Where today’s bras are concerned, seamless equals shapeless. That’s the secret that European fashionistas have been trying to share with North American women for years.
Over the past decade the seamless, smooth T-Shirt bra shape has literally taken over the lingerie market in North America. Walk into any lingerie boutique here and you’ll see hundreds of variations of the same thing — a smooth cup (padded or not) with either thin plain straps or, la-dee-da, a pretty eye-catching strap available in almost any color of the rainbow and, amazingly, a gazillion shades of nude.
Now, hop across the pond and walk into a lingerie boutique … notice anything different? Lace! Seams! Really sexy bras!
So what gives? Why haven’t they embraced the T-Shirt bra phenomenon like we have? It’s actually pretty uncomplicated, and it comes down to three simple ideas: shape, support, and sex appeal.
When it comes to fashion, European women have always known that your foundation garments truly make or break your outfit. Your bra is what gives your girls the right (or wrong) shape for what you are wearing.
In order to get the right shape for most outfits, you need to be looking at a bra with a seam. Yes! A seam! There are at least 10 different seam shapes, with each one giving a different silhouette.
Best advice? Go to a boutique to get fit in order to find the right ones for you and your wardrobe.
You’ll be amazed to see that wearing a seamed bra will highlight your assets — by lifting your bust line up and minimizing your waistline you’ll instantly look 10 pounds lighter (never a bad thing!)
Certain seams work best for certain outfits. The Lily Rose by Empreinte (top photo above) works great for a button-up blouse or sweater, while the Stockholm plunge bra by Prima Donna (above) works better for a jersey wrap dress or shirt.
As for support, T-shirt bras don’t actually do any “lifting” since the weight of your breast is all down at the bottom of the cup. Consequently, you’ll have more pressure on your shoulders and more tension on your breast tissue. Multiply that by a few decades and you can understand how women get those permanent dents in their shoulders and stretch marks on their breasts.
Just look at the Deauville bra by Prima Donna (top photo) or Jane by Marie Jo (right) and you can see how the seams offer support.
If you have a few minutes to spare, do your own support test. Try one of your seamless bras, then compare a seamed one: pay attention to how your back and shoulders feel and, most importantly, to how your breasts feel in the cup.
European women have known it forever, so take their advice — support matters. Let’s face it, none of us wants to actually contribute to our body looking older!
Now for the fun. How about the sexiness factor of a T-shirt bra? Okay, that one’s pretty obvious — T-Shirt bras aren’t all that sexy. All of that smoothness is definitely not a turn-on compared to the gorgeous bras that are out there on the market.
When you think about it, if you’ve got to wear a bra every day of your life, why not make it sexy?! Somehow, the smooth T-shirt bra style is kind of like wearing a sweatsuit everyday: basic, comfy and dependable.
But once you discover that a gorgeous, lacey, seamed bra is actually more supportive and flattering, it’s a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want to feel like a gorgeous goddess every day?
With this guest column we welcome a new contributor, the staff of Melmira Bra & Swim Boutique in Toronto. Melmira will be offering expert bra shopping and fitting advice to Lingerie Talk readers each month.