Bras and Body Image is moving!

Yes, finally ūüėČ From now on, I will be posting at my new domain of www.brasandbodyimage.com. WordPress and email followers should have transferred to the new blog already, but if you follow on Bloglovin or just check in from time to time, make sure to update your links/follows. This site will remain up for a few days and then links will start redirecting, so if you’d like to carry on keeping up with my posts, please go and follow the new blog!

You can sign up for email updates in the new blog sidebar, or follow me on Bloglovin here. See you on the other side!

Aren’t You Sweet?

The Dotty Spot from Bravissimo is one of my all-time favourite bras, which I have previously reviewed in both the Black/Caf√© and Aqua/Red colourways. This will be a fairly short post, as I covered the bra in-depth in my first review.¬†The design disappeared for a few seasons, but it returned this summer in a wonderful Red/Ivory colourway¬†(eep)! I adore polka dots, and the combination of red and white never fails to make me feel like a sexy Minnie Mouse. On that note…

IMG_20130922_225528 W

…Okay, I just wanted to throw in one of my holiday snaps ūüėõ This is one of the sets I wore while at Disneyland, featuring the wonderful Dotty Spot, some semi-matching La Senza knickers and the obligatory Minnie ears. At the moment, my usual size is 30K (30KK in Bravissimo Alana, 30JJ in Panache Jasmine), but the Dotty Spot runs slightly larger than most other Bravissimo balconettes by about half a cup. My older Dotty Spots fit about half a cup small, so I decided to try this colourway in a 30K, expecting it to be perhaps half a cup big.¬†My sizing guess was right – I get some slight wrinkling along the upper seam in this size, but not enough to size down without getting overspill.¬†If you are between cup sizes, you may find you need your smaller cup size in this bra.

I do find that I’m slightly too full-on-top and centre-heavy for most Bravissimo balconettes, as they are more suited to those with more outer/bottom-heavy breasts. This means I get slight wrinkling at the bottom and overspill at the centre, but these are really just minor issues with the shape.¬†I think it would be best suited to those with a mid-width root, a lot of projection, and even to bottom heavy breasts.

Dotty Spot Red 30K close1watermarked

I was happy to find that this colourway retains all the wonderful qualities of the previous ones. The cups are constructed of a gorgeous polka-dot laminate material, which is very secure and supportive. This bra definitely brings you up and centre, with a lot of projection and¬†a beautifully retro pointed shape. The pointiness may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I am personally a big fan, as I find it to be quite youthful under clothes.¬†The straps are fully adjustable, and the true-to-size band fastens with 3 sets of hooks and eyes. I did find that the first eye I fasten the band onto has already started coming loose, something which shouldn’t happen, however, in my experience, Bravissimo will return or exchange any bras that start doing this. The wires are fairly standard for Bravissimo, so fairly mid-width with a narrow but high gore – I could personally do with slightly narrower wires and a lower gore, as they are about a thumb too wide at the sides and can irritate in the middle due to me being close-set. I didn’t have any issues with the sides being too high, which was a huge relief to me. Overall I found this bra to be great, both in terms of comfort and appearance, and I would definitely recommend trying it if you like the style.

The Dotty Spot is currently available for £29 at Bravissimo, with a size range of 28 E-J, 30-38 DD-K.

vote-768-leaderboard-banner

Brastop Awards 2013

BrastopAwards2013HeaderBrastop are one of my favourite retailers, stocking high quality D-K lingerie at bargain prices. They have grown and grown over the years, and today, Brastop are launching the Brastop Awards.
There are seven awards for different categories, with the winners to be chosen by public vote. You can select as many of your favourites as you like in each category, with the option of naming any other bloggers you would like to add recognition to.

Categories:
– Best for Lingerie
– Best for Swimwear
– Best Lingerie Blogger
– Best Sports Brand
– Best Brastop Model
– Best for Maternity Wear
– Best Celebrity Curves

To my surprise, my little old blog has been nominated in the category of ‘Best Lingerie Blogger’! I am very flattered to have even been nominated, especially considering the other blogs in the category – I definitely have some big competition! I’m not going to get my hopes up for winning, but if you do enjoy my blog or find it useful, I would love it if you could vote for me.

To vote, go to the Brastop Facebook page any time before the end of 23rd October. Thank you!

BrastopAwards2013PostBanner

What Katie Did ‘Morticia’ Corset

IMG_0004

What Katie Did¬†are a UK-based brand, who specialise in recreating a huge variety of vintage lingerie. While they sell everything from stockings to shapewear, what I lusted after for a long time was their selection of corsets – specifically, their Morticia corset. However, given the Morticia’s price tag of ¬£159.50, I was sure that I would never be able to try it. What I wasn’t counting on was their post-Christmas sale, allowing me to bag my very own Morticia at a very reasonable price!¬†And yes, I did mean post-Christmas – this review has been a long time coming! As you might have guessed from the above picture, I did recently have a just-for-fun photoshoot, so that gave me the push I needed to get around to writing this review.

WKD Wrapping and How to card

The Morticia is a steel-boned longline underbust corset, made specifically for very curvy figures. Most average corsets won’t have enough space at the hips for those with a large difference in their waist/hip measurements, meaning that the corset will cut into the hips once laced. To avoid this, the Morticia is made with gored hips, which means it can accommodate a waist/hip difference of 10+ inches. In my case, my waist measurement tends to fluctuate between 28-31 inches, while my lower hips are approximately 42 inches, theoretically making the Morticia a good bet for me. In these pictures I am not wearing anything under the corset, but for proper wear another layer (such as a vest top) should be worn underneath, to protect both your skin and the corset lining.

WKD Morticia 24 -  Gored hips close up

Corsets are sized by their tightest waist measurement, so a size 30 should close down to 30 inches. This means that if you want to reduce your waist, you need to go smaller than your own waist measurement, usually by around 4-5 inches. Going by this suggests either a 24 or 26 would be a good size for me. I had heard that the Morticia is easier to reduce in than many other corsets, due to being made to accommodate hips. Because of this, I decided to go straight for a 24, though I think a 26 would have been plenty small enough for me. One important note: you shouldn’t try to lace a new corset tightly for the first few wears, as it needs to be broken in. Significantly tightening the corset straight away can damage the corset or cause injury, so make sure you give it some time before starting to really reduce.

WKD Morticia 24 - On off comparison

The corseted picture is from the initial try-on, so it isn’t quite on properly, but I think you get the idea. The Morticia fastens with a steel busk at the front, and laces at the back with sturdy cord, which I somehow didn’t think to get a picture of. I think in this picture my waist measurement was around 31 inches, reduced to 29 inches. I didn’t take a comparison picture at the time, so the uncorseted picture is from this month (as you might be able to tell looking closely – anyone for a game of spot the difference? :P). The Morticia gives a fantastic, visibly smoothed out silhouette, and I was surprised at how different I looked even though the measurable difference was only 2 inches.

WKD Morticia 24 -  Clothed on off comparison

The appearance of the corset under clothes. I do find under thinner clothes that the seams/boning in the corset are visible, so some may find it necessary to wear an extra layer (such as shapewear) on top of their corset. I would also make sure you put on any hosiery and shoes before putting the corset on, or make sure you have someone to help you  РI found that I had a lot of trouble reaching my feet with the corset on! Despite having a fantastic appearance, I did find that I had fit issues with the corset, which I think are visible if you compare my regular shape to my corseted shape. My proportions can be difficult to fit into pre-made corsets: I am very short waisted (2-3 inches from underbust to waist), with high hips and a long rise.

This is a very long corset, with a waist to underbust distance of about 6 inches, which means that if I do put the waist at my natural waist, the upper part of the corset digs into the underside of my boobs.¬†If I place it low enough to not dig into my boobs, the waist of the corset sits much lower than my actual waist, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but it does move back up. ¬†I found it slightly more comfortable putting my bra on over the corset, as this stopped the corset pushing on the underwires, but it instead created empty space at the bottom of the bra cups when it moved up. Despite the gored hips, the corset can be uncomfortable on my upper hips due to how high they are, but¬†I didn’t have any problems with the length of the lower half itself – I found the length and longline shape to give good coverage and shaping, and I didn’t have any issues with my belly being pushed out the bottom.

IMG_0017 (bands)

The Morticia really is a gorgeous, beautifully constructed corset, but the proportions just aren’t quite right for me. The corset measurements are listed on the item page (under ‘Details’), so if you are considering any of their corsets, I would recommend measuring yourself and making sure your proportions are reasonably close to them. For those who are more long-waisted, the Morticia could definitely be worth trying – I’ve seen it work on so many beautiful ladies, and I’m sure there are many more who will love this!

Measurements:
– length along front busk 13.25″
– underbust to hip 10.75″
– side length from underarm to waist 6.75″
– side length from waist to bottom 5.25″

For more reviews of the Morticia, check out Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Curvy Wordy and Invest In Your Chest.

Afternote: As some of you may have noticed, I have recently followed in the footsteps of some of my fellow bloggers and added links to my PayPal and Amazon wishlist in the sidebar. I have written about my reasons for doing this¬†here¬†–¬†if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to get in touch.

Looking Sexy in Parfait’s Alexis

As I mentioned in my last post, Parfait have recently expanded three of their bras up to a K cup for AW13: the Charlotte, Sophia, and Alexis babydoll. I have reviewed the Charlotte here, but I was also lucky enough to get my hands on the Alexis babydoll. This is the first babydoll to be made up to a UK K-cup, so I was very excited to try it out.

Parfait Alexis Black 30K Full

The Alexis now comes in a size range of 30-40 D-K, and is currently available in both Black and Ivory. I received this in my current usual size of a 30K. I didn’t get the matching briefs with this, but there is both a bikini brief and an unbelievably stunning high-waist brief available if you do decide to get the whole set. I found the babydoll to be a good length on me – just long enough to add mystery, but short enough to be flirty. The keyhole back gives a peek of skin, while the neckline of the bra gives somewhere between a plunge and Marie Antoinette style cleavage. I am sure some women will want a babydoll for bedroom attire, so I was quite happy to see the cleavage I got from this.

The cup construction of the Alexis is not something that I would have ever expected. Most full-bust bras are constructed with multiple panels, but the Alexis seems to just be one piece of sturdy black lace, with a dart at the bottom to shape the cup. This results in a rounded lower cup with a flatter section at the top. I was surprised at the fairly round shape this cup construction gave me, which I think is down to the inner side-support sling. It seems as though the sling (which joins the bottom of the cup to the strap) is giving most of the lift and support in this bra. The sling is made with a lightly padded material, whereas the cup itself is completely unpadded, which gives the bra a very sexy appearance. The straps and band are made of a standard black elastic, while the wings and front of the band are layered with a black shine satin, similar to the kind used in the Charlotte.

Parfait Alexis Black 30K Close1

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the sizing of this piece quite right for me.¬†While I usually wear a 30K at the moment,¬†I believe I would need at least one cup up and at least one band size down in this, so I think this fits more like a loose-banded 32J (or a Panache 32HH). It is definitely loose for a 30 band, stretching to almost exactly 33 inches, making it one of the loosest 30 bands I’ve ever tried. Though the cups might not look too small in these pictures, I should point out that I didn’t¬†fully scoop, as scooping properly resulted in significant overspill.¬†This means that I would probably need more like a 28L, but as this set doesn’t go below a 30 band or above a K cup, my best option would probably be altering a 32K. Unlike the Charlotte, which I found supportive despite the 32 band, this band rides up even on the tightest hooks. I would¬†say the cups run similarly to the Charlotte but the band is looser, so this 30K fits perhaps like a 32JJ Charlotte would. The cups seem to have the same sort of depth distribution, so they are too shallow in the centre for me and slightly too tall around the strap.

The wires measure as mid-width, but due to them not stretching with the band they are quite narrow when on, making them a good width for me. I have the same problem I had with the Charlotte of the sides and gore being too tall for me, with the wings measuring at 13.2cm and the gore at 11.7cm. With the Charlotte, I found that I had empty space at the bottom of the cup which I thought was due to my arms pushing the cups down, but I don’t seem to have that problem in this bra. What I did notice is that the wires themselves are shorter than the wire channels by about 2cm, so you can move the wires either more towards the gore or the sides. Due to the unpadded material this means the excess material can be folded down, effectively lowering the height. I have fewer issues with high sides than high gores (due to being close-set), so I pushed the wires into the sides after taking these pictures, which made the gore a fairly reasonable height for me. You could also have the wires somewhere in the middle, giving an effective side height of 12cm and a gore of 11cm (both of which would be quite average measurements for most of my bras).

Parfait Alexis Black 30K Close2

This bra has a square back rather than the leotard back that most full-bust brands choose, something that is quite new to me but didn’t seem to give any problems. The straps seemed to be quite close-set at the back, but this might partially be due to me fastening the bra on the tightest hooks. It has a deep full-band, fastening with four sets of hooks and eyes, and the straps are wonderfully thick and supportive at 2.7cm. In terms of appearance, I think this piece drips glamour – there are some tiny details, like the crystal drops on the gore and the shine satin panels on the band, that just add a little bit more sophistication.

Despite the fit issues I have with this set, I am considering holding onto it, just because a babydoll around my size is such a welcome first (although I am looking forward to some of the other new babydolls popping up soon). I am hoping that the overspill will just look like mega-cleavage with some of my lower-cut/straighter necklines, and if it doesn’t I can always keep it as a bedroom set. It is possible that my experience isn’t quite the norm, so it may still be worth a try for those who who need 30 bands and/or J+ cups – I just wouldn’t be too hopeful. I imagine this will be a safer option for those who need at least a 32 band and at most a J cup, as there will be more space to play with the sizing.¬†As far as I know, the expanded sizes of the Alexis aren’t being sold in the UK yet, something that will hopefully change soon! For those in the US, the Alexis babydoll is available from Beautyfull Bras¬†for $59 (Black or Ivory).

Item provided for review by Lingerie PR. Though I received this free of charge, this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

Feeling Peachy in Parfait’s Charlotte

Recently, the lingerie world has been buzzing after a certain announcement from Parfait by Affinitas. Until now they have stocked 30-40 D-G, but in June they announced that they would be expanding three styles up to a K cup for AW13: the Charlotte, Sophia, and Alexis babydoll. I was very excited by this announcement, and upon release was lucky enough to get my hands on two of them, the second of which I will be reviewing in a few days.

Parfait Charlotte 32K try on full

The first set I tried was the Charlotte Padded Plunge, which now comes in 28-40 D-K. This has been my dream set for a long time, so when I won a ¬£50 LCL voucher in Fussy Busty‘s blogiversary giveaway, I immediately knew what to get! I seem to have settled at a 30K in most bras at the moment, but I had heard that the cups ran small, so I opted for a 32K. I’m currently a UK 14-16 with 42 inch hips. and¬†I opted the matching high-waist briefs in size L. The briefs didn’t quite reach my natural waist, and were also a bit snug on my hips, so I could have done with a size up. As I had some money left from the voucher, I also got the red high-waist briefs in a size XL, which I found to be a much comfier fit.

The Charlotte has three-part cup construction with outer side-support panels, which is good to give an upfront and rounded shape. It is cut tall at the sides and comparatively low in the middle, so it’s¬†something of a cross between a plunge and a balconette. I find it gives me a modest, “soft hills” sort of cleavage.¬†The cups are a lightly padded, matte material, while the front of the band and side-support panels are a shine satin. I would describe the colour as a buttery pecan, so it’s a fairly good nude colour for pale, yellow-toned skin like mine. For those with pink-toned skin, there is also a dusty rose colourway that could work quite well. Black piping on bras is one of my favourite design features (so sophisticated!), so I think it goes without saying that I love the look of this bra. The straps and band elastic are black, which adds to the boudoir look, but it does mean it can’t be worn as a nude bra under light clothes. I feel it strikes¬†the perfect balance of sexy and supportive to be worn as both a bedroom and everyday bra, and the colouring¬†would work fine under most darker clothes.

Parfait Charlotte 32K try on close 1

Previous runs of this style were described as tight in the band, but I found mine to be fairly true to size, stretching to roughly 32.5 inches. Despite me usually wearing a 30 band, I still find this bra wearable – I think the stable four-hook band combined with my V shaped ribcage means the band rides up much less than the average 32 band would. I found the cup volume to be fairly good, so I would say that it runs about a cup small. The cups seem to be fairly mid-depth all over (neither deep nor shallow), which meant that I had slight overspill at the centre and slight gapping at the straps, due to me being centre-heavy, but it isn’t enough to make it unwearable. I would say this bra is best suited to those with either lower or even fullness. I am fairly close-set, so the¬†moderately tall gore (11cm) doesn’t quite lie flat on me at the top.¬†The wires measure as mid-width, but they didn’t distort when the band stretched, making them more narrow to mid-width when worn. I do personally prefer slightly narrower wires, but others will have different preferences, and they are by no means unwearable. My favourite thing about this bra has to be the super-thick comfort straps, which measure in at an impressive 2.7cm, compared to the standard width of 2cm. The thick straps are a very welcome change, providing much needed relief for my shoulders.

Parfait Charlotte 32K try on close 2

The main issues I had with this bra were the side height and cup height. The cup itself is quite tall around the strap, which I think emphasises the gapping I get.¬†I think the issue that will affect most people is the side height, which is 14.2cm in this size. I would consider anything over 12cm to be quite tall; for comparison, most of my bras have a wing height of around 11cm, and the tallest wing height I’ve ever tried was 16cm (CK SS12 bikini in a 30K). So far everyone I know who has tried this bra has found the sides to be a problem, including myself. ¬†Due to the comfortable padded material I didn’t find the sides to dig or rub, but I did find the height itself slightly uncomfortable. The height also meant that my arms pushed the cups down slightly when worn, so the cups do end up sitting about 1cm below my root. I think the height could be a dealbreaker for anyone with high-set breasts and/or a short root.¬†I have considered altering the sides to be lower, but as the wires are also tall, I am not sure this would be possible without altering or replacing the actual wires.

Overall, the cup construction is outstandingly sturdy – it really is like sexy scaffolding, as it manages to be both a heavy lifter and a sultry set. I do wonder if this sort of construction would work well for a strapless, as even with the straps off, it is extremely supportive. All things considered I would say the Charlotte is fairly successful on me, but I really think it could work for a larger range of people if the centre was slightly deeper and the sides were slightly lowered. Despite the issues I found with the Charlotte, I think Parfait are a very promising company, and I hope they can take the feedback they’ve been given on board for their future collections. I really¬†am so pleased to have more options around my size – now I just have to find it in red ūüėČ

Read more reviews:
Sophisticated Pair (30J, Dusty Rose)
The Full Figured Chest (34J, Red)
Quest for the Perfect Bra (30H, Dusty Rose)
Boosaurus (28H, Red)

For those in the UK, the expanded sizes of the Parfait Charlotte are available from Large Cup Lingerie for £30 (peach colourway only). For those in the US, the Charlotte is available from Beautyfull Bras for $36 (all colours). The items in this review were purchased with a voucher to Large Cup Lingerie. Though most of the items were free, this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

Diversity In Lingerie

Recently, some other bloggers and I have been thinking about diversity in the world of lingerie. At the moment, it is extremely rare to see full-bust lingerie modelled by anyone who does not fit the usual mould Рnamely white, young, able-bodied, feminine, conventionally attractive, moderately curvy, slim cis women. There is little to no representation of women of colour, plus size women, women with visible disabilities, older women, women with other body types, trans* women, women with body hair, or women with scars/cellulite/stretch marks. For this reason, we would like to start a campaign: one asking for Diversity In Lingerie.

DIL Sign

#DiversityInLingerie

We would like to encourage lingerie-wearers of ALL bodies and backgrounds to join in with this. As¬†a white, able-bodied, hourglassy cis woman in her 20’s, I would say bodies similar to mine are already fairly well represented, so I am not participating to ask for more models that look like me.¬†By participating you can show the lingerie industry that, yes, you would buy lingerie from a diverse group of models, not just the ones currently shown. To be clear, this is nothing against the body types currently shown – all women are real women, and all bodies are good bodies. Rather, we would like to see a bigger range of models, so that ALL people can see someone they can relate to and identify with when looking for lingerie.

Jessica Abidde for Kiss Me Deadly

Jessica Abidde (Kiss Me Deadly)

What really sticks out to me is that there is a huge discrepancy between everyday women and the average lingerie model. 14% of women in the UK are POC, but less than 7% of¬†Bravissimo‘s items are currently modelled by POC on their website, and¬†Freya¬†and¬†Panache‘s latest collections are modelled almost exclusively by white women. The average women’s waist size in the UK is around 33 inches, but on¬†Brastop‘s selection of new styles, 95% of the sets shown are modelled by women with undoubtedly smaller waists. When it comes to older women, women with visible disabilities, trans* women, or women with body hair, representation is basically non-existent.

Kelly Knox

Kelly Knox (Britain’s Missing Top Model)

Starting from now, if you would like to join the campaign, just take a picture of yourself alongside the hashtag #DiversityInLingerie. It doesn’t have to be in lingerie or even include your face – you can be fully clothed, in your undies, whatever you like. Then, post it on as much social media as you can and make sure you type the hashtag in the text accompanying your post. You can also email it to June at¬†Braless in Brasil¬†to put on her blog, or feel free to add it to my (or another blogger’s) facebook page or to send it anonymously through a message. The more people participating the better!

Pitcha (Chrysalis Lingerie)

Pitcha (Chrysalis Lingerie)

Finally, here are some amazing articles that discuss the importance of diversity and representation in the lingerie industry far better than I ever could:

Throughout today, other bloggers will be coming out with their own posts and pictures, so make sure to check out Braless In Brasil’s post for the links!¬†What do you think? Will you be participating?