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March 2013

Samanta

Semi #335
In the early nineties, Czesława Listwan and Elżbieta Adame created their own lingerie brand, with help from their friends and family. Bras were hard to come by and intricate lingerie was all but extinct in Poland. They intended Samanta to be a different breed; their products would be feminine, comfortable and tailored to the female shape. The label initially stayed local, but at an 1999 industry fair in Poznan, the company emerged as a nation wide commodity. Very quickly, they realized that the traditional chain of sale, from the company to distributing warehouses to retailers, wasn't working and they broke away from the middle man. It was a revolutionary step at the time and ensured that the company would have easy, unfiltered access to their retailers and customers. Four years ago, Samanta divided it's brand into three smaller collections: Samanta, Pret a Porter, and Glamour.

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Polish Lingerie 101: Location

Corin Amanda
 I found it nearly impossible to keep myself from comparing the British full bust brands with the Polish ones I encountered. It was the biggest challenge of my trip and I believe it's an easy mistake to make when ordering internationally. If we approach these producers as if they're the British brands in disguise, we will continually be disappointed, frustrated, and confused. The British brands preach a singular and consistent message about correct bra fitting, proper breast appearance, and technical construction. It's inevitable that their devoted converts -- and I count myself as one! -- would want to apply their mandates to other lingerie cultures. However, if we remove our familiar conceptions of how these companies should be, we can understand Polish lingerie in it's own context. This post discusses how Poland's location may have effected it's collections or design direction: 

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Polish Lingerie 101: Coverage



I found it nearly impossible to keep myself from comparing the British full bust brands with the Polish ones I encountered. It was the biggest challenge of my trip and I believe it's an easy mistake to make when ordering internationally. If we approach these producers as if they're the British brands in disguise, we will continually be disappointed, frustrated, and confused. The British brands preach a singular and consistent message about correct bra fitting, proper breast appearance, and technical construction. It's inevitable that their devoted converts -- and I count myself as one! -- would want to apply their mandates to other lingerie cultures. However, if we remove our familiar conceptions of how these companies should be, we can understand Polish lingerie in it's own context. Jumping from cleavage to coverage, this post examines the type of bras I found surprisingly abundant and others I noticed were scarce:

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Polish Lingerie 101: Cleavage


 I found it nearly impossible to keep myself from comparing the British full bust brands with the Polish ones I encountered. It was the biggest challenge of my trip and I believe it's an easy mistake to make when ordering internationally. If we approach these producers as if they're the British brands in disguise, we will continually be disappointed, frustrated, and confused. The British brands preach a singular and consistent message about correct bra fitting, proper breast appearance, and technical construction. It's inevitable that their devoted converts -- and I count myself as one! -- would want to apply their mandates to other lingerie cultures. However, if we remove our familiar conceptions of how these companies should be, we can understand Polish lingerie in it's own context.  So, here's the first mistake I made and the first section of our class, Polish lingerie 101:

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Lingerie Expedition: An Intimate Reflection

You know this sassy lady is Polish.
Throughout this journey, I felt as if it was something I had to do. I also felt nuts. Ha! I was told repeatedly by the brand owners themselves that they thought I was "crazy". During this experience, in certain quiet moments, I would feel this pit of doubt swell up around me. When I sat down on the bed in my hostel after my flight, I thought: What are you doing here?! What are you thinking!? Zack and I aren't rich. We live in a quiet village in a modest apartment so to afford this trip, we essentially emptied our savings. When I try to express my gratitude to him, I come up empty. How can you communicate to someone who has been that trustworthy and generous?  Even on the blog, when everyone would comment on how brave and heroic I was, I felt like the biggest fake. I was terrified.

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Lingerie Expedition: All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Coming your way very, very soon...
When I was planning this trip, I had a clear schedule and idea of how I'd like it to go down on Miss Underpinnings. I wanted to post as I go, introducing or providing information to you guys as I received it myself. Riiiight. I would actually love to do that because my gut reactions are fierce creatures who dwell in a fiery pit and like to come out to make mischief. (Come visit me at Curve NY sometime, it's not awkward at all when I loudly burst out, "That bra sucked!" in a brand's booth. Manners? No. Foot in mouth? Yes.) Even though that was my plan and I'd prefer that method, I realized quickly that it wasn't going to work. The companies I'm meeting with are following my posts and keeping track of your questions. I'll bring up a reader comment and they already know what I'm going to say! 

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Lingerie Expedition: Day 1 Dispatch

Gorilla style! My hands look huge in this photo, they're actually doll-sized.
I've been teasing you guys about my trip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so it's about time I revealed my cards. I'm going to give you the "meeting itinerary" down below, but first I'd like to share 5 interesting tidbits from my first day: 

1. Poland has a mother of full bust lingerie. I was told today there's a woman who essentially introduced these sizes to Poland and who now consults with the brands and runs workshops for retailers. I want to talk to her so, SO bad.

2. You can, in fact, get lost for 4 1/2 hours in a quest to find a bra store. Hahaha! If you're in Warsaw and saw a woman wondering around in circles and wearing a brown coat, that was totally me. For the record, Warsaw is an easy city to navigate. It's on a grid and there's a lot of public transportation options so you can now understand how idiotic and stubborn I can be.

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Is this image offensive? Pinterest thinks so.


I wasn't planning on posting today. I've been spending every waking hour trying to learn as much as I can about Polish lingerie, public transportation, and available vegetarian food. It must be leaving me a bit on edge because when I saw this message in my email, I raged. With regards to blog stuff, I'm never angry or discontented. I love bras. I love writing about them. I love hearing what y'all have to say about them. Boom, done. With that in mind, let's look at the ridiculousness that started my disgust:

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Do you have a question for Ewa Michalak?

Ewa Michalak S Fresh set (new release & there's a promo!)
Guys, I have exciting news! I've secured an interview with Ewa Michalak during my time in Poland. Since we might have a bit of trouble understanding one another, a spokesperson for the company has asked me to prepare my questions ahead of time. I definitely know what I'd like to ask her, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to inquire about her background, brand, or vision of the future. To represent everyone's best interests and get to the bottom of that mysterious company, I'd love to ask her some of your questions! I know y'all are curious so lay it on me:

What would you like to ask Ewa?

Curve NY: Curvy Kate Autumn/Winter 2013

Daily Boost in Mocha
I never imagined I'd write these words: The upcoming collection from Curvy Kate is charmingly quiet and subtle. It's not boring by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a side of this company that I'm not sure we've seen before. Their Showgirl range -- the Tease Me, Tempt Me, etc. -- have been the company's pillars from its conception so it's fascinating to see the brand temporarily back away from their building blocks. It's a great question for the company to ask itself: Under all the frilly and dramatic sets, who's the real Curvy Kate?

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Curve NY: Cleo Autumn/Winter 2013

Lucy in Malibu Blue
Honestly, I had thrown in the towel with Cleo. I adore the Marcie and some of their recent fashion is topnotch. But I've never been able to nail down my size in their core lines and when I've tried them in the past, there was always something a bit "off". During the Spring/Summer press event I attended, I was peacefully resigned on my stance towards Cleo. I could be the only person who feels this way, but their current collection seemed quite "juniors" when I saw it. Well, let's say I'm not sure I could rock it at 25. Sitting down in their booth last week, I was delighted with the turn around I saw for Autumn/Winter 2013. Their fashion offerings were modern and classy, their basics were redesigned, and there was a polka dot babydoll. Boom, done. I'll definitely be reintroducing myself to Cleo next season...

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Curve NY: Fantasie Autumn/Winter 2013

Rebecca in Navy
Fantasie is on fire! During the current Spring season, they have a sweet and pretty English garden theme. It would be the brand all of my favorite Jane Austen characters would wear...if they were full busted and, you know, real. They put an image of the Delilah bra on their catalog cover and I was instantly in love. It was a collection with a design focus, their bras were nicely dissimilar enough that I wanted each one, and it felt as as if the brand had found it's stride. It was a confident and energetic collection. I'm happy to report that their success with Spring/Summer 2013 has flowed into the new Autumn/Winter. It's by no means a continuation of their previous theme, in fact it couldn't be more different. But in terms of general output, ye gods! Check it out: 

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