I miss my red tube top

by jennine on May 29, 2008

I left my red tube top in San Francisco. I used to wear it with this purple wrap dress as some sort of bra. It was shiny, lightweight and well, it worked.

Like nearly all women I have met, I have issues around my… boobs. It doesn’t seem to matter… women with small breasts say they wish theirs were bigger, women with big ones are always trying to minimize them. For me, I developed rather young, and have always had issues around my body. Always trying to conceal my womanhood by slouching and wearing baggy clothes. But after years of life experience, I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin.

Now that summer is here, or on it’s way… all the hot weather clothes come out… this often times means revealing skin. I’ve always wanted to wear halter tops and backless dresses but could never do it. The idea of walking outside with no bra is petrifying. I don’t want people to look at me, er, I don’t’ want people to look at my chest.

Ironically, the only actual job in fashion I ever had was a retail job at selling bras. I have heard almost every concern when it comes to bras. I have to say having the proper support is the the foundation any outfit, whether it be mentally or physically. Finding good bras can be a hassle, as Victoria’s Secret has never worked for me, and I absolutely refuse to wear ugly bras. I have to say that nowadays they’ve made great improvements on strapless bras, ones that are more comfortable and don’t look so bra-like.

Here are three bras each for the different levels of support:

1. Light Support… American Apparel Cotton Spandex Ruched Front Tube Bra, $11. You don’t know how lucky you are, this bra comes in every color, and a whole slew of metallics… to go with any outfit you can conjure up.

2. Medium Support… Fredrick’s of Hollywood Bandeau Bra, $18. This is a lightweight nylon/spandex bra with padded cups to give a nice shape. I’ve never been into padding, but with this kind of bra can be rather minimizing so if you don’t want that, padding is definitely available.

3. Full Support… Body Wrap Bandeau Bra, £32 This bra has built in wires for added support. It also got great reviews for women who tend to have problems with strapless bras:

“Although the material for this bra is like wearing a pair of tights around your chest, it makes me feel confident and gives good shape, I’m a 36F so I chose the XL size and it is the perfect size!! …”

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Jeanne May 29, 2008 at 8:48 am

I’m a smaller girl, and I’m still wary about going out without a bra. It’s more that, well, being in the Bay Area, it can look warm but it’s actually cold… and, well, my body tends to let me know when it’s cold.

I like the American Apparel cross-back bras, too, but maybe I’ll try a strapless one… I just worry about how thin they are, since so much AA stuff is very thin jersey. I guess I’ll have to go look in person!

EJ May 29, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Ooh, I may have to look into that last one. I need to get a strapless bra for a wedding I’m going to in the summer and I’m dreading shopping for it. Why is bra shopping such torture??

Ashe Mischief May 29, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Now if only you could find me a regular bra in my bizarre ole size…

Esther May 29, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Hello how are… because of the posty a few days ago about Agathe from Style BYtes, I write you.. what happend with hr.. site.. Im soooooooo sad… its a totasl lost for the fashion blogs, and fashion of the world…
My God its sooo surprising to see that Agathe is not longer on the web.. Im upset, sad, …

DannyDaily May 29, 2008 at 8:44 pm

the colour on that top is lovely :-) it reminds of of these wonderful aubergine displays at the outdoor market, around the corner at the place d’italie metro stop.




meli May 30, 2008 at 12:23 am

wow 36f. didnt know it existed…
im not a big fan of these tube tops at all and completely agree with you, have never liked Vsecret. Im a huge felina and satori fan. huge.
The only good strapless that has worked for me, is a corset-ish piece, asides (forces me) the great posture, hello cleavage is against gravity.

jennine May 30, 2008 at 3:19 am

oh dear… bra shopping is torture.. that i agree, honestly, i hate doing it and only do it like once or twice a year.

also, bras work so differently from each other, so even the size is one factor, but also the style. they really change the silhouette.

@meli, oh yes, felina makes wonderful bras that are actually kind of cheap in comparison to other pretty bras in similar sizes.

@ashe… they have great lingerie shops in NOLA! But yeah, they always seem to sell out of my size a lot too… in San Fran there was always waiting lists. Bah!

Emlyn May 30, 2008 at 3:33 am

I have a couple of bras from american apparel, they’re very comfortable, but most sometimes I feel a little concious because they’re so thin.
They also work great as a back up bathing suit.

susie_bubble May 30, 2008 at 4:25 am

Ack…I’m so flat that tube tops are sort of pointless on me…. but AA seems like a good choice…

missmilki May 30, 2008 at 4:38 am

Funny I’d just been looking at bras on the American Apperal website…thinking of trying the cross strapped bra…just they do seem a bit…well, insubstantial and seeing as we don’t have AA here i can’t try them on first. Usually buy my bra’s Marks and Spencers..sounds a bit Mummyish but they’ve got a great range! I’ve got a great strappless bra from them

jennine May 30, 2008 at 4:43 am

ah… yeah, i wouldn’t buy AA bras if you actually need support, but more as a security option…

when i lived in london, i loved marks & sparks bras, b/c they are really well made for the price. and the UK has probably the best selection of lingerie i’ve ever seen… is that a thing about british culture?

Ashe Mischief May 30, 2008 at 7:42 am

Jennine, I wear a 44B, so even some of the great lingerie shops (like Trashy Diva’s lingerie shop), don’t carry or have suppliers who make bras in my size! And on the occasion when I can find my size, they look like maternity bras. Large band /= large breasts, unfortunately (one of the joys of being Apple shaped?).

The Figleaves site you link actually has some nice pieces. And fortunately, some brands I find I can play the up a cup/down a band game with. May have to try out Felina’s 42C bras.

jennine May 30, 2008 at 9:00 am

oh my… i hear you on that. i hate ugly bras.. but even though i sometimes do the band/cup thing (and always regret it later) the bras i do that with never seem to last. it’s better to get one that fits properly than improvise, else your money may be wasted.

there are lots of places on the internet that have specialty sizes.. figleaves is one, barenecessities.com is another, but the bras don’t look so pretty…

here’s one i found:
the bras here are reasonably priced, so it’s worth a peek (pretty too)

jennine May 30, 2008 at 9:14 am

ok, call me obsessive…
my sister swears by this lingerie boutique in San Diego

it’s a bridal boutique but they have beautiful lingerie for most sizes… pretty at reasonable prices.

she also said the woman is VERY knowledgeable, so call if you have any questions.

Kezia May 30, 2008 at 9:17 am

call me weird, but i don’t mind an ugly bra. find me a beige monstrosity that holds up my girls, and i’m happy. that said, the prettiest bras that fit my weird size -32ddd (32F) are chantelle & Freya. Getting professionally fitted (not at Gap or VS) is a *must*

jennine May 30, 2008 at 9:29 am

also, if you can do it, buying an expensive bra does make a difference. last year, i got a prima donna bra, it has a plunging neckline and only one hook!


it’s both pretty and extraordinarly functional, this the best bra i ever bought.

WendyB May 30, 2008 at 12:39 pm

That purple is a great color on you, you have to wear it!

Cammila May 30, 2008 at 6:54 pm

I was just posting about breast size and fashion today! I should have read this first — I’m a little repetitive of you — even if your words are far more eloquent. :)

Thank you for posting this, it’s good to feel a solidarity that other busty women sometimes feel uncomfortable. Strangely enough, the only strapless bras I’ve come to like in all my years of trying different kinds are bustier bras. They look so constrictive but the ones I have are just perfect!

Fabulously Broke May 31, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I’m so small, I don’t even need a bra but I wear one anyway.. LOL
Love that purple dress.

alison June 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm

i own a lingerie boutique, so i know that so many people have a hard time finding a good strapless bra.

actually, one very popular item has been the Smooth & Lift nipple covers - I have used them when I needed something for a strapless, low-back dress.

you’d be amazed at the array of options out there!

xo alison

hailey June 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I’d want the third one, but is so pricey without getting to try it on first.

kpriss June 6, 2008 at 6:50 am

I had exactly the same problem like you.. Couldn’t imagine going out without my bra. Ever. Never. That up until I had my two first kids. I guess you’re familiar with the changes a pregnancy and nursing ravage your physique. And especially your breasts. However, after my second baby I said hey, what the heck? I see tons of disgraceful women on the street without bra, without shame and I’ve got to wear only what goes with a bra underneath or I’m dead?! I started going out without a bra. At first I was unsure and I mostly worn colored shirts, large shirts where you couldn’t really tell, then I got some courage and passed to tops. Felt wonderful! And not because of some sick sense of exposing myself but because I felt free! And empowered!
On the other hand, I have to agree with you, in UK they have a culture for lingerie. In fact, they’re known for being the largest consumer market for this kind of product. And another point where I agree with you - Marks and Spencer bras! Like they were made for me! Unbelievable! I also got a thing with Gossard (but not all they’ve got like in M&S case)…

Oh dear, I got carried away… ;)

Alexa June 8, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I would go braless if I could. I’ve tried (I’m a 36 F+ myself) but they move even if I’m just walking slowly and with the weight of my long swollen appendages - IT HURTS!

I, too, don’t so much mind if my bra is “ugly” - however, I DO MIND that it usually is made out of all sorts of uncomfortable synthetic fibers and WIRES! For me, having such naturally oversized breasts supported well with these underwire, minimizing “solutions” from Bali, Olga, etc. just isn’t worth the discomfort anymore. They worked for me in high school and my 20′s - early 30′s, but now I really just want something similar to that last one (unless they said it has an underwire) - something similar to support stockings but for the boobs!! I just want to “tie them down” somehow.

And YA - I HATE having to wear a bra in the summer because the big-sized, supportive bras aren’t only uncomfortable - they’re also NON-BREATHABLE and the sweat buildup is sickening!!


Great topic!

jennine June 9, 2008 at 12:23 am

oh dear, i hear you… but unfortunately, i don’t know of any natural fiber lingerie that does this? i have seen silk bras, but they aren’t really for support, i guess there runs the problem of elasticity.

hmm…. it sounds like a great product to invent.

Rach September 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Does anyone know where I can get a plain old faashioned tube top online?
I have rediscovered them and they are perfect to wear over a bikini while playing volleyball. I have 2 but they are starting to fall apart. Cotton with some kind of stretchy material-have kind of a low profile bubble texture, not a jersey knit at all…

Chuck December 26, 2008 at 8:41 am

Here’s a tube top bikini coverup in camo and a bunch of solid colors too

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