In Search of the Just Right Big Bust Strapless Bra

At Curve yesterday, we learned that Adina Reay’s strapless will will hit stores soon. Leah wrote about it after the February Curve.
This is the Curvy Kate DeLuxe that they showed us at Curve yesterday. It’s a fancier version of the Luxe (embroidered trim, detachable suspenders).

July was supposed to be the month of the strapless. I’ve wanted to do a roundup of strapless bras for years. But when the dress I wore to the May wedding didn’t require one, I didn’t have a good excuse to buy one.

I ordered a bunch to try anyways–each style in a 34FF and a 34G (or their sister sizes), and I was naively shocked that not one worked perfectly on me. Some pushed everything (including armpit fat) up so high that I looked like a mushroom. Most had extra space at the base of the cups. The one I had the highest hopes for gaped at the top of the cups.

This was my clue that reviewing strapless bras may be more complicated than I expected. When I realized what a monumental project it would be to try every style and size combination out there, I reached out to boutique owners who fit women into bras for a living. You can read what they had to say in the Campbell & Kate blog post that I published last week (there’s a surprise Wacoal strapless in the post that even more store owners recommended to me at Curve yesterday and today!).

I also reached into our archives for past strapless and bustier reviews on Hourglassy.

  1. Freya Deco strapless long line
  2. Gossard Super Egoboost Strapless
  3. Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless
  4. Le Mystere Soiree Low-Back Bustier

And here are links to online articles by women who included photos of their own search.

  1. This writer for Self shows us what Curvy Couture, Curvy Kate Luxe, Freya Deco and Panache Evie look like on her. I can see some of the same issues that I struggled with on her–makes me feel normal.
  2. This Daily Mail article is from 2014, but I appreciate that it’s a mother of three showing us how each style looks on her E cups, and she includes the Wonderbra, which is on my list to try.
  3. I’m usually not a fan of Buzzfeed’s click-bait treatment of big boobs, but this is a fun article by two women who supposedly wear 40DDD and 40DD, and their cute outfits make me want to run out and buy a strapless-required dress or blouse.

Finally, from other bloggers:

  1. Big Cup Little Cup has great reviews of the Wonderbra from the perspective of a 28GG, plus an excellent list of other bloggers’ reviews of the Curvy Kate Luxe at the bottom of their own review.
  2. In December, Comics Girls Need Bras, who wears a 30GG, wrote a strapless roundup that covers Charnos Superlift, Wonderbra, Fantasy Smoothing, and Gossard Superboost Strapless Slip. She followed with a review of the Empreinte Melody Strapless.

Frankly, I’d love to crowdsource this topic. If you’ve purchased a strapless bra recently or know you’re going to need one soon, would you consider walking our readers through your process– what made you settle on your final choice, and how it worked when you finally wore it? I’ll even create a review template if that’ll make it easier for you. And no underwear pictures required–we only want photos of you wearing it under an outfit.

Busty & The Beach: Panache Anya Striped Bandini

We’re lucky to have another post from Donna this week! I’m so grateful that she’s tried such a variety of suits and been willing to write about them for Hourglassy. (Note: Donna purchased this swimsuit herself, and all opinions are her own. Purchases made through the Amazon link in this post may result in commissions to Hourglassy.)

When I first spotted this suit on my quest for the perfect tankini I was smitten but never thought it would work for me. Strapless swim suit?!! I can’t even find a strapless bra let alone swimwear.

I first tried my normal panache swim size, 32G. I normally wear a 30G bra but I find swim runs tighter for me and I need the room for my 50ish belly. I could barely get in on. I literally broke a sweat trying to put this on. No joke. After what seemed like a half hour the suit was on and adjusted and looked pretty good. A bit snug, but probably how it was meant to fit. The bra top of the suit looked amazing and convinced me to play around with sizes. No way could I deal with that struggle to get it on especially since I suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis in my hands.

I exchanged it for a 34G. I definitely needed the torso room and felt I could use a bit more room in the bust. What a difference. So much easier to put on. No struggle, no wiggle dance to lift it up (I step into the tankinis, fasten in the front, then turn it around). It is so incredibly comfortable . More so than any strapless bra I have ever attempted to buy. Never had to fiddle or pull it up. In retrospect a 34FF would probably have been a better fit as the cups are slightly too big. No one but myself would ever notice it. I didn’t realize until after I had worn it.

Adjustable straps can be worn different ways

A major complaint with this and most of the tankinis I have tried is the hidden bra fastener. I find them extremely difficult to put on. Anyone else? I wish they would have the fasteners that bikini tops have-the click clasp or the the clasp with the loop. It could be wider like the bra type, but just not the 2 hook style closure. How about a band that works like a strap adjustment or multiple loops like some bikinis have for more adjustability? Would be infinitely easier.

This type of clasp design much easier(Freya Sundance).
or use hooks like this with multiple loops for adjustability,just wider for more support

Once it’s on, this tankini looks great and more importantly, is super comfortable. I totally recommend!

Kindred Bravely: Nursing Bras in Busty Sizes

This review may seem a little strange – I am about to tell you all to GO AND BUY THIS BRA RIGHT NOW!!! Even though it didn’t even fit me when I tried it. But trust me – I just found something amazing for anyone seeking a soft cup or sleep bra!

I was on the phone with a fellow pregnant friend last week, who told me all about this amazing maternity/nursing bra she had just purchased. “You need to check it out,” she told me. I was polite but skeptical, until she added, “It comes in busty sizes! All the way up to a G cup!!”

I was taken aback by the mention of a cup size larger than DD/E from an American brand! So I did check it out, and I was pleasantly surprised that my friend was wrong . . . they offer sizing up to a US I cup (UK H)!!

That means at my current 32J, I was only *one* cup size outside of the size range, and it was worth buying one just to try it on. I mean, this particular style is only $30, and it can be ordered on Amazon (free shipping and returns since I have Prime)! I purchased this bra myself, and all opinions are my own. Purchases made through the Amazon links in this post may result in commissions to Hourglassy.

Enter the Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback Nursing Bra

It is a soft cup, ultra stretchy bra that is meant to accommodate multiple cup sizes within a single size. This makes it perfect for pregnancy/nursing fluctuations, or just being a woman in general (I don’t know about you, but my breast size changes quite often and I hate buying new bras). Here is the specific size chart for the French Terry Racerback. (Remember this is US sizing, so H = UK G and I = UK H):

Does it make you giddy seeing the 28-30 band and H and I cups on there?! I can’t even tell you how happy I was to see that!

The bra comes in so many cute colors – I was smitten with this mint green shade!! And I was truly smitten with the rest of the bra, I desperately wish it fit me. The band was wonderful – snug but not too tight. A bit of a wrestling match to get it over my head, as is usually the case with bras like this. But once it was on it was phenomenal!

The cups were almost perfect. I had minor side and front cup spillage – very minor! There was plenty of fabric to cover an above average bust, and the cups did not slide around. Honestly if I had ordered earlier in my pregnancy, I may have overlooked the minor fit issues and kept the bra anyway. But I only have 1 month left until my due date, and I know from prior experience I will most likely gain 1-2 cup sizes while breastfeeding, so at this point it doesn’t make sense to keep a bra that is already too small. If the bra were offered in Extra Busty sizes it would be perfect!!

The fit and lift were also wonderful. I didn’t feel any weight on my shoulders, and I looked supported! It’s definitely not going to give you the lift of an underwire bra, but if you fill out the cup decently, the material is strong and stretchy and certainly provides at *least* equal support to a very good swim top. I didn’t feel loose or jiggly either – perfect combination of locked and loaded without being inflexible!

 

The French Terry fabric is a rayon/spandex blend – SO SOFT and breathable! They use a double layer on the cups to provide more support. On the back, there is only a single layer, so you can feel the slightly fuzzy inside of the French Terry. This material also means the bra is machine washable!

And the icing on the cake?? The sizing instructions and cute packaging! Every order comes in a cute bag, with a mini measuring tape, measuring instructions, letter from the founder, and coupon to use on their website. Ordering from Amazon doesn’t mean you miss out on the cute packaging!

Left: a coupon for $20 off an $80 purchase, and a letter from the founder of the company. Top: mini measuring tape for sizing purposes.

  

Take a closer look at those measuring directions….they’re accurate!! They also include helpful measuring videos on Amazon and on their website. I don’t know if I could be more impressed with this brand.

Bottom line: I recommend this bra to absolutely anyone who falls within the size range. And I will not stop asking them to make Extra Busty sizes! If this bra came in Extra Busty, I would buy enough to fill my lingerie drawer to the brim. It really is that good. If you’re craving comfort and style that will actually fit your larger (H cup and under) bust…this is a winner.

Off the Rack ~ Miss Candyfloss Manuela-Lee top & Paola-Rose shorts

I was out of town last week enjoying some time at my parents’ home in the countryside of central New York for the 4th of July, and was too busy swimming, hiking, and going to local breweries to write a post. But in honor of the holiday, this week you get a review of an adorable patriotic outfit from Miss Candyfloss. And BONUS: MCF has a 30% discount (excluding sale items) with code VACATION good through July 22. So go forth and shop!

Introducing the Manuela-Lee top and the Paola-Rose culotte shorts, both in size medium. My normal subway stop for going to work is closed for renovations until at least October, so I’ve been riding my bike to work every day that I possibly can lately, even on 90-degree days. This creates a bit of an outfit crisis, though. I need to be comfortable and cool on my bike, but I refuse to wear athletic-wear to work and full skirts require shorts underneath to keep from flashing passersby—and I do not need an extra layer of fabric on those hot days!

Luckily, I bought a pair of wide-leg high-waisted shorts (aka “culotte shorts”) from Trashy Diva last year, and they’ve proven to be a perfect solution. They’re as comfy as (and look like) a miniskirt with no threat of flashing my undies while I ride.

But I can’t be expected to wear the same pair of shorts every day, now can I (especially after sweating on my bike)? So this season, I’ve been seeking out more shorts in the same style. I picked up another used pair from Trashy Diva, and then fell in love with this entire set from MCF.

And I adore the set even more in person! I literally wore it two days in a row this week (no bike that first day, so it didn’t get too sweaty). In fact, I may order the shorts in navy blue as well. They’re just so cute and practical for my lifestyle!

I suppose I should discuss the top a bit too, since this is a blog devoted to the full-bust market. Turns out, it’s the most boob-friendly top I’ve tried from MCF yet! It’s actually got more room than I need, if you can believe it, thanks to some seriously innovative darting.

Look how full the shorts are!
This look got compliments everywhere I went—even from the doorman at my office!
Here, the shorts are blowing in the wind a bit, but my rear is still safely covered.

I couldn’t resist taking a little slow-mo video to show off how swishy the shorts are:

Okay, on to the top. The front has horizontal and vertical darts for shaping, as well as a pair of vertical darts in back:

You can see it’s not entirely smooth at the ends of the darts, but this is not because the darts were poorly sewn (MCF is the undisputed champion of smooth bust darts!). Rather, it’s because there is still more room for a full bust than I actually need. A more padded bra (this is a Comexim plunge in size Polish 60J [about a UK 28GG]) or simply bigger boobs would pull the fabric a bit more taut and smooth out those darts no problem.

Additionally, the vertical darts are not just a straight line. They curve inward at the waist and then flare back out at the bust—providing a lovely hourglass shape:

Finally, the top is a little short, but it’s by no means a crop top. At 5’6” and with a looooong torso, I can wear it untucked just fine, though I would need at least mid-rise bottoms to ensure there’s no visible skin.

Now I just need to do laundry so I can wear this outfit again (and again, and again…).

A Full Bust Miriam Baker Dress for Any Occasion

Kim has been busy with the job she got after writing about visible bra straps two years ago. I’m thrilled that she’s back to review an amazing dress from Miriam Baker.

Confession: I don’t own any formal wear. My office’s dress code is casual at best, my friends aren’t getting married yet (come on, guys, I need fancy parties to go to!), and I rarely attend any networking or business events. When I do have a nicer event to go to, I tend to wear outfits that veer into weirder territory, and then I worry all night about being under- or over-dressed. For my friend’s birthday the other night, I put aside a simple t-shirt and jeans combo in favor of a silky, polka-dotted slip dress. Upon seeing the cleavage I was willingly putting out into the world, my boyfriend remarked, “That dress looks like it’s going to explode.”

Soooo, yeah, I’m not sure any of the dresses in my closet are super-appropriate for a fancier occasion, which is something I should probably remedy.

When Darlene first showed me the Miriam Baker Dahlia Dress in navy, I was both excited and hesitant—excited because in person, the dress is absolutely gorgeous, and hesitant because at first glance, it didn’t seem like it’d look good on me. I actually thought that the size 10 dress looked like it’d be too small, even though that’s normally my dress size. I also noticed that the style of the dress wasn’t something I’d typically pick out for myself—because I usually wear loud, exaggerated, over-accessorized outfits, I had no idea how I’d look in the classic, elegant Dahlia.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped into the dress and found that it zipped up smoothly, no tugging or struggling necessary. Looking at it before putting it on, I had thought the material would fit in a more body-con way, which I don’t like, but with it on me, I realized it was stretchy in all the right ways—it even seemed to have a shapewear-like quality that didn’t accentuate my stomach at all. I loved the way it showed off my waist with the long sash, and the slit is a sexy addition that makes the dress a little more unique. I also don’t own anything with ruffled shoulders/sleeves, so I wasn’t sure how that would work on me, but I ended up loving them! This is a dress that looks simple until you put it on.

Here’s how it looks from the side.

The only thing that was slightly off was the fact that the neckline bunches up a bit in the front, as you can see more clearly below. For me, this was barely noticeable and didn’t diminish my love for the fit of the dress. If it bothered me, I could have it taken in along the center seam.

Here it is from the back:

I was surprised by how much I liked the way the Dahlia dress fit over my boobs. I wore a size 36I (I believe that’s a UK G) Goddess Clara Banded Underwire Bra  underneath, and not only did my boobs look fine, the dress’ wider neckline covered my bra straps! My bust is a little bigger than the 40.5 measurement of the Dahlia, but luckily the stretchy viscose material was able to contain it. My waist fluctuates between a 31 and 32, so the 31.5 fit on this dress was perfect. If this helps, I’m 5’4 and a half, and the dress comes down to right above my ankles.

One of my favorite things about the Dahlia dress is how versatile it is—I can see myself wearing it to a wedding or something formal like that, but I also think it’s appropriate for work or a date. The best (and most important) thing of all is that it’s actually comfortable! So often, I equate formal wear to uncomfortable dresses that require Spanx and a full day of sucking in. I love the Dahlia because I can wear it without shapewear and I still feel like it’s flattering. It’s not tight in the wrong places or too long or anything like that, and I’m totally okay wearing it for an entire day or night.

I chose to “dress down” the Dahlia with raffia sandals, a matching basket bag, and gold jewelry—if I were wearing it to a formal event, I’d wear heels or a fancier sandal, as well as a nicer bag and silver jewelry (though I’m a way bigger fan of gold). With this look, I feel like the dress is more work-appropriate and casual.

This dress sent me down a rabbit hole on the Miriam Baker site, so I’m sure I’ll be looking to her for my formal wear needs in the future. This just goes to show how hard it is to tell how amazing something can look on you until you try it on!

Disclosure: This set was received as a review sample and Miriam Baker is an advertiser on this site. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience. The Amazon link in this post may result in commissions to Hourglassy.

I Wore Shoshanna

When I walked you through my strategy for finding a great bust-friendly wedding guest dress last week, I suggested browsing our Bridal and Evening Wear category or searching Leah’s reviews of pinup brands, but I should have reminded you about our Dress Reviews category, too!

That’s what helped me find my exact size in this Shoshanna watermelon lace dress on Rent the Runway.

It turns out my very first dress reviews on this blog were “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 1)”, “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 2)” and “I Tried Shoshanna (Part 3)“. Back then, my weight was in the high 150’s; today I’m in the high 140’s. Several RTR reviewers who weigh more than I do look great wearing sizes 6, 8 and 10 on the site, but my 2009 posts reminded me that I could barely get the size 12 to close, so I bet that this time a size 12 would zip all the way up, and I was right.

For reference, I have a 33″ waist and 41″ bust in these photos, and the Shoshanna size chart says that size 12 fits a 31″ waist and 39″ bust. This means that Shoshanna dresses could possibly have enough ease for someone with a higher bust-to-waist ratio than mine.

Size 12 wasn’t available from RTR for the dates I needed, but it WAS available on eBay for $30, including shipping. At that price, I could afford to get it wrong–and I could afford to make it right. Based on RTR reviews, I already knew the shoulder straps would be far too long.

When my seamstress eliminated the extra fabric there, it bagged at the armhole . . .

so she pinched a deeper dart into the princess seam coming from the armhole.

It also required re-attaching the internal bustier to within just an inch of the armhole.

She remembered to do it on the left but forgot to do it on the right, so here’s the weird bump I got before she fixed it. The photo below also shows how pulling the straps up resulted in a higher waist line than I like, but I decided I could live with it.

Regarding the internal bustier, I tried the dress without wearing a bra, and I looked exactly like I wasn’t wearing a bra. The six strips of boning (two down the front, four down the sides) didn’t serve any function on me. Maybe this feature would be useful to someone who completely fills the bustier and also finds the band snug?

Even if I couldn’t go braless in this dress, at least I didn’t have to go strapless! This dress completely covered my 34G Ewa Michalek bra on the day of the wedding–except for an occasional glimpse of my bra strap due to the armholes being cut in too deeply.

As you know, this dress wasn’t my first choice, but I loved the color, and for $30, plus $25 for alterations, plus $13 for thrift store shoes, plus earrings that I borrowed from my friend, my back-up dress became the front runner. Once I added the accessories, I liked the look a lot more!

If you’re in the market for a special dress, I highly recommend looking into Shoshanna. The brand regularly seems to re-issue successful styles in new colors and slight design variations, so if a style works for you once, it’ll likely work for you again. Here are more Shoshanna lace options from RTR that I think would fit me based on what I know about my watermelon dress (L to R: Cindy midi, perriwinkle Sierra, red Sierra).

And the Giana gown is a completely different dress with good reviews from busty women that make me wish I had another black tie event to attend!

P.S. The Giana gown reminds me of Holly Jackson’s amazing ruffle trim jersey dress (Laundry by Shelli Segal) that she wore for her wedding reception!

It’s no longer available in stores, but I just found a size 12 on Poshmark for $40.