Best Breasts Forward ~ CURVE 2015: The J Cup Chronicles

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I felt so much better at this year’s CURVE Expo. Last year was my first time attending and I made a few mistakes, wandering around trying to find the J cups in the haystack.

This year I was prepared to focus on the brands that are now or may soon be J cup friendly and because I was accompanied by my Hourglassy team, I was confident I’d get things covered. Thankfully, I made sure to bring my digital camera and my cell phone to be sure I could get plenty of photos for y’all.

Today I’m going to focus on the three brands that currently have the selection and style I was most impressed with for J cup and up ladies. Overall I must admit that steady improvements are being made and that it’s important for us to keep looking out for those brands that are slowly coming up in the cup size department.  I’ll feature some of those brands next week.

Kris Line

I absolutely fell in love with Kris Line! Admitedly, they do not have as many options for us J plus ladies, but what they do have is gorgeous!  There is something about the attention to detail in the embroidery and softness of the lace that I haven’t experienced before in a bra that would actually fit me.  The most eye opening discovery was noticing that the bands supporting the embroidery at the top of their bras are all elastic!  This is life changing for me!  As I’ve discussed in past bra reviews, a stiff line of cloth anywhere near the top of the cup can render a bra completely useless to me.  The girls simply hate it and they go all “four boob” on me every time!

Ivy

Ivy

Soft elastic! No more quadraboob!

Soft elastic! No more quadraboob!

At Kris Line I also found a lovely Fortuna petticoat.  For women of our cup size it is beyond difficult to find sultry lingerie sets.  This is beyond beautiful.  I am not the best photographer but let me tell you that in person is a showstopper.  It has a matching robe, panties, garter and stockings. I will certainly be buying the entire set.

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Curvy Kate

Curvy Kate has been a J cup woman’s friend for some years now. We actually had the pleasure of sitting down with its designer and I must say it was a pleasure.  On the Curvy Kate front, there is definitely good news for us because they have a strapless that will support a J cup coming soon. I’ll be on the lookout for that.  Their standard and perhaps most successful bra, the Daily Boost has been replaced by the Daily Dream.  I love that there is no side boning to poke you in these bras. As a whole, CK has certainly upped their panty game.  No more boring briefs.  This is apparent in what is my favorite of their new offerings, Ellace.  In the Ellace, they have hit the mark on youthful sophistication.  I mean, I want to look like a hot, grown woman, not a medium-warm, grown woman.  The lace is soft and supple with stretch in the top of the cup for us full on top ladies. Look for a picture of this bra here soon!

Panache

We all know of the love I have for Panache.  I mean how many possible times have you heard me mention my dedication to the Andorra?  Here I go mentioning it again because it will now be offered in this stunning Cerise.

Andorra in Cerise

Andorra in Cerise

While Im thinking of it, I must touch on something that stood out and that is the vamped up panties Panache is offering this time around.  I’m not just talking about giving us a thong or two or basic lace–I mean true attention to detail and sexiness in these designs.

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My favorite find at Panache is set for release in October, the Georgia.  There is not one thing I could find that I didn’t love in this set.  This grey/dusty rose set goes up to a K cup! Yay us!!!

Soft, stretch lace enhanced by a touch of sheer rose makes this especially full-on top friendly

Soft, stretch lace enhanced by a touch of sheer rose makes this especially full-on-top friendly

Classy, elegant and sexy.  Not to mention the colors look amazing on darker skin.

Classy, elegant and sexy. Not to mention the colors look amazing on darker skin.

It was so hard for me to choose from all of the bras and panties I saw and wanted from Panache (the Jasmine, Envy, and Esmie come to mind).  They are sure to be my go to brand for years to come.

Stay tuned to reviews from the rest of the Hourglassy team on the many other examples of what we loved at CURVE this year.  There will certainly be J Cup and up selections included.  I’ll be back next week to finish up my reviews of CURVE2015.

Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part I

Last weekend was the Curve Expo lingerie and swimwear trade show for Autumn/Winter 2015 in New York. Unless otherwise noted, everything you see below will be released for sale around October 2015–February 2016. This week I’ll cover some lesser-known brands I checked out at Curve, and next week I’ll go over the usual suspects of Claudette, Curvy Kate, Panache, and Parfait. I’ll be doing an Eveden overview all on its own, because Darlene and I went to their NY showroom and got to talk about and photograph everything from the current season and A/W15.

I’m just going to go in alphabetical order here, and provide some highlights of what I found:

 

Fit Fully Yours

Fit Fully Yours is a Canadian lingerie company that’s been in business for 11 years as of this April. Their bands go from 30 to 40, plus 42 and 44 in some models, and one model (the Maxine Moulded) that goes up to 46 band. Cups go from A to J in American/Canadian sizing, varying in availability depending on the bra. Here’s their sizing schema at D and up, with UK equivalent on the right:

FFY     UK
D         D
DD      DD
F          E
G         F
H         FF
I           G
J          GG

In going through their lookbook, it seems that most bras stop at G or H. The ones that reach J (or UK GG) include Maxine Moulded, Gloria Smooth Lace, and Nicole See-Thru Lace.

FFY bras include quite a few features that I’m often on the lookout for, such as straps that attach to the cups at the center instead of outer corners of the cup; double-layer bands where at least one layer is fabric not mesh; triple-hooks on all DD+ sizes; and straps that are closer together in back without being a racerback.

Another interesting feature that they told us about is that instead of using hard boning on the sides, they use a quadruple layer of fabric. As such, you still get the same support and structure, but it’s more flexible and won’t dig in.

The styles are fairly basic, but come in lots of great colors. Further, they keep the colors in production for up to two years (sometimes more), much longer than most brands. So if you find something you really like and it wears out over time, you can actually get a replacement!

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Above is the Maxine Moulded, in dark teal. The color is really saturated and lovely in real life, even better than it looks in my photo. I love the decorative bits where the strap connects, as it takes this from a basic to something a little more interesting.

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Above are all the colors of the Crystal Smooth, which has slightly less coverage than the Maxine. I’m a big fan of the lime green, and I think the little crystal decoration in the gore makes this design just a little more special.

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Finally we have the Elizabeth Smooth Lace. The little pearls are pretty fun, and I like the lace band.

I wish I’d taken a photo of the Gloria Smooth Lace. It has a lace sling around the outer edge of the cups, which continues onto the straps. But even though the straps are decorative, they’re still fully adjustable. How rare!

Overall, I’d say that FFY makes tee shirt bras with colors and little extra details that make them just a little more special than a totally plain one. Prices range from $49 for their wireless options up to $80, about on par with other non-luxury big bust brands.

 

Harlow & Fox

Harlow & Fox, the ever-luxurious indie British brand, has been doing quite well for itself. They weren’t at the Curve show, but set up shop in a local hotel to show the newest collection.

This year H&F are introducing two of my absolute favorite colors—bright cobalt (though they call it “indigo”) and a rich teal. My photos do not do the colors any justice whatsoever, but I’ll try to get across how absolutely stunning these pieces are…

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Here’s the complete Indigo Eleanor collection: bra, bikini, thong, garter belt, tap pants, half slip, and robe. They all have the most delicate and pretty black eyelash lace, which is so gorgeous and sultry paired with the blue.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

A closeup of the Eleanor bra.

Augh, the color. I can’t deal. I saw a lot of cobalt at Curve, but nothing compared to this. And the silk is so soft. I wanted to swim in it.

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Above is my attempt to capture the teal, but nothing I did with my camera could get it right. It looks rather dull here, but it was really bright with a heavy blue tint. It was almost iridescent and made me think of peacocks.

The Augusta teal bra.

The Augusta teal bra.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

A closeup of the Augusta’s art nouveau-inspired embroidery.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

The fabulous fringed Augusta garter belt.

There were also some new black offerings, including a Viola longline bra, side-tie bikini briefs, lacey thong, long silk gown (in two cup options—DD-F or FF-G), and a kimono of transparent cream tulle with black eyelash lace on the ends of the sleeves and skirt portions and a wide silk sash.

I’ve never been much of a swishy, romantic robe kinda girl (I don’t even own a bathrobe), but I was totally into the longline bra, which I previously tried in gold and absolutely fell in love with. Apparently customers felt the gold one ran small in the band, so that issue has been fixed with the new model.

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Not the best photo, but let me assure you this thing is gorgeous and fits like a dream. Feels like a dream too! The silk is so soft, which is especially appreciated on the straps, and overall it’s a terribly light and comfortable wear.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

I’m a huge fan of the side-tie bikini as well.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

The bikini is totally sheer tulle on the back. So freaking sexy.

 

Kris Line

I realize Kris Line is not that new for most people, but this was the first time I got to look at some of their stuff in person. I am desperate to try out this Polish brand. They’re often featured on US flash sale site Zulily, but unfortunately they don’t accept returns (not even for store credit) with any intimate apparel, so it’s really only useful if you know your size.

Kris Line uses UK cup sizing from A to O (yes, O!), and bands from 60 to 115 (or 28 to 50 [yes, 50!]). They truly have the widest size range of any brand in existence that I’m aware of.

The most popular styles are Brillant and Fortuna, the latter of which also comes in a baby doll in white or black, sizes 30-50 B-KK (though each band size down loses the top letter, i.e. 30 goes up to KK, 32 up to K, 34 up to JJ, etc. Band size 50 stops at F).

Kris Line also offers a nice range of nursing bras and tons of awesome swimwear, including a gorgeous ombre collection that I’m really lusting over, though sadly I doubt I’ll be able to find it in the US since Kris Line has very limited distribution here.

Finally, of the brand’s large cup bras, there are just three styles: soft (no padding), semi-soft (padded on the bottom half), and Deco Plunge (molded cup). Once you know your size in each style, you can use that as a guide for all their bras.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but here are the few I have:

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

Just a closeup of the lace trim.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

On the underside of the lace is elastic! So no worries about ribbon or a tight edge cutting into full-on-top breasts.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of a soft-cup.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of the semi-soft.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

An example of a Deco Plunge. Agh I forgot to write down the name of this print! I’m not usually into floral, but this one really speaks to me for some reason.

 

Passionata

Here’s a brand I’m really excited to share with readers. Coincidentally, I bought one of their bras just before the Curve show and I’m really pleased with it (review to come in a few weeks!), so I was really excited to speak with them in person.

Passionata is part of the Chantelle lingerie group, though they just launched in the US last fall. Since Chantelle is a French brand, Passionata uses single letter sizing. All their bras go up to an E cup (i.e. UK DD), and they also offer lots of really cute cuts up to an H (or UK FF).

Started in 1988, I was told that Passionata was created as a backlash against the Calvin Klein-esque minimalism and androgyny of that period. I think that aesthetic is still reflected today, with lots of color and flirty details. The point of view these days is also “all about comfort all day.” Price point is on par with similar brands, about $60 a bra.

All the models I’m showing here come in the larger cup sizes (up to H).

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is the Bloom longline. This cup style is apparently their “quintessential demi.” I love the sheer panel in front, and the lace side slings bring everything forward.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

This is from the About Midnight collection. It’s a mesh over satin. I really like the black-on-black dot print. It reminds me a little of men’s suiting.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

About Midnight also comes in this amazing jade green.

This is Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

This is the Miss Fashion tee shirt bra. It’s the same design as their “Smooth” tee bra, but with lace detailing on the sides and band.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

And this is the Miss Fashion unlined bra, which features the same sheer paneling as the Bloom.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam on the right side.

The inside of the unlined Miss Fashion has a hidden double layer of mesh for extra support. You can see it folding on itself on the left side of the interior, and an actual seam just right of center.

 

Rago

Just a little teaser here. Rago is the go-to shapewear brand for pinup girls. Their shapers have really nice vintage styling and attractive colors and seaming. Some have bra cups up to DD that offer a subtle bullet shape. The best reviews I’ve found are on MissVictoryViolet.com.

What I’m showing here is their “corset dress.” I would love something like this to wear under my ’50s dresses to suck in my tummy just a little and give some nice poof (but not too much) under the skirt.

This dress offers “extra firm” upper body shaping. Additionally, while it only comes in small through xl (with no cup sizes), the cups are actually expandable (see photo below), so it could probably work for busty ladies up to a point.

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The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The waist features a wide elastic band and the back has three columns of hooks and eyes.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

The expandable cups. The cup is not attached to the underbust at that big seam. Rather, the cup fabric can be pushed further out above the seam. There’s no underwire either.

In NY, the corset dress can be purchased at Enz’s in Manhattan, or can be ordered online.

 

Tutti Rouge

Like Kris Line, this is actually a brand lots of bloggers have covered, but this was only the second time I got to see their pieces in person. The first time was at one of our busty clothing swaps, when someone had brought a 28G (I think) to give away, and it did not fit me at all (it was way small in both band and cup). I believe the sizing at this point is a little more consistent with other British brands, and so I’d really like to try it soon.

The theme of the A/W15 season is “kiss and tell.” I was told it’s about “loving the thrill of the chase” without necessarily being in love. So sassy! I really love it and think it’s great that the brand is here for the woman wearing the lingerie, not for her man. Additionally, all the bras go up to at least a UK HH and some go up to J.

After seeing the brand in person and getting to check out all the details and the lovely fabrics and fabulous colors and prints, I’m desperate to try it myself.

Which Tutti am I? Let’s see…

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

Love the print on this Betty bra. The sketchy black outlines make it look like a fresh tattoo to me.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

From upper left: Liliana, Betty, and Nichole. Note that although they’re all quite different, they intentionally share a spot of color or two so that they can all be mixed and matched. Genius! Also, I adore Nichole’s emerald color.

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

A closeup of Nichole’s sweet little bow with a teeny tiny heart. Love it!

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Another Nichole in a lovely purpleish-blue.

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Don’t get me started on the Beatrice in emerald and noir. That color! The cameo at the gore!

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

Beatrice also comes in a sweet bridal crème color.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

This is the Jessica, which I was told is the world’s first unpadded plunge with removable cookies.

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

And of course I needed a closeup of the gore decoration here as well. Love that attention to detail!

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.

Again we have totally different styles, the Nichole on the left and Jessica on right, with similar colors so they can be mixed.

 

Full Bust Finds: Knit Jacket from Express

As you know, I’m on the lookout for a knit blazer to replace my polka dot one, so I visited a few Express stores to see if they had the textured grid jacket that I showed you. Although that style was only available online, there were several other knit options that looked promising.  I took the two 24″ blazers below into the dressing room.

express 24 inch knit blazers

Incredibly, the size medium fit perfectly . . . even buttoned! There was even plenty of room to move my arms freely.

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big bust friendly stripe blazer express front

big bust friendly stripe blazer express front side closeup

big bust friendly stripe blazer express back

It surprised me how much I preferred the striped jacket to the solid one. It made more of an impact and somehow even seemed more slimming. There was only one problem. When I showed it to Leah and Mia at the Curve lingerie trade show yesterday, they both agreed that the 24″ length was too long on me. You can see the difference in proportion side by side with my trusty black cardigan. It looks like I should try the 20″ and 22″ blazers from Express instead.big bust friendly express jacket too longFor those of you who don’t have my length issue, here are the other relevant shirt measurements. For the waist, I started 15″ down from the center back of the collar and measured across the garment from the button to the keyhole end of the buttonhole. For the bust, I began 1″ down from the underarm and measured from the folded edge of one lapel to the other. Obviously, this means there is an expanse of space between the lapels that is not included in the numbers below.

  • In size Medium, the waist measures 35″, and the bust measures 37″.
  • In size Large, the waist measures 37.25″ and the bust measures 39″.

In these pictures, my waist measures around 32″ pulled snug, and my bust measures 40.5″, and I’m wearing my Fantasie 4510 in 32FF.

Can this blazer fit a larger cup size? I really want to take advantage of the variety of body shapes and sizes represented by the Hourglassy writers. That’s why I showed you the Tatyana top in large on me that you saw in medium on Leah. In this case, I wanted to see how the large striped jacket would work on a woman who wears a 32J, so I took it with me to Curve and asked Leah to snap this photo of Mia and me.

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Mia’s analysis of the way this blazer fit her was eye-opening for me. It was also eye-opening to visit the various exhibitor booths with her and to encounter certain bra fitting considerations that never cross my mind. I don’t know what Mia is going to write about day after tomorrow, but she has promised to cover both of these topics very soon.

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A final note: this Express jacket is very well-made. The fabric is thick, the sleeves are lined, and the seams are bias bound. It costs $108 full price, which isn’t cheap. However, as I study this blazer, I doubt there is any way I could create a comparable blazer for the full bust market for the same retail price.  Startups who must manufacture small amounts domestically simply cannot compete on price, but what is even more sobering is that in this instance, there’s no contest when it comes to fit or quality either. How do you think a full-bust clothing company in the United States would need to distinguish itself in order to sell a higher-priced version of this jacket? Or what should they sell instead?

big bust friendly blazer bias bound seams express

 

Best Breasts Forward ~ Curve Times Two

Last year was the first time I ever used my press pass and got into CURVE. Let’s all be honest, I wasn’t really press until then.

Because this is my second year I will be focusing on what brands have to offer J cups and up. I want to see bras and loungewear and the sexiest of lingerie.

Stay tuned….