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March 2012

Louisa Ellis Series: Professional Ensembles

About a year ago, I bought two dresses from an online retailer who happened to be having a mid-season sale. Those garments are the only ones I consider "professional" in my closet so I've worn them to every interview, meeting, and career event in the last 12 months. Believe me, when you roll up to every staff function in the same lilac and lavender dress, you will get funny looks. Thus, I was delighted to find professional attire that worked with my hourglass shape at Louisa Ellis. Here are three outfits I'd be happy to wear to work:

1. Little Black Dress


                                       Dress: Beyond Vintage, Necklece:??, Shoes: Earthies
This dress has singularly changed my opinion on shoulder pads. When I was slipping into it, I made some comment about the padding. However, once I saw my reflection in the mirror, the extra shoulder biznatch seemed to disappear and I was left with a professional, pulled-together silhouette. The faux-wrap top and the nipped waist are both ultra flattering, but I'm completely obsessed with the sleeves. I don't usually consider my arms to be a zone for "enhancing" but the way the sleeves hung was so, so sexy.



Lady magazines constantly tell you how essential a little black dress is, but I've never actually owned one. Now I see what all the fuss is about! The fabric is fancy enough for wearing in a business setting while the design is youthful for post-work summer evenings.  With my top "filled in" by the necklace, I felt that I was showing just the right amount of skin for work. Shoulder pads 4ever!

2. Ladylike Suit


                                                     Jacket & Skirt: Darling, Top: Saffron
Ever since I saw this photo from Lucky magazine, I've been on the hunt for a ladylike suit. Just like lingerie sets, there's something about two matching garments that feels old-fashioned, special and romantic. I'm also drawn to boxy, Chanel-like suit jackets. Unfortunately, that cut makes my bust look matronly and looses the narrowness of my waist. With this jacket, the v-neck suits my chest and the buttons start significantly lower, which means there's no unsightly straining or gaping. Along with the seams at the waist and the unique fanning details, this suit's adorable design is killer for my hourglass shape. Check out the outfits, sans jacket, below:



After several mishaps with peplum skirts, I wrote this style off as something meant for less curvy girls. When I stepped out of the dressing room, I think I may have squealed. Since the peplum is subtle and confined to the sides, the design showcases my curves rather than bluntly announcing them. With the solid darker top minimizing my top half, the skirt creates the most classic and feminine appearance.
3. Classic Monochrome

                                            
                                               Tank: A'nue Ligne, Skirt: Beyond Vintage

I'll admit it: I'm terrified of anything maxi-length. This was one of the last items I tried on for exactly that reason. Melissa explained that this skirt has flattered every woman who has tried it on (Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirt!) and I believe her since I was blown away by how it made me look. First of all, the draping is genius. I suspect that the placement of the folds -- directly below my hips -- minimized my lady lumps. For anyone in a creative or more causal business environment, I think this combination would be perfect. With such a monochrome ensemble, there are a ton of things to do with accessories too.

Louisa Ellis Series: Casual Picks

Increasingly, on my days off, I've been wearing a pair of jeggings and an old t-shirt I stole from my boyfriend (The tee features an artistic rendering of a gun with the word "Detroit" scrawled inside. Hmm.). When Melissa brought me these tops at Louisa Ellis, I was dumbstruck. Several questions floated through my head, including: Who am I? How did I lose weight in the last two minutes? Why have I been wearing that ratty gun t-shirt?! Here are four looks I'd gladly trade the t-shirt for:

1. Striped Top

                                      
                                       Top: Eva Franco, Jeans: Red Engine, Shoes: Earthies

When Melissa handed me this top she explained that many full busted women are hesitant to try high necklines, but that this top works well with a large chest. Instead of a traditional v-neck to "break up" the look of the top, the eye is caught by the details of my collarbone. Without being tight or restricting, it brings out my shape through the tie waist and almost off-the-shoulder effect.  The batwing sleeve detail and the striped fabric combine to minimize the GGs.



Looking through these photos again, I'm struck by how my "forgotten" features (arms, collarbone, neck) are highlighted by these tops. While the fabric was soft and the vibe definitely leaned towards the Francophile, my favorite element of this shirt was its' understated sex appeal.

2. Striped Blouse


                                                                Top: Beyond Vintage

This blouse was the first top I tried and I gasped when I saw it on. When I asked Melissa why it worked, she explained that the seams and stripe details in the middle are ultra-slimming. If you look closely, you'll see the stripes move in two different directions. The ones on the torso move toward the streamlining middle column and reinforce it, while the sleeve stripes mirror my arms. Just like the first top, the extra volume above aids in a successful "concealing" mission.



As a fan of "What Not To Wear", I've heard that dark boot cut or slightly flared jeans are flattering on hourglass figures. I did not realize that, combined with a great pump, they make you look as if you've lost 10 lbs. Dear Stacy and Clinton, you were right all along.

3. Faux Suede Jacket


                                          Jacket: Christopher Collins, Tank: A'nue Ligne

Like maxi-length bottoms, I'd given up on finding a cute leather jacket for mid-season temperatures. Leather, suede, and faux cuts end up making my torso look like a lumpy box. Happily, the jacket above was much more amenable with my curves. I thought the draping and off-center zip fell beautifully. Melissa showed me how the v-shaped sides slimmed me and the seams in the back mirrored my natural shape.


My vegetarian heart cried in delight when I heard the fabric was faux suede! It's so soft I could've sworn it was real. I could see myself wearing this jacket as the weather shifts.

4. Ruched Dress


                                                     Dress: Bailey 44, Shoes: my own
My shabby pictures of this dress do not do it justice! It's almost impossible to see, but there's a gathered knot near my waist which clenches everything in. Again, the draping is divine.  In my dress series, I wrote that I love sheath styles for curvy girls and this dress brings the va-va-voom effect, without being too revealing. My favorite? The ruching on the back (just like the Freya Beau bikini!):



Although this isn't everyone's idea of a casual dress, I thought it'd be great for my boyfriend's gigs or grabbing drinks with friends. I'd like to look more pulled together on my down time (and less like I support violence in Michigan!).

Louisa Ellis Series: Vacation Style

Every year, my family goes on vacation to Cape Cod in the early summer. We walk on the beach, go on a whale watch, stroll through the small towns that pepper the outer Cape, and eat a ridiculous amount of fresh seafood. I end up packing the same clothes each time: denim cut-offs and v-neck t-shirts. Although there's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing those on vacation, ideally I'd like to see our family photographs one year and not look like an extra from Dazed and Confused. At Louisa Ellis, I found several outfits that would be more stylish for summer trips. Check 'em out:

1. Promenading


                                                                    Dress: Bailey 44
Confession: I've always been a little scared of maxi dresses. When I see other ladies rocking them, I thought they looked comfortable and chic. When I would try them on in stores, I ended up looking like a scary hippie or a potato sack. They never looked age appropriate either. I'd finally given up on finding anything that would work. This dress earns magical points for being both hip, mature, and flattering.



Melissa, the owner of Louisa Ellis, explained that the placement and width of the stripes are the key to my success with this dress. The thickest black section, at the waist, highlights my smaller measurement. The thinner stripes sneak along my hips while the wider ones create a column. Instead of dramatically swooping in after my knee, the whole appearance is balanced. I can see myself doing a little vacation strolling/window-shopping/lazy ice cream eating in this colorful number.

2. After-the-Beach


                                  Dress: Plenty by Tracy Reese, Shoes: (my own) J.Crew Outlet
After I saw myself in this dress, it instantly reminded me of the ongoing Miss Underpinnings dialogue about "empire waists" and whether they're flattering on full busts or not. I asked Melissa what she thought and the clarification was helpful. She said a true "empire waist" cuts directly below the bust line and that she'd consider the waist on this dress to be a "higher waist", not necessarily an empire. She also said that it can be a flattering feature since it's so close to a woman's smallest measurement, but that if the cut doesn't allow for enough room, it simply ends up sitting on the bust.

                                      
                                                                          Saucy!

Waist matters aside, the material of this dress is ridiculously comfy and the flirty open-back detail is unbeatable. It'd be a great dress for right after the beach when I'm all sunburnt and sand-y.

3. Dinner with Family


                             Hat: San Diego Hat Co., Trousers: Fabrizio Gianni, Watch: La Mer

Just like the annual whale watch, a big restaurant dinner is one of my family's vacation rituals. There's no strict dress code exactly, but I've noticed it feels more comfortable to match a beautiful surrounding with a classier ensemble. This outfit fits the bill without question! I adore the cobalt blue with the white and the blouse reveals the perfect amount of skin:



Astrid, a fellow blogger, recently commented that her go-to minimizing look was a pair of white pants or a skirt with a black top. Once she suggested it, I feel in love with the combination. I've never owned a pair of white trousers and that needs to change. I couldn't get over how classic and chic this pair was.
4. Wedding Guest


                                                      Dress: Bailey 44, Shoes: Earthies

LACE!!! I'm going to try my hardest to control my enthusiasm about this dress. Of all the items I tried on at Louisa Ellis, this one was probably my favorite. Even writing that makes me feel torn; it'd be like picking a favorite child. I'm considering buying this dress for a wedding I'm attending this summer (It's not technically a vacation, but it'll be the first time I see Chicago up close!). This dress feels like something I could wear forever.



This number did me in for several reasons. It's a little difficult to catch with my phone's camera, but the lace itself was gorgeous to behold. Secondly, I firmly believe this color flatters brunettes and olive/yellow-toned ladies like myself. Finally, the cut is ridiculous. The sleeves are ever-so-slightly bell shaped, the v-neck is great for my G-cups, and the midriff is nipped. The best part? There are godets, or extra panels subtly added to the bottom half, that accommodate my hips and cause a delicate flare after the waist. I had to look that term up, but now that I know what they are, I'll be on the hunt for them everywhere I shop.

Educated Shopper: Louisa Ellis Series

I live in an area that is home to several amazing independent boutiques. While working at the bra store, I noticed that many of our customers were raving about one in particular, Louisa Ellis.  My clients said the ladies at Louisa Ellis had helped them with styling problems and encouraged them to push their fashion boundaries. Since I've felt a little uninspired and bored with my own closet lately, I thought it'd be a perfect time to go in and freshen my perspective. It turns out that Louisa Ellis is full of wonderful options for curvy girls! I found a bunch of fantastic outfits for hourglass bodies of all ages.

This week, I'll be posting a three part series on the results. I'm psyched to talk specifically about what I found, but first some general thoughts:


  • In an effort to better dress my bust, I've forgotten about my other features. At Louisa Ellis, I found that several pieces highlighted my arms, collarbone, and neck. These areas aren't considered "sexy" traditionally, but they have an understated appeal all their own. I've been thinking of my curves as the focal point of so many outfits that those other features were left by the wayside.

  • I've closed myself off to certain trends without realizing it. When I tried on maxi-length or peplum items, part of me cringed inside because I was sure they'd look terrible. Well, they didn't. In retrospect, I think I've tried those designs before and when they didn't pan out in the dressing room, I wrote them off completely.

  • I tend to miss basic pieces that can be immensely flattering. When I shop I'm like a parrot. I like anything big, bright, and bold. I have a hard time focusing or buying basic items because I'm too distracted by a blow-away print or a risky cut.  Some of my favorite finds from Louisa Ellis were (gasp!) solid colors and I would have never chosen them on my own.

  • It's not about the label. When I first walked in, I was seeking out a brand that I suspected was flattering for full busts. After leaving the fitting room and speaking with the owner, I understood a great hourglass garment isn't obvious by the label alone. Fabric, draping methods, and cut are more important indicators of whether something will work for a given body type.

I've organized this series into three posts based on upcoming warmer weather occasions. If you currently live in the Berkshires or are ever traveling near these gently rolling hills, I'd definitely recommend Louisa Ellis. I was awed my the number of beautiful, unique garments I found.

Let the Bra Fitting Fun Begin!

I was walking home the other day and I realized: I'm a bra fitter...and I never write about bra fitting on Miss Underpinnings! Total hand-to-head slam. The more I thought about it, the more I realized why I've avoided the subject before. There are tons of resources online (that I've fallen in love with!) about bra fitting. There are inspiring consumer campaigns, fantastic conversion charts, and step-by-step instructions for full busted ladies without local fitters. I'd like to create a series on fitting, but I can't top those lady guides so I think I'll begin a little differently. To start off, here are five things that might surprise you about being a fitter:

1. My hands are always cold and it sucks. My hands get cold in the summer from air conditioning and freezing in the winter from, well, winter. I suspect I have some sort of health issue going on, but it means I apologize profusely for their temperature. A lot. If I ever adjust your straps or check your band, I'm sorry in advance.


2. A proper, friendly introduction is crucial. My first month or so, I wasn't a rock star at this yet. Now, I know that if I don't introduce myself, I won't know their first name and if I don't know their first name, I'll end up awkwardly waiting outside the fitting room door going, "Errrr, um, how's it going in there...m'am?". Never again!
Would you trust this crazy woman with your boobs?
3. I want to know your story. Or rather, your bra-story. Every woman has one and if you only ever tell one other person, it should be your bra fitter. Some women have never been fit properly. Some women don't wear underwire bras. Some women have had surgery or cancer or babies. Whatever your story is, it will always improve the fitting if I'm aware of it. And absolutely no judgement. Whatever has happened to your boobs, I can assure you that you are not the only one.

4. Being a bra fitter changes every notion you've ever had about beauty. Before I was a fitter, I thought the most gorgeous creatures in the world were slender brunettes with high cheeckbones (Think Kiera Knightley or Kate Middleton). Weird, I know, but I wanted to join their ranks and be one of them. Bra fitting has snapped me out of that! As a fitter, I see beautiful women all the time. But the most beautiful women I can think of don't have any one physical attribute in common. They're fat, thin, tall, short, small breasted, full busted, and plus size. Mostly, they're all confident. And that's like a glowing light that's impossible to look away from.


               My mom gave me this for Christmas. Not true technically, but it makes me giggle.

5.  Occasionally, you have to remember to laugh. This isn't an original motto, but one that my manager taught me: It's just a bra! It cracks me up every time she says it because it's so true. I think, like anything else in life, there's an unspoken pressure to take bras more seriously. If you happen to try on a bra and it's not quite right, it's okay to laugh.  After all, it's just a bra.

Full Bust Bra Review: Bravissimo "Rococo Charm"

I'm fascinated by Bravissimo. If you're unfamiliar with the store, it's a retail chain that sells full busted and full figured lingerie in the U.K. Additionally, they manufacture their own line of bras and clothing items. I've only been to Bravissimo once (cue the violins), but it's where I was first fit into a proper size so I'm forever grateful. Plus, they were recently named one of the best stores in the U.K. What's not to love?

Last month, I ordered two bras from their line, the Moulin Rose and Rococo Charm, in size 28H. Since both styles were half-cups, I decided to up-size to an H. My full-on-top and close-set breasts aren't ideal for half-cup construction, but I refuse to give up on the style. The Moulin Rose ended up being a little large, but the Rococo Charm fit well.



Confession time: I had to look up the word "rococo"! I've heard this term before in pop culture and history lectures, but I wasn't 100% sure that I understood the word. According to Wikipedia, rococo refers to a design movement that occurred in the late 18th century and is characterized by asymmetrical designs, pastel colors, and playful tones. This definition definitely helped to clarify the design inspiration for the swirly pillars at the top of the cups!

In terms of the fit, the cups sat flush against my breasts and the band was firm around my body. The pictures reveal how the Rococo Charm gave me an anchored, compact shape. This bra, like the Curvy Kate Tease Me, will give the best cleavage under square-cut necklines and cocktail party dresses. Considering my shape, I was delighted with the result.



However, my body isn't ideal for this cut and I think that's clear from the image above. The wider, longer wires and large side support panel are the key ingredients in the "anchoring" achievement. However, my breasts are both too narrow and shallow for the bra's essential structure. I needed the up-size to capture the fullness I carry at the top, but I don't completely fill out the bottom or the sides (Notice the gaping/wrinkling.).  Since I knew I was 'forcing' the fit a little, I decided to keep the bra. Half cups make me feel too "Gilded-Age-glamorous" for me to let go of this treasure.

Side notes:

  • Among 28 bands, the Bravissimo bras were both on the firm side. If you're searching for bands that run small or are an in-between band sizes, it's something to take note of.

  • The matching briefs sold out fast. I've noticed, in the reviews on the Bravissimo site, that their matching options are quite popular and tend to sell out quickly. I plan to wear my Rococo Charm with these Eberjey Delirious French briefs since both items feature fancy, subtle polka dots.

  • If you have wider breasts or simply prefer larger side support panels, Bravissimo's half-cups would be worth a try. If this element is reinforced too strongly or is larger than usual, the bra isn't an ideal fit for me. However, I do know that there are many ladies who do benefit from that extra coverage.

DD+ Outfit: Magic Tricks

I'm sure every DD+ lady has one of these up her sleeve: a go-to, fail-safe wardrobe trick to minimize a full bust or make that feature "disappear" completely. Mine's simple; I just add a loose-fitting tunic or longer blouse to any basic outfit. The outfit below is my winter version. I've added a long tank/tunic top to a black pair of ponte pants and a black turtleneck. I'll admit, I may have stolen this trick from pregnant ladies. But this outfit is modest, comfy, and c'mon, don't I look like I'm a C-cup?! Magic...



Also, turtlenecks! I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love 'em! I know they're supposed to be terrible for full busts and I realize in some cases, they really are. But I don't know how anyone could live north of the Mason-Dixon line and not wear a turtleneck during the winter. It's like living in New England and not owning at least one item from L.L.Bean. Unfathomable.



Do you ever have days when you wake up and feel too tired/cold/hungover/studious to deal with your chest on display? Do you know of/have seen any good tricks for making the girls disappear?

DD+ Outfit: Joan Harris Inspired

My obsession with Joan Harris, from Mad Men, is well-documented on this blog. I think my love for her stems from the fact that she was the first character, on any major television show or movie, that I felt looked like me. Of course, Christina Hendricks is gorgeous. I'm not saying we look alike (I wish!), but that it was the first time I had seen an actress who had proportions that were remotely similar to mine. It blew my mind. I felt...relieved? Confident? I suppose that when I realized her shape was considered beautiful it made me think of my own body more positively.

With Joan in mind, I whipped up this outfit. My dress is curve-hugging and sexy, but makes me feel pulled-together and classy. If you're familiar with the blog, you might recognize the dress from my Dress Series post. I've actually worn this exact outfit before, to work and then to my boyfriend's gig at a pub. I thought it transitioned nicely from "professional fitter" to "hopeless groupie".



I also wanted to highlight this combination before the weather got any warmer. It's not necessarily a spring-like group of colors, but I love the marigold yellow, brown, and rusty gold shades together.



Do you have any curvy/busty idols? If so, who? Do you remember the first time you saw them? Please tell me in the comments. I'm always on the look out for inspiring body-role-models!

Full Bust Bra Review: Masquerade "Persia"

WHO designed this bra?! Because I want to hunt them down and buy them a drink! Loads of free drinks, on me. Even if all they drink are fancy cocktails that I can't really afford. I am blown away by the aesthetics of this bra and I believe it's an incredibly daring style to create for the full busted market. I'm impressed with the entire Spring/Summer 2012 Masquerade line, but the Persia has stuck with me since I first saw their promotional photos.



The Persia features a maroon, swirl pattern on top of a medium-toned beige fabric. The beige bottom layer is meant to mimic a paler person's skin color and when the underlay matches up, the wine colored details look painted on. Unfortunately, this skin-to-fabric match-up won't work for everybody. My (genetically lucky) sister has an alabaster, pink undertone skin and I don't think this bra would blend as well on her. Happily, the Persia is absolute magic for my easily tan-able, yellow undertone skin.



The Persia is breathtakingly unique. As obsessed as I am with lingerie, I can't think of another bra, in this size range, that resembles it. With the center gore tassel, the uneven embroidery characteristics and suggestive name, this set is definitely evocative of Moorish architecture. I'd look right at home here or here. Additionally, the 'disappearing quality' of the cup design gives it an uncanny sex appeal. I gotta say, I feel gorgeous in the Persia!

Side notes:

  • The Persia's band is firm. If you're between band sizes, it's something to consider while ordering. It's a relief for me since I've been on the look-out for snug bands. I'm wearing a 28GG above.

  • The straps aren't fully adjustable. I know that some women won't appreciate this, but I loved that the swirl feature continued on the front of the straps (which is what seemed to prevent the straps from fully adjustable status). It felt more luxurious to see the design continue up the sides.

  • The embroidery is a little thicker than I expected. Like my sheer bras, I could feel the pattern on my chest as I wore the Persia. It's not a style to invest in if you're looking for smooth texture or a contoured look in t-shirts.

Dear Full Bust Brand, Please Don't Sexualize Me

The Curve New York show was tremendously fun. I feel Taylor-Swift levels of gratitude that I was an attendee and I hope to be part of more industry events in the future. I'm obsessed with the new styles I saw and I will always be enthusiastic, supportive, and curious when I hear of companies or individuals creating products in a full bust size range. I wanted to reiterate this again because what I'm about to communicate is a little difficult.

I saw a line at Curve that I've worn before and that I'm a huge fan of. I've read positive reviews from other bloggers about their bras and I was contemplating ordering another one of their sets with my next paycheck. I'm a big supporter of their company and was eager to see more of their bras in person. They didn't disappoint. I saw a model wearing a new style and the colors, the cut, and the material were all adorable.

However, when I opened their catalog, I was horrified. Their marketing material included photo after photo of "sexy situations" where a model posed seductively in their product. There were no playful tones, confident stands, or encouraging, happy smiles. Instead, I saw pages full of risque looks, suggestive imagery, and overt body language. Nothing turns me off faster than opening a catalog for a D-G line and seeing a bunch of softcore porn snapshots. I have a complex relationship with my body and buy lingerie for myriad reasons, but the primary one isn't to look like a prostitute.

When a bra manufacturer creates a promotional campaign with images that are overtly and exclusively sexual, they're playing into a cultural fantasy of what large breasted women are like. Instead of reflecting the complex reality of living with a full bust, they reinforce the stereotype that every D+ woman is a slutty sex goddess. This might seem obvious, but I live with my breasts day in and day out. They're not a cute accessory. They're not something I only have on "date nights". They're sexy, but they can be decidedly unsexy too. Especially when this one physical characteristic is sexualized over and over...by strangers. By co-workers. By old guys at bars. And now, by a company I thought understood the needs of full busted gals.


                                               Full busted girl in sweats. The complexity!

I know I must sound like a Puritan. Believe me, I understand that some lingerie is meant to be sexy. I want to feel smokin' hot too! I also believe that every woman, no matter their size, should have the opportunity to feel sexually attractive in their lingerie. From an AA to a K cup, I would like every woman to strut their stuff. Additionally, I appreciate publicity photographs where there's an element of sex appeal. I love flipping through the pages of the Elomi and Masquerade catalogs for exactly that reason. The full busted or full figured women look glamorous, elegant, and sophisticated, as well as sexy. The 'characters' in those campaigns aren't one-dimensional sex objects; their sex appeal is one part of a greater 'story' about the lingerie and full busted bodies.


                                                 Joan Harris: Busty AND Competent

This one ad campaign hasn't changed my mind about their product or their brand more generally. I understand that WHAT they make and HOW they sell it are two different parts of their company. I still believe their designs are phenomenal and I'll be buying their bras in the future. I'm just a little disappointed this time around. I suppose I feel the same way I do when I'm at a bar and a strange, leering guy offers to buy me a drink. Thanks, but no thanks.

Miss Underpinnings Goes to Curve NY

Last Tuesday, I went to the semi-annual lingerie trade show in New York, Curve. Before I went, I was so excited! If you didn't know any of the particulars, you'd think I was eight years old and going to Disneyworld. I planned my outfit ahead of time and made a checklist of brands and styles I was hoping to see.


This is a picture of me when I'm 8 and at Disneyworld. I think I may have been MORE excited for Curve.

The journey, to get to Curve, was pretty arduous. I woke up at five in the morning, rode forty minutes to catch the train, and then had a two hour train ride to the city. When we were on the train, I had a startling realization that I had 1.) pretty severe cramps and 2.) there was no way I was going to get any make-up on my sensitive, bloodshot eyes. That's also the exact moment I gave up on looking halfway presentable and taking any pictures.

When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was the relatively small dimensions of the show. Somehow, I'd imagined Curve to be larger or contain more booths. There were large booths, but it was a surprise to see all of the major brands in such an intimate setting. I suppose it does make some sense since the products are small as well. Bras, panties, vibrators, hosiery and nipple covers don't take up that much physical space.


                   The sweet ladies at the Little Bra Company gave us faux pearl badge holders.

Walking through the show, it became clear how focused this show really is. The booths were full of representatives showing their lines to prospective buyers. In some of the larger booths, there would be three or four meetings being held at once while live models posed and bystanders walked through to take a quick peek. It looked a little stress-inducing for some of the poor reps. When we could find a booth in a quiet moment, it was absolutely lovely to look through their new collection. That's why I look so super, duper happy below:



I attended the show with my fabulous manager, Barbara, and her daughter, Jamie. After several meetings, we all noticed this funny pattern. We'd see an entire collection and then make copious notes on which styles, colors, or collections caught our eye. Each time, each person's "favorite" would be the exact same type of bra. Barbara likes seamless basic t-shirt styles. Jamie liked push-up plunges. I wanted anything that went to a G-cup. Without thinking, we'd all picked the styles we thought looked best on us or we personally gravitated to. Although I thought it looked hard to be a brand representative, it was difficult to choose the best bras in a sea of fantastic design concepts, innovative lingerie ideas, and exciting fabric options. Lingerie buyers don't have it easy either!

In terms of trends, I really couldn't help myself. I'm such a slave to them. Here are a few patterns I saw across multiple full bust brands:

  • Birds: Who knew?! It made me think of this clip, which kept cracking me up.  The bird prints were actually really sweet and lovely, but I guess people in Portland won't be surprised to see a bra like this.

  • Leopard print. Cheryl at Invest in Your Chest has posted photographs of the leopard print bras that will be available in the next season. The Parfait by Affinitas print was exceptionally bold and old-school.

  • Retro shapes. I firmly believe high-waisted briefs make me look like a rock star. I'm a little biased; I was a history major so I like anything that makes me feel like I've gone back in time. Longlines and high-waisted panties were everywhere, but I'm really looking forward to two Freya groups, 'Gem' and 'Piper'.

  • Moody Blue Palatte: For Autumn 2012, there are a ton of teals, opals, sapphires, greys, and rich navys. Usually I'm not into blue, but this bra blew my mind in person. If you prefer more feminine blues, the Cameo Blue colorway in the new Claudette En Dentelle will delight you.

  • Extended Deco Size Range. I know this isn't technically a trend, but I just wanted to say: Hallelujah!!

Sadly, many of these styles or trends won't be available until autumn. Fall seems far, far away right now. Until then, there are still new, ground-breaking releases in the full busted lingerie world: the Star-in-a-Bra competition arrives in the States in April, the 28GG Freya Deco lands in June, and Evollove by the Bendon Group emerges in August!

Designed by Joy Laforme.
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