April 16, 2014

Women’s Travel Issues: The Ultimate Travel Bra

travel bras

Flickr Photo Credit: How Can I Recycle This?

When trying to whittle down my clothing for an extended backpacking trip, I found one of the most difficult items to select was a bra.

Besides a basic tank top / sports bra combo, I only wanted to bring one other. As any woman knows, finding a single bra appropriate for multiple outfits, many of which you will pick up on the road, can be nearly impossible. Two of the most important issues: color and design flexibility.

While color selection is somewhat personal, I made my decision based on the following: both white and beige tones discolor far too easily for my taste. Black bras are certainly simpler to maintain, but cannot be used underneath lighter colored tops. My solution? The newer, darker flesh tone options sometimes called burned suntan. If your skin tone is olive tone, you’ll find this color a very close match. If you are either paler or darker, it will be still be middle of the road enough to work under nearly any color top while not staining too easily.

Regarding the flexibility of design and style, you need something sturdy and supportive enough to hold up to  frequent wearing and washing, perhaps in challenging water conditions. You also need something that is easily adaptable to various clothing styles. Detachable, repositionable and changeable strap options are critical.

The only bra I found to met all of these criteria was the strapless Ipex bra from Victoria’s Secret. Here’s why I love it. Although marketed as a strapless, it actually comes with two sets of straps. One of them matches the actual color of the bra itself, while the other set is clear. The undergarment also has extra sturdy yet smooth cups, strong under wire, and rubberized interior striping to promote stability when worn strapless.

The loops for hooking the straps into are located inside the cups below the top edge, give a smoother look. The clear straps are great for shirts with thinner shoulder straps. The back of the straps can also be criss-crossed which is helpful with racer-back tanks. Why else do I love this bra? I’ve been wearing it as my primary bra since several months before I started this trip, and as nearly my only bra for the six months I’ve been on the road. As at least a D cup, it is still going strong for me in the support department with very little discoloration. If the full price is too much for you (40-50 USD), watch out for the Victoria’s Secret semi annual sale when they are all half price. You will not be disappointed in this bra.

Comments

  1. Sharon Chu says:

    If anybody knows a good travel bra for size 32A (almost really AA) I would be interested to know about it. I love Victoria Secret bras when they fit, but many of theirs, including the IPEX, are only available as small as a B cup. P.S. More stain prone or not, with pale colored skin, I have found the best option is a nude colored bra, anything darker or lighter is too visible under light colored tops.

  2. myscha39 says:

    Hi Sharon. I guess extra pale skin might do better with the lighter nude shade. Since I’m able to use the darker nude shade, I really like the added bonus of fewer staining issues.

    Regarding the size issue . . . hmmnn . . . I’m wondering if a basic sports bra might give you the support you need? I’ve also heard about the adhesive products that you can wear with certain sheer tops. Have you tried them? Personally, there’s no way I can try them being at least a D cup, but I’ve heard people have great luck with them. Also, I’ve seen bras with the clear adjustable straps in department stores, but was not able to buy them due to the opposite problem of them not coming in a large enough size. However, as a double A, you might have more luck. Hope this helps.

  3. Shelly says:

    Hi. Some have the opposite problem. I have a VERY large cup – J. Yes, they make that. It is very hard to find. Do you happen to know anywhere that has that size? I find the buff or nude is much better than white.

  4. webmaster says:

    Hi Shelly.

    Gosh, I sure don’t. But you bring up a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for a while over at Wise Bread. Alternative sizes in fashionable styles across the board. For example, while I have smaller feet, I know of several women who don’t and finding decent stylish shoes is a real bear for them. Also, even when I was much thinner than I am currently, I’ve always had muscular calves, and stylish boots have been challenging. You’d be surprised how sticklike the fashion industry expects women’s calves to be. Unbelieveable.

    In the meantime, I’d love it if you post your sources for the larger cup sizes. I’m quite certain you’re not alone on this issue. Maybe we can get a good discussion going here and develop a nice list of resources for women at both ends of the breast size spectrum.

    Myscha

  5. Jazmin says:

    Ahh, large size bras. A topic near (very near) and dear to my heart. I’m an H or I cup (depends on style), so I relate very well to the laments about finding it.

    Try for sports style bras:
    http://decentexposures.com/

    For ‘pretty’ bras:
    http://www.goddessbra.com/

    My two favourites. Good luck!

  6. webmaster says:

    Hi Jazmin.

    Thanks for sharing. I will definitely check those out. For a D cup only ( I think that was the largest size they had ) I recently found a steel belted radial one at L.L. Bean. It was a tank style sports bra with underwire, heavy duty power netting, and boatloads of hook ‘em up hardware. But I don’t think they had anything over a D or possibly a DD.

    I’m sure others who need these sizes will be thrilled that you shared the sources.

    Myscha

  7. Shelley K. says:

    I used to work at Lane Bryant and personally love their bras for full figured women – they have all sorts of sizes and if you’re lucky enough to encounter one of their lingerie specialists, they are really knowledgable about their bras.

    Otherwise, for plus size bras, I’ve also shopped at Avenue. Good luck!

  8. webmaster says:

    Hi Shelly.

    I’ve never heard of Avenue. Are they an online store, or just a brick and mortar retailer?

    Either way, thanks for the tip!

    Myscha

  9. Vicky says:

    Decent Exposure bras are comfy, but can stretch out of shape. Also, without an underwire they just don’t give much support (but make nice sleep bras.)
    When traveling, I prefer an underwire-less bra, since wires get in the way and can get bent out of shape in luggage. Royce bras are the only wire-less bras that I have found that are also supportive for larger cups (and they go up to J.)
    I’m enjoying all the suggestions by other readers.

  10. webmaster says:

    Hi Vicky! Thanks for the Royce tip. I’m enjoying the collection of resources that is developing.

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