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I posted a photo on Instagram the other day in which my boobs were quite – how can I put this? – apparent. Perky. Fulsome. Now I don’t want you to worry; I’m not about to go down some personality side-road where I put up lots of pictures of myself in thong-back bikinis, or talk about how awesome coconut water is, or make daily humble-brags about how incredible I think my body is. This blog isn’t about to turn into a breast-fest: I just wanted to tell you about a bra I bought.
The most unlikely of bras, actually, because I rarely veer away from moulded-cup t-shirt offerings these days and it’s not often I require something more niche. But I was off to a black tie ball and the dress that has taken me three years to squeeze back into (Issa, circa 2015, hugely expensive, only wore it once then got pregnant again) seemed to look a little lacklustre in the frontage department when I tried it on. Where before there had been boob, there suddenly was none. (Actually when I wore it the first time I was already pregnant with Ted, by about a day, and still breastfeeding Angelica. I remember wearing weird nipple shield things and cutting up tiny bits of panty-liner to stick inside in case my boobs leaked!)
So yes, the boobs were nowhere to be seen when I tried the gown on a couple of weeks ago. I mean they were there, somewhere, just not in the right place. And I don’t want to get into the politics of this – I know that they have fed two babies, I am grateful for them, I do love the au naturel look, I can accept my post-baby body as it is; this dress just looks better with some rack. Mainly because I bought it when my boobs were fuller and bigger and, without the melons, the front sort of gapes, sadly, like it’s waiting for something to arrive but it knows it’ll never happen.
But what to do? The Issa Francesca Gown is not the sort of dress that allows for a bra – the front plunges low, low, almost down past the rib cage, and the fabric is silky and floaty and likely to shift from side to side. No hiding a bra down there.
Unless, it’s the Wonderbra Ultimate Plunge bra, that is. I have no idea who came up with the design of this deep-plunge low-visibility bra but they are obviously an evil genius – genius because it works, pushing breasts into view almost as if by magic, evil because it looks like a medical contraption and feels mildly torturous.
Actually that’s an exaggeration; it’s only mildly torturous after around six or seven hours and even then it’s not unbearable. It’s not the sort of discomfort that makes you scream for the privacy of your own bathroom so that you can rip off your structural undergarments. (Looking at you Spanx.)
How does it work? I can only hazard a guess that all the heavy lifting is done from the sides, because there’s very little going on at the front. The Wonderbra Plunge has these weird side mouldings that sort of push and rearrange so that boobs go upwards and together – much like the original Wonderbra of our youth, I suppose. Except the enormous difference with this one is that it is cut so low that breasts seem to defy gravity without help – miraculously bulbous and pert without even the hint of a bra being present. It’s like a conjuring trick.
Here’s the before and after with the Wonderbra Ultimate Plunge:
It’s quite remarkable, really. Whether you prefer your chest au naturel or you’re all for the Pamela Anderson look, there’s no denying that this bra performs small miracles. Or large miracles. The Huge Hooters version of me isn’t one I’m entirely comfy with – people find it difficult to talk to your face and it’s almost as though your chest enters the room before you (strictly speaking I suppose it does!) – but without a bra the dress just wasn’t doable. The fabric flapped about (nip slip hazard) and the entire top half draped weirdly, even when I tied the wrap as tightly as possible.
So yes, I’m a convert.
You can find the Wonderbra Ultimate Plunge Bra at Figleaves here*. It comes in nude or black and runs pretty much true to size, though beware that the band is really tight, necessarily so, and if you fall between two band sizes you might want to opt for the larger. I wear a 30/32E depending on brand and the 32E fits me perfectly (sizes run from 30DD-38F). I couldn’t even get the 30 done up…
It’s great for those who need a dress solution, not necessarily for uplift but for creating shape, volume, or just keeping the girls in check when the dress is flimsy or low-cut. It just feels more secure. 30DD-38F. The straps are multiway, which means that maybe you can go strapless if you’re wearing a dress that’s a bit more structured. I’m not sure I’d like to go strapless and low-low in something flippy and loose… I mean it gets to the point, with a dress, that if you’re looking for a strapless frontless backless bra then maybe a bra just isn’t the right thing to be wearing, if you catch my drift.