To me, a good push-up bra is a must-have accessory - one that I leave at home for work and family gatherings, and whip out for weekends and going out. Finding ones that suit my petite frame has never been an issue, because my mom buys them for me by the dozen in Asia. In this half of the hemisphere, however, The Little Bra Company (TLBC) bras are amongst the best that I've tried on.
I first heard about TLBC from Alterations Needed - see her posts here and here. They specialize in A and B cup push-up bras in band sizes ranging from 28 to 36. TLBC recently contacted me and kindly offered to send a sample, as well as sponsor a giveaway for readers (stay tuned!). I used their size guide and determined that I was a 32A - no surprises there.
Here is a demonstration of how their strategic push-up bra compares to one I got years ago from a department store. First up, TLBC Angela T-shirt bra, $52:
Right: TLBC "Angela" in 32A (sold here)H&M dress, sz 2
The padding on the Angela is placed at approximately 45 degree angles, and the cups are closely set. Instructions on the attached TLBC tag say to lean forward and "scoop" up towards the center. By scooping more or less, one can control the amount of cleavage. For a simple sundress, I scooped minimally so that the goods were boosted, but not obnoxious:
I also tried on the Sascha strapless in pearl, $60, which I love. I actually do not own a strapless (prior strapless photos had straps stuffed in to the cups) because the ones I've tried on tend to be either too flattening or too roomy. The Sascha in 32A fit me perfectly both band and cup-wise. It comes in pearl white and black, and will also come out in nude this Fall. I would say that 90% of my bras are nude colored, because nude camoflauges so much better under clothing.
The padding inside the Sascha is different from the Angela - the pads are placed at the bottom instead of at angles, and both pads and straps are removable. This structure results in less cleavage than the Angela, but is better suited for strapless support.
As you can see from the comparison photo - the cups of the Angela are also more narrowly placed than the Sascha. Although both bras are the same size (32A), the Angela measures 9 inches from the edge of cup to cup, whereas the Sascha measures 10 inches. Again, the closer cups seem to play a big role in maximizing cleavage, but if you are wider set I would recommend a different style.
Disclosure: The Angela and Sascha were given to me courtesy of TLBC.