Lingerie Review: Trusst Lingerie Suzanne Bra
Disclosure: I received this bra from Trusst Lingerie for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Trusst Lingerie launched on Kickstarter in the Spring of 2015 and met its goal in 5 days. The bra is designed to "actually support" full-bust women by using an alternative to the underwire: a 3D-printed bra core called the BAST, which stands for Breast Advanced Support Technology.
Trusst says their BAST is more supportive and more comfortable than a traditional underwire by reducing shoulder strain and, according to their website, "eliminating the pinching, poking, and discomfort commonly associated with underwires." The ultimate goal? Creating a bra for women who hate underwire bras and find them uncomfortable. I was super excited for the opportunity to review Trusst as I have a lot of varied thoughts on this concept.
Let me start this review by saying, although I am entirely qualified to wear and review this bra as a full-bust-bra-wearing individual, I am not in the target market for this bra at all. Here's why:
- I love bras. I love shopping for bras. I love wearing bras. I love underwires, in fact. I love how they make my boobs feel like they aren't actually 8 inches bigger than my ribcage. I love how they look under clothes. I mean, I don't sleep in them, and I am often very happy to take them off at the end of the day. But I do love them.
- I don't find bras uncomfortable, if they fit correctly.
- I don't prefer contour/foam cup bras, especially full cup styles. I don't really like the round shape they provide. All of Trusst's bras are contour bras.
- I don't need to wear t-shirt bras, so I don't buy them. All of Trusst's bras are t-shirt bras.
- I am a lingerie industry professional. Trusst's entire concept is based on disrupting the lingerie industry by outsiders who don't have lingerie or apparel manufacturing backgrounds. Which is great. I do think the industry needs to be shaken up in many many areas, and an underwire alternative is wonderful. Yet, contrary to what's implied, I don't think being an "outsider" in any industry gives you a step up on "disrupting" it. So, since I'm steeped in this industry every working day of my life, I am not a part of the ideal target market.
- Most of all, as someone who pays part of her rent by fitting women into underwire bras, I can solve nearly all the problems that Trusst wants to fix for women simply by re-fitting them into another size. That isn't necessarily the case for all cup sizes, but if you wear between an E and J cup (the sizes Trusst manufactures), and the straps are digging into your shoulders, the underwire is digging in under your arms, you think your posture is poor/your back hurts/your breasts aren't lifted, it's not because of underwires. It's very likely because the size you're wearing isn't the best size for your body. So, to be 100% honest, before I received this set, it was my opinion that Trusst didn't do their research and is marketing towards consumer ignorance, like much of the rest of lingerie industry.
Regardless of all this, I was truly hoping to be surprised and excited by this cool technological innovation, something that is genuinely rare in the lingerie industry (and, let's be honest, the apparel industry as a whole - it's all very old-fashioned). Perhaps it might solve fit issues for people who haven't been able to be fitted or who don't like the feel of underwires. I was looking forward to experiencing it.
The individuals behind Trusst are super helpful and friendly. I typically wear a size 32G, but they suggested using their fit calculator, because Trusst bras are sized differently from other brands. My body fluctuates a lot, but that day I measured as a 41" bust and a 33" ribcage, so the Trusst calculator put me in a 34G. When I let them know, they suggested trying my usual sister size, 34F, so that's what I ordered. They were very supportive (no pun intended), and I do recommend talking to their fit specialists before ordering a Trusst bra.
Receiving the Bra
When I answered the door three days later on Saturday morning with bedhead and wearing a Harlow and Fox silk robe, I was stoked. It was the FedEx delivery person with a package! A package that said "TRUSST LINGERIE" in huge letters across the top and their tagline, "Supporting the World's Favorite Assets" on the side.
Now, I work in lingerie. I wear sheer clothes all the time to show it off, and if you google my name, you can find photos of me wearing it. But this made me a little uncomfortable. If it said "Trusst Lingerie" in small letters on the return address label? Sure. If it just said "TRUSST" with the cheeky non-specific motto? Sure! But even I don't want my neighbors or delivery people to know that I am ordering lingerie, especially with details on the box about what it's meant to do, and especially because many people see the word "lingerie" and think "erotic." I must have looked a sight receiving my underwear package while basically wearing my underwear.
I took a (very scientific Facebook) poll and more of my (very liberal feminist) bra-wearing friends said they were offended by the motto objectifying women's bodies than the fact that the box alluded to what was inside. Regardless, when I imagine a non-lingerie-addicted person buying this very basic, comfortable, everyday t-shirt bra, and picking up this box from their foyer or their post office or even their workplace...I'm cringing. I appreciate the super-sharp work they've done with their branding, but I believe discreet packaging is important in general.
The first thing I notice out of the box: the Trusst Suzanne is the biggest bra I've ever owned in my size. The support structure, which contains cushioning for comfort, adds an inch of thickness to the bottom of the cup, so it looks like a push-up bra. Not only that, but the hardware and straps are huge too. I'm sure this is great for sizes like 36J, but for a 34F (the second-to-smallest cup size they make), it's unnecessary. Usually, lingerie companies use smaller hardware for smaller sizes, and I wonder why Trusst doesn't.
The second thing I notice: this bra is...not my thing, aesthetically. I know I have weird taste, but from a general design point-of-view, I just don't understand it. If it was entirely black with tonal black lace, OK, that's a pretty, simple, basic bra. But it's lined with heather grey jersey knit that shows beneath black lace, and it has powder-coated lavender hardware, including a logo charm on the front.
Like I said earlier, I am 1000% aware that I am not the exact target customer for this bra. If a sporty "athleisure" look is what this bra was going for, I'd get that, too. But for a bra described as having "the comfort and versatility of a t-shirt bra, with a hint of lace to make it feel special," I'm confused. And not in a good, artistic way.
The third thing I notice is that it's quite well-made. They clearly took the hints from prototype reviews written by other bra bloggers. It's not couture-level or anything, but any errors wouldn't be noticed by 99% of customers and aren't worth mentioning here.
The top-stitching is even and the whole thing looks sturdy as hell. For an $88 bra from a small company, I'm very impressed. If I saw this bra hanging in a lingerie boutique, I wouldn't question it for a second. Lots of bra-wearers will love the U-back straps, and the cut-and-sew style seaming is a nice touch, even though it's just for looks rather than support (the inside of the bra is all one piece - more on that later).
So I put the bra on and notice the gore doesn't tack against my sternum. Trusst's FAQ says this is normal and fine. Unlike an underwire, the BAST will support your breasts even if the gore does not tack. That's really great, especially for people whose breasts project a lot or who never have gores sit flush against their sternums. However, my breasts are pretty balanced, and that's a problem I almost never have, so this (along with other signifiers, like a tiny bit of spillage) indicated to me that the cups were too small. Therefore, my breasts were pushing the gore away from my body. Plus, the support structure was digging into my breast tissue and just generally kind of uncomfortable.
I asked Trusst to send me a cup size bigger (yes, the size their calculator fit me into, a 34G), and this size felt MUCH better. To me, this indicates their calculator is pretty accurate. It also means the Trusst system won't solve fit issues for people who haven't or are unable to be fitted. If you buy a Trusst bra in a size that doesn't fit, it still won't be comfortable.
Moving along, I put the size 34G on and look down and, honestly? I crack up laughing. My breasts look like they're pointing sideways. The apex of each cup points outward instead of straight forward. My cleavage is a box.
BAST System Placement
Here's what's happening: the support structure is pushing my breasts up, but not forward at all. Projection is a huge desire for many full-bust people - to keep breast tissue away from the arms, to provide a more narrow silhouette, to keep cleavage from coming up to your chin, and yes, to keep your breasts pointing forward instead of downward - but this bra has none. Why? Because there is no structure on the sides of my breasts. The BAST's plastic shape ends significantly lower than most underwires.
On the one hand, that means the internal structure doesn't go up high beneath your arms. I believe this was on purpose. Many bra-wearers complain about underwires digging into their armpits. This is also a common complaint from people with very sensitive skin or chronic pain problems, and at first glance, this bra could potentially solve that for them. But this is also a complaint I frequently hear from busty women who are wearing a size that doesn't encase their entire breast; the wire digs into the tissue, causing discomfort under the arm. Trusst solved this problem by making their structure more shallow, and by using the rest of the cup to push your tissue forward...but it's not very efficient.
Four-Part Cup (Real vs. Reproduction)
This is where that 4-part cup could really help them out - if the cup was actually four parts. See the above photo of the Panache Envy bra in UK 32F on the left, compared to the Trusst Suzanne bra on the right. The Envy is one of my favorite everyday full-cup bras. It's not a contour bra, but it's supportive, simple, and looks great under a t-shirt, so it's the bra I'll use to compare the silhouette of a "traditional" full-bust underwire bra with the Trusst bra.
A 4-part cup like the one on the Envy has extra support from the side panel to act like a sling. It either continues up and turns into straps (like how the Suzanne appears) or is connected to the strap above the top of the cup so that the straps can help bring everything forward (like how the Panache Envy actually works).
From the outside of the Suzanne bra, it looks like the strap does exactly that, which would give it more support, like that side sling. However, the outer fabric shell is simply a design detail that's sewn to look like a 4-part cup. Inside, the cup is one molded piece, and the actual strap is just sewn to the top of the cup.
My profile silhouette is actually pretty similar to how I look in the Panache bra, which surprised me because of all of the extra material under my breasts. I prefer my shape in the Panache bra, but the Trusst bra doesn't look nearly as bulky from the side as I expected when I opened the box. The engineering here is really cool!
However, my shape from the front is much wider than in the traditional bra. If I cross my arms, I can feel my breasts underneath my biceps. This is sort of how I look in my sister size (like, the not-so-supportive size Victoria's Secret fits me into, a 36DD). I look significantly bustier from the front.
I actually wore the Trusst bra to work at the lingerie boutique one day, and told my coworkers halfway through. Almost everyone said something like, "I was thinking your boobs looked huge today, but I wasn't sure if I should say something!" Thanks, guys. Overall, the Trusst Suzanne gives me a shape I don't really want my breasts to be, and makes me feel way more top-heavy than I actually am.
The Suzanne has a convertible racer-back option, which is a nice detail and makes this bra more versatile. I like that it's pretty high up on the back, so you can hook it yourself while you're wearing it, which is really nice.
The thick padded straps definitely won't dig into your shoulders. Digging straps are another problem many full-bust women have, but it's very often solved with a bra fitting, especially within the sizes that Trusst manufactures. By wearing a smaller band size, the weight of your breasts is distributed around your torso, where it's more comfortable - not on your shoulders.
One big goal of the BAST system is to put the weight of the breasts on your ribcage instead of your shoulders, but that's exactly what an underwire bra should do too, so I'm not sure how that represents an innovation at all. The straps are there for more stability, not heavy-duty lift. Still, people with sensitive skin who hate how elastic feels on their shoulders will appreciate these straps. They'll also appreciate how smooth the inner lining of the bra is.
On the note of sensitive skin, I thought the Trusst bra might remove the "red marks" bra-wearers get at the end of a long day, but when I took it off, I had the same red marks around my torso as I do from my normal wired bras - only bigger, because of the larger surface area this bra needs to use for support. The lining is smooth and the straps are padded, but the elastic and surface area of the BAST could still irritate sensitive skin.
Is this bra comfortable? Yes, it is.
Is it more comfortable than my other every-day full-bust bra? No, not particularly. It feels like "more bra" because, well, it is "more bra." It makes me feel like I'm wearing a special device because my boobs are so big, which is something I don't feel in my full bust underwire bras.
Is this a good "wireless" option? I wouldn't recommend it. This Trusst bra has even more hardware inside it than an underwire bra.
Is it as comfortable as a purely wireless bra? No.
Does it support better than typical wireless bras? Yes, definitely. Plus, the seamless material inside is less irritating than seamed bras, and the t-shirt material is super comfortable.
So, let's say you are already wearing a bra with an underwire that fits you perfectly. It is the best size for your shape, and it it is the most comfortable bra you've ever worn, but you still hate your bra. You hate feeling it on your body. You hate the straps. You hate the underwire. Should you try Trusst?
Sure! Why not? You might love it. But the thing is, sitting down at my desk, writing this in my Trusst bra? I can feel the support structure, just like I can feel an underwire.
My breasts feel like they are sitting on a little cushion-y pillow, but I can feel the BAST pushing against my ribcage, just like in a normal bra. Which is fine. But honestly, I don't see the difference between how this bra feels, and how a well-fitting underwire bra feels. I really don't think my full bust customers who hate their underwire bras would love this one instead.
At the end of the day, Trusst wants to solve bra problems that many people have, but they're problems that are typically solved with a tape measure and a few test sizes of underwire bras. I wish I could say that this bra would be excellent for people who have very sensitive skin, or who really just hate underwires, but I don't think they'd like this option, either. It feels pretty much the same as a comfortable underwire bra except, well, more bra.
If you've tried this bra and you love it, I think that's wonderful and I'd love to hear other people's experiences. From my point-of-view, some parts of this bra are lovely, and the people who work at Trusst are kind and truly want to help women, but my initial opinion unfortunately still stands: I think Trusst is inadvertently marketing towards consumer ignorance.
What do you think? Do underwire bras bother you? Would you try a Trusst bra?