Off the Rack ~ CurvExpo Winter 2014: The New “Nude”

This past Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday was the winter CurvExpo in New York. On the two days I attended, I caught up with the usual suspects (Eveden, Panache, Parfait, etc.) and also kept an eye out for newcomers. Unfortunately, newcomers are few and far between at most of these shows, but I did find a couple brands that piqued my interest (though my two favorite finds were panty companies, not bras).

Since the new offerings from our old favorites are, in my view, the least interesting of my coverage, I’m going to spend this post, and the next one or two, discussing other things. Come back in two or three weeks for the Official Image Dump.

This week I want to highlight companies that are doing “nude” right, whether intentionally or otherwise. That is, they’re offering bras and/or panties in colors that work as a nude on more skin tones than lily-white ladies like me—with bonus points for companies who avoid using the word “nude” at all. Unfortunately, this list is woefully short.

First up is one of my favorite brands, Love Claudette (from whom you’ll see more in that future post). In addition to avoiding the word “nude” and having a tan continuity color (“American Tan”) that’s slightly darker and warmer beige than you usually see, the Spring/Summer 2014 collection is adding this new “Fishnet” bra in what they call “Goldie”:


Additionally, while the color itself is hardly revolutionary, the new pale almond shade appearing as a Dessous longline and the new Bardot lace plunge bra is called “Blondie.” I love replacing the word “nude” with food terms. My only qualm is that there’s no chocolately “Brownie” color!

Next up is Hanky Panky. You may remember my glowing review of their “Bare” seamless underwear, but at the time it was only available in tan, black, or magenta.

Well no longer! It’s now offered in Marshmallow (white), Vanilla (pale pink), Toffee (golden dark tan), Mahogany (dark brown), and Granite (grey). I’m in love with the fact that they named the white shade “marshmallow.” I’ve also found that the original “nude” is actually a bit too dark on my skin tone and can show through very light, tight clothing (especially after I stupidly washed it with some darker colors and it absorbed a touch of dye), so I’m looking forward to getting a couple vanilla pairs for myself instead.


That Toffee color, though, is so delicious that I might need to get one of those as well. I’m really on a gold kick after seeing it among a bunch of companies at Curve.

And as long as we’re on the topic of Hanky Panky, check out the fun colors they’re adding:


They’ve also expanded the Bare collection to include wide-strap camisoles, bralettes, and boy-short panties:


The cami and boy-shorts. Love how long the camisole is, though I’m not sure of its purpose. Can’t wait to try the boy-shorts, though!

Next up is newcomer Curvy Couture. I was really impressed with their light shapewear and will discuss them further at a later date, but for now check out these three bras:


I’m not sure what the proprietary names of these colors are, but I’m going to call them mauvey-tan, beige, and mocha.

Next up, we have a looooooong overdue addition to the extensive Freya Deco family. I think it’s totally ridiculous that in season after season of Deco bras, we’ve seen every color of the rainbow and even some wacky prints (flamingos??), yet it’s taken this long for them to finally add something approximating a brown:


This is the new Deco Vibe. It’s different from the original Deco in that it has textured straps, textured band, lace trim, binding on the cup edges to keep it from rolling outward, aaaand…


A J-hook! Oh man I can’t wait for this bra. I love my Decos, but the straps are a wee bit too wide and the cup edge is very much visible under clingy tops thanks to that rolling issue, so it looks like this one will solve all that. This “Mocha” color will be continuity, in addition to Blush and Black. Now they just need to add a dark brown and a caramel, and we’ll be all set.

Lastly, we have lovely newcomer Harlow & Fox. The Hourglassy team was invited to see the entire collection in private, and we were thoroughly impressed. We’ll write about it in depth in a future post, but for now check out the three main colors of their debut collection:

hf almond

The Eleanor in “Almond.”

hf taupeish

The Eleanor in “Mink.”

Viola in “Gold.”

Viola in “Gold.”


Without even intending, H&F is offering three neutral colors that can function as a “nude” on a variety of skin tones.

As an aside, I got to try on the Viola longline and absolutely fell in love (another gold find!). I must save my pennies (or maybe I’ll get lucky and one of my wedding guests will feel like buying me an extravagant, if slightly impractical, gift later this year). Luckily, we were told that all of these are intended to be continuity pieces. If they sell out, more will be made. So I can take my sweet time saving up!

Best Breasts Forward ~ Curve Expo: Dreamy Lingerie

This week I had the pleasure of attending my very first Curve Expo. I’m so glad that Leah and Darlene also attended (on different days) because I can’t imagine trying to tackle such a large event solo. I was more than a little excited to get my first official press pass. My goal was to not only stop by the booths of brands that specialize in larger cup sizes but to also look for lingerie/loungewear that would work for busty ladies from brands I hadn’t seen before. Next week’s column will focus on bras, but this week I’d like to show a few pieces that I really loved.

Curvy Kate’s offerings did not disappoint. My favorite lingerie from Curvy Kate would have to be the Ritzy Babydoll in Ruby/Spice. The richness of this red fabric reminds me of Fauve. Being that Fauve only goes up to an H cup, these lush babydolls are a gorgeous substitute. The Roxie Camisole in Night/Silver is another CK lingerie option. This shade of blue has a depth to it that makes it look expensive and works with all skin tones. I’m looking forward to seeing what Curvy Kate releases as their line continues to grow.

curvy kate babydoll collage

There were several brands that offered night shirts at Curve, but I wanted to find high end options that we could fantasize about. Busty girls deserve to dream, too! Two booths stood out. They are definitely not designed for large busts, but both had stunning items that would work for those of us with a larger chest.

This is The Queen Robe by Donna Reis. The model here has a very small bust, but when I examined the garment in a larger size I could see that there was quite a bit of room in the bust. Also, the way the robe opens on top provides more space for a larger chest. The satin she uses is light and beautiful. The lace at the waistline is stretchy without loosing its shape or looking cheap. How I dream of descending a grand staircase in this robe!

queen robe collage
When I saw these kaftan-like gowns presented by Felice Art Couture, I was reminded of The Great Gatsby. You would actually have to touch the satin yourself to understand how soft it is. The beading is heavy but more decadent than gaudy or overdone. Unfortunately, this is another item that most of us would wear a bra under, but the great thing about it is the draw string would hit a large chest below the under bust and create an “empire-ish” line. The weight of the fabric and the fact that it is a draw-string and not simply a tie keeps it from bulking/gathering in a way that would give us that pregnant look. I wish my phone wouldn’t have died on me and I could’ve gotten a photo of these actual pieces. They are simply divine!

caftan collage

Tanks with Built-In Sports Bras for Busty Women

Since our Fit and Active September posts, I’ve begun working out enough to admire what the other women wear to my gym classes.  Someday soon, I might invest in a new sports bra–or even one of the tanks with a built-in sports bra from Freya or Panache.  I introduced the Freya and Panache tank top options on the Campbell & Kate blog today, together with links to reviews of their sports bras.


Corporate Curves Report: Bold Patterns – Taifun Dress Review

In my style inspiration post about The Good Wife, I mentioned buying a similar style dress as this knitted top on the character Robyn Burdine.


Like Robyn’s top, my Taifun dress has solid arms that are different from the patterned body. It also has shoulder details.

TaifunThis dress is one of my surprise purchases from my personal shopper experience. Originally Else had brought a skirt in this pattern, but I did not like it. I’m more of a dress person and also did not like how it cut my body into three blocks: top, skirt and legs. I felt it drew too much attention to my midsection, which is not what I wish to highlight!

Then we spotted a dress version of the skirt on the rack of new items brought for her to review earlier that morning. It happened to be my size so I tried it on and loved it. I hesitated because I was afraid the pattern would make my bust look super wide. However, I was in the mood to just try on anything and make my mind up after, not before, so I bought it.


The shoulder detail saves this dress on me. When a pattern continues to cover the shoulders, it can be a disaster on my busty and broad shouldered frame because it emphasizes the width of the whole top body. Instead, here the shoulder detail separates the shoulders from the bust area and gives an edge to the whole look of the dress.


The wide side seam narrows the waist area so while yes, the bust is a little enhanced, it does create more of an hourglassy look than what I really am with my fairly narrow hips. With the top-to-bottom pattern, it doesn’t draw particular attention to the bust area or chop me in three like the skirt did, but instead the eye is drawn to the complete pattern itself.


I also like the back of this dress. Often the detail is only on one side, but this dress is identical on both sides. The thick ponte material is super comfortable to wear, does not crease easily and is warm for the winter.

One small gripe, though, is that the hem sits much higher on me than on the model. I’m fine with shorter dresses, but I would rather wear my hems just above the knee like on the picture with the model wearing the dress. I’m wondering if it’s because the bust inches the dress to sit higher?

The pattern is so strong that I might grow bored of it in time, but at least for now it’s one of the pieces in my wardrobe that I wear often.