Where Are They Now? Braless in Brasil

Braless in Brasil is one of my favorite bosom blogs of all time. June didn’t take fancy pictures, but her content was stellar, with multi-faceted perspectives, unique topics, and great advice. Plus, she was a goldmine for busty nursing mothers.

Her posts became pretty irregular around the time her second child was due. Eventually she announced on Facebook that she was deleting her domain name. I missed the announcement, so when The Lingerie Addict tweeted in January that all traces of Braless in Brasil had vanished, I got a giant jolt to action. I knew she was moving from Brasil, but what if she’d already moved again and I could never find her? I quickly texted her cell phone number and was relieved when she replied.

We finally met up earlier this month when she was in town, and since a lot of Hourglassy readers are also Braless in Brasil fans, I thought you’d like to hear what’s been going on with our favorite 32JJ. For those of you who didn’t get to meet June through her blog, here are two guest posts that she wrote for Hourglassy a few years ago:

(We always intended for it to be longer than a 2-part series, but I’m glad we got at least two posts on the subject!)

First, it’s probably no surprise that June is extremely smart brilliant. She works in a very serious field, and she has all sorts of credentials on her resume that I’m not allowed to share with you because “June” isn’t her real name. (In fact, when I called out to her at the train station where we met (having recognized her by her bustline), she didn’t answer at first because she forgot she was “June”!).

Since she’s so smart, I hesitated to bring up bodies, bras and shopping. These subjects seemed trivial compared to her professional life, and I assumed she’d moved on. Instead, I asked her safe questions about her personal life and ended up being even more intimidated:

  • Using the internet from Brasil, June found a rare rental apartment in a desirable school district in her new city.
  • She moved into that apartment all by herself with a baby and a toddler while her husband finished his professional commitments in Brasil.
  • She jumped into a new job that required a quick climb up the learning curve.
  • She was getting ready for two Asian trips in the weeks ahead after having already traveled to numerous other conferences around the world.
  • She had had a surgery that would cause her body to take a year to get back to normal.
  • She doesn’t have a nanny.

Every time I asked her how she does it all, she’d reply, “Lots of coffee.” With such self-deprecation, it wasn’t long before I felt at ease talking about the one thing we have in common: big boobs. Here are some of her recent observations:

  •  Women in academia seem to change the way they dress according to their professional level and aspirations. Once they get tenure, they’re a lot freer. Right now, the low BiuBiu scoop neck in June’s closet isn’t getting a lot of wear.
  • Living with a dearth of bra and clothing options in Brasil forced her to go through the ordering process a million times to find her size in all the different brands. Now that she knows what fits and works on her, she tends to stick with that, especially since she’s so busy. For example, Pepperberry tunics are good with her long torso, and she needs to replace the Ewa Michalek she was wearing that day. (Even though she told me that her EM bra was old and stretched out, her bust stil looked incredible in it.)
  • She agrees that Curvy Kate bikini tops are the BEST. She doesn’t find the bottoms to be very friendly to women past their 20’s who have had kids, so she buys inexpensive bottoms in a matching solid elsewhere. She wished that Curvy Kate tankinis weren’t too short on her, so she was excited to hear that my Moonflower tankini can be made longer for longer torsos.
  • We agreed that being a 32 band makes clothes shopping so much easier! This led to a delicate discussion about weight and how we each need our own individual motivation to maintain what is healthy for us. I mentioned that for me, the only thing that got me to change was the threat of having to take cholesterol medication. Personal appearance is important, but it just couldn’t get me moving. This brought up an interesting discovery that June made at a recent conference. She used to wear a 30 band and still carries some of her pregnancy weight. She noticed that a lot more of the younger men (her field is male-dominated ) approached her to discuss her work when she wore a 30 band a few years ago than at the same conference this year when she wore a 32–even though she’s been doing her best work yet. How I wish June were still blogging so that we could read her reflections on this.
  • If it weren’t for lack of time, we’d definitely be hearing from her. June may have moved away from blogging, but she’s still passionate about body image, respect, clothing and bra fit issues. She even wishes she had time to learn to sew. I doubt there’s enough coffee to make that happen!

Off the Rack ~ Trying out Bolero Beachwear

This week, I’m so excited to share with readers two of the latest dress styles from Bolero Beachwear.

You may recall the brand from Darlene’s past coverage, and those who have attended our Busty Clothing Swap in previous years have seen it in person (the next swap is coming up on September 26, by the way. Click here to RSVP for this free event [though small donations are welcome to help us offset the cost of refreshments, and the first 20 donors receive an exclusive gift bag full of goodies and coupons]).

I tried on a couple Bolero dresses at the last Swap, and found them an amazing fit. But when founder Patricia McCaw offered to send me a review sample, I turned her down since it was nearly winter and didn’t seem the best season to be reviewing sundresses. Luckily, I got another opportunity this month when Patricia sent Darlene a photo of her latest style, the Carmen.

A polka-dot, pinup-influenced style with a full circle skirt, Carmen is right up my alley. And then when I looked at it on the Bolero website, I saw that it also comes in an amazing abstract teal pattern, and I was hooked!

Some background on Bolero Beachwear: All of the clothes are designed and made in the USA, so your purchase supports not only a small, woman-owned business, but it supports domestic, ethical manufacturing as well. While the prices are hardly inexpensive, they reflect these standards and reflect the quality that goes into the pieces. These garments are machine washable, they don’t pill or wrinkle, the fabric is soft and smooth, and the tailoring is perfect for a curvy figure. I’d much rather spend $130 on one Bolero dress than get four crap dresses from Forever 21 or H&M that aren’t going to fit my boobs and are going to pill the first time I wear them and shrink the first time I wash them.

Finally, don’t let the word “Beachwear” in the brand’s name fool you: While Bolero started out being influenced by its South Florida location, it now offers dresses and tops to take you through all the seasons. Best of all, everything is big bust-friendly!

Disclosure: These dresses were received as review samples. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

So let’s get to some photos! I styled the dress four different ways here, but I’m already imagining several other ways to wear it. It’s a size small, and my measurements are 37”-29”-41”, which is between a small and medium on the Bolero size chart. Due to the stretchiness, if you’re between sizes I’d definitely recommend sizing down.

First, here’s how I wore it this week, in the hot, muggy summer: Black flats and nothing else. The fabric, a 90% polyester, 10% spandex blend, feels smooth but not swimsuit-like. It has a nice weight so I wasn’t worried about the wind blowing my skirt up, but still feels light and cool on the body.

Looooove the color and print, especially with my newly purple hair.

Looooove the color and print, especially with my newly purple hair.

I appreciate that the busy print camouflages back bumps caused by a tight bra band.

I appreciate that the busy print camouflages back bumps caused by a tight bra band.

The straps are at a perfect location to cover my bra completely, and there’s just a hint of cleavage.

The straps are at a perfect location to cover my bra completely, and there’s just a hint of cleavage.

Look how perfectly it fits my boobs! I’m so thankful that the almost empire-height waistband is completely below my bust.

Look how perfectly it fits my boobs! I’m so thankful that the almost empire-height waistband is completely below my bust.

A note about Carmen’s waistband: In case you can’t see in the photos, it’s a textured woven mesh. Honestly, I was a little iffy about it when I first saw it in photos, but it’s so subtle in real life that I ended up really liking it. The armholes are the perfect size to ensure there’s no visible side-bra, yet it doesn’t feel like it’s cutting my arms off (*cough* Pinup Girl Clothing *cough* Collectif).

The skirt portion flows over my tummy and my hips just beautifully, but since it’s a full circle skirt, I was also dying to stuff a poufy petticoat underneath it. Unfortunately, I don’t actually own a petticoat, but I do have the canvas underskirt from Pinup Girl Clothing, so for my next outfit I added that and popped on a pair of peep-toe pumps for a more pin-style look:

Needs more pouf!

Needs more pouf!

Sassy! It wasn’t until this photo that I realized how well this dress functions as a semi-formal piece. Would be great for an outdoor summer wedding.

Sassy! It wasn’t until this photo that I realized how well this dress functions as a semi-formal piece. Would be great for an outdoor summer wedding.

Next, we come to a fall/winter outfit with knee-high boots, cardigan, and scarf:

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And finally, I couldn’t resist pairing the dress with my black leather biker jacket (which I really need to review) and black Frye ankle boots—I love pairing girly clothes with badass accessories.

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Here are some closeups of the construction as well:

The bodice is fully lined in front and back.

The bodice is fully lined in front and back.

The lining really helps to avoid excess clinginess or obvious lumps from your bra band.

The lining really helps to avoid excess clinginess or obvious lumps from your bra band.

The stretchy and just barely sheer mesh waist panel.

The stretchy and just barely sheer textured mesh waist panel.

But that’s not all! Much to my delight, Patricia also offered to send me the new Erica dress as well, a three-quarter-sleeve, full-skirted faux wrap dress that includes a coordinating sash.

Since the print was a surprise, I was really excited when I opened my box and found that the Erica I received is polka dot. Its sash is also polka dot in the reverse colors of the dress. There are more colors and prints on the Bolero site, but I’m pretty pleased with the black and white since it’s so versatile. Plus, long-time readers will remember how much I love faux wrap dresses.

Instead of styling the dress with different accessories, this time I simply wore it with the sash tied in several ways. The sash is made of a shiny, satin-y material, which is great because it means I can tie it nicely in front and then slide it into whatever position I want. (I am completely incapable of tying an attractive bow behind my back.)

This is the basic style you see on the Bolero site, with the sash wrapped twice and tied in a knot off to the side.

This is the basic style you see on the Bolero site, with the sash wrapped twice and tied in a knot off to the side.

This time, the sash is still wrapped twice, but I moved the knot to the back and unfolded the sash so it’s wider.

This time, the sash is still wrapped twice, but I moved the knot to the back and unfolded the sash so it’s wider.

Next, I wrapped the sash only once and tied it into a big bow, which I wore in the back.

Next, I wrapped the sash only once and tied it into a big bow, which I wore in the back.

And finally, you have it with no sash at all. Surprisingly, I think I like this look the best. Plus it gives me a nice blank canvas to add colorful shoes, belts, and/or jewelry.

And finally, you have it with no sash at all. Surprisingly, I think I like this look the best. Plus it gives me a nice blank canvas to add colorful shoes, belts, and/or jewelry.

How about the structure?

Once again it fits my boobs perfectly and shows off just a hint of cleavage.

Once again it fits my boobs perfectly and shows off just a hint of cleavage.

I think the pattern helps keep from giving off the “boob bifurcation” look that some ladies don’t like.

I think the pattern helps keep from giving off the “boob bifurcation” look that some ladies don’t like.

Also note that the dots aren’t warping where they’re pulled more taut.

Also note that the dots aren’t warping where they’re pulled more taut.

There’s ruching under the bust on the left side, an oh-so-flattering touch.

There’s ruching under the bust on the left side, an oh-so-flattering touch.

Another full circle skirt. Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention with the Carmen—pockets!! Both of these styles have hidden pockets big enough to stuff my whole hand in.

Another full circle skirt. Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention with the Carmen—pockets!! Both of these styles have hidden pockets big enough to stuff my whole hand in.

The backside of the bodice is once again lined. The front is not lined, but that seems unnecessary anyway considering there are already two layers of fabric there.

The backside of the bodice is once again lined. The front is not lined, but that seems unnecessary anyway considering there are already two layers of fabric there.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you the inspiration behind the Erica dress—Erica from the fabulous Burlington, NC lingerie store A Sophisticated Pair. Erica was one of the first busty bloggers after Darlene to spread the Bolero gospel, and she has several reviews of all different styles on the Sophisticated Pair blog, in addition to carrying them in her store.

Bolero garments can be purchased directly from BoleroBeachwear.com (use code WELCOME20 for 20% off your first order, and enjoy free shipping every day), or you can call up A Sophisticated Pair (who, by the way, is currently offering 15% off Bolero items and has a Bolero maxi dress included in their anniversary giveaway contest) to ask about other prints and styles not yet on the site.

 

Where Are They Now? Miriam Baker

It’s only been four months since I highlighted new full bust designer Miriam Baker, but it’s worth highlighting her again because she’s taking the traditional garment industry route of creating seasonal collections to be sold through retailers–most companies that make clothing for large breasts sell directly to their customers. This means that the Miriam Baker Fall/Winter 2015 collection is now up on her website, and I’ve posted some of my favorite looks below.

Miriam and I met for coffee in July when she came to New York City to source fabric for her Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Incredibly, I didn’t take any pictures of us together, but I can assure you that her full grasp of full bust issues is based on personal experience.

Since introducing her to you, two Canadian boutiques are planning to carry her fall line: Tocca Finita and Tucci Armadio. Kudos to these two stores for investing in a new designer and looking out for their customers who wear more than a B cup!

Of course I wish a New York City boutique carried her line, and I bet you’d like to find her clothes in your neighborhood as well. This is actually one way that Miriam could use our help. An internet search from her laptop in Toronto is no substitute for the local intelligence that Hourglassy readers can provide! Is there an upscale boutique in your town that would be a good fit for Miriam Baker’s designs? If so, please let her know, either in the comments below or by email at info [at] Miriam-Baker [dot] com.

And while you’re at it, send her some reminders that what she’s doing is important! Pursuing the dream of dressing D+ cups can be pretty solitary, and there’s nothing more encouraging than hearing from the women who want to wear your clothing. Fortunately for us, Miriam is extremely committed. She reiterated to me that there are two issues that she won’t budge on: sizing for D cups (and above–eventually!) and quality.

She’s also brimming with creativity. She showed me a sneak peak of a fabric print that she has designed for her next collection, and I can’t wait to show it to you when it’s time to tell you where Miriam Baker is for Spring/Summer 2016! Hopefully, that’ll be in a store near you.

miriam baker fw15 evelyn front

Evelyn Dress. CDN $460. Looks demure, right? Scroll to the end to see the back!

Miriam Baker 600

Stephanie body, CDN $190. Ginger skirt, CDN $415.

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Natalie dress, CDN $450.

 

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Chrissy pullover, CDN $305. Chrissy skirt, CDN $215. Also comes as a dress.

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Caroline body, CDN $180 . Carissa skirt, CDN $330.

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The back of the Evelyn dress. I just love this.

Off the Rack ~ Lady K Loves Giveaway Winner

Hourglassy wishes to congratulate

Vivian D.

On winning a pair of Lady K Loves jeans in our giveaway!

Vivian, we hope you love your new jeans as much as we loved ours.

Other readers, you’re not left out in the cold. Lady K is currently offering an additional 25% off when you buy two or more sale items. Check out the sale section, and don’t forget to sign up for the Lady K Loves mailing list to receive advance notification of sales and new products.

Lady K Loves Sale Section