Bra fitting help » What’s Going Wrong? Advice on Shape Basics
Cleo » Hettie Balconnet Bra (9011) » 34FF 34:8
I posted previously with my Cleo Piper Longline 32H, with a too-tight band and underwires that hit an inch below my IMF. ( https://www.bratabase.com/troubleshoot/dn2sk/ )
This is attempt #2, Cleo Hettie 34FF. I let the straps down entirely and yanked up the band. The last two photos show it with the straps shortened (side and front shots). I'm trying to figure out:
a) my supported shape (tricky because my soft, pendulous boobs fill any shape)
b) why bras usually rest below my IMF (I yanked up the band but suspect it will drift down)
Thoughts: the bigger band definitely feels better, but I don't feel supported. The wings may be too short. The Hettie underwires seems wide enough near my armpits, but the cups taper inward.
Just a note—I also tried the Cleo Marcie 34GG. Way too big—massively too big. I went down two cup sizes for the Hettie, but it seems Hettie’s cups run smaller, so that was a mistake. Amazon is out of stock on the smaller Maries.
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Although on a different scale, I run in this problem too. Scooping provides temporary relief. Then a few movements later, bingo, same playe shoot again.
In my case it's a side panels problem. Unsure / week wings can not cope with my east/west tendency.
Sturdier deeper side panels to the trick. I guess this model does not what it takes to hug you properly.
Hope this helps, have a super day,
Updated on April 23, 2019 Flag this
This legit looks like too much projection to me. I had the same thing happen in Jasmine
edit: I'm probably wrong tho! Hah
Updated on April 23, 2019 Flag this
fierfitz The Cleo Hettie is known for having narrow wires, and especially since this is actually too small in the cup volume for you, I'd say that narrow wires suit you well. You're definitely projected, and I'd say you have a fair amount of tissue on top, but you have short roots, so you're functionally FOB. As for support, I'd actually say that Cleo probably isn't the best brand for you. I used to own the Hettie (albeit in a 28F), and it even felt unsupportive to me, being in a much smaller size range. I would suggest trying something like the Panache Jasmine (it has narrow wires, a stiffer lower cup which may be more supportive, and stretch lace on top which would hopefully minimize gapping on top). Other than that, you may be a candidate for Polish bras. They are harder to get a hold of unfortunately, but even if you get a chance to try some second-hand from here or reddit.com/r/braswap, that may be worth pursuing. I'm thinking specifically something like Ewa Michalak's BM cut (unpadded balconettes that use half or all stretch lace cups), or the PL cut (padded plunges that have great projection and are really supportive).
Thank you! Here I leaned toward thinking that I was wide rooted and very FOB, so this is really illuminating. Short roots may explain my issue with underwires below my IMF. I had tried the Hettie because it was a rec for high-set roots, something that I thought I might have because of my IMF struggles. I decided to draw on my IMF last night to better visualize the underwire that I need, and my roots are closer to a circle than a U-shape, if that makes sense. The Cleo Piper and the Cleo Hettie are more U-shaped, so I reasoned that could explain why the underwire hits below my IMF, too.
In my last fitting advice here with the Cleo Piper Longline, I mentioned that bras often give me side pain after several hours of wear. And Wendy mentioned that Cleo's hard wires may be a contributing factor. So I've been thinking of going outside Cleos, which I've worn for many years, but I really didn't have a clue where to start.
I would love to try Polish bras, but first I want to hammer out my shape 411 with bras that I can return for free on Amazon. That strategy has limited my choices somewhat, because not all sizes offer free returns, but I don't want to drop money just mailing back ill-fitting bras.
I'm off to go see if the Panache Jasmine has free returns and look for short root recs. Wendy mentioned Freya and Fantasie as having more flexible wires. (Also Prima Donna and Comexim, but boy, are those pricey)
fierfitz Just FYI, when I said you have short roots, I was referring more to where your roots end at the top of your chest wall rather than where they attach at the bottom of your chest, and most other people understand "short roots" to be the same thing as what I just described (see this graphic here: http://i.imgur.com/2ZvOpRU.png). Having said that, your comment got me thinking that you might have "omega" shaped breasts, meaning that your breast root is actually narrower than your breasts themselves (see the first example in this graphic: http://i.imgur.com/FBCjY6H.png).
As for further recommendations, I've been wary of recommending Freya's balconettes lately (they don't usually work for my size range, and the grading sucks after a GG), but they may be worth a try for you. They have softer, narrow wires, and are definitely made for FOB/short rooted shapes. They're a "nike swoosh" shape too, not the U shape like Cleo. It may also be worth it to try a couple of Curvy Kate's (unpadded) balconette bras. I read your other fit request on the Cleo Piper and saw someone say that the Curvy Kate wires can have unpredictable firmnesses depending on the model, but I think it's worth a shot. Curvy Kate also has the "nike swoosh" shaped wires, and they're also known to have lower wings, which I read that you probably need. Perhaps also the Panache Envy, which is similar to the Jasmine, but usually works better for FOB instead of Jasmine's FOT.
I ordered the Panache Jasmine earlier today and am adding Panache Envy to my list to try. I'll look around for recs on projected Freya and Curvy Kate balconettes. The only Freya I ever wore was the Pollyanna. That's good luck that neither is U-shaped. Thank you! This is excellent progress.
Funnily enough, you're the second person to suggest that I'm omega-shaped. This is hard to gauge because of my pendulousness. When I look at my breasts in a mirror, the roots are as wide as the rest of my breast. If I lean over, I don't get orange-in-a-sock effect. And underwires rest just fine against sides of my roots--It's the bottom of my root that often isn't hitting the underwire. This makes me lean against Omega. That said, if I cup my breasts, they are wider in diameter than the roots. That's because my upper breast tissue is so deflated that when I cup them, that upper tissue fills up. My breasts have always been quite pendulous, and I think it's related to my short roots--they don't provide enough surface space to support my breast tissue, so my boobs hang. Here are clothed braless pics, the last one showing my hand right under my IMF.
My bras are asked to do a lot of heavy lifting!
fierfitz I personally don't believe that pendulousness is affected by root width. There are plenty of folks with pendulous breasts who also have very wide roots, and I'm pretty sure pendulousness is affected mostly by genetics, weight changes, breastfeeding, etc. Having said that, I completely agree that you need some bras that are more up to the task of heavy lifting, and I think Cleo just isn't cut out for that. I look forward to seeing how the Jasmine and Envy work out for you!
Thanks, sherrach! I'm looking forward to trying on the Jasmine next.
I agree that wide roots can be pendulous breasts. Really, all breasts can be pendulous given enough time! I was referring to women like myself who have always had very pendulous breasts, even as teenagers, absent the effects of gravity, breastfeeding or obesity. The more I read and look at my own breasts, it seems like the base of my breast is small in proportion to the tissue. When I look online at photos of women with similar breasts, I often notice a higher breast fold with a shorter root--or so I think.
It would be utterly wonderful if my bra pain has been caused something as simple as a lack of support! In which case, I'll have a review to write for my old bra shop that kept putting me in Cleos, despite my complaints of pain. . .
There are several things about the fit of this bra, telling from the pictures and your description.
First off, the 34 band looks much better on you than the 32 Piper. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of boob tissue at the upper sides where the strap meets the cup, that should actually be contained inside the cup. This indicates the cup being too small.
A small cup may also originate in the size of the band - because a tight band will cause the wires to distort and be pulled towards the sides, stealing cup volume in front where you need it (because your boobs sit in front, not under your arms).
Also, tight band stealing cup volume will cause your boobs to be kinda 'mushed' inside the cups, and the underwire lifting off the ribcage, wandering south. Because yes, a 34 band is able to stretch beyond its 'natural' limits if worn tightly, but the cups are embedded in the band will stretch too. A 36 band on the same torso will not be stretched to 100%, still giving appropriate support, and the cups will stay in shape, offering projection and volume where it is needed.
This Hettie is a 34 band by name, but it still just stretches to 32 inches, just like the 32HH Piper.
Picture #5 supports this idea - the bra cups are kinda 'fleeing' towards the sides, but your natural projection clearly is to the front.
I would really like to see if the fit of this bra improves with a (non-flexible) extender.
Next off, a bra with flexible lace in the upper part of the cup (such as Hettie) are not be the best choice for soft, pendulous boobs, because they need firm support all around. This may also contribute to your general feeling of not being supported enough, despite the tight band.
My suggestion would be to try Hettie with an extender, check if the fit improves (more tissue inside the cup? Less side boob?) and if so, try a 36F/FF Marcie next. Try 34FF/G on Marcie colourways that run larger, such as the beige one.
You may end up with needing more projection than Marcie has though, in that case try the Cleo Minnie. Minnie generally has slightly more projection in the cups and a more closed-off top, providing support that projected, pendulous boobs need.
As a side note, straps digging into your shoulders (#7) are a clear sign that the fit is off somehow. More than 80% of support comes from the band, underwires and cups, not the straps. As a rule of thumb, one should wear straps as loose as possible, and always make sure one can comfortably fit 2 fingers' width between the straps and the top of the shoulders.
Updated on April 26, 2019 Flag this
I agree that the cups are too small. My three Cleo models are all sized a little differently in the cups--very frustrating. I plan to try the Marcie again when Amazon restocks. Your color tips re: band size are super helpful and definately not something I'd know on my own.
I already packaged up the Hettie for return delivery. I also have Panache Jasmines waiting to try. I'll see how the 34 band fits in Panache before considering ripping open my Hettie package. The band on the Hettie is so darn stretchy that I suspect it's a poor way to judge my correct band size, especially as it just isn't stiff enough to lift my boobs, as you said. I probably could have stretched the Hettie out further than 32 inches, but since I knew I'd be returning it, I didn't push it. I also think the sides of the Hettie may not be tall enough, but I need more models to try before sussing that out.
When wearing the Hettie, it *feels* like my boobs would rather be more east/west than the Hettie allows, but as my breast tissue is very soft, it conforms to the shape of the bra.
Thank you again for your observations. Frankly, my pendulous boobs confuse me. It's invaluable to get input.
That feels about right. My boobs look pushed toward the center. I think I'm a bit wider, although not at the root. Another poster had a similar issue in abrathatfits and posted this graphic to explain
Do you guys have any shape observations to help me on my bra journey? I'm struggling with things like projected vs. shallow, wide vs. narrow roots, and FOB vs. FOT (that last one being especially tough because of my pendulousness).