Bali IS genius for gardening...

  4. Very interesting! I would NEVER have thought you'd find such a garment that looked and felt acceptable, even for at-home use. Thanks for the link!

  5. I think if I was getting a wireless bra I'd look at nursing bras. I had some pretty cute and comfortable ones, and I seem to remember them not being too expensive.
    And slightly off topic,I just bought a sports bra from Victoria's Secret (don't look at me like that!) :)
    It's the Knockout - it's a racerback bra with a front closure as the base layer, and a compression type bra with a front zip as the top layer. It's the most comfy sports bra I've found (36DDD), and I swear the racerback helps my posture! I'm looking forward to seeing what sports bra you got...

    1. THey have "maternity bras" now, which are the nursing bras minus the cup closures - they market them to pregnant women. But I haven't found any that don't look either crazy-structured or very matronly, though I'll keep trying.

      And I never judge about buying from any location. What works for you works! I'll have to look up the Knockout (hilarious name, btw).