Banishing Button-strain with BiuBiu

I have recently been persuaded to join a local choir for a Christmas concert, meaning I had to hunt out a smart white shirt for the occasion. Eep. Luckily, with options from brands such as Pepperberry, Urkye, Carissa Rose and Campell & Kate, this isn’t the daunting task it was once. Taking into account size range, price and the fact it had to be plain white, I chose to try out BiuBiu’s Vanity Fair, which came to £53 for two shirts, including delivery to the UK.

Vanity Fair 40BBB main

Going by the tailored clothing size chart, with 109cm bust, 75cm waist, I would ideally need a 38BBBB. Rather than risking buttons pinging off mid-concert in a 38BBB, I went for a 40BBB to get enough bust room, meaning it’s slightly looser in the body than I’d prefer. However, I definitely need every inch of space in the bust, so I think I made the right choice! This is straight out of the post and unironed, so please forgive the wrinkles! The Vanity Fair is made to flare out over the hips, so it’s very pear/hourglass friendly. I think a 38 would be just right on my hips, and would (hopefully) eliminate the extra bit of material between the shoulder blades. But, I think it still looks fantastic in a 40 (and will no doubt look miles better once I’ve ironed it)!

Vanity Fair 40BBB angles
The fit is perfect on my bust, and I find the cut very flattering – I particularly love the shape of the neckline! The material is quite soft with some stretch, but it isn’t the thickest in the world: I’m wearing it here with my yellow Cleo Lucy (the closest thing to nude I own), and it’s just about visible. I don’t think I’ll quite get away with my favoured colourful, patterned bras! The buttonholes are horizontal rather than vertical, and the buttons are square rather than circular, two details which help massively when it comes to gapping and spontaneous undoing. The sleeves are made very long, which may be something to keep in mind if you often have trouble with sleeve length.

Vanity Fair 40BBB styled
Finally, this is how I’d be likely to style this! I’m a huge fan of high waisted skirts, waist belts and rolled up sleeves, and ideally I think this would look great with chunky red/black jewellery. It’s pretty rare to find me in an untucked shirt, but it’s great having the option of either. Nice work, BiuBiu!

My Lingerie Christmas Wishlist

Following the lead of a few other lovely bloggers, I thought I’d list what I’m currently lusting after in the world of lingerie!

Lingerie santa

1. Stockings and Romance girdles

Pin up girdle

Polka dot girdle

I am an absolute sucker for retro-styled lingerie. Combine that with polka-dots and quirkiness, and I will probably faint from giddiness!

Pin Up Girdle and Kiss Me Kate Polka Dot Girdle, both available at Egg & Chips Clothing.

2. Cleo Zia in Pink Spot

Cleo Zia pink

Mmmm! I love the flashes of pink from the polka dots and bows! The Zia is made with the same cut as my true loves Alexa and Olivia, but apparently runs smaller in the cups. Here’s hoping we get on well whenever I get to try her out!

Panache Cleo Zia in pink available at HerRoom, 28-38 D-J.

3. Boudoir Beau in Jet/Emerald

Boudoir Beau

Something any of my friends will know of is my quest for the perfect emerald green bra. Green is such an uncommon colour in lingerie, and I thought I had found my true love in CK’s Tease Me…only for it to go out of stock and never be found again! The Boudoir Beau combines the oh-so-elusive emerald green with sophisticated black lace, and I am so in love. This may just be one that I have to get the matching briefs for, when I can finally afford it! Please please please stay in stock!

Boudoir Beau available from Bravissimo, 28 DD-J, 30-38 DD-K.

4. Masquerade Rhea in Champagne/Pink

Rhea champagne

An oldie but one I am currently wishing I had! Though it only goes to an H, I’ve seen many H+ ladies rocking the hell out of the Rhea.

Available from ASOS in limited sizes, 28-38 D-H.

5. PL Milady

PL Milady

How fabulous is this set? I think it’s pretty clear by now, but I am a huge fan of red lingerie. Something about the colour is just so sexy and exciting! Combine that with my ever-loved black lace, and add in the option for high-waisted briefs…

The PL Milady is readily available from Ewa Michalak in 30-40 A-GG, though they will make almost any size to order.

6. Giselle high waisted knickers

Giselle brief

The lace panels, bustle, suspenders, the peek of skin through the nude panels, oh god why don’t I own these?! This is one piece I will probably never manage to afford, but a girl can dream, right?

Tatu Couture Giselle knickers available from Violet’s Knickers.

7. Curvy Kate Gia in blush

Gia

Though I still haven’t found the unpadded CK for me, after seeing the Gia on Laura, who wouldn’t want to try her?! Combine that with the realisation that I don’t own any nude bras, and I’m definitely going to have to hunt her down!

Curvy Kate Gia in blush available at Brastop, 28-40 D-K.

8. Spellbound Retro briefs

Spellbound retro brief

Another oldie, the Spellbound Retro high waisted briefs from Blush are another one of those pieces that just tick all my boxes. I love the navy polka dots and little coral details!

Spellbound briefs available in limited sizes from Funlove.

9. Morticia corset

Morticia corset

Last but not least, the Morticia corset. Another piece I wish I could afford, but will sadly have to wait a while! Phenomenally modelled by George and Cheryl, is it any wonder this made my wishlist?

Morticia corset available from What Katie Did.

I think I should stop myself there, I could keep going all day! What’s on your wishlist?

“Bras and Body Image” Facebook Page

I’ve made a facebook page!

Image

I’m hoping for it to basically be a more community-based version of my tumblr, so if you’re interested in discussions on feminism and body image, lingerie news and tips, blogs I find interesting and similar things, please head on over and click like!

Photo credits: Feminism buttonsLove all the bodiesWho needs feminism?

Curvy Kate’s Smoothie: The moulded bra up to a J cup

Curvy Kate recently released the Smoothie, a moulded plunge bra up to a J cup (though only in two band sizes). Though I usually wear a 30JJ in most brands (and often a 30K in Curvy Kate), early reviews suggested it came large in the cups. This, combined with the natural curiosity of a large-cupped moulded bra, meant that I had no choice but to try it in a 30J!

CK Smoothie full1
Apologies for the very yellow photos! I honestly could not be more surprised by the fit. I have always had to size up in the cups in CK, and I’ve never gotten the best profile, but the Smoothie is something completely different. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was made by a different brand! Though it is loose in the band (stretching to 32 inches), I have also found it to be large in the cups, fitting perhaps more like a “standard” 32J on me. Other reviews have found the bands to be somewhat inconsistent, with most reviews falling between true-to-size and slightly loose. I would probably suggest sizing down in this, as a too-tight band is a much easier fix than a too-loose one! I can’t quite convince myself to buy the matching underwear for such a basic set, but others may fall in love with the high-waisted style briefs also available.

CK Smoothie closeup1
Completely unexpectedly, I think I have found a new favourite bra. The Smoothie has a subtle leopard print pattern on both the cups and band (huzzah!), which livens it up without showing under clothes. It also has a tiny jewel on the centre gore, which itself has black leopard print detail, something I absolutely love! I’m also surprised by the cleavage I get from it! In terms of profile, the Smoothie gives a very uplifted, naturally rounded shape, similar to what I get from most Bravissimo styles – think your boobs but better! The cups are constructed of a fairly stiff foam, which is rigid enough to keep a good shape without compromising comfort. The central gore is also lower and narrower than on the other CK bras I’ve tried, which is great for those with close-set breasts. It also has fully adjustable straps and a three-hook fastening, which is always good news.

CK Smoothie rotated

As wonderful as this bra is, it isn’t without problems. The main issue I have with this bra is how high-cut it is under the armpits, which results in some rubbing throughout the day. As such, it may not be the best choice for those with short torsos or high-set breasts, though it may be worth a try. This may be improved if the straps were slightly more central at the front, which would (theoretically) also be more supportive. The second (potential) issue is that it seems to have a square “dent” at the bottom of the cups. If it was only there whilst wearing, I would think it was due to cup buckling, however it is still there when I am not wearing it. I am not sure if this is due to how it was stored before sale, or if it is how the cups are actually formed, but some may find this a problem.

I would consider myself to have fairly balanced fullness, perhaps slightly more full on top. Overall, I think a 28JJ would be perfect for me in this, so I would suggest a band size down with your usual cup size (e.g. 32J -> 30J). I can’t really compare it to other CK bras, as most of them have not worked for me! The Smoothie has also been reviewed at Invest In Your ChestBras I Hate, Broods Big Bras and A Sophisticated Pair. It seems to be constructed to work for a variety of breast shapes, which is quite rare, though it means some may need to try a few sizes before finding a good fit – those who are full-on-top may find their usual size to fit well, while those who are bottom-heavy may need to size down more. It may also be important to note that the Australian run were apparently mislabelled and ran very large in the cup, as shown by Brood, something to keep in mind if ordering from Australia! The Smoothie will also be released in hot pink and blush for the next season, which I’m quite looking forward to – the blush looks like a a great option for a light-skinned nude tone!

Along with the Smoothie, I may have treated myself to a fun set in the form of CK’s Cherry/Blush Tease Me, also in a 30J.

CK Cherry Tease Me full1
As expected, it is slightly too small in the cups on me, though not quite as small as the Thrill Me. The band stretches to 31 inches new, so ideally I think I would need a 30JJ in this (or 28K accounting for stretching over time), suggesting it’s quite true to size. The Tease Me features the usual three hook fastening, with fully adjustable (fairly stretchy) straps. As expected from a 30J, I find the wire width fairly spot on, though I wish the gore was just a touch narrower.

CK Cherry Tease Me closeup1
Though I’m sure it goes without saying, I adore this set. It gives a fantastic Marie Antoinette style cleavage, the detailing is amazing, and the colour combination is an absolute winner. I’m not much of a thong person, but the thong has to be my favourite part of this set – I am in the love with the red polka-dot mesh frills! I may have found my true love in the Tease Me, and so wish I’d managed to snap it up in the emerald green, something I’m sure will haunt me forever!

Treats from Poland!

IMAG2181

Until recently, my only experience with Ewa Michalak (Effuniak) was the HP Fuksja in a 30J, which I got quite a while ago on sale. While it’s definitely not the best fit for me (small in the cups, loose in the band), and I’m not the biggest fan of two-hook bands, it’s a gorgeous set that convinced me this wouldn’t be my last taste of EM! After all, how many brands can boast padded bras in such an impressive size range?

So, when I could finally afford it, I clearly had no choice but to get a few more sets!

[Update 15/05/13: Since writing this review, I have realised that the cups of all of these bras are actually too small, something that was disguised by issues I have with the construction. All comments about the band tightness, wires, appearance etc still hold, but I believe I would actually need a 30KK/L in these bras, along with alterations to the straps/armholes. To see the construction issues with these bras and my revised sizing advice, see this post.]

The first set I decided on was the PL Czerwona Panterka, which at the time was on sale for 99zł, with the matching thong brief in a size 14.

PL Czerwona Panterka body
Based on reviews I’d read previously, I went up a cup and stayed with the same band size, so this is a 30K.  I had to custom order this so it was non-returnable, but I still paid sale price. If I ordered again, I think I would stick to a 30JJ for the bra, as, though it fits, I think it loses some of the “oomph” I was hoping for in a padded plunge style. I would also size down to a 12 in the briefs, as they are made of a very stretchy material. In terms of band tightness, this bra stretches to about 29.5 inches, so I don’t think sizing up is necessary for a true 30, though those on the upper end of their band may be more comfortable a band up. Personally, I prefer to wear as tight a band as possible, and wear an extender if necessary, to prolong the lifetime of my bras!

PL Czerwona Panterka closeupNow, the bra itself! As if it needed saying, I love the look of this bra! Red and leopard print gets a big tick in my book. I especially love the lace panels on the band and gore, and the detailing on the straps, however the detailing does render the straps only half adjustable. I was also quite surprised at just how narrow the wires are for this bra: they’re narrower than in the HP Fuksjja, just bordering on too narrow at the sides for me, which is definitely a first! It gives a very rounded but forward profile, and has a (much more comfortable) three-hook fastening. It doesn’t give quite as much uplift as I’d hope, something I think would also improve in a 30JJ.

The second set I decided on was the PL Black, which is still available for 129zł, and the matching brief in a size 14.

PL Black full

Once again, I adore this set! The fit is about the same as the PL Czerwona Panterka, and again I feel I could have gone for a 30JJ. The band is of a similar tightness, and, though I don’t think I would, some may prefer to size up.

Pl Black close up
This bra has of a nude coloured (for me) padded base, with elastic black lace overlaid. The level of detail isn’t normally visible without the contrast from my camera flash, but it’s definitely there – I love the polka dot mesh details! In particular, my favourite part of this set has to be the briefs! The polka dot mesh, sheer panels, the faux-suspender clips, I am absolutely in love with them! This is one of the times when I simply can’t justify NOT buying the matching underwear! As before, the bra has a three-hook fastening, but it also has fully adjustable straps.

Finally, my last Ewa purchase was not planned! I found the PL Carmen in a 30K on a bra sell/swap page, and couldn’t resist getting it. Oops! It’s still available, now on sale, for 109zł. Not all sizes are listed, but if you’re interested in a bra, it’s always worth emailing to see if they’ll make it!

PL Carmen

Trying it on as soon as it arrived. What can I say, bras are exciting! Since I didn’t buy directly from Ewa, I don’t have the matching briefs for this bra, and (as I so often do) will have to mix and match!

PL Carmen close up
This bra I found to be tighter in the band than the above two, and I would quite possibly have preferred to size up. Like the PL Black, this bra has fully-adjustable straps, and a comfortable three-hook fastening. Once again, I think I could have done with a JJ, but as this came with removable pads I can still get a bit more “oomph”! Overall, I could have probably done with a 32J for this style. I think the tightness in the band may be due to the fact that the pattern covers both the cups and the band, a detail that I am loving! I haven’t owned many red bras, and I am not disappointed at all with this. It may just be a strong contender for my Christmas bra!

Ewa Michalak bras normally fall around the 129zł mark (about £26 at the moment), while briefs fall around 39-49zł (£8-£10). My order came up to 306zł for the sets, 27zł for delivery (which took about two weeks from payment date), and a PayPal fee of about 43zł, a total of about £75 for two sets, which is quite reasonable really! The PayPal fees are definitely something to keep in mind while ordering.

Now, to stop myself buying the PL Milady…Swoon!