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)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blog Contest PART 1 WINNERS!!

I announced the winners of Part 2 of my Blog Contest just a few days ago - and now it's time to reveal the winners of Part 1: "Describe Your Dream Bra"! I had some truly awesome sponsors contribute to the prize pool for Part 1, so a huge thanks to Parfait by Affinitas, Curvy Kate, Cleo by Panache, Claudette, Butterfly Collection Lingerie, Enell, Large Cup Lingerie, A Sophisticated Pair, and Urkye for making this possible!

I honestly had a much harder time choosing out winners than I was expecting. There was quite a variety of entries, including poetry, different kinds of prose, and drawings that accompanied the descriptions! I loved how each of your "Dream Bras" were so unique - there were many similarities between some of the entries, but there were lots of things (like padding or moulded cups or lace) that some of you loved and others very specifically didn't!

I truly wish I had prizes to give you all, because I really loved reading ALL of your entries! I'm hopefully going to post as many of your submissions in the coming few weeks that I can - one of my goals in having the contest was to help give a voice to the "bra dreams" and ideas of as many women as I could. You ladies definitely deserve to be heard!

So, I decided to pick 3 winners representing a mix of the types of entries (prose, poetry, art + prose) - and also 4 runners-up!

The 3 winners are:
-Gabrielle H.
-Miranda
-Lyndi M.
These lovely ladies will receive two prizes each!

And  the 4 runners-up, who will also receive a prize:
-Allison B.
-Erin A.
-Natasha W.
-Cass L.

Congrats, ladies!! Be on the lookout for an email from me! :)


Another big thanks to all who entered. You all are amazing! And -  I happen to know of a few other big blog contests that are upcoming in the near future, too, so I'll definitely be sharing about those once they begin! :D

*(if anyone would not like their submission published to the blog, or would like to remain completely anonymous [I will only use first names or nicknames in any case], please let me know at boosaurus@gmail.com)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blog Contest PART 2 WINNERS!

Thanks to all who entered the Boosaurus Blog Contest and Giveaway - you guys are amazing! I'm announcing the winners for Part 2 of the contest (the Random Drawing) today so you guys wouldn't have to wait till the end of the week, but the winners for Part 1 will be announced by sometime this weekend (it'll take me at least that long to read over all the amazing entries and choose a few winners!).


Without further ado, here are the Part 2 Winners and their responses, chosen through a completely random drawing:

1. A custom garter from Bows Before HoseEileen K

2. A free online bra fitting session with Beautiful BosomToodalookatie

3. A signed copy of Elisabeth Dale's book bOObs: A Guide to Your GirlsJennifer Evans

4. A signed copy of the comic book Wapsi Square Volume 1 by Paul Taylor - AJ

5. A goody basket from Linda's Online - Criss


Congrats, ladies!! Be on the lookout for an email from me!


I truly enjoyed reading all of your comments and responses here. For those interested in statistics (like me), here's a little breakdown of what commenters pegged as "the most difficult item of clothing [besides bras] to find":

- 21 of you said shirts (specifically button-up shirts and dress shirts/blouses)
-19 of you said dresses (specifically non-stretchy and vintage dresses)
-16 of the commenters said pants/trousers (jeans, dress pants, and shorts)
-of you said shoes (specifically dress shoes or boots)
-4 of you pointed out swimsuits
-commenters said skirts (pencil skirts in particular)
-2 said panties/briefs
-commenter said jackets/blazers
-1 commenter said garter belts, and finally,
-1 commenter said dance leotards

I found the results quite interesting  - I guess I maybe expected it to skew even more toward tops, but it's nice to know that others struggle with things like shoes and skirts as well! I threw together a little list of sources that address where to find some of the clothing items mentioned - if anyone else has additional tips or sources to share, please do!

-Bust-Friendly Dresses Roundup
-List of Bust-Friendly Clothing (tops and dresses) from Thin and Curvy
-Suggestions for Fuller Bums (curve-friendly jeans and more) from SweetNothings
-A Hip Situation (several suggestions for finding or altering pants) from Braless in Brasil
-Most of the shops on the Bra Online Shopping List also stock swimsuits, but the sizing is generally a bit more limited.
-In regards to nice-casual shirts and dresses, I consistently recommend Urkye and BiuBiu (see my reviews here)
-Regarding shoes, I have fallen arches and have found that SAS shoes, while not the most stylish footwear in the land, have given me comfort, support, and no pain (hey, sounds familiar!). I also have found flip-flops from Crocs (don't hate!) to be a comfy necessity for me in hot weather, as I can't wear regular flat sandals or flip-flops.

Have any suggestions to add? I'd love to hear them! Stay tuned for the announcement of the Part 1 winners in the coming week, and congrats to the winners of Part 2!! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bust-Friendly Dresses Roundup

As mentioned on my Facebook page, I'm dealing with an arm injury that makes it more difficult to type (mainly, I'm supposed to severely limit how much typing I do for now), but I wanted to do a quick round-up of specifically bust-friendly dresses for you all after noticing how many of you mentioned dresses in particular as being one of the most difficult things to find clothing-wise in my last post! Here's a few places that you might want to check out if you're always struggling dresses that fit both your bust *and* waist (at the same time!):

Pinup Girl Clothing (aka PUG)
Pinup Girl Clothing stocks a great range of house brand dresses by Pinup Couture, Deadly Dames, Dixiefried, and Eldorado Club. As the name indicates, these dresses steer very much towards the pinup/vintage style. The size charts differ by dress and are helpful for picking out the dresses that will work best for your particular figure!
PinupGirlClothing Heidi Dress
I've gotten to try on a few PUG dresses, and I have to say that honestly, most of them aren't really quite my style. However, I've seen many other girls look absolutely amazing in them, and the quality is quite good, so they're definitely worth checking out!

PUG also has a Facebook page where you can see the dresses on different women and find more about how certain styles or dresses fit.
Dresses are generally in the $80-$120 range.

Trashy Diva

Despite the odd name, Trashy Diva boasts a great range of dresses. While I've never gotten the chance to try them out personally, I know many women who have with great success! Again, this is a company that veers towards the 1950's/vintage/pinup style, although I think there are things that are more "toned down" here than on PUG.
Trash Diva Annette Dress
Dresses are generally in the $130-$200 range.

BiuBiu
Bust-friendly Polish company BiuBiu (you can use the site in English by clicking on the UK flag in the top right corner, and you can also select the appropriate currency) has a nice little range of dresses available in addition to all of their bust-friendly shirts. BiuBiu definitely has a few more "casual" options than the previous two sites, and their clothes are more my style.
BiuBiu Sines Dress
Refer to the handy size chart to see what size would suit you best - and email the owner and ask if you're not sure!
BiuBiu also has a Facebook page (and another page in English for those of us who don't speak Polish!)
Dresses are in the $30-60 range, and shipping to the US from Poland is around $13.

Pepperberry
An off-shoot of bra company Bravissimo, Pepperberry is another bust-friendly company based in the UK. However, I've heard mixed opinions about the quality, sizing, prices, and styles. But, still, Pepperberry is a widely-known company in the bust-friendly world, and you may find something you really like!

Pepperberry Hexagon Dress
Refer to the Fitting Guide to get the best idea of what size may work for you.
Dresses are generally in the $90-$130 range.

Bonus - Urkye
Urkye is a new Polish company (similar to BiuBiu), but they already have one cute-and-casual dress available, with another coming later this month! The dresses are in the $40 range.


Another note - if these dresses strike your fancy, but are out of your budget currently, why not check out places like ebay? If you know the brand and name of the dress, it'll be much easier to search for deals! Also, PUG specifically has a swap/sell community on Facebook.


So, have you tried out any of these companies? Are you intrigued by any of them? Do you have any other busty-dress suggestions? I'm curious!

(Also - the Blog Contest is still up and running! I'm loving reading all the entries you ladies have sent in so far!)