My Life in the Fat Lane – Review of Five Plus Size Bra Lines
Song that inspired the title: Otto Titsling by Bette Midler from the movie Beaches
- 1. Catherine’s – No-Wire Perfect Fit T-Shirt Bra
- 2. Kris Line – Dominica
- 3. 1st & Curve Modern Movement Unlined Full Coverage Mesh Bra from Dillard’s
- 4. Lane Bryant – Smooth balconette bra
- 5. Torrid – Floral Lace Push-Up Plunge Bra
Somewhere around the mid ’80’s, one of my girlfriends asked me to go to the mall with her to shop for bras. That might not seem all that strange today as bras are fairly common place and heck, about half the population owns a few, right? But back then, it was a different story. One did not simply have ones girlfriend go with them to bra shop. It’s not that the subject was taboo or anything. It’s just that buying bras was a major boring event on par with say, watching paint dry. But, I went anyway.
What I saw sort of blew my mind. There were pretty bras everywhere, in all colors and with matching underwear. Suddenly, I understood why she wanted to go bra shopping. I mean, who wants to cover all that up? It was meant to be seen! And why not, it was Victoria Secret.
I couldn’t wait to get fitted. The image of the sales girl’s face is forever imprinted on my brain. I recall her pinched look and the snarky way she announced to everyone within earshot, “Sorry, we don’t sell bras in sizes that go up that high.” Believe it or not, my first thought after she said that was, wait, what about all these girls getting implants. You mean to tell me that they are getting them smaller than my actual boobs. When I exited the dressing area, I noticed all the looks on the other customers faces. Looks of pity and of piercing shame. Yeah, no fat-shaming in VS what-so-ever.
That day, I quickly learned that Victoria’s secret was that she didn’t like fat girls. It was the most depressing shopping trip ever (and that’s saying a lot for a fat girl). I felt like I’d been granted a pass into a magical land, only to learn that I didn’t belong there. It was confusing. Someone finally got that underwear should serve the right purpose and be beautiful. But, it only went half-way. And it stayed that way…for a long time!
I had a hate-hate relationship with bras. I’ve wanted to burn mine and couldn’t live without it at the same time. I’ve had frumpy bras, and saggy bras, and just plain out ole’ sad bras. Back then, I think I had a choice of about five colors – black, light pint, red, white and flesh. It didn’t matter, because almost all of them were just about worthless.
The first underwire bra I owned was a Bali. It was a lighter version of the flesh theme in cream with some sort of floral stitched design. It was a very pretty bra, but it was uncomfortable as all get-out. I rarely made it through a day when I didn’t cuss that bra or some version of it. And so it went, for many years. Through those years, I avoided Victoria Secret like the plague.
Then the girls came along. When it was time for that first bra shopping trip, I was both looking forward to it and dreading it. I wanted my girls to experience the feeling that you get when you are wearing nice things under your clothes. I wanted them to have that confidence that magically happens when you’re wearing a good foundation. But with each trip, I realized that it was eating my heart out. I asked myself that question I now know many women were asking: Why won’t they expand their line? I mean, here I am, for years, spending a boat-ton of money at Victoria Secret and to this day I’ve never worn a single thing they sell.
Thank the Lord someone finally started paying attention to us big busted types.
My learning curve has been a little slow in this area. I had bought a couple of full coverage bras from Lane Bryant which didn’t fit well. I gained enough confidence to talk a little about my bra issues with the Lane Bryant saleslady. She came into the dressing room with me to remeasure. The measurements were about the same as they had been when I bought the full coverage. So she took a good look and said, “Honey, you need a balconette.” I tried one on. The gore sat where it was supposed to, my breasts filled up the cup without swimming around in there, and the band was parallel to my waist. I bought two bras that day and then promptly showed them off to all my girlfriends 🙂 The only thing that saddened me a little was that even though the Lane Bryant bras were way better than what I’d been wearing, they still weren’t quite like the VS ones I envied.
When Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” campaign came out (was that just last year), it smacked me in the head that there were finally way more options. Hallelujah, amen, and all the angels sing! (Well, maybe the angels thing, not so much). Oh and I have SO enjoyed finding out that others secretly really despise VS for the same reasons I do.
I know there are a lot of opinions about the Lane Bryant “I’m No Angel” campaign. I’ve heard a lot of buzz both for and against it. The comments I hear most are along these lines: “this is terrible, its promoting unhealthy lifestyles” and “this is terrible, these models are too skinny and don’t represent the entire plus size demographic.” First off, skinny doesn’t necessarily (I SAID NECESSARILY) equal healthy. Secondly, the women in this campaign do not appear (I SAID APPEAR) to be unhealthy. (At a later date, I talk more about these issues, for now, I’ll leave off here.)
Here’s the way it looks from my view of the world…I’m a big ole’ fat girl and I need some panties to cover my hiney so as not to offend those delicate sensibilities lots of folks have about seeing cellulite. Besides, I kinda like having my hiney covered and since I have to cover it and that cost money, I’d like to cover it with something that I think is pretty. Plus, pretty undergarments give me a big ole’ boost of confidence while I’m working out at my Zumba class.
An interesting thing happened in my world because of the “I’m No Angel” campaign. I’m sure it probably made Lane Bryant a boat-ton of money, but I think it probably also put other intimates manufacturers on the map. At least it made me wake up and take notice. Since then, I’ve branched out and bought bras from other companies that I’m sure I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Here are just a few (note that I turned the bras around so you could see the backside support features):
Here I’m wearing the Catherine’s no-wire perfect T-shirt bra. Sizes run from 40B – 50DDD. The cost is $44 – $48.50.
It is not the perfect bra. It doesn’t do a thing to make my boobs look good. In fact, I think it makes them look pretty squishy. What it has going for it is that it is supportive with a wide band that holds most everything in place. Plus, it’s comfortable. I don’t use this as my everyday bra. Mainly, I wear it around the house when I’m doing chores or if we have overnight company and I don’t wanna walk around braless before bed.
This is the Kris Line Dominica bra. This also isn’t the perfect bra, but it’s close. It’s a great bra and it’s beautiful (and I have two other bras from Kris Line). I highly recommend these if you want to feel sexy. This one is a soft bra, but Kris Line makes a variety. I just happened to like this design. This bra has good support and it does amazing things for your boobs. But the best thing is that it’s sexy and I feel great wearing it. I use this for special occasions and every now and then I’ll wear one to work, just because it makes me feel good. The only con I have with this bra is that I wish the band was a bit more substantial.
Kris Line is a Polish bra brand for cup sizes D-K. Until they find distributors in the States, the best place to find them is at Zulily and Brastop. I ordered mine at Zulily, somewhere in the $50 price range. They are not always available there and my experience is that they sell out pretty quickly when they do have them. Brastop is a European website that carries them. Be aware that everything there is listed in pounds. I checked out one Kris Line they have listed at 19.95 which translates to roughly $28.49. While I was there, I checked out the size range – it’s pretty limited.
This is the Modern Movement 1st and Curve unlined full-coverage mesh bra that I bought at Dillard’s. The mesh in this bra gives this one a different feel. It took me a while to get used to it. I do like it. It is comfortable and has the wide band that keeps things in place. The main difference for me is in the cup. After years of regular bra material, the mesh cup gives your girls a bit of a freeing experience. There were times when I first started wearing this bra that I had to check and be sure I still had one on. The only hiccup to this bra is a little decorative piece of metal in the front over the gore. It’s like a very tiny charm and it will occasionally pinch. After having that happen a couple of times, I decided to cut the little charm off.
These bras are exclusive to Dillard’s. I couldn’t find a link to the one I bought or to any in D-K sizes. I don’t know if Dillard’s is still offering them, which would be a shame as they are comfortable to wear and can be used as a daily bra. Plus, they make your boobs look pretty good and there’s that freeing feeling that’s just so…ahhh.
This is a Lane Bryant Cacique balconette bra. I like these bras a lot. I have several in different patterns and colors. Usually, you can get them in bra/panty sets which is a real plus. I also like that they can be worn as dailies. They look good and have plenty of support even after lots of washes. The main con I have with this bra has to do with fabric. If it has lace, I find that it chafes. I don’t wear the teal colored one as much as some of the others that I own. The only other problem is the underwire which can pinch and rub blisters if I forget to use powder. So, still not the perfect bra, but a good choice all the same.
This one is from Torrid. This is a recent purchase for me. It had never occurred to me to try Torrid bras and I hadn’t read any reviews, even at all my favorite spots to check up on lingerie. This bra is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to the VS bras that I’ve bought for my girls over the years. It has push-up padding and helps things sit up nicely where it should be. Plus, I just love how this bra makes me feel. Like I’ve entered Wonderland and this time, I belong.
For now, I’m stocked up on bras – but there might be room for a few more. (I can’t believe I just said that). I think I have a date with Curvy Kate for my next bra-venture. Stay tuned.