I’m brimming over with ideas to write about for this column, but I wanted to start with the basics. Over the years I’ve tried a ton of bras and I’m constantly asked about which ones are my favorites. This list represents bras that have washed and worn well, are still in my regular rotation and that I’ve invested in multiple versions of (or would have if they existed). If you’re looking for a winner to fill a hole in your lingerie wardrobe for the holidays, these are all good bras to start with. I’m generally a 34HH/36HH in UK sizes and anything from an L to a 1X panty, depending on the brand. Erica can special order most of these for you – as she’s done for me over the years!
With the headache of revamping the online store portion of our total website overhaul nearing completion and my brother on the mend from his recent experience, I want to dedicate time to one of my favorite store-related activities: Blogging! Ever since I was younger, I have loved to write, and blogging has been a wonderful outlet for me, even if the posts are not strictly personal. While today’s article is in the familiar vein of product reviews, it does hold an emotional significance to me as well. Some of you know by now that Anna Pardal was kind enough to name her Sophisticate style after our store, and Patricia of Bolero created and named a dress for me.
After falling in love with Comexim and partner-in-crime Anna Pardal for their superbly narrow underwires and deep cups, I embarked on an alterations process to tweak the original shape and figure out which combination worked best for me. In the past, I have reviewed Beatrix and Felicity from Anna Pardal as well as the Hibiscus Longline—all of which sported some alterations combination, but today I am focusing on a double review of two gorgeous Comexim styles: Sweet Dottie and Sapphire! Both bras feature the original, lightly padded classic plunge shape with reduced cup, raised gore, and straps moved in 2cm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!