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September 2012

Autumn Wishlist

1) Jack by BB Dakota Morris Sweater: This fall, I've been attracted to thick knit, shawl collar cardigans. They're cozy, on cooler days they can be worn as a jacket, and they seem to pull an entire "look" together without much effort. I'm a big fan of BB Dakota and this type of sweater for full bust gals.

2) BiuBiu Amsterdam Purple: I haven't gotten a chance to try BiuBiu out for myself yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about this Polish company that specializes in tops and dresses for hourglass figures. Lately, I've been buying slouchy off-the-shoulder knits, but I could definitely use something in my closet that was snug around my waist. I have a sneaking suspicion that this plum color would be flattering too.

3) eShakti Peplum Ponte Knit Top: Meet your new online obsession. eShakti will customize any garment on their website to your exact measurements, they'll alter design details on your request, and they accept returns. Mind. Blown. I recently received a dress from them and it was gorgeous (review coming soon!). Since I've been struggling to find a peplum top that doesn't squeeze me strangely, I thought this adorable teal one would be a great option for the colder temperatures.

4) DD Atelier Wool Coat: I think this is something fashion magazines call an "investment piece". While $316 is a little outside of my price range, when you break it down to cost-per-wear, this coat is a bargain. I can easily see myself wearing this now and in twenty five years. With a timeless, elegant design and a more specialized fit, I doubt there will be another coat this season that tempts me as much as this one.

5) J. Crew Pixie Pant: Recommended by several popular Youtube bloggers, the Pixie pant has been on the top of my wishlist for a while now. I almost bought a seriously marked down pair at an outlet in July, but now I'm glad I waited. J.Crew launched this style in a navy and grey, as well as the classic black. I can't wait to get my grubby mitts on a pair of these classic (hip-and-butt flattering!) pants.

6) Nordstorm Cashmere & Silk Scarf: This is a creed I live by: the bigger my scarf is, the smaller my boobs look. People, it's a fact. I like my scarfs soft, with a little pattern, a lot of volume, and in a nice shade against my pale yellow skin. This fine blend checks off all my requirements for under $100.

7) Modcloth Verdant It Be Lovely? Earrings: As I've said before, I'm a big-earrings-kinda gal. However, I prefer my dramatic dangles to be romantic and refined. I also believe that long earrings elongate my circular facial structure, but let's not get too nitty gritty. These are just so. damn. pretty.

8) Pepperberry Abstract Jersey Print Dress:While this dress is much longer than I usually like, I've seen photos of it on busty non-models and I've fallen in love with it's flattering cut. On closer inspection, this dress contains a lot of details I adore: a tie at the neck, ruching on the sleeves, and a subtle, feminine print. Wallet, where did you get to?

9) Doc Martens Floral 1460 Boots: Technically, I was born in the eighties, but my heart will always belong to the 90s. So, when I saw these on Urban Outfitters, I started hyperventilating with the anticipation of ownership. They brought me back! I totally had a pair of these and wore them with leggings every day of elementary school. Really, my style hasn't changed much since then...

10) PZI Jeans Fuze Classic Skinny Jeans: I realize this may be crazy, but skinny jeans are totally warmer in the winter! You can tuck them into big, wooly socks and thick boots. With straight or flare ends, I always struggle with how to care for them when there's a foot of snow outside. To ready myself for chilly autumnal walks into town, I'm lusting after these curvy-friendly skinnies.

11) Bait Footwear Hilda: Bait Footwear is a brand I just discovered (on Instagram no less!) and I'm COMPLETELY OBSESSED. I could easily buy every style they stock and I'm obnoxiously picky about my footwear. Ask my poor mother who's bought a billion different pairs for me in the last decade. I'm annoying about shoes. However, Bait is number one in my heart. Their styles are retro-inspired, feminine, and come in a ton of unexpected, fun colors. The Hilda stands out as a shoe design I've never quite seen before. Light mauve booties? Somehow it doesn't sound like it should work, but boy, it does for me.

Hips & Curves: PZI Jeans

With a full bum, wide hips and a small waist, I have an impossible time finding jeans that fit. While my friends have known about the latest designers and denim 'bars', I feel restricted to whatever I can find at the mall with the most stretch content. Recently, I'm more of a dresses-and-heels girl and the popularity of jeggings has been a godsend for my off-work days. However, jeggings aren't appropriate in every casual situation so I've started to look around for denim companies that might fit both my hips and waist simultaneously. Lo and behold, I stumbled across PZI Jeans!

When I first put my pair of PZI jeans on, I experienced this total light bulb moment. Like, "Oh, these are how jeans fit everyone else!". I've become so accustomed to sacrificing in terms of fit, I'd forgotten what it felt like for jeans to work everywhere at once. I've been wearing these giant belts because all of my jeans are much too large for me in the waist. It looks a little funky to have a big buckle sticking out, but if I went without, my jeans sagged through my midsection awkwardly. With my PZI pair, the jeans fit everywhere perfectly and there was zero gaping. I also did the "mirror test" and squatted down, to test the whole "plumber's crack" situation. This will be my first pair of jeans where I don't have to adjust my top, or put my hand on my back, to cover any indecent exposure!

Beyond the EPICALLY AMAZING fit of PZI Jeans, the denim feels high quality and thick. My boyfriend, the jean specialist of the couple, told me he was impressed with the contrast gold stitching and the logo continuation between the left and right back pockets. After doing a bit of online research, I discovered that curvy or hourglass ladies look great in jeans that feature a "low yoke" or seam structure that sits lower through the bum. When I first put my pair on, I wondered what sort of butt magic was going on. The low yoke must be the key! On the shade, I was really impressed. I hate heavy distressing, light washes, and any murky colors. The shade I received, the dark wash, was gorgeous however and will match up well with many of the colors I wear in the autumn.

If your denim quests have been going as poorly as mine, I'd definitely recommend looking into PZI Jeans. They might be marginally pricier than what you'd find at your local mall, but the superior fit is worth every penny. While this pair was gifted to me by PZI Jeans, they're currently having a Fall sale on this same style (Only $55.20!). I've fallen in love so I'm planning on ordering these wide leg red ones and a skinny pair in the near future.
Top: Target | Jeans: courtesy of PZI Jeans| Earrings: old/gift| Clogs: American Eagle (last year)

Friday Favorites

I have a wild story for you guys today! Last night, I was working at Bra & Girl in Pittsfield for a downtown event called "Third Thursdays". If you live anywhere near Western Massachusetts, I'd recommend checking it out. There's fantastic food (I'm all about fried dough!), live entertainment, and sidewalk sales. Everyone comes out for it and it's one of those times I'm proud to live where I do. Anyhoo...this girl walks in last night and I thought, "Wow, she looks so familiar!". We got to talking about Freya and full bust options. It turns out, she's Tiffany Shmidt, one of the top 10 finalists from Curvy Kate's Star in a Bra competition! To say I was starstruck is a total understatement. I spazzed out, but you would too. Tiffany's gorgeous, clearly, but she's also incredibly sweet and gracious. Here's my favorite-moment-of-the-week:

Here's what I've been digging this week:

Miss Underpinnings was featured in the weekly round up of good reads on the Full Figured Chest. Thanks, Holly!

I'm planning on attending Hourglassy's Busty Clothing Swap in New York City on October 20th. Will I see you there? :)

Shopping is super tempting recently: new wrap top on BiuBiu, great dress on Urkye, and buy one, buy one half off on my favorite off-the-rack blouse option from Express.

Last month, XO Jane ran a great article on cleansing/exfoliating your boob skin. Gotta say, I need a change-up in that routine.

I discovered the etsy shop, Ohhh Lulu, through this post on the Full Figured Chest. I'M IN LOVE.

If you're as obsessed with new collections as I am, you'll love Stanikomania's flickr and the Sophisticated Pair's previews.

Jezebel had an article this week on women who "test drive" implants and then decide to go a full cup size larger. Hmmm.

Slate featured a post about the difficulty of finding clothes and lingerie to fit a full bust. Written by a 28G, the article contains a lot of interesting stuff, including why Herroom is choosing to cut their 28" band selection and the differences between the British and American retail experience.

Have a wonderful fall weekend, ladies! Xoxo.

Full Bust Video Review: Freya Piper Longline

The Freya Piper Longline has been on the top of my wishlist since February, when I first laid eyes on it's modern coral, grey, and black color combinations at Curve. Unfortunately, the only other longline I've tried (the Freya Nieve) was both too big in the band and too small in the cups. I was wonderfully surprised at the superior fit of the Piper. Just like my video review of the Cleo Rihanna, I included a show/tell half and a sequel rocking the bra. Check it out:

This is a bit of a side note, but a few months ago, Freya Lingerie ran a blogger competition. To enter, contestants had to create a mood board for a style from their upcoming collections. I picked the Piper. I didn't win, but I thought I'd include my little collage for fun.

Top: Modcloth|Shoes: Topshop|Skirt: Urban Outfitters

DD+ Outfit: Maxi. Found.

You guys, I finally found it! $12. The clearance rack in the Juniors' section at TJ Maxx. I almost screamed in the dressing room when it fit over my boobs. Now, I'm the proud owner of my very first maxi dress:

Dreams do come true. More than my discovery, I love when I find something new and take it home, only to find out it happens to match a bunch of my favorite things (cue my marigold sweater). Isn't that one of the greatest shopping feelings? Also, I want to marry this weather. It's like Massachusetts has one foot in autumn and one foot in summer. Although I'll always be up for basking in the heat like a reptile, I think this is my favorite time of year. Everything feels new and there's tons of stuff in the upcoming months I'm excited about: apple cider, Halloween decorations, pumpkin pie, waking up in warm blankets on a chilly morning, boots. I'm getting psyched just thinking about it.

Ladies, do you like the autumn? Tell me in the comments what you're most excited about wearing this fall! I'm thinking of putting together a Pinterest board for the season. Also - do you still shop in the Junior's section? Is there a cut-off age for things like that? I felt a little embarrassed and most of the stuff I found there didn't agree with my, ahem, womanly dimensions. I also felt like ducking down when an actual "junior" walked by. Oh, the shame.

Dress: TJ Maxx| Sweater: J.Crew (old, my Mom's)|Watch: CVS|Sunglasses: Big Y|Flats: H&M

On Changing Your Body:

The other day, I saw the most stylish girl in the world. She was wearing a red cross body bag, a tweed brown coat with faux fur trim, and moccasin boots. But by far the coolest thing about her was her teeth. She had a huge gap between her two front teeth.  It must've been half an inch wide! I was instantly envious since, once upon a time, I had a gap too.

                                                    Age 12 or 13, with my natural gap.

In middle school, I broke the ends of my two front teeth off on a friend's bathroom sink. When they were repaired, it was suggested that gap be "sealed up" by the dentist.

                                                                    Today, no gap.

Now, gaps are all the rage. Lara Stone? Totally hot. Anna Pacquin? Beautiful. Without the trendiness of a gap-toothed looked, my close-toothed smile doesn't feel "me". My sister never had a tragic tooth-breaking accident and she has a space between her teeth. It looks so natural and my-sister-like, I'm sure if she ever got rid of it, she wouldn't look like her somehow.

This girl has great teeth and amazing hair. As her sister, I'm constantly jealous.

What does all this have to do with boobs? Well, in addition to once having a gaping smile, I once desperately wanted a breast reduction. As I've written here before, there was a time when I told anyone who would listen how badly I wanted to surgically change the volume of my breasts. Health care professionals would sympathize, but since my body wasn't done growing at 13, 16, or even 18, they told me to hold off.

Today, I'm glad I didn't have surgery on my breasts. I love my boobs. When I contemplate the procedure now, a breast reduction sounds painful, unnecessary, and foreign. It'd be like changing the shape of my hands or the length of my feet. My boobs are part of me now! I can't even imagine myself with smaller ones.

I also realize that breast reductions are the right choice for many, many women. Lately, I've found the options for significant body modifications overwhelming: implants, reductions, laser eye surgery, tattoos, colored contacts, hair dye, hair extensions, injections, etc. With all the appearance-altering options out there, it's hard to decide what's the best route for you. Unfortunately, it's easy to assume you know what's best for everyone else. We've all been there. You see a woman who has some sort of "change" - a tattoo, a face lift, implants - and you judge her, based on what you know about being yourself.

Except, we only know our own limited experience with our own bodies. I can't even remember what it felt like to be an A-cup. Nor do I have many wrinkles. My own breast-reduction feelings might change. I don't know how my breasts will be impacted by age, injury, illness, or pregnancy in the future. Conversely, what if something I want to change right now is something I'd regret down the road? I couldn't predict that I'd miss my teeth gap when the dentist changed my smile. I thought it'd be a relief!

However, when I stop to ponder it all, I realize that the changes or modifications aren't the main issue. The question is, who is making this choice? If I'm making the choice to change my body because I'm uncomfortable in my own skin, that's one thing. But if I'm changing my skin to make society more comfortable with my body, that's a whole other story. Society is uncomfortable with lots of appearances -- obvious zits, obesity, homelessness, advanced age, mental or physical handicap --

Transitional Dresses on a Budget

"Am I allergic to pants?"

I ask myself this question every morning. However, when I go shopping, I look for pants and I end up with dresses so I have to give myself an A+ for effort. Just like every other season, I'm craving "transitional" dresses for the ole summer-to-autumn cool down. I'm also broke. Here are my three bargain picks and thoughts on why they work:

Target Xhiliration Bodycon Striped Dress, $15

I bought this dress without trying it on which is something I never do (I'm responsible like that - har, har). However, it was on sale and it was Target, which generally tricks me into buying a bunch of crap I don't need. I'm ecstatic that I found this though! It was on sale and I loved it so much that I went back a week later to get another. It's cotton, which is awesome for the summer, but I'm committed to it working with black suspender tights as well. With red lips, a messy bun, and simple flats, I feel like a sexy French girl.

Why It Works: When I first wrote about dresses, I mentioned the body con style and there were a ton of reader suggestions that this dress type looks great on hourglass or full bust figures. Until I stumbled on the dress above, I hadn't found anything that truly clicked so I was skeptical. When I went back for my second stripey number, I tried this same dress on in the solid colors and it didn't look nearly as good. The stripes, I decided, help to conceal irregular lines (like the panty and bra variety). I also appreciate that the sleeves are shorter, as if to say, "Hey yo', look at my waist!".

Goodwill "Styleworks" Dress, $5.50

Typically, I have a general distaste for thrift store shopping. I know, I know. I swear, now you know the least hip thing about me! Like Billy Bob Thornton's aversion to antiques, I get a bit of the heeby jeebies from the idea that something's been previously owned. However, I'm trying to branch out recently and it looks super cool when other people do it so I made a special trip to the local Goodwill. I found this dress, which my friend said was "really 90s". Um, yes. Except the nineties are cool again! Hasn't anyone seen the Urban Outfitters catalog?! Question: If I paired it with these AMAZING floral Doc Martens would it be too much? Or, just right? Just to set the mood, I posed like an obnoxious hipster:

Why It Works: Controversial, but I'm gonna say it...puffy shoulders! Puffy shoulders make you forget I have boobs. However, taking into consideration the feedback I received on my dresses series, this magic concealment trick only works on the narrow shouldered ladies. But hey, this dress is totally made by the tie waist which is something anyone can pull off.

Jessica Simpson (via Marshall's), $25

My newest dress obsession is long sleeved, chiffon-y numbers that have some flattering waist details. I've been giving the hard look to this monochromatic, polka dot frock and this equally beguiling, vanilla confection. So, when I walked into Marshall's on a rainy day and saw the happy floral print below, I was a goner. I've also been searching everywhere for a high-low hem and haven't found anything that worked. I didn't even notice it right away because it's subtle, but it's definitely longer in the back.

Why It Works: Enough room in the bust. This is certainly a dress that, if measured differently on the top, would've never worked on me (Thanks, Jessie S.!). Also, like all the dresses in this post, it does a swell job of finding and flattering my waist. Since the difference between the hemlines isn't as dramatic as other dresses I've tried, it doesn't highlight or maximize my hips. Hooray.

Now, for the fun stuff! Have you been bargain shopping for fall essentials? Do you think my awkwardness in thrift stores is utterly lame? But most importantly, where do you hunt for the greatest cheap dresses?

Intimate Apparel, 101

The other day, my friend K (who is also an early and loyal reader!) asked me to explain the lingerie seasons to her. This was a total face palm moment for me, since working in the intimates apparel industry has made me totally space on the fundamentals. I've been going on and on about seasonal collections since I started writing and I had forgotten there was a time when I didn't know what they were either. So, here's the gist of it:

Lingerie Trade Shows

Twice a year, there's an American lingerie trade show held where boutique owners, department store buyers, and a handful of bloggers converge. The shows are held in New York and Las Vegas, in February and August. The American show is entitled Curve and there are similar shows in Europe, around the same time. For brands and companies, the markets can be a pretty stressful time as it's the occasion to debut their new collections, generate interest, and sell orders for the upcoming months. Additionally, if a particular colorway or new line doesn't create enough buzz and there aren't orders for it, the product won't be made. For buyers, it can easily be overwhelming as they're seeing tons of product in just a few days and must decide which items will be the greatest match for their business.
The schedule of this underpinnings extravaganza can be a little bit tricky. In February, the future Autumn/Winter collections are unveiled. In August, everyone gets a glimpse of the following year's Spring/Summer looks. This means that, if you attended, the colors would match the season that you're currently in, but you might not see those garments until the following year! However, the timing isn't always so extreme. During the most recent August show, lingerie lovers saw collections from say, Panache, that will debut from January and through to June. The idea of these "seasons" doesn't exactly match up with any actual weather patterns. I wouldn't call February "spring", but it is when spring lingerie will be sold.

Fashion Versus Continuity

To complicate matters, not all lines are created with the same expectations. Some styles are considered "fashion" and will be produced in limited quantities. Other colors are considered continuity that will be, as the name suggests, continuously produced. Traditionally, those are your run-of-the-mill beige, black, or white bras. Barring any back order issues, those color and style combinations are always readily available. As I mentioned above, some fashion orders are made according to the exact sales they generate. There will be a deadline for the company to receive fashion orders so that they may tell the manufacturers how much of an item will be cut, sewn, and shipped.  With fashion like this, once a product is sold out, it's gone for good (i.e., the Ewa Michalak PL Eden). However, some fashion can be available for two seasons or reordered within a specific time frame.

Additionally, lingerie companies react to customer demand. If a bra is released as fashion and proves wildly successful, it might become a continuity (i.e., the Curvy Kate Lottie). Or, if a line was released as a continuity and then fails to perform as predicted, it will be retired. If a basic bra becomes a bestseller, it'll soon have fashion sisters. Some bras are only made in one color per season, as fashion items (the Curvy Kate Tease Me). Looking at collections this way, it becomes easier to see where the company is placing its bets. The Gem, from Freya, will be appearing in the next month in a pretty China Blue, but in the subsequent year, will roll out in basic shades. Clearly, the brand believes in this bra. Even before their customers have tried it out, they've invested in several color options. The Curvy Kate Smoothie and Desire also seem to follow this pattern, with multiple colorways planned before the first bra hits stores.
Let's talk seasons

K also asked me if there were differences between the two seasons. The answer is a resounding and definitive yes. When you see the Autumn/Winter trends, there are usually a lot of jewel tones. You're more likely to see rich reds, majestic purples, and midnight blues. If you're into vampy black bras, it's definitely the season for you. In the patterned realm, the prints are also moodier. There are tartans, dramatic parrots, and leopard print. For example, here's the Emily bra from Curvy Kate in the current Autumn/Winter 2012 incarnation:

When the Western hemisphere moves into warmer weather, lingerie lightens up. It's the season where you're more likely to see brights, pastels, and creamy sorbet shades. Prints become more feminine and flirtatious too. Paisleys, watercolors and florals rule the sphere. Here's the Emily again, in the Spring/Summer 2012 fashion colorway:

Personally, I'm all about the Spring/Summer collections and I've been scooping up these girly colors left and right in end-of-season sales. However, I have to remind myself: all is not lost. There are bras on my wish list that are true Autumn/Winter babies that speak to my inner French seductress (that's my seasonal personality, yo). In a few more weeks, I'll be craving the Miss Mandalay Paris in Black or the Curvy Kate Entice in Black/Gold. I just need the temperature to drop a little, to get me in the mood...

Alright, let's hash it out. Do you have a preference for one collection over another? Are you fascinated by the intimates apparel industry like I am? Isn't the Emily gorgeous?

Designed by Joy Laforme.
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