Unmentionables: What are you wearing beneath your suit?

Smoothing Molded T-Shirt BraToday, reader J has an interesting question that kind of reminds us of David Lat’s first blog, Underneath Their Robes

I’d love to hear what the gals are wearing under all these fabulous dresses and suits. I love my Spanx hide & sleek full slip for wearing under dresses to keep them from clinging, and have noticed my clothes fit better after I recently went in for a bra fitting and bought some new ones. I’d love to hear about new brands or other tips for pulling the outfit together from underneath it all.

Spanx came up on our Twitter chat this morning, and it strikes us as a great question, and one we’ll throw to the readers.  So, readers:  What bra do you have in multiples, it’s so comfortable? What brands of shapewear do you like?  Thong, boyshort, or other?  Let’s talk brands, type, and more! (Tip:  if you’re talking bra, please post your bra size — there can be a big difference in comfort to someone who’s 30G and someone who’s 36A.)

* As I’m no longer anonymous, I think we have come to the border of TMI — but I’ll chime in in comments.  Also, <cough>, here are some links for you, for no particular reasonSmoothing Molded T-Shirt Bra, pictured above, available at Freshpair for $60; Hide and Sleek Hi-Rise Smoother, $68 at Freshpair, On Gossamer’s Mesh Hip-G, available for $16 (2 for $30) at Freshpair, and Hip Fit™ Cotton Boyshort, available at Maidenform for $8.

Comments

  1. Would love to hear tips from anyone who has narrow sloping shoulders. Unless I wear a racerback bra, I spend ALL day pulling at the straps of my bra because they never stay up. Unfortunately a racerback means I can’t wear half of my shirts because the bra straps show since they’re so close to your neck (or I wear them with a non-racerback and pull on the straps all day). I’m probably due for another bra-fitting since my weight has fluctuated but I think I’m a 34B. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Oh and I’m in love with the Victoria’s Secret one size fits all lace thongs. They leave NO lines and are very comfortable! (I wear a size 6-8 on bottom).
      http://www2.victoriassecret.com/commerce/onlineProductDisplay.vs?namespace=productDisplay&origin=onlineProductDisplay.jsp&event=display&prnbr=GM-241719&page=1&cgname=OSPTYTHGZZZ&rfnbr=1923

    • Have you tried the silicone bra straps? I don’t have narrow sholders, but I love them with tanks because 1) their clear and 2) the silicone grips my skin better than regular straps. Personally, I’m a big fan of Victoria’s Secret Secret Embrace bras because they come with the silicone straps that be interchanged.

      • Oh dear. If you mentioned loving them with tanks because they are clear – they are still visible. If that is the look you are going for, great! But if not, you either need a different bra or a different tank.

        • Oh gosh no! VBS is not kosher regardless of the color (or lack there of) of the straps. I more prefer them for the grib factor, but just wanted to mention they are clear so if they peak out it’s not nearly as obvious.

      • Agreed – VS Secret Embrace “wave” bras are seamless and incredibly comfortable for 12+ hours. I wear 34C, and have several.

    • Kristin B. :

      Make sure you’re picking bras with fully adjustable straps. Being able to shorten or loosen straps ALLLLLLLLL the way makes a huge difference if yours are constantly falling down.

    • I have this problem too! One thing I’ve found that works is to buy a “convertible” bra that has multiple options for where the straps can go in the back. This is typically meant so you can wear the straps criss-cross, but you can also just put the straps in the closer-in setting, which helps keep them on the shoulders. Chantelle has a couple of types like this.

      The other tip I’ve been given (but never done…but probably should…) is to take your bra and have it altered where they move the strap placement in the back toward the center by a half inch or so (same concept as above). The fitter who told me to do this said it was a cheap & easy fix.

    • newassociate :

      i have this problem too – try petite bras, which have a narrower shoulder set. though i’m not petite in clothing, many of my bras (34A) are petite (sigh). my favorites are calvin klein’s “perfectly fit” line. wacoal also makes great petite bras. nordstrom and macy’s carry the petite lines, as does lula lu petite lingerie (http://www.lulalu.com/) which carries a wonderful range of sizes on the smaller end of the spectrum, including lots of petite bras and hard to find sizes like AA.

    • Reconsider your size. Get fitted if possible. The band around your chest has more to do with support and comfort than the shoulder straps.

      I had this problem for, no joke, years. I recently re-measured and went down a cup size, and the problem is gone.

    • Anonymous :

      You could get straps shortened, look for a brand that has straps that can be adjusted so they are completely doubled (as opposed to just halfway doubled), or buy one of these fasteners that hold the two straps together across your back (they sell these in lingerie stores).

    • Thanks very much for the advice ladies! This problem has followed me through a number of different sizes, brands, styles, adjustable straps, etc. but you guys gave some great hints I hadn’t considered before! Can’t wait to try them out! (I can’t believe I never thought to take them to a tailor and have them move the straps closer to the center in back considering I did that with every bridesmaids dress I ever wore!)

      • I recently read that the currently popular wide-set straps are much more likely to slip on sloping shoulders and that if you look for thinner, closer-set straps they’ll be more likely not to slide.

      • Stitch or pin a little piece, maybe 2 inches long, of ribbon to the bra straps in back, a couple of inches above the closure.

    • Most lingerie departments sell pieces you can put onto your bra straps in back to make them more like a racerback. They are usually around $5 and it should have the same effect as moving the straps closer together in the back.

    • I recently found that the Aerie bra’s are really great for no-slip straps. I have the same problem and these are the first bras that actually stay up all day–I wear the Paige and Emma styles. Both have push-up, especially the Emma (adds an entire cup size), but I’m a 34A so that’s not a bad thing for me. Plus the Emma actually has little air pocket inserts that are removable so that it then fits like a Paige.

    • Anonymous :

      might want to look into full coverage bras. the straps on bras that are full coverage tend to start closer to the middle of your chest rather than close to your armpit with demi-bras.

      • L from Oz :

        This – absolutely. Balconette bras don’t work for me at all, as I’ve got incredibly narrow shoulders, but full cups are much better. There are some stylish full cups out there, but they’re not as easy to find, unfortunately.

    • I have the same problem — have you tried a balconette (sp?) style? the straps are closer to the center of your shoulders than many styles and seem better balanced to me. They don’t look that way in pictures, but that’s how they have performed for me. (34DD)

      • L from Oz :

        Would have to disagree – balconettes slide straight off my shoulders, and the whole ‘hoik up your bra strap’ look is rather less than elegant. But clearly tastes differ!

    • For anything sleeveless, sew a small piece of 1/4″ ribbon into the shoulder seam to snap around your bra strap. Just sew one end of the ribbon to the seam allowance on the arm side, and a snap on the other end of the ribbon and the seam allowance on the neck side. Snap it around your bra strap and either both bra and shirt strap slip or neither do–either way, your bra strap doesn’t show.

      And ANYBODY can sew a little piece of ribbon and a snap, so there’s no need for a tailor.

  2. I used to wear thongs all the time and now I can’t tolerate them. They feel like dental floss between my butt cheeks and I hate the way I get a wedgie from my pants when I wear them. Alas, I also hate panty lines so I wear skirts and dresses a lot.

    If anyone can recommend comfortable underwear that doesn’t cause pantylines under today’s styles (which are mostly snug around the hips), I’d love to hear about it!

    • Jockey no panty line promise modal (not the tactel)
      They are very comforatable and do not show lines underneath dress pants (that’s what I have mostly used them for).

    • Try going up a size when you buy thongs. I wear a 4 but buy medium thongs and the fit works well, not too big but not the dental floss the smalls felt like.

    • NYTimes had a search for underwear that doesn’t cause lines a while back: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/11/02/fashion/20091103-physical-slideshow_index.html?scp=2&sq=VPL&st=cse

      I’ve never tried the OnGossamer because I balk at paying $17 for a pair of underwear, but if people really like them, I may have to try them.

      • I love On Gossamer underwear and have been wearing them for years now. I started with the thong, but mentally, I didn’t like them (they felt fine, in fact, I couldn’t feel them at all but I knew it was there and that bothered me). I switched to the boy shorts and have never had a problem with VPL– even with white pants! I am an 8-10 on the bottom and wear a L in the boy shorts.

      • OnGossamer is the only thong I’ll wear. I buy them one size too big, and I barely feel them. They’re a bit pricey, but just try a basic black and see what you think. Also, don’t wash in hot water and don’t dry. I try to wash by hand, but who has time for that? I usually wash in cold on the delicate cycle and hang dry.

        • And this might be gross, but I have had undies from them for YEARS! Because they are made of nylon, they really do last forever. I don’t mean like 2 years–I mean I have some OnGossamer pairs that are going on Year 6 and 7. (Granted, I have a huge undies drawer, but….)

          • Not to duplicate my earlier comment, but I used to do on gossamer & cosabella, but having found hanky panky i have converted. those brands are good but hanky panky is even more amazing.

    • I recently discovered Commando underwear. They are seamless and the edges are cut so thin you can barely feel them, let alone see them. I’ve only tried one style so far, but I love them.

      http://www.barenecessities.com/Commando-Panties_catalog_nxs,32,vendor,15444.htm

    • Don’t judge – but I LOVE the Hanes ones at target – tagless, seamless. I think they call them tissue? Only issue is they come in a 2 pack and they never have all black and they are so small my dryer eats them. I get the small bikins and the boyshorts. I looked on the target website but couldn’t find.

      • I second the Hanes rec! I was stuck overnight in the Middle of Nowhere, USA recently on a business trip and had to buy underwear for the next day. I picked these up at Target (the only store in the town, I think) and have been in love with them ever since!

        • If the town had a Target, it’s definitely not in the middle of nowhere (from someone who really lived in the middle of nowhere and used to drive an hour and a half just to go to a Target!)

          • You’re right, I was being a bit hyperbolic. I’m still traumatized at being stranded in a strange town with no underwear. I blame it on that!

          • I was thinking the same thing–I have to drive over an hour to get to a Target :) !!!

      • Agree — I’m a fan of both cuts (and fail to understand some of the other options they provide… like high rise… the bend comes up past your navel!)

        Wal-mart also sells these

        • Somewhat traumatizing story from my childhood:

          Up until I was about 14 or so, my mom picked out and purchased all my underwear – always of the high rise variety. And then she would give me a hard time that my underwear was coming up above my pants. I thought there was something completely wrong with my body causing this to happen. Thanks, mom.

          • My mother did the same thing when I was a kid! Probably didn’t help any that the low-rise jeans were just becoming popular at the time… ugh

      • I just got those a few weeks ago and they’re great! I was a little doubtful that the small size would fit since they looked so tiny in the box, but love them so far. I always make sure to put them in a lingerie bag so they don’t get lost during the washing process.

      • For the dryer eats them problem, try putting them in a zippered bra bag. I do this with my kids’ socks and voila – no more lost socks!

    • After trying out many many brands, I keep coming back to Hanky Panky thongs. I find them at discount stores or online for about $8-10 a pair. Pricey, but I prefer them to any other option.

    • Old Navy Mesh Hipster Underwear.
      $5/pair, no lines, and no love handles! (they are nice and stretchy).

      • these had so many good reviews online and were so cheap in store ($10 for a 3 pack) I had to go buy some today just to try them.

    • I also used to wear thongs until my Macy’s personal shopper turned me on to Natori Underneath Body Double boyshorts. They are AWESOME. Comfortable, sexy and no VPL.

  3. Speaking of twitter chat, holy twitter flood, batman! I unfollowed Corporette until the afternoon.

  4. Kristin B. :

    My favorite bra for work is the “Vanity Fair Bra, Body Superior Support Underwire Bra.” I own it in basically every color (and in size 38D). It provides great, smooth coverage with the must have fully adjustable straps and three hook and eye closures in the back for maximum support. Best part is that it’s frequently on sale at Macy’s or Kohls. Right now it’s only $16, so I may have to pick up a few! http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=215993&CategoryID=39987

  5. K, sounds like you need a new bra size, I would guess, or a different brand of bra with more adjustable straps. My sister also has sloping shoulders and hasn’t had this problem.

    Right now I am wearing nursing bras, which are not my favorite – no underwires and I wear them a bit looser than regular bras so as to avoid mastitis (which I have had twice already, ugh). Also right now my boobs are big, big – 36-38DD or E. Normally I am about a 36B-C. I usually wear Vicky’s body by victoria bras, since they are good for t-shirts, no show-through, etc. I wear thongs from Vicky’s and Gap, with either lace or string sides.

    I only wear spanx on special occasions and/or when I am newly pregnant and trying to hide it. They are too uncomfortable for everyday wear. I wear tights (Gap tall size) in the winter with skirts.

  6. For a nice thong I love hanky pankys. They’re lace and wide strapped so they don’t cut into your sides or have that wedgie feeling.

  7. Does anyone else have problems with Spanx camis and slips riding up/down around your curves? I have a pretty big hip to waist ratio and a tapered ribcage, and got a strapless Spanx full slip that seemed like a wonderful solution. But when I get the right fit in the waist, it rides up around my hips and down around my ribcage. Is this a size issue or is Spanx just worthless for hourglass figures?

    • Same here! I love the idea of spanx, but on my figure (size 6 bottom, 32C top), they do not work. I am also pretty hourglass and have trouble with things not staying put. Hourglass ladies, any suggestions on other brands to try?

    • I have a very hourglass shape (34c, 26, 40) and I have the strapless spanx full slip too…I haven’t had too much problem with riding up, but I did notice that the strapless top slides down a lot, particularly if I’m bending at the waist very much. But I also have a verrrrry long torso which is what I attribute this to…otherwise I really like it!

  8. I love the Maidenform Tshirt Bras. They are awesome. Great support, coverage, and the give great cleavage, too!

  9. I cannot stand underwire, and have been very happy with Warner’s “No Wires/No Worries” styles. I wear a 36B. They have a very smooth cup with just enough thickness to prevent any “show through” but not enough to look padded.

    Recently switched to Target’s house brand of all-cotton panties, Gilligan O’Malley I think its called. I had been wearing Jockey French Cut for years, but with the new lower waistband style trousers had become very conscious of occasionally showing too much upper panty! Now wearing bikini cuts. I know, I know, I’m probably the last woman my age to wear bikinis…

    Tried the Gilligan O’Malley boy shorts, but just couldn’t get used to that big a change in leg opening.

    • You might want to try the Warner underwear, too. Their “No Wedgies/No Worries” style is great… very comfortable and no VPL. I wear a 14-16 in pants and I get the XL.

  10. K–

    I have narrow sloping shoulders and the exact same annoying problem as you do with bra straps. It drives me nuts. For the last year or so, I have worn a “strap perfect”–yes, from the infomercials–every single day. They are not very attractive, and they do stretch out my bra straps, but atleast they keep them up!! Not ideal, I know. But it helps. :)

  11. i’m a 32DD and i love my champion sports bras. I wear them every day. They have two “cups” so there’s no uni-boob and they’re only slightly minimizing, so not a lot of boob-squashing. Downside is that they admittedly look like grandma bras. I recently discovered Chantelle and they rank highly on my list too (and don’t look like old lady undergarments).

    • I bought a $98 Chantelle Icone bra, and after about four wearings and one hand-washing the side boning poked through and began jabbing me in the ribcage. I hope this is not typical, but buyer beware.

      • 38D here, have several styles of Chantelle bras – I love the fit and the look, and they’ve lasted well for me. Haven’t tried the Icone bra, though I was checking it out recently…I’m slowly trying to replace all of my cheaper bras….

        Don’t wear shapewear all the time, but a decent compromise I’ve found is the Flexees fat-free tanks/camisoles. Limited colors, but they are smoothing, not confining, which is what I need on an average day.

        Unfortunately I’ve not yet found the miracle panty. I’ve got proportionally narrow hips and a flat butt, so the balance between the need to keep undies in place with my desire for no VPL is a delicate one. Hanky Panky thongs or boyshorts will work for many things, but I do need to be careful to grab something a bit “grabbier” when wearing looser-fitting pants or especially skirts w/o tights. I do have a pair of Pure Lime seamless panties which are great in terms of staying in place when I’m out for a run!

        • I am a 32DD and I really love Freya brand bras. They are pretty and they fit perfectly. I also second Hanky Panky underwear or Cosabella makes a nice lace thong as well.

  12. Boo, just lost a post because it said I was posting too quickly?

    I’m a 36B and swear by Wacoal and Donna Karan bras. Not cheap but usually available at discount stores or on sale at Bloomies. These are the only brands that I find comfortable for a looooong day in the office.

    I’m also a huge fan of the Maidenform strapless bra. I think it’s the “one fabulous fit.” They usually have them for $10 at century 21 (for you nyc gals). I have four, and even had one stitched into my wedding dress.

    • Chicago K :

      I like Donna Karan too – I have a lot from the DKNY line. The rest of my bras are Clavin Klien..both I get at Macy’s.

  13. I hate both thongs and panty lines. I am also broke AND find anything other than cotton uncomfortable. That microfiber stuff that a lot of women’s “no shows” are made of really irritates my skin. It’s supposed to be super breathable and comfortable but I find the opposite! Sorry if TMI… but does anyone else have that problem?

    I finally just started buying men’s boxer briefs at H&M. They are mostly cotton, actually come in a lot of cute colors, are very comfortable, DO NOT SHOW*, and do not ride up (for some reason, boyshorts from other brands always ride up on me). They are about 3 for $12. Maybe I could get the same effect in the women’s department if I were able to buy more expensive brands, but that’s not an option for me right now, and I like my solution. You can try other brands besides H&M but you have to be careful that you don’t buy the kind with leg bands.

    *However, they may peek above the waistband of lower-rise pants, so you have to make sure your shirt is long enough to cover and/or tucked in. Which, in my opinion, you should be doing anyway when at work. : )

    • interesting idea. if you don’t mind me asking, what size are you and what size men’s underwear do you buy? i would like to try this but i would think, as a size 6, i’m smaller than most dudes. maybe an XS would work?

      • I don’t mind, I meant to include that. I am a 6 petite in clothing, but a large in panties usually (at Victoria’s secret, anyway). I have an hour glass figure, and a quite rounded bottom (I mention this because I think that my shape makes me wear a larger size) .

        I wear the men’s small from H&M and they fit nice and snug. I tried on my bf’s mediums and I think they would work in a pinch…

        I’m really grateful for this thread bc I have been eager to share my discovery with others! :)

      • dee – I buy my 4 y.o. son these boxer briefs as well – if the men’s sizes don’t work, you could try the boys section…

    • JAS, it sounds like you’ve tried everything but in the off-chance you haven’t tried these Hanes for her:
      http://www.hanes.com/Hanes/Products/Women-Hanes/Women_ShopByCategory-Hanes/Women_Panties-Hanes/Women_Panties_BoyShorts-Hanes/21342.aspx

      they are the only boyshorts I’ve found that don’t ride up for me. I think it’s because they are cut more like boxer briefs than boyshorts. I got them in a 3 pack at WalMart for cheap. (And I totally know what you mean about the microfiber underwear, it doesn’t work for me either).

      • Thanks! these actually look like they would work the same as the H&M ones and white is the one color H&M doesn’t have. I should also say that on further reflection, they are more like $9 for 3 pair (the more elaborate prints are 12 but I stick with mostly solids. But my black pinstripes are my favorite.)

        It’s funny because I am by no stretch a tomboy..but this is where I arrived in desperation.

      • The other thing I forgot to mention about the H&M boxers is that they do not have any flap, seaming, or opening in the front…They basically look like really short spandex bike shorts. I would think that would make it uncomfortable for guys.

        And what really baffles me is that the “for women” version you recommend DOES have seaming details on the front. Anyone have a theory on why this is?

    • Am I the only person thinking of Mary Stuart Masterson in “Some Kind of Wonderful” right now? (Which also means I am thinking that, you, JAS, are very cool!)

      • I forgot to thank you for this, I hope you are still reading. I never saw the movie but I’ll take your word for it.

    • JAS – thanks for your tip, I have the exact same problem and was wondering what to do!

  14. I recently got fitted at Nordstrom’s and bought the Le Mystere Tisha style 9955. I love it! It’s the perfect bra for under t-shirts or anything thin. It’s incredibly comfortable. I wear a size smaller – 38D instead of 38DD – than I do in other brands (Le Mystere goes from D to E and the E is apparently a bit larger than most brands’ DD).

    I also am going to give another shout out for culotte slips, AKA pettipants. Hideously ugly, and amazingly practical and comfortable for those of us who walk to work or otherwise don’t want our thighs rubbing under our skirts. I buy them at JC Penney or on Amazon.

    • Oh, and I love hi-cut cotton panties. My main underwear problem is my panties getting tugged down over my narrow hips by my skirt or pants as I walk. Hi-cuts start very high up on the hip, but the waist is not as high as a brief. I buy some random brand of them at Filene’s, 6-pack of multiple colors and patterns for $9.99.

    • And one more thing – I love Spanx fabulous footless for under pants when it’s cold outside. They’re more comfortable than Spanx shapers, but they still seem to make my butt look perkier while also keeping me warm.

      • Wow. I hear you on the thigh rubbing problem, but culotte slips . . . I just don’t think i can go there! I wear spanx or pile on the baby powder.

        • Spanx shorts are not even an option on a two-mile walk in a 95 degree, 85% humidity summer (or, really, on any other day. No one can see what’s under my skirt, so I’d rather it be something comfy).

        • Anonymous :

          I walk four miles round trip to/from work and then everywhere else too so I understand the chafing issue all too well. Extra layers in the summer are SO miserable, but so are friction-injured thighs. I swear by Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. Tube at home, in the office, in my purse. If they ever stop making it, I’ll cry.

          • You could try Body Glide. It’s a lubricant that is supposed to prevent chafing. It doesn’t work for me as well as wearing shorts or a slip does, but it is definitely better than nothing.

          • Yes! Body Glide is amazing. I use it all the time to prevent chaffing when running. It also works after the fact to protect and heal the irritated area.

    • Do you find they are less likely to slip down and show at the hem? I have always wanted to try this type of slip….(before my amazing H&M discovery I thought about wearing them on top of regular undies with pants to prevent VPL).

      I am all about ugly but functional underwear, on the bottom at least. :)

      • I’ve never had a problem with slippage, but I can’t recall having a problem with slippage with normal slips either, so possibly it’s due to body shape or wearing the wrong size? Skirts and slips tend to slide up, not down, on me.

        • hmm I just looked these up on JCP.com and I can totally see these riding up, which is why I never wear shorts. has that been a problem for you?

          • No, but the ones I have are sort of long – almost knee length. They don’t seem to move around too much. But I only wear them under looser skirts. For pencil skirts I usually just wear bike shorts then take the bike shorts off when I get to work (be sure you wear a lined skirt or slip with bike shorts or the skirt will cling to them).

    • I have to say I had NO idea that such a type of slip existed. Honestly, I’m kind of excited to go find one. I vastly prefer to wear skirts rather than pants for work, but HATE the uncomfortable chaffing.

      • AnneCatherine :

        Okay, ladies, try not to judge me overmuch for the corniness of the website I am going to recommend, but, take a look at the Vermont Country Store website (I can’t post links or my posts don’t post.) Click on apparel, then “Women’s Intimates.” Whatever you do, if your screen faces the door (and even if it doesn’t), don’t click on “Lingerie Shop.” While I can’t exactly claim it’s NSFW, it’s definitely TEFW (Too Embarrassing for Work). Anyhow, in the “Women’s Intimates” section, click on “Slips,” and they have the culotte-type slip in cotton and in nylon. They also, interestingly, have “Snip to Fit Pant Liners,” which clam to solve the problem of unlined pants so many of us have noted.

        (Also, in the “Camisoles and Undershirts” section they have the underarm shield/liners a few folks brought up last week as being available at sewing or dressmaker stores. I just order them from here.)

        You will definitely have to sift through the chaff to find the wheat on this website but, it is useful for “notions” and other things that five-and-ten stores used to sell.

        • I looooove Vermont Country Store. Apart from the pettipants, I want every single kitchen decor item they sell. I could spend $1000 at their site in under 15 minutes, easy.

          • North Shore :

            Never heard of Vermont Country Store before, but I’m having a blast looking at it today. You can buy a real washboard, a sock monkey, and a rabbit fur hat to make a little girl “feel like a princess.” Too amusing!

      • Anonymous :

        i didn’t know they made culotte slips either! my sister once had my mom convert a regular slip into slip pants though…

      • Yep, just look in the fuddy-duddy section of your local retailer! Once you get over the fact that you’re buying something called a “pettipant” you’ll love them. Vermont Country Store even used to have a 100% cotton style for those of us who love natural fabrics.

    • I also love the Pettipants. I’ve bought them at Sears. Think about where your grandma buys stuff, and look there!

      I have worn them under pants- a size smaller with wide leg pants. I have several suits with inexplicably unlined pants. After sitting for 10 minutes the wrinkles at the hips in the front are terrible. The pettipants fix that.

    • thank you thank you thank you thank you, I wondered about culotte slips since you mentioned them before. I need them!
      And I totally agree, Spanx is NOT the right choice when you’re walking any sort of distance – those things are HOT

  15. I wait for these to go on sale and stock up: http://tinyurl.com/y8hnqgs I buy in small, they are super stretchy and soft!

    For bras, I’m a 34D, and get the VS Ipex full coverage (which I think have been discontinued, but they still pop up in the semi-annual sale) or Body by Victoria full coverage. Both kinds have a slight minimizing effect, which is great for my size.

    For spanx, etc…I only do this when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY (wedding, interview, work function). I tend to sweat/overheat easily, and these things are terrible for that. The one I use most often is basically a very high-waisted panty.

  16. Does anyone have any suggestions for a 32C/D wireless bra (probably a D)? I’ve noticed that some brands seem to advertise having the size, but I have trouble finding anything in 32 above a B in wireless varieties. C/D cups for a 32 aren’t particularly large, so I am not sure why there aren’t more of these types available.

    • Have you checked the Vicky’s Body and Secret Embrace collections? I’m pregnant now and can’t stand underwire and the Body collection has been absolutely wonderful. The cups are nicely built and it provides great support.

    • Every time I go into VS and ask for a 32C/D they give me a strange look and try to shove me into a 34B. I find it really frustrating and annoying, so I can’t say I shop there anymore. With the wireless especially, there’s no way I can fit into a 34.

      • I don’t know about wireless bras specifically, but I have luck finding 32D bras at good prices on figleaves.com. I rarely find 32D in stores.

      • I used to have the same problem but lately the VS by me has been carrying 32D and even 32DD. There are less colors and they aren’t in every style but the basics and newer bras are all in a 32D. You can get them on the website. I also love La Senza for 32 D bras. It is basically the Canadian Victoria Secret and is less expensive. If you are going to order from there, I suggest ordering quite a bit at one time because it is flat rate shipping to the U.S. so they just charge you 13.00 regardless of if you have one item or 30. Good luck!

        • anon - chi :

          Really?? I am a 32 DD and I have never seen a single bra my size at VS! They always suggest a 34D instead, which is goofy – I’m not going to buy the wrong size just so I can shop at one particular store.

    • I’m a 32C, and my wireless bra– the first and only to actually work for me– is from Chantelle. Expensive, but worth it. My sense is that the cups run a teensy bit small, so the 32D might be perfect for you.

      Not sure that this is the exact style I have, but it looks very, very similar.
      http://www.barenecessities.com/Chantelle_product_CHANTELLE3065_,size,.htm

      All credit to the fine women at Town Shop in NYC for hooking me up, by the way. I wandered in, shellshocked from an unpleasant experience at Victoria’s Secret down the street, and 20 minutes later they’d saved the day.

      • …I’m not sure why I interpreted “wireless” as “strapless”, and then repeated the mistake in my own answer. Um. Nothing to see here, carry on. =P

  17. Can’t say enough about Spanx!! LOVE!!!!!!!!!!! The tights, the hose, the footless…I wear some form of them every day – no panty lines, no wedgies! I wash them on delicate cycle in a lingerie bag, and hang them dry. Also, I recently tried a Spanx bra, and I love that, too – just ordered another. It definitely does what it promises – no back fat buldge! Even thought I am a fairly slender person (size 4), with no chest (32A), a regular bra would still create a buldge, where these do not. Even though Spanx products can be pricey, they do last a long time and, in my opinion, are worth the money.

  18. North Shore :

    I’m a size 4 petite, and I find shapewear of some sort or another really makes my clothes look and fit better. Should I mention that I’m in my 40s? Maybe it’s more important after a certain age. :) I’ll size up so that the shapewear sleeks, instead of squashing. I like Spanx slips and bras, and all those shapewear camis and tanks. On the advice of comments here, I’ve been wearing Donna Karan “the Nudes” hose, and they look almost invisible, but my legs look better. After having my babies (ok, 10 years ago now), I could not stand underwire bras, but have recently been giving it another try to take advantage of molded cups. My boobs look great in some of those, and there are also some contour bras without wires, like the Natori no wire contour bra and the Spanx Bra-llelujah Wireless. I’m a 36B, by the way. And I love my local bra shop. It’s been around forever, and the staff sure know how to fit a bra.

  19. I’m a 32D and love the “Seductive Comfort” Calvin Klein bras at Nordstrom… they are cute, comfortable, and not as pricey as some other lines. I tried one of the Spanx bras, and it was initially comfortable but then gave me a terrible itchy rash on my chest! Maybe not good if you have sensitive skin…

  20. How much do I love that shapewear has come out of the closet?! The first time my mom suggested I buy a minimizing slip I cried for a week and took it as this giant slap in the face (I was 19 and maybe a size 4 at most). I love that it’s discussed, widely available and MUCH more comfortable now. And much better looking! My husband actually loves the way some of it looks on… though he still finds Spanx hysterical.

  21. My bra straps used to fall down constantly as well, no matter how tight I would made them. I recently got measured, went down a cup size to a 36B, and I also started buying Vanity Fair bras and Soma Intimates bras. Ever since, I have had no problems with slipping bra straps. I don’t really know if that’s due to the size change or brand, but in combination, it has really saved me the bra strap frustration.
    *Also, because I love a good deal (almost as much as a well-fitted bra), I have found a Soma outlet where the clearance section bras sell for about $12.99 or so (from a regular price of about $45).

  22. AnneCatherine :

    Sigh. I have been looking for a good bra, the perfect bra, for years. Every bra someone “loves” I try–including Wacoal, La Mysterie or whatevs Oprah shils for–etc., and NONE of them end up working me me. I have never been measured, and maybe that’s the problem…. My mom, similarly endowed, always swore by Bali, but I haven’t found one of them I like, either.

    I actually finally found a bra I loved, an Olga, and they discontinued it about three years ago and all the ones I bought up are pretty rough around the edges, sadly.

    So, I just wear Victoria’s Secret Full Coverage. I’m a 38DD, 40 DD the week before and during you-know-what (sorry if TMI). Actually, I’m probably more like a 38DDD or E that week, but VS doesn’t make that, so I just buy the larger band size and try to make do, even though what I need is a larger cup size. They are comfortable, I will give them that. My issue is, and always has been, that I’m short, and my shoulder to chest area is short, so I always have to have straps (on dresses, bras, whatever) shortened to the fullest extent. With dresses I cut and re-sew them, but with bras I just slide the slider on the strap. But, when they start getting older, it’s not like I can shorten them to provide more support since they are already as short as they go.

    I also wear Body by Victoria bikinis, so to whomever asked if she was the last of the bikini-wearers, no! I actually like, also, hiphuggers, and boy shorts in cotton or microfiber. I agree, microfiber does *not* wick away moisture, but, I do feel that, because it has spandex, it sort of sucks in/holds in my stomach a little better than cotton panties do, which makes me feel more secure. Hate thongs, will not wear, and my doctor (gyno) told me not to and since I don’t want to, anyway, that is one piece of doctor’s advice I’m taking. :)

    I’m really excited to see those women’s boxer briefs from Hanes, I am going to order some. But I do like the Gap cotton hip huggers and VS boy shorts for sleeping/hanging out on weekends. During the week I just wear my VS “sets” mostly, though I am not, sadly, one of those people who matches all their clothes to their bras and all their bras to their panties. I do try to wear similar colors, but I’ve just never gotten the hang of all that and it’s just one more thing that I am inadequate at. I feel like, if it’s clean and doesn’t show, I’m ahead of the game.

    • Please go get fitted at Nordstrom! Give yourself a good two hours of time, try on lots of bras and have the sales clerk come look at them on you and make sure they fit right! And if you wear them a few times and they stretch out or aren’t comfortable, they will let you return or exchange them. Shopping for bras at Nordie’s is worth every penny.

    • I agree — get fitted! It will seriously change your life. Literally every person I’ve ever known to have gotten fitted (including moi) learned that they were getting a size too big around. Maybe you’re actually a 36 with a bigger cup size? I was fitted at Victoria’s Secret and at a local boutique

      • Be careful with VS – it’s really hit or miss as to whether the associates know what they’re doing.

        When I was pregnant with my second child and I was literally spilling over my 34C bra, I went in to have a fitting and the woman measuring me told me conclusively I was a 34B (without having me try on anything to confirm). I then had the same problem at a -different- VS where they took out their tape measure, grabbed some bras, and then shooed me toward the cash register (that saleslady told me I was a size 32D, so they weren’t even consistent among stores).

    • You can always further shorten the straps by cutting part of it off and re-sewing. I do it myself – it takes me about 30 minutes which is enough time that I think I should start paying someone else to do it. But it’s definitely worth the trouble.

      • AnneCatherine :

        I know, I do have to go get measured. I am (unreasonably?) resistant to someone messing about with me and then trying to make me buy an $85 bra, and telling me I’ve been doing it all wrong for 20+ years and to get rid of all my bras. It’s one of those things I will have to gird my loins for. I’m sure I’ve spent more money over the years just buying random bras, and then not wearing them when they don’t fit.

        • When I went for my fitting, I wasn’t even measured. My fitter just looked at me ( beware if you are at all squeamish about standing topless in front of a stranger) and she brought me bras that fit beautifully.

        • In all kindness, I think you *have* been doing it wrong for 20+ years. To illustrate, you say your band size changes during your period – that really doesn’t make sense. Your cup sizes, not your band size, is affected by swelling or by weight gain or loss. I’ve gained and lost 50lbs due to illness without changing my band size. I’m a 38DD like you, have been as large as a 38G, and my bras fit and feel great.

          It is a bit uncomfortable to have a stranger measure you and look at you in bras, but in my experience (at Nordstrom) they are as professional as my doctor is. I can only speak for Nordstrom, but I have never felt pressured to buy a certain type of bra or spend more money than I can afford. If I tell the saleslady I only have X amount of money to spend, she stays within that budget, and she doesn’t treat me any differently than people who can spend more (case in point – they were incredibly professional about letting me exchange a worn, tagless, no receipt, $60 bra that didn’t fit right). They’d rather have you as a regular customer buying $50 dollar bras than a one-time customer buying a $90 bra.

          • anon - chi :

            Even if you DO end up getting a couple of really pricey bras, that’s still less expensive than buying cheaper ones, discovering they don’t fit or aren’t comfortable, and having to replace them. Your bras affect how all your other clothing looks – IMHO, it’s the one item of clothing that you really should spend extra on.

        • Being measured is a good idea, but if you can’t handle it, here’s my tip.

          I buy my bras from OneHanesPlace.com. I like the Bali Passion for Comfort and the Playtex secrets. I wear a 42D.

          Order 2 or 3 styles in several sizes. Order 36, 38 and 42s, in C, D, DD, and Es. Try them on, with a friend if you like, in the comfort of your own home, with your own mirror, and all your own shirts. Return the ones you don’t like and order several of the ones you like. I can often get them for $15 or so each, so when they stretch out I don’t feel even a little sad throwing them away and buying another.

    • Get fitted – and try brands like Freya & Fantasie. For my $0.02: I’m a 30GG and only wear brands that Bravissimo carries! I pick the ones with fully adjustable straps.

      I have an issue with VPL – hate thongs, hate anything that isn’t cotton (I live in year round 90 degree heat + 90% humidity). Will now try boy shorts for when I wear dresses (especially the DVF type wraps).

      I don’t wear Spanx daily (though I probably should:) due to the heat but own a pair for special occasions.

    • I’m a 34-36DDD, depending on style and brand. My experience with getting fitted is somewhat different than most: at VS, where they don’t carry DDD and only a couple of styles of DD, they put me in a 38D and said it was my size. (They were very wrong, but of course it’s the only chance they had to make the sale.) Then, at Macy’s, the woman measured and brought me a 32C. I laughed in her face and put it on, and she just sort of frowned and clucked. Finally, at a different Macy’s, I grabbed every 34 and 36 DD, DDD and E I could find and went into a fitting room for a very long time. Guess what? If the cups are big enough, the band really does lay flat against your chest! I never had that before. The key is to try several different styles and at least 2 different band and cup sizes.

      Also, at age 45 I was sick of ugly bras and panties, so now I only wear matched sets of pretty ones. Most brands apparently assume we DDDs should wear minimizers (no thanks) or prefer stark, unadorned, industrial-strength styles, but Lunaire makes pretty ones that are very reasonably priced (and they work). Macy’s and Dillard’s carry them, and I find more in the stores than online.

  23. I would like to diversify my bra collection, but most of what I have is VS. I love the fact that no matter how small one is (34A speaking here), you can still find stuff that fits, is comfortable and beautiful. And makes you feel feminine. I love the new styles, colors and technologies that they seem to come out with all the time. In contrast, sometimes I shop for bras at Nordstrom, find a bra that I like, only to be told by a sales clerk that “they don’t make them in 34A.” So, i end up going to VS.

    • Dasha,

      I was in Maidenform recently and noticed they had a lot of cute bras in an A cup. Maybe give them a try?

      • I will have to give them a try, thanks for the suggestion!

        • If you have a Century 21 near you, they have amazingly cute Dolce & Gabbana, & other designer bras that are beyond feminine and adorable, and often ONLY in a cups. I always stare at them with longing, as I am not an A and these super adorable bras do not come in a D. If you have a chance, check them out.

  24. I’m a 34 AA and find it nearly impossible to find suitable bras. Any suggestions?

    • I’m a total evangelist for these three places: http://www.thelittlebracompany.com/ and http://www.aalingerie.com/ and http://www.lulalu.com/ …but mostly the first. I also really like the Gap balconette style which comes in AA (or the A runs small, I can’t remember). I spent so many years searching that I was so happy to find the LBC! They are small and cute–not ugly little kid stuff.

    • newassociate :

      http://www.lulalu.com/ carries lots of bras in smaller sizes. i live in the area and have met the owner, ellen, several times. she is very nice (and small chested herself) and carries a lot of great lines that are flattering and comfortable for our (i’m a 34A) sizes. unlike the sense that i get at mainstream stores (vs especially), i don’t feel like an afterthought or somehow less feminine at lula lu.

    • Online. Try places like barenecessities.com and figleaves.com – much, much wider selections. A 32A may work for you as well (a lot of time you can get free shipping so order multiples and return what doesn’t work).

      • newassociate :

        gosh, i have to disagree. that’s a common response to ladies wearing small sizes – just get a bra in the wrong size and make do. if a 32 band truly fits gs’s figure, great. however, a too small band can be very uncomfortable, and the “down a band, up a cup/up a band, down a cup” rule is not consistent, especially at the smaller end of the cup size spectrum. we are all beautiful, 32AA and up, and we all deserve to have lingerie that makes us feel that way, even if we don’t fit into “normal” bra sizes. no one should settle for an ill-fitting bra.

        • I don’t think the rule is really consistent generally when you have a small band size. I am a 32C/D and often get pushed into the 34B/C. I’ve found a few bras in a pinch that will fit, but for the most part 34s just don’t work for me because the band is slightly loose even on the tightest setting. I do find that most stores have a lot more in the 32A/B (don’t get me wrong, the selection is still atrocious) than in 32C/D. My sister is a 34A and can’t typically do the 32A/B.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t suggested that anyone get an ill-fitting bra!

          Just that she should try several options because I know from personal (small-chested) experience once I started trying more sizes (that aren’t easily available in stores) that I didn’t need an AA, I needed an A with one band size down.

    • Someone recommended above http://www.thelittlebracompany.com.

      • Go to Herroom.com.

        Get the OnGossamer “bump it up” push up bra. It’s padded, but doesn’t give that “ohmigod she’s wearing a ridiculous Wonderbra” look at all. Super-comfy. I swear by them. (And I too am REALLY not well endowed).

    • i don’t mean to be offensive, but at 34AA do you really need a bra? i think i’d rather go without.

      • Anonymous :

        um, yes. while someone who is a 34AA might not “need” the support provided by a bra, she would still need the coverage of a bra, especially at work.

      • I notice from your comment above that you are busty, so perhaps your comment is because you really need support from a bra and think you might enjoy not having to wear a bra. That may well be, but your comment is also insensitive. Part of being an adult for many women – though not all of course, and there’s nothing wrong with not wearing a bra either – is wearing a bra. Not only do bras provide helpful coverage, because everyone can get “cold” regardless of size, but they can help a woman feel beautiful and feminine. Often, we associate not wearing a bra with the tween years. We’re corporettes now, thanks. Adult women, adult lingerie.

        Women with small busts are constantly reminded through media and insensitive comments that “sexy” and/or “adult” means a large bust, or at least a bust large enough to “need” support from a bra, and that smaller sized busts are inadequate. As you can probably guess, I don’t “need” support from a bra. You may rather “go without,” as you say, but I’d rather go “with,” and thankfully there are a few brands that make my small size. Thanks to the corporettes, I now know a few new places to find them.

      • Is this a serious question? Imagine seeing a woman walk down the street wearing a fitted t-shirt. Regardless of her cup size, EVERYONE will know if she isn’t wearing a bra! And I think that goes for most clothing.

        • to both above:

          I really wasn’t trying to be insensitive, i honestly think that if i were small enough to get away with it I wouldn’t wear a bra (or at least not the contraption i have on now). Also, as someone who is busty, I go to great lengths to conceal my boobs (minimizing bras) and think some outfits would look much, much better if I were smaller (I wrote once about how awful belted cardigans look on me and in some pencil skirts i look like a pin-up model, not a lawyer).

          Also (and again, I’m mindful of being insensitive but I am honestly not trying to offend), if I were small enough and wanted coverage, I think i would go for one of those lacy underwire-less bras that I think are adorable but never once in a million years could I wear anywhere but my living rooms. I could see how that wouldn’t work under a tshirt, though.

          • Being a 30FF with a 24 1/2″ waist I know exactly how you feel. Because of the media I feel guilty if I complain since I supposedly have such a sought after body, but I feel I either go from looking frumpy which is not what I want at 23 if I don’t define my waist, to looking like a pinup model if I do. But it is even worse on the weekend when I feel I can’t wear any of the cute styles my friends do since massive amounts of bra would show with any of them.

    • lulalu.com They are great. I am a 32AA. Also Wacoal Petites, but if you are not actually petite other than having a small chest I find the straps to be barely long enough.

  25. Can anyone provide some insight to how to measure your band size? It used to be, take the measurement of your ribcage beneath your breast and add four inches; now, it seems you should add 2 inches for even sizes and 3 inches for odd sizes. Needless to say, I’ve gone down a band size and can’t figure out if this is a new way to measure, or if the industry has changed.

    • I really think it’s the kind of thing you have to figure out by trying on, particularly because like clothing sizes, band sizes differ from brand to brand. You want most of the support to be coming from the band rather than the straps so the band should basically be as tight as you can comfortably wear it.

    • It really varies among brands but also depends on how you’re shaped. I think the rule you mentioned is valid for most American brands, but not so much for European brands. I measure at 35″, which most size charts and a bra fitter say should make me a 40 band, but a 40 band is way too big and the corresponding cup size for my cup measurement is too small. I actually used to wear a 36 thinking that if I measured 35″ that must just be my band size, but since getting fitted I’ve realized that the best fit is a 38 band with a larger cup size as my breasts seem to be a bit wider than most people with my measurements. At any rate, your measurements should provide a guideline, but you really just have to try each bra on.

    • I highly, highly, highly recommend getting a professional fitting. I know we’ve all heard this advice a bajillion times, but I also know that I ignored it as unnecessary and extravagent for years. Turns out, it’s not.

      I couldn’t figure out why my clothing never fit right and my breasts were always smooshed and uncomfortable until I went for a proper fitting. I had been wearing a 36D (per Victoria’s Secret). My fitting revealed that I’m actually a 34G. Trust me, this makes a big difference. My clothing fits much better, I look like I lost an instant 10 pounds, and my boobs are so much happier.

      • I’ve gotten professionally fitted three times in the last three months, and while all the fitters agree on my size, the ones that fit the best are the “old” size. I know you just have to try on, but as most B&M stores don’t stock 30 or 32ds…well, let’s just say that I’m glad most online sites have free shipping and returns.

        • Maybe they are fitting you at the right band size but a too-big cup size? When I first got fitted they put me at a 40DD, which didn’t work at all, then a 38DD. I bought a bra, but after one wearing it slid down and around and the straps fell. Turned out what I really needed was a 38D.

        • Nordstrom has a great department. Most carry 30 bands even up through a G cup. No where else that I have found does that. True it is not every store (only 2 of the 3 stores nearby do), but it is still a better ratio than most stores. Some of the stores even carry down to a 30 band in multiple brands!
          Yes they are a little more expensive, but Nordstrom has great service and a great selection. I never go anywhere else.

    • Ribcage measurement = band size. You only add for cup size.

      Adding inches to ribcage measurement to get band size is what causes most women to end up with bigger band sizes/smaller cup sizes.

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.