Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ahh Bra Review

The other month, a rep from the "Ahh Bra" company (officially, the Rhonda Shear Company) contacted me, wanting to send me some Ahh Bra items. I honestly didn't know much about the Ahh Bra, and I was a bit curious, so I agreed to check them out.

I'm going to note right up front that, although I was contacted through no effort of my own and was sent these items for free, I will always give my true, unbiased opinion of any items I talk about or review here. I'm not out to get free stuff; I blog to learn and to help others learn as much as I can. I'm writing about these items because I've been asked about them and similar-type items by readers in the past, and I feel that a review may be useful to some readers who are curious.

Anyway, I did a bit of looking around the Rhonda Shear website prior to trying out the items (which arrived some time later in nicely-wrapped box). I really was curious as to how the bras would work for bustier women - after all, most items are of the stretchy, wireless variety (with some wired bras offered for a small size range), and yet the site seems to claim that the bras will be a great and comfortable solution for just about everyone!

According to the size charts on the site, I would be somewhere between a size Small and a Medium for the products:
Bust is on the larger end of Medium.
Waist is on the larger end of Small - smaller end of Medium
Hips are definitely in the Small range.
Weight is in the Small range.

I gave my bust/underbust measurements (37/27.5) and usual bra size (28H) to the representative, and was accordingly sent mostly Medium items.

Ahh Generation Bra: (Medium)

The first item is one of the "basic" Ahh Bras. It comes with two removable thin inserts, which I took out - they don't really add to support, just provide a little lining.

Despite looking not-very-attractive on in my opinion, I can't deny that this basic bra is actually fairly comfortable. It's quite stretchy, light-feeling, and apparently can even be put through the washer! The fit, however, puzzles me somewhat. I was sent a Medium (what I should be wearing, according to the size chart), but the bust part seemed too small in some ways, yet still wrinkled unattractively on the side. I spill out under the armpits, my boobs are smooshed together, and I definitely don't get an "uplifted" look. I did notice that the shape of the bra improved once I shortened the straps by pulling up on them. I might look into a way to permanently shorten the straps since it looks much better this way, although I'm not sure if that would cause any issues with pulling down on the shoulders. I also notice that the bottom "band" of the bra rolls up after a bit of wearing it, which isn't really ideal for looks, either.

So, how does the Ahh Bra work as a regular, everyday bra? I decided to compare how the Ahh Bra looked under a well-fitting shirt (my Urkye Francuski Blekit) vs how it looked with my actual regular, everyday bra (the Freya Deco in an altered 30GG).

Shirt with the Ahh Bra

Shirt with my everyday bra (Freya Deco 30GG)

Quite a difference, I'd say, in terms of shape, support, uplift, and how the shirt fits! The look I get from the Ahh Bra is, in fact, pretty similar to the look I used to get when wearing old, ill-fitting, wireless 36DD bras. I will say that the Ahh Bra does, however, keep my boobs fairly "in place", which is better than not wearing a bra at all.

All that said, I found the bra pretty comfortable to use as a sleep bra. I know there are many women who really prefer sleeping with a bra (I could go either way, really), and this definitely could be a good option for those looking for some solution. I feel that the bra might work better in general for women who have a larger underbust measurement and smaller bust measurement than I do.

What I would use or recommend the basic Ahh Bra for:
-As a sleep/lounge bra (my primary use)
-Perhaps during some very light exercising (stretching, light yoga)
-For wear after any surgery that affects how one wears a bra (breast reduction/augmentation, shoulder, etc)
-During pregnancy, if size is changing rapidly and it's difficult to find a good, comfortable bra. This actually may be preferable to wearing a bra with wires that are sitting on your breast tissue due to ill fit.
-As one option for women who are unable to wear underwires due to medical reasons
-Recovering after wearing a new bra that irritated the skin and makes wearing a regular bra uncomfortable the next day
-An option if you need to go through a highly-secured area where an underwire would definitely set off alarms (or where underwire bras aren't allowed)
-As a comfy bra during a long plane trip
-A quick trip outside

How I would NOT use it:
-As a replacement for a daily bra
-As a sports bra
-For any kind of formal wear


"Pin Up Girl" Metallic Lace Leisure Bra: (Medium)

This bra actually looked pretty, and I was excited to try it on. I didn't know much about Ahh Bras before this, so I was expecting that they all sort of looked the same. But this one was definitely not just a sports-bra-lookalike. The black lace is lovely, and it has a row of hooks (admittedly, a rather staggering number) that make it seem like a more "regular" bra.


However... even with the band tightened all the way, this bra was terribly loose. It looked sort of okay when adjusted correctly, but it soon shifted around and lost some of the shape after I moved around. The bra seemed super-roomy overall, and yet the "cup" part was too small. The shape was unideal, and I felt quite a bit less supported than in the regular Ahh Bra. I also found the hooks rather hard to do up.

Again, I think this bra has somewhat more potential for women with a larger underbust/smaller bust than myself. Just because it didn't work well for my body type doesn't mean it won't work for anyone's! But I must admit, the band seemed unnecessarily large and stretchy. I was just absolutely swimming in it, unlike the model shown on the site (I can only conclude a lot of pinning was done there). I have difficulty believing it would work really well on many people at all. That said, I do think it's pretty overall, and if it actually fit me at all well, I could see myself using it.

How I would use the Lace Ahh Bra:
-As a prettier/sexier version of a lounge or sleep bra - paired with some matching lacy undies, perhaps

How I would NOT use it:-As an everyday or sports bra

"Sweet Tart" Butterknit Lace Shelf Tank Gown: (Medium)


I was really happy to see this lovely nightgown in the package. I've often felt rather gypped when it comes to pretty, lacy nightgowns - there just aren't that many options for busty women, and this one had such pretty details and a nice satin feel.

However, I was most sadly disappointed. Despite its apparent potential, the nightgown just didn't look that great on. The top part was not at all supportive for me, and it was super-stretchy, and somehow both too big and too small at the same time. The rest of it just hung down sadly, rather like a sack.
Er.... flattering?
Unfortunately, this nightgown was probably the biggest disappointment for me. I don't really see myself able to use it, even though it feels nice and looks pretty and sort-of-kind-of "fits". Again, a smaller-busted woman (the model on the site, for example) might look much better in it, but that doesn't do me much good, and I feel that there are already many options for smaller-busted women out there.


"Heart Throb" Shelf Tank: (Large)

The final item I received was a tanktop. I was a little surprised at this, as I was unaware that the company made pieces of clothing that weren't lingerie. While the other items were all Medium, I received this one in Large, making me think that it perhaps ran differently than the other items sizewise. I wasn't too thrilled with the color (sort of a greenish), but a supportive tanktop seemed like a good idea anyway.

The fit and look, I felt, was pretty much comparable with the regular Ahh bra. If anything, it felt like it smooshed me down even more (and there was definitely a nipple-showthrough issue). If I wore this out at all, I would definitely not feel comfortable in it without a bra underneath, which, I feel, defeats the whole purpose. Why wouldn't I just wear a regular shirt without a "shelf bra"? Also, with the addition of a bra underneath, I have doubts that the cami would even fit well over my bust at all. But, again, the material is comfy, and I could see myself wearing it as a pajama top, as it does hold my boobs in place (albeit in a smooshed way)


Concluding thoughts:

While I do appreciate what Rhonda Shear is trying to do with the Ahh Bra products (providing a comfortable bra alternative for women who are frustrated with "regular" bras), I must say that I don't find the Ahh Bra a real, daily solution. I feel that many women who turn to the Ahh Bra are doing so out of frustration at their own ill-fitting, uncomfortable bras. The thing is, regular bras aren't supposed to be uncomfortable! Women don't need to sacrifice shape and uplift to get a fit that's comfortable and correct.

Paired with the fact that none of the items truly seemed to work that well for me as a bustier/thinner woman, the website gives very incorrect fitting advice. On the sizing page, Rhonda tells us the "80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size!" statistic, but then gives us the very formula that propagates this statistic. We're instructed to "add 3 inches to underbust measurement for band size" (this would give me a band size of 30 or 32, depending on if I rounded up both times), and then (in a first for me) we're told to measure the projection, rather than measuring around the bust, to get a cup size ("Measure from the center of the fullest part of the breast down to under the bust"). If I'm understanding correctly, I get a measurement of about 4.5. Thus, I would be pegged by this method as a 30/32 D/DD - a size range that is ridiculously small in the cup for me as well as large in the band. In addition, the cup sizes on the size charts only go up to "DDD", implying that this is the biggest size that a person could be - and the band size only goes down to 32 (which is dubbed "extra small").

Bottom Line: Are the Ahh Bra products a replacement for well-fitting bras? No. But will they possibly work fine for some people? I think they could, just not as a daily solution. The basic bra may prove, however, to be a great comfy sleep bra option for anyone who might be looking for one.


Several other bloggers also did reviews on Ahh Bra products in various sizes - the bra seems to work out best for Dezi of A Sophisticated Pair (32E/F).
Curvy Kitten (28GG, Medium/Small)
Bratabase (28HH/30GG, Medium/Small)
Hourglassy (34H, Large)
A Sophisticated Pair (30H/HH and 32E/F, Medium)
By Baby's Rules (28J, Medium)

7 comments:

  1. Oh cool! I have seen infomercials on this and imagined that it was too good to be true. The commercials are very convincing though, and the deals they offer make it tempting to try. I saw some in Target the other day, too. I wish companies would stop pretending to understand.... geeze!!

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    1. I actually hadn't really seen the commercials besides the one I recently watched on Youtube, but I'd read about it before and seen it in stores. What really gets me is that they tell women that they should wear the Ahh Bra because "regular bras are like torture devices!" Well, not if you're wearing the correct size, they're not... of course an ill-fitting bra is going to be uncomfortable :P

      Also, I definitely found that their promises of great shape and support didn't hold up. But, like I said, it would work pretty well as a sleep bra, and it seems to work better for those who have a larger band size/smaller cup size.

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  2. I stumbled upon your thoroughly educating and entertaining blog while looking for an online bra calculator to verify my true size. Love your posts and found myself reading review after review and learning about how to buy a properly fitted bra online. I was fitted with a 30F in Fantasie at my local bra boutique in Toronto since their selection of 28 bands was very limited. Unfortunately, they used the overbust measurement which concerned me. What also concerned me was that they felt I should buy a bra that they had in stock. I wore the bra maybe twice. The band is too large and the wire ends somewhere behind my armpit (where it grinds on my ribcage and back) despite the volume of the cup being a good match. I plan to call up some other boutiques with 28 bands in stock so that I can try those on in a FF or possibly G or to see if they are more comfortable.

    Phew! Excuse my rant. I actually have a question about sleeping bras. Currently, I'm using those terrible Fruit of the Loom cotton 3-pack "sports bras" in size 32 and I'm spilling out all over the place. 34 is just all sorts of bottom spillage. I would wear a spandex cami for sleeping, but it's cold where I live and I would have to layer on top of the cami, making for a very uncomfortable sleep.

    It was really helpful to see this review since I was looking into the Ahh Bra or Genie Bra as a sleeping bra. My bust/underbust is 37/26 so I tend to want to get a size S for the band to be snug. Just wondering if you had any thoughts on the size M and if that was snug enough?

    On a side note, I'm reading about your VS fitting experience and laughing my @ss off! They train their fitters like drones because I had the same experience except they thought a 32C was my "best" fit!

    Cheers!
    JJ

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    1. Hi, JJ! Based on your measurements, I would put your "usual" size at around a 26H (or 28GG, as it's easier to find). You're fairly close in size, then, to By Baby's Rules' pre-pregnancy size, so you might want to check out her link at the end of the post above!

      I think that for the Ahh Bra, you might want to try a Medium just based on your bust measurement - you don't have to worry as much about the band being supportive with a sleep bra like this, and sadly, most of us simply just aren't going to get a snug or supportive fit from the band of the Ahh Bra no matter what size we try!

      If you live in Toronto, you might want to check out http://www.butterflycollection.ca/ - they're an online bra store based in Canada. The owner (Claire) is wonderful, and they do free Skype and email fitting consultations and can help with bra recommendations! Good luck in your bra search :)

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    2. Glad I went with the medium, small would have been too tiny in the cups. Straps and band definitely loose, but for what it is, it's the perfect sleep bra especially for those tender days of the month :)

      I've gotten a size consultation with butterflycollection.ca. It seems like a bit of an overestimation. Might just be the time of month my size fluctuates. I will try again next week!

      Thanks for the awesome info you have here!

      JJ

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    3. Great, I'm glad it ended up working out as a sleep bra for you! :)

      If you've not checked out the Bra Band Project yet (link in the sidebar), it may be useful for seeing what various cup sizes look like in smaller bands. It can't hurt to try recommended sizes - you might be surprised!

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  3. i bought these and they are soft and light. the sizing is completely wrong though and i have found no place online that actually states the measurement of the band size. i bought these and returned them 3 times before i "settled" on a 3x but would prefer at least a 4x. my measurements: below bust 37" bust 47". if anyone out there is a 'sherlock holmes' i'd love to find out the band width for each size they sell in the ahh bra.

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