I am just going to come out and say it. I don’t like foam. Foam cups, that is.
To me, seamless molded foam cups give all women the same rounded shape. Not only is it boring but it is unrealistic and not a good look for everyone. In defense of manufacturers, it is much easier to fit a wider variety of breast shapes using foam cups. Any fit issues with the cup of the bra are disguised under the “foam dome”, as I call it, making it easier to sell more bras to a wider variety of shapes.
Foam is a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of bras. It started in the early 60s with advances in knit fabric fabric technology. It was not long before the process to produce seamless molded foam cups was perfected in the mid-1970s. Seamless molded foam cups came at a time when women wanted a smooth look under the fitted knit clothing of the time.
I have never really liked the “foam dome”, I prefer the lightness and beauty of bras made from laces and silks compared to fabric wrapped around a sometimes weighty foam cup. There are more design possibilities with fabric bra cups (called “cut-and-sew” bras) as well, which from a designers perspective is much more interesting.
I completely understand that many women like the enhanced profile that can be achieved when the breasts are given a padded boost. However, I think a properly designed and fitted cut-and-sew bra should be the first step. Many women are surprised to find that when a bra fits properly and is put on the body correctly – scooping the breasts out of the armpit and into the cup – natural assets are enhanced. Also keep in mind that bra makers have several tools in the their design arsenal to help enhance breast size and shape without the use of any padding. Of course for a bigger boost strategically built in padding can do a lovely yet subtle job.
The other argument for foam comes from women who say they want foam to conceal their nipples and aereola. Well, I have found that a fitted cut and sew bra can also accomplish this – depending on the fabric choice of course – since the cup seam directly passes over the bust apex.
For those that still crave foam enhancement, you can still set yourself apart from the pre-molded crowd via foam that has been fitted to your contours. Yes, this is possible via a custom bra and occasionally I make bras using this method, especially when some extra support is called for via strapless styles. So while I don’t use foam as a rule, it does have its place in my set of tools to make the best bra for each client.