Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear Legs

Dear Legs,

Every summer I wish for long, tan, shapely legs like I see on the women around me. Every year I hope that this year will be the year you two make me look awesome.  I day dream about lying around the pool with you, toes painted bright orange or smooth mint. I think about the way we will look in short shorts or in mini skirts. I think about going out to the bar on a hot summer night with friends or Mr.Clean in my favorite dress and laughing over a beer or two.

Every summer I look at you and I wonder what went wrong. You are pale, short and stubbly. My 5'2'' frame doesn't exactly make for long legs. Your hair is dark - inherited, no doubt, from my Italian ancestors who hid their hairy legs under long thick skirts. (Which must have been miserable in the hot, southern Italian sun.) You are super susceptible to mosquito bites (seriously I must be crack cocaine to those things) and when you get bit you get welts the size of China. And then I scratch them in my sleep and the welts become scabs and I look like I've got some horrible contagious disease. And the feet you're attached to are the most unfortunately smell feet anyone has ever had the misfortune to smell. I have no idea why they are so awful but they've always been smelly and so they shall always be. So July first rolls around and legs that should be smooth and tanned and lovely are pale and stubby and scabby.

So then I cover you up. I wear jeans and maxi skirts and Keds. I take long oatmeal and salt baths hoping to relieve the itch and heal the scabs without leaving giant scars. I bathe in DEET (which seems to do nothing to deter the little buggers.) I fuss at you and I whine about you and I scold you for not living up to my hopes and dreams. Whenever someone tells me I'm "smothering them" just looking at me in jeans in Kentucky heat (95 and humid) you agree through your sweaty jeans and I just look sheepish and make some excuse like all my shorts are in the laundry. Every time we go out in a dress I spend the whole time worrying that people are staring at my terrible, scab-covered legs and I end up just tucking you under my skirt and sitting so no one can see you.

Well, legs, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I held you to an impossibly high, air-brushed standard. I'm sorry I didn't take into account the fact that you can't help that mosquitoes love you. I'm sorry I forgot how much I honestly freaking love you and your awesome shape. I forgot how much you do for me like helping me chase my dogs and chickens and run around the job that I love to fetch things for customers and make wine recommendations. I'm sorry I held your genes against you and got pointlessly angry and gave myself (and you) grief over something I can't change. From now on I promise to appreciate you for all you do.

And I promise to keep taking those amazing oatmeal and salt baths, but from now on it's going to be because I like them and not because I'm a vain fool who follows the herd in hating on herself.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nude Bras that Aren't Beige

One thing I feel very strongly about is the lack of diversity in bras and bra models. We have seen a giant leap in the variety of body shapes in modeling but so little change in the realm of skin color. Most lingerie models are white and a model of any other color is a rare find. Not just that, but clicking on "Nude and Skin Tones" as a color option leads to pages and pages of beige bras. Products labeled "nude" are almost always a peachy beige and women with darker skin find themselves out in the cold in the lingerie industry. Even in my search for non-beige nude bras nearly all the models I found were white.

We need to change the way we see "Nude." Here's how you can help.
  • Write a letter to your favorite lingerie company asking them to introduce more "real nude" shades and to stop using the word "nude" when they mean "beige."
  • Tweet your feelings. Use the hashtag #nudeisnotbeige and get your feelings out there.Talk about what skin-tone colors should be called. Should we use terms like "Mocha" and "Peach" or do we prefer terms like "fair" and "deep?" These conversations need to be started by us. We hold the buying power and that gives us the power to change the industry. Even the fairest of the fair needs to fight for our sisters to bring equality into the lingerie industry. 
  • Share this blog post with your friends and ask them to share it with theirs. Spread the word and support the brands that are creating bras in lots of different "nudes." 
  • Blog about #Nudeisnotbeige and share your favorite nude bras that aren't beige. Tell the world what terms you think we should use instead.

Let's look at a few of my favorite nude bras that aren't beige. If you want to purchase any of these bras just click on the link attached to the name.

Tango Balconette Bra by Panache in Chocolate Pink

This bra is a real stunner. With it's sheer cup fabric and pink detailing this bra shines. I will say that in my experience, the larger sizes this bra can be a little overwhelming. It tends to look a little matronly and fit like a full-cup. I'd recommend trying this bra on at a shop if at all possible before purchasing it.

Alana by Bravissimo in Mocha

Not only does this bra come in 86 sizes from D-L, it it well known for maintaining it's beauty and functionality well into the upper sizes. Bravissimo knows their bras and this is one of their best selling. Alana is best suited to those full on the bottom so if you find yourself frequently overspilling cups you may find that the top of this bra is a little too tight on you. That said, don't let that discourage you from giving it a try. There's a reason Bravissimo keeps bringing back every season.

Pralina Balconette by Kris Line in Brown

Kris Line is a Polish company known for making beautiful bras of excellent quality. The Pralina is a stunner with it's contrasting brown and black and delicate lace. The unpadded cups are embossed with a feminine flower print and it's available up to a HH cup. Plus it's on sale at Brastop right now!

Curvy Kate Daily Boost in Mocha 

I love Curvy Kate. I think they their bras are so lovely and well made. Unfortunately, they work best in the small to mid range cup sizes and be a little wonky or shallow in the upper ranges. So if you're in the upper ranges I highly recommend trying the bra before you buy it if at all possible. Their Daily Boost is a very popular style that goes all the way to a JJ cup. The foam-lined, three-part cup offers superb support for every day needs, and gives a smooth look under clothes. Despite Curvy Kate's trouble in larger sizes, Fuller Figure Fuller Bust loved the fit of the Daily Boost and didn't have much trouble with it giving her a pointy shape, perhaps due to the slight foam lining.  

Fauve Lucia Padded Bra in Sienna

This bra has vertical seams for that awesome uplift. The delicate lace detail on this bra really stands out and makes it one that's perfect for both every day and special occasions. I also love the deep, rich color of this bra and think it would look gorgeous on almost any skin tone.

Wacoal Retro Chic Full Figure Bra in Cappucino 

This bra looks like something you would see in Mad Men (which, if you've been a reader for a while know you'll know I'm pretty obsessed with.) The lace is stunning and the bra comes in a ton of colors - nine to be exact. Wacoal makes beautiful, well-made bras that I highly recommend. This particular bra comes in sizes from American D to H (up to FF in UK sizes.) The Cappucino color is soft and unobtrusive and the lace is delicate and feminine.

Comment below or write your own blog post and tell me what your favorite nude but not beige bra is!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Your Boobs are Yours

Ladies, somewhere along the line we got it all wrong. Somehow we got turned around and let someone else tell us what to think about our bodies. We let our society dictate that boobs were something to be ashamed of, that they are purely sexual objects for others to enjoy -  as if we are walking around with sex toys on our chests. In fact, we've allowed it to go so far that breast size has become an indication of promiscuity - the bigger yours are, the more promiscuous you must be (i.e."porn star boobs.") An on the other side of the coin a woman with small breasts is somehow less of a woman because her breasts don't meet someones expectations. Phrases and terms are tossed around casually. I've heard men tell me "More than a handful is a waste" while others have cat-called or shouted "Damn!" as I passed by, as if it was their given right to make judgments about my boobs without my permission. I'm sure plenty of you have dealt with that too - whether you're big or small or somewhere in the middle.

This has to stop.

Your boobs are yours. They don't belong to the guy who cat called you downtown the other day. They don't belong to that guy you dated who thought they were great (or awful.) They don't belong to your parents. They are a part of your body and they are yours. There's no need to be ashamed of your breasts. If a bra fitting with a professional fitter makes you uncomfortable perhaps it's time to take a look at the reason behind that. Do you feel like your breasts are too sexual to be discussed in a professional manner? Do you feel like there is something wrong with your breasts? (I promise you, there isn't.) Do you feel like you're always being pressured to dress for someone else? These and many other hangups can cause embarrassment or frustration in a fitting and they are damaging to our self-esteem.

I'll say it again - your body is yours and that includes your breasts. Dress to make yourself feel beautiful and comfortable. If cleavage is uncomfortable to you, you don't have to show it. If you don't like crew necks (I always feel like I'm choking in them) then wear scoops or v-necks. Talk to your fitter about what feels comfortable and don't settle for a painful or poor fitting bra just because the fitter says it "looks great" or "gives you lots of cleavage." Wear what you like and don't let anyone tell you that you "shouldn't wear that" because of your skin tone/size/shape/whatever. And stop letting the media tell you that that your boobs are something to be ashamed of.

You only get one body. It's time to start loving it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Comfort Rule

Sometimes, full-bust bloggers can be a little preachy. We call this Bravangelism and while it has its place, it can be completely misplaced at times too. Sometimes we can be a little too set on the rules that work for us and insisting that those rules should work for everyone. It's just that we are so excited about helping women find the right fit that we can be overbearing and forget that we are really here for one purpose - to make women more comfortable. 

 The comfort rule is probably the most important part of bra fitting. If a woman isn't comfortable in her bra we haven't done our job right and we've only added ourselves to the long line of unsuccessful fitters in her past. Even though her measurements may put her in a certain size, if she doesn't like it she needs to find a different bra. No one should be forced to wear a bra that hurts them. 

Every bra enthusiast has their own set of rules. Bras I Hate and Love has a post in which she defends the "plus 2" method of measuring for the band. Fuller Figure Fuller Bust measures her underband at 35 so she fluctuates between 34 and 36 bands. I personally find I'm more comfortable when I don't add inches to my 34 inch measurement and though I wear 34's and 36's I often find that I get more support from my 34's. The problem with these rules is that they don't take into account each wearer's preference and comfort. While I may not be adding inches, you may find that you're more comfortable adding a few inches to your band. Some women may measure their cup size by averaging several measurements (like standing and leaning forward) and some may take just their standing measurement. I have had readers tell me that my bra is covering too much of my chest when I knew that the bra I was wearing at the time was giving me major quad-boob and looking awful under a shirt. 

The most important thing to remember as a bra wearer is that if the rules aren't working for you throw them out! Not all bras are created equal and just because a bra says it's a 30 band doesn't mean it measures exactly 30 inches. The band may run loose or tight and you may need to size up or down accordingly. Freya's bands tend to be very stretchy and you may want to wear the next size down. Tutti Rouge and Parfait have run small in the past and you might want to size up. What matters is that you're comfortable in what you're wearing. After all, you're going to be wearing it all day, not the fitter. Wear what feels right to you. If you like bras that give plenty of cleavage wear those. If you like bras that cover you wear those. If you're full on top and your bra gives you the dreaded quad-boob (even though it's the "right size") then size up. If the bra is too shallow or if it's digging into your sternum, or if it's giving you crazy east-west boob or if you just plain hate it, don't wear it. It's your body and your bra. Your comfort is the most important part of your fitting experience. 

So fitters, be patient with the women you're helping. You're trying to give them a better experience than they've had before. Listen to them and meet their needs. 

And ladies, never let anyone force you into a bad bra. You're the one wearing it and you should be comfortable in it.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Best Black Bras for 2014

Every woman needs a black bra, or two, or ten. A well-fitting black bra is as essential as a pair of jeans or a black dress. And with Valentines day coming up now is a great time to look for a nice little black set that will make you feel confident no matter what your plans are.

Here are my top ten choices for black bras this year. I've organized them by category so you can pick the bra that best suits your needs.

1. The Every Day Bra -  Deco by Freya

Nothing beats the cleavage boosting ability of the Freya Deco. This bra is lightly lined so its smooth under t-shirts and thin dresses alike. Women everywhere are in love with this bra and it's no surprise - there just isn't another bra out there that gives the beautiful shape and lift of the Deco. Retailing at $60 this bra is a great investment because you can wear it every day. It comes in sizes 28 D-G, 30 D-GG, 32-36 B-GG and 38 B-G.

2. The Full Coverage Bra - Envy by Panache 

A few weeks ago I stopped in at A Sophisticated Pair in Burlington, North Carolina and tried on a dozen bras. My absolute favorite from the the day was the new Panache Envy. Designed like the old Andorra Full Cup, the Envy has lower side wires (no more stabbing in the armpits) a full side panel and stretch lace at the top to give a nice shape without cutting or gaping. It looks as pretty in full sizes as it does in the small ones and is a great bra for an every-day demure look. It also presents a beautiful round shape from the side. My only complaint with this bra was that the gore was a little wider than I like but I didn't find it to be painful. If you're thinking of transitioning into the world of unlined bras this is the place to start. It retails for $60 and comes in 30-38 D-K.

3. The Vintage Bombshell  - Idina Balconette by Panache

The Idina is a new style for Panache that draws on the lacy styles of times past. It's lightly moulded cup is overlaid with a large-pattern lace which gives a good level of support while still offering some vintage sex appeal. If you want to look sexy without sacrificing comfort the Idina may be a great pick for you. Sexy enough for a night in but comfortable enough for a night out. Bravissimo is offering a pre-order for the bra which is due out very shortly. And at only $45 it's less than you'd pay at your local bra retailer for a bra of the same style. This bra comes in 30-38 D-J and is also available in plunge and moulded styles (albeit with more limited size ranges.)

4. The Babydoll (Under H) - Lola by Curvy Kate

Every woman needs to own one piece of lingerie that makes her feel effortlessly sexy. The Lola by Curvy Kate does just that. Curvy Kate has made a beautiful babydoll that wears perfectly under your little black dress or all by itself. This bra translates beautifully on small-busted women and will look the best on you if you wear a size under H. Undressed to Impress presented a lovely review of the Lola and it looked fabulous on her. Unfortunately, in larger cup sizes (as seen in Fuller Figure Fuller Bust's review) this babydoll struggles with shallowness and the bottom of the cup tends to be empty and/or collapsed. It retails for around $60 and is available in 28-40 D-K.

5. The Babydoll (Over H) - Alexis by Parfait

Although Parfait is new to the over H scene and they initially struggled with sizing issues, they have managed to turn out a beautiful line of over H offerings. The Alexis is one of those. Undersung and outshined by it's cousin Charlotte, the Alexis is one of the few babydolls that looks as pretty in a JJ as it does in a FF. Miss Shapen of Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed gave a beautiful review of the babydoll complete with plenty of pictures in a a fun Beauty and the Beast theme. The Alexis looked stunning in a 30JJ and made me instantly change my mind about wanting it. If you're looking for sex-appeal and support the Alexis is your go-to gal. It's available in 30-40 D-K. Retailing around $65 it definitely won't bring you buyers remorse.

6. The Strapless - Deco Shape by Freya

I tried on this bra a few months ago and found it to be absolutely stunning. The long line support gets 'em up and keeps 'em up. If you're looking for the perfect strapless to go under your strapless dress look no further than the Deco Shape. Following the lead of the original Deco, the Deco Shape gives the same round shape and lift and holds your girls high on your chest. One thing to note about the Deco Shape is that it is slightly shallow on the bottom. So if you have plenty of lower projection you may want to order two sizes - your normal size and the next size up to make sure you get the right size. If you tend to wear the Deco despite being sized out you'll probably find it won't work as well on you due to the lower shallowness. However, even if you're slightly sized out of Deco and you need a strapless I'd still recommend giving this a shot. I've never experienced such great support in a strapless until I tried this. Retailing at $60 and coming in the same size range as the original Deco, this bra is worth your boobs' weight in gold. (It also comes in white!)

7. The Vintage Bond Girl - Dominique by Fauve

If you're a fan of Dominique Derval you're certain to love the Fauve Dominique. This half-cup bra features beautiful vintage embroidery print that looks like it stepped off the set of a Sean Connery era Bond film. Fauve stops their sizing at GG but if you're in their range, take a few minutes to browse their gorgeous, sexy selection. If you want this particular bra you can find it on Brastop for less than $45. As a bonus, this bra also comes in fire engine red to turn up the heat!

8. The Foreign-Born - Szykus by Ewa Michalak

Let's take a moment to talk about Polish bras. I've talked about them a bit already here and here. (You may also want to read this post as well.) Polish bra companies are flying past American and British companies leaving us disoriented in the dust. With offerings up to an N cup and plenty of choices in both lined and unlined cups, brands like Ewa Michalak and Kris Line are defining the new normal. It's time that American and British companies start examining the styles and seams of their Polish counterparts and responding in kind. The Szykus from Ewa Michalak is but one of the beautiful, functional offerings from the brand that serves more sizes than any other. If you haven't already, google their name and use Google's translate engine to browse their collection. And then check out Curvy Wordy for some excellent reviews.Prices will vary depending on location but it comes in almost any size you could ask for.

9. The Cleavage Booster - Rhea by Panache Masquerade

Women everywhere are in love with the Rhea claiming they've never seen their cleavage look that good. The open shape of the Rhea allows for lift and boost for busts that may not have it naturally. If you're looking for a great padded bra with a lot of boost you should definitely take a look at this one. Prices on this bra vary from $50 to $80 so you'll have to shop around for the best deal. It comes in sizes 28-38 D-H.

10.  The New Girl in Town - Lolita by Sunday Intimates

Sunday Intimates is a highly anticipated American Bra company. It's so nice to finally see an American bra company doing it up right. Brand new to 2014, their offerings are overwhelmingly vintage - like Joan Holloway in Mad Men. Lolita is made of a stretch satin that mimics leather and comes in 4 sexy colors. This is definitely a dress to impress kind of bra. If you want to find out more about Sunday Intimates you can check out my blog post here.

That's it folks! There are my top ten bra picks for 2014. If you have any questions or don't know where to buy these bras you can always send me an email at

Happy Shopping!