Because I am an active supporter of men who choose to wear bras either for medical or personal reasons, I often am privileged to interact with some amazing people who face constant struggles to be accepted in the traditionally female lingerie world. Between inexperienced sales representatives to outright discrimination, it is not easy for a man to be fitted properly for a bra, and I believe it is essential for fitters and lingerie professionals to approach working with anyone, male or female, with a level of compassion and acceptance they would expect for their own choices. One of my male clients has gone on to launch the very successful Bra Guy blog, which focuses more on working with gynecomastia—a medical condition which results in enlarged breasts in men, but today I want to focus on an alternative reason why men may want to wear a bra: They enjoy it for themselves. Not everyone understands or accepts individuals who bend or break traditional gender rules, too frequently applying derogatory labels to their decisions. There is more than enough hate in the world, and I’d rather showcase why acceptance is so important and how life-changing it can be for the individual. To help me, I asked Trycia, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person, to write a guest post outlining her experiences with cross-dressing and shopping as a biological male in a female world. It took a lot of courage for Trycia to share her feelings so publicly, and I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do!
First, I must apologize for the delay in blogging here. I have so many fantastic ideas for the new year, but my business partner and I are in the midst of finishing up all of the necessary information for last year’s financials plus getting a jump start on taxes (basically stuff we both abhor with a passion). Sadly, blogging is one of the lower priority items on my agenda for the time being even though it’s one of my favorite aspects of the business. Ironically, despite intermittent Internet access, winter storm Jonas has provided me the perfect opportunity to catch up work on blogging because I was stuck at home while a barrage of freezing rain and pellet-sized hail assaulted the already fragile tree limbs, tempting them to give way and fall to the earth. Rather than brave the packed ice constituting our roads which left my brother’s newer and nicer car sliding about and unable to climb a hill, I curled up inside with a beautiful afghan knitted by my aunt as a present, my terrorists, and a glass of wine to write product reviews and edit a very special guest post for later this week. Here’s hoping all of my east coast readers weathered the storm safely.
I’m back this month and really excited to review some new goodies that I picked up over the holidays. This review is even more appropriate as Erica is the smart lady who turned me onto Tia Lyn, which is now one of my favorite loungewear brands.
Since I work from home, my standards of “getting dressed” these days are pretty lax. Lots of days, I’ll just throw on some comfy loungewear instead of clothes if I’m not planning to go anywhere. Consequently, my loungewear goes through a lot. I have two dogs, I’m klutz who drinks lots of caffeinated beverages and I definitely don’t treat my loungewear very delicately. I’ve tried lots of high end loungewear sets that use modal in the past, but haven’t been really impressed. Modal fabric feels great, but doesn’t always hold up to washing or long term wear. I’m really pleased to report that this set has held up spectacularly over the past month or so that I’ve had it, which makes this line worth the investment for me based on longevity alone.
As a store owner, a bra fitter, and a lingerie enthusiast, I am always seeking out new brands and products both for myself and for my customers. Exploring the marketplace for hidden gems can lead to a creative inventory assortment which distinguishes a small business from a big box competitor, and with bras, new brands and products can not only offer the chance to find more innovative solutions to customer requests but can also allow for a wonderful relationship with a vendor you respect. With this sentiment in mind, I was speaking with a sales representative for another company we offer who also happens to work with Fit Fully Yours, and she raved about the fit and the quality of the line. Furthermore, she noted Fit Fully Yours values retail partners by protecting territories, handling orders swiftly, and ensuring their products are not discounted or sent to outlet stores. Since most of my readers are regular consumers, the latter endorsements are probably irrelevant, but as a tired, overworked entrepreneur, I am more likely to dedicate a chunk of our budget to a company that makes things easier on me. Of course, no matter how great a company can be to work with, their products’ fit and quality must be top notch for our customers, and so I ordered a few for myself, including the Nicole See-Thru Lace!
Back in the day, Freya was my way-too-cool-for-me bestie with her crazy prints, bright colors, and confidence to throw Russian dolls on a bra like it was as natural as flowers or polka dots, but then a cup size bump and breast shape change sent on us divergent paths. I never lost hope that we would reconnect, which is why I have continued to experiment with new Freya styles like the discontinued Marvel and the Fantasie retread Rapture. In the shop, we phased out Freya non-padded bras a couple years ago because the demand for t-shirt bras and basic colors eclipsed the need for a fashion-oriented brand; however, recently, customers in the 30-36 DD-FF cup range have begged for core colors and styles from my former pal. As a result, I asked my sales rep for suggestions, and her choice was the new Hero—the first original, uniquely Freya frame in some time. Naturally, I snagged one for myself.
TweetMy torrid love affair with Polish bras has taken over the content of the blog for the last few months, and while they hold a special place in my heart, I realized a few weeks ago that there were so many other brands and new styles worth considering, particularly because not everyone has the same success with Polish companies as I do. As a result, I went on a bra buying spree with several of our vendors, including a whopping six new bras from UK staple Panache. To kick off the next few weeks of reviews, I want to start with the absolutely gorgeous and completely upscale Georgia set. Sizing & Fit: Because of personal issues, my weight ticked upwards and impacted my bra size. At the moment, I am firmly in 31 band territory, but when I ordered the Panache bras, I was closer to my standard 30HH size, which is what I am wearing here. While the bra clasps on the loosest set of hooks, it feels a touch firm to wear without an extender for the first week or so, and the cups have a slight overflow toward the top. Given my current weight, I believe the Georgia runs true-to-size and would recommend ordering your standard Panache size. Originally, I heard Georgia was a reboot of the non-defunct Sienna bra frame minus the stretch lace upper cup; however, Sienna featured a band-less design, meaning there was no additional elastic banding beneath the underwire. Georgia features a banded frame, and the exceptional lift and forward, rounded profile remind me more of the Envy, Jasmine, and Floris bras. In fact, the height and wire shape for Georgia is nearly identical to Envy with the former having only slightly more coverage at the center. Despite the raised gore, the sweetheart
(Trigger Warning: I’m finally ready to open up about what happened with my brother and how our family has been coping, but this will include potentially triggering topics like assault, PTSD, body image, depression, and anxiety. It’s also long. Without many pictures. You have been warned. *said in stern voice*)
September 19th was a glorious day. It was a busy Saturday at the shop, and I felt confident and happy with how much progress I had made in the last several weeks physically and emotionally. In fact, my optimism was at such a high that I snapped a selfie—a totally out of character move for me—and posted it on my private Facebook profile:
Red ribbon bows hang like harbingers from the lamp posts, holiday music blares through every speaker, and pine tree lots beckon early shoppers to select the perfect tree for their festivities. With these traditions also comes the glitzy, glamorous, and sometimes boozy soiree season filled with sequined party dresses, spiked eggnog, the annual company holiday party, and more than a few undergarment woes. Every year, lingerie professionals across the globe are tasked with finding the right solutions to holiday attire problems ranging from selecting the right shapewear to finding the perfect bra for a beautiful dress. All of us become the ultimate intimates fixers—whipping out accessories, miracle products, and double-sided tape to help you look your best and enjoy the party season without stress, and today I am sharing some of our secrets with our readers to give you a jump start in preparing for the season! (Click images to purchase.)
Say what you will about over-commercialization, Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and a crazy feeding frenzy for the best deals, but the holidays are one of my favorite times of year. For our family, it is not without its pain as well, but I like to focus on a how many of us put aside our own needs and focus on giving to someone else, whether that’s a loved one or a local charity. Unfortunately, for some small businesses, this can also be a time of year when things are the hardest. For us, customers pinch pennies to increase their spending budgets for presents for their friends and family and forgo buying something new for themselves. As a result, I am putting aside my personal ambivalence regarding buying guides and have created one exclusively for the products we carry in the shop. Even if you are not in the market for yourself right now, we still have some great present ideas all of which are under $100! Click on the picture to purchase at our online store, or click the name in the description section to read past reviews to help with your buying decisions.
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!