When it comes to finding the right bra for every look, backless and strapless tops can be especially challenging. If you want support but also want to keep the more technical parts of a bra (such as straps and back hooks) out of sight, your options become very limited. In these situations, you’re often looking at a trade-off: either wear a strapless bra with a band that has visible back hooks or wear a front closure bra that has visible straps.
So, what’s the solution? Can you get the best of both worlds?
While I was visiting the b.tempt’d showroom in NYC, the b.tempt’d by Wacoal b.enticing Strapless Bra caught my attention. For the woman that finds that great backless dress or top, but still wants to wear a bra for support and lift, this bra could be a very pretty alternative solution.
Rather than having a center back closure, this strapless bra is designed with a pretty, uninterrupted lace back design and a cleverly concealed hook and eye side-closure with two adjustments. This allows the back to have the look of a lace bandeau as well as add a much prettier design element to backless tops than a traditional bra with a center back closure.
Many new bra styles have hit the market lately that feature decorative elastic straps in the chest area positioned so they are visible instead of hidden. The back of this bra is also designed to be seen. And, with silicone added along its bottom edges, this bra’s back can be specifically placed along your back where you want it, and it will stay up and stay put.
It’s a very clever new take on the traditional strapless bra, and a great choice for young women to wear under the latest top and dress styles with trendy open and low backs. Not to mention, its fresh modern look gives it the versatility to work great under casualwear as well as formalwear.
More about b.tempt’d
b.tempt’d is actually part of the Wacoal lingerie brand family. A design team of 38 women based out of New York City creates this innovative brand by laser focusing on fashion trends while keeping abreast of the ever-changing designs and colors that reflect each season. The result is a modern collection of everyday lingerie styles that works for young women from cup sizes A to DDD. Shop all b.tempt’d by Wacoal bra styles available at HerRoom.
So, what do you think about this strapless bra? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!
As a bra fit and design enthusiast, I always get a rush of excitement when I meet with Felina Creative Director and “all around nice guy,” Willy Mrasek. When we get together, we can talk for hours about our shared obsession: finding the best bra fit possible for every woman. We love to catch up and trade stories about our latest discoveries and ideas about our favorite topic. I applaud people in our industry like Willy because they focus on the things that matter most to women when they’re looking for a bra: superior fit, comfort and style.
Finding the right bra fit for different body and breast types might sound easy, but it’s not. Just like women’s bodies, breasts come in all shapes, sizes and weights. Finding a great fitting bra for a slender woman who wears a DD cup and has self-supporting breasts is very different from finding a great fitting bra for a petite woman who wears a B cup and has conical breasts. From fabrics and elastics to cup, band and strap design, there are countless considerations to make when finding the right bra for any one woman.
Because this challenge is so complex, I’ve noticed a common misconception about bras and their makers. When a woman tries on a bra that doesn’t fit her, she immediately thinks it’s because the bra’s manufacturer hasn’t taken the time to understand her body. While I can understand why some women might come to this conclusion, this really isn’t the case. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and work with many design teams (all whose brands are carried by HerRoom) and I can unequivocally say they are all focused on fit, and are passionate about getting it right!
One way manufacturers have tried to better understand bra fit and help women find their right size has been by developing detailed bra measurement systems. Willy is no different. In his quest to improve bra sizing and fitting for women, Willy asked me earlier this year if I’d be willing to let several of my employees try his new bra size measuring system – knowing full well that all my female employees absolutely know their correct bra size. I was more than happy to help.
Willy’s bra measurement system
Willy’s new system still has a woman measuring her under bust circumference to determine her band size, but without adding any inches. He also has a different bust measurement request to determine cup size. Rather than taking a woman’s bust circumference and subtracting from the band size, Willy asked my employees to measure their breasts starting in the center where the breast tissue begins and measuring over the breast apex and to the other side where the breast tissue ends (while wearing an unlined/padding free bra).
See the full Felina bra fit measurement page here.
Willy then provided this table and asked my employees if their current correct bra size lined up with his new measuring system.
Let’s start with me. I wear a 34D in contour cup bras and a 34C or D in seamed cup bras. So, when I share my size I usually call it a “34C+.” My measurements lined up with Willy’s chart for a 34C.
The results for my team were, well… all over the place:
78 percent of the participants felt the result was too large. These participants were mostly in the DD+ cup size range. Looking at Willy’s system, you can see he is adding the traditional 4”-5” to the band measurement to get the band size.
56 percent of the participants felt the result was too small. 33 percent said the cup size according to their measurement was too large and 22 percent said the cup size they calculated matched their actual cup size.
A woman’s bra size is subjective. This experiment really reinforces how subjective a woman’s bra size is. At the end of the day, the only bra size that matters is the bra size the wearer is most comfortable in.
Things get trickier for DD cup sizes and above. When a cup size increases beyond a DD, my point of view is that the band size needs to come down and be tighter to provide more support around the under bust. Reviewing my employees’ results during this experiment only further reinforced my theory.
Plastic surgeons have used a similar method. About 15 years ago, I was interviewing plastic surgeons who specialized in breast augmentation and I found that this was the method they used to determine augmented breast size. Given that an augmented breast is full, this would make sense. I included this measuring technique in my Bra Fitting Center back then. In contrast, however, Willy’s measurements require a smaller measurement to achieve his cup size. For example, a 38D cup should measure 12” in the plastic surgeon’s measurements. Using Willy’s system, 38D-42D sizes only range from 10”-11 1/4”. Knowing that many women who go in for breast surgery ask for a certain cup size and wind up with a larger one, this surgical measuring could be a part of the reason why.
I’m grateful to Willy and Felina for asking us to participate in this new measuring system. For a woman who doesn’t know her size and wants a starting point, using Willy’s method along with the traditional method should get you into a bra size ballpark. This is valuable. But, at the end of the day, your best bra size will be the one you are the most comfortable in.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!
There has been a lot of press recently about the website ThirdLove and their claim to be the first company to create bras in half cup sizes. This claim, however, is simply dead wrong. I have seen first-hand several attempts to market half cup bra sizes. Here is the history:
In 2004, Playtex launched its “Thank Goodness It Fits” collection, which featured bras in half sizes for cup sizes A-D, calling them “Nearly A,” “Nearly B,” “Nearly C,” and “Nearly D.” Although Playtex put a considerable amount of effort into marketing its half cup size collection, it was taken off the market in 2008 due to lackluster sales.
In 2007, Le Mystère launched their version of the half cup size concept with its “No. 9” collection. Working with a plastic surgeon, they designed and patented bras that complimented the unique changes in shape and size that occur after breast augmentation. They tried to create half band sizes that also included half cup sizes. Their half cup sizes ranged from C to DD (for example, sizing for a C cup included 32C, 33C, 34C, 35C, 36C, etc.). A 33C would fall halfway between a 32C and a 34C in both band and cup. Again, this collection was heavily marketed, but ultimately faded away one style at a time. Interestingly, the strapless bra in his collection lingered the longest because it had a terrific fit for all women regardless if they were augmented or not.
Natori also attempted a half cup size collection in 2007 with the “Zen Unique Fit” collection. This line was designed for the woman whose unique figure wasn’t quite a B, C or D cup because she was shallow on top or full on bottom. Their sizing scale range was 32A, 32A+, 34A, 34A+,36A, 36A+, and so on. The collection only lasted for a few years because of low sales.
So, why hasn’t half cup sizing caught on?
I feel like there are four reasons half cup sizes don’t appeal to most women:
1. Let’s say a woman buys a bra in a half cup size and decides it’s a great fit. Essentially, she has just removed herself from every other brand that uses traditional cup sizing. Her bra choices in the market are now reduced to one manufacturer. Women don’t like to be boxed in when it comes to shopping options.
2. Most women don’t have equally sized breasts – instead, one is usually larger than the other. So, a half size might be a better fit for one breast, but obviously not both.
3. After doing the math, many women decide it’s just not worth it. The difference between cup sizes is a mere 1” in circumference at the bustline. So, by moving from a 34B to 34C, your bust circumference measurement will only need to increase by one inch (from 36” to 37”). That’s a pretty small size increase. Now, consider an even smaller change by a half cup size – which would only increase your bust circumference from 36” to 36.5”. To get a better understanding of cup sizing, watch my Expert Video: Mastering The Cup Size Game.
Cup sizing as it relates to chest circumference
4. The half cup size attempts are usually in the smaller cup sizes (AA to C), but the center panel width and cup location is more important than cup size. Breast tissue is malleable, so larger breasts can be resituated to fit into their cups properly. Because smaller sized breasts have less breast tissue, their sizing needs to be more exact. This isn’t so much about actual cup volume as it is about cup location on the chest. For example, a woman who wears an A cup doesn’t have that much breast tissue. What matters most is cups that work for her breast location. Breast location can be wide-set, close-set, or average – so width choices in a bra’s center panel matters more than cup volume. To learn more about cup sizing for smaller breasts, watch my Expert Video: Bras For Women With Small Cup Sizes.
Think about half shoe sizes. Unlike bras, shoe half sizes make sense. Feet are mostly composed of bone and cartilage, which is very different from malleable breast tissue. So, a more exact fit is needed. But, even some shoe manufacturers will opt out of half sizes when the shoe is either open-toed or has a stretchy toe.
So, is it worth the effort to adapt to a new bra size that will make your current bras obsolete and drastically reduce your bra choices in the market?
I’d say no.
While ThirdLove claims to have 70 bra sizes, that’s not much when you consider the fact that the average bra on the market today comes in 32 sizes. HerRoom carries more than 200 different bra sizes without any half cup sizes.
Instead of turning to half cup sizing, women that feel their fit isn’t quite perfect have a few better solutions:
1. Try a bra with a stretchy upper cup edge design. This will give you a solid foundation in the lower part of the cup while giving you a more custom fit at the top. Not only is this a great choice for women who think they are between sizes, but it’s also great for women who are uneven – each breast will get a custom cup fit.
2. Try a bra with stretchy fabric in the entire cup. This will give you a custom fit regardless of breast size or unevenness. At HerRoom, you can find all these selections here. Currently, HerRoom has almost 300 bras with this feature to choose from.
3. Adjust your straps. It’s tempting to put a bra on straight off the hanger or out the bag. But, bras need adjusting – especially in the straps. Once you put your bra on, stand in front of a mirror and before adjusting the straps, pull them up. Do your cups suddenly fit better? Often, the answer is yes. Now you can adjust your straps and have a better fit.
Women have enough to worry about. There is no reason to further complicate bra sizing with more size options. If you’re larger than a D cup, HerRoom’s Universal Cup Sizing™ System has made finding your true size in every brand even easier. Find your UCS™ now!
What do you look for in a bra – the lift and support of an underwire or the comfort of a soft cup?
Most women have a specific use for both types of bras. For instance, when many of us come home from a long day, the first thing we do is take off our underwire bra and change into something more relaxed and comfortable. But what if you could have the best of both worlds in one bra?
One of the perks of being an industry insider is getting to see new bra designs and concepts before they’re released. When I was shown this new bra, I wanted to share it with you and get your thoughts.
Introducing the new bra concept by Crème Bralèe: the bra with removable wires.
This full-coverage, lightly lined bra has a tall center panel (or gore), and wires that can be taken out and then reinserted and snapped back into place. Once you take the wires out, you can store them in your purse, in a drawer, in a jewelry box, or anywhere else.
To remove the underwires, unsnap them from the center and gently slide them out.
Now you have a wireless bra. When you’re ready to reinsert the underwires, simply slide them back in from the center of the bra and re-snap each of the wires at the front.
See this bra in action.
Worn with underwires
Easy to remove the underwires while still wearing the bra
Worn without underwires
What do you think about this new bra? I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments below and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.