Ask Cleo by Panache for Wider Bands!

Shortly after I posted about my desire for wider bra bands, I ran into this petition. The petition is asking Cleo (Panache’s “younger” aka cheaper line) to please add wider bands to their larger cup sizes.  I hope you will sign it! If Cleo responds favorably, it would make life a lot better for ladies like me.

I want THREE hooks! (at least.)

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?

Search Term Roundup

I have wanted for awhile to make a post addressing some of the questions/issues that bring people to my blog. This is the first one:

“if i regain weight will my boobs be the same as before” It’s hard to say. It really depends on the boobs and on the weight loss/gain. A few pounds on and off won’t make a lot of difference, especially in a short span of time. Weight gained years after weight loss, though, just won’t come back on the same way.

Two things I can tell you: One,  your breasts will continue to change throughout your life. Sometimes the changes are drastic, sometimes they are subtle. Two, barring some kind of surgery, your breast shape will be the same, no matter your size. If you start out full on top, you will probably stay that way.

“my son is taking hormones and is growing breast.”  What kind of hormones is your son taking? If they are “female hormones”, it is almost certain that you have a daughter, rather than a son,  and it would be kind and loving of you to respect her gender identity and call her “daughter”.

Anabolic steroids can also cause men to grow breasts. This is a sign of steroid abuse.  It happens most among bodybuilders, but also among average guys who think that steroids can be safely used to increase their muscle mass a bit. Man boobs (the technical term is “gynecomastia”) are only one side effect of steroid abuse, and some of them are much worse. If your son is using anabolic steroids and growing breasts, you should try to convince him to get off the steroids and to see a doctor.

“bra cups too round” If your bra cups are too round, it is probably a cheap foam-padded contour cup bra. Try some seamed bras! Freya Lingerie, Fantasie of England, and Panache Superbra (and its pendant brands) all make seamed bras that give you a more natural look. Seamed bras are also far more supportive.

“best bras for shallow breasts” Bras from Chantelle, Panache, and Cleo are usually shallow in the cup. Fantasie of England plunge bras are also shallow, compared to their other bras. Among US brands, I know that Wacoal has shallow cups.

“bra sister sizes chart” Sister sizes work in some brands and not in others. I have found that in Fantasie, sister sizing is usually accurate; in Panache, it isn’t. In most brands, you go up a cup and down a band to get a sister size; that means that the sister size to 36C is 34D.

“can my boobs keep growing even if they are supposed to be small” I don’t know who decided that your boobs are “supposed to be small”.  The answer is that yes, your breast size can and probably will change throughout your life. My breasts took a huge growth spurt in my early 30s.

“contraceptive pill water retention on bum” If you are retaining water, it is usually all over your body, not just your bum. Sometimes it can pool in the feet and ankles. But your bum is probably not full of water.

“i changed my bra and i still have bra strap marks” Are you sure your band is tight enough? A loose band puts too much weight on the straps. But for some of us, a well-fitting band doesn’t stop the pain and marks in our shoulders. They say that the straps should only support 10% of the weight of your breasts, but if your breasts are large and heavy, that’s still a lot.  Look for bras with wide straps to help diffuse the force.

Freya Active Underwire

I am pleased to report that after 2 months off of HBC, my boobs shrank a little bit. It is a good start. However, the rest of me is holding pretty steady: it comes off and comes back on. I have some symptoms of low cortisol, so I am treating that, but also I have been pretty sedentary since school let out for summer. The place I am living right now is super-hot, so I’ve been hiding inside. In the interest of keeping fit and possibly getting back to the (much more comfortable) size I was in January, I started seriously shopping for a sports bra.

Though I am pretty active during the school semester, I haven’t done a proper workout in quite awhile, for lack of a good sports bra. I bought a Shock Absorber D-Max last year and it was not a good fit for me. It was a little too small in the cups (so now, it would be way too small) but more importantly, the position of the straps was very bad for me. The straps were set kind of close to the neck, and so they dug into my shoulder muscles painfully. I think a good sports bra should be comfortable to wear for hours, but this one was agonizing after only a few hours. I was finally ready for something better.

I eventually narrowed my choices down to the Panache Sports Bra, the Freya Active, and the Elomi Energise. I ended up ruling out Panache, largely because I was getting a lot of contradictory information about sizing and fit, and I didn’t want to take the chance on it. So it was between Elomi and Freya.

Freya is not a brand that usually fit me very well. Their bras are just not cut for my shape: they often position the breasts too far out to the sides, or have a weird crinkle in the top of the cup. The sports bra does seem to push things outward, but it might not be bad enough to interfere with a workout.

On the other hand, I have never been much of an Elomi person either, but that is mainly because most of their bras are full-cup and have center-pull straps. These are two things I don’t like in an every day bra. The Energise sports bra, though, looks very comfortable and supportive in photos.  It also seems to bring the boobs very front and center.

I was strongly leaning toward the Elomi, but in the end I went with the Freya because it was cheaper. I ordered it in black because some  people say that the black and white models are more comfortable and flexible in fit, and because people say the bands are super-tight, I ordered a 36G.

I am now awaiting the arrival of my new sports bra, and am anxious to get to the weights and other workouts. Once I have tried the Freya I will give a review. I do hope to try the Energise someday as well, because it looks like a good bra. I the meantime, I intend to put the Freya Active to work.

Review: Cleo Sasha Balconette Bra

This review is a long time coming. I meant to post it months ago, but in a way, I am glad I waited. As I’ve been wearing the Sasha regularly for months now, I feel that I can give a much more thorough review than I could before.

The Sasha is a balconette offering from Cleo, a subgroup of Panache. Cleo is marketed as Panache’s “younger” line, which seems to mean “cheaper” and “brightly colored.” The workmanship and materials on this bra are definitely of lesser quality than bras from Panache’s Superbra line. I think that perhaps Panache believes that the women to whom Cleo is marketed will not care about the quality of the bra, but the truth is that women of all ages wear Cleo bras and we notice these things.

Sasha is available in a purple feather print. The cups are two layers, one of printed mesh, and one of a very thin simplex. Since the Sasha was introduced, another bra, Alexa, was also released, one with the same cut as the Sasha, but with a brighter print.

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Replacing Bra Straps

I know, I’ve been neglecting this blog terribly. I promise I do have some posts coming, including reviews of bras from Cleo, Panache Superbra, and Fantasie.  But first, dear readers, I am going to ask you all for help.

I have some bras that I absolutely love, except for the straps. I don’t know why some lingerie companies insist on making very narrow straps for bras with very big cups, but sometimes, they do (I’m looking at you, Panache) and it’s we, the consumers, who suffer for that choice.

I want to replace the narrow straps on some of my bras. Making a bra strap should be pretty easy if I could find the right materials, but finding those materials is turning out to be hard. What makes it hard is that I want my straps 1 inch wide, and I want them in colors other than white or ivory. I have black bras and even purple ones that need new straps.  The only ready-made replacement straps I can find that meet these requirements are ivory, and though I can find “strap elastic” in black and 1 inch wide, I cant’ find it in purple, and I can’t find 1 inch findings in black, either.

Yeah, I know that the bra strap is only supposed to support 10% of the weight of your breast. When you have very large breasts, 10% is a lot of weight for a very narrow strap. The straps dig into my shoulders, they hurt, they chafe, they leave permanent marks.  I miss the days when I was in the wrong size and wore bras with wide, cushy “comfort straps”; those didn’t dig in the way these do.

So, dear readers, if you know of a website that can supply me with these elusive wide bra straps or supplies, please speak up! I look forward to hearing from you.

Where’s the Fantasie Love?

I am surprised that I don’t find more reviews of Fantasie bras on the bra blogs. I have my eye on a couple of Fantasie bras right now, but as mentioned,my size is hard to find in stores, so I rely on my fellow bloggers to tell me how a bra fits and how it will look on a real person. Why doesn’t Fantasie get more blog love?

I have some Panache and Cleo bras that are cute and fit well, and I agree that Freya makes some pretty bras, but I really don’t think those lines come close to Fantasie when it comes to making beautiful bras. Fantasie goes all out with the pretty fabrics, lace, and embroidery. So why does Freya get all the attention?

I do plan on purchasing some more Fantasie bras, and I will review them here for sure, but I hope that those of you who already have them will speak up as well!