Tuesday, 15 April 2014

[Review] Tutti Rouge Mae Padded Balconette & Frilly Brief - 28E & S

I meant to share this review ages ago, but life caught up, along with a bit of writers block. My current strategy is to review the remainder of my bras by brand, and I'm starting from the bottom.

I received this set a few months ago after participation in the Tutti Tattoo competition. I didn't win, but was offered an AW13 set of my choice to review for my blog. I went with the Mae, as I was intrigued by how it would compare to the Betty, one of my favourite everyday bras.

The Bra

General
This AW13 beauty is based on the SS13 Sophia cut, called a "padded balconette" although I'd call it more of a halfcup. It's a luxurious piece featuring satin and tulle, and is available in two colourways: Deep Berry/Black and Black/Ivory. I own the Berry/Black colourway. SS13's Sophia is still widely available, in colourways Mint and Candy.

Look
A red berry coloured base with black lace on top, along with a berry coloured tulle section. A big black rose sits in the middle, a refreshing change from the traditional bow. Simple black bows sit on top of the cups where it meets the embroidered straps. Black frills are present underneath the band, just like the Betty.

Band
Mesh band featuring two hooks and three eyes in this size. The band is wide and firm, comparable to a 28" Cleo. I recommend sizing up in the band if you're in between band sizes.

Cups
Lightly padded foam featuring one vertical seam. The cups are wide and shallow, although I do find the cups to be a bit deeper than the Betty's. The tulle is quite loose, but you can fold it in the cups for the most part. Interestingly enough, Bras I Hate and Love, who reviewed the SS13 sister cut the Sophia, mentions how very loose the tulle is in her size - and she's very full on top.

Center Gore & Wires
Narrow, relatively high center gore. The wires are wide.

Straps
Half adjustable straps. They're wide set. 

Fit
A good fit! The cups are filled well, the band is firm and doesn't shift around, the straps are decent when adjusted all the way. The wide wires cause no noticeable fit issues. The only issues are the wide set straps, and the tulle section: I do not entirely fill it, but pushing the tulle inside the cups solves this easily. The shape is very round. I prefer to wear the bra racerback, just like the Betty, although the photos I took are of me wearing the bra with the straps adjusted all the way.

Comfort
The materials used are of high quality, and comfortable. The tulle does not itch at all, nor do the frills underneath itch. The high gore gives me no discomfort.

Verdict
Another excellent Tutti bra for shallow breasts, I recommend this bra for tall, wide-root shallow breasts that are full on top. If you're even or full on bottom, the loose tulle section may gape, but I think it's entirely possible to tighten the tulle, or even remove it completely. Another option would be too size down in the cups, as the cups are very open and can easily accommodate.

The Frilly Brief 

The Mae comes with two matching options: a thong and a frilly brief. I own the latter, and it's much more true to size than the SS13 briefs in S. The back and side sections are see through, the fron section is the same satin like material as the bra's cups. They fit me perfectly, are comfortable, and playful - I love the keyhole and frills on the back! 

Mae vs Betty

Mae's cups are a bit deeper and more open on top, Betty's band is firmer. Betty's cups are lower, and are different in upper shape. Mae's cups start lower than the gore,and continue to go higher until the section where the straps are attached, like a slope. Betty's cups do not have this gradual slope, and its straps are directly attached to the cups. Overall, the Mae is bigger than Betty in a few ways.

Conclusion

An absolutely gorgeous set in the most gorgeous colours, complemented with adorable Tutti Rouge details. The bra is definitely worth checking out for those with shallow breasts who love a round shape. The set can be used as a bedroom set and as an everyday set, but the decorations on the bra may show through tight clothing. Tutti Rouge has easily become one of my favourite brands, and their consistent success on shallow breasts makes my heart flutter. While this bra is only available in DD cups and up, Tutti has plans to incorporate D cups in their collection soon, and I certainly hope they venture below a D in the future. 



Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Problem with Kate: On Curvy Kate and Shallow Breasts

When I started writing this post, it was meant to be one of my regular reviews, this time of the Curvy Kate Dreamcatcher Balconnete in 28D, DD, and E. As a result of reading a recent fit check on bratabase for the Curvy Kate Gia, this post morphed into something bigger, tackling Curvy Kate's performance as a brand in smaller sizes, and specifically it's non-padded bras and smaller breasts. I'm basing this post on my own experience, numerous fit checks from Bratabase and r/abrathatfits, a wealth of reviews from these two, as well as blogger reviews and customer reviews from retailer sites like Figleaves, Amazon and Herroom.

Curvy Kate is a brand I've loved ever since I discovered my well-fitting size (I'm leaning towards 28E currently, but I'm still the occasional 28DD). However, I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that me and Kate are just not working out. Don't get me wrong, I still mostly like the aesthetics of their bras, but the fit part of their designs is a another story. 

"Curvy Kate Bras are Wide and Shallow"


Now for a bit of history on Curvy Kate's models and their performance on shallow breasts: Curvy Kate has acquired a reputation of being wide and shallow in all of their models -  I personally think the "wide and shallow" reputation originated solely from the larger cup sizes, and got also assigned to the smaller cup sizes. This reputation is simply incorrect when it comes to non-padded designs in the smaller cup sizes - the cups have always been quite deep in the lower size range, and have barely, if ever, been a success for shallow breasts. The brand listened to the customer complaints of "wide and shallow", and redesigned their entire collection (both lingerie and swimwear) to be narrower and deeper, starting SS13.

As a side note, I'm not going to devote much words to their swimwear collection for two reasons: 1) reviews are scarce, and 2) aside from the halternecks, all models are based on existing models of the main collection. Their first swimwear season was SS12, followed by SS13. For SS14: the tankinis are based on their balconette cut, the moulded bras are based on the Smoothie, and their padded bras are based on the Daily Boost/Lola. The halternecks do look shallow friendly, although the only reviews I found (most of them FF+ cups) only mentioned that they run small in the cups. Then again, complaints of cups running small are often a sign of the cup being too shallow for projected breasts.

Even before SS13, reviews of the non-padded balconettes from bratabase users with shallow breasts are overwhelmingly negative. The reviews after SS13 even more so. Currently, there are 4 continuity styles available, the Princess, Portia, Gia, and Dreamcatcher. Some models, like the Romance, only have fashion colourways available, and some only pop up once a season, like AW13's Rosie. Most of these balconettes have the same base construction with slight variations to differentiate them, such as a tighter upper section (Princess), or a laminated cup (Lottie, Eden). Curvy Kate introduced their non-padded plunge in AW13 with the Daisy Chain. There aren't any reviews available in smaller sizes, but I doubt they'll be any more positive than the reviews for the balconettes. 

In the past, most of Curvy Kate's padded half cups proved themselves as a success for shallow breasts. They were generally one-or-two seasons flies, like the Entice and the Fleurty.  The Tease Me is also often cited as being well suited for shallow breasts, but despite having very shallow cups at the bottom, the deep apex makes it a very tricky fit, as it does require much top fullness and and projection. This makes it a very hit or miss bra in the smaller sizes (judging by the bratabase reviews, it's overwhelmingly a miss). The Thrill Me has some sizing issues of its own, but fares better than the Tease Me thanks to the cups having less projection on top - some reviews indicate it to be wider and shallow than the Tease Me, but as the colourways differ so much from each other, I cannot state this with certainty. The Tease Me will return in AW14, all the others have been discontinued. SS14 saw the introduction of a new padded half-cup, the Ritzy (also available as a babydoll), and a half cup longline, the Carmen. There aren't many reviews out there on either, but so far the Ritzy seems to be promising, with Carmen being on the fence - more reviews will hopefully shed more light on their respective fit. 

The other padded model in their arsenal, the plunge, was a success for small, shallow sizes. Tempt Me, Wild and (especially) the Elegance were also a success on shallow breasts, but have been discontinued since SS13. The continuity multi-way plunge, the Desire, is also shallow, but has some (unrelated) issues which cause the top edge to flare. The Roxie showed up in SS14, but there aren't enough reviews available for me to give a proper verdict. It's supposedly based on the Tempt Me post-SS13.

An entirely different story are the padded balconnetes, based on their non-padded design: the continuity style Daily Boost, and the Lola (also available as a babydoll). The latter will show up in fashion colourways until at least AW14. These bras feature projected cups with narrow wires. Note that sizing down may allow shallow breasts to work in this style, but I personally can't comment on that.

Their moulded offerings, the Smoothie and Starlet (both continuity styles), are a tricky fit - the top edge is fairly closed, the bottom is very shallow, and the center is rather projected. In my case, going down a cup size solved this problem, but it does make this bra a mixed success for those with shallow breasts. Their first moulded strapless bra, the Luxe, is to be released in September as a continuity style. Strapless bras tend to be shallow, but time will tell if the Luxe follows this trend.

So, while Curvy Kate did score some hits in the past, their current collection exists mostly of non-padded balcony and plunge bras that do not fit shallow breasts well. Their SS14 collection offers 19 models in total: 8 non-padded models with a nearly non-existent success rate, 3 padded models (Daily Boost, Lola, Lola Babydoll) with a very low success rate, 2 models with a mixed success rate (Smoothie and Starlet), 1 model with a decent success rate (the Desire), and 5 models with an undecided success rate (Roxie, Ritzy, Ritzy Babydoll, Carmen, and the as of this writing still unreleased Luxe). AW14 sees even more non-padded designs, mostly new plunges, the Tease Me, Carmen, Ritzy, and Roxie all return with new fashion colourways,  and a new fashion padded plunge will be available, called the Lovestruck. In my eyes, it looks like Curvy Kate's priority for now are their non-padded designs. 

Me and Kate: A Summary of Tried and Tested Bras

28E
28DD
28D
As a reminder: my breasts are shallow, close-set, even in fullness, and have a conical shape, meaning I'm narrow on the sides and center heavy.

I won the Dreamcatcher months ago in the one year anniversary giveaway of Let's Get Lippy, a wonderful and well written beauty and lifestyle blog. After the bra arrived and didn't fit me, I ordered the bra in 28D and 28DD from Brastop, determined to figure out once and for all if Curvy Kate's balconettes can work for my shallow breasts.

The Dreamcatcher is a three-part non-padded balconette, introduced AW13 as a continuity range. According to bratabase, it's based on the Emily, Ella, and Romance. The cups are quite close together, not wide, and the wires are narrow-medium width in all three sizes I tried.

The main problem with me and the Dreamcatcher are the cups being too deep overall and too closed along the cup edge in all three sizes I've tried. The 28E was a mess of epic proportion: the cups wrinkled like no tomorrow, and no adjusting of the straps or band could fix it. The 28DD was a wrinkly mess of biblical proportions, and the 28D was simply a wrinkly mess, with cutting in at the top. Of course, me being conical plays it part, but the wrinkling presented itself in such ways that my shape on the sides hardly mattered with everything else going on. 

Size
73.0
54.5
19.8
11.8
20.0
6.0
5.0
2.0
2.0
73.5
55.9
20.5
12.6
20.3
5.8
5.0
2.0
1.6
73.1
54.8
22.4
12.3
21.4
5.8
5.5
2.1
1.5

As you can see from the bratabase comparison, the wires in the smaller size range actually aren't really that wide: my three different sizes were very close together in measurement when it comes to cup width and wire length. The cups are very deep for their respective sizes, even just going by the measurements. I know depth measurements aren't the clearest indicator on how a bra is built or how/if the bra will fit, but for comparisons sake: the 28E Dreamcatcher's depth is close to the Thrill Me in 28G's depth - ouch. 

Now that my blog is older, now that I've tried numerous bras and brands, I can reflect more clearly when it comes to bra fit. I'm ashamed to admit, but I did sometimes delude myself into thinking a bra didn't actually fit that bad, simply because I liked the looks of it too much or another silly reason.

I've tried several non-padded Curvy Kate models other than the Dreamcatcher, and the results were dreadful. The pre-SS13 Criss Cross I dug out of my "for sale bag" just for this post, and boy is it an awful fit on me, especially after loosening up the straps a little. The top of the cup doesn't even touch my chest, and there's heavy with wrinkling near the nipple. The pre-SS13 Princess, which has been sold in the meantime, had the same wrinkling issues along with cutting in at the top edge of the cups, thanks to the heavy embroidery. I did have a pseudo-positive experience with the Portia, as I was able to make it shallow by tying the cups together. It's not exactly ideal though, and it's of course not the way the bra is meant to be worn.

As for the padded models I tried: their padded half cups stab me painfully in the sternum, but other than that, a fine fit on my shallow breasts. I own(ed) the Entice, Fleurty, and Tease Me. I tried the latter in 28E ages ago and returned it because it was too big, I currently own it in 28DD. The Daily Boost, which I thought at the time to be an okay fit, was actually a bad fit a la the Freya Deco: a projected mess. The Desire is still a good fit, and I tried the Elegance ages ago before I started blogging - I don't remember much of it, but I remember it fit well enough, but I disliked how it looked underneath clothing. I haven't tried any of their other plunges.

The Bondi Breeze was a plunge cut, and I think it was based on the Tempt Me (the only plunge CK offered back in SS12). The fit wasn't bad or anything, I simply didn't like how little it covered. Although I do recall I found it to run big for a 28DD, but that may have had something to do with the stretchy fabric - other reviews indicate it to be shallow, and it fit Denocte of Kurven Diskussionen well when she wore this size. I've yet to review the Moonlight Padded Bikini Top in 28DD and Paradise Moulded Bikini in 28DD. The Moonlight, based on the Daily Boost is still too projected for me, and the cup fabric wrinkles where my breasts aren't round. The Paradise fits me exactly the same as the Smoothie, although the cups seem the tiniest bit more open, making it a slightly better fit.

So, all in all, Curvy Kate's non-padded offerings were a disaster on me, and their padded offerings worked mostly positive on me. I know I'm not the only one who experiences their models like this, and especially when it comes to my fit issues with the non-padded Curvy Kate bras - numerous reviews and fit checks tell me I'm not unique in experiencing a profound shape mismatch.


What Can Kate Do?


Is the Dreamcatcher, and by proxy the CK balconette, a bad bra? No, but it is thoroughly unsuitable for small, shallow breasts. This bra is made with full on top and projected breasts in mind, and with the recent trend of various redesigns making the cups even more narrow and deeper, I can't help but think that they should discontinue their smaller sizes in non-padded models.

I know I shouldn't think like that -  projected breasts in this size range do exist, and it's wrong from me to assume otherwise, and deny those with projected breasts within this size range a choice of bras. Then again, I don't want those with shallow breasts to be disappointed, and with the current trend being "narrower and deeper cups", I'm not particularly hopeful for the future.

So, what can Curvy Kate do about this? They're not obligated to do anything of course, but in my opinion, the perfect solution would be the introduction of a non-padded style with vertical seams, such as a half cup. This style nearly always works well for shallow breasts, and as an added bonus is it's also a style that generally works well with all other shapes and sizes. Another solution would be to make different designs for different size ranges, like Ewa Michalak does with the 3D(M) and S(M) ranges - but I cannot say whether this would be a feasible undertaking, especially sales wise.

They're on the right track with most their padded models, but the fact that little of their successful-on-shallow-breasts models are continuity styles is bothersome. Sure, you can still find the SS13 Entice if you dig around a bit, but in a year or so it'll be as good as gone. The Fleurty and Thrill Me's have virtually disappeared, safe for Ebay and a few outlet sites. A continuity style half cup in the vein of the Entice or the Ritzy would be an excellent addition to Curvy Kate's diverse continuity collection - perhaps even with a lower gore, as complaints of gore stabbing are common in the lower size range (again, in my opinion). 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

[Giveaway] RUBY South Africa - Win a Lingerie Set to Call Your Own!

A while ago, I was contacted by Robyn, the founder of RUBY South Africa, if I was interested in doing a giveaway for my lovely readers. Overjoyed, I shouted YES! at my computer screen before replying with a more rational e-mail. 

RUBY is an independent fashion brand based in South Africa. The company was founded in twelve years ago in Capetown by Robyn Lidsky, and is still owned by her to this day. They specialize in ethical, handmade lingerie and jewelry. Robyn also developed the RUBY BEADING CIRCLE programme, a fair trade initiative that employs local women, utilizing their traditional beading techniques in a contemporary, fashion-forward context. 


Their lingerie collections features handmade bras (most of them non-wired), knickers, hosiery, and nightwear in sizes XS-XL. One of my personal favourites is the lovely Coral and Dusty Blue lace set, which is also available as a chemise. Their official website shows several designs unavailable in their Etsy store (under the Fashion Week tab), but don't fret: the recent creations are available on request, such as this gorgeous black lace bra with sleeves.

Their jewelry collection features necklaces (pendants and lockets), earrings, and headbands. Again, all ethically made. 

Their products are currently sold through a number of local and global boutiques, and you can purchase RUBY's products online via Etsy. The best part: their prices! Very reasonable prices for handmade, ethical fashion, and their Etsy store charges very low worldwide shipping (always a big plus in my eyes!)

Another great thing about RUBY is their environmental stance. You may have seen their anti-fracking campaign, and their latest campaign is all about saving the ocean. Currently, the oceans are being plagued by plastic, the main culprit being plastic bottles. Not only does this threaten the fish living in the ocean that it their home, it also threatens the Earth's delicate ecosystem.



Shot by the South African photographer Ilse Moore, famous for her ethereal underwater photography. The campaign is cleverly called S.O.S: Save Our Seas. The models are shot as mermaids, with tails made from upcycled bra cups. It's a visually stunning campaign, using mermaid imagery alongside it's critical message to create a powerful statement. I personally try to use as little plastic water bottles as I can - a small gesture, but the little things count too. 


Would you like to win some pretty frillies? RUBY is offering Petite & Plentiful readers the chance to win 3 RUBY lingerie sets to call their own. Simply enter the rafflecopter below for your chance of winning a RUBY set of your choice!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 16 March 2014

[Review] Gossard Glossies Sheer Moulded Bra - 30D & 30DD

I've been wanting to try out the Gossard Glossies for a long time - they top Amazon UK's Lingerie chart in popularity, and the idea of a sheer moulded bra sounded very appealing to me. I ended up buying the Glossies in size 30D and 30DD, along with the padded plunge in 30DD, from Zalando, a German site that offers free shipping and returns to Dutch residents. I figured with the free shipping/returns, there was nothing to lose.

General
Gossard's best selling range, the Glossies are sheer, non-padded, moulded t-shirt bras. Continuity colourways available are Beige, White, Black, and Mocha. The current fashion colourway is Coral (SS14), and a Leopard print continuity range in Black and Blush will debut in AW14. Cup sizes above D feature a side sling. The range also includes a padded plunge, in addition to a matching boyshort, high waisted brief, and thong.

Look
A black see through bra. The center gore is made of black fabric. The 30D has embroidery on top of the band, the 30DD does not. Both feature a gold Gossard tag next to the right cup.

Band
The band of the 30DD is wider in the front than the 30D, but the 30D is wider in the back. Both feature two hooks and three eyes. They run a bit small for a 30 band, stretching to 29". Neither one of them has reinforced wings.

Cups
Non-padded, moulded cups with no seams. The cups aren't very tall, and they're not very tight. The 30DD has a big side sling inside the cups. The cups are see through, and do not shield your nipples. 

Center Gore & Wires
The gore on both bras is made out of stretchy fabric. The 30D has a low, very narrow center gore. The 30DD has a slightly higher center gore that is much wider than the 30D. The wires are narrow-medium width for both, and feel a bit more flimsier than those of Curvy Kate and the like. The 30D's are flimsier than the 30DD's.

Straps
Fully adjustable straps. The 30D's straps are about a cm thinner than the 30DD's. Both are narrow set.

Fit
Wearing the 30DD, side view of my bigger breast. You can see the wrinkling. 
Both of these bras were completely non-compatible with me, shape wise. The 30DD was much too big in addition to the fit issues I had with the 30D, so I'll be discussing my fit issues with the smaller size in detail. My breasts are conical, and this bra definitely requires round breasts - the cups wrinkle on the outer side of my nipples (the 30DD had extreme wrinkling). On top of that, in order to fit this bra, you also need very full on bottom breasts. In addition, I have a tall root which this bra doesn't like, all in all resulting in the unflattering pointy ski-slope shape pictured above.

Comfort 
The cups are very soft, the band is made of similar velvet like material. The cups of the 30D are softer than the 30DD's, an the straps are scratchy on both.

Verdict
I imagine this bra works great as a plain everyday t-shirt bra for those who it fit. Unfortunately, I ran in too much fit issues to ever try this bra again - I recommend this for those with round breasts, a short root, and a full on bottom shape. I can't properly recommend or advise against this bra for shallow breasts - the lower cup seems to me a shape issue based on me being conical and not very full on bottom, so it may be worth a try (in a size down perhaps) if you're shallow and very full on bottom. I'm quite bummed out that this bra didn't fit me, but luckily the other Glossies, the Padded Plunge, fit me much better - expect a review soon!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Small Busted Living: On Bikinis

Out of 13 available models in 70A/32A, 5 are "Add 2 Cupsizes Maximizers", 4 are regular push up bras, and 4 are moulded and padded.
Swimwear selection in the Netherlands is, for a lack of a better word, abysmal. XS-XL saying is more common than cup sizing, and if it's proper band and cup sizing, don't expect to find a 32 band with a cup higher than a B. The selection consists mainly out of triangle tops, bandeaus, and moulded bikinis, usually push ups. Triangle tops do absolutely nothing for me aside from covering my nipples - bandeau bras I've only tried, never actually bought and worn because they would just slip down all the time. 

So for swimwear options, I wore slightly padded triangle tops from the C&A children's section until the second year of high school. After that, moulded push up bikinis exclusively. My 32A push up bikinis from the Hunkemöller fit so badly in every way, I cringe whenever I think back. Oh the band riding up to my shoulder blades, oh the straps falling off! The quadboob disguised by a too big band!

I already talked about push up bras and insecurity in this series, so I'm keeping it short  for this post: I hated trying on swimwear because I knew they'd only disappointed me in the looks department, I hated wearing a bikini for all to see - I wanted to to pad myself up as much as possible, which led me to buy two Victoria Secret Bombshell's bra. Still, even with push up bikinis, I still felt extremely uncomfortable, and filled with anxiety. I felt so self conscious about my chest at the swimming pool, I imagined all the everyone was staring and laughing at me. I wear glasses, and take them off whenever I go swimming, so it certainly wasn't hard for me to imagine the blurry faces as filled with mockery and cruelty. I'd mentally catalogue every girl or woman who walked by, and compare my chest to theirs - I always felt like mine was at least 5 cup sizes smaller than theirs. Later, when I discovered my well fitting size and the difference between shallow and projected shapes, I noticed their atrocious fit mostly. 

Fashion advice: not just in Girls and Women's magazines!
(Ouran High School Host. Vol 3, Ch 8)
Each time I looked for swimwear fashion advice, it all boiled down to the same thing:  how to create the illusion of a bigger bust, and how to camouflage your bust. Not, there's nothing wrong with wanting to wear ruffled or heavily patterned bikinis (I personally like them too), but right now the advice rubs me the wrong way.  Back then, I did want to disguise my small chest with as much padding as possible, but I don't feel that need anymore - thanks to finding well fitting bras and bikinis. 

I know I'm hammering this point home by now, but well fitting lingerie and swimwear truly did change my life for the better - and I can't empathize that enough. 

The Curvy Kate Bondi Breeze set was the first bikini set I bought in a well fitted size, but I wasn't comfortable with the lack of padding and the revealing cups, so I ended up selling it through r/braswap. After that, I had my sights set on the Cleo Pippa padded half cup, which I wore almost exclusively last summer. I've been expanding my bikini collection to include a variety of shapes and padding, from unpadded plunges, to moulded, to strapless push ups. Some fit great, some okay, and some where just a big 'no'. In general, I still gravitate to wearing my padded options, but right now, it has more to do with nipple coverage than a need to disguise their true size. I'm planning on wearing my unpadded Asos bikini top at least once to the pool, as a sort of symbolic farewell to my previous swimwear suits.

This summer, I won't feel as if the only way for my breasts to be acceptable in a bikini is to disguise them - not anymore


Small Busted Living is a series of personal experiences, thoughts, and ramblings from the perspective of this small-busted author, and other great guest writers who graciously contributed

Entries:

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

[Review] ASOS Mix and Match D+ Plunge Halter Fuller Bust Bikini Top - 30DD

This week is set to become the hottest March week the Netherlands has ever experienced, and in honour of the sun finally making an appearance again, I'm planning on devoting my following posts to bikini's - expect reviews, and a new Small Busted Living post! 

General
Part of Asos' house brands, Asos Swim offers affordable swimwear in a variety of sizes and cuts. This Halter Plunge is a yearly recurring model, available in many colourways, as part of their Mix and Match line. I bought mine in Amerillis Yellow on sale, and new colourways are currently available, along with several colourways still on sale. Black is available as a continuity colourway. The Halter Top is not available in sizes 30-36 A-D, sadly. I hope to see this expanded, as I'm sure ladies in these sizes would also appreciate underwired halter tops, instead of triangle bras.

Look
Plain Amerillis Yellow base with one visible horizontal seams on each cup. It's a very bright colour, which works great on my olive skin tone, 

Band

Narrow band with one bikini clasp. The band runs small, stretching to around 70cm/27". It may stretch further when it's wet, but I've yet to go swimming with it on. It has reinforced side wings that come up quite high. 

Cups

Non padded cups in triangle shape with one horizontal seam, a two part construction. On the site it looks like the seams are more decorative, but they're actually quite bulky. The cups are not very open, but they don't cut in visibly on me either - beware if you have lots of center fullness. They're also very tall on 153cm/5" me. The cup is deepest at the horizontal seam.

Center Gore & Wires
Very wide, very low center gore. The wires are narrow-medium width. 

Straps
Two straps, one attached on each side of the cup. Because of their length, they look like 4 straps when tied in the back. 

Fit
Straps tied tight, underneath a tight t-shirt
An okay fit. The biggest problem is the cups being too tall for my body, along with being slightly too big - the top part along the horizontal seams wrinkles if I don't tie the straps quite tight. The latter may also be a result of lacking the needed upper fullness. The band is good, even though still pull it away from my body I still feel secure. The wires are great, and I don't have a problem with the cups being too separated, as the center gore is very low. I do feel a bit too self conscious to wear it in "colder" (below 30 degrees Celsius) weather, as the nipple coverage is not great. Other than that, great uplifted shape - one of the best I've gotten in an non-padded bra or bikini. 

Comfort
Because I have to tie the straps quite tight to avoid wrinkling, I get a bit of neck discomfort when worn. Other than that, the materials are comfortable, and I don't experience any wire digging. 

Verdict
A plain yet functional bikini top. If you're full on bottom, I recommend sizing down, or avoiding all together if you have very little breast tissue above the nipple. Overall, it's great value for money, especially when bought on sale. I'm thinking of buying another one in a size down, to wear as a summer bra. 

  • You can find Mix and Match Halter Top's measurements over at Bratabase
  • Available in sizes 30-36 D-F (Some models are also available in 30DD-G) exclusively through Asos, free worldwide shipping. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Small Busted Living: On Push Up Bras and Insecurity

Before I found out my true size, I wore push up bras almost exclusively - the thicker the padding, the better. I remember when Hunkemöller introduced their add 2 cup sizes bra, the Maximizer, and I practically ran to the store, a mixture of hope and self-loathing. I tried a 32AA and 34A and they bothfelt excruciatingly tight (a sign of too small cups!), with the exception of the 32AA. It felt so loose and not even on my body, I was baffled - in hindsight, the cups were too small and the band to loose, so my breasts were pushing the entire thing forwards.. I ended up with a 34B, and later I bought another in a different colourway, this time in 32A. When I found out about Victoria's Secret Bombshell bra and bikini tops, I became near obsessed. I even ordered two bombshell bikini tops in 32A and B, and a bombshell bra in 34AA for an insane amount of money.


For as long as I can remember, I used push up bras as a crutch, and they only troubled my self-esteem in regards to my chest. On one hand, I felt better in them, as I looked "better" than I would in my ill fitting 32A's and B padded balconette bras, but on the other hand I felt horrible. Inadequate, because at the end of the day, it was just padding that made me look better, but it also made me feel worse. There's a strange two sided opinion on push up bras in general: people who wear push up bras are faking it, but small breasts are bad and deserve to be ridiculed. A vicious circle: I was ashamed for my small breasts, so I wore push up bras, but I was ashamed for exclusively wearing them.


Yet, my insecurity won over my shame, and they were my staple of bras. I owned push up bras of nearly every type of padding imaginable, and after a while I discovered silicone breast enhancers a.k.a chicken cutlets or chicken fillets. Thanks to those, I was able to overcome my aversion of anything without 10 cm thick padding, and I started wear non-push up bras more often. I also started combining push up bras with the fillers. The first time I stuffed my 32A Maximizer bra with them, I felt a mixture of disgust, longing, and hope. In the end, they did not help my self -esteem in the slightest, just like the push up bras failed to do. 


Freya Deco Moulded Soft Cup in 28E vs a Push Up Bra in 32B
When I became well fitted, my need for push up bras virtually disappeared. As you can see, I look much better in a well fitting bra than in a push up bra! 


A while back, I received an email from a reader, asking for recommendations for push up bras in a 28DD. I was happy to help her, although I couldn't help but feel slightly mad at the world that this girl, who recently found out her well fitted size, was still on the look-out for push up bras. I cursed Wonderbra and that damned ad campaign internally. Ten minutes later however, it dawned to me that if she wants to wear them, who am I to demand that push up bras should cease to exist?

For the record, I don't judge anyone for wearing or wanting to wear push up bras. They're not the solution for negative feelings about your small breasts, but I do understand how a well fitting push up bra can help in some way. The key here being well fitted, in a well fitting size and shape for your breasts.

Wearing the Deco Half Cup
Lately, my relationship with push up bras has become less complicated and present, helped by the model's scarcity in sub-32 bands. The Deco Half Cup, the first one I owned in my well fitted size, was sold pretty quickly. The fit wasn't great, and astoundingly, after wearing it a few times I find myself looking too big - I can still barely believe this, but here I was, not liking the look and preferring the look I got when wearing non-push up moulded bras. I considered a step forward; genuinely liking how my breasts looked without copious amounts of padding. 

I did go and try more push up bras out of curiosity: I tried the Gossard Egoboost Plunge (review still to come, but spoiler alert: it was a disaster for my shallow breasts), the Sun's push up bra of the year, and the Gossard Egoboost Bandeau Bikini Top (review to come, pictured above), based on the Egoboost Strapless. The latter did not give me any cleavage, or much push up for that matter, but it truly is a gorgeous bikini. I feel as if I can now wear them without deeply loathing my chest and it's shortcomings, and to me, that is a huge step. It may have been years late, but I'm glad to have finally taken it.

Ultimately, I understand why a small-busted person would want to wear a push up bra - sometimes you just want a bit of a boost, or just because you like the way they look on you. Whatever the reasoning may be, make sure that it is one that doesn't harm you mentally at the end of the day. 

Will I try more push up bras? 
Sure, why not. 

Will I fall apart after wearing one for the entire day and cry while taking it off?
No. Not anymore.

Small Busted Living is a series of personal experiences, thoughts, and ramblings from the perspective of this small-busted author, and other great guest writers who graciously contributed

Entries:
On Push Up Bras and Insecurity
On Bikinis