My mom is an interior designer. Through osmosis, I've become attune to colors and shades. I also possess a SAT-like vocabulary of color descriptors: eggplant, mint, nutmeg, charcoal, azure, pearl, dusty rose, cobalt, stone, goldenrod, honeydew, scarlet, plum, etc. As you might expect, every month my head explodes when the J.Crew catalog arrives.
In my lingerie drawer, it's a different story. I have my share of deep reds, sophisticated blacks, and retro floral prints. Lately though, I've noticed what my collection is missing is a muted tone. Although I own a few nude bras and wear them regularly with my light tops, I wanted something a little more unusual. A color that would be bashful, but not boring. A shade that would be girly, pretty, and miraculously make my skin appear less "jaundice yellow" and more pink (This is an entirely seasonal issue - in the summer, I turn a nice light caramel if I'm left out in the sun). Unfortunately, as a full busted consumer, I've been limited to the patterns and shades that certain brands create each a season. Although those offerings are remarkable, they weren't exactly what I was searching for.
A few months ago, I noticed online that Claudette, a new American full bust retailer, had debuted mauve bras up to a 38G. I knew instantly that this was exactly the type of color I was imagining. The mauve color is a gentle lilac shade that's understated, unique, and unapologetically feminine. It's youthful, but sophisticated. I believe that Claudette should get some street cred. They haven't created any basic nudes, but have instead introduced this ballsy hue as a continuity option.
[caption id="attachment_88" align="aligncenter" width="202" caption="Image at Faire Frou Frou"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_89" align="aligncenter" width="236" caption="Image at Jada Michaels"][/caption]
I am a supremely lazy person when it comes to cleaning. To make matters worse, I can easily ignore any dirty dish, overflowing trash can, or layer of grime in the bathtub. I'm one of those "bad roommates"; those people who seem sensible when you sign a lease agreement but who slowly allow their space to turn into a Hoarders episode. When I read this to a gentleman friend who has lived with me for several years, he flat-out chortled and said, "It's so true!".
Fortunately, there is one chore that I have been forced to reckon with and take seriously: my laundry. I've had some disasters along the way. Like the ex-boyfriend who put my favorite leopard print cardigan in the dryer and when it came out, it looked like a toddler's sweater. Or this summer, when I thought it'd be totally cool to put my mesh-detail Chantelle C.Chic panties in the industrial strength washing machines at the laundromat. I could go on and on...
Oh, how times have changed! I have discovered a product that was created for lazy chore ladies like myself: a wash bag. It's simple. It's cheap. It completely eases the guilt that comes when you see yourself loading your "hand wash only" items into a washing machine. Before I purchased my wash bag, I would admonish myself while I stuffed my collection into the machines ("You are a total slob who is in the process of destroying her precious and ridiculously expensive delicates!") and now I'm proud of my resourcefulness ("Wow, what a mature, responsible adult you are!").
There are some basic rules with these meshy wonder-bags. For instance, you can't fill it up 100% to the bursting point with your dirty underthings. Although that seems obvious and is clearly written somewhere on the packaging, I procrastinate extensively before I break down and drive to a laundromat. When I do go, I usually end up bringing every bit of lingerie I own and then trying to jam all those lovelies into a single bag. I've definitely tested the bag's limits. Additionally, I believe it's less effective when thrown into a load with heavier items, like jeans or thick sweatshirts. To protect the items inside, the bag is made of soft material. When the bag is coupled with items that are thicker or heavier and then put on a lengthy/intense cycle, it tends to unzipper itself. I've prevented this issue by adjusting the washing machine onto a delicate cycle. The bag and I have gotten along swimmingly since then.
wash bag is from Braza. It's white mesh with pink trim (style points!) and the Braza products are made locally, in the wonderful town of Lee, Massachusetts. Braza's Silky Sac Laundry Bags are available at Bra and Girl stores in Western Massachusetts and online at braandgirl.com for $7.50.
Since I was properly measured, I've been a huge fan of the English lingerie brand, Freya. However, I've read several posts lately on full bust blogs about a Freya size abyss: increasingly loose bands coupled with a narrow size range. The fitting issues with Freya are captured beautifully here and here. My gut reaction when I read the first post on this issue was, "Whoa, finally!". I have had exactly this problem and I felt like I was imagining it.
When I bought my first Freya 30G bra (the Eleanor) in 2008, it fit like a glove. But damn, that bra was tight in the band! However, Eleanor and I have been through a lot since then and now that same bra fits like a second skin. It's the comfiest thing in the world. And yes, it still fits quite nicely.
Lately, the Freya 30 bands I've purchased are tightish when I first purchase them and then, after a few wears & washes, they are crawling up my back and I can easily attach them to the middle or last hook. I wondered, why does it take a few days for the new Freyas to loosen up when it took my Eleanor a year to get to the same flexibility? I remeasured myself and unlike the other bloggers, I am part of the issue. My under bust measurement has driven me into 28" territory. After this discovery, I freaked out. I would need a 28 band and a GG cup...so my options shrunk considerably. More specifically, many of the brand's more popular or exciting styles are unavailable in my new size (I'm looking at you, Deco, Longline, and Padded Half Cups).
Then I had three revelations:
1. Freya's sizing is never 100% consistent. With a little help from human error and size inconsistency, I found that while I need a 30G (for cup space) in the Taylor, I can also wear a 28G in some of their unpadded bras, like the Lyla. If you are near the 28GG/30G abyss, it's something to consider.
[caption id="attachment_52" align="aligncenter" width="214" caption="Lyla Noir - Image via Freya Lingerie"][/caption]
2. I looked through the catalog for the Spring 2012 collection and I found that there was some hope. In the upcoming season, I found 10 styles that offered a 28GG. Some are reliable basics in solid colors, like the Rio, Jolie, and Lauren. But there are some fashion patterns out there for the double Gs too, like the Ellie, Patsy, Elize, and the highly anticipated Beau.
[caption id="attachment_49" align="aligncenter" width="107" caption="Elize - Image via Freya Lingerie"][/caption]
3. Finally, I hate it when any company tries to sell me something that isn't completely reliable. I'm sure everyone has gone through some version of this on their own undergarment hunts: In the last few years, I've bought bras online at low prices and liked them initially, but during the first day of wear (and after removing the tags), found them to be a hideous fit or poorly constructed. I'd rather have Freya strenuously test, research, and study the sizing concerns of a product (like a 28GG Deco) than speedily release a bra onto the market to accommodate a wider size range.
I think Freya deserves a break. Or, I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. In the full bust market, Freya seems to be the cool girl on the block. If you've ever attended high school, read a tabloid magazine or watched a John Hughes film, you know that everyone likes to hate on the popular kid. Freya's patterns are spectacular, their designs are hip and forward-thinking, and their sizing sets an industry-wide standard for full bust consumers. It's understandable that their customers would like to see every line available from 28C to 38HH, but I can also imagine why that's infeasible. Would I like to see those styles in my size too? Hell YES. In the meantime, I'll gladly gobble up their 28GG Balconies. Hello, Elize...