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Sleepwear Camisoles

Sleeping with big boobs can be difficult. If you have big boobs, you know what I am talking about: they get in the way sometimes. They take up a lot of space. I am sure some of you ladies have had a bed partner roll over onto your boob, right? Because there’s no way it can be just me.

They actually *move* around, which is hard for those without breasts to understand. Here is the best way I could come up with to explain it: imagine that your arms had no bones in them, no way for you to physically control their movement. They would just hang there, right? And when you laid down to go to sleep, they would be all over the place: you’d have to situate them just so, to be comfortable, but if you moved a tiny bit the wrong way, one might fall out of position. Having large breasts is like that.

It is the movement that bothers me the most in terms of physical discomfort. A few years ago I started really analyzing my sleep and I found that any kind of movements in the bed would disturb me even if they didn’t wake me up. And this explained why I always slept more comfortably in tight shirts: they restrained my breasts and let me sleep more comfortably.  But as my breasts have gotten larger, and larger, tight tshirts just weren’t enough anymore. Without a bra, my boobs were all over the place. So, I started looking into sleep bras.

Here are my requirements for a sleep bra: It must fit.  It must be comfortable, and have no underwire (I don’t like sleeping in underwire.) It must keep my boobs close to my body and hold them relatively still when I am sleeping. It must be easy to get on and off (because I’m not wearing any sleepwear that is going to interfere with my sex life, and I don’t want to wrestle with a difficult bra when I am tired.)  And, it must be inexpensive, because I am not paying a lot for sleepwear. I do not actually care what shape it gives my boobs: it is not a bra I am wearing out in the world, it is a bra I am wearing to sleep in. (It seems that at least a few bloggers are concerned about the shape that a sleep bra gives their boobs, and while they are of course free to have whatever standards they like, I think this is silly.)

I knew I didn’t want to wear underwire when I was sleeping, so that narrowed the field. I looked at soft-cup bras in my size range. I almost said I looked at a lot of them, but there really aren’t a lot to look at! It felt like a lot though. I was very attracted to the Royce line of wire-less bras, but many reviewers said they are tight and hard to get off and on. I liked the idea of Bravissimo’s sleep tanks with built-in bras, but they cost more than I can afford to dedicate to sleepwear (and are very rare to find on eBay.) I also considered Panache’s maternity support bras, but again, cost was an issue as well as fit.

So, I started thinking about camisoles with shelf bras. These aren’t a great option for ladies with large breasts: they just generally don’t have enough room in them, and the bras certainly aren’t suitable for regular use. But, I thought I might be able to find something that could work for busty sleepwear. I first tried on the camis at Old Navy, and found them to be of very poor quality: the fabric is very thin, the straps too stretchy. I looked in the athletic department at Target, where there are tanks with built-in bras, but they were all pretty small-cupped. In the end, I got lucky at Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom Rack, in case you aren’t aware, is the discount arm of Nordstrom. They carry a lot of the same things Nordstrom does, and some things Nordstrom doesn’t. The Rack is actually a great place to shop for bras; I got my Fantasie Lynsey there for less than $30. They also have great deals on SHOES . . .  Ahem, where was I? Yes, camisoles. Nordstrom Rack carries a line of lingerie called “St. Eve.” Back in the 90s I used to see St. Eve at places like Marshall’s, but they have seriously revamped their line since then, and the quality is much improved.  They now make very robust shelf-bra camis: the straps are strong and not too stretchy, and the fabric is thick. I have heard really good things about St. Eve underpants, too.

black-cami

Obviously, this is not me.

It turns out that the St. Eve camisoles are great for sleepwear. I like them in medium; I found that while I fit into a small, the smalls are shorter than mediums, and I like the tops to be long so they don’t ride up. A large was too roomy in the bust, and therefore not as supportive as I like.  And these camis are surprisingly supportive! They hold my boobs close to my chest and keep them pretty still. They do give a little bit of lift, but mostly they give support, and as we learned from Astrid in this post, support and lift are not the same thing. In a day to day bra, I want support and lift, but in a sleep bra, I want support overall.  These camis are actually supportive enough for lounging around the house.  (My only complaint is that the straps do cut into my shoulders if I am wearing them while upright, and as I have tender shoulders, this is not fun.  It isn’t always painful, but when it is, it really hurts. ) Yes, they do give a kind of mono-boob appearance, but if I’m just making breakfast or getting ready for bed, I don’t mind.

Also great for my pocketbook: St. Eve camis are $6-$7 at Nordstrom Rack. So I could afford to buy a bunch of them in a rainbow of colors, and I did.  I’ve been wearing them every night for more than a year now, and I’m still pleased. So, I definitely recommend these as sleepwear for someone on a budget.

I would still love to try Bravissimo’s sleep tanks: they are so well-reviewed and look so comfy! But until I can afford those, these St. Eve camis are a good solution.

Bra Review: Panache Eliza balconette

You may recall that I bought a Panache Eliza bra off of eBay awhile back (I ended up with a second one via grab gag just a few weeks later.) At the time, I was undecided whether or not to keep the bra, but I was leaning toward not keeping it. I have since had time to evaluate it more thoroughly, and write a review.

The Panache Eliza seems to be a pretty popular model. It is also one of the models by Panache that is built differently in sizes above a G cup. The differences can be seen below: Continue reading

Adventures in Brafitting

Recently, I went with a friend to Nordstrom (in the Houston Galleria) for a bra fitting. My friend was absolutely not wearing the right bra size: her underwires were sitting on her breast tissue, and she was bulging out at the top. She was excited about getting fitted for the right size.

At Nordstrom she went into the fitting room while I perused the sale rack. When I went to see her in the room, the SA had fitted her as a 36G, in a Wacoal model.  But she still had a lot of boob bulging out of her armpit, which I pointed out. The SA insisted that an H would be too big for her, and tried to steer us away from fitting my friend into any other brand of bra (“Once you get into Elomi or Fantasie that’s a whole other system,” she said, as though that should deter us.)

I asked the SA to pull a Panache Andorra for my friend to try. We found that she needed a 36GG in that bra, and Nordstrom had none in stock.  The SA seemed reluctant to help us in looking for other sizes/brands, so my friend and I went out into the sales floor to hunt for ourselves.

We found that my friend really liked the fit of Elomi bras, and also some Fantasie styles. She was a 34GG in Elomi and in some Fantasie models, and she looked fabulous. No bulging on the armpit. I also took the opportunity to talk to her about tissue migration and the way that a good underwire bra can help move that tissue back to the front of the body.

At one point the SA came back to the fitting room while my friend was trying a Fantasie Lynsey in 32G (this bra runs loose in the band, so we both were able to wear a 32 in it.) It was clearly too small in the cup, but the SA tried to pressure my friend into buying it anyway, saying “Oooh, that’s a sexy bra, it doesn’t matter if it fits!” What the hell kind of bra fitting service is that?

One thing that was very interesting about this trip was comparing the way different bras fit both of us, or didn’t. For example, I wear a 34GG in Panache Andorra and I love it, while she needed a 36GG in that same bra. But, we both fit into a 32H in a Fantasie Lynsey, and she fit into a 32H in Fantasie Florence, a bra that just will not fit me in any size. She loved Elomi full cups, which seem too bulky and full-coverage on me.

I’ve heard that other Nordstrom locations are better, but I’ve been pretty disappointed in the Houston location; though they do carry lots of bras for ladies with bigger bands AND bigger cups, they just don’t have many bras for those of us with small bands and big cups.  If your band is below 36 and your cup is above G, the only bras they regularly have in stock are from Wacoal and Chantelle, two brands that just don’t fit me at all.

My friend and I did have a good time, though, trying on every bra that might conceivably fit us. Showing my friend how a bra might fit better was hilarious- “Ah, ok, I’m going to touch your boob now.” The trip was somewhat disappointing, but still enlightening: we narrowed down her size in some specific bras and brands, so she can look for them elsewhere, which will also be fun. And my friend was completely converted to seamed cups, and in love with the many gorgeous bras available to her!

Bra Review: Panache Tango II

It is my understanding that the Panache Tango II is a very popular bra. It is supposed to be one of Panache’s best sellers, and some people really do rave about it. So, I was excited when Breakout Bras told me that it would be included in my grab bag order. I was looking forward to trying the Tango II, and hoping it would work for me as well as it has worked for so many other women.

Good in general: the Tango II has a tight, firm band, which I like to see in a bra. It fastens with three rows of hooks in the back, also a plus. The fabric of the cups is pretty, semi-sheer, and not very stretchy. It is a knit mesh so it has a little stretch and give, enough to be comfortable, but it has no elastic. I was pleased that the fabric was soft, not at all irritating. Also, the powerknit on the wings is heavy-duty stuff! It is opaque and firm. These are all things that indicate a quality bra which will last for awhile. Also really neat: the straps are lined with a cushy, soft knit fabric. I think this is a great addition to a bra!

Tango II comes in a wide array of colors, which is lovely for those who want every color of the rainbow. I found the fabric boring, but not ugly.

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Review: First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum

I am someone who is passionate about skin care. I’m also kind of a fiend for serums: a skin serum can be SUCH a functional product, and really deliver a lot of benefit. I think anyone can benefit from adding a good serum to their skin care routine.

I am also a big believer in topical anti-oxidants. We’ve learned that taking large doses of anti-oxidants internally isn’t good for your health, but the evidence suggests exactly the opposite with regard to topical anti-oxidants. Topical anti-oxidant formulas with vitamins C and E have been proven to protect the skin against sun damage.

This past summer, I was experiencing a distressing, escalating problem with redness on my face, neck, and decollete area. The skin was red and very irritated. I even got rashes and blisters on my chest and neck. Sometimes my skin felt like it was burning or stinging. This had been going on for months and I was very concerned. I even thought that maybe I had rosacea. The problem was somewhat related to sun exposure (I have very sun-sensitive skin) but even my reaction to sun was far more red and painful than it had ever been before. I went looking online for a product to combat the redness and irritation, and found FAB Anti-Redness Serum.

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My First Ewa Michalak Order

Well, my bras arrived from Ewa Michalak. It took 15 days for them to reach me from Poland. That wasn’t bad, it’s about what people are reporting all over the place.

However, as soon as I opened the package, I knew something was wrong.

As I mentioned before, the Effuniak size calculator says that I am an 85GG. That’s the equivalent of a 38GG UK, which seemed just ridiculous to me: I wear a 34GG or a 32H in most bras, and I would positively swim in a 38GG. However, Ewa says that her bands are tighter than the bands on UK models, and many users agree. Opinions varied as to what size I ought to order: some people said go down one band size, some said go down a band AND a cup, or up a cup, etc. So, I ordered three bras: two of the CH Miętus, one in 85GG and one in 80H. I also ordered a HP Puder, in 80GG. I thought I had my bases covered there, especially since people say that Effuniak bands get tighter in higher cup sizes.

As soon as I opened the box, I was confronted with some very large bra cups. The 85GG Miętus was on top, and it was clearly too large. I pulled out all the bras to try on, hoping for a miracle. I didn’t get it. Continue reading

Bra Review: Fantasie Savannah 2152

This is a review of the Fantasie Savannah Plunge Bra with Side Support, model #2152. I spent a lot of time writing and revising this review. I have this bra in several colors, and it has so many good and bad qualities that it’s hard to balance them all. So, this is wordy.

Because the Savannah is very revealing, I decided not to take a picture of myself wearing it for the blog. You can see the shape it gives under clothes here.

First, a comparison of colorways: I have this bra in pink/black, “Mulberry”, and in “Cafe Latte”.  All three are pretty and intriguing, but the “Cafe Latte” in particular is just exquisite. It’s just a very pretty color combination, with a pinkish-bronze lace overlying a pale, neutral pink.

The Cafe Latte is also the most comfortable of the three colorways. It is roomier in the band and cup than the black or mulberry styles. The black style is pretty comfortable, but a tad smaller in the cups. The mulberry is tightest in the cups, just a little tighter than the black, but also, the mulberry has the scratchiest, most uncomfortable elastic. The elastic on the mulberry is quite rough compared to the others, and ultimately this makes it uncomfortable for more than a few hours wear. As a result, I have removed the mulberry from my daily rotation; it is now designated a “special occasion bra.”

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