Reader Penelope sent this question via Facebook:
Have you ever written a post on removable breast pads? My girls tend to need some extra help in the cleavage area! I would love to see a piece on foam vs. gel pads and how they can help for swimsuits, mastectomies or lopsidedness of breasts. I believe they are also called cutlets.
I think I’ve still got my set of cutlets that I bought for my wedding day. I wore them and they totally helped fill out my dress, but I haven’t worn them since. Because – as I’ve discovered through some very educational bra fittings – I take a C cup instead of the A I wore for decades and a properly fitting bra does great things for my bustline. Having found bra styles that work with my breast shape and body shape, I don’t generally feel like I need the extra boost.
And I would definitely encourage anyone who feels like cutlets are needed for figure balance to get an expert bra fitting. I NEVER thought my boobs could look like this with just a bra. Turns out, a different size and shape of bra totally transforms my figure. But that won’t work for everyone. Plenty of women have very small breasts, and some of those women would like to enhance their busts.
Having done some research on the various types of cutlets on the market, here’s what I’ve learned: Most lingerie fitters will suggest foam or fabric padding for everyday use and reserve gel pads and cutlets for evening wear or other occasions for which cleavage will be exposed and socially appropriate/expected. Foam and fabric tend to be more subtle and fill out the breast whereas gel is more likely to give lift and volume. There are also bras that include air-filled compartments for lift as well as air-filled inserts. Like gel, these tend to be a little stronger and stiffer so ideal for cleavage creation.
Cutlets and inserts that you might use in your everyday bra won’t typically work for swim purposes, but there are plenty of pads that are waterproof and meant for insertion into swimsuits. (And while cloth and foam pads generally shouldn’t be worn in water, some waterproof inserts can be worn for everyday purposes.) Swim Outlet has a fantastic and comprehensive piece on choosing a bra pad for your suit.
Having worked with clients who have uneven breasts, my experience has been that unevenness is typically fairly subtle and many traditional cutlets might add more volume than desired, but smaller pads could create more congruence for some women. These molded foam cups might be a better bet than a get insert in this case.
In terms of mastectomies, there are prosthesis products and breast forms that can be ordered from companies like Nearly You – a retailer that also sells products to balance uneven breasts, mastectomy-specific swimwear and forms, and post-mastectomy bras – but depending on your needs, you may also be able to buy something less specialized and, therefore, less expensive. It all depends on your shape and preferences. As reader Allison informed me, Nordstrom will do free alterations on their bras to accommodate mastectomies, too. If any of you have had surgeries and have resources to suggest, please let us know in the comments!
In fact, I think I’ll turn it over to you all now: Do any of you use bra pads and cutlets with any regularity? Do you agree that cloth and foam are better for everyday use than gel and air? Who out there uses padding of some sort to balance breast unevenness? Other resources for post-mastectomy breast forms and bras? Would love any help and input you can give!
Image courtesy Beauty.com
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Originally posted 2014-05-22 06:24:55.