Updates in Little Bras
So, what's a Pepper bra? Wear Pepper is the latest business to focus on the needs of those of us who wear cup sizes AA, A, and B. Pepper does not offer heavily padded "enhancement" options; instead, all of their bras are tailored to work with the small-busted figure without adding anything extra. This has made them quite popular among women who, like me, would prefer to opt out of that extra-special "I'm wearing a mattress" experience. The fact is, unless you go for breast augmentation surgery, what you've got is pretty much what you've got. There's not a lot that a bra can do to make your figure look drastically different, and even the styles that do succeed in adding the appearance of an extra cup size or two will often sacrifice comfort and fit accuracy in order to achieve this.
Anyone who has worn a heavily padded bra will know what I'm talking about. Underneath those couch pillows calling themselves a bra, our real breasts are squeezed, shoved up and in, flattened, and overheated. Wires that don't conform to our chest shape try to force our breasts into an ill-fitting mold. It's kind of ridiculous, so I'm all about Pepper's choice to boycott the suffocation. I also love their involvement with the LGBTQ community and unquestioning embrace of trans and non-binary people.
So I'm perfectly willing to spend the money for one of these bras... one. Unlike some women who cannot wear anything larger than an AAA or AA cup, I am now comfortably in the A-B cup range. Sure, some of these bras aren't going to fit as well as the ones made by Pepper and similar companies like Lula Lu, The Little Bra Company, and Itty Bitty Bra. But others actually work just fine for me, in spite of not advertising any of the special features that the small-bust specialty brands offer (such as less gapping, shorter underwire and straps, and a more shallow cup shape). And that's what usually attracts shoppers to the small-bust oasis brands: the AA cup option presents an opportunity to finally get a fit that is not just acceptable, but comfortable and flattering.
Below I'm wearing a 34B in The Little Bra Company's Eva style.
It seems unfortunate that all of the companies mentioned above are pricing their bras much higher than mainstream brands. What we need is a way to distinguish which among the mainstream just happen to be good fit choices for smaller breasts. What this means is that although a designer or company might not carry AA cups, a woman who measures as a 34AA could conceivably wear her sister size 32A. 36AA may be able to fit in a 34A or even a 32B. And so on. Recently I have noticed online giants like HerRoom, ThirdLove, and Aerie making more of an effort to describe the way their various styles fit and which are the best choices for various shapes and sizes. Well-established and reliable brands that are often recognized for a good fit in the A and B cup sizes include Natori, Timpa, Calvin Klein, Simone Pereille, Cosabella, and OnGossamer.
The recent bralette trend also works in favor of the flat-chested, with tons of new variety in bralette styles, materials, and aesthetics. And of course, bralettes are much more affordable because they use less fabric and don't usually have underwire, side boning, contour cups, or anything else that can help to make a bra more structured and supportive.
Longline bralette by Free People
When choosing a bralette, keep in mind that they are more fragile and easily stretched out than bras. Look for one that is likely to keep its shape through multiple washings and has a band that will stay put. Longline bralettes, in addition to being very fashionable at the moment, will often give you a more secure fit because the band is more substantial than it is on other types of bralettes. Your fit in bralettes may be different too; what feels comfortable when you try it on may stretch as you wear it, so make sure you don't go too large. I recommend going for the tightest fit that you can tolerate, with the expectation that it will break in a bit over time. The Free People style above has a ribbed band can fit quite snug without feeling uncomfortable, because unlike underwire, even a very tight fit in the bralette won't be torture for your ribcage.
What bralettes have you tried? Are you a fan of this trend? Feel free to share your suggestions here.
Check out my bras listed for sale on Poshmark too. I may have some of your discontinued favorites available. If you are signing up there for the first time, use referral code AMANDA_SAGE1979 to get $10 in store credit. http://Poshmark.com/