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.
I have spoken at length recently regarding my newly acquired devotion to both the original Comexim Linea Artisana as well as their collaboration with Anna Pardal, but I have been remiss in actually writing reviews of their products. Georgia was one of my original free samples to demonstrate the quality and aesthetic of a Linea Artisana bra, and it ultimately became a personal favorite:
Sizing & Fit: I quickly discovered that both Linea Artisana and Anna Pardal employ tighter bands and slightly smaller cups than my former go-to Cleo. My usual 30HH was all kinds of small, so I settled on 32HH as my ideal size for the brand. In Georgia, this size fit perfectly, leaving me to believe there is consistency in sizing across the two lines. The band was comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks when I received it although it has stretched a little faster over time, and the cups had no overflow or gaping at the top.
Georgia utilizes the same lightly padded three section cup design as the Anna Pardal Emmeline, and the high, rounded profile offers superb forward projection for the fuller bust. One of the reasons I love Comexim and Anna Pardal is their use of narrow, low underwires. Fuller-bust brands often assume we all need or want underwires to touch underneath the arms or center gores wide and tall enough to lift and separate breasts into their own galaxies. For some women, this design works exceptionally well, but for others, especially those with close set breasts like myself, it is a form of torture. The shape and lowness of the underwires and cups on Georgia feels comfortable, even after long days at the shop.
As with the Cleo Millie review, I originally tested the Curvy Kate daisy Chain a couple months ago, but I wanted to proceed with my review because the style is the predecessor to the upcoming Dare and Firecracker styles releasing later this year:
Size & Fit: Depending on the width and shallowness of the design, I wear between a 30HH or 30J in Curvy Kate bras, and since the Daisy Chain has a low center gore, I opted to try the 30HH first. Usually, the wide, shallow shape wreaks havoc on my naturally close set breasts, and I was more than a little skeptical when I ordered the style. However, the fit was surprisingly good. The band was quite firm on the loosest set of hooks and did not feel like it would stretch out easily. On my larger side, I had a slight overflow toward the center when I moved but not enough to justify the J cup.
Curvy Kate has been undergoing fit improvements over the last several seasons based on customer and retailer feedback, and one of the things I noticed instantly about Daisy Chain was the vast improvement on the width of the underwire and center gore. It was definitely narrower and felt much more comfortable, particularly on the side. Furthermore, the side of the cup did not pull uncomfortably into my underarm as has happened frequently in the past with CK bras. The space I usually have at the bottom of the cup was also lessened with this design too.
Daisy Chain also sports a plunge shape, and the low center gore felt amazing. When I first tested Daisy Chain, I realized how much I wanted bras with lower center gores that did not rest on my breast tissue. In many ways, the improved, comfortable fit of Daisy Chain set the stage for my later romance with Comexim. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the design of Daisy Chain, and this was the first style from Curvy Kate since the Tease Me was discontinued that got me excited about the fit potential. However, the profile was a little pointier on me than I prefer, and I didn’t find it as flattering under my clothes. I’m not sure if the style produces the same effect across breast shapes or sizes though. If you love the pointed or bullet-shaped bras, this could be worth considering. [Read more...]
Comexim has always been a brand I admired from afar because, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, I was a chicken about placing an international order for bras I had never tried with a sizing system that made my brain hurt. Instead, I contented myself with reading reviews from fellow bra bloggers and fantasizing about the day Comexim decided to export to the US. Well, in the middle of my trip to the Curves Expo in New York, the fantasy came true. Anna Pardal and their collaborator Comexim sent me an email saying they wanted to begin selling their products here in the US and asked if I would be interested in including them in my store. Spoiler Alert: I jumped at the chance! Comexim and Anna Pardal sent me two samples each which I will be reviewing eventually, but I want to start with the Anna Pardal Emmeline because that is what we ultimately ordered for the store. (Note: If you want more information on Anna Pardal, please read these posts: Comexim and Comexim Follow-Up.)
Sizing: Since I was reticent about ordering from Comexim directly, I have no idea how their sizing works. For the export process, all of the Comexim sizes are being converted to the standard UK sizing system employed by brands like Freya, Elomi, and Curvy Kate. As a result, I will be focusing my review on the UK size because I can speak to it with more confidence. If you have questions, you can email me, and I will pass them on to Anna.
Before I delve into my personal experiences with sizing, I want to note I support Comexim and Anna Pardal’s decision to covert the Polish/European sizing into the more common UK. I have just gotten many of my customers warmed up to UK sizing, smaller bands, and cups that go past a DD. If I had to explain they needed a 70 band and a K cup, there would be way more friction in the fitting room! With the US market still on a learning curve, I think converting to the UK system will make the lives of both fitters and customers easier.
After some experimentation, I discovered my Comexim size is a 32HH which fits beautifully. The band is comfortably snug on the loosest hooks, and I do not have any gaping or overflow with the cup. Ordinarily, I wear a 30H in Cleo or a 30HH in Panache and Curvy Kate, so the band does run quite firm. Most of my customers have needed to size up at least one band size, but if you find yourself between two, then you may want to size up from the larger. For example, a woman wearing between a 32 and a 34 should try a 36. The cup also runs about a size small from the Panache Superbra brand— my new base line for establishing which size to test in Comexim or Anna Pardal. [Read more...]
In past blogs, my references to Cleo by Panache read like a fan girl’s gushing letters of adoration, and I’m not ashamed to admit I was to Cleo what Beliebers are to . . . well, you get the idea. However, in the interim, I discovered Comexim, and let’s just say that love in lingerie is a fickle thing. Nevertheless, Cleo still ranks as one of my favorite brands, and I love seeing where each season takes them creatively. While spring focused on neon brights and eye-popping prints, fall shifts to rich colors, quirky patterns, and even minimalist touches.
Style: Three-Section Bandless Balcony Bra
Sizes Available: 28-38D-J
Panty Options: Brief
Bra Price(s): $53
Panty Price(s): $28
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: July 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: Kali features a similar design construction to the steadfast Lucy, but the cup embroidery now uses little hearts instead of flowers.
Style: Three-Section Fabric Balcony Bra
Sizes Available: 28-38B-J (No B or C cups in 28 bands) (Size 30B Cancelled!)
Panty Options: Brief
Bra Price(s): $55
Panty Price(s): $29
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: August 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: Lily first debuted for AW13 with a parrot print, and this season, they have returned to its origins with kissing swans forming hearts. Fans of Marcie should consider this style.
Style: Three-Section Balcony Bra with Embroidered Top Cup
Sizes Available: 28-38B-J
Panty Options: Brief and Thong
Bra Price(s): $55
Panty Price(s): Brief — $29, Thong — $28
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: Minnie reminds me of the earlier, much-loved Cleo Zia and features a forward, rounded shape.
Panache’s Superbra line, while an excellent source for basic bras and crowd-pleasing solid colors, has never inspired that “gotta have it now” feeling for me. However, last season, the established brand made positive changes to its core lineup, a trend I am happy to report continues for fall. In the upcoming AW14 collection, Panache underwent a much-needed revival, ditching many of their traditional full-cup, full-coverage designs and including a mix of plunges, balconies, and new t-shirt bras designed to flatter a variety figures. Older, fit-prone styles hit the chopping block while others were updated to reflect the changing and growing needs of their customers. More bras are available in 28 bands even if it is, admittedly, not enough, and cup sizes have expanded for many styles too. By the time my dad and I saw Panache at the Curves Expo, our brains were overloaded with selection and saturated with certain trends. Nevertheless, Panache pulled a breathy “Wow” from my lips because of my two personal favorites from the entire show—one of which single-brandedly changed my mind about bodysuits.
Andorra in Powder and Scarlet (UPDATE: Plunge in Powder is Cancelled!)
Style: Underwired Balcony Bra with Side Sling, Underwired Plunge Bra
Release Date: Powder — July 2014, Scarlet — October 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: The stretch-lace top cup contours well across breast types and is forgiving of weight fluctuations, while the side sling and stiffer lace bottom provide excellent lift. However, the plunge bra often creates fit problems for women in the G+ cup size range since the stretch lace along the center gore does not always keep breast tissue contained with movement.
Jasmine in Animal Print and Black Ricamo
Style: Underwired Balony Bra with Side Support Panel
Sizes Available: 30-38D-K
Panty Options: Brief
Bra Price(s): $62
Panty Price(s): $28
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: Animal Print — July 2014, Black Ricamo — October 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: For women wanting forward projection and a rounded shape, Jasmine is an ideal solution. Stretch lace top cup contours across breast shapes while the side panel brings breast tissue from the side to the front.
Rumeur in Cassis (CANCELLED!)
Style: Underwired Full Cup
Sizes Available: 30-40D-K
Panty Options: Midi Brief
Bra Price(s): $62
Panty Price(s): $28
Basic Colors: None
Release Date: September 2014
Sophisticated Pair Comments: Rumeur sports a similar shape and fit to the Panache Tango balcony bra but uses more discreet fabrics and details for wearing under thinner knits.
In recent seasons, the competition for the UK 30-38 D-H market has become fierce. Veteran brands are exploring new design aesthetics and expanding size ranges, newcomers are providing unique lingerie perspectives of their own, and ahead-of-the-curve Polish companies are exporting world-wide. When the store first opened, Freya and Fantasie had a strong foothold with our customers, and while they still have diehard fans, brand loyalty has wavered. With so many options now, many women in this size range want to explore and branch out, and as a result, Freya responded this season with attention-grabbing, love ‘em or hate ‘em prints, new frame styles, and an explosion of Deco options, many of which will be basics.
Description: Daydreamer is decorated with elegant florals and vintage handwriting, creating a classic bohemian look.
First, my Curves Expo series has taken considerably more time to write and post than I originally anticipated, due in large part to the time-consuming nature of the blogs. The shop has been busy lately too, which is a “high class” problem of course, but it does make it difficult to stay on top of blogging. However, I have been itching to write something other than a fashion preview for a few weeks, so I am going to give it my best effort and power through the rest of the brands by the end of the month.
While planning our purchases for the year, I have noticed certain deficits in our existing inventory, and one such shortage is bras for women in 38-44 bands with C-DDD cups. Many manufacturers wrongfully assume that women in these band sizes have large busts, and while certain brands like Natori and Wacoal have really opened up the styles, colors, and sizes available, the price point ranges from $48 to $69. Some of our customers cannot afford to spend $60+ for every bra they purchase and would love to mix in some higher quality items with those of a more moderate quality. Not to mention, neither Wacoal nor Natori offer much in the way of plunges or push-ups for these sizes, meaning some customers are forced to settle or forgo what they want altogether. Enter Parisa—private label manufacturer of retail chain Soma Intimates.
With bands spanning 32-44 and cups from a US C-H (UK C-FF), Parisa offers women affordable, fashionable bras in a variety of necklines and profiles, including plunge and push up bras designed for maximum cleavage. One of the downsides we see frequently with cleavage bras is the use of a narrow wing on the side and the back, but with the dreaded “back fat” slang thrown around by my customers almost as fast as “t-shirt bra,” Parisa’s consistent use of a wide, supportive wing is appealing. (Please note: The model is not wearing the proper size. She wears a 34G, but all samples were in a 38DD.)
Parisa also utilizes a segmented collection system where style variations are categorized under the umbrella of a single name. As a retailer, I find this easy-to-remember system to be a breath of fresh air since I am frequently required to memorize nearly every female name in existence to keep track of what bras are available. Collections range from basic to more fashion-forward with some capsules having a mix of both styles.
The Body Veil series, for example, sports several variations on the basic molded cup tee shirt bra including a plunge, a strapless, a racer-back, and a push-up. All of the styles are offered in a light beige (sadly called “skin”), brown sugar, and black. While the use of “skin” is rather unfortunate, I do like how the entire series is available in three basic colors, with a luxurious bordeaux red coming for fall.
Last year, I was nominated for a BraStop Blogger of the Year Award, and while I lost to the very deserving and incredibly gorgeous Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, I was given a free set of lingerie as a consolation prize. Since I had the opportunity to experiment risk-free, I opted to test Polish brand Kris Line. Holly of the Full Figured Chest posted a fabulous Christmas Round-Up which included the Sharon set, and I was instantly smitten. The unique silver color seemed like a potential flesh-tone alternative for my pale skin, and given my poorer luck with padded bras in the past, I was eager to branch out to a new designer.
Sizing: From reading reviews in the bra blogging community as well as on Bratabase, I knew Kris Line cups ran at least two sizes smaller than standard UK ones. However, Kris Line also has an I (“eye”) cup following the HH, and after speaking with someone more knowledgeable on the subject than I am, I learned retailers selling Kris Line products often convert the sizing system into the more traditional UK. The end result of which is you can order a J cup bra and have it fit more like a HH. Given my measurements and size preferences, my friend recommended ordering the size 30K, and despite all of my assurances to customers that the letter does not matter, I felt myself instantly struck by the dreaded letterphobia. How could I possibly wear a K cup??? In fact, I was so nervous about ordering the K cup I wavered on the decision for several days before taking the plunge. Thankfully, the Sharon fits rather well! On my larger side, the bra is perfect, but the smaller side does have a hint of wrinkling.
However, the bra features a vertical opening on the interior of the cup where you can add or remove pads to improve fit. The bottom cup is lightly padded but also includes a removable pad too. Without the removable pads, the bra is slightly large on my bigger side, but there is serious gaping on the smaller side. In the future, I would love to compare the fit with a 30JJ, but overall, the K cup works fine. To improve the fit on my smaller breast, I added one of the removable pads I kept from my Ahh Bra, which corrected the problems perfectly.
Furthermore, the band of the Sharon sports stiffer fabrics with less stretch, making the 30 firm but still comfortable. My ribcage measures exactly 30″, but women between band sizes or who find firm bands to be uncomfortable may want to size up. [Read more...]
For quite a while, I have been promising to improve our bra sizing calculator’s cross-platform compatibility, and I have finally had a chance to accomplish this. The new calculator does not use Java, so there’s no need for constantly updating your settings. So far, it works for both PC and Mac users as well as on tablets and phones. As always, the calculator is meant to provide a starting point size only and will never be 100% accurate. I designed it as a way of helping women start their journey toward finding a bra that fits and flatters. There is no substitute for a professional fitting and the ability to try on bras before purchasing. In the future, I have plans to release a more comprehensive fit tool, but I am still in the early stages of development.