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November 2012

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

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