When I heard that I had the opportunity to review a Karlee Smith bra I was really excited. I was even more excited that I got to decide which bra I wanted to review. I immediately began browsing through the website to decide. You see, I had a specific set of things I wanted this bra to be able to do for me, some pretty high expectations. I didn’t expect the choice to be so hard! I did not expect to have color options that included patterned fabric. Zippered front closures but also velcro or snap adjusting straps? In the end I went with the Body Love Snap Bra in grey. I have so many reasons for this, all of which I will get to, I promise!
The biggest reason that I selected a post op bra was because I wanted something that would stretch to accommodate expanding boobs. I was looking for something to be super supportive but flexible. You see, I wanted this bra to act as a maternity bra. I am happy to report that this bra has seen me from the first trimester of sore pregnancy boobs to a slowly expanding belly and breasts at 20 weeks.
The Karlee Smith website advertises this bra as a full support option for breast augmentation, reduction, mastectomy, or lift patients. It has a 1.5″ wide band below the breasts which is an ideal feature for me. The fabric content is listed on the website as a nylon/lyrca with “all-over, 4 way stretch, body-wicking moisture control fiber blend”. Trust me when I say I have put the stretch and moisture wicking to the test!
Here is a list of tests that I have put the Body Love Snap Bra through:
Several 48 hour wear tests.
2+ miles of walking in 90 degree heat.
Low impact stretching and weight lifting.
Nightly use as a sleep bra.
Overall grade has been an A for all of these activities!
I’m not sure if you can see the differences in fit between the initial try on and 20 weeks pregnant, but I can. When I first received the bra I was worried that it would not stretch well around what should be growing boobs. Honestly, I was skeptical that it would fit at all since I have large implants. When I looked at the fit guide I was surprised to see that it is based on your underbust measurement and the standard matrix sizing (like 32DD). I was skeptical, very skeptical. So I went to the “Sexy Fit Calculator Bra Guide” to see what it had to say. Again, the band size was listed as 28-32″ for a small (I am between 26-27″ usually) and up to a 32DD. Well if a DD is a 5 inch difference, 32 plus 5 is 37, which is what my fullest bust measurement is. So I figured the bra should stretch to fit around a 37″ chest. I decided to take my chances and go for it in a size small.
I’ll be honest here, having larger implants (700cc) I wasn’t expecting it to fit. I have not found a single post op bra that fit me both in the band and around the bust. The one provided from both of my surgeries was sized by band size and always much too large under the bust to fit. I came home from my second surgery in a 36 band bra that just wasn’t going to work. I ended up wearing this weird stacked bra contraption with my post op bra under another bra that was small enough to fit in the band and I just left the top hooks open. It was hot and horrible. Not to mention how often the snaps buckled under pressure and burst open. So when this bra fit, was supportive under my breasts, and stayed zipped all night long I was pretty stinking happy.
Here you have the size tag with washing instructions and fabric content. I bit the bullet for you guys and tossed mine in washing machine and line dried it. I figured it would come out all pilly and a mess. No pilling, some color transfer over to the white. I’m satisfied with that!
The snaps allow me to give some different levels of compression as well as allow for growing room. I do have to have the straps snapped when I put it on, it is easier for comfort. My favorite feature on this bra is the hook and eye at the bottom. I love the fact that I can quickly hook it and then go about zipping. When you are talking about a bra that is designed with some compression that means you’ll have pressure on the zipper as it goes up. The hook and eye allows me to focus on the zipper (using both hands if I need to) and not hold the bottom closed. Post op bra genius right there!
Here you have a visual comparison with what I was wearing for a sleep bra previously. This is just a mass produced, superstore available Hanes bralette. There just isn’t much out there for use as a sleep bra. You can see the huge differences here. More coverage with out being dowdy, thicker straps, back support, side support, wider underband. I’ll be dropping all of these suckers in the rag pile. No need for these anymore!
On to my only complaint, but it is a small one. Nipple coverage. If you were anything like me, early post op you had majorly sensitive nipples that were on GO all the time. The fabric layers are too thin to hide nipples, as is the case with every other post op or sleep bra I have tried. The difference is definitely in the fabric. Even super sensitive pregnancy nipples are happy in this fabric, so while the headlights may be on, they are at least comfortable.
I also want to use this picture to point out the nice even band placement around my ribcage. Also the front is not super high coverage. The adjustable snap straps can be seen through a super thin t-shirt, but the edge seams are invisible. Which brings me to my final point about this bra as a post op bra, seams and digging. There are two seams on the side of the bra under your arms, nothing on the breast. When you have breast swelling you will not have a digging seam on super sensitive breasts. No irritation from seams is a huge plus in my book.
Like I said above, I put this bra through the wringer. I was skeptical and had low expectations with high hopes. I was not disappointed by anything other than the fact that I had my surgery before I was introduced to the Karlee Smith brand and I put up with horrible post op bra solutions. I will continue to wear this bra through pregnancy and either come back and update this post or write a follow up to let you know how it continues to function as a maternity bra. It is by far better than what I used through my first pregnancy, so I have high hopes!