Brand spotlight: Curvy Kate

Last weekend, lingerie professionals from all over the world gathered in Paris for Salon International de la Lingerie (SIL), a huge lingerie and swimwear trade show. With 450 exhibiting brands and 15,000+ buyers, it is of course very business orientated and some brands might not have the time to chat with a blogger. Still, it’s a great occasion to see the pretty things on a runway, to spot some cool indie designers and to get a sense of what’s in store for next season.

I popped in Curvy Kate stand with particular interest, as it is a brand I had initially ruled out and am now getting really excited about. In the past couple of years, I have heard great things about Curvy Kate new designs and how it might be a better fit for us, H+ cup girls. I finally took advantage of the summer sales to order the Bardot and Madagascar.

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And the Madagascar was a great fit! I felt secure and comfy and the gore actually tacked, which is a big deal for me. Since I’m very close-set with a lot of centre fullness, this is very rarely the case. I credit the lowish gore for this. The cups themselves are less coverage than the bras I usually wear and this fits like a true balconette and is very open on top, so no  quadboob in sight, yay! The Bardot was not as good a fit as the gore is quite a bit taller. Still, I can’t get over the fact that it was the first time I got to try a completely sheer bra! H+ cup bras are usually plagued with the “additional lining for support”, which totally ruins the effect. Not this one. It’s perfectly sheer up to a K cup and I love it for it!

So what does Curvy Kate have in store for AW15? The big story is the Daily Dream, which will replace the Daily Boost. It will only come in black and biscotti.

curvy-kate-daily-dream-black-bra-CK4501-thong-CK4502-pfTo follow up on a recent post, I’ve learned that the Daily Boost in Mocha had been discontinued because it didn’t sell as much as expected. Anyway, the Daily Dream boasts a new uplift technology, and I’m dying to put it to the test of a K cup!

I’m also happy to see that both Madagascar and Bardot are back in new colourways.

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Now autumn-winter is not usually focused on swimwear and I’ve never tried a Curvy Kate bikini or tankini, but I’ve always heard good things about Curvy Kate swimwear. Plus, I just received my first Flirtelle bikini and from what I know they’re cut the same.  It’s the first time I’ve tried a padded bikini and it seems comfy and doesn’t add bulk, which was my fear. We’ll see how it fares once in the water. Anyway, the nautically inspired Plain sailing collection by Curvy Kate is just too cute not too share.

 

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Panache Olivia bra review

I first noticed Oliva almost a year ago, long before it came out, when Viksen, the soon to be closed down best lingerie shop in town hosted an event for her good clients to discuss the what was coming up for SS2015. There she was in the Panache catalogue: a new K cup offering from the brand. That was intriguing. Fast forward a few months and I read that Olivia was modeled after the Floris. I love the fit of the Floris – it is the closest thing Panache has made to a K cup Cleo bra with a three hook and eyes band – but I also quite dislike the style, especially the first few colourways that came out. Based on the bra name, I’m not holding my breath for it too come in anything but a floral print. Anyway, after that revelation, I made it my mission in life to get my hands on Olivia.

The first colourway, named Apricot, is a soft ballet pink with warm undertones. It is the colour of pointe shoes and sweet sweet dreams.

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It is a colour that could work as a nude on some light skintones, without looking like a silly afterthought on others. Anyway, if you want something bolder, Olivia is coming back in teal next season.

As for the fit and comfort, I can see the fit similarities with Floris, but the comfort is vastly superior. I actually think of this bra as the lovechild of Floris and Envy. The fabric is somewhat stretchy and adapts to the breast shape, but it is firmer and more supportive than in the Envy. It is also incredibly soft. I would guess that it is not quite as deep as Floris, but way more so than Envy…. Mmm I might have to a proper comparison on those!

I see what they were going for with the high waist matching panties, creating a retro look. I ended up not getting them though, as I found that they could look somewhat matronly on me in this particular colourway. Also, I’m not keen on so much coverage for a set that will get a lot of wear in the summer. I wish Panache offered a classic brief as another option, but I might try the high waisted panties in teal this winter.

For pretty pictures of the set, check out the review by the always gorgeous Sweet from Sweet nothings

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Thoughts on beige bras, “nude” and being brown skinned

I make no mystery of my hatred for beige bras. There is some cultural bias in that. I get that “nude” bras are very popular in the US, because American tend to take a more utilitarian approach to lingerie. What I don’t get is the insistance that a bra needs to be your exact skin colour for it not to show under clothing, and the endless quest for a “proper” nude bra that follows.

There have been quite a few blog posts, Facebook threads, etc about the lack of nude bras for women of colour and especially Black women. On these social commentaries, there is always a White woman, or several, commenting that they also have a hard time finding a proper nude, because they are too pale (or too yellow toned, or too pink toned…) and that what is sold as “nude” is too dark (or too cold, or too warm…) for them…

I know of exactly TWO bras going up to a K cup (L for the Alana) available in brown as continuity: Curvy Kate Daily Boost in Mocha and Bravissimo Alana in Mocha… except that Curvy Kate is moving from the Daily Boost range next season to come up with the improved Daily Dream, not available in Mocha at the moment, and Bravissimo is discontinuing the Alana in Mocha this season.

bp-au01mob-smallthumbBravissimo Alana

It never occurred to me to complain that they weren’t the exact shade of my skin.

Actually here is the picture of my hand next to the Alana, which has been my go to nude for the past 5 years or so.

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It still doesn’t show under my thinner/lighter tops, which is the point of a nude bra. Colours I’ve worn successfully under thin and light coloured clothing without them showing include black, mocha, chocolate brown, charcoal grey, burgundy, purple.

Colours that are guaranteed to show include bright prints (stripes, polka dots and the like) whith high contrast, neon pink, white and… beige. I guess that is why I only bought one beige bra in my whole life and ended up dying it brown.

That is also why I felt sorry for the non-white contestants in Curvy Kate’s Star in a bra having to wear a beige bra in a line up.

Beige bras are not meant to be seen. On my brown skin, they look like something not meant to be there. Like they used to be a different colour and got used and dirty. Like an old band-aid.

I also sometimes read that beige bras are now harder to find that colourful ones and that the dominance of neutrals in large cup sizes is a thing of a past. Ha! Sure there are way more options today if you want to wear something in a pretty colour, especially, but not only, if you’re in the D-G range. But opposing beige to “colours” is not really fair. If you add up all other colours, there will indeed be more bras in the colour pile than in the beige one. But if you happen not to like pink or florals, you’re not in luck.

Let’s try a little game. Checking all the H+ bras currently for sale on the Bravissimo website, let’s see the colours they have:

Black 43

White/Ivory/Cream 31

Natural skintones (which, at the exception of one white bra with a ditsy print, consists of various shades of beige – I guess my skintone is not “natural”) 25

Pink 15

Blue 15

Red 8

Orange 6

Turquoise/aqua 5

Print/Multi 4

Purple 3

Brown/bronze/gold 3

Yellow 2

Green 2

Grey/silver 1

So, what was the point I was trying to make again?

  • Just because you have a hard time finding a beige bra that fits you doesn’t mean that beige bras are hard to find. A bra that fits is hard to find. It might be that the only one you found comes in a bright colour and doesn’t work under certain clothing. I’m sorry about that. But then again if you tried and bought it, you probably like it and still wear it under thicker clothing. If the only bra that fitted me came in beige, it would be unpractical under thin clothing and on top of that it would be ugly to me. Then again, I wouldn’t know because I wouldn’t have tried it in the first place!
  • If you can only afford a couple of bras, I understand that you want them to work under as many clothes as possible. Similarly if you live in a very hot climate, you may wear thin tops on a regular basis and have no use for a bra in a loud print. I get that not everybody as an extensive bra wardrobe and that people have different needs. But in most cases, you only need a nude bra every now and then if at all.
  • A nude bra doesn’t need to perfectly match your skintone to be effective. If your nude bras don’t show under light clothing, congratulations, they work! In that case, please don’t complain that they’re not “really nude” when other women state that they can’t find something that work at all. That is annoying.
  • People need to stop acting as if the only alternative to beige was neon prints. Most bras in very large cup sizes come in beige, black, white, blue or pink. I’m not here to eradicate beige bras, no matter how much I hate them. I know people like them and find them useful and that’s great. But the more options the better. Don’t take the odd orange or green bra as a threat. Seriously, we need more grey bras. They’re quite lovely and elegant.
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Ewa Michalak size expansion

Breaking news: Polish manufacturer Ewa Michalak has just announced on their Facebook page that they will offer a new model specifically designed for a fuller bust starting on June 1st. The new design called FB will be available in 4 cup sizes larger than what they had been selling so far!

The largest cup size will now be 70P and sister sizes, that is 75NN, 80N, 85MM, 90M, 95LL, 100L, 105KK, 110K, 115JJ, 120J, 125HH, 130H, 135GG and 140G. You’ll notice that there is no O cup.

The bra seem designed with a fuller coverage than what we’ve been used to with Ewa. That should keep jiggling at bay! It has a reinforced lower cup and new novative wires. It is not minimizing, but it won’t make you look larger either.

Ewa illustrated the news with this lovely 90KK model sporting the new bra, with matching knickers.

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I must say that I’m incredibly impressed with such a large cup size expansion, at a time when manufacturers tend not to cross the K cup barrier.

Recently, Ewa Michalak has also been offering their BM unpadded balconette in one cup larger than they used too, so up to a 75KK. Those bras are no longer available to buy on the website, but I was able to get my hands on the beautiful BM Koronkowy in the new sizing. Expect a review soon!

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Well done, Ewa!

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Edwards and Millers Celita teddy

Celita Chair front

I first heard of Edwards and Millers back in July 2013 when Izzy from Voluptuously thin heralded the brand as our savior in an interview with the designer. With an announced size range of 26-34 DD-M, it sure seemed like a dream come true for those of us in need of sub-28 band and/or K+ cups.

The company finally came out in March with the Jewels of Jamaica collection, including af bra and knicker set and a teddy. The bra came out in a small selection of sizes (26G, 28DD, 28H, 28K, 30GG, 32G, 32J, 34H), so I wasn’t able to try that out, but I recently got a chance to try the Celita teddy. Just like the bra and knickers, it is made out of lace and silk.  It also features a hidden crop top for support.

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I love the cheeky look of the lacy bottom.

Celita back bw

With the wide intended size range of the brand, I was curious to see how the teddy would work as it comes in three sizes only: small, medium and large. Sadly, the large didn’t work for me. While the bottom part felt very comfy, there simply wasn’t enough bust room. I would guess that the bottom would fit a UK size 12 to 16, whereas the bust room should be fine for someone around a 32J and sister sizes. I got confirmation that it works fine on a 28K. In any case, it is lovely and I would be game to try it in an XL if it becomes available in the future and the bottom part doesn’t come out too big.

The whole thing left me slightly obsessed with teddies. Less contrived than a babydoll, less pedestrian that a slip, they have an effortlessly sexy vibe that I absolutely adore.

I am now lusting after this little number…

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Aubade’s Projection privée in Caribbean pink

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Dressing tips for the inverted triangle: a few silhouettes

I don’t have what I would call a uniform in terms of how I dress, but I tend to come back often to the same silhouettes, so I thought I would share a few with readers who are shaped like me. Most full-bust bloggers are hourglasses and a lot of them are into the pin-up look. While I love looking at their pictures and I do have a soft spot for polka dots, this is simply not my style and what looks good on their body type doesn’t necessarily work for me. So here are a few winter favourites for my strawberry shape.

Thin V neck jumper + long sleeves high cut T-shirt + straight leg jeans

 

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(Jumper by Asos, top by Urkye and jeans by Gap)

Why it works:

  • All busty women have read that deep V necks are flattering, but not everyone feels comfortable showing cleavage, especially in the workplace. Not to mention, winters are cold!
  • Thin layers keep you warmer than a heavy knit, without the added bulk
  • This is a good chance to rock a bright or light colour next to your face, without bringing unwanted attention on your chest.
  • Skinny jeans might be the current basic, but I don’t find them particularly flattering. I think they tend to accentuate the imbalance between a larger upper body and a slimmer lower body. Bootcuts look better to me on tall girls with hips (I was going to write: tall hippy chicks! I guess they have a hippie vibe too!) and they can look a bit outdated. In any case, straight leg in a slimmish but not skinny or tapered cut have been my denim of choice  pretty much all of my adult life.

Tips:

  • Since my torso is so short, which is quite common with this body type, I like to keep the  jumper longish. That lengthen my waist a little. I go for a shape that skims my body rather than something
  • If you want to optimise the figure flattery with colour, go for a light to medium wash pair of jeans, with a darker jumper and top in a bright or light colour that suits your complexion. However, I find darker denim more versatile and more suitable for winter.

Long sleeves shirt + Wrapover cardigan +short flared skirt

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(Top by Urkye, cardigan by Biubiu, skirt by ShopSparkleMotion)

Why it works:

  • A shorter skirt draws attention away from your upper body. I get that it is not for everybody and I actually wear my fair share of knee length A-line skirts, but I’ve been rocking this combo since I was a teenager and minis will always have a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a maxi skirt!
  • A flared skirt creates some volume, balancing the upper body. It also gives more freedom and mobility and you don’t have to worry about it riding up, like you would with a tight skirt.
  • The wrapover cardigan creates a V neckline effect with a feminine touch

 

Tips:

  • An interesting pattern or a bright colour will make the skirt even more noticeable
  • If your skirt is more neutral, colourful tights will keep things interesting
  • The shorter the skirt, the flatter the shoe! I live in flats, as I find them more practical, so this is not an issue for me, but the look works much better with flats in my opinion. I usually wear tall boots, but booties look more “now”.
  • If it’s really cold, you’ll be cosy with tights, knee length socks and tall boots.

Sweater dress + cardigan 

 

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(Dress by French Connection via Asos, cardigan by New Look via Asos)

Why it works:

  • Sweater dresses are THE dresses most likely to fit an extremely busty figure without coming from a specialist company.
  • They’re also the cosiest.
  • A longish cardigan adds warmth and vertical lines to lengthen the torso

Tips:

  • I don’t necessarily go for a super tight little number just because those dresses have some stretch in them. Wearing the smallest size you can get into will put strain on the fabric and the garment won’t last as long as it should. I also find a drapey fluid fit very chic and modern and think it can be flattering on a top heavy figure. I don’t believe that “flattering” has to be a code word for “slimming” or “showing off any smaller part of your figure”. For me, it’s more about making my proportions work harmoniously and looking fresh faced.
  • For the cardigan, I like those than can be worn either open or cinched at the waist. When I tie them, I tend to create a dropped waist with the belt, as I feel it balances my figure better.

That’s it for now. Stay warm!

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The busty gal and the accidental capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe usually refers to a collection of clothes selected to create an optimal number of outfit through mixing and matching. They’ve been gaining momentum and I’ve came across quite a few minimalist fashion bloggers lately. Checking out their list of clothes, I came to realise that my wardrobe didn’t contain many more items than theirs. (And certainly fewer shoes!) Now, I’ve never planned to build a capsule wardrobe, never identified with a minimalist lifestyle and never went through a massive clothes purge. My wardrobe came to be organically, through my attitude towards fashion and clothing. Some aspects of this attitude are due to my personality and lifestyle, but some might be linked to being busty.

  • Limited options

I grew up in a time before busty clothing, which means some clothes were simply off limits. Even today, women often complain about the lack of choice in busty clothing. Less options translated to less junk in my closet. When Bravissimo started offering clothing, I was in my 20s and had pretty much given up on dresses, as even stretchy ones never fitted properly. I now own and wear dresses on a regular basis but stil have…

  • A love for separates

I happen to think that separates are perfectly suited to my strawberry shape. They’re also a staple of capsule wardrobes because they’re so versatile.

  • Figure flattery

Having an extreme body shape, I’ve always felt conscious of what looked and didn’t look good on me. I don’t think that people have to follow rules of figures flattery and everyone should wear what make them happy. Still, you’ll never find me dead in a turtleneck and I tend to gravitate towards the same silhouettes.

  • Colour scheme

I also tend to naturally gravitate towards the same colours, although those have changed over the years. Also in the lines of figure flattery, I used to follow the darker/plain top with lighter/brighter/more patterned bottom rule, at least in the summer.

  • Limited budget

As a student, I would definitely spend more on bras than on clothes. Nowadays, that is no longer the case, but I’ve gotten used to not buying that many clothes. I’m always taken aback when people complain about only liking a few items in the new collection of one bust-friendly brand or another. It’s not like they would buy the entire collection if they liked it, would they? Apparently some would.  Even if I could wear all those clothes, I wouldn’t want them coming all from the same brand. I would feel like a walking catalogue. And then there is the issue of…

  • Limited storage space

Two friends had a look at my tiny excuse for a closet and one asked the other: “where does she put her clothes?!” To put it in another way, when I stay in a hotel, the closet is usually twice as big as the one I have at home. I do have a tiny chest, but half of it contains lingerie and loungewear, not leaving much room for actual clothes.

Bottom line: I put a lot of time and thought in buying clothes and impulse buying is just against my nature. I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way to go. I’ve missed on great deals because I was undecided, but I can’t imagine doing things differently. Once again, I don’t consider myself or my wardrobe minimal and I was surprised at how many clothes and especially shoes most minimal bloggers seemed to own. That being said, it’s a refreshing and relatable trend  and I respect the commitment to ethical shopping of many of these women. With that in mind, I’m planning to share a few silhouettes which have worked for me in a future post. Stay tuned!

 

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