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!
While bra fitting is my primary field of expertise, I frequently field questions from customers about which everyday panties I personally recommend, and I realized I have enough opinions on the subject for an entire blog post. Ages ago on the blog, I referenced the Great Underwear Quest of 2009. At the time, I recently finished losing weight and had purchased some lovely dresses and pencil skirts which showcased every seam, elasticized waist, and all manner of decorative feature adorning my current underwear. Whenever I tried on new clothes on in the fitting room, I mistakenly believed I had underwear at home which would disappear with nary a visible line in sight. Nothing worked. Ultimately, I began scooping up miscellaneous knickers from retailers ranging from Walmart to Nordstrom, but if I could find a discreet pair, they would roll, move, or creep upward—to say nothing of scratchy materials or fraying edges. Eventually, I wondered if my only choice was to buy thongs or simply go commando, but I did not want to risk flashing cheek (more more) when I moved or sat. Just as my frustration peaked, a friendly sales rep in the Nordstrom lingerie department recommended On Gossamer. They were perfect! They did not show under even my least forgiving bottoms, were fairly comfortable, and reasonably durable. And so the Greay Panty Quest ended.
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.
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
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.