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April 2012

Friday Favorites

What's everybody up to this weekend? My apartment will be quiet since Mr. Underpinnings will be on tour through Sunday. I'm planning on getting through a bunch of my spring cleaning projects, going to the gym for a swim, and cooking some delicious vegetarian grub. That sounds mighty ambitious though, so it might just end up being three days of romantic comedies and Indian take-out. Perhaps with a little French toast on Sunday...


Here are some things I've loved this week:

PZI Jeans are made for hourglass ladies. I'm dying to try a bright pair.

I haven't heard of her before, but Gabi Fresh looks so. damn. hot. in her bikini. SimplyBe? More like simply be smokin'.

While we're on the topic, has anyone tried the ASOS DD+ bikinis? I like the white and the leopard print.

I've eagerly awaited the Harem set from Masquerade and it's just debuted on Herroom.

U.K. readers: To celebrate their one millionth view, Brastop is looking for a new blogger! Every month, you would receive and review a lingerie set.  Sounds like a dream job to me!

As someone who has struggled with body confidence and now works with lingerie, this post on the Full Figured Chest hit close to home.

Love this print.

This is fun to pat on your d├ęcolletage for a night out.

Cat ladies worldwide, this corset is epic!

If your significant other was away, would you welcome him/her home with these? I think my man would just giggle.

If you haven't entered yet, the clock is ticking on Star in a Bra...
Have a happy weekend!

DD+ Outfit: A Page from the Boys

Today, I want to discuss menswear styles! Specifically, how do you balance your full bust/hourglass figure with trends that are traditionally worn by gentlemen? I wanted to get some tips or hints since this is an area of personal style which I avoid with a plague-like resistance. For a long time, I've followed the ladies at Who What Wear and they've been big proponents of a mixed feminine/tomboy approach which looks fresh and modern. While I love the combination, I've noticed that I've given up on adding more masculine pieces into my ensembles. Last week, with the sun out, I tried my hand at it. Glaringly girly results below:






Clearly, I can't manage even one tomboy piece (my shorts!) without adding high-heeled wedges, pink accessories, and ruffles! When I asked my close friend and all-things-fashionable consultant, she told me that her favorite version mixes wide leg trousers with a ladylike blouse. My younger sister is a big fan of boyfriend blazers from Urban Outfitters over breezy dresses. Do you add in menswear pieces or skip it altogether for the girly stuff?

The Fitter Gets Fit.



Earlier this week, I traveled to New Hampshire and while I was there, I went for a bra fitting at a specialty store. It was great! I worked with a wonderful fitter, got a new perspective on my current size, and tried on a wirefree bra for the first time ever. On the drive back home, I realized how much I'd forgotten a few essential "fitting truths". Although I tell women these principles every week, somehow I'd spaced that they apply to me too. Here are the three big ones:
You have more than one size.

This is the single most frustrating thing about bra shopping! Like many women, I've gotten "stuck" thinking of myself as a 28GG and only a 28GG. In reality, I saw bras last Tuesday that fit in a size 30FF, 28G, 30G, and 28GG. All brands run a little differently and most styles contain subtle size anomalies so it's reasonable that the number and letter combination might be different on each bra I liked. Additionally, some bras worked in two sizes in the same style! With the Panache Tango Plunge, I fit into a 28G and a 28GG, but I preferred the increased coverage that the double G provided.
Your body is beautiful.

During fittings, I like to promote body acceptance and empowerment. I've seen such different shapes that I want to encourage women to love their body and unique features. But oh, how the tables can turn! When I was being measured, I started to have a full-on insecurity meltdown about the acne on my back. Suddenly, it was all I could think about. It was so distracting, I had to say something. I ended up apologizing to my fitter, Elyssa! Embarrassing. The worst part? When I got home, I realized I was freaking out over three tiny pimples.
Bras can surprise you.

I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating. While I was in the dressing room, I said that I wasn't looking for anything "basic". I didn't want any contour or seamless t-shirt styles in nude, white, or black. Right now, I'm more interested in the visible bra trend and I've been experimenting with using my bra's details as an accessory in my outfits. I like bras with heavier seams, sheer construction, lace texture, or patterned fabric. However, when I tried on the Curvy Kate Daily Boost bra, I fell in love. I knew right away that the same bra I'd adamantly resisted would be the one I'd take home!

DD+ Outfit: Variations on a Theme

Can you tell I'm into white pants after my Louisa Ellis series? The ones in these pictures desperately need the expert hands of a tailor. I also vaguely remember a rule about wearing white after a specific holiday, but I couldn't help myself last week. With the weather dramatically dipping between chilly rain and sun, I've found these newly acquired trousers to be a great transitional item. I've always had a hard time dressing in the spring since most of my wardrobe consists of winter layers or summer pieces. Between my brown sweaters and dainty sandals, it's been tricky to pull together an outfit for work so I was delighted when this combination came together.



Side note: do I look a little ghoulish in these photos? I didn't quite realize how the contrast in the outfit and the background made me look supernatural. Speaking of ghastly images, did anyone watch Game of Thrones on Sunday? Melisandre gave birth to the slime from Fern Gully! That show is getting so intense, I don't know if I can keep watching!



Okay, back to the outfit post and seasonal dressing. How do you do it? Does anyone have pieces they only wear in the spring or is it just about layering? Do you have trouble with the constantly shifting temperatures in the "inbetween seasons"?

Friday Favorites

Hello ladies, how was your week? Mine was a little crazy, in the best way possible. My sister is graduating from the University of New Hampshire in a month so Mr. Underpinnings and I drove out to see her before the craziness of gowns, final papers, and ceremonies ensue. It was awesome to catch up with her, but by the end of our visit, everyone was feeling a little burnt out. Isn't it funny how traveling can make you long for home?



Since I work through the weekend at Bra & Girl, it's not technically the beginning of my weekend but I wanted to create a little round-up of what I've been obsessed with recently. Take a peek below:

Spring collections are here! Bravissimo released several styles this week that I can't wait to get my mitts on. I reviewed this bra here, but isn't this ivory/ice pink version sweetly seasonal?

Speaking of new styles, this set from Ewa Michalak has my name scrawled all over it.

Have you entered Curvy Kate's model search, Star in a Bra? Only 9 days left to enter.

If you're plus size and full busted, I think this top from Ruche Clothing would look super cute. Serious size envy.

Has anyone been watching Mad Men recently? Did you see the leopard print prostitute get-up?! Wow!

This French Connection dress looks perfectly transitional for Spring.

Two of my favorite full bust blogs are holding incredible giveaways right now. Hop over to Stackdd to win two pieces from Parfait by Affinitas and Undercover Lingerista for a whole cornucopia of prizes.

J'adore the casual wedding dress look.

Earlier this week, I went for a bra fitting at Zoe and Co. in Concord, New Hampshire! I had a lovely time and my fitter, Elyssa, couldn't have been better (plus she has the most glamorous red hair!).  Has anyone been?

I tried on several 30FF bras so this post on Bras I Hate is especially serendipitous.
Have a lovely weekend, everybody!

Small Bands Unite: the Bra Band Project

Last October, I wondered into a department store's intimates section. I knew that this retailer carried Panache and Freya and they'd be my best chance for tripping across a 30G.  Mr. Underpinnings and I had driven over an hour to get to this particular Connecticut mall and I'd been looking forward to trying on a bra in person. It's such a rarity, I was psyched. When a saleswoman asked me if she should help me, I replied eagerly and told her the size I was searching for. She reached out and lightly tugged my jacket open. Then she said something I'll never forget, "You don't look like a 30 band! You're probably a 32.".

My wounded ego aside, the scarcity and ignorance surrounding smaller band sizes in the United States is tragic. Recently, a group of full bust bloggers joined forces and created a project to shed light on the industry's persistent denial of sub-32 bands. Here's the mission, in their own words:

Recently at the Curve Expos in both, New York and Las Vegas, brands that cater to large-busted women suggested that 30 bands and under were either for juniors, or that there was no market for them.  However, that is simply not the case, there are many women out there who need 30 bands and under and we are not all juniors.  While we come in all different shapes and sizes, we all have a small back size in common.

To prove that we are not all juniors and that we exist as a market we have decided to create the Bra Band Project where we are looking for photos of women who wear 30 bands or under. We will make a flickr album and eventually a collage with our photos to show that we are not just juniors but women of all shapes and sizes that need small bands.  We’d love your help so please submit your own photo and band size using the form below or email it to brabandproject@gmail.com.  Note we need both your bra size and your photo. We cannot include a submission without both of those. If you are a blogger who would like to help out with this project email us at brabandproject@gmail.com.

I had a little bit of trouble with the form mentioned above, but if you'd like to submit this way, you can do so on these (truly awesome) blogs: StackDD, By Baby's Rules, and Boosaurus. Now, get like that bumper sticker and "be the change you wish to see in the world". If you have a small band, please consider submitting your photo and let's all show industry professionals that we're not bra size unicorns.

For the record, this is what a 28GG really looks like:

Curvy Kate's "Star In A Bra" Competition



Curvy Kate, a wonderful full bust company from the U.K., has begun their model search contest in the USA! Entitled "Star in a Bra", the unique competition is looking for a D+ American gal to model their gorgeous styles. I plan on entering and here's why you should too:

  • No experience necessary. You don't need to be a professional model or possess any stereotypical "model-y" features. The winners and runners-up from Britain and Australia are a beautifully diverse bunch. The annual U.K. version is already under way and looking through the top 10, you'll see there are plenty of contestants with tattoos, natural curves, kinky hair, etc. Which brings me to my next point...

  • The competition raises awareness of what full bust figures really look like. Unfortunately, I've found there can be widespread ignorance in the U.S. about how bra sizing works and the appearance of a D+ woman.  The competition will help change the general misconceptions about this size range and pave the way for a deeper acceptance of curvy bodies.

  • Entering is easy. You'll only need five photos: two head shots and three body shots in your favorite set or bikini. Then hop on over to the Curvy Kate USA Facebook page and explain why you'd make the greatest new Star in a Bra.

  • The winner receives awesome prizes, including a year long contract with Curvy Kate and a heavenly amount of lingerie gorgeousness.

If you'd like to check out a Curvy Kate style, I reviewed their Tease Me bra here. For more pretty sets, you can check out their styles on Bare Necessities too.

Alright, full bust sisters! The competition opened earlier this month and will close on April 27th. Let's show Curvy Kate how us Yankee girls get down!

Panache Autumn/Winter 2012 Press Event

Panache recently held their Autumn/Winter 2012 press event in New York City and Miss Underpinnings was an attendee! In the last few months, I've seen Panache bras featured in major women's magazines and I couldn't be more excited for their ongoing growth on this side of the Atlantic. I was fit into one of their moulded t-shirt styles, the Panache Porcelain, at a Bravissimo store several years ago and I've been a die-hard fan ever since.

If you're unfamiliar with the brand, Panache itself contains three distinct subsidiaries: the titular brand, Panache Superbra, as well as Cleo and Masquerade. Let's take a look at the collections:

PANACHE SUPERBRA

Panache Superbra is well-known for their tremendous fit. Their bras are the classics of full bust departments and specialty stores throughout the country. Like any classic -- from apple pie to Ford trucks -- Panache is reliable, well-constructed, and effortlessly popular.  Additionally, if you fall in love with any one of their core models, Panache works hard to offer their customers a new shape, colorway, or special edition.

Tango Luxe in Orchid



The Tango bra, one of Panache's best sellers, is celebrating it's 10 year anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, Panache unveiled two Luxe versions of the Tango for each 2012 season. The leaf pattern of the cups is brought out wonderfully alongside the satin finishes on the band and straps.  Like the Turquoise Luxe that preceded it, this shade is bold and flirtatious. I can't get over the rhinestone detail too.

Fern



When I first saw the catalog for the collection, this floral jumped off the page. In person, the Fern did not disappoint! I'm not usually into blue lingerie, but the Fern's oversize print, split strap, and lace details shouted my name. It's a sophisticated design, with a touch of offbeat elegance.

Jasmine



I'm going to sound like a broken record: I'm in love with this print! As I noted in my post on Curve, bird patterns are on-trend and the Jasmine was one of the strongest versions of the pattern. I loved how the parrots' colors reinforced the themes of the Panache collection as a whole. With electric blues and strong purple tones, Jasmine brings together the solid pieces. Alysia, the lovely lady who showed me the collection, informed me that this shape is a 4-part construction and the top panel will help to correct breast asymmetry.
Sienna in Lagoon



Ever since I saw this review on the full bust blog, Bras I Hate, I've been dying to try the Sienna range. As any DD+ bra shopper can attest, there can be a real dearth of sexy bras for larger cups. Fortunately, the Sienna fits the bill for a straightforwardly seductive set and the lagoon colorway is mysterious, bold, and exotic. The all-over black lace is boudoir-ready while the thin, longer ribbons add a suggestion of sweetness.

Andorra in Lagoon



The set above is a perfect example of Panache's passion for expanding their popular ranges. I own the full-cup, off-white version of the Andorra and I'm very happy with the fit, support, and appearance. Recently, Panache has expanded the Andorra range with a plunge version. The bra pictured above is the plunge in this season's new color.

Ariza in Black Multi



I'll admit that the Ariza is definitely one of Panache's styles that I've overlooked in the past. Browsing through online retailers and brand catalogs, it wasn't one of the styles that caught my eye. In person, this colorway struck me as an energizing combination. The black, matched with the hot pink, made this bra look surprisingly punk rock. Despite its girly embroidery, it's an edition that's both tough and confident.
Porcelain Viva in Ruby



As a fan-for-life of the Panache Porcelain, I'm hyped to try the Porcelain Viva. With delicate floral details and the subtlest pinstripes running through the moulded cups, what's not to love? As I've said before, this summer I'd like to try experimenting with pink bras under thin white t-shirts. What do you think? Would the Ruby look chic as a peek-a-boo style?

Melody in Ruby 



CLEO

Meg



Sparrows!!! 'Nuff said.
Marcie



Seeing all three brands in one day, it's striking how one component -- color, birds -- reappear among multiple collections. In Masquerade, I loved the strong red of the Rosetti and the Marcie is clearly the  "younger sister" version. From the curvy wave ruffles to the daintiest navy bows, this was over-the-top adorable. When Cleo debuts a strong, fun solid color with delicate details, I swoon. Check out this yellow that recently rolled in with the Spring/Summer collection!

Lucy in Navy & Pink



Lately, the tried-and-true Lucy shape has debuted in solid seasonal colors. Although the brights have been energizing (the bra I linked to above is a Lucy), I'm sure fans of this bra will be glad to see a unique swirl of colors brought to this model.

Darcy



Hazel



Hazel was the surprise of the day, for sure. It wasn't a set that grabbed my attention in the catalog nor at Curve, however the bra has such tremendous detail that the longer I looked at it, the more funkiness revealed itself. First, there's the grey and black irregular quality of the cups, straps, and band which are glamorous in their own right. Then, there's the stitching which features such a unique blend of colors that I wouldn't ever consider putting alongside one another. Finally, there's the polka dot finish that completes the mesh panel. The Hazel beat out several tremendous designs to become my Most Anticipated Set from an especially strong showing from Cleo.
Leila



For me, the Leila exemplifies Cleo's strength in this collection as a group. Practical smooth cup design? Check. Playful fabric with a funky pattern? Check. A youthful high-waisted brief? Check. And yes, those are big black bows stitched into the end of the cups.

Natasha



Alysia, who sweetly walked me through all three collections, told me that the Natasha has had an interesting abstract effect on people. Some people saw a straight-ahead camouflage fabric, while others have said it hit them like a murky floral. It's the Rorschach Test of bras! What do you see?

Zia



Karen



MASQUERADE

Persia in Sapphire



Ok, I’m a little biased on this one! I already own the Persia in the Spring/Summer "Damson" colorway and the painted-on quality of this design worked for me. If you’d like to check out my review, it’s here. I was delighted to see that this bra has returned in an on-trend "Sapphire". Is it gluttonous to own the same bra in two colors? Hmmm…

Amor



If you prefer the look of moulded cups, the Amor would be a fantastic option to try out the blue trends arriving in the Autumn. With contrast cobalt sheens, this plunge is sexy and smooth for you D-G cups out there.
Marlaine



The Marlaine displays exactly why I love Masquerade so much! Although this isn’t my favorite set from the new collection, it shows how the brand sets itself apart from other full bust companies. Masquerade understands how to pull off a bold, mature print in a sophisticated shape.  Their designs and patterns are unlike anything else on the market in this size range. Where else would you find a taupe bra with maroon finishes?
Rosetti



As a lady that doesn’t own a lick of red knickers, I can’t wait to slide myself into this set. In a sea of gorgeous DD+ lingerie at Curve NY, the Rosetti stood out in its fiery, glamorous glory. On top of slightly netted fabric, the floral embroidery adds a feminine layer of texture to the cups. The satin finishes and the strap features are incredibly luxe.  With the silky fabric continuing through the straps, the Rosetti looks like a million bucks.
Harem in Fig



I can’t wait to try the Harem. With a ever-so-slightly sheer lace panel running along the top of smooth cups, this D-H plunge is a perfect marriage of practicality and sex appeal. Add irresistible high-waist matching briefs and I’m a goner. The nude and black versions will be released soon and the Fig pictured here will come out with the Autumn/Winter collection.

Delphi



The Delphi group has been on my radar for a while now because it’s one of the only basques available for 28 bands and G-H cups. I was considering buying the last winter colorway for under Christmas season dresses, but I’m glad I waited. I adore this latest version with the cream details on the black background. The powerful color contrast definitely brings out the embroidery. If you’re not completely sold on this line, check out this awesome video (the Delphi appears at 00:45).

Deity



I’ve seen several pictures of the bridal Deity group in the past and always thought, “What’s the big deal?”. White is not a color that usually gets my heart aflutter and without seeing the subtle embroidery in person, the circular Art Deco patterns fell flat. During the press event, I kind of lost it over the basque, bra, high-waisted panties, and thong. I think what came out of my mouth was something like, “OHMYGOD, now I GET it!!!”.  It’s chic and gorgeous, just like any bride wants to be on her big day.

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