For today's post, I wanted to spotlight an excellent reader question I received. Take a look at A.'s situation:
I was fitted a few years ago as a 28GG. To be honest, my question is do you know any places that are reasonably priced for bras? I am having a hard time with finding bras that are smooth and not unlined. I wear a lot of tight shirts so the unlined bras look horrendous. If you can offer any advice please let me know, I work retail and I run around a lot so my back tends to hurt quite a bit. --A
For a minute, A. had me stumped! Since I started Miss Underpinnings, I've gravitated towards cut-and-sew or non-padded bras. Contour styles can also be a bit harder to find in this size. Many full bust brands cut off their size availability in contour bras at a 28G (Cleo Jude) and other brands don't offer padded styles to 28-backs at all (the Panache Porcelain Viva). Finally, a few companies are choosing to release padded versions in a smaller cup range (Freya's Padded Half Cups). After ruminating on A.'s dilemma, I suddenly remembered a ton of awesome and affordable contour bras that are available for 28GGs. Here are my top four picks:
In the past, Freya only made the Deco up to a 28G, but last season the 28GG appeared on the market. I recently tried out a Deco style (the lovely & amazing Hatty) in this size and I was enamored with the comfort and knockout fit. If A. likes to go seamless, doesn't mind a bit of sassy cleave, and wants a bra that will be comfortable all day long, I think the Deco would definitely do the trick. Now, there's one drawback I can envision: the bra above is a plunge. Obviously, a plunge bra reveals more skin than a full coverage or balcony style. The Deco also offers a push-up effect. While insanely soft against the breast tissue, the push up provides forward projection and lift. So, if you're a lady that does a lot of work-related lifting/bending over and you don't want to be aware of spillage or movement, the Deco might not be the best bet.
I have such a lingerie crush on this bra! I haven't bought it yet so I can't speak to the fit, but Cheryl from Invest in Your Chest did a great review of it and the customer feedback on Bravissimo's website is overwhelmingly positive. I'm mildly obsessed with this bra because I'm repulsed by most beige padded bras. Maybe not repulsed, but definitely bored. While I find so-called "nude" bras to be pathetically bland, I adore the Juna's cute patterned trim, center gore bow, and flattering circular shape. If A. is willing to sacrifice for the seam down the middle, this bra is a strong contender for "best work bra".
From the styles listed above, it's clear that Ewa Michalak has the best stock list for contour cups in this size. A. is sure to find a color or style she prefers amongst this wonderful selection. The padded bras from this Polish lingerie brand are gorgeously designed, carefully sewn, and look awesome under close fitting tops. Like the Cleo Juna, many of these bras do carry seam texture through the middle of the cup but for coverage and smoothness, they definitely get the job done. Some women find that these bras run snug (the plunge and HM styles, in my experience) so A. might be able to order and return her sister size (30G? 30GG?). However, if she'd like to order a 28, it's considered a custom order and won't be returnable. It's a gamble, but the bras are worth every bit of risk.
I've listed the suggested retail price for the styles above. However, If you're on a more stringent budget, there are a few tricks for grabbing a deal. Like any garment, you can wait until a season has passed to buy the fashion colorways at budget sites or boutiques. I've snatched up a few sets in summer shades (fuschia, bright yellow) lately that retailers don't want to carry into the winter. If you're comfortable with independent retailers, ebay has some great options. Also, if you don't mind previously owned bras, I know some of the users on Bratabase sell styles that didn't work out for their shape. My favorite tip? If there's a store or online retailer you especially like, SIGN UP FOR EMAILS. Email notifications allow you to shop a sale first, provide you with special discount codes, and let you know when they have new merchandise.
Alright, ladies. We gotta help A. out! What are your tips for saving $$$ on bras? Do you have a favorite contour style for work that you'd recommend?