Support staff

In this edition of our monthly Gadget column, we examine bras.

Genie Bra

The infomercial grabbed my attention because women were disrobing, but I soon became enthralled by the Genie Bra’s miracle tales of “lift,” “support” and “comfort.” I ecstatically repeated this trifecta to my wife, Shahla, but she remained skeptical. Thankfully, she agreed to act as our guest reviewer. Shahla found the bra to be “very comfortable” with “support just short of a sports bra.” She didn’t feel the lift was evident, though we both agreed that the nylon fabric contoured to her shape for a more natural appearance, avoiding a sports bra’s infamous uniboob. “It’s a great multipurpose bra,” Shahla said, “I could work in the yard, go for a run, and sleep in it.” Despite infomercial claims that it could double as a camisole under a shirt, Shahla disagrees. “The full coverage and size of the straps rule out most low-cut or backless tops.” With no underwire, Shahla could see the Genie Bra thriving during travel—unceremoniously thrown in a suitcase or worn while sleeping on cramped planes and trains—and she praises the Genie Bra as a bra truly, “designed for the wearer and no one else.” $20 for a two-pack at department stores or $60 for six online.

Victoria’s Secret Bombshell

Recommended by a friend whose anime and video game cosplay career often calls for an exaggerated bosom, Bombshell by Victoria’s Secret promises more than lift with a claim to “add two cup sizes.” While the thick padding in the cups achieved this goal, Shahla said the “forced shaping” created a “torpedo effect” that made her feel silly and self-conscious. Though a little pricier than department store bras, she appreciated the quality—nice stitching, strong fabric and sturdy underwire that wouldn’t bend in the wrong places—and little touches such as decorative lace and a fashionable, triangular connector at the base of the straps. Unfortunately, the thin straps, though pretty and agreeable to dresses and non–full sleeve tops, didn’t provide the support that she looks for. After getting used to the padding, Shahla found the Bombshell to be comfortable and could see it in a regular lingerie rotation, but she’d drop the Bombshell from the day-to-day line-up. Not for high price or lack of quality, rather a lack of practicality. $49.50–$62.

Self Expressions Two Times Sexy

A “middle-of-the-line” entry for Shahla, Self Expressions’ Two Times Sexy push-up bra does “a little bit of everything, but none of it very well.” Closer in style to a traditional bra than the overly padded Bombshell and the ugly duckling Genie Bra, Shahla liked Self Expressions’ entry for the office or going out to dinner. Wide straps provided the support missing from Bombshell while still avoiding the sports bra–sized straps of Genie Bra that limited dress options. When it comes to sizing, all brands are different, Shahla noted, but she found this line to be, “way, way off the mark,” which—paired with the minimal padding—led us to believe this wasn’t so much a push up bra as a “squeeze it all up to the top” bra. The quality, fabric and underwire—which Shahla noted would inevitably and irreparably bend out of shape—couldn’t touch Victoria’s Secret, but this demi-cup could pass as lingerie and was, most importantly, perfectly comfortable. $18.