Slowly and steadily, I am chipping away at a (still growing) backlog of bra reviews, but I am extremely excited to finally reach the two Samanta lingerie reviews I planned. As long time readers know by now, I am a fan of Polish lingerie design and appreciate their unique approach to both bra fit and aesthetic. As a result, when Marzena of Samanta contacted me back in December about potentially carrying the brand in the store, I was excited but reserved. I had never tried Samanta before and was going to order a style or two direct from her as samples to test the fit and quality. Enter the amazing Sweet Nothings! A while back, she reviewed three of Samanta’s popular designs on her blog and was gracious enough to give me her A925 Mintaka and her A111 Hana Claret because she’s totally awesome like that. Since we’re in the same size range, I was excited to see how this brand compared to the other UK and Polish companies I tried in the past. Initially, this post began as a review of the A925, complete with video review and pictures, but my penchant for detailed explanations turned a “brief” discussion of the Samanta brand, their model numbers, and sizing system into a 1500+ word epic better suited for a post of its own. As a result, before delving into the product reviews, I am taking today to provide some background on Samanta for anyone not familiar with the brand.
TweetHello Everyone, I was so pleased to check my email this morning and see this gem of a blog post with fantastic pictures awaiting me. Jillian from our KK+ bras series is back with some astute observations on developing her patterns and prototypes. As the Lingerie Addict pointed out last week, bra making can be an artisan skill, and Jillian’s quest certainly underscores this. I hope you enjoy the post as much as I do! Erica P.S. You can find the two previous entries here and here. —————————————— Hey everyone! It’s Jillian again with an addendum post to the second entry. I apologize for its tardiness- I experienced for the first time a tension headache that lasted almost two full months. I basically curled up in a ball and tried not to move or look at light the entire time. In the last entry, I spoke about the thought process used to develop my pattern drafts. The actual materials used for the practice bras and for the final products were mistakenly left out *hanging head in shame*. This entry would serve to correct that. Pick up a bra that you’re not wearing and try to count the different parts that make up the whole. Such a tiny garment having such vast importance and so many parts. My current bra design has: Rigid/non stretch tricot knit fabrics for the cups, center bridge and side wings, ultra thin padding for a strength/shaping layer in the cups, heavyweight powernet for the back wings, full plushback satin elastic straps, Single picot edged plushback elastic in TWO widths for the band, O-rings AND slides on the straps, vertical steel underwires, underwire casing, three row hook and eye tape that can be cut to fit as the back closure, Polyester thread. Twelve components in total- pretty
TweetHello Everyone, After her first installment, I know many of us were desperately awaiting the next post from guest writer Jillian on how she began her journey to making custom bras for her fuller-bust. Her personal struggles resonated with so many people, and I know all of us can relate to bra frustrations at one time or another. As a result, I am exceedingly pleased to brighten up your Thursday with another entry! Also, I want to note that there was some initial confusion with the first post. At this time, Jillian is only designing bras for herself but plans on sharing her patterns and tips in future entries as well as offering personal advice to anyone hoping to pursue making their own bras. Erica ————————————— Hello! Jillian again, back with another installment about bra making. In my previous entry, I gave you the sordid back story of my particularly problematic endowment. Today brings the four year research and development pilgrimage to lifted boobies. I should first say that the decision to sew your own bras does NOT only apply to those that surpassed the cup constraints of RTW. Custom bra making can benefit any and everyone. You will know your undergarments are tailored to you alone. No one else will have the exact same article of lingerie. Plus the sense of accomplishment you feel when the last seam is done- priceless! Although I knew what my end result should/could be, I had no concrete plan of how to reach that point. So the initial stage of my research was deconstructing a retired bra and analyzing the components. I also collected materials to match the bra I currently wore. Cloning and altering the Panache bra proved to be a great decision- made me that a three part cup was absolutely
TweetHello Everyone, Over the three and half years we have been open, I have personally met or helped through email women who need cup sizes higher than a standard UK K cup or who need better options than what are offered on the market. In some cases, the cup sizes these women need require them sizing up in the band to get enough coverage and then using alterations later. The solution is far from perfect, and it’s a technique our guest blogger understands but hopes to change. Jillian is a friend of mine who suffers because of the lack of options on the market and is taking steps toward designing and making her own bras. We have discussed this issue before, particularly because she’s been a huge help in offering advice when I encounter women frustrated to the point of surgery because of their bust size, and when she offered to write a guest series for me on the blog, I couldn’t wait to read it. We’re not sure how many installments there will be, but for today, I wanted Jillian to be able to introduce herself to you and talk about what motivates her current quest for a bra that fits! Erica ————————————————— Hello I’m Jillian from Maryland and I’m a fledgling lingerie designer. Age: 31. Height: 5’3”. Weight: No way Jose lol. Measurements: to be discussed in my next installment. So why did I decide to start sewing bras? Trust me when I say I didn’t just take on this venture lightly. A long chain of events spurred me into this choice. It’s taken about four years to get to this point. And for the most part, it has been a wild, eye opening ride. I’ll try to be as brief as possible. Let’s start at the beginning.
TweetHello Everyone, 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. Naoko 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 Sizes Available: Banded — 36-44E-FF, 34-44G, 34-42GG-J, 34-40JJ, Longline — 34-40E-H Panty Options: Brief Basic Colors Available: None Bra Prices: Banded — $62, Longline — $78 Panty Price: $30 Release Date: December 2014 Emily 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. Bra Styles: Bandless Underwire Bra Sizes Available: 36-44E-FF, 34-44G, 34-42GG-JJ Panty Options: Brief Basic Colors Available: None Bra Prices: $62 Panty Price: $30 Release Date: January 2015
TweetHello Everyone, 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.
TweetHello Ladies, 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
TweetHello Everyone, 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
TweetHello Everyone, 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. Kali 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. Lily 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. Minnie 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.
TweetHello Everyone, 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 Sizes Available: Balcony — 28-40D-J, Plunge — 28-38D-H Panty Options: Short Bra Price(s): $62 Panty Price(s): $34 Basic Colors: Pearl and Black 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