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Tomima Talks: Bras for Sitting

Like you, I want to be useful during this pandemic. But, what can I do?  Well, I came up with this “Tomima Talks” idea.  I know lingerie is close to the bottom of your list of concerns right now, but I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and have scores of insider knowledge that I would love to share. I put this guide together over the weekend (forgive its lack of polish) to share some facts I thought could help you out when it comes to bra comfort. No sales pitch here. Just hopefully some helpful information for you to keep in mind until the time is right to think about bras again. I’m sure that, like me, you are sitting in your home more than usual lately. What bras would keep you the most comfortable? Here are my thoughts…

Sitting or lounging for long periods of time creates a different set of demands for your bra. When you sit down, your waist shortens and widens. I know most of us reach for bralettes and lounge bras but those aren’t always the best option in terms of support. Take a moment to consider the following alternatives:

What to look for:

It happens to all of us. Have you ever had on a bra only to find out that it feels tight once you take a seat? This happens because your tummy has moved up towards the middle of your breasts. Many bras now have an “upside-down U-shape” in the center between your breasts. This is called an arched center panel, and alleviates the tightness and pinching you may feel when sitting in a standard bra. When bra shopping, look for bras with arched center panels similar to those below.Elomi Cate Underwire EL4030Elila Full Coverage 2311Panache SuperBra 3251

Elomi Cate Underwire Full Cup Banded Bra
Elila Full Coverage Stretch Lace Underwire Bra
Panache SuperBra Tango II Underwire Balconnet Bra

Narrow straps look pretty and fun until the neck and shoulder pain set in. It’s simple physics, you need to distribute weight across a wider surface area to alleviate digging. If you find your neck hurts from wearing a bra, it is likely due to narrow straps that are putting too much tension in one spot. Usually these straps also sit too high on your shoulders and dig into the muscles on the sides of your neck. When you think of your most comfortable bras, I’d even bet that most of them have wide straps already.Elila Lace Soft Cup 1303Aviana Softcup Minimizer 2357Anita Rosa Faia 5694

Elila Lace Soft Cup Bra
Aviana Softcup Minimizer Bra
Anita Rosa Faia Twin Firm Seamless Comfort Underwire Bra 5694

All bras have a band that adds structure to the garment, these bands usually extend from the outer edge of the cups and around your back. Some bras, however, have a band that runs the entire circumference of the garment. These bras are called “banded bras” and help to give really great under-bust  support- especially to large breasts.  It is also a common feature on high impact sports bras because it reduces the downward momentum of your breast bounce. Despite this great support, when you sit down, the added fabric under the bust line can sometimes curl up or feel tight and uncomfortable due to your waist shortening and expanding. If you enjoy wearing a banded bra, I recommend one with an arched center panel to alleviate some of the tightness that can occur when sitting. At HerRoom you can select “bandless” in our features dropdown and filter out all banded bras. Below you can see an exaggerated example of an underband in our “measured” image that we create and display on every bra we offer at HerRoom. The vertical line in the center of the bra shows where the bottom of the breast stops and the band begins.

Natori Bliss Perfection Contour Soft Cup Bra

Natori Bliss Perfection Contour Soft Cup Bra

I know many of you will be surprised by my opinion of bralettes.  Many women like them, but I would be remiss if I did not mention a couple of issues with them.  First, most bralettes without any type of band opening are hard to put on.  I remember getting “stuck” in one while I tried to pull it on over my head and strongly considered shuffling over to a drawer and pulling out scissors.  If your bralette is easily slipping over your head, it’s probably too big for you or is old and stretched out. To be supportive, a bralette must have a firm fit and not ride up your back.  Most bralettes are made with a band that goes completely around your body.  As mentioned earlier, this band can put uncomfortable pressure on your diaphragm. The yarn used to knit bralettes many times has a texture that can cause your top to sort of cling to it. And, for most of us, bralettes do not provide proper support thus giving our bustline a less polished appearance.  With all this said, it is a fact that once you get a bralette on, most are comfortable and they can be a good option for smaller bustlines.Rhonda Shear Ahh 9588Sloggi Bralette 186738Wacoal B-Smooth 835275

Rhonda Shear Ahh 9588
Sloggi Zero Feel V-Neck Bralette
Wacoal B-Smooth Wireless Bra with Removable Pads

Think of a bra’s underwires as the framing of a suspension bridge.  Without them, the bridge needs a lot more structure to achieve the same support. When you take away the underwires in the designing of a bra, the designers are forced to get creative to make up for the lack of support.  This is why, when compared to an underwire bra, a wireless bra will typically have more coverage, a higher center between the cups, internal cup support panels, and a full underband. Additionally, true breast separation will be difficult to achieve, and breast shape will be less structured.  However, a bra without underwires does have a more relaxed fit. This means a woman who is not sure of her bra size will find a quick “good enough” fit and comfort in a wireless bra because its construction can work for more than just the size it claims to be.  Put another way, a 40D wireless bra could also feel like it fits “good enough” for a 40C, 40DD, 38DD or 38DDD woman because its sizing is not as exact as an underwire bra.Exquisite Form 5100532Warner’s Wire Free Bra 1056Hanro Cotton 71387

Excquisite Form Wireless Original Full Support Bra
Warner's No Side Effects wire-free Bra

What?  A maternity bra?  Yes.  So, I’m concluding this little talk of mine with one specific comfortable bra recommendation for larger busted women. And it’s due to a few reasons.  First, and most importantly, it’s my full-busted 21 year-old daughter’s all-time favorite bra to sit around and even occasionally sleep in. No non-pregnant woman would probably ever find it on my site because we have it located in our maternity bra area. And, the sizing would make you think it’s not going to fit you – but it will.  It’s The Sugar Candy Full Busted Bra by Cake. It’s sized like a bralette but has 6 back hook adjustments – loosen it up while sitting then tighten it up before you go out.  Its size range is XS to 2X but curiously, these sizes fit women with a 30 to a 42 band size , and cup sizes starting at G(D4) and going up to L(D9).  If you fall within its size range, it’s worth a look.

Sugar Candy Full Busted Bra by Cake

Sugar Candy Full Busted Bra by Cake

I hope some of you found this talk helpful. Stay safe, we’re all in this together!

Tomima Founder, Owner, & CEO

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