Monday, May 27, 2013

Clothes for Busty Women in Canada and America

A classic lace dress is timeless - Navy Lace from Kiyonna
One of our lovely clients asked if I could recommend any online stores that carry clothes for busty women. Once you've found your best bra fit (using tools like our bra size calculator) you want clothes that fit and flatter your body in the same way. I've written here and there about brands that are bust-friendly but I thought it was a great idea to create one list of online stores good for busty women in North America. The UK and Europe have some amazing bust friendly brands but the returns and exchanges can get problematic from North America if things get held up at customs so I'm concentrating on stores that ship from within North America. At the bottom of the list you'll find the UK and European bust-friendly stores too.

Campbell and Kate Classic White Shirt
Shirts for Full Bust Women
Jailyn Apparel - US Based
Campbell & Kate - US Based
Carissa Rose - US Based
Presenza - US Based
Rebecca and Drew - US Based

Related Articles: Presenza Close-up and Campbell & Kate Close-up

Red Alika Dress
Dresses, Separates and Swimwear
Pinup Girl Clothing - US Based
eShakti - US Based
Rebecca and Drew - US Based
Retro Glam - Canada based
Bettie Page Clothing - US Based

Related Article - Tips for a Busty Summer Wardrobe

Julieanne Wrap Dress
Clothing for Plus Size Full Bust Women
Avenue - US Based (coupon page)
eShakti - US Based
Kiyonna - US Based (sizes 10+)

Dusty Pink Wrap Top

UK and European Stores for Busty Women
Just Curvy - US sizes 08 to 22
ASOS Curve - US sizes 14 to 22
Dear Curves - US sizes 10 to 24
BiuBiu - US sizes 04 to 16
Urkye - US sizes 02 to 12
DD Atelier - US sizes 02 to 10
Saint Bustier - US sizes 04 to 14
Maximila -  Based on bust measurements

A couple of things are really apparent after putting together this list; there is a serious lack of full bust clothing brands in North America and more specifically, Canada. If you know of a great Canadian or American company that is making clothing for full bust women then please let me know and I can add it to this list. xx

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bra Fit: 3 Things To Know About Bra Straps

The straps on a bra probably aren't the first thing you notice when choosing a bra but they can make a big difference to your fit so there are a few things you should know about bra straps to help you choose the right ones for you.

1. Pressure On Your Shoulders
One of the really big American bra manufacturers posed the question on their Facebook page "Which part of your bra should support most of your bust's weight?" The fact that the majority of their fans said "the straps" should tell them that their fit information is pretty bad! Straps are not there to take the majority of your bust's weight, that responsibility lies with your band. The straps should only be taking between 10 and 20 percent of the weight. You'll know if your bra band isn't doing its job (most likely because it's too loose) because your straps will dig into your shoulders (this is the major cause of shoulder dents).

From left to right: 36J, 30GG and 28E straps on the Tango Beige. Thicker and wider straps for heavier sizes reduce pressure
If you have a very heavy bust then 10-20% of your bust's weight is still a lot so you'll want your straps to have features that improve your comfort. Wider bra straps disperse the pressure over a greater area and so lessen the pressure on your shoulders. Some straps are cushioned at the shoulder area to ease the pressure too (Cleo and Superbra add cushioning as standard to their heavier sizes).

2. How Far They Adjust
Besides taking some of the weight of your breasts the most important thing your straps do is adjust the fit of your cups. When you shorten your straps it brings you cups closer to your body which you need if you have one breast smaller than the other. You'll need to shorten the strap on your smaller side more so that the cup is flush with your body. This is why you must adjust your straps when you try on a new bra to assess whether the cups are the right size for you.

Lucy (L) has fully adjustable straps whereas Profile Perfect (R) has partially adjustable straps
Some bras have fully adjustable straps which means the slider can be shortened all the way to the front or lengthened all the way to the back. This is an important feature for women with long or short torsos. If a strap is only partially adjustable (can only be adjusted over half the strap - the rest of the strap may be either padded or has a design that the slider can't go over) then you may not be able to shorten it enough or lengthen it enough to fit your body.

Related Video: How Straps Affect Your Bra Fit 

3. Their Position on Your Shoulders
If you have sloping or narrow shoulders then you may find that your straps slip even though your band is the right size and keeping your bra securely in place. If the straps on a bra are positioned too far apart they can fall off your shoulders which is frustrating. Look for straps that start closer in on the shoulder if you have sloping or narrow shoulders.

Melissa (L) has wider set straps and Leopard Sucre (R) has closer set straps
Good product descriptions will include the width of the straps, whether they are cushioned and whether the strap position is good for women with narrow or sloping shoulders. When you understand which strap features matter to your comfort you can shop more confidently. xx

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lindsay's Story: Bras and Bralessness

The biggest reward in this job is when a customer gets in touch to say that she is so inspired by her correctly fitting bra that she wrote a blog post about it! Lindsay writes about how her new found bra fit wove together bralessness, liberation and happiness xx
Property of Busty Girl Comics
"Some of my friends have these marvelous little breasts and when they don’t feel like it, they don’t wear bras. In public. For them, bralessness is liberating. I guess it’s liberating for me, too, but less like sexy radical and more like undoing your pants after Christmas dinner. I mean, I look good naked, but a shirt without a bra creates a depressing optical illusion. The world and I are not ready for that kind of radical.
But my concerns are not just aesthetic. Bralessness is an uncomfortable and impractical option. This fact seems to have been overlooked by some feminists, who I assume are modestly endowed. Famous feminist, Germaine Greer said, “Bras are a ludicrous invention.” I used to say this too, but Germaine and I meant different things. I said it as I tried on cheap bra after cheap bra, while I tugged at the band and fussed with the straps. Germaine meant that bras are an oppressive tool of patriarchy. 
"Lucy is one of my favourite-ever bras"
When you have big boobs the woes of an ill-fitting bra are oppressive but a well-fitting bra is totally liberating. In a good bra you can do the things you want to do without discomfort or worry. Lucy is one of my favourite-ever bras for this reason. It’s supportive and majorly minimizes the horrible boob sweat that so many other bras engender (particularly molded cups). Don’t be afraid of soft cup wired bras! (I know Claire tells you this all the time, but as a convert and former La Senza victim, I really want to urge you to give it a shot. Actually, give it a lot of shots, because it took me a while to get used to them too and now I’m in love.) And it actually makes my boobs look smaller too! Or rather, their actual, natural size.

Now that it’s finally warm out, I’ve been riding my bike everywhere. It’s glorious. The other day it was particularly warm out and I was riding my bike wearing my Lucy bra and this breezy top and I could feel the wind on my breasts. Woah. It hadn’t even occurred to me that in a molded cup bra the rest of my skin could feel the breeze but not my boobs. My boobs were free, and I was free thanks to the support of an awesome bra. Now that’s liberating."

Monday, May 13, 2013

3 Easy Bra Alterations That Can Improve Your Bra Fit

You can find a great fitting bra by understanding your size and knowing which styles of bra suit you. However, our bodies are so unique and different that many women find that they need to alter a new bra to get a great-fitting bra. Here are 3 of the most common bra alterations many women need to make to their bras and how you can do these alterations.

Marcie on the left has a narrower gore than Porcelain Viva on the right.
1) Narrowing The Gore
If your breasts are very close together it can be difficult to find a bra with a gore that is narrow enough to fit between your breasts. A gore that is too wide for you can sit on your breast tissue or cause the breast tissue to pillow over the gore. If a bra fits you in the cups and band but the gore is too wide then narrowing the gore can transform your fit. The gore tends to be a rigid piece of material (occasionally it's elasticated, but not often) that can be narrowed easily.

How To Fix Put on your bra then slide your fingers in behind the gore and pinch together the excess gore material. If you can't undo your bra by yourself you'll have to ask someone else to unhook you (so that you don't let go of the pinched material) then put a pin or two in place where the material pinches together.

Sew along the pinned seam. You will probably find that you don't need to remove the excess material, however, if you'd prefer to remove it then you can. Be aware that narrowing your gore can make your band feel tighter.

The wires on Lucy (left) are shorter than the wires on Tango (right) in the same cup size

2) Stopping The Wires Poking Your Armpit
Lots of women find that their bras poke them in the armpit. This can be a particularly prevalent issue for women with short torsos (or high breasts). Some bra styles and brands have longer wires than other bras and so you may find that you prefer brands and styles with shorter wires. However, if you have a very large bust (and especially if you have a short torso) you can find that the wires poke you no matter which style you try because the wires have to be long to support your bust volume.

How To Fix It sounds rather basic but you can bend your bra wires and by bending the wire under your armpit away from the body it can make a big difference to your comfort. Bra wires are very sturdy so you might have to spend a little time bending the wires. I tend to do this to my new bras whilst watching a movie - it's strangely therapeutic!

Some women always need to shorten their band so that a new bra fits them on the loosest set of hooks
3) Shortening The Band
Lots of women need shorter bands than the ones available on the market. A style that suits you in the cups may only begin as a 30 band and you need to shorten it to a 28. For other women they may want to get more life out of a bra by shortening the band. You can do this alteration by hand, however, it's easier with a sewing machine.

How To Fix This demonstration by Dressing Curves is far better than anything I can describe so I'm deferring to her wonderful post here.

There are lots of other alterations you can attempt or have a seamstress do for you. Here is a list of some other posts about bra alterations:

Dressing Curves - Moving the Strap Position
By Baby's Rules - How to lower and narrow the gore
Bratabase - List of Bra Alteration Posts
Boosaurus - Tightening a Stretchy Band
Fix a Bra - Wires poking through the material
This post from Braless in Brasil gives you 10 great guidelines for altering bras

I believe that a lot of women who currently experience problems with their bras will find they get a near-perfect fit in the correct bra size and style for them. However, I think it's important to remember that the imperfections in bra fit are more apparent than the fit imperfections in clothing and we have to bear that in mind when trying on bras. When you know the fit imperfections that are easily fixed and the ones that simply mean the size or style is totally wrong for you it can make a big difference to perfecting your fit and widening your options xx

Monday, May 6, 2013

How Many Bras Should You Own?

This is a question I get asked a lot and you may be surprised to know that there is a little science to the answer. We wear our bras anywhere between 8 and 18 hours every day and in that time the elastic in our bra heats up to our body temperature; especially around the band where it is in greatest contact with our skin. Heat causes elastic to expand and stretch farther. When you take off your bra the elastic begins to cool down and the fibers in the elastic start to contract back into a shorter state. It takes about 36 hours for elastic to cool down completely so ideally you want to give your bras 2 days rest between wears.

Considering how crucial your bra's elastic is to your fit and longevity it's worth looking after by washing and drying your bras correctly and by allowing them rest between wears. Here's a general breakdown of how many bras you need to maximize their longevity:
From Left to Right: Profile Perfect, Lucy Black and Leopard Dessous
Everyday Bras
There is no hard-and-fast rule about what an everyday bra is. It's any bra that keeps you supported during your daily activities and that works with your wardrobe. For lots of women their everyday bra collection is one light coloured bra, one dark coloured bra and a bra with a lower neckline that can be worn with lower necklines. Three is the minimum number of bras you should have for everyday wear to give your bras the best chance at lasting as long as they can. If you have more and rotate them on a 4 or 5 day basis then they'll last proportionally longer. If you wear the same bra every day then it will probably only last about 4 months, if that.

Sports Bras
The number of sports bras you need depends on how often you exercise, what you do and for how long. If you work out three times a week doing more or less the same level of activity for about an hour then you only need one sports bra. If you do a high-impact sport one day and a low level yoga class another day you may need two different bras; one designed for impact and one designed for flexibility. If you work out every day and sweat a great deal or exercise for more than an hour then you're going to need two or even three sports bras. Be sure to wash your sports bras every week as the salt from your sweat can break down elastic quickly.
From Left to Right: Evie Strapless, Tango Cherry Plunge, Enell Classic Black
Solution Bras
If your wardrobe requires you to have a strapless bra then you can probably just invest in one unless you need a specific colour. In the summer you may find that you want a couple of strapless bras that you can add to your everyday rotation. Plunge bras or wide balconette styles (think heaving bossom!) may not be something you wear every week but are useful to have for a favourite dress or event. These bras aren't essential but can add more freedom to your wardrobe choices.

Colourful Bras
I don't think that colourful bras should be an option, they should be a standard in your bra drawer. If you love colour then your everyday bras may all be colourful ones. However, if you have a basic everyday bra wardrobe then I highly recommend treating yourself to a colourful bra that you wear at weekends because it can lift your spirits to wear something that is fun and different. It can help you see you and your breasts differently.

I hope this helps you work out whether your bra wardrobe and habits are helping you get the most out of your bra budget. xx