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Review: Evollove Dawn in Eden, Lost Love, & New Beauty

Evollove, an Australian full bust lingerie brand, is currently in it's debut season. For a new launch in this size range, they've arrived with considerably little fanfare. Without spectacle or heavy blogging coverage, Evollove has slowly started to appear in gorgeous American boutiques, like 40 Winks in Boston and Journelle in Manhattan. The company manufactures sizes from 30-38 D-G and is managed by the Bendon Group. In the same way that Freya belongs to Eveden, Evollove is a member of a family of brands which include Stella McCartney, Pleasure State, and Elle Macpherson.

I was eager, yet apprehensive, to try their styles out. Fewer or infrequent lingerie reviews are often a sign of a poor fitting brand or a rushed design. I'm fairly loyal to the English sizing system and British brands like Freya. Ok, I admit it: I'm a total Anglophile from my lingerie to my tea habits to my television preferences. To venture out of the realm of Curvy Kate, Panache, and Miss Mandalay seemed unnecessary and intimidating. However, when I tried on the Evollove styles, I was flabbergasted.

Dawn in Eden in Algiers Blue (Fashion)
If you've been reading for awhile, you know that I'm generally bored by contour cups. I realize they have their place, but the perfectly round orb look and the (often) second rate details don't inspire me. At work, I like to remind my clients that contour cups are made from a mold and finding the correct fit is all about discovering which form is closest to your own. When I first shopped at Bravissimo, the Panache Porcelain was a terrific match and since then, I haven't been able to find a good "soul mate" replacement.

Evollove calls this shape a "cut and sew padded" style and it's meant to push the breasts against the chest for a held-up-not-together cleavage. Holy moly, I loved how this made my boobs look! I've been wearing it nonstop and flashing everyone who will let me. With contour cups, there's often a feeling of wearing armor or something artificial, but the Dawn in Eden didn't feel heavy in the slightest. I loved the delicate shaping, lightness to wear, and sexy "presented" decolletage.

If I'd been out shopping on my own, I'm not sure if I would've picked the "Algiers Blue" colorway. However, I appreciated that all the Evollove bras were a bit 'different'. Instead of bows or gems at the center gore, they had funky silver do-dads. The colors are juicy and I wouldn't have put them together in one season, but they looked great side by side. The designs were also happy and lighthearted -- rather than utilitarian and 'basic' -- which is an attitude I appreciate in life as well as lingerie.

Lost Love in Astral Aura (Fashion)
Aesthetically, this bra combines many of my favorite design details so it's a no-brainer that I'd adore it. I love fabrics that are an irregular design or meant to resemble a tattoo impression, like the Masquerade Persia. I'm into the recent craze for tuxedo-style strips (Examples: Masquerade Rosetti, this Avocado bra) and navy is one of my favorite colors year round.

Of the two soft bras I sampled, the Lost Love had the firmer band. The cups reminded me a little of bras like the Curvy Kate Princess and Freya's firmer material balconies. Those bras have firm top panels and at first, it almost looks like the bra's pushing breast tissue out or down. I've been hesitant to review this type of bra in the past, since for the first few test-drives, I'm convinced it's too small or something's off with the fit. Over time, I've noticed these bras and I have a great "working relationship". Eventually, the upper section becomes more elastic or accustomed to the volume. While the fit settles in, I've discovered these bras are awesome for reducing movement and insuring I stay comfortable throughout the day.

New Beauty  
With allover stretch lace, the New Beauty had the softest cups and of the three bras I sampled, the loosest band. Since I'm on the cusp between a 28" and 30" band, the New Beauty got bumped into the too-big band category. I'm a big fan of hot pink and I'm always up for a hyper pigmented, popping hue. Although, with the stellar fit from the Dawn in Eden and the funky pattern in the Lost Love, the New Beauty got a little lost in the shuffle.

A note on fit...

I can't stress this enough: Sizing systems aren't perfectly equivalent to one another. Right now, I've been falling between a 28G-GG in the British brands like Freya, Panache, and Curvy Kate. I've also been wearing 30Gs comfortably and without fit problems from Midnight Grace by Figleaves, Parfait by Affinitas, and now, Evollove. However, while Parfait and Midnight Grace subscribe to the English lettering system (D, DD, E, F, FF, G), Evollove's cups go D, DD, E, F, G. If you've been roller coasting between a 28G-GG/30FF-G like me, Evollove's approach is a godsend. However, if you're firmly or consistently one size in the other brands, you might experience some trial and error.

Evollove Dawn in Eden, Lost Love, & New Beauty c/o Evollove

Review: Miss Mandalay Paige

In the last few months, I've tried to push my lingerie boundaries a bit and try out designs I don't have much experience with. It can be an intimidating endeavor because I've been very happy with the companies I'm familiar with and I want to provide the most accurate and well-researched assessment of each brand. Beyond Claudette and non-padded Curvy Kates, I also had the opportunity to sample Miss Mandalay. I've seen their bras pop up on British retailers like Large Cup Lingerie and Bravissimo, but didn't consider ordering outside of my comfort zone. In a plethora of full bust prints, I became a total magpie and passed over the quietly sophisticated and feminine Miss Mandalay styles. Yet as my drawers brimmed over with clashing and competing patterns, I began to have a new appreciation for Miss Mandalay's clean lines and sweet sensuality.

Miss Mandalay Paige in Coral
Along with the Paris, the Paige is a core style for the company. Just like it's continuity sister, it's a sheer three part cup with an appearance that rests gracefully between a plunge and balconette. The style suggests an everyday sex appeal effect that I continually adore. In the past few seasons, the Paige has also appeared in bright, juicy colorways with contrasting trim. I've been watching their Facebook profile like a hawk (Hint: It's the best place to see what's coming from MM!) and in the upcoming months, their designs are leaning towards deeper hues and delicate retro-inspired prints. Of course, I'd never pass up gingham or polka dots so the new collection looks mighty tempting...if a little sweeter than what's out currently (i.e the reissued Amelie, the Paris in Black). The coral here is breathtakingly gorgeous in person and worked for me under thick white sweaters as a "flesh"/disappearing act bra.

With the exception of the occasional Panache style, Miss Mandalay is the only company I feel I could wear both my band sizes in. After receiving the Paige, I ordered a deeply discounted Paris to compare the fit with. The Paige above is a 28GG and my 'previous season' Paris was a 30G. Obviously, there was a slight difference, but overall I felt either fit would've worked. Thus, I'd suggest ordering larger if you prefer a comfortable fit, checking them out if you are looking for a sub-28 band, and consider how much longer a less elasticized band will last. For me, that's a long time! I loved the shape Paige provided, the cups cradled me perfectly and were epically comfy, even on the first day of my "test-drive". 

A note on bottoms...
In the lingerie blogosphere, and in my own attempts to puzzle out my underpinnings budget, I've witnessed an ongoing discussion of whether matching underwear are or aren't "worth it". My two cents? Yes... EXCEPT when they're not. I've seen way too many matching bottoms that look as if a designer, well, fell asleep on the job? If a bra is well engineered, stylish, and thoughtfully created, then it's matching piece should be as well. With Miss Mandalay, I was blown away by the panties. They were works of art all on their own! If you have gentle OCD like myself and like to invest in your foundation garments, Miss Mandalay creates sets in the truest sense.

Great news for American readers: If you're stateside and would like to try Miss Mandalay, I saw that Journelle stocks one style and Large Cup Lingerie ships for free - a treat that's hard to beat when ordering from the U.K.!

Miss Mandalay Paige c/o Miss Mandalay

Gift Guide: Rich Girl, Poor Girl

I love perusing gift guides, but by mid-December, they all seem the same (Does everyone really want a fancy candle, tumblers, and a make-up palette?). To add spice to the tradition, the Miss Underpinnings gift guides/holiday wish lists will revolve around a single theme and contain two perspectives. If there's interest, Mr. Underpinnings might do one of his own too! The first one in the series is, of course, inspired by the Hall and Oates song: 

1. Colored lace dress: Readers, please tell me in the comments that you go to fancy holiday parties that require dresses like these. I have NEVER, in my life, been invited to a dressy Christmas party. Or, if I was, I was too young to remember and my mother dressed me so it doesn't count. It goes without saying I'm really into colored lace and I've said it before, but I've got to do it again: SLEEVES. {Whistles Avril Lace Dress, around $280 US.}

2. Quirky sweater: If I was rich, I'd get everything monogrammed because I could, especially all my fine fibers. I would also buy neon colors of expensive fabrics, like cashmere and wool, because they wouldn't be "investment pieces", they'd just be, you know, my sweaters. Totally buy hoodies, instead of cardigans, because I think they say, "Look, I'm rich, but casual". {J. Crew Cashmere Popover Hoodie, $248 + $10 for the monogram.}

3. Bright brief: I totally own these. Does that make me rich? No, it means I spend an inordinate amount of my annual income on lingerie. If a pair of underwear could be your best friend, this panty and I would kick it to romantic comedy marathons on a weekly basis. {Eberjey Delirious French Brief, $24.}

4. Sheer black set: When my paternal grandmother passed away, her four adult children decided to bury her in a gigantic mink coat. I've always liked this story since it 1.) proves style runs in the family and 2.) gets my morbid imagination running with what I'd like to be buried in. Too Harold and Maude for ya? I adore this set, I'll leave it at that. {Beaujais Inkling Set, around $175 US.}

5. Polka dot stockings: If I had a dollar every time someone has recommended Wolford tights to me, I'd have enough to buy a pair. I liked the contrast camel spots on these "leggings" and if the rumors are true, they're indestructible. {Wolford Mega Dots Legging in Black, $75.}

6. Modern coat: Le sigh, winter bores me. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to celebrate the holidays in a location that looks identical to every film dedicated to them. But after say, January 2nd? No thanks. Thus, I'm a firm believer in experimenting with color, shape, and texture through this grisly-no-good season. This electric cobalt coat is too much fun to be denied and would make winter layering about a thousand times less dull. {Francine Zip Coat in Petrol, available from Saint Bustier, $560.}

1. Quirky sweater: We just covered how I think winter clothing is boring, right? This sweater is anything but. You could wear it with jeans and your L.L.Bean snow boots and have a "look". {Modcloth Deer Journal Cardigan, by Knitted Dove, $79.99.}

2. Sheer black set: I ordered the purple version of this set last month and so far, it's probably one of my favorites of the entire season. Without a doubt, the bra is the greatest full bust bargain I've found. To top it off, it's hawt. I'll review it soon (Promise!) but in the meantime, it's an awesome "sexy Santa" gift. {Midnight Grace by Figleaves Paige Set, $57 with matching thong or $60 with short.}

3. Modern coat: With a big bust, coat shopping can be a demoralizing process. I've had to cross my fingers that a button wouldn't pop off on a bunch of public and potentially humiliating occasions. If you're in the market, I'd recommend StackDD's coat guide from last year. Sarah suggests side zippers and tries several belted styles. I like this one from Forever 21 above because I think shoulder biznatch balances my bust and the masculine style would pair well with more feminine pieces. {Forever 21 Quilted Shoulder Coat, $62.80.}

4. Bright brief: Confession: I'm an equal opportunist when it comes to my underpinnings. I'll try anything once and I'll certainly browse through any section. Kmart lingerie? Yeah, I've had a look. Target? Check. Urban Outfitters? Most definitely. Usually, a quick scan won't bear interesting fruit so I was surprised at how much I liked these hipsters. For a while, I thought my blood sugar must be low or my standards had disappeared because I was surrounded by that edgy, blaring music and post-industrial decor. But no, I really like these. {Urban Outfitters Swiss Dot Lace Mix Hipster, $8 or 5 for $25.}

5. Colored lace dress: I'm such a hypocrite, going on and on about dresses with sleeves and then including this ASOS number. Let me make a case, this gem is all stretch so no matter your bust, you can shimmy into the joint. Bonus, this neckline ROCKS a killer decolletage for the DD+ population. {ASOS Pencil Dress in Bonded Lace, $79.16.}

6. Polka dot stockings: Pretty Polly is an English hosiery company that I've worn before and been very happy with. While I haven't tried the polka dots, I own their ripped and garter stockings. I've been pleased with the quality and their "classic" trend appeal. Not too glitzy, not too young. They're just cool tights. {Pretty Polly "Pretty Dotty" Tights, $25.}

Review: Curvy Kate Princess, Lottie & Gia

Curvy Kate is a U.K.-based brand I've reviewed before on Miss Underpinnings and in the past, I've only tried out padded styles (Tease Me, Daily Boost). Mr. Underpinnings is a big fan of their colorful styles and I've enjoyed watching the brand develop the first moulded bra up to a J-cup, plan a multiway release, and expand their swimwear line. When I learned that the company was giving me the opportunity to test these core styles all at once, I was elated. My conclusion? The Gia, Lottie, and Princess are three very different bras. Let's take a look:

Princess in Teal/Blush (Fashion)

For me, the Princess captures the strengths and weaknesses of the Curvy Kate brand as a whole. It's a gorgeous style and in my opinion, looks like a much more expensive bra than it is. As a stylish budget la-day, this is a quality I look for everywhere. The swiss dots and contrast trim are also universally appealing or accessible; I've noticed that many bloggers and lingerie fanatics seem attracted to this particular design from the company's regular arsenal.

Season after season, Curvy Kate churns this style out in colorways that just work. Whether it's lilac, maroon, or beige, the Princess stays pretty and sophisticated. The jewel-toned teal above was hardly my favorite incarnation of this bra, but when it arrived a little darker than the promotional photographs suggested, I was delighted with the festive winter hue.

The appearance, or shape under clothing, is easily the roundest of the Curvy Kate styles I received. The Princess provides a circular and held-close-against-the-body effect on the ta-tas. If you're someone searching for the maximum uplift or a soft cup with less coverage, it wouldn't be one of my recommendations.  It's much fuller than say, the Gia reviewed below or the Tango Plunge, and it's less lift than the soft Cleos usually give. For 'regular' day to day wear, the Princess is perfect for me. I can count on a stable, flattering, and comfortable fit that doesn't sacrifice style. 

Now about that fit...I cannot caution you enough: bras don't fit the same across brands and you could be a range of sizes in a single company. The Princess has a particular reputation for this since the center gore is wider, the cups are fuller and slightly shallow at the top. It's not a fit that is as intuitive or widely attainable as other styles. I'm wearing a 28GG in the Princess, but that size is now too large for me in all my Freyas (*SOBS*).

Lottie in White/Pink (Continuity)

When my friend K saw this bra, she told me it looked like lingerie that a porcelain doll would wear...if they weren't children. I think 1.) she's right and 2.) that's exactly why I love this bra! If I could get away with it in my mid-20s, I'd dress like a doll every day. Aesthetically, I love that the Lottie is an awesome match to everything already hanging in my closet. It's long ribbons, simple recurring trim, and classic color contrasts are delicately appealing in a quiet, modest manner. In a company that's known for it's dramatic fashion and trendy prints, the Lottie is a sweet and unassuming style.

While it was easily my favorite visual design, the Lottie's shape was the funkiest or the most unlike the currently favored high-and-lifted looks. The Lottie cradles the breasts through the bottom and compresses the top of the tissue with a firm panel. I've read reviews where this shape is dismissed as "pointy" or old fashioned, but I really enjoyed it. I felt my chest looked boob-like, which was refreshing, and I didn't feel too jiggly or compact.  

Gia in Cherry/Blush (Fashion)
Curvy Kate released two red bras this season, the padded Tease Me from the burlesque-inspired Showgirl line and the Gia. Somehow, I think the Gia got overshadowed by the beloved Tease Me. It became the "Oh, it's red" bra while it's padded sister was the "HOLY MOLY, get it ON me!" red of the present collection. The Gia shouldn't be discounted so quickly, it's a great offer from the company.

Judging by appearances, the Gia wasn't at the top of my wishlist. Online, the diamond repetition seemed overwhelming, especially alongside such a dominant color and rhinestone gems. When I saw it in person, I learned the truth: Gia's a secret sexpot! The sheer panel is terrifically vampy and the color is flattering. In fit, it was the most unlike the other two bras I tried. It has less coverage (more like a soft plunge?) and much more lift. I needed the 28G, rather than the 28GG required for both the Lottie and Princess, and the cups contained a ton of depth in the top panel.

To give everyone a peek of what's coming, I wanted to include the future Spring/Summer 2013 offerings of the bras I reviewed above. According to their website, the Curvy Kate Lottie in Raspberry will debut this month, the Gia in Seafoam next month, and the Princess in Orchid/Purple in February. (Aren't the CK models gorgeous?! Reminds me that I really need a blow-out!).

{Curvy Kate Princess, Lottie, & Gia c/o Curvy Kate}

Blogger Question: Travel Help!

Ahhh, I've been waiting to break this news on the blog for the longest time and it's finally December! SO, earlier this autumn, Zack's Dad called us up and completely surprised us for a week-long cruise on the Danube river!!! His parents have been married for 25 years (Congratulations, Steve & Liz!) and they generously decided they'd like to celebrate over the holidays with their family. We'll be embarking in Nuremberg, Germany around Christmas and concluding the trip in Budapest, Hungary right before the New Year. The anticipation is killing me; I'm so excited!

European readers, fellow bloggers, and international world travelers, please advise me! Any recommendations for what to pack? Eat? Visit? Buy? And, on that note, does anyone have a suggestion for where to find full bust lingerie? In addition to Nuremberg and Budapest, we'll be stopping in Melk, Passau, and Regensburg. 

(First image, Travel and Leisure. Second image, Viking River Cruises.)

P.s. Our ship will be the Viking "Freya"!! 

Happy Thanksgiving (And 5 Things I'm Grateful For)

I'm going to be totally honest today: I've never cared for Thanksgiving. I know that's not a popular sentiment, but...I'm a vegetarian. Suffice it to say, I'm not hyped for the mass slaughter of birds and it's been an awkward conversation to broach with my carnivore relatives in the past. But the idea behind the holiday has always been close to my heart: surrounded by people you love and a warm meal while expressing gratitude for life's good fortune. I can get down with that. In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share five things I'm grateful for:

A Welcoming, Warm Community of Bloggers
There's no other way to say it: My fellow full bust bloggers are an awesome set of ladies. Before I began blogging, I knew it was a communal activity. However, I never realized the full extent of the group I was joining. I read full bust blogs every day and I wouldn't still be writing my heart out if it weren't for the inclusive, celebratory, and encouraging community of writers, fitters, and lingerie lovers I found online. I couldn't be more grateful to the women who've welcomed me in the last year.

Amazing Readers
I'm gonna get all Taylor Swift about this one and say, "OHMYGOD!". When it comes to my readers, I've been ridiculously lucky. Miss Underpinnings readers, you are the BEST ever! When I see other bloggers write about trolls or criticism, I simply can't relate. My readers have emailed me in the kindest manner, happily supported each other in comments, and generally ROCKED from day one. I've never had to delete a comment over body snark nor have I had to deal with pesky pervs.

Damn Fine Lingerie
As a full bust laday living in America, there's tons to complain about the selection and fitting practices nationwide. Except for a few shining beacons of hope, there are few boutiques or department stores I trust with my tits. Victoria's Secret? Don't get me started...EXCEPT. There's a ton of gorgeous lingerie out there for the full bust market and I'm so thankful for brands like Evollove, Miss Mandalay, Freya, Ewa Michalak and Panache who keep churning out new and interesting ideas for hard-to-find sizes.  From what I've seen in the last year, these companies are truly attuned to their market and pushing the "established" limits of innovation, design, and construction. I'm proud to count myself as a customer and grateful for their vision of lacey, pretty things.

Courageous Small Businesses
I believe it takes real courage to be a small business owner. In a world where you can buy a panty or t-shirt for $1, it takes guts to open an online store selling original, hand sewn designs. Nicola of Knickerocker and Sarah of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie are my absolute heroes on Etsy while Ewa, Kinga of BiuBiu, and Ola of Urkye continue to astound me with their authentic vision and unique perspective. I'm tremendously grateful to these artists and visionaries who are sticking to their passions and creating gorgeous clothes for the DD+ ladies of the world.

Whether you're into the turkey carving or not, I'd love to hear what you're grateful for this Thanksgiving! Also, do you traditionally share what you're grateful for, or is it just my hippie family? 

Introducing... Mr. Underpinnings!

 Good afternoon ladies (... and gentlemen?),

You can call me Mr. Underpinnings. Up until now, I have been operating behind the scenes as co-editor and photographer for the excellent blog before you. But to coincide with the move from Wordpress to Blogger, and because I'm really cool and you should all totally know that I exist, I'm stepping out of the shadows! It's so nice to meet you all :)

Let me start by saying that Full Bust Lingerie is a subject that I never imagined I would know the slightest thing about and now, not to brag or anything, I probably know more than most women. Furthermore, by virtue of living with Miss Underpinnings, I now realize just how difficult it can be to find good looking, full bust wardrobe choices that are both affordable and attractive. Honestly I can't even think of the man-version of this phenomenon. But then again I'm lucky enough that if something comes in a medium, it will probably fit me just fine.

I really enjoy working with Miss Underpinnings on this blog, and not just because I get to take pictures of my girlfriend in incredibly sexy lingerie all the time. Helping full-busted women stay informed about the options that are available to them is a cause I totally believe in, and for completely non-pervy reasons. No really, I swear!

Because this is my first ever post, I want to start with something kind of general, sort of like an ice-breaker so you all know where I'm coming from. Before Miss Underpinnings was born, I thought that Victoria's Secret and department stores were the only options for women of any size and, like many people, I thought that DD was the largest possible cup size. Now, I can't get too down on myself for my lack of knowledge, because young men generally take what knowledge they can piece together about bras and call it a day.

Now some of you may be thinking, "Wow Mr. Underpinnings, its so rare to hear the perspective of a guy who actually knows a little bit about full-bust lingerie!" And you would be right. So I'm going to tell you what I think about a few things. First of all, if you haven't done it recently, you need to go get fit. Immediately. And before you go, leave your body hang-ups at home, because you might be a different size than you think you are. And that's OKAY! It really doesn't matter at all. All that matter's is that you are comfortable and wearing the correct size. Think about if you walked around wearing the wrong size shoes all the time. Not only would your feet look out of proportion to everybody, but your feet would hurt all the time. Bras are like shoes in this way. And be nice to your fitter, being fit is a sensitive moment for them as well. 

Another thing about that. Any bra or lingerie set that fits you is going to look attractive. It's not about sizing up or down to get a certain look. Don't feel like you need to get a tiny cup size to be sexy or something. If it fits, its sexy. And I'm not trying to be sexist right now, I know its not about attracting men all the time, I'm not talking about that. I'm only saying that being comfortable in your body is the sexiest possible thing, and if you wear a bra that fits, you will have that.

Some lingerie companies I have really enjoyed learning about are Curvy Kate, Evollove, and Claudette. For me, those three brands consistently surprise me with interesting designs and color combinations, which I really like. A lot of times the thing I find most attractive about a bra will be if it's a) a good fit and b) brightly colored. I love colorful bras! Pinks, purples, blues, reds, greens. It could be anything. I don't know if that's true for a lot of guys, but I definitely don't fall into the stereotype of thinking black or other darkly colored bras are the sexiest (sorry 10 Things I Hate About You!). There is one bra that Miss Underpinnings owns that is the Figleaves brand, and its purple and light blue, but still not too flashy. I love that one.

Okay, I feel like I have covered a lot of meandering, rambling ground, but hopefully y'all readers of Miss Underpinnings feel like you know me a bit better now. Expect to hear from me again, I'll be popping up periodically to donate my two cents. Until then, enjoy yourselves!

If you have any questions for me, send them to the blog and the Miss will forward them my way! I'm glad to be of any help :)

Friday Night Fun: 50 Facts

Truth time: It's Friday night, I'm at home with a nasty case of blogger's block and I stumbled upon this survey. I LOVE things like this (I'm noisy) so I hope you do too. If you do one, please let me know in the comments so I can take a peek! 

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:30ish...?

2. How do you like your steak? Confession: I've never had steak! I hear it's pretty good though.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Argo.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Too many to count, but: Switched at Birth, the Walking Dead, and the PBS miniseries God in America from 2010 are my current obsessions.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Ye gods, everywhere. Austin, Texas. North Carolina. New Orleans.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Cereal and local milk, then pumpkin pancakes for second breakfast which leads me to #7...

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Anything that combines unhealthy amounts of sugar and bread.

8. What foods do you dislike?  Meat. Cooked carrots. Hard or soft boiled eggs. Salted peanuts.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?  Vegetarian cafes with a wide selection of baked goods (Noticing a trend?) and good chai lattes.

10. Favorite dressing?  Balsamic, baby.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Honda Civic.

12. What are your favorite clothes?  Retro-inspired dresses, pointy shoes, cozy cardigans, and sheer black bras (I'm wearing all of these right now).

 Typical outfit

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  Turkey. Morocco. South Africa.

14. Where would you want to retire? I have several fantasies about the aging process and they all involve me turning into a stereotypical old woman from various films. I either envision a white house on the Plains, with laundry drying in the yard, or a tiny cottage on the Irish seaside. In both versions, I wear a lot of paisley and a scarf on my head.

15. Favorite time of day? I like the mid-morning when I'm focused, caffeinated, and fed. Or, anytime I'm feeling inspired.

16. Where were you born? Outside of Boston.

17. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Ugh, I'm lame and can't stand watching sports.

18.  Mysteriously, #18 is missing.

19. How many siblings?  Two sisters and a brother.

20. Favorite pastime/hobby?  I like walking, reading, and running up behind my boyfriend and pantsing him, preferably very early in the morning and right before he tries to get into bed at night. Ya know, when he's at his weakest and most irritable. 
New Hobby

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?  I generally LOVE reading things like this (the last page of Vanity Fair has a fantastic questionnaire) so anyone's really.

22. Bird watcher? Nope.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? I've always believed I was a night person, but I've realized lately I'm just a watching-tv-into-the-night person.

24. Do you have any pets? Not yet.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Yesterday, my boyfriend's mother gave me a lap top! I feel very fancy (and crazy grateful - Thanks, Liz!!).

26. What did you want to be when you were little? Ok, this is so weird. I wanted to be in the Army or the Navy. As an artsy child in an extremely liberal New England community, I think I was attracted to the organization and structure.

27. What is your best childhood memory?  Anytime I spent with my grandmother. She was a hoot. 

28. Are you a cat or dog person?  Either.

29. Are you married? Yes, in my heart...To a man named Lorenzo who drives a moped and recites poetry. No, really - the pantsing victim from #20 is my favorite person ever.

We have no shame.

30. Always wear your seat belt?  Yes.

31. Been in a car accident?  No.

32. Any pet peeves? Um, YES. People who use my nickname too soon, loud arguing in public areas, sequels that aren't as good as the original, and Anne Hathaway.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?  Broccoli, multiple cheeses, eggplant.

34. Favorite Flower?  Yellow roses (Read: The Age of Innocence).

35. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate chip.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Starbucks, especially if it's in a Barnes and Noble and serves Cheesecake Factory.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Alright, full disclosure: I'm a slow learner, got my driver's license at 23, had TWO permits, and failed the test once. You can imagine the waterworks; I'm a stress-crier. 

38. From whom did you get your last email? the J. Crew Factory store, in case I missed that Black Friday is almost upon us. 

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?  Can I count Etsy? My wishlist is a mile long (hint, hint).

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?  Yes, I made cheesy spinach soup last night.

41. Like your job?  Yes, absolutely.

42. Broccoli? Anytime, anywhere.
No joke, I Instagramed broccoli I love it so much.

 43. What was your favorite vacation? The ones still to come.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?  My dad, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend's mom.

45. What are you listening to right now?  The space heater behind me.

46. What is your favorite color?  Raspberry, wine, mint, charcoal grey, navy, mustard yellow.

47. How many tattoos do you have? Zero, but I'm planning for my first one next February.

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 10 p.m.

50. Coffee Drinker? I didn't touch the stuff until I was 22 (Does this questionnaire make me sound Mormon?), but now I have a full on addiction.

Big thanks to Sweets, Erika, and Nicole who first alerted me to these. They're fun, guys!

Full Bust Bra Review: Claudette En Dentelle Intense

In the past year, Claudette has emerged as a lingerie juggernaut. Available from Journelle to Urban Outfitters, their Dessous collection has proved popular with several different size profiles. In that respect, they're remarkably unique too. All of their lines will extend to a G-cup in the Spring 2013 collection, they're debuting 28" bands next year, and their styles can be purchased by anyone between an A and G cup. Claudette also offers their core styles in colorways that are sure to suit various tastes. For instance, the En Dentelle is available in a feminine white/light blue colorway and the "Intense" which is much more modern or dramatic. I'm a big fan of lingerie-as-outwear and I find Claudette bras practically beg to be styled as an element of an outfit. The Neon Green/Black version is timely too, wouldn't this gothic colorway make a fantastic part of a Halloween costume?

Tragically, the fit was a little off for me. I'm a half cup addict and this demi bra was at the top of MUST TRY list, but the shape didn't turn me into the gorgeous model above. I filled out the middle of the cups and the bottom, but the top of cups, near my armpits, gaped slightly. Since my breast tissue was pushing out the center gore, I'm not sure if I would've preferred a smaller cup. My breasts are full in the center so very few bras lay totally flat there. Unfortunately, I also found that the 30" band was true to size. Some tighter 30" bands fit me perfectly, but the Claudette was closer to a Freya band than some Parfait. But that's alright too, it gives me more to look forward to in the Spring when the smaller bands debut!

Since this bra didn't gel with my boobs, I'm guessing that it would work for someone who didn't have a similar shape or required opposite elements from their lingerie. I usually like narrow wires, small center gores, and a marginalized side support panel. Three part plunges or deep cup contour styles tend to fit the best. Therefore, if those statements don't hold true in your experience, I'd highly recommend the Claudette En Dentelle Intense. I'd also suggest sizing down, if you are in between band sizes. This bra also might work if you're someone that experiences "East-West" projection issues. Instead of forcing your breast tissue front and center, the En Dentelle cradles it gently and in the sexiest way possible!

 I'm really looking forward to seeing how Claudette develops in the future. They're Neon Dessous bras were so popular throughout the summer and I've noticed a real influx of hot bright shades on the full bust market since their success. I also wonder if Claudette's approach will usher in a new era of size inclusion. It's wonderful and refreshing that I could try the same bra as my B and C cup friends!

 Side notes:
  1. I didn't get to sample the matching panty in the set so I can't speak to the fit or look, but they're damn cute. Two words: REMOVABLE GARTERS.
  2. Construction wise, the band closed with three hook and eyes. The straps were partially adjustable.
Claudette En Dentelle Intense in Neon Green/Black, c/o Claudette

Hips and Curves: DD Atelier

DD Atelier, a Russian-based full bust retailer, has recently launched their English language site and made their stylish designs available to us stateside. With a slightly younger and more trend conscious perspective, their pieces really appealed to me. Thus, I was overjoyed when they graciously offered to send me a few pieces to try out. Their service was quick, warmly communicated, and the shipping process took only marginally longer than I anticipated (Probably due to the fact that I was waiting by the mailbox with bated breathe for 2 1/2 weeks!). I also got to try on one more item, the wool blazer, at the Busty Clothing Swap. I gotta say it: All around, I'm impressed.

The Diva Dress

I find long sleeved dresses are impossible to come by and, even in Massachusetts where the winter lasts for eight months, there's a scarcity of warm and properly sleeved designs. Happily, I've seen a few more options this season and this one was on the top of my wishlist. Not only does the Diva Dress feature full length sleeves, it has workable buttons near the wrists. Additionally, there's an ultra  flattering, blouse-y 1940s structure to the sleeves and waist. To quote my close friend, blog super fan, and style adviser, Ms. K: "Navy is one of the best neutrals.". Agreed! I'm glad DD Atelier didn't opt for this dress in either a darker or lighter shade. I find both black and white make me look mildly ill in the winter and a more dramatic color would've thrown the dress's silhouette into epic proportions. The shade keeps this piece feeling classic, finely tailored, and feminine.

 For size reference, I've been happiest in 28G bras recently and the DD Atelier chart put me smack dab in the middle of the 70F. However, I've noticed with many specifically sized products, I fall in between "curviness" levels and it ends up that my personal preferences determine which size is best. I think this holds true for DD Atelier as well. I found the 70F to be fractionally big in the bust when I first tried it on, but then I realized I was testing it out with soft or non-padded bras. Once I switched to a moulded cup, the bust fit was perfect.  So, If you're slightly bustier than the sizing chart decrees, don't rule DD Atelier out. Or, if you're an in-betweener, consider the type of bra you usually wear.

I wore this dress to work at Bra and Girl, then dinner and drinks with my co-workers. I liked that the shape was prim and proper, everywhere except the neckline which presented a lovely decolletage.
The Floret Blouse
Of all the items currently available on the site, the Floret Blouse was shouting my name. The ditsy floral print and the classy neck tie are features I've gone on and on about before, but let's just say, the design delighted me. This is also the first button-up I've owned that fits throughout the torso and chest. After trying this and the Campbell and Kate Signature Shirt, my world has changed. I've breezed by these shirts so often, it totally changes my perspective to finally style them. I paired this shirt with my new wool skirt, jeans, or my standard olive trousers for a casual professional look at the store.
The material was 100% cotton so it felt dreamy on and it was the perfect layer under an old itchy cardigan I wear on chilly days. It was so, so cute to have the little ties sticking out from beneath my sleeves! The fabric was the teensiest bit sheer, but it's definitely a year-round top. I wore a light blue bra beneath it, as I don't have a nude contour style to go under it. The faintest outline of a darker color was visible, but my bra wasn't obvious enough to cause me any discomfort.

Side notes:
  • The Diva dress is 100% viscose. I'm by no means a fabric snob, but I noticed that the material wrinkled slightly. As I'll be wearing this dress for work or special events throughout the winter, I'll always have time set aside for steaming and the fabric content won't be an issue. On the flip side, I wouldn't pack this dress for trips or any place that I couldn't access a way to prep it.
  • As I mentioned above, shipping took about 2 1/2 weeks and the shipping charge is about $13 from Russia to the United States.
DD Atelier Diva Dress and Floret Blouse, c/o DD Atelier

Busty Clothing Swap

I attended my first clothing swap on Saturday and I had an amazing time. I met fellow bloggers, nibbled on cupcakes, and took home a bundle of fantastic swapped items. Darlene, from Hourglassy and Campbell and Kate, was a superlative hostess. She warmly welcomed and introduced everyone, mingled regularly, and possesses the perfect inclusive spirit for parties. Moira, of Bra La Mode, attended as well and I could've easily listened to her talk about the intimates apparel industry for the rest of the day. Please don't kill me for this, but I had the chance to hang out with Sweets, the Sweet Nothings NYC blogger, and she's so...sweet. Haha, I know. But get this: she was up for anything, brought baked goods, and was complimentary of everyone who attended. I've got three new girl crushes.

During the swap, I was able to try out two full bust companies and honestly, I hadn't known too much about them before the event. Campbell and Kate provided the full range of sizes for us to try out in their Signature Shirt. Wowza, it made such a difference to wear a button up with some busty room! When I pulled on the sample in my size, I instantly felt chic and pulled together. I've been wearing button-up blouses in a size larger than I need for my waist, which makes a supposedly clean or streamlined item look messy regardless. When the blouse pictured below, it was shocking to feel fabric around my torso. I'd seen this type of shirt fit like this on other women, just never on me.

 Bijte, a lingerie company for full bust women, was also a swap sponsor. Diana, the founder of Bijte, attended the event and brought samples for us to peek at. I'm not going to lie, I geeked out pretty hard over the feminine colors, lace, and seductive ties. While another lucky lady took home the raffle prize Diana donated, I did get the chance to try on the Lace and Silk Front-Tie Drawstring Bustier Cami. Good gracious, this piece puts me in lingerie heaven:
 I'm overjoyed Diana was there to educate us about her designs too. If I had seen her pieces in a lingerie boutique on my own, I wouldn't even consider them. Not that they aren't breathtakingly gorgeous (trust me, they are). However, when I see delicate and sensual lingerie, part of my mind just zooms right past. Even as a lingerie blogger, I'm still not used to considering sexy pieces in my size range. It was a revelation to attend the swap and handle these products; seeing them in person woke me up to the fact that there's more available in my size than I assume.

I've only recently gotten into shopping for secondhand or thrift clothing, but it feels great to find something that's been passed on. It's like treasure hunting and that element of shifting, organizing, and analyzing calms my obsessive side. I'd love to hear the experiences of other swappers or how full bust ladies shop. My tactic? I eyeballed for size, grabbed colors or fabrics I liked, and looked for pieces that would be the easiest to fit into. From the Busty Clothing Swap, I took away several pull over sweaters from brands like J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, and Banana Republic. They're stretchy, warm for winter, and I desperately needed these basics in my rotation.

One of the best parts of the swap? Getting to meet other full bust bloggers. While I love blogging and would encourage anyone who's interested in starting one, I've found that blogging solo can make me a little nuts. Like any passionate artiste, I have to watch out that I don't get too competitive, insecure, or achievement obsessed. It's harder than it sounds! There are tons of wonderful full bust blogs out there and on my "low" days, I have to talk myself out of comparing mine to others. However, by meeting and mingling with some of my blog heroes, it became clear I belong to a community of smart, funny, and down to earth ladies and there's no need to get all squirrel-y up in my corner of rural Massachusetts.

SO...please give me your tips! How do you shop at thrift or secondhand stores if you're DD+? Any tactics? Also, if you're a blogger, have you gotten a chance to meet other bloggers?

5 Shopping Rules I Live By

After years of fashion disasters, I'm pretty content with my current personal style. I know what I like and I typically know what will flatter my figure. However, I wasn't born with any innate styling sense or ideas of what my "look" is. It's been an excruciatingly slow process to learn what slims me, trims my bust, or turns my ta-tas into man-nip. Conversely, it's been tricky to uncover what I gravitate towards. As a kid, my mom dressed me and when she stopped the L.L.Bean from head to toe, I tried to dress like my peers. After years of experimentation, I know what I like (florals!) and what doesn't quite feel like "me" (polo t-shirts). So, I suppose this post is intended for the old me, or anyone who might like style, be the proud owner of a killer set of boobs, and isn't sure how to work with 'em. Here are my top 5 shopping tenets:

1. You will always look best when clothes fit you (Bras especially!).
While this may seem like an obvious one, I've been on each end of the extreme and it isn't pretty. I went through the early 2000s at an age when Britney was cool so I've rocked my fair share of belly bearing tops. In retrospect, my mom was right and they were way too tight. In college, my main style goal was to wear something that would be comfortable for 24 straight hours of cramming at the library. I feel bad for my fellow students; my iffy hygiene and my dad's giant and hole-ridden t-shirt couldn't have left the best impression.

Now, I realize that wearing a garment too big or too small just isn't quite right. Like a bra in the next band up or the cup down, the fit simply isn't there. Whatever the size on the tag says, I reach for the next size smaller/larger when what I've brought into the dressing room doesn't sit right. In a weird way, it's a tough habit to get into. It makes shopping a little more time consuming and obnoxious, but it's worth it when you find a fit that suits you. Which brings me to rule #2...

2. If an item doesn't fit you, it's not your fault.
This one might just be insecure and eating disordered me, but for the longest time, when something didn't fit me, I internalized it in a heartbeat.  Two years ago, I went jean shopping with my boyfriend and I'll never forget it. We had just moved back to my hometown and I wasn't feeling that hot. I was depressed, I'd gained some weight, and I really missed going to school. We drove out to this "special" mall in upstate New York for the express purpose of finding a pair of jeans that fit me. I didn't have any since my size had changed. Well, I couldn't find anything that worked and somehow, in my mind, finding a pair of jeans had gotten wrapped up in all my other emotional stuff. So, I did what any logical person would do: I cried. At the mall. Like a champion, my boyfriend took me to the food court, fed and watered me, and gently reminded me that I had a lethal case of PMS.

You know that scene in Moonstruck when Cher yells "Snap out of it!" in her no-nonsense New York accent? Yeah, that's what I feel like doing to 2010 Cece and every woman who blames herself when something doesn't fit right. Of course, it's important to eat a balanced diet, exercise, and maintain an individually-determined healthy weight. I don't want to discount or ignore that, but I also believe that a healthy lifestyle is a separate issue from anything that goes on in dressing rooms at the mall. Somehow though, these two worlds have become mixed up in one another and in my own head, it's best to divide them again.

3. If you can't find a particular item, don't worry. It's out there.
Before being fit, I believed that my body was weird and there were no bras on the planet that would fit me. When I was walking and saw the Bravissimo sign in Edinburgh, a little voice in my head said, "Maybe they'd have something for you...". Well, it turns out they had a ton of selection for me. I'd spent years thinking that there wasn't anything that would do the trick and what I was looking for was out there the entire time. Today, this attitude can creep in when I'm not vigilant: "Oh, there aren't any pencil skirts in the whole wide world that fit me..." or "Button-up white shirts are so classic! I wish I could wear them...".

Nope, wrong. If you're looking for an item -- button-up white blouses, pencil skirts, plus size hosiery, size 12 shoes -- you might need to search longer than average, check out a small business, or save up for an investment piece, but these items do exist and they're available to purchase. It's just a matter of finding them and that's where over opinionated and easily excitable bloggers come in.

4. Put your money where your mouth is.
Shopping is like voting. There are millions of places to spend your money and when you do, you're sending a message that you support, encourage, and generally like that retail atmosphere, website design or product.  No joke, I could easily blow $1,000 at Forever 21. It's cute, trendy, and addictive as hell. However, by putting my hard earned money into that business, where does that leave me? With big chain quality and suspect design authenticity. On the flip side, if I bought $1,000 worth of merchandise from the Etsy shops I profiled on Friday, I would get fewer items overall, but they'd all be higher quality, last longer and created for my unique shape. Additionally, I'd be helping artisans and small business owners.

I realize that what I'm discussing is a luxury and I'm writing from a standpoint of privilege. I understand that not all the women of America have a choice to vote with their wallets or purchase bespoke pieces on a regular basis. With that stated, if you possess discretionary income, I'd suggest thinking about not just what you spend, but how you spend it. What do you want your money to say? For instance, maybe you want to buy 80% of your wardrobe at Forever 21 and 20% of it with smaller retailers. But just imagine, that seemingly small percentage could mean so much to an independent designer, small business owner, or niche shop.

5. Your body is beautiful. If something doesn't make you feel lovely, forget it.
It goes without saying and I can't even see you: Your body's beautiful. Everyone has one, they're all unique, and your corporeal self is a gorgeous hot mess of blood, guts, and flesh. If you put something on and it doesn't make you feel that way, forget it and find something that makes you want to strut your stuff. My kryptonite is any black and sheer bra. It's the most impractical color and the most seductive combination, but it's what I wear on my days off. You know, when I want to feel beautiful. For me. Oddly enough, my man friend prefers white. Go figure.

Alright, do you have any shopping rules? Do you already practice any ethical shopping disciplines? Alternatively, do you throw the rule book out the window when you're thinking about clothes?
If you're a small business owner, how do you feel when someone makes a special effort to buy from your company?

And, most importantly! What do you wear to feel beautiful??

Custom Curves: the Etsy Series

I created this blog because I wanted a place to share my shopping struggles, write up my style successes, and find out what other curvy girls were up to. I'll have a fan girl obsession with lingerie until the day I die, but I've always been fascinated by how hourglass or full bust women pull looks together. For years, it's been so tempting to wrap myself up in the same old Urban Outfitters t-shirts and a baggy pair of jeans from my senior year of high school. It's only recently that I've realized I don't have to settle for upsizing to accommodate my bust or see what I can squeeze into from bargain stores.

With that light bulb moment, I've fallen in love with the companies -- Urkye, DD Atelier, BiuBiu to name a few -- that specialize in beautiful styles for DD+ women. I've also discovered a second sphere I've been neglecting: Etsy. Of course, cute handmade pieces pop up on my Pinterest feed all the time, but I've shied away from checking the site out myself. I suppose I assumed the categories were too difficult to sort through or I felt left out of the loop. Like Ebay, Etsy seems like a huge Internet planet onto itself. I finally registered this month and ladies, I'm addicted. Through countless hours drooling over all the gorgeousness, I've found a number of shops that offer custom options or accommodate full bust customers.

So, here's the plan: For the next several months, or as my river of cash permits, I'll be writing a new series on the Etsy stores that offer custom sized or made-to-measure apparel. I'll be ordering one garment from each of the small businesses I introduce below. I've spent a great deal of time creating this list, contacting the stores, and finding items that matched my aesthetic, lifestyle, and retail "problem areas". While not every seller I messaged was keen to participate, the boutiques below were all exceedingly helpful, enthusiastic, and quick to respond. I hope you enjoy perusing these list as much as I enjoyed making it:

Michelle Tan
I can't decide what I want to order first from Michelle Tan: the high waist pencil skirt? The polka dot blouse? The Peter Pan collar dress? I could easily spend my entire paycheck at this store! Sometimes, with retro pieces or vintage items, I struggle to steer away from a costume-y direction. Michelle Tan's designs happily solve that styling conundrum with fun colors and streamlined cuts. Her collection feels fresh and modern alongside classic inspiration from the past. Michelle Tan also offers her custom fit designs for all body shapes, there's a $10 charge for plus sizes, and she's happy to discuss sleeve length changes. {The featured item above is the Vintage Inspired Peter Pan Collar Dress in Burnt Orange, $149.} 
Looking through the gorgeously draped items in Lirola, I intuitively knew that my mom and I could spend hours cooing over the same shirts, dresses, and skirts. We don't have the same taste at all (Don't get me started on her opinions of florals!), but in my experience, classic designs speak across generations and individual aesthetics. Liron's clothes are items I could easily wear everyday. With basic flats and a wrap cardigan, they'd be in my weekend rotation, but with heels and a blazer, I could re-purpose the same casual dress or top. This easy-to-style, own-forever collection speaks to my savvy side that firmly believes in investment pieces and calculating cost-per-wear. {Navy blue Peplum Top with Short Puff Sleeves, $65.} 
kay em kay
kayemkay's entire dress collection can be customized for fit and there are fantastic options for an everyday casual wardrobe. An added bonus? Store owner Kasey offers some of the most adorable fabric choices on her blog.  You might've seen her heart cut out bridesmaid dresses floating around on Pinterest too. Once you view her collection, it's easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with her feminine, sweet aesthetic. Her pieces are vintage inspired, but easy to personalize with cute accessories. For the Massachusetts cold, I've been eyeing the long sleeve dress and thinking about the Mustard Blossoms print. {Long sleeve dress vintage style, $93.}
 Lana Stepul Apparel
Lana Stepul Apparel has a tagline -- "clothing to fit your mood" -- and I absolutely believe them. There's something undeniably playful about their dresses, skirts, and leggings. For a print person like myself, it's a wonderland with unique paisley, abstract floral, and metallic brocade. Many of their dresses feature a low or open back design and while that may discourage full bust buyers, Kat told me that they work one-on-one with their customers to insure that their dresses are supportive and comfortable for every body type. They've added bra cups and extended the fabric, depending on customer preferences. They're also sensitive to how each individual approaches her shape. Whether you're celebrating your curves or streamlining your proportions, Lana Stepul Apparel is happy to accommodate your vision. {Metallic Brocade High Waist Pencil Skirt, $75.}
 Bow and Arrow Apparel
North Carolina-based Bow and Arrow Apparel creates bespoke denim for under $200. I'm not sure how it's possible, but I'm so glad I found this gem of a store. While I've had some success with PZI Jeans and Levi's, I've had an impossible time finding any high waist styles that fits my hip-to-waist ratio. Their Stealth Pant is a skinny, high waist cut with a cool tab detail and awesome pockets. To make it even more incredible, Bow and Arrow ships worldwide, sources their material from the United States, and was recently a featured shop on the Etsy blog. {Stealth Pant, $167.}

Ureshii is easily the most flexible retailer I've ever come across. In addition to a custom fit, Ureshii offers personal color and fabric choices. They sew with silk, bamboo, and cozy merino. If you're expecting, their website has a very chic maternity section. Additionally, if you're not taken with a specific feature of the garment offered, they invite you to contact them and inquire with your preferences. They cautioned me that they're designs aren't bust minimizing, but rather work perfectly for a confident and curvy woman who knows what she's looking for. Amen to that. Side note: While they began on Etsy, they now run their own fantastic website and you can peruse their fan page for more individual product details. {Patricia Top, $80.}
Has anyone ordered a custom item before? I'm so curious...what was your experience like?
If you're an Etsy regular, have I left any seller off my list that I should include in the project?
Finally, any suggestions for which store you'd like to see a profile of first? Haha, I want to order everything at once! I can't decide who to begin the series with.

Let's get our swap on

Have you ever been to an organized clothing swap? My first time will be this Saturday and I'm so excited. Darlene, from Hourglassy, and ClosetDash, a swapping concept boutique, will be hosting a "Busty Clothing Swap" event in New York City. If you live, work, or nestle down in the surrounding area, please consider dropping by. I'd love to meet you! Here's how it'll work:
The venue is 30 East 20th St., Suite 402 with the swapping magic happening between 11am - 2pm. You can register here. For the low entrance fee of $10, you'll get
  • a new-to-you wardrobe
  • free raffle tickets to win cool prizes from full bust brands, like Freya and Urkye
  • goody bags sponsored by companies, including Town Shop and DD Atelier
  • free food, good conversation, and a chance to meet other lovely & stylish DD+ women. 
Wanna know more? Hourglassy has detailed information on the gift bags and raffles while Bra La Mode has a post on how the event came together. On the register page, there's also an explanation of the logistics in the swapping process. 
Hope to see you there!

Parfait Spring/Summer 2013 Preview

Last Wednesday, I attended a press event held by Rich PR, the firm that represents Parfait by Affinitas (among other amazing brands). I got a sneak peek at the Spring styles which will debut next year, as well as a few pieces that are available for the fall. However, before I get all opinionated, I wanted to thank the lovely ladies who held the event. Consider the facts: I couldn't manage to get the door open twice, was 15 minutes late, and a hot sweaty mess, but they were gracious and generous all the way.

Angelina (Autumn/Winter 2012)

I'm starting off this post with the dark horse of the entire line. PINK. With brown! It's a bold move, for any apparel market, but I'm coming down on the side of Parfait on this one. I think it works. While I wouldn't assume it's a colorway that would suit everyone (blondes?), I've always gravitated to these shades to complement my warm undertone skin and brunette features. As Danielle at the event reminded me, it's also one of the only designs that feature fun polka dots. The lace throughout is very delicate too, which makes the brown less overwhelming in person. However, if you prefer your lingerie a notch less bold, there's always the slightly more traditional black and silver combination:

Leslie (A/W 2012)

I go bananas for leopard, but in my old age, my animal print preferences have become quite picky (No snake or giraffe for this gal.). I like my cat prints as classic as possible, which is what appeals to me about the Leslie. It's straightforwardly and unabashedly retro with the red bows, a high waist brief option, and chunky black trim. Leslie takes me back to a time when women wore lipstick and hosiery every day and I like it. Happily, Leslie is an Autumn/Winter baby so you can get your Joan on right now.


Madeline is already available in the Dark Grape and Black colorways, but Parfait will be going deeper with this line in the Spring with a gorgeous Ivory/Nude. This collection has already been featured here on Miss Underpinnings so I'm delighted the brand is investing in it. The Spring colorway is a perfect "sexy everyday" style, with lots of sheer pieces (including a bikini, high waist brief, wire bra, and wire camisole) in a completely innocent shade.


Alright, the blogger honesty policy is officially in effect: Of all the Parfait designs, I was least excited about the Arabella. I'm on board for longlines anytime, but after the market shows, many bloggers seemed particularly enthusiastic about this group. My reaction was a little "Meh?". It looked cute, don't get me wrong, but it didn't have the same draw as some of the other new sets from Parfait. Then, I saw it in person and the Arabella charmed the pants off me (not literally!). For the ladies who love monochrome, there's the funky contrast and a pink/raspberry colorway for girly girls.

Seriously though, haven't you met someone and been like, "geez I'm not into them!" and then, after the first impressions wear off, you can't get enough of that person? Hopefully that's not just indecisive, over opinionated moi. Anyhoo, the Arabella's adorable. I was also shocked that I preferred the look of the Balconet Bra to the Wire Bralette. If you know my lingerie taste at all, that's not how I roll. But the cups on the padded bra contain tons of intricate detail that look like constellations:

Of the entire Spring line, the Cassandra stood out. While I love Parfait, I'm not drawn to sequins and gems so the more glamorous feeling of their line has never swayed me. However, the Cassandra feels like a whole new side of Parfait. It's a feminine, sophisticated, and classic collection with lovely touches that amp up its appeal. The folded-over bows, the tiniest little ruffle throughout the cups, and the thicker straps on the balconet are all understated features that come together to provide a mature, thoughtful design.


For bridal, my pick would be the new Florence collection. Like the name suggests, this line is sweetly old fashioned and modest. There's complex detail through the netting fabric and removable garters on the bodysuit and panty below. I predict the high waist brief's side ruching is ultra flattering too:


Has anyone watched Deadwood? I'm the biggest fan of that show and the Lola reminded me of that era. It has a very burlesque-inspired vibe which would fit right in with the ruffled petticoats, chockers and stockings that appeared on the show. Or, if you're into steam punk, it would be a fantastic visible-lingerie styling piece.


From the moment I saw photographs of the Danielle set this summer, I was smitten. What can I say? White lace, muted pink, and buttons are the quickest way to my heart.  If you're into feminine and antique elements, then the Danielle will capture your attention too. Online shoppers take note: the color is tricky to capture, but absolutely gorgeous. It comes off looking a little shinier than it actually is in Parfait's images. In person, it's a rich shade and the pleating through the apex of the cup is more prominent. I'm also ecstatic that the company included split straps on both the longline and the padded bra.

What are you most looking forward to from Parfait's new collection? Clearly, I'm really anticipating the Danielle and the Cassandra. Have you ever had a piece of lingerie "grow on you"? Are you looking forward to more longlines? Let's discuss in the comments...

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