Review: Panache Sport Wireless

A while back, I bought a used Panache Sports bra (the underwired one) in a 30H in the dark purple colourway. The fit was ok, but it was horrendously uncomfortable, and I quickly resold it, as I realized I’d never get any wear out of it. Panache bras tend to run snug in the band, and I might have preferred a 32 band to the 30 band (despite being a solid 28 band at the time). But even with an extender, the underwires cut sharply into my overly sensitive ribcage. I realize that most people don’t have crazy sensitive ribs, but I do… and I know I’m not alone.

So when the wire-free Panache Sport came out, I was very curious to try it. Now, I’ve never had good luck with an underwire-free bra… particularly sports bras. The wire-free sports bras I had tried all came in S/M/L sizing and functioned by mashing my boobs to my chest. And if I wanted one that might actually be tight enough to keep my boobs from bouncing everywhere, I’d have to get it in a size too small for me to actually get my boobs into. So yes, I was very curious to try the wire-free Panache Sport. Remembering that the band ran snug, I went for a 32GG:

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Fit: This is a wireless bra. Do you know what underwires do? They make sure the fabric from the cups doesn’t get pulled to the sides due to pressure on the band… they keep your bra from mashing your breasts to your chest like a binder. Without underwires, there isn’t much to keep the entire bra from stretching equally. So, yes, this bra does mash my breasts to my chest a bit…

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Look how far back the edge of the cups ends up. It could be much worse… but don’t expect the cups to stay in place like an underwired bra.

Otherwise, the fit is ok. The band is a tiny bit loose (I can fit my full hand under it), but it’s still very supportive, and feels just right for exercise/lots of movement. The cups are a little tight at the top, and I get a little quad-boob, but it’s not a big deal.

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Comfort: Yes. I actually took these photos just after a hike. I’ve worn this bra hiking, moving heavy furniture and boxes, and lounging. I haven’t tried running, but a brief jog through the house tells me that I won’t end up with black eyes. Yes, underwires would be more supportive… but this bra is comfy for exercise precisely because it does not have underwires. I did find that it’s significantly more supportive with the back hooked (which also gives me some unexpected cleavage).

Back unhooked:

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Now hooked:

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Looks: The ultra violet colourway is a lovely blue-purple… blurple? I like it. As for the rest of it… well, it’s a sports bra. It’s sporty. Not my aesthetic, but I’m not embarrassed to be seen in it.

Shape: It spreads my breast tissue around my chest and makes me look weirdly flat and barrel-chested. But I’m not wearing this bra to look good- I’m wearing it to be comfy and supported while exercising or lounging.

Overall: At $68, this thing better last a while. If I have the money, I’ll probably get a second one. I’ve decided that a well-fitting underwire-free sports bra is a very good thing to have.  2        

Review: Two Maxi-Dresses from DD Atelier

I like blue a lot, and sometimes I drool over the dresses on the DD Atelier website. So when these two blue beauties popped up, I couldn’t resist. I rarely buy clothing (and really don’t have the budget for it), and this was a big purchase for me. After trying the Mimosa dress in an 80F (34F) last summer, I figured that an 80H (36H in their new sizing) or 75H (34H) would work better. So, I ordered the blue Fiori maxi dress and Blue Plaid maxi dress in a 34H and eagerly awaited delivery.

Blue Fiori:

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Fiori back  Fiori 3

Fit: For once, I was pleased to see a dress fit me the same way it fit the model. Just as on the model, there is next to no cleavage, which normally isn’t my thing… but it works here. I could have easily ordered a 34F and had some cleavage. If you’re going for cleavage, consider ordering a boob size smaller.

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Comfort: Just like the Mimosa dress, the fabric is very thin and floaty. I could wear this on a very hot day and not feel like a baked potato.

Looks/shape: This could be dressed up or down easily. I’d be as comfortable wearing this for a summer performance as for a walk in the park. The waist is well-defined, and the dress works well with or without the belt in my photos. The skirt is huge and twirly. But… there are no pockets.

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Overall: Gorgeous dress. I will be wearing this a lot. But…maybe pockets next time?

Blue Plaid:

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I’m going to preface this whole thing with the zipper nonsense: I could not zip this on my own. In fact, at first, I assumed it was simply because it was too small. But I decided to ask my roommate to help me and, lo and behold, it zipped. WHY DO SIDE ZIPPERS EXIST?!? Side zippers are difficult to zip, particularly when you throw large boobs into the mix. Since I now know that this actually can zip, I’m considering moving the zipper to the back, where I might actually be able to zip it on my own.

OK. Moving on.

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Fit: The bust is tight on me. It zips and I can still breathe and my boobs aren’t totally squashed, but a 36H might have been better in the bust. However, the 34 is good in the waist. To be fair, I have very broad shoulders and, thus, my ribcage is sort of shaped like an upside down triangle… so a lot of my bust girth comes from my ribcage. That said, I could have used a bit more boob room too, so it’s not just my upper ribcage. I expected a bit more boob room from the H. Another important point: the arm holes are very small, so if your arms aren’t so small, beware.

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The arm holes are eating my armpits.

Comfort: The fabric is much thicker/stiffer on this dress than the other DD Atelier dresses I’ve tried, so it feel a little more formal. Oh, and the armholes are eating my armpits. Otherwise quite comfy, though!

Looks/shape: Absolutely gorgeous. I love that it’s not about the boobs- it’s a sleek, fun style that I usually see flatter-chested people rocking, and it’s great to see that this works well with large boobs, too!  The high-low skirt is wonderful, and the tailoring is exquisite. I’m not 100% sold on the neckline shape/height… but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

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Overall: I love this dress enough that I’m planning to a) move the side zip to the back and b) make the arm holes a bit larger.

Queer Things

I feel disingenuous remaining silent about the SCOTUS’s decision on same-sex marriage today. While I’d love to be over the moon right now, I can’t help but feel the need to remind everyone that marriage is not the end. Marriage isn’t even close to being the most important queer issue. When many queer youth are homeless and trans women of color are being murdered at alarming rates, we better not think that this victory is anything but a small step in the right direction.

And honestly, America’s “acceptance” of queers doesn’t go much further than idolizing conventionally attractive white gay cis-men (“lesbians” in porn don’t count, sorry). Caitlyn Jenner is “accepted”, but only because she manages to fit in the very narrow idea of what a “beautiful woman” should look like… which is only reinforcing the idea that being a woman means having boobs and looking conventionally “feminine”… oh, and being conventionally attractive. (Women who don’t look like that, I support you! Non-women who do look like that, I support you!)

A brief list of some of the issues more important than gay marriage:

  • queer youth homelessness
  • bullying/abuse and other violence (particularly against trans women of color)
  • health care access and quality
  • legal protections for queers in the workplace
  • and let’s not forget all of the issues of racism, misogyny, classism, and ableism (it’s ok to be gay… if you’re a well-off, able-bodied, white cis-man)

So while I’d love to be ecstatic about marriage equality, I’m feeling rather discouraged about the many other issues facing the queer community.

Review of Comexim’s Carnival Longline

Disclaimer: this post got delayed a bit, I received the bra in late February… it’s almost June now. Oopsie.

I’ve been dying for a Comexim Longline for a while now, and decided that my next purchase from Comexim would be longline bra (as a birthday gift for myself, aww). While Wellfitting offered a few longlines, I didn’t love the styles available. I did, however, fall in love with the Carnival bra, so I emailed to ask if it would be possible to have it made as a longline.

It was possible and, after some insane mail delays, I received this breathtakingly gorgeous set:

carnival set

Fit: Pretty spot-on. I got my usual Comexim size of 65K. Since the original bra was their new halfcup style, I opted to forgo my normal “lowered cups/gore” customization. The customizations I requested: narrower wires and a longline band. It looks like this bra actually is a plunge, but the cups and gore are low enough. Maybe they did those customizations anyway? I can’t be too sure. With my other plunge bras, the straps are often set too far to the sides, but that isn’t an issue in this bra. The cups are nearly perfect; the apex of the cups is *slightly* too east-west for my shape, but it doesn’t pose much of an issue. The band is great, except for the thin strip of elastic at the bottom being significantly tighter than the rest of the band. With a few wears, the elastic strip relaxed, and is now fairly inoffensive.

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Right out of the package! Note: the elastic at the bottom was still extremely tight, and this is about 10 lbs ago.

Comfort: For the first few wears, the thin strip of elastic was uncomfortably pinchy. The rest of the band was significantly looser (it felt like a difference of 1-2 sizes), so it wasn’t a simple issue of the band being too small. For longline bands, it would be nice to see a construction that doesn’t require a thin strip of elastic at the bottom. Also, because of my upper belly fat, the front of the band (like all longlines), tends to ride up over the course of the day. But the back stays put, which is what matters most to me. On the whole, the bra is extremely comfy.

Looks: Absolutely stunning. I have always appreciated Comexim’s use of exciting fabrics and unusual embellishments. Even if pink/blue chevrons and butterfly print isn’t my thing, there is almost always at least one style that takes my breath away. When I saw the fabric for the Carnival set, I knew I had to have this one. this sort of reminds me of a style that I would expect from Fauve or Huit, which is exciting. My only complaint: the lace pattern is slightly off-center on the briefs. Comexim’s attention to detail is usually very impressive, so I’m not sure what happened with the pattern centering… but it’s not a deal-breaker.

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IMAG1301 Colour is a bit off here, it’s not quite this green.

Shape: Dear goodness, my boobs have never been this perky and cleavage-y. I think this is the shape most people get from the Freya Deco?  Well, I’ve just found my new go-to cleavage/uplift bra. ALSO you know how I always complain about “halfcup” bras being full-coverage in reality? Comexim is serious when they say “halfcup”. I didn’t have the gore or cups lowered, and it’s mighty low-cut.

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I really can’t get a good photo of my cleavage… apparently, moving my arm enough to take a photo ruins the effect. But believe me, there is mad cleavage!

Overall: The next time I see a Comexim fabric that I love (and have money for it), I will be ordering this style again.

Guest Post by Trusst Lingerie: A Fairytale Ending?

Deborah from Trusst Lingerie contacted me a few weeks about to let me know about Trusst’s innovative bra. Trusst focuses on creating beautiful and comfortable bras for a wide range of sizes. Check out their website, where you can find more information and see some of their products modeled on people of many shapes and sizes! Trusst’s Kickstarter campaign launches on April 22nd (today), and I’m excited to see where things go from here! Their guest post is below:

One thing that will always be a constant when you have a larger bust is the quest for the perfect bra. This lifelong adventure will take you through twists and turns, throw you many curveballs and hopefully have a happy ending: your bra in shining armor.

Stories like these only exist in fairy tales. A perfect bra is a once in a lifetime experience it seems. You find that one style that somehow makes your bust look amazing and then before you know it, the bra is worn out and the brand discontinued the style and you’re on this quest all over again.

How cliché is that – we’re waiting to find the perfect bra, hoping it’ll come across our paths and make our lives complete. It’s 2015 and this antiquated fairy tale thinking just won’t cut it. Why do we have to wait for what we want? Why can’t we take some imitative and get exactly the bra we deserve?

That’s what we did at Trusst. Fed up with the way bras are, we wrote a new story for our storybook. The quest we’re on now is a little different. We’re not trying to find the perfect bra, we’re trying to make the perfect bra.

We started with everything we hated about current bras: their lack of support, the poking, the pinching, the lack of style options once you hit a certain cup size. We pulled out our sketch pads, our engineering and design oriented minds, and worked until something made sense.  We went through iteration after iteration, long night after long night until the one day we made a breakthrough.

So how does our story end? For us, its just beginning. We’re launching our Kickstarter April 22nd and after that, who knows what’s around the next bend. Follow our story for yourself, as we write a new chapter in bra history.

Trusst Lingerie - Suzanne - Quest _DSC0845 _DSC0973

Review of Samanta’s Aurora in gray (style A922)

A little while ago, Samanta Lingerie contacted me about receiving a bra to review. After discussing the different styles, I decided to go for A922, the deepest (and also most full-coverage) of their styles. I had fallen in love with the Aurora in gray, which comes in the A922 style, and was available in a 70J. I was sent this gorgeous bra (and the matching bottoms in a size medium) and was absolutely delighted:

The bra:

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The briefs:

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Fit: I wasn’t quite sure what size to select, but the 70J wasn’t too far off. The band is a little looser than I’d like, but since it’s a 2-book band, I wouldn’t be comfortable in a 65. The cups might be a tiny bit larger than my breasts, but the top of the cup cuts in a tiny bit. (I generally have this issue with non-halfcup bras.) If the band were wider (4+ hooks), I would have preferred a 65K. The panties were totally fine in a size medium (I’m generally a small/medium in panties).

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Comfort: The fabric was a little scratchier than I was expecting it to be (more like tulle than mesh), but it felt just fine while I wore it. (Edit: I haven’t yet washed it, but I’ve been told that the bra gets much softer after being washed.)

Looks: Goodness, this bra is gorgeous. I’ve been referring to it as my “fairy princess bra”. I’d be happier with it if it were lower-cut, but I selected it knowing that it was the most full-coverage style. I’m willing to compromise for gorgeous fabric. But seriously, I’d love to see more low-coverage styles available in higher cup sizes! The panties are gorgeous. Nothing more to say there.

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Shape: It gave me a more “natural” look than my other bras, but I definitely felt like it did a good job of holding my boobs up. Not quite as pointy as some others, but not ultra-rounded.

Overall: This is a gorgeous bra, and is definitely deeper than most G+ cup bras (helpful for those of us who need deeper cups). The attention to detail is striking. I’m always happy to see beautiful and well-made large cup bras!

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Book Report: a Review of Liz Kuba’s “How to Find a Bra That Fits”

A little while back, Liz Kuba reached out to me and asked if I’d like a copy of her book to review. I agreed, the book arrived, and my life promptly got crazy (had to move quite suddenly, lost my job, fell down a flight of stairs, etc)… and the book sat for a bit, unreviewed. But since digital copies of “How to Find a Bra That Fits” are FREE on Smashwords during the month of April, now isn’t a terrible time for me to finally post this review.

My first thought was something along the lines of “A book… on how to find a bra that fits? How on earth do you find enough content to fill a book?” But, rest assured, it’s a quick and engaging read! It’s 46 short pages, and light enough to read in one sitting. I’d personally prefer to read this sort of thing as a pdf (you can download the pdf on Smashwords) or blog post(s), but I know that there are people out there who strongly prefer physical books. This would also be a fantastic book to have lying around in a bra boutique.

“How to Find a Bra That Fits” is definitely written for someone with little to no knowledge of how bras should fits… so pretty much everyone who hasn’t devoted weird amounts of time to untangling this complicated subject. (I suspect that it won’t be a life-changing read for bra-fit bloggers like myself, but we’re certainly not the audience for which the book was written.) The book tackles such subjects as: the American bra industry, bra anatomy, size naming conventions, sister-sizes, signs of ill-fit, how to measure for a bra, trying on bras, bra care, and bra myths. If someone had given me a copy of this back in middle school, it would have saved me years of pain, frustration, and embarrassment. The text is approachable, amusing, engaging, and, most importantly, simple enough not to completely overwhelm the reader.

Unlike some more militant bra-fitting guides, “How to Find a Bra That Fits” does a fantastic job of acknowledging that every bra-fitting and bra-care “rule” has its exceptions. I did wish that Liz’s examples hadn’t all been of women who use “she/her” pronouns, since many bra-wearing people (myself included) don’t identify as female or see bras as a gendered thing, but I was happy to see that the book acknowledge transwomen.

Overall, I think this is a really helpful book for those just starting to learn about bra and bra-fitting.

Paperback copies of “How to Find a Bra That Fits” are $8.99 and kindle copies are $0.99 on Amazon. During April 2015, the book is free on Smashwords!

Why I suck at getting rid of bras I don’t wear

I’ve admitted this before: I have way more bras than I need.

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(This is drawer 1 of 2. There are underwear/garter belts in there, too… but still. Eek. I can remember when I thought it was weird to own more than 1 or 2 bras at a time.)

There’s always the (semi-legit) excuse of “but my size fluctuates!”. That’s enough reason to keep at least a few bras in a few extra sizes.

But I have a few more excuses:

“I spent too much on that to sell it!” – Even if I’m lucky enough to get back what I spent on a NWT bra, I invariably lose money to PayPal fees and shipping. It adds up.

“But it’s GORGEOUS and I’ll never find another one like it!” – Often true, but goddamnit, I have too many bras that I never wear!

“But I lusted after this for months/years… I can’t just get rid of it now!” – Remember that 36DD Chantelle bra that I did major crazy bra-surgery on just because I had spent ages trying to track it down and ended up having to find a French vendor to special-order one for me? Yeah… I’m not a quitter. And I never impulse-buy bras. It takes me months (or more) of thinking to go after one I like, so by the time I get my hands on it, I’m pretty dedicated.

“I’m planning on wearing it, but it’s such a nice set… I don’t want to wear it out/mess it up” – Come on, really? You don’t buy things to keep them in a glass display case, do you?

“Oh, I’d totally wear that, but (insert problem here)” – Ugh. If everything in my bra drawer could magically turn into a longline with narrow wires, most of these issues would be solved. Considering just getting a few coordinating fabrics and seeing if I can make this happen. It’s a big investment, but it’d make a lot of currently-unwearable bras wearable again.

Those are my most common excuses. I did a clear-out recently, and picked 2 more bras to list… but I should have found more like 5-7. I have 3 bras on the way at the moment. Two are replacements for ones I’ve worn enough to break (which seems like a smart plan, since I know I’ll wear them), and one is a Comexim Longline, which I’m SUPER excited about (fingers crossed that it will fit!). I’ll do another clear-out once they arrive… but as you can see, I’m pretty clingy.

The Airing of Grievances (Happy belated Festivus!)

As a full-bust blogger, I’ve tried my very best to cheer on new brands that offer D+ styles. I’ve tried to write about new companies so people will hear about them, to offer advice, and to support them when I do have the funds to buy a full-priced bra. But when “fresh, innovative!” new companies are popping up left and right offering the same 28-40 D-G/GG range in bras that are poorly scaled and “bust-friendly” clothing companies are making clothing that just looks… large all over, I get tired of it.

We have enough brands that offer terribly scaled 28-40 D-G/GG bras. And to be frank, D-G/GG cups barely even scrape the lower end of the actual “full-bust” range. If you’re going to do 28-40 D-G/GG, do it well. Don’t just make the same crappy bras that every other brand offers.

One major thing we do need is H+ cups and sub-28 bands. Just fyi, when the few small-band H+ cup bras that are available all have wires that wrap around our backs, it barely even counts. Oh, and if you’re going to make H+ cup bras, maybe consider actually making a few longlines, which give SO. MUCH. MORE. SUPPORT. than standard bands… which is what we need. Why the hell are there no H+ cup longlines?

And clothing… oh god, clothing. (See Bras I Hate and Love’s post on this issue.) Do you know how many places I can go and find a cowl-neck shirt or sweater? Or how plentiful cheap stretchy spandex/jersey dresses and tops are? And if I wanted to wear a top/dress that I have to wear with a belt to get any waist-definition, I’d just get it at Marshall’s or TJMaxx. I’m so sick of seeing made-for-the-busty clothing companies build their collections on cop-outs. You know what we need more of? Well-tailored button-downs, non-stretch dresses with actual waists, winter coats that button…

I’m just so frustrated. I’m sick of cheering on every new and misguided company that tosses around the terms “full-bust” and “bust-friendly”. I want to see a brand actually listen to what we need and want. I’m not naming names, I’m not keeping a public shit-list… but I’m not going to cheerlead companies that aren’t clearly listening to the needs and wants of their target audience.

‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas…

… and Hanukkah was almost over.

Well, to be fair, I don’t really actually celebrate anything, but I do sort of get sucked into the “it’s cold as balls, so let’s get glitzy and eat a lot and give people nice stuff” mood.

Here’s another lust-list, this time with some Holiday glitz:

Naomi collection (yeah, the whole damn thing) from Edge O’ Beyond – $582 for bra, panty, thong, and suspender; $762 if you buy 2 of the gold-plated chains to go with it

 

(I didn’t include the eye mask in my pricing, since they are really not my thing.) This set is breathtaking. It’s also only available up to a 34E (or 36DD), which is heartbreaking. If I had money to spend on this, I’d totally buy a 34E and try to alter it to make it work. But even if they made a 30H, it’s obviously way out of my price range.

Comexim Sharon – $45 for the set

Sharon is a gorgeous half-cup soft cup bra- I don’t think I’ve seen this style at Comexim before. It looks like this set comes in a pretty limited size range, with a 65H being the largest volume available. Anna is pretty awesome about custom orders, though, so you might be able to get this in a larger cup.

Figleaves Tease Silk and Lace set in burgundy – $177 for bra, suspender belt, and either thong or panties.

Again, not including the eye mask because ugh. Anyway, I’m a sucker for lace, and burgundy is one of my favorite colours. Plus, the textures of this set would be divine. Available up to a G cup, though it looks like many sizes are already sold out.

Panache Clara in gold – retail $94, currently on sale for $59.60

While I respect Panache, I don’t normally think of their bras as *beautiful*. The Clara in this gold/black colourway is definitely unusual for Panache, and seems more like something from Fauve (maybe also Masquerade?). It’s available in 30-38 D-J, making it the only thing on this list so far that might actually fit my boobs. From my experience, Panache bands run tight, so this might work for those who need 28 bands.

Black Clair de Lune Robe by Angela Friedman – $265 (also comes in ivory, $295)

Sexy, simple, and downright gorgeous. I might be tempted to wear this over an evening gown or really fancy cocktail dress.

And I’ve saved the best for last:

Amoralle Magnum Almond Robe – Currently $1,179

I woke up a few months ago with a sudden and unexplained love of luxury robes. I do not have this kind of money. Stop it, brain. (But seriously, if you buy me this robe, I will love you so much.)

So yeah, there’s my list. Not everything on it would fit me, and my bank account is not nearly full enough for my tastes… but I’m certainly allowed to drool on my laptop.

Happy Holidays, if you’re celebrating, and just general happiness if you’re not!