Shameless consumerism

Like any bicycle blog, I’ve had the urge to do product reviews. No, nobody’s sending me stuff (yet). But like most people, when I find something that works really well, I have the urge to share the information.

This being me, the first thing I want to tell you about is a bra. If you’re a man, this post will probably bore you, sorry.

(And it was a hard decision, but I decided against posting pictures of myself in it. You’ll live.)

So, I have always hated sports bras. Hated. They all have that thick elastic band at the bottom, and god, sometimes it feels like they’re just suffocating me. And I have a small band size (the number part of the size, which is related to the size of your ribcage sans boobs), which means that normal sports bras require all sorts of contortions to get them on. And most of them also give what I’ve heard called “boob loaf” or uniboob. Not attractive. At the same time, I kinda needed a sports bra. Biking on bumpy roads + PMS = a very special kind of hell. Pass the ibuprofen.

Last summer, a few of us ladies biked to a higher-end bra shop to get professionally fitted. Lo and behold, just like the majority of women, I was wearing the wrong size, partially because my size (32D, if you must know) is not one that’s commonly found at, say, Target. Actually, you can’t find it there at all. I’ve looked.

And so, after looking around a lot online, I decided to try on the bra I came here to write about: the Ta Ta Tamer by Lululemon. Goofy name, I admit, but I just love this bra.

(Side note! Their website is under renovation, so the full range of sizes/colors isn’t on the website. Hopefully the link continues to work, please let me know if that’s not the case!)

They have a storefront here in Portland, in the Pearl district across from Whole Foods. A few months ago I went in and went straight to that rack and walked into a fitting room and put one on. A sports bra with hooks! Wow! So much easier to get on! I put it on on the loosest set of hooks. And oh god, the band! It was so constricting! I opened up the door to the fitting room wearing just the bra on top and asked the employee there, “Is this too tight?” She turns me around, slips a couple of fingers under the band, and says, “No. Actually, you could go a size smaller.” Like hell I could.

But…other than that, I already liked it. It was actually kinda cute, especially in dark purple. No boob loaf! So I took a deep breath and paid for it and took it home.

And yeah, the band was super-tight, especially the first few days I wore it. I found it hard to stop noticing how tight the damn thing was. I even asked my female friends if they ever got used to the tight band of sports bras. I heard a yes from all sides, and a few women pointed out that a new sports bra should be almost too tight, as they loosen up with wear.

I did notice right away, that not being bouncy can be such bliss. Walking fast? Going down stairs? Biking bumpy roads? All so much more pleasant.

And several months later, despite the fact that I also own a very pretty Wacoal bra that I bought the day I got fitted last summer, I wear the Ta Ta Tamer most days–not just when biking longer distances or PMSing. The band did loosen up, just enough to make it comfy. And I’m still wearing it on the loosest set of hooks.

It doesn’t have an underwire, but it doesn’t need one. And under clothes, it looks just like a normal bra! Yes! It will easily double as a bathing suit top. And it even looks okay peeking out of other clothes, like the low-cut dress with thin straps that I bought for super hot days on our trip.

Despite their claims otherwise, I’m not sure I’d run in it. It doesn’t hurt at short distances, but there is still some movement. Smaller cup sizes would probably be okay.

My only complaint is that rarely, the straps come undone in the back, especially as I’m putting it on. They can be worn normally or crossed-over, which is cool, but it means they can just come undone too. Keeping them tight enough (but not too tight) seems to help.

So, in summary: The bra is comfy and keeps my boobs from moving too much on a bicycle, looks normal under clothes, looks okay peeking out of clothes, will double as a swimsuit top. WIN.

And women? If you’ve never been professionally fitted, do it. My friends and I got it done at Just Like a Woman on SW Macadam, but I’ve been told that the fitters at Nordstrom’s are also excellent, and I’d bet that Lululemon can help you find the right size in their bras. Victoria’s Secret means well, but they put me in the wrong size, which I wore for years not knowing any better. The right size feels so much better! And yes, good quality bras are more expensive. They are worth every penny, especially if you need a lot of support.

In other news! Shawn and I have 45 days left for our fundraiser on IndieGoGo! If you can donate, we’d be really grateful. I promise not to spend it all on expensive bras.

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4 Responses to Shameless consumerism

  1. Nickey Robo says:

    #1 Victoria’s Secret does NOT mean well! They will sell you the wrong size bra just to sell you something.
    #2 Closer in, Oh Baby! is super nice and does fittings, but they specialize in sexier lingerie. So if you are a hard to find size (like, oh, 34G) they will actually have a lacy bra that fits you. I, in fact, bike in lacy bras all the time. However, they have no sports bras at all.

    • 1. This may or may not be true. I have a friend who used to be a VS employee, but I’ve never asked her if they had a policy of pushing women to buy bras that didn’t fit. She said that she regularly had ladies who wore a size closer to mine and she was bummed that there were less options in the store. (They carry more sizes online, but it’s hard to buy bras you can’t try on!) I think part of their inability to do fittings properly is that they measure you over your clothes. And….supposedly, your band size is your actual measurement plus 4 or 5, but most women (including me) do better if they go down a band size (and up a cup size) from the size that measurement gives them.

      I still have a no-padding push-up bra from VS that I used to wear all the time, and now I’m like….really? I thought this fit? LOL! I should give it to Value Village or something.

      2. I need to own more nice bras. Right now I basically own two that really fit, a Wacoal and the Ta Ta Tamer. I’ve seen some Wacoal bras in my size on ebay for cheaper, I’ll probably buy some when we get back. I knew I was only taking two bras with me on the trip, so I haven’t worried about it. Oh Baby! has some nice stuff but gaaaah it’s hard for me to get past the price tags.

  2. Erin B says:

    I’m also a 32D and the ONLY place I can get bras that fit is La Senza The website isn’t that great because you can only search by style instead of by size. To me, it would be better to be able to put in “I’m 32D, what have you got?” They are Canadian, so when you get to Vancouver BC, look them up! The stores are really good, even if online isn’t.

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