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The Middle Market A Year Later And Why I'm (Still) Planning to Take Over Freya

This is how I feel when I think about Freya for too long.
There are times when I'm at Curve that make me want to beat my head into the wall until it's bloody out of pure frustration and disappointment. Seeing the soaring promotional images of Freya's Spring/Summer 2015 collection was one of those times and has brought me to the conclusion that my evil mastermind plan to take over Freya is the only way for us all to move forward.

I don't profess to know more than the experienced industry executives who are currently in charge and I could be totally, 100% wrong about who their market is and will be, but I do feel as if I see a future for them that they haven't glimpsed yet. Ironically, Freya's collection isn't that horrible because despite the circus-y nature of this upcoming collection, there are a handful of great designs. The problem arises once you hear who they see as their target customer and while that customer isn't bad and her taste isn't sub par, she's still a customer that everyone is going after right now. Cleo, Curvy Kate, Tutti Rouge, and Bravissimo's in-house label are all after the same audience! Freya -- who has ruled over this market since it's conception -- is shamefully battling the smaller brands for a share when they should be concentrating on who the next customer is and predicting what she will like.

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Curve NY: Fantasie Spring/Summer 2015

Fantasie Spring/Summer 2015 Mae Basque 
With their Spring/Summer 2015 collection, Fantasie is trying to cover all it's bases at once and time will tell if this is a reliably successful approach or if they are simply spreading themselves too thin. I'm leaning towards the former, as the lines seemed well-balanced between luxurious and utilitarian, embellished and minimalist, and fuller coverage and downright sexy. They're trying to offer something for everyone -- a goal many brands aim for and subsequently fail to achieve -- and I think they've hit that sweet spot. I'm quite pleased with the designs aimed at me and for those that aren't, well, they don't seem so bad either. But y'all will be the final judge, do you see something for yourself amongst their upcoming collection?

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Curve NY: Miss Mandalay Spring/Summer 2015

Miss Mandalay Spring/Summer 2015
There are only two things I hate about Miss Mandalay lingerie -- that there isn't more of it and it's not more widely available. Since I had a lukewarm reaction to Curvy Kate's Spring/Summer 2015, I thought I'd post on a collection I really, really liked. I consider Miss Mandalay one of those "middle market" brands which roll out chic, fashionable lines for women who want lingerie that lies between the polar extremes of fuller converge conservatism and sassy girlishness. There aren't many DD+ companies who appeal to me as deeply as Miss Mandalay so I was overjoyed when I learned they would be at Curve. Although I wish the collection was bigger and everyone carried everything in every size, their seasonal offerings are super charming.

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Curve NY: Curvy Kate Spring Summer 2015

Curvy Kate's Spring/Summer 2015 Collection
I had an extreme love/hate reaction to this season's Curvy Kate collection. Since I saw their offering on Monday, I've been trying to puzzle out why their designs inspired such extremes. Is half the collection a dud? Or -- more likely -- have I stopped being a Curvy Kate girl? Is this, like Cleo, a brand that I no longer relate to or "understand"? Have I "outgrown" them? Simultaneously, there's still an aesthetic vein in the girly British juggernaut that I find quite endearing. I also remember seasons past when they impressed me with almost every single piece and when I went online to find them, saw that many of those same killer colorways were completely sold out. Let's break down the love from the hate for Spring/Summer 2015:

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Curve NY: Tutti Rouge Spring/Summer 2015

Tutti Rouge Spring/Summer 2015
Tutti Rouge is the ultimate "bang for your buck" brand, with some of the most modestly priced full bust bras on the market and tons of aesthetic embellishments that you'd usually only find with luxury labels. It's easy to tell that Jessica Prebble, the mastermind behind all this loveliness, takes incredible care with her designs, down to the tiniest detail. Each season, she [warmly!] haggles with her printmaker, ensuring her exclusive fabrics match her vision exactly and once they're done, the bras get the full "Tutti" treatment with matching bows, ruffles, ruching, and my personal favorite, eye drop-sized pink hearts. I wouldn't necessarily say that my personal taste is perfectly aligned with the T.R. look, but each season, this brand is so much itself -- unapologetically girly, frivolous and fun -- that I inevitably end up falling for each and every line. God dammit, Jessica, what kind of bewitching lingerie fairy dust are you sprinkling on these things?!

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My Dream Apartment: the Living Room

1 // 2 // 3 sofa & pillow // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

Since I'm sleeping in my childhood bedroom (and yes, those Freddie Prinze, Jr. posters are still up! #neverforget) while my belongings are packed away in cardboard boxes, I'm in serious nesting mode. I've gone nuts on my interior design Pinterest board and go to bed envisioning high ceilings and French doors. Specifically, I love the clean simplicity of white furniture because it allows other knick knacks and accessories to shine and gives the room a crisp, fresh feeling. And just as I'm obsessed with fit-n-flare and sassy secretarial sheath dresses, I'm really into modern mid century stuff. Once those two trends are combined and mixed with a punchy bright color, my dream living room leaves a warm, happy impression. Oh, and it's super affordable! It would be easy to thrift some of these pieces, grab others at retro reproduction websites like Thrive Furniture and dive into Ikea for the rest. :)

A little side note...I've been thinking about writing on non-lingerie and non-full bust stuff and this post is an example of one way I'd expand. Lingerie is my first love, but it's not my only one; I was thinking of posting on books I'm reading or the television series I'm currently bingeing on. 

What do you think? How would you feel if Miss Underpinnings covered a range of topics, in addition to the primary lingerie focus?

Countdown to Curve: Looking Forward to Curvy Kate Spring/Summer 2015

Spring/Summer 2015 Curvy Kate "Madagascar"

Like a grab bag, Curvy Kate has a few lines each season that I'm into and the rest, well, I'm not. The Firecracker, the Portia's seasonal color way and Ritzy's Ruby version were all immediate personal favorites. And while I don't usually go for blue lingerie, the navy Princess and Roxie are delightfully preppy. On the flip side, the sparkle-y embroidery pieces and the sour candy colors  -- "frost" and "boysenberry" -- are ones I'll be skipping. I had my usual reaction to the previews for Spring/Summer 2015. They're a mix between pieces I want now and designs that, like the "younger" sets from Cleo and Tutti Rouge, are too bright or too precious for me. 

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A HUGE Thank You and Good News

I have the best blog ever. Why? I have the best readers ever. It may sound overly appreciative, but seriously, you guys are the coolest. Reading through your comments on my Where I've Been post, I got goosebumps. Hell, I'm tearing up as I write this...Your support and encouragement has meant the world to me and I'm deeply, deeply grateful to those who courageously shared their own stories or warmly complimented me, my writing or this blog. During this time, when I've felt frighteningly adrift, your gestures gave me a light at the end of the tunnel. I can't express in words how much that's meant to me.

Thank you.  Merci beaucoup. ありがとう. Gracias. большое спасибо.

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Lingerie & Loungewear to Get You Through the Blues

I'm digging her pajama bottoms.
Around Valentine's Day and Christmas, a million posts go up exclaiming which pieces of lingerie would make the perfect gift and God knows, I eat those up. However, what about the other 363 days of the year? Why aren't their lingerie lists for when you're unemployed or when you're mad bloated on your period or when your current "boyfriend" happens to be a fictional character in a tv show? Forget the sexy stuff and the cute frills or bows, I'd like to share what I've really been wearing for the last six months. Truth time, bitches.

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Where I've Been

Artist: Jeremy Lipking
Well, I think it's safe to say that 2014 has been my best year of blogging yet! Are we all in agreement? Funny business aside, I have to crack these jokes because the last six months have been an utter clusterfuck of horrible and if I stop laughing, I might start crying. When I set out to create Miss Underpinnings, I was determined that it would be my positive, warm little corner of the Internet. I can be a pessimistic, paranoid and anxious person in real life so I promised myself I'd weed that out of the blog. Besides, who'd want to read about my problems on a website devoted to fabulous lingerie?! Thus, when shit hit the metaphorical fan this year, I froze. I didn't want to break my self-imposed rule yet I felt as if writing an upbeat sentence would be as difficult as climbing Mount Everest. I relied on my years of gendered conditioning: when you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Since that didn't work, I've decided to tell the truth -- even if it isn't pretty.

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Let's Check Each Other Out on Etsy

Among my friends and family, it's no secret that I have a preeeety obsessive personality so Etsy -- with it's seemingly endless treasure trove of indie boutiques -- is my kryptonite. I spend an embarrassing amount of time each week looking through what's new from my favorite shops and hunting for like-minded people to follow. Etsy recently launched their Pinterest-like "Pages" feature so I've also been curating like a crazy woman with collages on such topics as vintage clothing, personal stationary and of course, lingerie. Are you guys Etsy lovers too? And if you are, please let me know in the comments so I can check out what you're checking out! If you'd like to peek at my profile, it's here. :)

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: The Sunday Intimates' Retail Website Launched Today!!!

You guys, it's UP. It's finally here: Sunday Intimates, an amazing new brand from California, launched their website today and their Spring/Summer 2014 collection is now available for pre-order! No joke, I want it all. All of it. Every damn piece -- from the floral kimono to the glittery gold longline bra to the polka dot pajama set -- feels as if it was made just for me. If you haven't heard of this indie company yet or want more information on the darlings behind this brand, I highly recommend you peruse Sweet Nothings' exclusive interview with them. I also had a chance to try on this season's designs during Curve Autumn/Winter 2013 show so if you'd like to know what I thought of the comfort or fit, take a look at this post. :)

Lulu Tout, Exclusively at Figleaves

Since I took an extended break from blogging, there have been a number of exciting developments in the world of full bust lingerie. And I've got to hand it to Figleaves, their new in-house label, Lulu Tout, is definitely one of them! I had the opportunity to get a look at the entire collection a few months ago and I left the preview feeling mighty impressed. The collection includes three lines which all deviate into two separate colorways -- the teal green or grey Coco Lace, the electric blue or black Amelie and the monochrome or purple Fleur Rose. Granted, it's a small debut, but in so many ways, it's the budget brand I've been waiting for. Shall we oggle more prettiness?

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Curve NY Autumn/Winter 2014 Trend Report Collaboration with Sweet Nothings

I'm the nerdy one on the right going "Uh, what now?".
Last month, I was lucky enough to attend Curve with the beautiful & crazy smart Sweet Nothings and after a string of fervent and caffeine-induced discussions, we decided to collaborate on a trend report! That post was published this morning on her eponymous blog so if you're curious about what colors, prints and shapes you'll be seeing a lot of for Autumn/Winter 2014, head on over for a peek. For instance, anyone here a fan of blue lingerie? ;)

Curve NY: Freya Autumn/Winter 2014

Back in September, I published a number of posts on Freya and we discussed what we'd like to see in their future collections. My opinions on this newest collection are based on those conversations so if you haven't read them, it might be cool to check out one of the posts below:

While no representative of the brand told me this directly, the collection seemed like a response to the aforementioned posts and the awesome suggestions you made then. Are the Freya Autumn/Winter 2014 pieces mind-blowingly cool and radically different from what we've seen in the past? Um, no. But I think something has shifted and if it continues to go in this direction, Freya has enormous potential to be one of the "middle market" brands we've wished for. In short, the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection is a vast improvement over Spring/Summer's and I'd like to see even bigger, more dramatic changes.

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