Despite having stocked Elomi for many years, I have never reviewed any of their products, partly because it wasn’t until the last two years that I was able to wear them. In fact, Elomi is one of our best-selling brands for the entire shop, particularly their Cate, Matilda, and Amelia styles. A couple weeks ago, my friend Sweet Nothings offered to send me a sample of the new Elomi Tori in size UK 34GG (US 34J). Several of our clients special ordered this style, and I have admired not only the fit but also the overall aesthetic and was excited to have one of my own.
I have given the Panache Sculptresse brand a lot of grief over the years, but in the last 18 months, they have been killing it! If you are unfamiliar with the line, Sculptresse is Panache’s plus-size collection, and it boasts an impressive size range made from high quality fabrics and materials. I would be remiss without acknowledging my wonderful sales rep Jacquelyn who is always on point with her recommendations for styles, and one of her latest suggestions is the new Siren plunge bra. Plunge bras in plus-size are not always easy to find as many brands tend toward full-coverage fits. Because I wear a UK 34H (US 34K), I am sometimes forced to sister size in Sculptresse into a 36 band, but Siren is one of their styles which actually starts at UK 34FF, meaning I was able to go with my standard size.
In the past, I have seldom had an opportunity to review any products from Cake Lingerie, largely because up until recently the company focused solely on maternity and nursing products. As someone who has chosen not to have children, I’m not exactly their target demographic, but I have stocked the line for over five years in the shop. Cake focuses on bringing moms the best materials, the softest fabrics, and the most selection to make nursing an easier experience. Unlike many companies whose nursing bras are, shall we say, strictly utilitarian and read like an afterthought, Cake provides customers with a range of styles, including beautiful, lacy bras, pumping bras, and sports bras. They also make two of the best starter nursing bras in the business: the cotton candy and the sugar candy. Both options are ideal for the last few weeks of pregnancy as well as to take to the hospital for delivery. Post-partum, the Candy collections function as comfortable lounge, sleeping, and light exercise bras. Of the two, Sugar Candy strictly targets US G (UK F) cups and higher, and the success in nursing led Cake to rerelease it as a good ole fashion full-bust wireless bra.
Let’s just begin this review with a little PSA: People have nipples. Unless there was some kind of beaver-related accident, if you are reading this article, you have nipples. Hell my male cat meowing at me has nipples. As do my dogs. At what point can we agree to stop making such a big effing deal about human females and their nipples? Look, I get it. If you’re female, you’ve probably had people comment on them, perhaps inappropriately. Why? Because we decided a body part designed to feed children was also a sexual object, that’s why. People stare and comment, although let’s be honest: It’s usually men who do so and make women feel terribly uncomfortable, especially in situation where there may not be a recourse. It sucks, and sadly, there are always going to be people who have to make you feel bad about your body. One way to cope is by only wearing padded cup bras, and depending on the prevalence of your nipples, that padding could be thin and flexible or it could be seriously molded (no shame either way). The problem with this scenario is that padded cup bras, especially molded ones, can be pretty hard to fit for certain shapes and also top out in cup and band, leaving many with literally no options. I’m a big advocate of reusable nipple covers if you are self-conscious because it accomplishes discretion without compromising fit, but some people only want padded cups.
In the past, I have criticized the Sculptresse line for being a bit scattered, for not offering solid core styles, and for generally being a bit of a half-ass attempt from Panache to compete head-to-head with Elomi and Goddess for plus-size consumer dollars. Today, I can honestly say that those criticisms have been completely addressed, and Sculptrsse is quickly becoming a powerhouse brand in its own right due largely to its cohesive seasonal aesthetic, improved fit, superb quality, and inclusion of multiple core styles in larger size ranges. After loving the fits of Gina, Candi, and Chi Chi, I was super excited when my sales rep sent me a sample of the new Estel, one of the first offerings in the line to go up to a UK K cup. Suffice it to say, my expectations were set high to see what lovely entry Panache had in store!
Of the three bras I snaggeded during Curvy Kate’s massive online sale, the Scantilly Peek-a-Boo was my absolute favorite, and if I am being honest, the real driving factor behind my decision to order. For starters, it’s freakin’ green! Bright green, even! Have I not been pining after a bra this color for years?! Fabulous color aside, I was also curious to try the higher end, boudoir-inspired Scantilly line itself. The initial show-stopping collection debuted after I cut ties with the brand, leaving me to eye the stunners from a distance. Finally, I would have a Scantilly piece of my own! (Side note: No video again due to the general sheer styling of the piece.)
When Curvy Kate had a big sale on older merchandise, I snagged several styles from their website partly for curiosity’s sake and partly to determine if it was worthwhile to resurrect my relationship with the brand. While I don’t mind padded bras, I prefer unlined, and I wanted to try one of those styles in addition to the Daily Dream I reviewed. Given my penchant for black, I opted for the quite sheer Bridget—so sheer in fact there will be no video review accompanying my written one. Oh, and a warm welcome back to the Sophisticated Pair Pears!
Since we opened in 2011, my relationship with Curvy Kate has always been a mix of admiration and frustration. My love of their colorful aesthetic and willingness to include more options for higher cup sizes was dampened by professional problems with distribution, pricing, and marketing. Ultimately, despite being one of the first stateside retailers to stock the brand, I dropped the line a few years ago with no intentions of revisiting them. Within the last year, however, I heard Curvy Kate addressed both retailer and consumer concerns by improving fit and streamlining wholesale relationships. A few fellow store owners enjoyed great success with the line and encouraged me to reconsider my stance. Since Curvy Kate recently had a massive online sale to purge older fashion stock, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to reevaluate. To kick off my Curvy Kate reviews, I give you the Daily Dream—a soft, comfortable t-shirt alternative for fuller cups.
Figuring out the right assortment of bras in a retail store can feel like an insurmountable, ever-evolving challenge. In the past, I wrote more extensively about buying plans, but generally speaking, the process of narrowing down literally hundreds of bras to the profit-turning core collection found in the shop requires time, patience, and feedback. Usually I read through reviews of products left by consumers to help my decision process, but some reviewers do not know how to properly fit themselves and leave complaints more related to purchasing the wrong size than to the bra itself. As a result, I love interacting with other store owners and discussing our best-sellers. Bra fitters have firsthand experience trying the style on multiple body and breast shapes and can often provide more accurate information. In one such conversation, my friend Jackie from Her Underthings in New York raved about the new Serena Lace from Fit Fully Yours, but each store is unique in what works for them. Naturally, I had to test one myself!
Focusing on the silver lining in the clouds—a task I always attempt albeit sometimes unsuccessfully, then the positive side of gaining weight has been the myriad of lingerie options I can now try and review. When I wore a UK 30H (US 30K), there were several styles and even entire lines which were unavailable in my size or which simply did not work for me. In some cases, the fit issues directly related to the size itself, and most people wading through the small band/big cup market can write lengthy treatises on which bras do not scale properly and are plagued with fit and comfort issues. As a UK 34H (US 34K), I still encounter some of the same issues, usually related to my breast shape, but not nearly as many. My lingerie wardrobe boasts a variety of brands and styles now instead of solely representing the latest and greatest from Comexim. Furthermore, I have been able to explore new brands with real hopes they could fit me, and Sculptresse has been one such brand. Panache’s plus-size line starts most styles at 34 or 36 bands and often goes to a 46, and the fit profiles have ranged across breast shapes. Candi is an ideal option for wider set breasts while Chi Chi is perfect for narrow. As part of my ongoing experimentation, my sales rep sent me Gina, and I was eager to determine where this style fit into the line.