Playtex Flower Elegance bra review – and how to find your perfect bra size

Lingerie sent for review purposes

It’s confession time. I’m not a normal woman. I like (whisper it) wearing a bra.

You know all those jokes about getting home and the relief of taking your bra off? Never happens to me. Mine stays on until I get to bed.

Despite that, I don’t actually have that many. A few years ago, a friend was working for a charity that sent good, used bras to women in Uganda – wearing a bra can protect a woman from being attacked as she’s seen as “cared for” (ie. has a man looking after her) – and so I donated all of mine except for two. I’ve added a few more since then, but not many and most of them are plain T-shirt bras.

Recently, though, I’ve been wanting to jazz my lingerie up and wear something a bit more grown-up, so when Playtex got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their new range, I was leafing through their lookbook faster than Anna Wintour leafing through the September Vogue.

Playtex is a lingerie label I’ve grown up with – I still judge a bra on whether it will “cross my heart” – but I’ve never bought for them. Those ads of my youth showing matronly bosoms swathed in brassieres in various shades of white (or black, for those saucy nights) left me thinking it was an “old woman’s” bra company.

But let your mind do a striptease to rid it of those images. Today’s Playtex bears no resemblance to the feats of engineering of the past and instead you’ll find playful bras and knickers in a range of temptress shades.

Sadly, however, the range doesn’t stretch to my size. After years of wearing a 32B, I tried a different way of measuring my boobs and discovered I am, actually, a 30D. Now at first I thought that was madness – my fried eggs a D? – but as soon as I tried a bra on in this size I realised that the traditional way of measuring had left me wearing the wrong size since I was in my mid-20s.

By wearing the right size, I have boobs in the right place that fill out the cup, rather than swimming in loose material.

It also means I can kiss goodbye to picking up a bargain bra in the supermarket or most high street stores, where ranges tend to start at 32. I can’t tell you how much it irks to pay twice as much for less…

Nevertheless, my small chest comes with largesse and I a friend is now the proud owner of a Playtex Flower Elegance bra and matching knickers in Intense Blue.

“But only if the knickers don’t have a mesh back,” she insisted. “I can’t stand mesh backs on knickers. Who wants to see all their lumps and bumps like that?”

So first point of the review: no mesh back on the knickers.

The bra is soft and elegant, with a pretty lace pattern that’s not scratchy (I have a thing about scratchy underwear) and has a soft stretch to it. It looks lovely on – fitting well, with no gaping cups or seams cutting in – and you’d be fine wearing it under a top without worrying about the lines showing through, so long as it’s not too close-fitting. Saying that, everything is cut well and lies flat, so there’s no unsightly bulges to worry about.

Nice, wide, adjustable straps are matched by padded around the underwire so nothing cuts in and rubs, while scalloped edges and a cute bow detail add feminine touches without being overtly girly. In all, these are comfy pieces of lingerie designed to please women, not men, and they give a great shape.

You can find more Playtex on Simply Be. But please, bra makers around the world, think of us small-chested women…

How to find the perfect bra size

As I said, I’d been wearing the wrong bra size for a good 20 years before I discovered Boom or Bust. It was a friend in a Facebook group who first mentioned it and it’s fair to say we were all skeptical to begin with as the sizes seemed to differ so wildly from what we were playing.

But looking at photos of the friend, she had magnificent bosoms that didn’t merely roll into the top of her belly but stood firm and proud. I wanted some of that.

Unlike traditional bra measuring that relies on two measurements, Boom or Bust ask for a variety, including your dress size.

  • First off all you must get your Snug measurement. With your clothes and bra off, measure underneath your bust quite tightly, but still leave room to get two fingers under the tape.

  • Next is the Standing measurement. Stand up and measure around the fullest part of your bust – don’t squash your nipples unless they’re very pronounced. Make sure you keep the tape level all the way round.

  • Finally, the Leaning measurement. Lean over so your boobs are dangling at 90 degrees (mine dangle a bit too freely) and then measure around the fullest part.

  • After that, head to the website and see what it gives you.

  • Finally finally, don’t forget that when you buy a bra, it should fasten on the last hooks. As you wash and wear your bra (or if you’re Stella McCartney, only wear it) it will stretch and so you’ll want to be able to tighten it by using the inner hooks.

And that’s it. You may be surprised by your new bra size – I was. But give it a go and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Let me know if you try this and your bra size changes in the comments below. It’ll be interesting…

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