Off the Rack ~ Reviews of Freya Martha & Ada

I waited six months for these to hit retail, plus another six weeks after I ordered with them stuck in customs, but the two bras I decided I had to have at last February’s CurvExpo are finally in my hands.

First off is the Freya “Martha” padded half-cup bra. Near as I can tell, Freya makes one of these styles to match almost every underwire plunge they create. But they’re really hard to find. Figleaves.com almost never offers them, and other online retailers seem to sell just one or two once in a while. I didn’t even know they existed until I went to the Curve show and saw them in person. But when I did discover them, I was really excited to try the vertical-seemed three-part construction. As much as I love Freya’s traditional styles, many of them do give a bit of a pointy shape on me, so I thought this style would give a much rounder silhouette.

So was the “Martha” half-cup successful? Well sort of. For some inexplicable reason, the half-cup bras start at a 30 band instead of the 28 of all the underwire plunges. And the band is definitely true to size. I’m wearing it on the tightest hook and it’s still riding up just a weeeeee bit. I’ll have to alter it as it gets older and stretches out.

The cups are also not as perfect a shape on me as the plunges, but that may be due to wearing a sister size. While the cups give great uplift and lovely Marie Antoinette-style cleavage, the gore seems to be a touch wider than my Freya plunges, which pulls the bottom half of my breasts out to the sides. At least it’s only noticeable from the front, and you can’t see it under clothing at all. This, plus the ever-so-slight quadboob on my larger side, makes me wonder if going up a cup size would be best, but since I have to order these from eBay, it’s not really conducive to trying multiple sizes. I’ll probably take in the gore, though, as that should help angle the wires a little more vertically.

As for the look of this bra, it is just lovely. The print looks like multiple layers of sheer butterflies atop each other. It’s vintage and modern-looking at the same time. The cups are made of a layer of soft, flexible, thin foam with the sheer butterfly mesh over it. The bright sea foam green lace trim, straps, and thread flounces along the upper and lower edges are really unexpected and pretty.

Final impression: I adore the look of this bra, but probably wouldn’t buy another Freya half-cup unless they introduce 28 bands.

Next up is the Freya Ada. I loooooooove this bra. I’ve always had the best luck with Freya bras of this construction—opaque fabric on the bottom half and lace or mesh for the top half, with the opaque fabric running into the strap—and this one is no exception. It fits me pretty much as perfectly as it fits the model. One thing to note, if you have top-heavy breasts this bra may not work as well for you, due to a mesh ribbon running along the upper edge of the cup that could dip into breast tissue.

I simply adore the fabric. The print is a collection of tattoo flash-inspired flowers, winged hearts, dragonflies, and little Freya banners interspersed with paint drop-like black dots. I like the slightly muted colors, as it’s reminiscent of old tattoos in real life. The embroidered flowers, hearts, and dragonflies on the mesh are a sweet, girly touch; and the black and white polka-dotted bows with pink in the center, which appear on the straps and gore, are a cute, unexpected detail. The black thread flounces along the bottom edge and the straps are a final edgy touch.

Lastly, while Freya’s wide elastic straps are perhaps not the most elegant, they’re completely adjustable and stay in place incredibly well, which is very necessary for narrow shoulders like mine.

Busty Clothing Swap: Because It’s Easier to Trade Clothes Than Boobies!

The Busty Clothing Swap Eventbrite page is live! Will you be one of the 40 lucky attendees? Leah and I can’t wait to meet you there. We even hear rumors of other amazing bloggers planning to attend. It’s going to be a Big Bust-A-Palooza!

Below, check out the raffle and gift bag sponsors who have already signed on. The more tops, dresses and bras you bring that fit sizes 2-16 and D+ cups, the more raffle tickets you receive.

Have questions? Ask away! And of course I’ll be posting more details soon. Register with your friends before it’s sold out!

Raffle Sponsors:

Parfait by Affinitas logo

Carissa Rose logo

Bijte Logo

Two Figs Logo

Gift Bag for Each Participant

 Gift Bag Sponsors:
DD Atelier logo

Lion's Lair Logo

 Campbell & Kate Logo

Bras and Dignity: One Big Supporter of Support1000

This is the sixth post in my series about Support1000, and it’s good news for those of you in the Chicago-area looking for a bra fitter with experience who loves to help people and has a giant inventory.

Support1000’s founder Oz du Soleil is another one of those rare men who “gets” bras and women, but even he needed a little help at the beginning. He got a LOT of it from Tina Karakourtis, the owner of Tina’s Closet in Lisle, Illinois. Besides teaching him everything she could about bras, she installed the first Support1000 Bra Depot in her store, and she has donated more than $50,000 in new bras to the organization.

Tina has been in the lingerie business for 37 years. She began in a maternity shop that carried only one bra style. When she herself became pregnant, she began creating 34GG’s from 40 bands. She continues making alterations today in her own shop. For Tina, altering a bra is about more than taking in the band. For instance, she created a 26F for a teenage customer by completely re-engineering the original bra. The alterations she makes depend on the manufacturer. If you stop by her store and have a bra re-engineered, I would LOVE for you to guest post about it here–especially if you have more than one brand altered. I only wish I could pop over and watch her in action!

Tina’s Closet carries bras in sizes 28-56 A-L. It isn’t uncommon to hear happy screams coming from the dressing room after a woman is finally fit into the right bra. Her employee Teri, who I interviewed for this post, used to run to the back with a first-aid kit when she first began working at the store and heard the screams. Now she realizes it’s just another happy customer.

Where is this bra-fitting Utopia? According to Mapquest, it’s only a 35 minute drive west from the Sears Tower to Lisle. If  you decide to visit, Teri recommends that you make it a Spa & Bra Day with the following itinerary:

  1. Have breakfast at the John Dough Bakery.
  2. Go to Tina’s Closet for your fitting.
  3. Stop by Sanly Beauty for one of “literally the world’s best facials”.
  4. Lunch on authentic Mexican cuisine at Yurbabuena (by the nephew of a Mexican tequila producer who infuses his recipes with his family’s tequila).
  5. Walk off your lunch at the gorgeous Morton Arboretum (or take the cute walk behind Main Street).
  6. Snack on “gelato to die for” at Traviatta or
  7. Have a fun supper at Johnny’s Red Hots before your drive home–their chicken on pita with honey mustard is Tina’s favorite.

Hmmm . . . is anyone else thinking this would be a fun meetup for Hourglassy readers who live in or near Chicago???

Corporate Curves Report: Coating for Autumn

Hello again everyone and welcome to the seventh Corporate Curves Report. The autumn has arrived, one of my favorite seasons, so thought I’d talk a bit about coats. I’ve always been addicted to coats as I always want my coat to match my outfit, but before discovering Pepperberry, it was a nightmare trying to find nice coats that fit properly. In this post, I will be showing some of my before coats as well as current coats.

(Winter is still an issue, but then again, it’s so cold up here in the North that staying warm requires serious professional clothing, or – like it or not – fur. But I’ll do a winter coat post later on when winter arrives, so let’s stick to the lovely autumn. Appropriately, I’m home sick with the  flu and looking out the living room window at the glorious colors on the maple leaves.)

So then, first up is the classic trench coat, or mac, or however you want to call it. These were an absolute nightmare before as the buttons over the bust would not close if the waist was a good fit, but thankfully Pepperberry has had them in their autumn collections. I got the taupe one in 16RC last year (my shoulders are very wide, so I need a 16RD in anything with sleeves and non-stretchy fabric, but my normal size is 14SC). It actually has a zipper, and the buttons are just decorative. The navy trench coat is from their current collection and in the mail on its way to me. Initially I thought I would not order it since I already have the taupe one and also because the navy one is too short to wear with dresses. But then Irealized that I don’t have any good coats for autumn that are pretty with trousers, so I ordered this gorgeous coat then anyway.

Left: Pepperberry Navy Trench from the current collection
Right: Pepperberry taupe zipper mac from 2011 in 16RC, shopper bag and jeans also Pepperberry.

A few other early autumn coats that I often use are a denim jacket from Pepperberry. Previously denim jackets were another absolute no because the buttons would not come even close to closing if the jacket fit otherwise! Thankfully last spring Pepperberry made one, and I ordered it immediately. I love it because it goes with just about anything. The red mac is from the time when Pepperberry was a part of Bravissimo, but it’s still a coat I wear often.

Bravissimo/Pepperberry red mac 16RC., vest 14SC. Pepperberry denim jacket 16RC

But what did I wear before Pepperberry? I could not find pictures of the worst examples, but this jersey coat was one of the best fits for its stretchiness. Now I’m looking at it and going, “Oh gosh!  Did I really wear that so often?” I got it from some store in Auckland, New Zealand and the pics are from New Zealand as well.

Left: smiling scared in SkyTower Auckland NZ, standing on glass, cardi by VILA.
Right: The Luge in Rotorua NZ

Next up is wool coats. They are always stylish and warm and go from autumn to early winter. I wore this Zara one for a few winters but have to admit that it was tight around the bust and squashed my bust, but it was the best fit I could find. The pictures are taken in Paris, one in the morning exiting the hotel. One late afternoon with sore feet from all the walking (the suffering facial expression 🙂 ), in front of the Picasso museum.

Zara wool coat XL

No surprise that Bravissimo/Pepperberry replaced my Zara coat. I have received quite a few compliments on these, and strangers have asked where I bought them, simply because of the fit!

Left: Bravissimo/Pepperberry coat 16RC
Right: Bravissimo/Pepperberry coat 14SC

So now you have seen a part of my coat collection, and we’ll return to this subject when winter comes. Meanwhile, I hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying this season. And sunny spring to everyone in living in the southern hemisphere! 😉