Archive for December, 2008
December 19, 2008
A new lingerie term has popped up recently. The term "spacer foam" is being used when describing some new t-shirt or contour bras. Currently several bras on the market use this spacer foam as the fabric in their seamless bras. So, what is it?
We all know what corrugated cardboard is. It has a top and bottom layer with a wavy layer between the two to give the cardboard a thickness. Well, spacer foam is very similar. Actually knit on a machine, spacer foam has a top and bottom layer with filaments in between that can be adjusted to create a thickness to the knit. So, basically, little air pockets are created and this spacer foam has a very cushiony feel to the hand.
This is actually quite revolutionary in the industry. More and more, the contour or t-shirt bra has become every woman’s staple in her lingerie drawer because she likes the modesty and shape it provides. Traditionally, a contour bra uses two pieces of fabric which are then glued to a thin foam to create the cups. The problem has always been with the lighter colored fabrics, especially white. Once the glue hits the air, it turns yellow. This is why it was almost impossible to find a white t-shirt bra. The creation of spacer foam or spacer fabric eliminates the layering and gluing of three pieces of fabric. Therefore, a white bra with modesty padding is now a possibility. Additionally, the thickness and density of spacer foam can be regulated at the knitting machine. Thus new padded bras can now be created that don’t require additional padding.
Another advantage to spacer foam is that it allows air to pass through. This makes bras with spacer foam much more comfortable to wear. Contour bras traditionally do not breath, and thus became hot, with moisture getting trapped inside the cups.
Currently spacer foam or spacer fabric is very expensive due to the fact that far more yarn goes into the making of it than traditional knits, and more time is required on the knitting machines. There is also an added expense in molding this fabric into a cup shape using a special finishing process. However the benefits of being lighter weight, breathable, and able to be made in light fabrics seems to justify the added expense. One final note; there is a cheaper version of spacer foam on the market. However, because it is not the real thing, it does not perform the same or keep its shape as long. So, spacer foam is an exciting new innovation to the lingerie industry. I predict you will see spacer foam replacing most or all contour or t-shirt bras in the near future.
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Posted by Tomima at 9:50am
1 Comment »
December 19, 2008
I was in a boutique on Rodeo Drive years ago, and trying on a pair of pumps. The sales person remarked on how fabulous my toe cleavage looked. What? I thought. Toe cleavage? Well, now I’m in the bra business, and breast cleavage is a constant topic. Women and men have differing options on what is attractive breast cleavage.
Let’s first define cleavage. In general, cleavage refers to a separation or division of form. In science, it’s the process where a cell divides into two cells after mitosis. In geology, it’s the partial opening caused after a split or rupture. And, in politics, it’s when there is a split within the political system along ideological or ethnic lines. But, when it comes to a woman’s body, our culture defines cleavage as the exposed area between a woman’s breasts.
Bra manufacturers work very hard to give women separation between their breasts. They mostly design bras with a center panel that lays against a woman’s sternum. But, there are also a lot of women walking around with D cup size breasts and larger wearing low necklines that expose breasts touching one another. And it is this look that men tend to favor. So, how is this look achieved?
By way of example, Felicia, one of our buyers’ assistants, agreed to take one for the team and posed with a couple of different bra sizes to show you what I’m talking about. Before being fitted in our office, Felicia was walking around wearing a size 44D. Now, most women would think this bra fit her correctly. But, as you can see from the front and top down view, her breasts are touching one another.
After a proper fitting, Felicia was found to be a 40G. In these two photographs, you can see her breasts are separated, and the center of the bra rests on her sternum. Felicia agreed that the new size was more comfortable and flattering to wear, but commented that her husband preferred the look of her breasts in the size 44D. By-the-way, Felicia is wearing the Le Mystere 9155 in both of these photos.
So, here’s the rub. Do women really want separation? Or do they want that line of cleavage that men like to look at? I think the answer is both. I then sent Felicia through our catalog to try and find a bra in her correct size that would give the same look to her breasts as her 44D. The closest she could find was this Panache 3606. In this photo she is wearing a size 38G with a bra extender on the back because this bra did not come in a 40 band size. The reviews by customers about this bra are mixed – some love it, and many 32 band size women don’t. I can sympathize with Panache. In order to get a low plunge in front, they must have larger cups to give support – otherwise women will complain about falling out. But now, women are complaining that they don’t like the shape of the bra!
Here’s my suggestion for a solution. For women wanting that cleavage line (and are a D cup or larger), first look at the plunge bras available in your size. There are several on the market that do a great job such as the Panache bra, the Prima Donna Menton Plunge 016-1564,and the Felina Jennifer Deep Plunge Bra 29885. Also, if you have implants and thus don’t need the support of a bra, you could wear a NuBra and attach the clasp to pull your breasts in. Finally, if you really want that look, go up a band size and down 1 cup size in your bra and see if you get the desired look. In Felicia’s example, she went up two band sizes and down 3 cup sizes to get her look. Again, this is not a bra size you would want to wear all day, but if you want this look for a special outfit or evening, it’s something to consider until a bra manufacturer actually makes a bra that gives women this cleavage look.
Before signing off, I need to comment to the C cup and smaller women that this cleavage look is almost impossible to obtain for you. I for one am a C cup, and my breasts have never touched regardless of the push up and cleavage enhancing bras I have tried on. I just don’t have enough breast tissue. The closest I’ve come is with a NuBra. But take heart; as any full figured woman will tell you, we get to wear a lot more variety of clothing styles and look good in it. So, it really is a trade off.
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Posted by Tomima at 9:18am
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December 13, 2008
There’s the old saying that we all put on our pants one leg at a time. However, when it comes to bras, this is not the case. Over the years, we women have come up with a couple of clever techniques for putting this uniquely feminine garment in its proper place.
The Hook and Spin Method:
This way of putting on a bra is the most common among women with smaller breast and who also have a small or average waist. Also, women who have dexterity issues find this method simpler as well. Simply put, you wrap your bra around your back and hook it in front of you. You then turn your bra either clockwise, or counterclockwise (depending on the way the label is sewn so as not to bunch up) until the two cups are underneath your breasts. Adjust your bra band so that it is directly under your breasts, and the underwires are properly placed in your breast crease, then slip your shoulder straps up onto your shoulders.
Though your bra is on, you are not done. There are a couple more steps that you need to do to insure you have your bra in the proper position so that it will remain comfortable throughout the day and give you proper support. Run your finger under the back hook to make sure the label of your bra, if there is one, is laying flat. Tug down on the back of the bra while looking in the mirror to make sure the front and back of your bra are parallel with the floor, and that the bra back is tucked just under your shoulder bones. Next, bend forward at the waist and with your right hand, go under you left breast and lift it into the bra cup. Then repeat this on your right side. Look inside your cups and make sure your nipples are front and center. If you have a seamed cup, make sure your nipple is directly behind the seam. This will help reduce nipple show-through. Now, stand up and look at yourself. If you are happy where everything is, you are good to go.
The Upside Down Hook and Spin Method:
This method is almost the same as the prior method with the exception of the start. You fasten your bra in front of you, but your bra is upside down and inside out. After spinning your bra around so that the cups are in the center, you now flip your bra up to put it in place and then follow all the same steps as above. This technique is a great one for today’s contour bras that already have pre-shaped cups. It prevents the cups from getting smashed or creased before putting your bra on. If you haven’t put your bra on this way before, it may take a few tries to get it right, but once you learn to hook your bra inside out in front of you, it’s a very simple method to use.
Front Loading Method:
Large breasted women, women with apple figures, soft cup bra wearers and women in a hurry tend to use this technique to put on their bra. You begin by putting your arms through the straps of your bra, you then hold the back wings of the bra in each hand and wrap your arms behind you to hook your bra together. Once the bra is hooked, you really need to bend forward at the waist and place your breasts into your cups to make sure they are centered and pulled up into the cups before standing up. Again, a check in the mirror should be made to make sure the back of your bra is pulled down and even with the front of your bra, your tags are flat, and your breasts are up and in your cups. If you have cup seams, you should make sure they are resting on top of your nipples to reduce nipple show though.
An important note here. This technique can be very challenging for women who are not limber enough to put their two hands behind their back. So, as we get older, this technique will become harder. It is also difficult to tell if the bra is on the proper closure without checking in the mirror.
For modesty reasons, many women use this front loading technique because it immediately covers your breasts. I know that I use it when I’m in a dressing room and the sales clerk can be heard coming down the hall. But when using this technique it is also very easy to not get your breasts correctly into the cups and have the back of your bra resting too high on your back. So, this technique more than the others needs the final steps to insure proper fit.
Over the years, I have heard lingerie experts state that the Hook and Spin method wears down your bra. The thinking is that the spinning process on your body breaks down the elastic and causes your bra to age more quickly. I think this is absolute nonsense Our bras are not designer gowns that need to be preserved for our daughters. They are underwear that will go through many washings and wearing before being replaced. The convenience of the Hook and Spin method far outweighs any minor stress put on the elastic as you spin it around your waist.
A note on underwire bras. However you put it on, you must make sure to check that your underwires are resting in the natural crease where your breast begins on your chest. The underwire should be resting on your ribcage. If your underwire is resting on breast tissue, your breasts need to be pulled up and into your bra cups until this is not the case. If you can’t do this, you are in the wrong size bra.
I would also be remiss if I did not speak of "The Jiggle" technique for getting your breasts into the proper place in your bra cups. I personally use this technique more than putting my hands inside my cups to adjust my breast tissue. To perform the jiggle, bend forward from your waist, pull down on the center of your bra and jiggle your bra back and forth until you feel your breasts are resting appropriately in the cups. When you stand up, you will see that your breasts are sitting higher in your cups, are fuller looking and look more youthful.
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Posted by Tomima at 9:12am
1 Comment »