Being a woman of a particular shape, I have a very hard time finding bras that fit. My needs are specific and bras that fit my shape are relatively rare, even in the big bust brands. So sometimes, I buy bras and wear them even if they aren’t perfect; sometimes, I have to settle for “close enough.”
That’s the way I feel about Cleo and Masquerade bras. Both of these brands are from Panache, Cleo being the “younger” (read: cheaper) brand and Masquerade being the high-end brand. Unlike Panache Superbra, Masquerade and Cleo sometimes offer bras with narrow wires and relatively open tops, two things I need in a bra. Unfortunately, for some reason I can’t understand, both brands choose to make bras that fasten with only two hooks in the back. And that’s all they make. No three-hook bands to be found.
I honestly can’t understand why they have made this choice. Large busts need wider bands to stabilize them. In a two-hook band, I find that my bra is more likely to slip down a little in front during the day, and I also find it much less comfortable. A narrow band concentrates force in a narrow area, which can be painful; a wider band distributes force over a wider area, making it more comfortable and less “cutting”. So WHY would a big bust brand insist on such narrow bands? I could see having narrow bands in smaller cup sizes, but in a larger one, it’s poor design.
I can even understand, a little bit, why they would make only narr0w bands in Cleo: Cleo has much lower quality in general than other Panache brands. But Masquerade? This is supposed to be a high-end lingerie line and they can’t spring for a wider band?
Some of my Fantasie bras also have only two hooks: the Savannah and the Simone. I honestly don’t understand why Fantasie chose to put only two hooks on these bras, but bras like Sylvie and Lynsey have three (which makes them much more comfortable and supportive.) With Fantasie, the decision seems to be very arbitrary. I would much, much rather that the Savannah and Simone (both of which are gorgeous bras) had wider bands with three hooks.
My Effuniak (Ewa Michalak) unpadded half-cup has only two hooks in the back, in addition to having the narrowest band I’ve ever seen two hooks on. (Seriously, it is super-narrow. I’ve seen wider bra straps.) It cuts in terribly as a result and is not very supportive.
Back when I was wearing the wrong size and used to buy bras at Cacique, one thing I loved was that their bras had very wide bands. It made them very comfortable and supportive, even without underwires. If an inexpensive mass-market brand who sells bras for $20 can afford to put wider bands on their bras, the higher-end brands should do it too.
I still buy bras with only two hooks because, well, I don’t have a lot of choices! Every bra is a trade-off, I guess.
Do you prefer wide or narrow bands? What trade-offs do you make in bra-shopping?