I have some exciting news for today’s post! After incredible demand and prodding from fuller-cup customers, Comexim and Anna Pardal will be offering extended sizing for us. To reflect the changes, they have updated their size chart (below) for me to share with all of you. Given the narrow underwires and deeper cups of Comexim designs, I know many of our fuller-bust customers will be excited to try the brand’s offerings in a size which fits.
Personally, I am a huge brand advocate for them because they make the only bras which have ever really “gotten” my figure, and I have written multiple reviews which can be found here. Furthermore, I wanted to update everyone that we will be placing orders with Comexim at the end of every month from here forward to aid in the production schedule, meaning anyone interested in placing orders need to contact me before then to ensure they are added in time. Our next order will be on November 24th, and due to holiday vacations and scheduling, we will not be placing another order until around January 31st. Orders placed before the 24th are supposed to be here before the holidays, so if you want to snag a new Comexim bra this year, please hurry and place your order.
Lastly, Comexim and Anna Pardal agreed to perform minor alterations on their bras, such as a raised center gore or reduced cups, to improve the fit for certain breast types at no additional charge. No other company we carry in the shop is willing to make these kind of concessions toward customers, and if you have experienced any fit issues in the past, it could be worth exploring an altered bra.
Are you excited to see the brand expanding to higher cup sizes? I know a lot of our customers are!
My ardent love for Bolero dresses has been well-documented on the blog, and it’s not unusual for customers to visit the shop and find me wearing one of their designs. Amazingly, I would have never heard of these wonderful dresses were it not for Darlene of Hourglassy, who introduced me to the owner and designer Patricia. Bust-friendly clothing is part of my own personal passion trinity alongside bras and bra-sized swimwear, and naturally I was curious to see how the dresses fit and lasted. Late last year, Patricia offered to send me a free Bolero dress to review on the blog, and as my mom liked to say, I was tickled pink! While I adore Biu Biu and Urkye, Patricia’s bust-friendly clothing company manufacturers and designs all of their products in the US, and if possible, I always like to support our economy. My only skepticism was fit and quality. With retail prices around $100 per dress, I worried the longevity and fabric quality would disappoint. I needn’t have worried because my Bolero dresses are truly wonderful. With fabric that drapes beautifully to accentuate curves, Bolero dresses highlight your figure without clinging to it, but what impresses me most is the small details. The armholes in the dresses are high enough to avoid showing a bra, and the drawstring neckline at the front of most of her styles allows you to customize the coverage to suit your body. Furthermore, the basic silhouette layers well with jackets, belts, tights, cardigans, and even petticoats. It’s the perfect versatile piece!
At the time, I received my Bolero dress, I also purchased a Gemma wrap dress from Banana Republic. It was supposed to retail for $98, but I had a coupon which brought the total to $55. Inside of three wears, the BR dress was already pilling and looking a bit fuzzy, especially on the dark part of the fabric. Meanwhile, 10 months later and my Bolero dress looks brand new.
When her maxi dresses debuted, Patricia sent me one for free, and I loved it so much I purchased a second version and brought the line into the store. And so, we have finally reached the purpose of this blog! A lot of people, both online and in the store, have asked me about other styles and colors in the dresses, so Patricia and I collaborated on a large, photo heavy post I could use as a reference both for my customers here as well as for those online who wanted to order through us. As a result, most of the dresses you see were samples sent to me so I could photograph them and demonstrate how different styles fit. All of the samples are a size “Small” which is the size I typically take in Bolero. In the future, I may review each dress individually, but for today’s purposes, I am more interested in showing you the Bolero line rather than making an already lengthy post even longer! If you do have questions about any of the dresses, please let me know, and I will do my best to answer them.
If you want to read my original reviews, check out the posts here and here. Both reviews address quality and sizing in more detail. Okay, let’s get down to showcasing some more options! I want to start with the variations on the original dress I received. I think of this dress as the flagship style for Bolero which Patricia tweaks in various ways (maxi length, lace overlay, sleeves, etc.), but on its own, the design is a perfect, basic sleeveless dress. There are more color/print options available than what is shown, but at the moment, Patricia is still finalizing the details. I will update this post when I know more! (Note: Click photos to enlarge.) [Read more...]
It’s no secret that Elomi is the best-selling brand for the entire store, and each new season, the brand rises to the challenge of offering customers a fantastic fit, innovative prints, and seasonally appropriate colors all bundled in fresh new designs. For fall, the brand pushed the envelope, albeit with mixed feedback, by releasing prints like Lexi and Kenza in the collection, and for spring, they continue to break free of their comfort zone and explore other options.
Description: Featuring a three-section cup, the Naoka has lined support panels for a forward shape, excellent uplift, and superb separation. Elastic at the neck provides an easier fit while scalloped embroidery adds to the stunning look.
Bra Styles: Banded Underwire Bra, Underwire Longline Bra
Description: The Elomi Emily bandless bra has less fabric under the cups and works well with all body types, especially petite or short-waisted women. A three piece cup and side support panel provide a forward shape, good uplift, and nice separation. Based on the Abi/Yolanda frame.
Despite the chill in the air and the overcast skies, I want to inject a little daring and a lot of bold color into your life today with the Winter/Spring Freya preview. For Fall, Freya expanded their wheelhouse to include new basic styles like Rapture and Icon while focusing on eye-popping, electrifying color, and for Spring, the expansion continues with a new t-shirt bra (available up to a HH cup!), a revamp of an oldie but goodie (Arabella), and a farmer’s market worthy assortment of mouth-watering, fruit-inspired colors!
Description: The Siren features a semi-sheer tulle pink floral embroidery and has a flattering low center gore for a plunge shape. Sexy sheer fabric with delicate flower bow adds to the detail of the bra. Based on the Ooh La La and Arabella frames.
Styles Available: Plunge Bra, Balcony Bra
Panty Styles Available: Brief, Thong, Suspender
Bra Sizes Available: Plunge — 28-38D-G, Balcony 28-38GG-J
Despite barely being into fall, it’s already time to start thinking about the gorgeous new lingerie releasing through winter and spring, and I want to begin my fashion preview series with Goddess—the pariah of the Eveden brands. Goddess isn’t as bright and quirky as Freya, as ornate and sophisticated as Fantasie, or as crowd-pleasing as Elomi, and as a result, it is often totally omitted from discussion on the blogosphere or worse yet, blasted as being too old or matronly. However, Goddess features more affordable price points than any other Eveden brand, and the cup size range encompasses both fuller-busted and smaller-busted plus-size women, a boast even Elomi cannot make. For a lot of women, Goddess is one of the few brands on the market that cater to their size and/or their budget, and with each new season, Goddess continues improving to meet those demands and exceed expectations.
Kayla in Black Leopard and Rose Trellis
Description: This full-cup bra has reinforced side panels which provide maximum support, lift, and shape. Limited stretch straps add comfort for an all-day fit while the leotard back provides support and keeps straps from slipping. Based on the Keira frame.
Bra Styles: Banded Underwire Bra, Wireless Soft Cup
Panty Options: Brief
Bra Sizes: 38-46DD, 36-46DDD-H, 34-46I-K, 34-44L, 34-42M-N, Soft Cup — 40-56B-C, 38-56D-DD, 36-56DDD-H
Basic Colors: Black Leopard, Pecan Eden (Two Season Basic)
Bra Price: Underwired — $48, Soft Cup — $46
Panty Price: $22
Release Date: Rose Trellis — January 2015, Black Leopard — May 2015
Hannah in Red
Description: Hannah features a double-layered molded simplex cup that gives a smooth profile with minimal show through, and the banded design provides excellent anchorage.
Bra Styles: Underwired Molded Side Support Bra
Panty Options: None
Bra Sizes: 38-52C-D, 36-52DD-DDD, 36-46H, 36-44I, 36-42J
Basic Colors: Black and Beige
Bra Price: $56
Release Date: February 2015
A Sophisticated Pair Says: Because of the stretchy top panel on the cup as well as the side support seam, Hannah has a much better fit than the Elomi 3911 counterpart.
Our shop experienced something totally unprecedented in our three year history last week. We shut our doors for nine consecutive days—a hard decision I want to address. My goal is to keep regular store hours in addition to offering appointments on weekends or evenings, and I plan store closings around convenient times for my customers. Rarely do I take vacations, which typically results in the store only closing for a couple days at most, and I try to check and respond to email often. As a result, to totally shut down for a prolonged period of time is quite drastic and more than a little scary.
Despite the gorgeous weather Sunday, I found myself stuck on the couch because I felt the tell-tale signs of a stomach flu approaching. Having plenty of experience with these problematic but typically quick little bugs, I did the usual things: plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medication. Imagine my surprise when Monday was significantly worse. By Tuesday morning, I knew there was no way I could meet my personal standards in customer service, and more importantly, I did not want to give my flu to any customers. Off went business partner/dad Jason to leave a new message and post signs for me! Feeling guilty about closing on Tuesday, I made an attempt to work on Wednesday, but by noon, I felt myself weakening from the strain of moving and hanging inventory. Thursday witnessed a repeat of Wednesday, and my dad advised me to go the ER because no food or drink stayed in my system long and my body was dehydrating quickly. I compromised with a doctor’s appointment because I hate taking up valuable ER time with a problem they really can’t fix. My doctor said they could run blood tests, but it was probably just the flu and prescribed some prescription strength medicine.
Suffice it to say, the medication did not work. By 4a.m. Friday morning, I was in such misery I couldn’t sleep. I was so dehydrated my muscles were seizing, and my body was shutting down. We left a message for my doctor, and when he returned it at 8:30a.m., he advised we go directly to the hospital (Yes, my dad, a former RN, is kicking himself for not forcing me to the ER on Thursday like he wanted). To say I looked like hell—braless, wearing only a Harley Davidson t-shirt and some yoga pants, lacking all color in my skin, and barely able to open my eyes—is a bit of an understatement. Before the doctor’s order even hit the computer system, they were already setting up an IV for fluids. Since I have teeny tiny veins that love to roll for the extra challenge, starting an IV under normal circumstances is not simple. When I am dehydrated, you better have a butterfly needle and a lot of training. On the first arm, the nurse could not hit the vein, and when she retracted the needle I did not even bleed from how much fluid my body had lost. They finally got it started though, but an allergy to tape adhesive has left me with a rather painful arm. [Read more...]
In the past, my business partner/dad has written articles here talking about his experiences co-owning a lingerie store as well as being the father of a busty teenager, but today my family and I want to wish him a very happy birthday! He has been a pivotal person both in our lives and in our business, and he never fails to help out where and when he can—whether by moving heavy furniture, running errands, delivering packages to the post office, or fighting with vendors.
Whenever I am at my lowest, my most vulnerable, he is there to encourage me with his kindness and empathy. Losing our mom several years ago left my brother and me with deep emotional wounds, but we have been blessed to have our dad who always manages to find the way to help us through whatever personal crisis we experience. All of the people who have been helped by our store also owe him a debt of gratitude because without him, A Sophisticated Pair would never have existed. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you do, and happy birthday!
First, I want to wish everyone a happy Labor Day! The fact that we have already reached the unofficial end of summer cements how quickly this year has flown by for us. Just think: We’re only four months away from 2015! Anyway, the real purpose of today’s blog is not to muse about the passing of time but is rather to announce the winning numbers to our Annual Giveaway!
This year we had a whopping 23 prizes this year, and without prolonging the suspense further, here are the winning codes:
Blog readers know I am not the type to post press releases (of which I do receive quite a few) because I find them to be shamelessly generic and self-promoting. Why am I going to lower my blog’s integrity with what basically amounts to unpaid advertising? Despite the exceedingly rare nature of these posts, I do make the occasional exception as I am today with Fleur of England. A luxury UK-based label, Fleur of England utilizes only the highest quality silks, laces, and materials to craft their sophisticated mix of chemises, robes, sleepwear, and lingerie. With high quality often comes high cost, and since our customers are not the type to spend $75 on knickers or $500 on dressing gowns, we have no intention of carrying the brand in the store right now. However, I do have a soft spot for luxury lines because they often explore ornate yet timeless flourishes which distinguish their products in the marketplace. Consequently, I am sharing an email I received earlier this week on a contest with a grand prize of 500 Pounds (roughly $840) of free goodies.
To coincide with the launch of our beautiful new Autumn/Winter 2014 collection ‘Heiress’ we have a very exciting competition you/your readers are invited to participate in. We invite you to be creative and write a short story about an Heiress for your chance to win £500 of the new collection ‘Heiress’. Five runners up will also be given a 50% discount code. To be in with a chance of winning £500 of this exquisite collection, simply write a short story about our Heiress. To ignite your imagination we have written the first two lines for you…
“The Heiress will enchant you with her timeless elegance and grace. She waits composed in her English country mansion……………………..”
Sign up to our newsletter
Maximum length 500 words
Email your entry to email@example.com with the subject ‘Heiress story competition’ by 8th August 2014 at midnight. Please state your name and size.
Visit our blog (address in here) for further information and full T’s and C’s
Winner to be announced 12th of August. The winning entry will be published on our blog.
‘Heiress’ is a timeless platinum grey collection crafted with the finest silk satin and Italian invisible tulle. The embroidery, designed by Fleur and made exclusively for Fleur of England, is inspired by William Morris and captures a wealth of detail in its intricacies.
Not only is $840 of free lingerie a pretty impressive prize, but I also love the creative writing element of the competition. One of my side passions is fictional writing, and I think this is a great way to encourage customers to interact with the brand in a meaningful way. Consequently, I am relaxing my “no press releases” rule in case anyone is interested in entering. As for me? I want this robe. Like now.
Last week on July 17th, A Sophisticated Pair celebrated a momentous milestone: our three year anniversary! Despite a tentative optimism, I knew when we opened there was a strong likelihood the business would not succeed past six months. Small business ownership is hardly a guaranteed success, and in many instances, it is far easier for a business to fail than to thrive. We were told by vendors, by landlords, by friends, and by family to stay positive because the first year will be the hardest, but it takes three years to stabilize and five years to flourish. As a result, for us to celebrate three years in business is one of my proudest moments. I have said it before, but the store is my dream. To see a dream not only come to fruition but continue to grow and expand is a wonderful experience—an experience I cherish every day.
However, we would never have been able to celebrate this accomplishment without the dedicated support of our customers. Some of you have been shopping with us since the beginning while others recently came to find our little store, and we appreciate everyone. As a result, we want to demonstrate our appreciation with an anniversary sale and giveaway running the entire month of August.
The sale will include special deals on certain fashion styles, deep discounts on items in the sale drawers, and a store-wide 10% discount on every purchase (not combinable with other offers or applicable on the Elomi Amelia). Furthermore, shopping during the giveaway qualifies you for gifts with purchase as well as entries into our biggest giveaway yet! Not only will we offer prizes from the store, but many of our vendors have also volunteered to donate to the competition.
Gifts with Purchase:
Spend $75 on Parfait or Affinitas products during August and receive a free packaged panty (includes three panties) with a retail value of $28.00.
Purchase $50 of Natori products and receive a free bottle of nail polish.
Both giveaways are while supplies last, so come early to ensure you receive your free gift!
$100 Gift Certificate for Sophisticated Pair
$50 Gift Certificate for Sophisticated Pair
One free Affinitas or Parfait Set
Three 80PLN (roughly $26) Gift Certificates to Urkye Clothing
Twelve Yummie Tummie Tanks in Sky
Two Scarves from Cake Lingerie
Purchase $30 of Wacoal or b.tempt’d products during the giveaway and be entered to win a free b.tempt’d or Wacoal lingerie set.
Two Months of Free Karate Lessons at Carolina Shin Karate: Martial Arts Training for Men, Women, and Children