Valentine’s Day is coming up and for some of you that might mean dressing up for a night out with your guy. For me, it means paying a $20 cover charge to go to an overcrowded bar in Beverly Hills with some of my single friends where the majority of the guys will be looking for someone a bit more model-like but, after a few drinks and a few strike outs, they will start thinking that perhaps the big breasted curvy gal might be desperate enough to put out. Of course being that the drinks are so over-priced, I will not be nearly drunk enough to actually consider their offer and they’ll do the sour grapes thing, and my friends and I will laugh about it.
The one thing in common in both scenarios is that we are trying to dress to impress and, as always, part of that perfect outfit involves a bra. And if you live in LA where the temperatures are a bit more moderate (as I write this in February, the temperature is in the mid 70’s), your outfit may include something strapless or off the shoulder. And if you are blessed with a larger cup size, the question becomes do I wear a strapless bra or stick with the straps?
Gravity is not your friend when your cup runneth over and though it’s the band that holds your girls up and not the straps, the straps can often seem to make the difference between wearing a bra and wearing a bra as a belt. For years I’ve avoided strapless outfits of any kind because invariably the strapless bra would end up around my hips at some point, especially if any kind of dancing was involved.
At the same time, wearing a regular bra also wouldn’t do. While I’ve seen plenty of women baring their straps without a qualm, given that the straps on large cup sizes tend to be more utilitarian than decorative, for me doing so was out of the question. And then two great things happened: I Googled and I went to New York.
At the end of January, I flew to New York for Bra La Mode’s Debut Intimate Affair at Bra*Tenders. Moira was bound and determined to have them fit me for some new bras so as the event drew to a close, Cristal took me into one of the fitting rooms and brought me several different styles and brands to try out. The first discovery is that as I have been slowly losing weight, so have my breasts. I’m now down to a 38F/38G depending on the style and brand of bra.
I love the Fantasie brand bras and ended up with this lovely black strapless (Style # FL4530.) It’s a snug fit, but I could jump on a trampoline wearing it and it’d still stay put. The one thing that amazed everyone was the support. I came out of the dressing room wearing a cami over it and people thought I was wearing a push-up of some sort and no one believed it was a strapless. (Seriously, people came in the dressing room so they could see the actual bra on me.)
Also prior to my visit to New York, I had also received the Va Bien Ultra-Lift Strapless Convertible which also has great staying power. I have a friend who wears this brand and swears by it. The only thing to be aware of is that the cup sizes can run large so be sure to try it on before you buy. I ordered it in my old size and it ended up being a bit big for me so I’ll be getting myself a new one because it’s a great bra.
Of course, even with a good fitting strapless, sometimes it’s just nice to have those straps either as a back up just in case or, as I’ve recently discovered, as another type of accessory. A friend of mine used to order these beaded bra straps to wear with her lacy tank tops in the summer. Interested in trying them out for myself, I Googled “beaded bra straps” and found ExposedEnvy.com.
Exposed Envy sells decorative bra straps of all sorts – beads, rhinestones, fabric, gems and even just metal. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry as my skin tends to react badly to the metal in chain necklaces or earrings, so I liked the idea of being able to wear something shiny and pretty that wouldn’t cause me to break out in a rash.
If you saw the pictures from the Intimate Affair, you’ll have seen me wearing an off the shoulder number with some straps made of red roses on dark silver. When I first saw them on the website, I just had to have them and they were as beautiful in person as on the website. I got a lot of compliments about them and found that they were comfortable to wear. The straps themselves are easy to fit as there is a little clasp in the back that you can use to adjust the length of the strap. I just put them on backwards the first time to get them adjusted and then I was all set to go.
At work I tried a set of beaded straps for a scoop-neck shirt that had a tendency to stretch out and become an off the shoulder number as the day went on. The beads were nice and flat so I didn’t have anything digging into my shoulder and they looked really nice so that instead of constantly pulling up my shirt to cover my bra strap, I could just focus on work and let a little strap show.
Exposed Envy also has matching bracelets for many of their straps. I ordered a lovely blue rhinestone set of straps which came with a matching bracelet and I can’t wait to wear them out to that Valentine’s party next weekend.
Each set of straps comes in it’s own green cloth bag which makes for easy storage since they won’t become jumbled with the other straps. And Kelly Carroll, the owner and designer, adds her own personal touch. When I made my second order and made a comment on the order form, I found a lovely handwritten note from her in reply on my receipt. I will definitely be shopping her site again.