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September 2013

The Middle Market and Why Freya Should Join It

John La Gatta for Laros Lingerie, c. early 1940s.
Full busted women are allowed two choices when they go lingerie shopping and I'm growing dissatisfied with both. On one side, Tutti Rouge, Cleo, Bravissimo, Curvy Kate, and Evollove reign over the market for youthful spontaneity; the second domain belongs to Fantasie, Fauve, Empreinte, Prima Donna, Panache, and newcomer Harlow and Fox, who offer elegant timelessness and exquisite European laces. As much as I love both, I don't completely relate to either. I've outgrown the juniors' section and I'm not ready for side support panels or full cups. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way so I've begun to think of myself (us?) as "the middle market". We're the ones who are caught between too cute and too classic. Every full bust brand assumes we're part of their target demographic, while no one seems to be designing anything expressly for us. And that's where Freya comes in...

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All Undone Launches Online Next Week!

An Exclusive Glimpse of All Undone's Website
Squee, All Undone is almost here! They've begun shipping to their brick and mortar stockists already, but the new British full bust brand will launch their online shop on Monday and their entire collection, excluding the bodysuits, will be available for international customers. I profiled the brand earlier this month and I'm so excited! All Undone's minimalist sex appeal and modern conception of full bust lingerie is tremendously appealing and truly one of a kind.

All Undone Facebook | Twitter  

Full Bust Lingerie Review: Tutti Rouge Sophia & Frankie

The Tutti Rouge Sophia in Mint 
Tutti Rouge is entering their second season and new autumn styles will be available soon on their website, with Facebook hints that the first to debut will be a luscious berry toned Betty. However, my mind is stuck back in their feminine Spring/Summer collection and I still can't get over these two adorable mint sets. Colors like seabreeze blue, mint, and seafoam green were popular this summer and last and while a few full bust brands experimented with it (notably Curvy Kate's sold out Portia version), I hadn't had a chance to try out this trend. I finally have my mitts on two mint bras and now that I've also tried Tutti Rouge's Birds of a Feather, Liliana, and Betty, I have a solid understanding of how the Sophia and Frankie measure up.

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I ♡ FRKS Lingerie on Etsy

I stumbled upon this Hungarian Etsy shop through one of my favorite lingerie blogs, Scarlet's Letter, and I haven't been able to look away since. FRKS Lingerie combines folkloric embroidery and ouvert panty details to create wildly original, delightful, and energetic designs. Sure, these panties are sexy but they also seemed to have danced out of some bizarre dreamscape where underwear can cast spells and explodes into technicolor fires on your butt.

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Here & There

Oops, I'm rolling my Friday Favorites and Monday Pick Me Up posts into one today's. I found this video last week and I adore it. It's the most realistic music video about love I've ever seen because c'mon, who hasn't conveniently returned to a certain time and place just see a crush? When Zack and I were roommates and before we were dating, I once ran across campus so I could get home in time to watch Mad Men with him. I'm the most unathletic person so the wheezing may have made him pause, but he made me feel too warm and fuzzy to care.  

Here are some other things I've loved seeing, reading, and pinning lately:

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Freya's Deco: What Would YOU Like to See Next?

Counterclockwise from top left: Aubade Fleurs d'Afrique; Huit Rhapsody via Journelle; Aubade Evasion Tropical via House of Fraser; Aubade Malicieuse Sissi (sold out); Aubade Russian Can Can, Marlies Dekker Dame de Paris via Faire Frou Frou; Agent Provocateur Petronella via The OutNet; Huit Equivoque via Polyvore, available at Figleaves
Freya really wants our feedback on Deco because, with good reason, it's their pride and joy. I've heard enthusiastic cries from their fans that they're in favor of this Deco phenomenon But Freya seems too timid to truly tinker with it and season after season, the bra is only slightly tweaked, rather than thoughtfully reinvented. Basics can be boring and while the Deco certainly isn't, it has the potential to be if bolder ideas aren't applied. Below, you'll find the suggestions I gave to Eveden and as my earlier post says, I'd love to see what your thoughts are on the Deco's design and if we have any opinions in common. :)

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Tell Freya What YOU Would Like to See!

Image via The Resolve Project 
Sweet Nothings and I went to Eveden's New York headquarters on Friday to discuss their company news, the Spring/Summer 2014 bestsellers and to share the feedback we've received from you guys through blog comments and social media. Unsurprisingly, the conversation quickly turned into a lengthly discussion about Freya and we touched on a lot of elements I've written about here, including their lackluster look books and strong competition in the youth market. We gave Eveden an ear full about how we'd like to see Freya's focus to change and the direction we think Freya should consider for the the future.

At the end of the meeting, they asked us, "Do you think these ideas capture what your readers have been saying?" and we both said yes, however it got me thinking about how to create real change. Our individual opinions can be casually brushed aside by these international companies, but if we speak in one distinct voice as a community, it's tremendously powerful. I've decided that after I conclude my series on Freya, I'm going to gather all the comments on these posts, organize them by subject and send them to my contacts at Eveden. Therefore, if you see something in the Freya posts or comment threads that you agree with, please include a little note that you seconded the idea. Or, if someone hasn't mentioned a design concept or fit change that you'd like to see, mention it because maybe someone else feels the same way.

My next post will be on Freya's aesthetic design, one in terms of what we'd like to see in their basics and another on their fashion. I'm also thinking of including two more, about fit and technical innovation. Are there any other BIG issues with the brand that you'd like to discuss?

Curve NY: Fauve Spring/Summer 2014

In the last few seasons, Fauve has quietly and modestly put out dramatic, enticing, and eclectic collections that rival the finest European producers in their price point and during the same time period, they've turned their Chloe and Bronte lines into stalwart pillars of the brand. They don't have the size range that Fantasie boasts nor the volume of pieces that Freya can churn out, but I'd say that Fauve is Eveden's strongest full bust brand (Of course, I'm leaving the unstoppable Elomi out on purpose!). Fauve's recipe for success is simple; they recycle their basics at a balanced-not-boring pace and they aren't afraid of experimenting with their seasonal fashion. Let's take a look at the lovelies:

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Annoucement: The Ewa Michalak & Miss Underpinnings Partnership for Autumn/Winter 2013!

S Margo
Today, I'm proud to announce that Miss Underpinnings will be partnering with Ewa Michalak for their upcoming collection! The independent Polish brand has very, very generously sent me their entire collection for Autumn/Winter 2013 so I can guarantee Miss Underpinnings readers an exclusive first look at their new styles. As the lines are released, I'll be able to share my take on the fit, quality and design and like always, I'll publish tons of detailed lingerie photographs to oggle! In all seriousness, I feel deeply honored to work with a brand I've so long admired and I'm enormously grateful for their support and your ceaseless encouragement. I would've stopped blogging long ago if it weren't for your ever present cheers, passionate comments and the experiences and opinions you've bravely shared here.  From the bottom of my heart -- Thank you.

And just to tease you, these photographs have popped up on the Ewa Michalak Facebook page so I think I'll be reviewing these sets soon...

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I ♡ Dear Creatures' Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection

Dear Creatures Edie Dress in Merlot & Moss, $99
Dear Creatures is one of those brands Zooey Deschanel has championed and anything Zooey likes I usually do too.  I've never had the chance to try them and I've always stayed cautiously optimistic about my potential success with the brand. They've released several babydoll styles and their voluminous or runs-large-at-the-waist dresses are two of my shopping warning signs. But then, I saw this -- this ridiculously cool, Moonrise Kingdom-ish Autumn/Winter 2013 collection and I realized, I WANT IT ALL NOW

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Full Bust Lingerie Review: Tutti Rouge Birds of a Feather

Tutti Rouge has taken brave steps in their first collection by producing a half padded balconette, which are not commonly found on the British market, but are overwhelmingly popular in Poland. Dahlia and Kris Line, the brands who have the best reputations for this style, aren't readily available in the United States; the former does not have any presence here and the latter has a minimal one, with stockists that prefer their soft cups. Conversely, Tutti Rouge operates their own website and counts Bravissimo as one of their stockists so their decision to experiment with this shape was very, very exciting and guaranteed a market advantage. But Tutti Rouge has just released their debut collection and they're bound to experience growing pains. I think the Birds of a Feather's fit may be one of those uncomfortable transitions:

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Monday Pick Me Up

My weekend was...rough. I'd planned to share a sneak peek with you today but my head is too cloudy to write anything decent so I'm going to post this movie trailer for Populaire simply because it makes me smile. Movies, like lingerie, make me feel better and I'm particularly inclined towards the light-hearted-and-quirky-French-romantic-comedies-with-incredible-styling genre so I'll be tracking this limited release film down. If you're intrigued by this very, very specific niche then I'd also recommend Romantics Anonymous, Heartbreaker, The Names of Love and Love Me If You Dare. They're good for a smile on days when you can't quite manage one on your own.

Full Bust Lingerie Review: Parfait Charlotte 28" Band

I've had this bra for awhile and I haven't gotten around to reviewing it because I've worn it so much. I have to confess, I wore it for a few days continuously while I was in the U.K. The Parfait Charlotte doesn't reinvent the wheel or preform any great fitting miracle, it's just easy. It's affordable and for full girls on a budget, it would be one of my top recommendations. For the price point, it's well made and the design should've been ripped off years ago, but miraculously remains an exclusive market original. What's not to love?! Parfait has decided to experiment with an extended size range for this bestseller and they've revamped the fit so it better matches the industry standard. I was lucky enough to try out one of those newly introduced styles:

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I ♡ Egretta Garzetta's Etsy Shop

BISQUE color High Waist Panties, $23
August was one of the most wonderful and hectic months of my life and now that it's over I want to lie on my couch, binge watch Spiral on Netflix, and eat cereal...until Halloween. I'm exhausted and predictably, I'm yearning for lingerie that's cozy, quiet, and ideal for all the aforementioned "activities". Enter Egretta Garzetta -- the Latvian Etsy shop appeals to my minimalist taste and has quickly become my new favorite thing ever. It's full of unfussy and sophisticated briefs, which are handmade, available in high or low rises and retail for less than $30. Sighhhh....

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Freya's Five Step Recovery Plan: Lookbooks & Styling

Freya Spring/Summer 2014
While they try to aim for an edgy or modern angle, Freya's lookbooks fail to communicate any theme or perspective on the collection they're representing. Lately, they've cast the same slender, pale skinned body type and outfitted her with gaudy stilettos, chunky jewelry and over teased hair. The ubiquitous half bored, half drugged "sexy" look can be found on every page, accompanied by the requisite slack jawed pouty mouth and barely open, but bizarrely focused gaze. The environment seems like an afterthought and often clashes with the products they're meant to reinforce. But with a few slight tweaks, they'd have images as brilliant as the ones below:

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Sneak Peek: St. Bustier Autumn/Winter 2013

The Marseilles Dress
St. Bustier, the stylishly curated clothing site, has begun steadily releasing their Autumn/Winter 2013 collection and I have two sneak peeks today! I love the cut and colors of the dress above, but the sleeves are really appealing with cooler temperatures around the corner. I think the Brunswick jacket would be an easy piece for any busty corporettes: 

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Freya: Eveden's Achilles' Heel

Freya Look Book Spring/Summer 2013 
The youthful side of the full bust market is becoming overcrowded and if that is a threat to any brand it's Freya, the longstanding champion in this arena. The brand hasn't been sinking as much as it's been coasting on previous successes, like the Deco and Patsy, which wouldn't be obvious if they were churning out original, interesting designs alongside their staples. But compared to their fresh faced opponents, Freya's non-Deco, non-Patsy side fades into a middling group of just okay lines. While other brands have increased or maintained a wide size range -- making it standard practice to include G+ cups and 28" bands -- Freya is reluctant to do either. I'm sure their current approach might be a success, I'm not convinced it's sustainable in the long run.

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U.K. Lingerie Trip: All Undone Autumn/Winter 2013

All Undone's Mai Body
Sleek, modern, and understated aren't words commonly used to describe full bust lingerie. If they are mentioned, it's typically comparative, as in sleek, modern and understated compared to the bright florals, embroidery, profusion of laces, polka dots and bows that dominant the design landscape. All Undone, the new brand from Eva Phillips, aims to change that and while it may not be "edgy" to the rest of the world, it's downright revolutionary for this niche industry. 

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