And the winners are . . .

Hello Everyone,

Remember that super amazing giveaway we did last month?  Well, here are the winning ticket codes:

  • Le Mystere Bra and Panty Set:  856644
  • Curvy Couture Bra and Panty Set:  856469
  • Comexim Bra and Panty Set:  856765
  • Anna Pardal Bra and Panty Set:  857047
  • Wacoal Bra and Panty Set:  857627
  • Panache Bra and Panty Set:  857811
  • Natori Mystery Prize:  856778
  • Fleur’t Mystery Prize:  857140
  • Strap Saver Gift Certificate:  856686
  • Tia Lyn Signature Chemise and Bolero:  856617
  • ChickenEye Designs Inner Truth Panties:  857155
  • Bolero Maxi Dress:  857754
  • Kix’ies Stockings:  856582
  • Glamory Hosiery Supply:  856759
  • Yummie Tummie Leggings:  856374, 857136, 856854
  • Le Mystere Water Bottles:  856726, 856699
  • Le Mystere Tote Bag:  857348
  • $25 Gift Certificate to Sophisticated Pair:  856718
  • $50 Gift Certificate to Sophisticated Pair:  857476
  • $75 Gift Certificate to Sophisticated Pair:  857328
  • Urkye 30% Discount Code:  857246, 857241, 857568, 856847, 857110, 857369, 856341

If you won a prize, please send me an email, but I will be contacting everyone individually as time permits within the next few days.  Congratulations to all of our winners, and thanks again to our wonderful vendors for going above and beyond with their amazing prizes!

Erica, Debbie, and Jason

Posted in News

Product Review: Bolero Carmen Dress

Hello Everyone,

One of the questions I field frequently about Bolero dresses is whether they were going to have any styles which are a little less body-conscious through the midsection or that have a fuller skirt. Ladies and gents, please allow me to introduce the impossibly lovely, effortlessly flattering Carmen:

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Featuring a sleeveless design for easy layering, Carmen provides extra space in the chest before narrowing for a fitted empire waist and then draping beautifully into a tummy-concealing circle skirt. Like other Bolero dresses, the armholes are narrow enough to avoid showing any bra, and the center ruching contours well across the cup size spectrum. In the front, the fabric is lined, allowing you the glorious freedom to wear whatever bra you like without fear of the seams or texture showing, and in the patterned variations, the mix of colors discreetly conceals nipple issues. The back comes higher than the skater or original D+ dresses, which was another concern.

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The tailored waist band darts inward shortly below the bust but avoids the common pitfalls of many empire waist designs. Often, the seaming for the waist or narrow band designed to hit below the bust can create a boob-bisection where it sits horizontally across the chest for a less than flattering look. Even in larger cup sizes, the waist of Carmen sits where it should, but more importantly, the way the skirt floats down the body remains fitted enough to not add additional volume to the abdomen.  Read more ›

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Visually, the contrast of the band slims the waist or underbust, depending where the dress falls, and the circle skirt bottom features the most beautiful movement I have ever seen in a dress. It’s lovely the way the skirt swooshes around the legs with walking or moving, and I have been known to twirl around the store because it’s so much fun to do.

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Because of the wonderful quality of movement, the Carmen makes for a perfect party or dancing dress, and the designs transitions easily with accessories. Dress it up with heels and sparkly jewelry, or play it more casual with flats and a cardigan. The length of mine works for either because it hits just above the knee, which is my personal favorite length. One of the things I love about all of my Bolero dresses (of which I have more than a few!) is how versatile they can be given the right layering pieces. In our climate, the dreamily smooth, no-wrinkle fabric is also fairly seasonless even in winter, provided you add some layers.

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Be forewarned, nevertheless, that like other similar skirts, there is the potential for a full-on Marilyn Monroe moment if the wind catches the fabric just right. I have this problem with my 50s-esque skirts too, so I try to wear shorts or tights just in case.

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For the review, Patricia sent me three different dresses to try, and I ended up keeping both the solid black and the blue print. The black Carmen embodies the quintessential little black dress with its classy marriage of modern with vintage. The narrow band of the waist features a peek-a-boo crocheted geometric print which coyly exposes the skin beneath; however, if baring your belly is not your thing, rest assured Patricia has versions with a solid cover. Personally, I think the hint of skin adds unique flair although for work, I either wear a belt on top of it or, in the case of the black one, layer my Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline underneath the dress. The longline adds to the pattern of the crochet while still covering the skin.

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As much as I love the black, I adore the blue abstract print. Green is my favorite color, and I was very close to ordering the one shown in the stunning Leah of Hourglassy’s review were it not for the fact I already have a green-based Bolero. My new goal is to get one of her dresses in every color. Forget tasting the rainbow, I want to wear it! I was disappointed in my decision because the print has so much depth and vibrancy in person. Patricia manages to find these unique trend-transcending prints for her clothes, some of which are more classic like polka dots while others deftly mix bright, contrasting hues. For this print, there is an artistic exploration of the many shades of blue all anchored by the black.

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Finally, there is the lovely solid teal dress with a richness that flatters most skin tones. Like the black dress, the teal is classic and sophisticated although the band here eschews the crochet detail for a translucent mesh. One of my peonies makes an appearance, and while I am not one for showing my stomach, I like how the dress offers a muted cut-out component which is on trend. Of course, you can order something solid too.

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Did I mention the Carmen has pockets? I freakin’ love pockets in dresses. In fact, I just like pockets in general, so to have a gorgeous beautiful dress like this with pockets is sort of my nirvana. They are sewn into the folds of the circle skirt so as to be invisible and not interfere with the flow of the dress, but they are also deep enough to hold my credit cards and phone without diminishing the beautiful of the silhouette. The only thing better than pockets are practical pockets!

Carmen_Black_1

For Bolero, I usually take a size small, and these dresses are no different. However, I never ever want anyone to witness how I take off and put on the dress. The narrow band and my 30HH boobs, especially when adorning Comexim or Anna Pardal bras, engage in a mild skirmish. When I put this dress on over my head (because my butt ain’t small either), I pull all the skirt down first, making it seem like I am wearing one of those old tent-like maternity tops. Then, I gently pull up one boob at a time little by little until they are above the band. Afterwards, I adjust everything into place. It’s a sacrifice I will endure to ensure the band fits snugly at my waist, but I look ridiculous while doing this. Having given the Internet that charming visual, the mesh one is significantly easier than the crochet piece, but the tighter, woven nature of the crochet waist bands means I take my time in the morning . . . and try to wear bras without texture.

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Quality is exactly what you expect from Bolero. I’ve heard that some people would never spend $150 on a dress, but these dresses are worth every penny. Not only are you supporting a small business, but in a time when people demanding fair wages and responsible manufacturing, Bolero is ahead of the curve, paying her sewing team above minimum wage and producing them in an ethical setting. She makes her dresses to order too and is open to modifying patterns to improve fit. Most of the dresses at Nordstrom cost as much if not more than Bolero, and they are mass-produced with lower quality. My philosophy is buy fewer higher quality pieces, but I know that isn’t for everyone so no judgment here. I will say that I wear these dresses all the time because they are the easiest thing for my job. I toss them in the wash, and they come out looking new every time. It’s a product I believe in, which is why I am such a big supporter of her, and I hope if you haven’t tried her designs yet, you will soon.

Carmen_Blue_6

Carmen is an online exclusive for Bolero at the moment, but you can purchase it on their website BoleroBeachwear.com. They offer free shipping, and new customers receive 20% off their first order!

Erica

Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Product Review: Anna Pardal Rosa Half-Cup Longline Plus a Bonus!

Hello Everyone,

Last week, I posted a glowing review to the new Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline in the classic plunge shape, and today I want to compare and review a longline with the three-section half-cup design, similar to the Doyenne on the website.  The sample I received is for the as yet unreleased Anna Pardal Rosa, which I am told should be on the website soon.

Sizing & Fit:  As with the Hibiscus longline, I ordered a size 34H—the sister size of my standard 32HH in Anna Pardal.  Because I planned to wear the piece all day at the store, I wanted the added breathing room afforded by a 34 band, and I knew the wide band would aid in providing additional support and smoothing.  With Hibiscus, the 34 band felt comfortably snug, and if I were so inclined, I could have squeezed into the 32 band.  However, the overall fit and feel of the 34, especially later in the day, was exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  With Rosa, the 34 band is TIGHT and is more in line with how I thought the 32 would fit.

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After shooting the videos, I compared Hibiscus and Rosa and realized why Rosa fits so much tighter:  the firm, heavy fabric on the center panel extends all the way around the wing.  With Hibiscus, the heavier fabric is limited to the front panel and then transitions to a standard and thus more flexible powernet mesh.  Rosa is not uncomfortable to wear, and I have done so at the shop once or twice . . . but only on days I am feeling especially svelte and plan my meals carefully.

AP_Rosa_4 Read more ›

As with Hibiscus, the longline portion of the bra is incredible.  I won’t rehash my gush-fest over the longline again, but I will note the band stays put and feels comfortable all while eschewing the traditional boning.  To be necessarily redundant:  It’s incredible!  My analytical tendencies kicked in over the weekend, and I believe the overall improved fit here originates with the length of Anna Pardal and Comexim longlines.  My Curvy Kate Carmen barely extends more than an inch past the underwire, but as you can see from the photos and video, these hit me at my natural waist.  The overall effect not only improves my posture and the overall support of the bra but it also smooths my sides and back for a slimmer silhouette.  Comexim and Anna Pardal seriously knocked the ball out of the park on their longline!

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In the past, I have steadfastly ordered the classic plunge shape, sometimes with modifications, because half-cups tend to utilize wider, shallower designs which are at odds with my close-set heavy tissue.  As a result, I went into the review expecting shape problems but also sizing issues.  I realized after I requested the 34H size that the half-cup bras often require sizing up for a good fit, and when I fully scoop the breast tissue, there is overflow toward the front.  The center gore does not fully tack either, and if I press it inward, I wonder if a 34J would not have been even better because the overflow becomes more severe.  As expected, the center and bottom cups are more shallow than I need, but I am still getting impressive support and lift here.  The comfort level of the bra was nice too, but throughout the day, I did need to periodically adjust myself.  My heavier center tissue wanted to push the cups down further or to spill out the center.

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With these critiques in mind, if you experience fit problems with the plunge shape because of the depth, narrowness, or cup height, consider the half-cup style instead.  The comfort and support are lovely and have worked well on special order, particularly for those in the D-G cup size range.  With a few tweaks, I think the three-section half-cup could work for fuller-busts too—a common request I have fielded lately.

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Materials & Design:  Because of Anna Pardal’s commitment to quality, I am never disappointed in her use of materials.  The lightly padded cup provides firm support without becoming too rigid, and all of the fabrics resting against skin are non-abrasive to prevent irritation.  Fully-adjustable straps allow you to improve the fit of the cups, and two columns of six hook-and-eye closures offer flexibility for when the band looses elasticity.  Of course, the heavier, restricted-stretch fabric extending onto the wings makes this situation unlikely for some time, and even the slightly stretchier Hibiscus shows no signs of breaking down quickly.

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One of the reasons I am excited to see Rosa debut on the website is because it is a personal favorite for me.  Anna Pardal often releases collections with sophisticated combinations of neutral colors, relying on textural laces and unique prints to craft a luxurious design, but the feisty Rosa is a fearless, bright beacon in the collection.  Hot pink and black never fail to look sharp together, and I love the contrast piping and black floral lace at the top of the cup.  Instead of the typical rose print complete with color or ornate details, Anna Pardal subtly nods to the bloom using a light-reflecting monotone print which showcases the curves and contours rather than the precise details.  The smooth fabric shines more in person than on film, but I love how Rosa showcases how successfully Anna Pardal transitions a classic lingerie staple into something slightly different.

Overall Grade:  B for me, A for shallower breast types

Wait, what’s this?  The review hasn’t ended yet?  . . .

Hopefully, you have visited the revamped Anna Pardal website already, and I am sure you noted the Rosa will retail in the $80-$90 ballpark (what’s up with me and baseball metaphors today?).  One of the blog posts I have brewing for the future is a frank discussion of lingerie quality and pricing, and Anna Pardal is a prime example I will be using.  Yes, you will pay about $20 more than a Freya Longline, but the quality of materials far exceeds many fuller-bust options.  The price tag also grants you access to a design team which is constantly evolving to improve the fit across all sizes as well as one which offers custom alterations.  Sometimes, the price tag comes from the name on the tag.  In the case of Anna Pardal, you pay more because the product costs more to make and is an all-around better piece.  It may be an investment piece, but it’s something that will last you.

And this leads me to our BONUS!

Comexim_LL_03

At the same time Anna Pardal sent me Rosa, Comexim sent over a sample of their longline bra.  Since mine is not available, I think they may have used scrap fabric, but I want to briefly compare them.  For starters, the band on the Comexim 34H is loose.  I would have needed the 32 for a comfortable fit as I needed to wear this one on the tightest set of hooks.  The cups are also a size small like Rosa, but the fit on the Anna Pardal is better.  The half-cup shape and I do battle throughout the day as I mentioned above, but it’s nowhere near the kind of battle I have with Comexim.  I pushed the entire bra so far down at one point that I was concerned I was going to have a nip slip pop up.  The longline part is still great, but you can tell there is a difference here in materials.  The fabrics feel thinner, a little stretchier, and more on par with what I’ve come to expect from the brand.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I freakin’ love Comexim, and I plan on stocking one of their half-cups or longlines in the shop in the coming months because the fit is still lovely and the price point is a nice counter to Anna Pardal.  But, I wanted to emphasize why it is you would spend about $56 on this longline and $86 on the Anna Pardal.  There is definitely a quality difference here that accounts for the price shift.

Comexim_LL_02 Comexim_LL_01

Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Product Review: Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline

Hello Everyone,

Industry innovator, Anna Pardal recently revamped her website to debut her latest collection complete with stunning prints and new styles engineered from the extensive feedback provided by customers and retailers.  Most traditional manufacturers will use a particular fabric to create one or two styles, but Anna Pardal instead chose to offer four different bra frames in addition to a host of other custom features ranging from adding nursing clasps or asymmetry pockets for free, extending the band of any bra into a longline style, or allowing specific alteration requests at the modest fee of $10.  Because of the higher quality materials and the improved designs, prices have increased, which will impact our shop in the coming weeks, but I have a much longer post about this and other store changes planned for September.

For today, I am focusing on reviewing the fabulous Hibiscus longline I have been lusting after since I saw the post on Sweet Nothings.  When I ordered my longline, the website upgrade had not been finished, and as a result, the cup for this bra is the classic plunge with reduced cups and the straps moved in 2cm.  As I understand it, the Nuance Plunge will be closer to this design although not exact.

Anna Pardal Hibiscus and Matching Brief

Anna Pardal Hibiscus and Matching Brief

Sizing & Fit:  Because I have written extensively on the fit of Anna Pardal bras, I’m am going to spare my regular readers and not rehash everything here.  However, if you’re interested in learning more, you need only type “Anna Pardal” into the search box of the blog and pour over the copious reviews and alterations information I have posted.  When I ordered the Hibiscus longline, I opted for a 34H instead of my usual 32HH because I was concerned about the tightness around my sometimes sensitive stomach, and I knew I wanted this piece for wearing to the shop.  Everything fits perfectly!  The cup does not have any gaping or overflow, and the band is comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks.

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Moving in the straps and reducing the cup improved the fit by eliminating gaping near the top of the cup and by securing the straps on my shoulders better, and I chose the original gore height for moderate coverage.  Sometimes I experience a soft tack, more so with Comexim than Anna Pardal, but the Hibiscus presses comfortably into my sternum for an overall wonderful fit.  When I looked in the mirror wearing the Hibiscus, I exclaimed to no one other than my pervy dogs:  Damn, my boobs look awesome in this bra!  Read more ›

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Of course, I would be remiss if I did not compliment the fantastic longine design.  When we opened in 2011, we carried the Freya Nieve longine (remember that one with the chintzy liberty print?), and it sold extremely well.  However, I always like to ask our customers for later feedback, and while some people loved the design, others had problems with the entire band rolling up to the underwires as they move or sat.  Almost everyone reserved the bra for special occasions instead of as an everyday piece, and I wavered on carrying more longline options.

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Later on, Parfait debuted their Danielle longline which we offered on special order.  Parfait utilized boning on the front and sides to prevent rolling, but anything less than balance-a-book-on-your-head posture allowed the bra to dig into the tissue.  Sometimes even perfect posture was not enough.  The viability of a longline bra was not looking good!  Then, along came Curvy Kate with their gorgeous Carmen that forwent boning in the front for more flexible pieces on the side.  I loved the bra and found the band did not roll and had only minimal issues with poking/digging on the sides.  I thought Carmen was the pinnacle of longline design . . . until Anna Pardal.

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What makes the Anna Pardal longline successful is the use of a heavier, elasticized piece at the bottom which feels tighter than the rest of the band and anchors to the ribs for stability.  The elastic strip occasionally flips on me if I have been bending frequently, but the band itself never rolls up.  Every bra I have owned from Fantasie to Freya to Panache to Anna Pardal often flips a little at the underwire because of how much I move, and I have to fix it about twice a day.  It’s not a big deal unless I am busy which can then give it time to rub, but the longline completely eradicated this problem as well as the usual red marks from the added fabric putting pressure on my skin.

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Furthermore, the band removed so much pressure from my shoulders and back that I was practically dancing around the store the first time I wore it, and I am currently exercising considerable willpower to keep from wearing it everyday.  The extra wide band disperses the weight of the bust wonderfully while providing incredible side smoothing and back support.  I have a bit of squishy tissue by my band which can sometimes create a small lump under tops, but the longline offers one vertical line from underarm to waist for a flattering silhouette.  I plan on having at least three longlines at any time in my wardrobe . . . and that’s saying something because it’s pretty hot and muggy today.

Materials & Design:  One of the reasons this longline feels so great is the fabrics are comfortable but also breathable.  The lovely print extends only partially toward the side before transitioning to a firm fitting but lighter-weight mesh, and the elastic strip at the bottom does not feel hard or rough.  Because of the brand’s commitment to quality, the rest of the bra more than matches the price too.  Lightly padded cups are thick enough to provide nipple coverage but flexible for an improved fit, and the fully-adjustable reduced-stretch straps prevent digging.

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My dark bra obsession continues because I find Hibiscus to sport a stunning floral print alternative.  Instead of petals and blooming flowers, Hibiscus presents leafy ferns on a complex abstract background similar to stained glass.  The beige background is close enough to my skin to allow the black threading to seem like a tattoo directly on the skin.  Darker skin tone would rock this design too, and I think the use of a classic neutral pattern allows the unique choice of print to flourish.  No Anna Pardal bra would be complete without thoughtful finishing touches, and Hibiscus offers bra aficionados embellished straps, an over-sized center bow, and a chic minimalist strip of embroidery at the top of the cup.  Anna Pardal Hibiscus perfectly embodies sophistication, luxury, comfort, and support.  Did I mention this is my new favorite?

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Size 3 (Large) Briefs

Size 3 (Large) Briefs

The Brief:  In the past, I have only tried the thongs and the tap pants from Anna Pardal, and while I love the bras, I hate thongs and found the tap pants quickly, shall we say, relocated north after a couple minutes.  The briefs, on the other hand, are perfect.  They stay put all day, feel incredibly comfortable, and do not dig into my hips.  I have yet to find a panty I love as much as the Natori Bliss series, but these are one of my favorites for a matching set.

Overall Grade  A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bolero Banishes Back Fat! + New Skater Dress Prints Bonus

Hello Everyone,

Full disclosure:  I’m not a huge fan of the term “back fat” because I hear it way too often in my job by people who look perfect as they are.  Factor in how the mere hint of this perceived imperfection can lead a client to size up in the band to the point of a poorer overall fit, and you can understand my frustration for yet another way people have at their disposal to pick themselves apart.  I am also a woman who does possess some extra . . . ahem . . . tissue back there.  I developed it after years of not wearing a bra that fits, particularly during periods of weight gain and loss, and even when I am in fighting shape, the squishy bits DO NOT GO AWAY.  I used to be really self-conscious about it, but I realized there were much better things for me to worry about and have made peace with it.

Bolero Wrap Top with Back Fan Banishing Panel!

Bolero Wrap Top with Back Fat Banishing Panel!

Anyway, disclosure aside, I know not all people feel the same way about back fat as I do, which is why I was pleased to see that Patricia of Bolero was listening to feedback to improve her designs.  Everything I have shown in my copious reviews has been the original design, but Patricia has cleverly modified the classic shapes to create a second variation which is more forgiving of any lumps, bumps, back fat, or whatever you want to call it.

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The above dress is a classic skater style in a brand new print, but the interior of the back has been shored up with a smooth, slightly heavier piece of fabric to prevent the dress from clinging and to allow it to fall smoothly from the shoulder.  In the Skater dress, this panel stops at the seamed part running perpendicular to the vertical back seam, meaning it covers about half of the back and includes the bra band.  The design then reverts to the regular, softly draping fabric for the lower back and flows downward to the knee.  As a result, the panel will not cover the entire back, but the area encompassed by it does have a smooth profile.  Read more ›

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Per usual, the fabrics on the dresses are fantastic, and I have found the Skater version to be one of the more flattering designs because of the way the skirt flows from the waist across the hips.  Speaking from personal experience, the design can be more forgiving of weight gain, particularly in the tummy or hip region.

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In addition to modifying her Skater dresses, Patricia has also changed the wrap tops to have a more flattering back as well.

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For the tops, the piece extends all the way down the interior back to completely cover problem areas.

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One of the complaints I have read before about thinner tops or even other bust-friendly clothing is how the back is not always as flattering because thinner materials not only highlight the indentation of the bra band but also hardware pieces like strap adjusters or any textural design elements.  Not only does the new Bolero wrap top alleviate these issues, but the use of unique, multicolor prints only adds to the camouflage.

Note:  Line at the small of my back is from the pencil skirt.

Note: Line at the small of my back is from the pencil skirt.

If you’re just tuning into my little corner of the Internet, I recommend reading this post discussing the original Skater dresses and then reading this review of the wrap tops.  (Spoiler alert: Both are awesome!)  Now that customers can elect to have the Back Fat Banishing Panel! added to either design, I am sure people will appreciate Bolero even more.  Remember:  All Bolero designs are not mass-produced and are instead made by a small business in the USA under ethical work conditions.  Supporting them supports our economy and encourages other designers to bring manufacturing back here.

Gravel slipped under my boot, and I almost nosedived into the ground right when this shot was taken.  Taking pictures is dangerous people!

Gravel slipped under my boot, and I almost nosedived into the ground right when this shot was taken. Taking pictures is dangerous people!

Finally, Patricia has released a number of new prints lately, some of which can be found on her newly revamped website.  She has some stuff available now but will be adding more styles and prints in the future.  The dress below is one such example of another great print from her:

New_Skater_2 New_Skater_1

I love how both of the prints featured in this post work well as a transitional summer/fall print.  The fabrics are still light enough to wear now, but the emphasis on solid, primary colors with a mix of dark neutrals allows you to layer them effortlessly later on—a characteristic not all of her prints possess.  How easy it will be to wear Bolero in colder temperatures will depend on your definition of “cold.”  My definition is between 35-45F (I’m a baby, I know . . . that’s why I live in the south!), and my Bolero dresses hold up well with some opaque tights, boots, and either a cardigan or jacket outer layer.  Those of you living in the tundra may need to reserve them for warmer months.  :)

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**UPDATE** At the moment, the two prints shown in this post are the only ones available with the Back Fat Banishing Panel. Patricia is searching for more that work with it successfully.**
Erica

P.S.  The sale and the arrival of lots of new inventory has me working really late into the evening, so blogging consistency has dropped.  However, I do have reviews of the new Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline, Anna Pardal Rosa Longline, Bolero Carmen, and Bolero Wrap Dress in the works too.  I’m hoping to have the first two up for next week because they invite a lot of comparisons, and the latter two should go live the week after that.  In the meantime, we are offering all Bolero dresses at 15% off on our website, and for every $10 you spend in the store, you earn an entry ticket in our fabulous giveaway . . . where you could also win another Bolero dress!

Posted in News, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

4th Anniversary Giveaway and Sale

Hello Everyone!

July 17th is always an emotional day for us because it marks our anniversary for opening the shop, and with four years of operation and experience under the proverbial belt, we feel the store has truly grown and improved—a trend we plan to continue by expanding our inventory and improving our services. Because our boutique would not exist without the support of our wonderful customers, we are happy to celebrate again this year with our August Anniversary Sale and Giveaway! Words will never express how much you mean to us, but a few free prizes certainly won’t hurt.

On more than one occasion, I have mentioned my ongoing goal to create a shop people visit for more than just bras, and while progress is slow due to budget and space constraints, I feel like our giveaway this year truly reflects how diverse the shop is becoming. We have prizes ranging from traditional lingerie sets to bust-friendly clothing to hosiery, and I have to give a standing ovation to our vendors for being so generous.

Without further rambling on my part, let’s introduce our contributors and what prizes they are offering! (Be forewarned: This part could be titled “Erica’s Favorites” because I love them all so much. Profuse gushing may also be involved.)

Affinitas and Parfait

Ice Blue Variation of Charlotte

Ice Blue Variation of Charlotte

Known for gorgeous designs at wallet-friendly prices, Affinitas and its fuller-bust sister line Parfait specialize in adorable bra and panty sets, sleek basics, and supportive but sexy lingerie. Women wanting an inexpensive fun set to complement their basics need look no further as Parfait and Affinitas sport some of the best, including the cotton polka dot Sienna or the ever popular burlesque-inspired Charlotte.

Gift with Purchase: Spend $75 on Parfait and/or Affinitas products and receive a free pair of packaged panties while supplies last. Pack contains three hipsters or three thongs.

Anna Pardal

The New Lady Grey

The New Lady Grey

Made from exquisite Spanish and Italian fabrics, Anna Pardal is an upscale lingerie line offering a decadent mixture of plunges, half-cups, and longline bras designed for the fuller-bust. Not only can the quality of materials not be matched, but Anna Pardal also allows customers to request a range of alterations to her bras, including asymmetry pockets, nursing clasps, wider bands, and so much more! If you have yet to read my glowing, borderline fan-girl reviews, you must be a newcomer to the blog. Check here for a complete list!

Prize: A Bra and Panty Set  Read more ›

Bolero Beachwear

Bolero_KeyWest

Bolero Key West Maxi Dress

As a small American business owner, I love to support companies like Bolero which make original designs right here in the USA under ethical working conditions. Instead of buying fast or cheap fashion, I prefer to invest in craftsmanship and ethical design—a skill at which Bolero owner Patricia exceeds. With an emphasis on breezy fabrics that drape effortlessly over curves, Bolero is ideal for D+ ladies needing a flattering, wear-everyday dress or top. Her man-made fabric blends never winkle or pill, and they dry quickly, making them suitable travel companions . . . or for people like me who avoid ironing. Did I mention this is another favorite of mine?

Prize: A Key West Print Maxi Dress

ChickenEye Designs Inner Truth Panties

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ChickenEye Designs and I connected through the fabulous Sweet Nothings, and I cannot be happier to have been cyber-introduced to Joy. Another Made in the USA small business, ChickenEye puts a spin on the old “words on undies” gimmick and instead creates hand-embroidered messages of love and encouragement designed to be read in the mirror by the wearer. That’s right. These are panties for YOU. I have a pair that I adore which contains some expletives that I wear once a week. Not only are they super soft, but I am comfortable enough to admit that I like it when my underwear tells me I’m awesome.

Prize: A Free Pair of Panties

Comexim

Comexim Sapphire

Comexim Sapphire

The manufacturing team behind Anna Pardal also produces their own unique lingerie sets ranging from classy and sophisticated to quirky and fun. Both lines use lower wires on the side and are wonderful for women needing a narrow shape with lots of projection.  I recently picked up a Sweet Dottie and Sapphire for myself but haven’t had a chance to review them. However, I have reviewed Georgia in the past and been impressed with what this Polish import has to offer the fuller-bust market.

Prize: A Bra and Panty Set

Curvy Couture

Curvy Couture Luxe Wireless Bra

Curvy Couture Luxe Wireless Bra

A newcomer to the shop, Curvy Couture designs bras from 34-44 bands US C-H cups and offers customers a mix of basics and fashion bras. Their Lace Shine T-Shirt bra and Luxe Wireless Cotton bra have been flying off the shelves here since they arrived last week. The Luxe Wireless in particular makes for a wonderful lounge or sleeping bra for fuller-busted women because of the breathable cotton and soft hardware. We’re excited to start carrying more from this brand in the future!

Prize: Anyone who purchases Curvy Couture in August is entered to win a free bra and panty set!

Fleur’t with Me Sleepwear and Lingerie

Fleur't with Me Wild Child Pajama Set

Fleur’t with Me Wild Child Pajama Set

Fleur’t with Me is another new addition this summer, and I was instantly impressed with the softness and beautiful fit of the fabrics. The lace accents on the Wild Child collection we carry are sophisticated without being abrasive, and everything can double as casual day wear. Fleur’t with Me also features traditional pajama sets, bridal chemises, bralettes, and one of the most adorable basic panties I have seen.

Prize: A Mystery . . . for now (My rep was on vacation when it was sent, so neither of us are entirely sure)

Glamory Hosiery

What's that?  Glamory stockings of course!

What’s that? Glamory stockings of course!

Glamory is one of two companies which restored my faith in hold-up stockings and has completely converted me from traditional tights. Sporting wide lace bands complete with silicone gel grips, Glamory stockings are available in a range of deniers from sheer to opaque in sizes L to 6XL.  While I have focused on the fabulous, vintage-inspired hold ups, Glamory also offers a range of other options including traditional nylons, knee high stockings, and even tights for men!

Prize: A Year’s Supply of Hosiery

Kix’ies Stockings

I love my polka dot Ki'xies . . . Dress from Bolero!

I love my polka dot Ki’xies . . . Dress from Bolero!

Kix’ies Stockings is the other company which helped me overcome my fear of unflattering thigh bulges and rolls caused by ill-fitting, poorly constructed hold up stockings. While Kix’ies does offer traditional sheer stockings, they also sport a range of contemporary designs like polka dot, argyle, and pinstripes, meaning there is a style for everyone. Like Glamory, Kix’ies uses a wide band at the top with multiple rows of silicone gel to ensure stockings stay in place while you move!

Prize: A Free Pair of Kixi’ies Stockings

Le Mystere

Sophia Lace

Sophia Lace

When we first opened, we had some issues with the fit on Le Mystere, but within the last year, I have been pleasantly surprised with how far they have come and the fresh new designs they offer. The Sophia Lace has turned out to be a beautiful, sexy addition to the store complete with memory foam cups, a plunging graduated cup, and an ornate lace overlay while the 990 Essential offers basic lovers a flexible spacer fabric cup with wide, ultra-smooth sides.

Prize: A Bra and Panty Set
Gift with Puchase: Spend $50 or more in Le Mystere products and receive a free pair of panties while supplies last.

Natori

Plus Support Pure Allure

Plus Support Pure Allure

Natori often uses the term “second skin” to describe their bras, and our customers tend to agree. The lightweight materials, superb construction, and comfortable fit have inspired significant brand loyalty in the store.  Now with the introduction of the Plus Support line which offers bras from 30-44 bands and US C-H cups, we’re even more excited!  In fact, we’ll be adding their gorgeous Pure Allure (shown above) to our shop in the coming weeks.

Prize:  Another Mystery One for Now

Panache

Panache Envy

Panache Envy

Panache is really a brand that needs little introduction here because it is an established, high quality fuller-bust line with a range of basics, colorful fashion items, bridal lingerie, and even swimwear. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t compliment them on being a brand constantly striving for improvement. Their sports bra is one of the best on the marketplace, and the constant evolution of their core designs into something better than before sets them apart from other companies content to rest on their laurels. This totally is irrelevant to the giveaway, but I have been bursting to tell people that the fabulous Sculptresse Chi Chi will be available in black and beige for Spring 2016!

Prize: Free Bra and Panty Set

Strap Saver

The Strap Saver

The Strap Saver

Shari, one of the developers of The Strap Saver, and I connected through social media, and I was given a chance to review their ingenious little product. Given that I am taller with a long torso, I almost never have issues with straps being too long, but so many of my customers struggle with lengthy straps. I adore how Strap Saver is a little product with a lot of potential—allowing people to shorten straps on any bra or swimsuit with ease. They even offer it in multiple sizes and colors!

Prize: $15 Gift Certificate to Strap Saver

Tia Lyn

Tia Lyn Signature Chemise and Bolero

Tia Lyn Signature Chemise and Bolero

Signature Chemise Front

Signature Chemise Front

Having met Tia in person, I have to say she is a true delight, and I was so happy she decided to contribute to our giveaway. Tia makes some of the loveliest, high quality but affordable lingerie on the market. Everything she designs is effortlessly classy and tastefully vintage, particularly her darling slips and sexy chemises. Not to mention, her commitment to offering women of all sizes something beautiful and sexy means her creations are available from Small to 3X-Large. She is a frequent contributor to both lingerie and plus-size fashion shows alike, and when I had the chance to try one of her products, I truly enjoyed it!

Prize:  Signature Chemise and Bolero

Urkye

Urkye_ButtonFront

This seems as good a time as any to announce that we are going to be placing an order with Urkye for some of their button-fronts! Who are Urkye exactly? Urkye is a Polish-based clothing company which sizes their offerings by bust, meaning ladies with fuller-busts can find a range of options tailored to their curvy upper halves. I have tried several items from them in the past and loved everything I bought, and I know our customers will appreciate the chance to find a button-front which actually buttons.

Prize:  Gift Certificate to Urkye

Wacoal and b.tempt’d

Wacoal La Femme

Wacoal La Femme

Wacoal and b.tempt’d do not get nearly the recognition they deserve in the blogosphere, but the products they produce are fabulous. Wacoal offers high quality, carefully executed designs in both neutral and fashion colors. In fact, their neutral colors include diverse tones like sand, praline, cappuccino, and cocoa to allow women of all skin-tones to find something which flatters. Not to mention, classic styles like Embrace Lace, Retro Chic, Awareness, and La Femme provide a superb fit with subtle details. From the b.tempt’d line, the Ciao Bella and sheer Full Bloom offer a fit and quality level far above the modest price, and the plethora of fashion colors means you’ll always have something fresh.

Prize: Anyone who purchases a Wacoal or b.tempt’d bra in August is entered to win a free Wacoal or b.tempt’d set.

Yummie by Heather Thompson

Yummie by Heather Thompson Rachel Leggings

Yummie by Heather Thompson Rachel Leggings

When I first heard about Yummie by Heather Thompson (yes, the real housewife), I was skeptical because I viewed it as another celebrity line, but my sales rep Lauren has always given me the best recommendations. We started carrying their panties, then shaping tanks and shorts, and now we’re investigating their leggings for fall! Using breathable fabrics and graduated control, Yummie products strike the right balance between supportive and comfortable, making them easy to wear every day.

Prizes: 3 Pairs of Rachel Leggings

A Sophisticated Pair

Since I am hoping anyone reading this far down knows who we are, what do you say we skip any more text and get right to the prizes?

Prizes: $75 Gift Certificate, $50 Gift Certificate, $25 Gift Certificate.

How do you enter to win all of these great prizes? In some cases noted above, you have to purchase from the brand in order to qualify for a prize, but if there isn’t qualification listed, you can enter in two ways:

  • Email sophisticatedpair@gmail.com with the subject line “2015 Giveaway Entry”, and I will give you one free entry code.  Please provide your name with the entry.  Also, these entries will be handled by my business partner and will only receive a return entry code, so please send a separate, regular email if you have any questions you want me to answer.
  • For every $10 you spend in the store during the entire month of August, you will receive additional entry tickets.

Official Drawing:

I will draw the winners at the beginning of September and contact them individually as well as post the numbers here. If a winner does not respond to me within 10 business days of posting, I reserve the right to redraw for that particular prize. I would say something about people affiliated with the store can’t enter, but since there’s only three of us, I think we can all be on our best behavior.

With all those great prizes out of the way, let’s make this INCREDIBLY LONG post even longer by dishing on the sale details.

Final Sale Items for 50% Off: All Veterans of The Lingerie Drawers (aka the miscellaneous bras taking up residence in those moderately disguised plastic drawers sprinkled throughout the shop), Cleo Jude, Cleo Ellis, Cleo Lily, Panache Tangos, Tutti Rouge Betty, Josie Mya, Affinitas Lea, Affinitas Sasha Babydol, Affinitas Lara Babydoll, Fantasie 4530, Parfait Celine, Elle Macpherson Artistry, b.tempt’d b.wow’d, and any “oddball” panties. (Note: Final sale items are sold “as is” and cannot be returned. No exceptions.)

35% Off: Parfait Louisa, Affinitas Nicole, Parfait Charlotte 6901 in Ice Blue Only, Parfait Balcony 6931 in Wine, b.tempt’d Perfectly Fabulous, Fantasie 4510, Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless in Cappuccino, Wacoal Fine Form, and any matching panties for these bras.

25% Off: Elomi Rita, N by Natori Conceal Contour, Parfait Jeanie, Le Mystere 990 Essential Bra, Goddess Rose, b.tempt’d Full Bloom in White, and any “Odd Bra Out,” i.e., meaning a core style available in a color we do not regularly stock.

20% Off: Cleo Minnie, Comexim Emmeline, Le Mystere Sophia Lace, Elomi Lexi, ChickenEye Design Panties, Fleur’t Sleepwear, Rago Shapewear, iCollection Robes and Corsets, Kix’ies Stockings, Glamory Stockings, and Perfect Camis.

15% Off: Anna Pardal Stiff Cappuccino, Anna Pardal Hibiscus, and Bolero Dresses

10% Off: All full-priced items

Elomi Amelia Special Price:  $67

Sale prices will be available until August 31st. Prices return to MSRP September 1st. All prices are for in-stock inventory only while supplies last. If a sale bra is sold out in your size, you can order it for the normal special order discount only. All special orders fall under our regular policy, but you can earn entry tickets for paying during August.

Final sale will be strictly enforced. If you are not 100% sure of your purchase or your size, don’t risk it. Finally, if you are out of town or even out of state, you can still participate in the sale. We will ship all orders at a flat $5 rate and can accept payments via Paypal or Credit Card over the phone.  Because of MAP agreements with our vendors, we cannot advertise some of these prices on our website, so please email me directly to take advantage of the discount.

Well, everyone, I think that about covers it, so let’s get this anniversary started!

~*Erica, Debbie, and Jason (plus Khaleesi, Einstein, and Lord Rayden aka the shop guard dogs)*~

P.S.  Any international winners will have to pay postage for their prize if applicable.

Posted in News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Double Blog: Soft Works Salad Spinner Review + How I Wash My Bras

Hello Everyone,

No, this is not some prank post.  Today, I am seriously reviewing a salad spinner.  Don’t give up on me yet though!  Several years ago, Muscles with Curves posted a blog about using a salad spinner to gently dry her padded and molded cup bras faster, and I found her experiment fascinating albeit unrelated to my life.  Until I discovered Comexim and Anna Pardal, I lived in unpadded bras which are not only lower maintenance to wash but also dry faster on account of how easy it is to remove the excess water.  When my wardrobe transitioned almost exclusively to padded bras, I had totally forgotten about the tip until an incredibly generous customer gave me a salad spinner a few weeks ago.  She had already given me a drying rack for bras, which I will also showcase in this post, and before continuing, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to her for not only supporting the store but for also being such a sweet and generous soul.  <3

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Available to purchase from Williams and Sonoma!

In the spirit of the preferential method for washing bras (it’s by hand!), I am going to walk you through a typical laundry day in part so I can recommend three stellar products in one short post but also to show you how easy it is to take the best possible care of your intimates.

Step 1:  Fill up a sink or bowl with cold water and one of the best soaps on the market:  Eucalan!  If you missed my post extolling the virtues of this hypo-allergenic, rinseless soap, you can also use anything mild or even body wash.  For today’s batch of assorted Anna Pardal bras, I chose the sweetly scented Jasmine.

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Step 2:  Agitate the water by hand to create suds before placing bras in the water.  Ensure each bra is not only fully submerged but also covered on the front and back with water and soap because doing so allows the fabric and padding to absorb the wash-filled water completely to clean the bras and eliminate odors.

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Step 3:  Go do something else for at least 15 minutes!  Read, take a walk, destroy another level in Candy Crush, watch an episode of Orange is the New Black, or whatever floats your proverbial boat.  Personally, I combine my bra washing with general cleaning, meaning I am off engaging in the less glamorous aspects of home and pet ownership such as scrubbing toilets, vacuuming the area by the dogs’ food bowls for the third time, or sweeping up half of the litter Hades kicked out onto the floor. Read more ›

Step 4:  Once the bras have fully soaked, Eucalan ensures me I am under no obligation to rinse them further, but I like to drain the water and lightly rinse anyway.  In winter, I may change my tune, but in summer, sweat needs a little rinsing for my peace of mind.  If you are using other soap, you will need to rinse them completely before continuing.

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Step 5:  With the bras freshly cleaned, squeeze the cups and wings to remove excess water.  Note that I said “squeeze” not “wring.”  Twisting the cups or underwires can cause damage to the bra and impair the fit.

Step 6a:  At this point, I hang all of my freshly cleaned bras up to dry, but this time, I am adding an additional step by using the salad spinner.  So, I am 29 years old and had no idea what the purpose of a salad spinner even was.  Clearly, I am not a chef or salad connoisseur, but I read the directions and replaced “salad” with “bras” easily enough.  Because the cups of my bras are kind of big, I only put two into the container at once, and I also spun two individually.  I pumped the top of the salad spinner as instructed, and it was soon awash in color as my Anna Pardal bras whizzed around at warp speed.

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When I pulled them out of the spinner, I instantly noticed a difference in the dampness of the bras and was astonished by how much water pooled in the bottom.

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Wash_03 Sorry for the cell phone pictures, but I left my camera at work. Still, I think it’s pretty amazing to see how much excess water the spinner removed from just two bras.

The underwire and cup shape were not damaged by the salad spinner, and I was instead treated to an extremely easy way of decreasing the drying time.  Afterward, I hung up my bras on this amazing fold-out drying rack I mentioned earlier:

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Available for purchase from the Container Store!

I have used this product for over two years now and love it!  It’s great for laying sweaters to dry too, and it folds up neatly so as not to hog extra space.

For control purposes, I also washed two bras without using the salad spinner, and these bras took several more hours to completely dry.  I would estimate a quick use of the salad spinner cut my drying time by one third.  This is great news for people needing to wear a bra in a relatively quick amount of time post-washing.  I was pretty happy too because in my zeal for experimentation, I washed all of my bras at once . . . late Monday evening . . . when I needed to put one on in a couple hours.  So if you have a salad spinner already or can pick one up on the cheap, it’s a worthy investment for customers wearing padded or molded cups.

Also, I still haven’t used it for spinning salad  . . . .

Erica

 

 

Posted in Recommendations, Tips & Tricks Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Product Review: Tutti Rouge Nichole

Hello Everyone,

When I reviewed the Tutti Rouge Liliana last week, I mentioned the obscene amount of lapsed time between trying the brands offerings, and when I saw Nichole, I felt the tinglings of longing in the lingerie chamber of my heart.  Liliana was a necessity to test because I wanted to see how the design changed from the Tutti Rouge launch in 2013, but Nichole was a newer style with a gorgeous aesthetic which spoke to my personal craving.  Not to mention, early feedback emphasized the use of a narrow center gore, deep cups, and a rounded, forward profile—basically three components all of my favorite bras possess.

Sizing & Fit:  I ordered Nichole and Liliana at the same time, and both of them left me in an indecisive mess over sizing.  In the past, I estimated my Tutti Rouge size would be one cup and one band up from my regular UK size.  My initial samples confirmed this hypothesis, but a lot can change in two years . . . including my weight.  I was close to my heaviest when I ordered and worried that if I did not order a large enough size in band and cup, I would be in the same position as my previous reviews.  Ultimately, I ordered both in 32HH when I was around a 32H in other UK brands.  Not to totally spoil the Liliana review if you haven’t read it yet, but the 32 band required a full extender to even clasp in an uncomfortably snug fashion around my squishy body.  The cup seemed fine, which had me thinking Nichole would also be tight in band and fine in the cup.  As it turns out, the 32 band was loose—a fact which became worse by the time I filmed the video as I lost a few pounds.   Fully-stretched, my Nichole measures 35″, and unlike the sturdy, stiff wings of Liliana, Nichole uses a thin powernet mesh prone to stretching with wear.

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The cup size for Nichole was initially perfect on my larger side but gaped slightly on the smaller; however, the issues were not noticeable under my tops.  As I lost weight, the cups became too large.  Based on my experiences, I contemplated retrying the bra in a 30HH or 28J depending on whether the band was representative of the style as a whole.  Sizing aside, the reviews were accurate in describing the cups as deep and the gore as narrow, thus offering excellent forward projection, incredible lift, and a rounded profile.  Nichole creates an overall look comparable to Comexim, Anna Pardal, and Cleo Marcie.

Read more ›

Nichole_03

Given how much I enjoy the shape, I know some of you will question why I did not reorder Nichole in another size for the review.  While the cups are deep toward the center, they are also wider on the side, and the bra uses heavy, tall underwires.  Many small band/large cup bras fall victim to this issue, and the result is a cup which pulls sharply into my arm, creating welts and red marks.  Of course, it occurred to me that a smaller cup may fix the height issue too, and I had not ruled out revisiting the bra.  Oh, except for that tacking.  Did I not mention that?  Ordinarily, tacking, i.e., the act of the underwire sitting flat against the sternum, is a good thing.  Tacking separates the breasts and can often provide better support.  Nichole does not have ordinary tacking.  It has SUPER TACKING!  Nay—BORE INTO MY STERNUM AND LEAVE MARKS TACKING!  I have only ever experienced this phenomenon once before in a Panache tankini, which I mistakenly thought would be fine.  It was terribly uncomfortable, so I tried bending the wires.  Nothing helped, and I ultimately cut them out entirely.  Hard tacking like this hurts me, but I was hopeful that perhaps it was a defect.  I have heard from other people who experienced the same issue though, so I will not be retrying this style.

It also felt bruised for a good 3 hours afterward.

It also felt bruised for a good 3 hours afterward.

Materials & Design:  I feel a little bad harping on the tacking problem because I otherwise love this bra!  The three-section cups are made from a lightweight, breathable mesh, and while the wings are stretchy, I do like how they smooth the sides without feeling binding either.  It is a 100F outside right now while I sit in the confines of my air-conditioned store, and any southern east cost readers will tell you we only ever have high heat with high humidity too.  You can drown while breathing today.  A bra as lightweight as Nichole can be amazing for times like this because the fabrics keep you cool while still providing support.  Fully-adjustable straps are wonderful, and I cannot fault the quality of materials.

Nichole_01

Aesthetically, Nichole ticks off every box in my “Erica’s Cravings in a Bra List.”  Lately, I want to see bras which use minimalistic details to create sophisticated and fun designs—a description Nichole completely embodies.  First, the pomegranate color feels richer and deeper in person than the pictures, and the color is a little unusual for a lingerie market dominated by true reds, hot pinks, purples, and lately, all manner of blue.  The knotted embroidery along the underwire eschews the traditional floral temptation as well as the overly simple plain black fabric in favor of geometric uniqueness.  The lace embroidery at the top completes the contrast, and the leopard print bow at the center is a fun final touch.  I really wanted to try the white version because the crispness of a black and white juxtaposition speaks to me, but I live in dark colors (yes, even on days like today).  Color bleed is a problem people!  Regrettably I erred on the side of practicality, but I still love it!  Sweet Nothings also reviewed the bra in the mint color which is frothy and gorgeous too.  It really upset me that I had issues here because this bra is something I would buy in multiples.

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Final Thoughts:  I am not sure whether the tacking problem is only cup-size specific or not, but I know it was enough to cause red marks after a short time.  Keep this in mind if you are ordering it!

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Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Product Review: Fleur’t Wild Child Collection

Hello Everyone,

For several months now, I have been mentioning on our Facebook page as well as in our email newsletter that the store was finally branching out into sleepwear.  One of my primary goals over the last two years has been to transition from being known strictly as a “bra shop” into a boutique customers visit again for their lingerie, sleep, shapewear, and swimsuit needs.  When I went to Curves NYC—an uber exciting industry trade show—last February, I visited with several brands to see product samples, discuss prices, and view upcoming collections.  Unfortunately, much of the sleepwear I saw had two-piece sets retailing upwards of $100, and while the fabrics and quality were truly decadent in the best possible way, I knew the price point was too high for our current location and inventory mix.  However, when I visited the table for Fleur’t which, like the other options, tends to have higher end pieces, I also noticed a lower cost line called “Fleur’t with Me” similar to the original in price, quality, and design aesthetic.  So stricken was I by their products, I ordered the entire Wild Child Collection in Heather Grey/Black for this summer.  Naturally, I had to test drive them myself first.

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3/4 Sleeve Crop Top: S-XL, $38 Cropped Pant: S-XL, $38

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Racerback Tank: S-XL, $38 Boxer Short: S-XL, $29

Made from a dreamy, lightweight Rayon/Spandex blend which hugs the curves and caresses the skin, the Wild Child sleepwear collection features five interchangeable pieces:  a tank dress, a crochet racerback tank shirt, boxer shorts, a 3/4 sleeve top, and a pair of crop pants.  Until now, I usually purchase cotton sleep and lounge pieces, but the hand of the fabric Fleur’t with Me uses is exceptionally soft to the touch.

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Crochet Racerback Tank Dress: S-XL, $58

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It even camouflages tummy rolls while seated!

Shortly after opening the shop, I realized I suffer from multiple sleepwear personality syndrome—MSPS for those in the technical field.  One personality craves the silken gowns with delicate lace detailing, the sheer lengthy dressing gowns perhaps with a few feathers, the babydolls with cascading ruffles—all worn effortlessly with a martini in hand.  The real me, on the other hand, has three Jack Russell Terrorists plus Hades the Indoor Cat and Mordecai the Outdoor Cat, and all of us live in the country with bugs and dirt and Jack Daniels.  I was also a tomboy in my youth, so my penchant most nights veers either toward yoga pants or cotton shorts with an oversized (stained and/or holy) t-shirt or, if I am feeling really snazzy, menswear-inspired pajama sets.  Read more ›

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And that is perfectly okay!  There is no reason why I should have to wear anything other than my Star-Athon ’92 t-shirt and polka dot pants (my current outfit while I type this blog post), but I do long for something between high maintenance glamour and low maintenance shabby-leave-out-the-chic.  Ladies and Gents:  Fleur’t with Me is IT!

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Since we have five pieces to cover, let’s begin with the tank dress.  Ordinarily, I would buy the Medium or Large in this for sleeping, but I used an X-Large in the pictures because the booty and boobs jacked up the hemline a little high for my comfort in the smaller sizes.  Featuring a crochet racerback made from non-abrasive, stretch lace, the tank dress offers a flattering peek-a-boo effect while the smooth grey fabric drapes along the lines of the body for a comfortable, flattering, and even sexy fit.  The shape also works well paired with the boxer shorts or crop pants if you prefer more coverage on the bottom.

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Worn with Anna Pardal FiFi Bra

For those preferring a shorter variation, Fleur’t with Me also designed a tank with the same crochet racerback as the dress, but in the tank, the back is open, allowing the fabric underneath to overlap or slyly expose the skin of the lower back.  I love the coy way of adding interest to the piece by keeping the front plain and flared while the back has added appeal.  You’ll notice both the tank and the similar dress sport a straighter cut, meaning it does fall down from the apex of the bust.  As a result, the pieces are not as fitted as t-shirts or camisoles, but I enjoy the gentle way it falls instead of being so body-conscious.  Most of my work clothes fit tighter through the torso, and in my leisure time, I appreciate something looser.  Furthermore, I am also, as my mother affectionately called me, a “rock and roll” sleeper.  Anything tight ends up cutting in uncomfortably at some point during the night.  A size medium fit me well here again.

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Worn with Anna Pardal FiFi Bra

In most of the promotional shots of the tank, it is paired with the incredibly cute boxer shorts.  They have an elastic waist with a large black drawstring, a faux button-front, and a lace pocket on the back.  With a shorter length, the shorts end in the upper high region and have an open, roomy fit.  These are comparable to my summer sleep and lounge shorts, but the fabric is significantly nicer and softer.  The medium fit my size 10/12 butt/hip region perfectly fine too.

Fleurt_Tank_02 Fleurt_Tank_03

For those preferring a bottom piece with more coverage, the chic crop pants are perfect.  Like the boxer shorts, the pants feature a faux button-front and a drawstring elastic waist, but these taper through the leg, ending around mid-calf or so.  The thigh and hip region boasts a relaxed fit, and I find the rise works best for me if worn at my natural waist.

Fleurt_Pants_Halftop_04 Fleurt_Pant_07

With the all of other pieces in the collection, I found sizing to be flexible, and I tried each piece in multiple sizes to figure out which worked best.  However, the rejected sizes never looked terrible, but for the crop pants, size makes a difference.  After a recent shopping trip which found me going from my normal size 8/10 to more of a 12 (generous 10) in pants, I immediately grabbed the large for my pictures, mistakenly believing the medium would be too tight and unflattering.   Multiple otherwise amazing but now permanently deleted pictures later, I realized the extra fabric pooled in the lower tummy/crotch region to make it look like I had extra bits down there.  For wearing around the house, the larger size wouldn’t have mattered, but for anything else?  Um, no.  So medium was the clear winner here.  I think the spandex mixed with the generally draping cut of the collection means it is worth sizing down if you are between sizes to achieve a more fitted look.

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Finally, Wild Child also offers a 3/4 sleeve top with a banded section on the bottom and triangular cutout with black lace on the front.  Right from the start, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to like this top because I thought it was going to poof out along my midsection and obscure my waist, but honestly, this was my favorite piece (with those insanely comfortable crop pants coming next).  The racerback tank, while adorable, doesn’t compare to the amazing fit of this piece for me.  Coupled with the crop pant, I think the 3/4 sleeve top will be ideal for wearing when there’s the chance other people will see you in your sleep or lounge attire.  It is flattering to the figure and incredibly comfortable but still offers some coverage.

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Credit to my dad Jason for coming up with the idea to take an iCollection satin robe sash and tie it around this top!

As I mentioned earlier, every piece in the Wild Child collection is interchangeable, making the set ideal for travel.  The pieces also double as outwear clothes too.  To give credit where credit is due, my amazing rep Sarah told me they often market these pieces as casual day wear, and she herself uses them as such.  After trying them, I can easily see why!  I have purchased tops from major retailers (*cough* Banana Republic, Gap, Anna Taylor, and Loft *cough*) whose prices are similar to Fleur’t with Me but the quality isn’t anywhere near this.  Not to mention, the idea of having something that you can wake up wearing Saturday morning and transform into something cute and comfy for a grocery run is very appealing to me.  All of them are easily combined with pieces from your existing wardrobe (except perhaps the shorts which are too short for me to wear regularly) and can be worn either casually or dressed up with accessories.  These may just become the most versatile pieces in your entire wardrobe.  Just sayin’.

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Imagination is key here because it was HOT to wear that many layers . . . and it was a wee bit too short without heavy tights or leggings.  Thinner or petite figures may not have this issue though.

Imagination is key here because it was too HOT to wear that many layers . . . and it was a wee bit too short without heavy tights or leggings. Thinner or petite figures may not have this issue though.

I also want to note that all opinions expressed here are my own.  I am not about to promote something just because we carry it in the shop.  In fact, the blog typically works in reverse.  I only buy things for the store that I would consider a worthwhile product for our customers to have, but I also know that since we have a reputation as being a “bra place,” it’s hard to remember we carry other amazing products too.  Also, a big thanks to Sarah for encouraging me to try the brand and for her outstanding recommendations!

Erica

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Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Product Review Redux: Tutti Rouge Liliana

Hello Everyone,

When the charming Tutti Rouge brand first debuted two years ago, I was excited to see another new entry into the fuller-market, particularly one which effortlessly blended flirty bubblegum fun with grown-up sophistication for a collection with broad appeal.  Tutti Rouge generously provided me bras to review, including the core style Liliana, but we experienced initial sizing problems.  Ordinarily, I wore a UK 30H/HH, but the 30HH Liliana was too tight to fasten and an entire cup size small, making it difficult to wear often, but I always wanted to revisit the style in a better-fitting size.  Flash forward to 2015, and I finally had my chance!

Sizing & Fit:  Choosing a new size was an agonizing process involving much second guessing and exasperation on my part.  Not only had I heard Tutti Rouge tweaked the original sizing and fit of Liliana in subsequent seasons, but I was also in the throes of weight transition.  When I ordered the bras, I had only lost a pound or two, and my bra size was trending more toward 32H/HH.  Ultimately, I settled on 32HH and crossed my fingers I made the right decision.  Even professional bra fitters struggle with buying bras during weight transition, especially without knowing how the sizing system works, so believe me when I tell you how much I empathize ladies and gents!

Liliana_05

When I first received Liliana and took the pictures, I was heavier than when I shot the video which changed the fit.  Initially, I needed a full extender to wear Liliana at a rather uncomfortably snug level, but by the time I filmed my review, I only needed half of the extender for a comfortable fit.  For reference, the fully-stretched band only measures 30.5″ and does not feel prone to stretching.  A friend in the UK who I met through the blog (*waves at Alex*) tried Liliana after we discussed my issues and did not report the band running too small.  As a result, I am unsure if I received a one-off problem bra (it happens) or if the entire style is inconsistent.  Read more ›

Original Tutti Rouge Liliana in UK 30HH for comparison

Original Tutti Rouge Liliana in UK 30HH for comparison

Despite an overly tight band, the HH cup fit perfectly without any gaping or overflow.  The center gore on Liliana is not overly high which avoids pressing uncomfortably into my tissue, but the shape is wide and shallow, causing my breasts to splay more toward the side.  The underwire shape extends too far on my back and leaves space between the underwire and breast tissue along the entire bottom and side of the cup.  In fact, the cup extends so far onto the side that it actually functions as part of the band by wrapping around my body rather than shaping tissue.  A taller cup shape on the side digs painfully into my arm as well, and while the rest of the bra feels comfortable even with the fit quibbles, this is my personal deal breaker.  When a bra feels like this, it almost always welts me by the end of the day, and I know now to avoid it or suffer the consequences.  Does the shape I described sound familiar, long-time readers?  It reminds me of the early Curvy Kate bras.  I experienced every single one of these problems with Curvy Kate at one point or another, and I think Tutti Rouge has unfortunately fallen into the trap with GG+ cup sizes.  On the positive side, if you find Curvy Kate or wide/shallow designs work for you, definitely consider Liliana.  The profile is also one of the most minimized I have ever tried, most likely because of the wider shape, and I know not every woman in the fuller-bust market wants the rounded, forward shape I mention in my reviews.

Liliana Original Side Profile

Liliana Original Side Profile

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Note: This bra is technically only one cup size larger than the hot pink bra above, but the height on the side is higher here.

Now, I know the preceding paragraph seems a little harsh, but I don’t think Liliana is a bad bra.  In fact, I think women in DD-FF cup sizes may find something to like here because the design becomes lower coverage in smaller cups, and gentle lift would really suit certain breast types, especially shallow ones.  Liliana is also available up to a 44 back (which is totally awesome!), and I think some women in those 38+ backs would be comfortable with the width of the wires and appreciate the way they encapsulate side breast tissue.

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Materials & Design:  Initially, Tutti Rouge was considered a lower cost alternative to Freya, but recent increases mean the Liliana has a stateside MSRP of $65, begging the question of whether the quality matches the price.  From the brief time I examined the bra and shot the video/pictures, the quality did seem on par with Freya and better than the original bra I was sent in 2013.  The padding in the lower cup is soft and pliable, and the wings are quite firm to prevent too much stretching.  The straps are fully-adjustable, and the upper embroidered cup is not flimsy or prone to tearing.  I love the use of a half-padded cup with a fabric upper cup, particularly because I think the fuller-bust market could benefit from something different. From a design perspective, I have loved Liliana from the start.  For my retest, I opted for the noir/sugar combination, and I love the hot pink underneath the patterned sheer lace.  The use of pink ribbon on the top really pops and keeps the design feeling cohesive, and I have always admired Tutti Rouge’s use of final flourishes like embellished straps, bows on the cups, and heart-shaped adjusters in the back.  The bra was gorgeous back when it first released and carries for the tradition now.

Liliana_01

Final Thoughts:  For small bands/large cups, I recommend proceeding with caution here, but I think people with shallower or wider tissue, especially in smaller cups or larger bands, may find something to like here.

Erica

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Posted in Product Reviews, Recommendations Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

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