Curveturiere: a new US D+ lingerie brand!

While checking out Butterfly Collection’s facebook page, I saw a post about a new US D+ lingerie brand: Curveturiere Intimates. As you may have noticed by now, few bra-related things get me as excited as hearing about progress in the US bra industry… so I decided to investigate a bit:

Their first collection, available in August, will include sizes 32/50 D-K (UK D-H) Now, if you’re used to buying UK bras, this doesn’t sound all that impressive… but for a US company, this size range is (I believe) unprecedented. Most “full bust” companies offer up to an F or G cup (UK E and FF). There are a few larger cups available, but it’s almost impossible to find them. Though US bands run slightly tighter than UK bands, I would still advise adding no more than 2 inches to your underbust. I haven’t yet had the chance to try out these bras, but I’d guess that the effective size range is 30-48.

Since most women who wear an XS (or even S) in panties probably wear a 26-30 band, I decided to email the company and ask whether they were considering smaller band sizes. As it turns out, I was not the first to ask. They are indeed considering smaller band sizes (28 and 30) and might introduce them even as soon as their Autumn/Winter collection, if the see a high demand. If you need smaller band size, contact them and let them know!

I was invited to their preview in NYC, but, alas, I will be on the other coast that week! I did, however, have the opportunity to speak with Mary Pifko and Kelly Moore on the phone and to hear a little more about the company.

Their story: Mary and Kelly both have many years of experience in the lingerie industry and met while working for the Home Shopping Network. Both women wear a US F cup and, with their experience in the lingerie industry, it became glaringly obvious that US D+ bras were just… ugly. Fed up with the lack of colour and style options, they decided to start a company that made lingerie that they would actually wear.

When I asked them what US brands inspired them, they couldn’t think of one (yes, the US bra scene is that bad). They did, however, tell me that they loved the way that Curvy Kate uses fashions colours. Though their products are meant to appeal to a slightly older customer base, they believe that D+ lingerie can and should be fashionable. Having a large bust doesn’t mean that you aren’t fashionable and feminine and Curveturiere makes bras that are practical and pretty. In their own words, they “aren’t reinventing the wheel”, but they are certainly revolutionizing the US D+ bra scene.

The products: Curveturiere Intimates aims to provide bras for the whole wardrobe. The first collection introduces 2 sleepwear pieces, 4 panties, and 8 bras. Some of their bra styles include: strapless, wire-free, moulded-cup, and a cami-bra.

Sizes: The first collection includes sizes 32-50 D-K (UK D-H), but they are considering adding more sizes. Though their moulded cup bra is currently only available up to an H cup, they are working with their suppliers to get larger sizes.

Oh, and the pricing? They aim to keep everything under $70, which is more good news.

Here’s a taste of what they have to offer:

This D+ strapless bra is more than just a feat of engineering… it’s also pretty!

Animal print isn’t usually my thing, but this is certainly an exception. The retro-vibe is great!

The mint-cobalt bra is definitely my favourite- the colour combination is unique and refreshing.

I’m really excited about what Curveturiere Intimates is doing for the US D+ bra scene. Again, if you need a smaller band, I would urge you to let them know. You can find more images and information on their facebook page.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Apparently, I have no idea what I look like. I’ve known for a while that I’ve had some issues with distorted body image, but I’ve recently realized that my problems are more than just not liking my own body… I really have no idea what it looks like. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) causes sufferers to perceive (often imagined) flaws as disfiguring. They can look at others normally, but will notice even the smallest blemishes on their own bodies. Another common manifestation of BDD (one which I am very familiar with) is excessive “grooming” (ie: plucking hairs, picking blemishes, etc).

To give you an idea of how bizarre BDD really is: Once I was looking at a picture of a group. I noticed that one woman’s body was very attractive and remarked “wow, she’s hot”. I was mortified when I looked at her face and realized that the “hot” woman was actually me. Had I seen my face before the rest of my body, I would have been disgusted with what I saw.

Every once in a while, I look in the mirror, forget who I’m looking at, and actually like what I see. But as soon as I remember who I’m looking at, I suddenly feel much heavier. Though I know my weight, I imagine myself as looking much larger than I am. When I see someone who I think looks about my size, I usually find that they are 25-150 lbs heavier than I am. On a good day, my guess is within 25 lbs… on an average day, I’m about 75 lbs off… and on a bad day, I apparently think I look morbidly obese.

By doctors’ standards, I am overweight. I am overweight by about 15 lbs… but I often wonder how much of that is my hair (I have 3 feet of hair) and my larger-than-average breasts (neither of which contribute to weight that I should worry about). I also have reason to think that a good amount of my weight is muscle. But either way, I’m at least somewhat overweight.

That being said, I am going to stop referring to myself as “fat”. I used to think it was okay to do so, since I’m technically overweight… but using the term “fat” hasn’t helped out my psyche in the least bit. The term “fat”, to me, has always been a comparison to others. I’ve always felt like the “fattest” person in my friend group, even when I was underweight. I thought I was being honest with myself, but constantly (subconsciously) comparing myself to others only makes my disconnect with my body worse.

“Fat” has also become a term of aesthetic judgement. I know for a fact that there are plenty of beautiful people who would be beautiful at almost any weight. But even taking “fat” merely as a term to describe a general build, I have issues with it. Given my problems with BDD, I may never know what I actually look like… so I’m really not at a place to judge whether or not I’m “fat”. My battle with weight should be about health, which is something I can judge, and not about looks. (Edit: Weight doesn’t always equal health (plenty of overweight people are much healthier than normal weight people), but my weight problems are exacerbating some health issues.) So, since my concerns are about my health, I’m going to stick to the term “overweight” and stop calling myself “fat”.

Weight Loss

I lost a few (4) pounds over the past week (rather unexpectedly) and my underbust now measures 29.5 inches (down from 30.5 a week ago). My 32 bands really need alteration now… and even new 30 bands are starting to fit better on the middle hook. I’m planning on altering things, but I might wait a bit longer, since I could very well lose more weight from my ribcage in the next few weeks. My boobs are still semi-inflated (womp womp), but will hopefully shrink at least a tiny bit!

Normally, losing 4 lbs in a week is something to worry about, since it’s a lot of weight to lose in such a short amount of time. And it’s unexpected, because I’ve been eating a LOT (well, a lot for me… probably about 1,500 calories/day). To put this in perspective, prior to going on thyroid medication, I’d gain weight if I ate more than 900 calories/day. At my weight and activity level, I should be losing weight if I am eating less than 2,200 calories/day… but I’m just not used to my body working normally! It’s really nice to be able to lose weight like a normal person!

The weight loss is probably due to a combination of factors:

  • walking about 5 (hilly) miles a day
  • better selection of groceries (just moved back to college), more low GI foods
  • the changes in my thyroid medication starting to take effect (FYI: it’s a super-low dose… 35 mcg of Tirosint/day)

The other interesting thing is that I’ve been eating mostly carbs. I’m getting enough protein (there’s more than you’d guess in most vegetables and even bread is a great source) and the high-carb diet has also stopped the terrifying low blood sugars that I’ve always had problems with. The most important thing is that they are complex carbs. I’m eating boatloads (okay, not literal boatloads) of radishes, greens, fresh figs, sourdough bread, etc. Because they are more slowly absorbed, my blood sugar is staying at a good place all day. Some people’s bodies do well on a low-carb diet… and other people’s bodies don’t. What matters is that you eat what’s right for your body.

I’m cautiously happy about the weight loss, but am going to be extra-careful not to eat too little while exercising this much. One complication is that I still have no appetite. It’s not difficult for me to simply forget to eat… and when I do remember to eat, I have to force myself to eat more than I want to. To combat this, I’ve been trying to eat more calorie-dense foods (chocolate, avocado, olives, cheese, etc). My fingers are crossed, hoping that the weight loss continues slowly and safely.

Colorado Shooting

My posts don’t usually stray far off topic, but this is really important:

If you read the news, you’ve probably already heard about the shooting in Colorado. At least 12 people have died and many others are in critical condition. As anyone who has ever lost a friend or family member knows, the scope of tragedy is enormous. Please join me in sending thoughts/prayers/good vibes to all of the people affected by this tragedy.

Parfait, part deux

Now that I’ve actually worn my Parfait Casey bra a few times, I want to elaborate on the quality and comfort sections.

Quality: No disasters yet. I’ve worn it and washed it a handful of times and it still looks mostly new (except for a dangling thread where the strap is attached).

Comfort: The underwires are perfect… yes, PERFECT. And not just the underwires, either! I didn’t realize that a moulded cup plunge bra could actually be this comfortable. I’ve been wearing well-fitting but painful bras for a while now, and I’d assumed that all bras would be at least slightly uncomfortable. The Freya Deco, though gorgeous, has really painful underwires and a realllly sharp band (loose, but still manages to bite). The Cleo Lucy, though perfect in almost every way, also has painful underwires. The Masquerade Tiffany is great, but the band is too thin for comfort. The Cleo Sasha has the most painful straps I’ve ever experienced, but is otherwise great. Almost every bra I own has something uncomfortable about it… not so with the Casey!

I can wear the Casey for 10 hours before it starts feeling uncomfortable (and that’s just the band being a little itchy). Though it’s a cup size too small, it is incredibly comfortable. I would imagine that the right size would be even more spectacularly comfortable. The underwire doesn’t dig in at all and the band stays put without leaving scary red marks. My skin marks really easily, so red marks from a bra (or panties, or a skirt, etc) aren’t usually something I worry about… but I honestly don’t even notice the band on the Casey.

Overall: Good quality, super-ultra-comfortable, well-priced… What about looks? Though it isn’t fair to compare a too-small Casey to a well-fitting Deco in terms of cleavage, I’d guess that on an even playing field they are at least equal… but really, the cleavage this thing gives me is unreal. When Affinitas expands their Parfait size range, I’ll be all set for my moulded-cup plunge bras.

Bonus photo of the destroyed Deco:

The underwire burst through the channel (ripped the fabric) AND the seam is unravelling. Wow… any tips for making a lasting repair?

Inventory again

I now have a pile of bras that sort of fit. This is exciting! Since my bra size been changing wildly after switching thyroid medications, I’m going to try to hold off on buying new bras (keyword: try). Most importantly, however, I am going to keep a range of sizes around. I don’t know if my breasts will grow or shrink, but I do know that my ribcage is shrinking (so no more 32 bands!).

There are a few 32 bands that I need to take in, a 30 band that rides up, and a bunch of bras with slightly too-small cups. I should be able to handle my shrinking ribcage by altering the bands, but if my breasts grow any more, I will have to invest in a few more bras. Here are my currently wearable bras:

  • 30G Deco (Freya) – perhaps a bit small in cup, but fits like a 30GG… (broken)
  • 30G Casey (Parfait) -too small in cup
  • 30GG Lucy (Cleo) – too small in cup
  • 30G Tiffany (Masquerade) -too small in cup, slightly too big in band
  • 32FF Deco (Freya) – slightly small in cup, too big in band
  • 32G Tiffany (Masquerade) – too big in band

As you may have noticed, none of my pretty, colourful bras are in that pile. I’m keeping them around, in case my cup size shrinks… but they are all 2 or 3 cup sizes too small now, and I would need to do some pretty heavy alteration to the bands, since they are all 34s or 36s. I do plan to rebuild my colourful bra stash once I’ve settled at a healthier weight.

Interestingly, before I got myself out of 34C bras, I had no idea how frequently bra size changes/fluctuates. I kind of just assumed I would stay the same size, unless I lost or gained a large amount of weight… and it never really occurred to me that weight would affect my band size more than my cup volume . I’ve worn many different sizes, mostly because it took me a long time to get into a bra that really fit, but also because I’ve actually changed sizes. In the past 7 years, my ribcage has ranged from 26 to 31.5 inches and my cup volume from a 30F (US 30G) to a 30H (US 30K). If you’re wondering about weight and bra size: my highest weight did not correspond with my largest cup volume, but it did correspond with my largest ribcage measurement.

C’est Parfait?

It’s time for a happy post!

A little over a week ago, I posted about my hopes to find a Deco-alternative. I had been curious about Parfait by Affinitas, but was nervous to try them out, since I couldn’t find anywhere to try them on and I’d heard that sizing was a little difficult. Chrystal of By Baby’s Rules (which is an awesome blog that you should follow, if you don’t already) left a comment offering to send me two Parfait bras (30G Casey and 32G Anna), which she had won, but which did not fit her. I took her up on the ultra-generous offer, and the two bras arrived in the mail a few days ago.

30G Casey:

Sizing: Parfait bras are all available in sizes 30-40 D-G. The sizing is a little strange for some bras, though. Parfait would do well to extend their bras to at least an H cup and down to a 28 band.

Fit: I’ve heard a lot of people say that the band and cup run tight. Oddly, the 30 band feels a bit loose for a 30 band (my ribcage is 30 inches now) and the cup seems only slightly tighter than the 30G Deco. With that in mind, I’d say the cups fit like a 30G/GG. At the moment (given my current “inflated” state), the cups are a tiny bit too small. If I jiggle back into the cup, it isn’t too noticeable. A 28H or 30GG would be great if they made it, but I’d have to buy a 32G to get a good fit in the cup… and I’d have to alter the band.

Comfort: The band is my new favourite band. It’s sturdy without causing any back flub, which is amazing. It’s probably because it’s wider than average. The fabric is also about as tense as the elastic, which helps. The straps are also comfy, but not as amazingly comfortable as the straps on the Cleo Lucy. The cups are fine, but obviously less breathable than a sheer material.

Looks: The lace is cute and the colour is rather yellowy, which is good for my skin tone (flash makes me look pink). Obviously, I’d prefer if it were paler, but I can’t expect people to cater to my ghostly skin. The cups are a little more low cut than the Deco, which I like.

Shape: The shape is very similar to the shape that the Deco gives: round and cleavage-y. It’s a bit less round, though, and center gore is much lower than the Deco, so there is more cleavage.

Overall: I’d buy this in a 32G (and take in the band), but I wish they offered a 30GG or 28H. I wore the 30G out today, though, and it was fine under clothing. Sizing aside, this might be my new favourite moulded cup bra.

32G Anna:

Sizing: Available in sizes 30-40 D-G.

Fit: Again, I’ve heard a lot about the band running tight, but this seems like a fair 32. Maybe 31? I can stretch it to 34 inches, and easily to 32. For some reason, this bra appeared to be 3 or more cup sizes too small, but I think it’s a shape issue, rather than a size issue.

Comfort: Again, I love the band construction. The 32 is probably a little bit too large for me, even though this band does run a bit tight. The straps are also very comfortable. The cups seem like they might get a bit itchy, but I didn’t have it on long enough to judge.

Looks: The Anna bra is a demi sheer-cup bra. Parfait also makes a half-padded version of this style. I’m not usually into pink, but this is cute. The tassel and lace are reminiscent of the Masquerade Persia. The strap details are a really nice touch.

Shape: Eek. I can’t say what shape it actually gives, since this one just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t seem like a sizing problem as much as a shape problem… for this bra to work, the cup would need to be more open at the top. I love demi-cup bras, but since I’m top-heavy, they need to have open tops in order to accomodate my shape. This one just doesn’t work on me. If you’re bottom-heavy, this is probably the style for you!

the mega quad-boob:

Overall: I love demi bras, but the shape of this is just wrong for me. Since Anna doesn’t fit me, I’d like to continue the bra karma chain by giving the 32G Anna to someone who needs it. I’ll be listing it as a “giveaway” on Bratabase, but I wanted to give y’all a heads up before I do. Once it’s up, you can message me via Bratabase if you’re interested! (But seriously, if you’ve got top-heavy breasts, don’t even think about it.)

Strange, no? I was totally expecting the 32G to fit better than the 30G bra, but I guess the rumours about their strange sizing are true. I’m really glad I’ve had the chance to try on Parfait bras before guessing and ordering. Since I’m so unsure of how the different shapes fit, I think I’ll stick to Parfait’s moulded-cup styles for now. I really like Casey and wish it were available in more sizes (sub-30 bands and G+ cups!). The best news is that I’ve found a moulded cup bra that I like more than the Deco! Oh, and the prices are very reasonable ($40-$60ish) and they occasionally pop up on zulily for much cheaper ($12-19).

Thanks again to Chrystal of By Baby’s Rules!

Pictures in response to the awful “bra fitting scam” post…

Edit: Bianca James did not intend to offend anyone with the post she wrote. It did, however, offend many people. The following post was written in response to what read as body snark and policing other women’s bodies.

You’ve probably heard of/seen this nasty little post about how “bra fitting is a f*cking scam” over at MsBehaved. No sh*t, it is a scam… except that the “scam” she is talking about is fitters who don’t add inches to the underbust. How is it a scam? “Vanity sizing”, she claims.

She tells the horrible story of her fitting at Nordstrom in which her 42DDD body was shoved into a 38H. It was, apparently, difficult to breathe. But most importantly,  “H cup was bra size no-woman’s- land, inhabited by porn stars with massive implants who looked like they might fall over from the weight of their breasts.” Oh, I must be a porn star! And I don’t recall getting implants… but I guess I did!

OF COURSE the 38 band felt too tight! If you’re used to wearing a huge band, going down even one band size will be a big deal. You need to take it in small steps. For example, I went through every intermediate band size on the way from 36 to 30. Had I immediately gone to 30 or even 32, I would have felt like I was being suffocated. (edit: this isn’t “corset training”. Big changes in band size just feel weird.) She should have started out with a 40GG. And she asks “How does one push one’s breasts back into one’s armpits, exactly?” Um… most people do it. If you’re wearing a bra that is too small in the cup, the breast tissue will migrate to the armpit. Look in a mirror. Is there breast tissue beyond the side of the cup? If so, it’s getting shoved into your armpit. It’s not rocket science…

It’s bs like that terrible post that made me afraid to try on bands smaller than 36 or cups larger than DDs. Even now, I still tend to buy the smallest cup I can cram myself into. I actually cried when I first read that post. I wanted to respond to it weeks ago, but felt like my words would fall on deaf ears. Perhaps images will be better?

So without further ado, I present two images in response to the infamous post:


30GG (altered from 32G):

See the difference? (Hint: it isn’t just the colour of the background.) Hun, I’m not wearing a 30GG to flatter myself… I’m wearing it because it fits.

Reading Recommendation

I’ve included the Butterfly Collection blog in my list of US and Canadian D+ bra blogs, but I want to draw special attention to it for a few reasons. Every time I pop over to look at new posts, I am amazed at the work that Claire is doing. Her posts frequently cover matters of body image, fitting, and feminism… three of my favourite topics. She manages to express things that I’ve struggled to find a delicate way to phrase. For example, her post on topless sunbathing deals with our culture’s oversexualization of the female body, which is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. The most recent post is a guest post by her sister-in-law about the amazing things that a well-fitting bra can do for one’s self-confidence and overall body image.

Her posts are really uplifting (pun intended) and I’m really excited about the work that Claire is doing. Check out the Butterfly Collection blog here:

Pretty Dress!

If you live in New England, you might have seen a”Second Time Around” consignment shop. There are a bunch of them, mostly clustered in MA. My mom is mildly obsessed with Second Time Around and, almost every time I visit her, she drags me into one. This past weekend, while we were in Portsmouth NH for the day, I found this knee-length dress, by Diane von Furstenberg:

Sorry for the bad posture!

Doesn’t the print look like Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree?

It’s a size 6, so I though I had no chance of getting my chest into it. But I tried it on anyway, and lo!, it zipped! The fabric is a slightly stretchy silk material, which helps. The band below the bust actually sits where it’s supposed to! I wouldn’t say that it “fits” my chest, but I think it looks reasonable enough to wear. My boobs are clearly a bit squished (sneaking out the top and sides) and I would need to find a lower-cut bra… but I can wear it without a belt!

When I got home, I looked up the designer. She is apparently well known for her wrap-dresses. From the looks of pictures of non-models modeling her dresses, the brand seems to be fairly boob-friendly. For example, I saw a listing on eBay for a size two dress and the person modeling it looked like a 28J (UK). I’d be interested in trying some more Diane von Furstenberg dresses. Her pieces are pricey, though, so I wouldn’t advise looking at full price items.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the dress was new, with the tags still on it. The original price was ~$400. Who pays $400 for an awesome dress and then never wears it?!