Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Window Shopping: Bras for the Flat Chested

 photo WirelessBras_zps0548c30f.jpg

Let's talk about boobs. Or, more specifically, bras. If you know me in real life, my disdain for The Bra is no secret, as a 32A I often feel it's the lingerie industry's prerogative to wrangle, pad, and underwire my chest into a sort of submission that just doesn't exist (I'm sure larger-chested ladies, and generally, ladies everywhere have similar feelings). And that's just not my thing. As a pre-adolescent I wore sports bras on the daily in hopes of fooling puberty, I wanted nothing more than to be flat as a board for life. To my chagrin, puberty had other ideas, and I turned out to be a 34B. That is, until I laid off the beer, started weight training, and lost my freshman fifteen, which, apparently was all in my boobs. I'm not complaining, and somewhere in history there's a 12 year old cheering victoriously. Small victories (ha).

Long story short, until fairly recently it hadn't occurred to me that as a flat-chested lady, I have little use for an underwire. What a revelation! Once I really started looking, I found numerous options available that not only came sans-wire, but with minimal padding as well. So today, I'm changing things up a bit and talking about the undergarments that have become tried and true staples in my wardrobe. If you're of a similar silhouette, or are simply looking for something that's comfortable and doesn't make you look like you're smuggling two torpedos (as many super padded, small-size bras are apt to do), check out my recs below:

Gap Modal Pull-over Bra (top left) -- A completely unstructured bra may not be for everyone, but I love this comfy, sporty bra for weekends, under floaty dresses, and as a layering piece under billowy tops. It is the most comfortable thing, possibly ever.

AA Cross-back Jersey Bra (not pictured) -- These cost a measly $16 and lasted me three years, so yeah, nuff said. The black version is especially versatile with black dresses as a layering piece, and under white tee shirts for a little edge. Especially perfect for the summer, because who needs or wants padding in the summer? (See it in action at the end of this post)

Gap Favorite Gingham Wireless Bra (top right) -- the "Favorite Wireless" bras are the most versatile, and I love the pretty pattern and front seams on this version, which make it feel a little more special than a basic black or peach-tone bra.

AA Fine Tricot Bralette (not pictured) -- A nice basic. The silhouette may not be for everyone (very "natural"), but easy to wear beneath sweaters and drapey tops. (I'm wearing it beneath this dress)

Gap Favorite Wireless Bra (bottom left) -- A great foundation beneath tee shirts, button-ups, and other garments made with thin material. This bra does what it's supposed to do and is completely invisible under tee shirts, which is key. The straps also convert to cross-back. Win-win. I appreciate the added shaping of the "Favorite" series, while I love a natural silhouette, I find that with tee shirts and draped tops I like a little more structure.

Aeropostale Cross-back Sports Bra (not pictured) -- The multiple straps and sheer mesh sides make this not only a great sports bra, but an amazing croptop or layering piece as well. Also, super affordable and well constructed. (See it worn as a crop top here)

Gap Favorite Bralette (bottom right) -- Comfy and perfect for weekends or beneath thicker tops or dresses.

*Reader Bridget made an excellent point, suggesting that one get fitted every year by a professional. It's important to know your true cup/band size to ensure you're making informed decisions and purchasing the correct size for your body.

**Opinions are my own and gleaned from personal opinion/experience. While this is not a sponsored post, some of these links are affiliate links, which mean that if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.

25 comments:

Elizabeth, Delightfully Tacky said...

Thanks a lot. Now I have to go out and buy all these. On a related note: THANK YOU. I went up to a B but in the past year have returned to 32A status and have been putting up with sad attempts at filling out my padded underwire bras. I might just have to go on a bra buying binge...

Mardle Made said...

Thanks for this Julie.

Although I'm a little more busty at a 32c I also hate underwired bras! They seem to want to separate by boobs into 2 distinct orbs much like bowling balls, residing as far away from each other as possible - or squeeze them together and push them up to say hello to my chin!

I've recently discovered the world of wire-free and love it. I've been looking for some great recommendations and this post is so useful. I particularly love the Gap Bralette (bottom right).

Thanks for another super useful post.

Em x

www.mardlemade.com

Alice Murdoch said...

I feel you! I recently dropped from 34B to 34A and man I swear the smaller Bras get the more padded! Which thus makes me look ridiculous. Or like I'm channelling my inner Madonna. I just need all these bras in my life now, especially that gingham one, and be smug as all my friends complain about the fact that they all have to wear bras, and bras with underwires. I think us ladies with small boobs get the better deal!

Bridget said...

These are great options, nice and comfy!

I would say, though, even if you think you're a very small size, it's still worth it to go to a expensive boutique place and get professionally sized every year or so. I recently went and changed down four inches in the band size and up three cup sizes, and while the first month was awful and distinctly uncomfortable, at this point things are far better than they every were with my old options. :)

alittlevintagestory said...

Thanks Julie! I've struggled with finding options for ages that don't have ridiculous amounts of padding. Also having recently gained a little weight and gone up to a C cup, I'm lamenting my 32A shape. However now I'm back into training I'll be back to my former flatness (fingers crossed) in no time. xx

Orchid Grey said...

Elizabeth, I just bought a bunch of new ones from the Gap this weekend! I hate buying them (spending the money on them), but it feels great to have options again!

Melissa at bubbyandbean.com said...

I'm pregnant right now and went from a 32 A to a 34 D, seemingly overnight. Pretty crazy. I actually miss my little boobs (I now HAVE to wear underwire and it's seriously uncomfortable). From what I'm told, they will indeed return to their original size after I'm done breastfeeding, so this is helpful. Maybe I'll get one sooner than later as a reminder that these things won't stay this way forever!

Babes in Thriftland said...

I don't hate underwires but I really like some of these options! I am a 34B right now so I think some of these will work great. Looks like I'll have to pop into Gap this weekend!

Jessica said...

I HATE underwire bras!! My favorite is sold both in the regular and nursing section at Target (tricky people!) and I've recently gotten into lacy bralettes. I wanted to have a larger bust for the longest time and now, I just want to be flat! Thanks for these suggestions.

Sarah said...

Just wanted to share this guide to proper bra fit - a 32A is a common wrong size. It is possible that a 28D or 30C might fit you better. A lot of bra "professionals" will wrangle you into a size they sell, as compared to the size you would optimally fit; I wore ill-fitting 32Ds for years until I measured myself and found I was closer to a 28FF/G. If you have a tape measure, then you should measure yourself!

http://sameatschildren.tumblr.com/post/45962915522/do-it-now-guide-to-proper-bra-fit-and-measuring

Orchid Grey said...

Thanks Sarah!

Maggie said...

Great post, thanks!
There is always a space gap between my real breast and the actual material of a padded underwire that makes me wonder what I should be keeping in there... (snacks for later? make-up?)

Here one underwireless that is really pretty and comfortable (Lace Racerback bralette) - http://www.victoriassecret.com/pink/bandeaus-and-bralettes/lace-racerback-bralette-pink?ProductID=112598&CatalogueType=OLS

Bridget said...

@Sarah, yes, a place like Victoria's Secret will try and fit you into what they sell, so the real key is to go somewhere that they sell something in the range of 28AA-40K and can order even larger or smaller sizes.

I love the guide you posted---Jen from Cakewrecks also posted a really funny guide about buying a bra that actually fits being a revolutionary experience.

HollyDolly said...

Oh Lord, I love this. As a fellow barely 32A (more like AA) lady, I despise underwires. I'm always looking for bras like this. Thanks Julie!

pulchritude said...

I'm a 34A and I really love the Aerie "Hannah" cotton bra. It has an underwire, but the padding is light and soft. They're the only bras I buy. So glad you've created a space for all the small chested women to have a voice. - Leah, wisestyle.wordpress.com

Katie Burry said...

This is such an interesting post, to me, because as a 34D lady, I can't stand *not* wearing non-underwire, torpedo-smuggling bras on a daily basis! I just don't feel like the more comfortable ones give me enough support, and thereby, I feel uncomfortable and self conscious in them.

I think the bra industry in general is just annoying. The biggest problem I've had with bras (until recently) is finding push up bras I like in my size. I swear you small girls get all the push up, and pretty bras! Until I discovered Aerie I couldn't find any bras in my size in any colors other than nude, black and white. Boo!

One I will reccomend for you is the Cobbie Bra. It's supposed to be the comfort of a sports bra with the support of a regular bra. We sell them at the store I work at and are *constantly* selling out!

Thanks for sharing this post! I love seeing women openly talk about these things.

Kerri Emilian said...

Professional fittings are kind of take it or leave it, IMO. Mostly, they will try to fit their stock to you, rather than telling the truth. I am case-in-point of this. For years, I trusted the VS people. I measure 29 inches at the ribs, so let's add four, plus another one to get a whole number.... Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am not a 34 A.... I am a 30 B-C. My ribs are small, not my boobs!. Put the right sizeon me, amd I suddenly have no underarm fat...because I never did. it was boobs! That add four crap is truly about their stock, not you. VS doesn't even make my size (almost no one goes under 32), ergo they have zero motivation to tell me the truth. Caveat emptor.

Oh, and while I'm not much bigger, I insist on underwires. But, I am a mother. :)

Jennifer said...

I love you for this post! I am a 34A and I actually do not want padded bras. It looks fake on me, it does not help. I am totally ok with having small boobs! I really like Victoria's Secret's tshirt bra. It does have a bit of padding on the bottom half of the cups but is very subtle. And does help me fill out shirts a bit more, because honestly, I more of a negative A haha

xo Jennifer

http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

p.s. Check out my Chicastic giveaway!

contrary kiwi said...

For those who need a smaller band size (which is way more women than you'd think), the Little Bra Company is one option. Their bras start at 28A. Lula Lu doesn't do 28 bands, but you can get AA and AAA bras. Little Women is the same as Lula Lu.

I don't think their measuring advice is great though. The Little Bra Company says to measure from the bottom of your bra band at the back and the top of your bra at the front, when in reality your bra sits below your boobs all the way around. Lula Lu says to add 4 inches to the size you measure around your ribs (under your bust) which might give too big a starting size. It's best to take the measurement straight from your ribs without adding numbers. For example, if you measure 28 inches under your bust, start by looking at 28 bands. For many small busted women, such a band will be too tight, but you can go up until you find one that does fit. If following the method that tells you to add 4 inches to your 28, you would go straight to a 32 band, which might be too loose.

kellyssima said...

Awesome post! Thanks so much!

Vee said...

Loving comfy bras recently too! Never understand why all the extra padding is needed, though I am sometimes a bit conscious of overt nipple show when wearing thinner bras! (anyone else have that insecurity?) COS has really nice non-underwired bras, in fact I just bought one today!

Angela said...

Yay! Someone else who understands my pain! I always find it difficult to buy a pretty, non padded bra that still makes my boobs shine. I really like the AA ones, sexy and simple.
When I was in Vietnam a few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to buy a bra there, I figured all the women there were small-boobed. They are, but they're not proud of it. I ended up buying a padded bra that fit me well for like a month and is now useless. The lady from the store did measure me for the first time. But in an Asian way, so there was a whole lot of grabbing involved.

MarieBayArea said...

Thank you for this post. I'm delighted to read the comments too as there seem to be many of us who love our A-cups. Hooray for small boobies!

Alyson Herreid said...

Thanks for this great post! I've had a similar experience. Only within the last year have I stopped trying to make my chest look like anything other than what it is and it's been liberating.

Shanna said...

I am completely flat chested, the only thing that sticks out is my nipples. Mostly I go bra-less, but during the summer I feel it is immodest/indecent for people to see where my nipples poke my shirt. Air conditioning makes it much worse. I used to wear a 34 almost A, but the elastic simply rides up and cuts off circulation to sensitive parts every time I raise my arms. My current solution is to use breast petals (little stick-ons that cover my nipple, but I would really like a re-useable option. I have recently been looking for a bandeau bra and wondered if anyone else has an option they like that embraces the flat-chest instead of hiding it.

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