Big Bust Celebration Dressing: Kris Line Has Your Back

Two years ago, this woman’s outfit made me wish for wide bra bands that are made to be seen. My idea was to create detachable panels that could cover the band, but none of you took me up on inventing it.

beige bra scoop back

It’s not just a wide band problem. This woman’s narrow band isn’t meant to be seen either.

bra band curse example

Then I found Kris Line’s visible bra back solution in their Spring/Summer 2015 look book–they moved the hooks and eyes of their Stella Deco Plunge Silicon bra to the side! Genious!

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This bra is scheduled to be available at the end of June, and it is supposed to come in white, beige, and black. There’s another color that looks like a pale grey in the book–I’ll update this post once I’ve confirmed.

As usual with Kris Line, it’s hard to find a U.S. retailer who carries the brand. Santa Bellman, the owner of La Bella Intimates in Winter Park, Florida, has told me that she can special order it for anyone who contacts her, but she suggested I contact the company directly for sizing help.  I sent my measurements in centimeters (101 cm over bust, 86 cm under bust) to a company rep and was told that I probably wear a 36DD. I’m not so sure about that.

To find my Kris Line size, I’m going to connect with Braology. If you live in or near New York City, why don’t you join me? They have just received several Kris Line sizing samples, and they have availability at two of their upcoming fitting parties tonight and June 6, as well as at a drop-in event they’re hosting from 11-6 in Manhattan next Saturday. I’ll probably go next Saturday afternoon. It’s not just the Stella bra back that’s motivating me–Braology is also taking pre-orders for Kris Line swimwear, including some of the pieces I gushed about last year.

A Heartfelt Thank You

Monday’s “D+ Dressing without Stressing” workshop went GREAT. I’ve been working on it all year, but until I finalized the slides on Sunday night, I wasn’t sure I would have anything to say. That turned out not to be a problem–for two hours I shared my favorite lessons learned from blogging. Then I was hoarse yesterday!

One reason it has taken me so long to offer a workshop is that I’ve been waiting to feel like an expert. However, a few recent encounters with women who don’t obsess over dressing big breasts like I do has shown that I know a LOT about this subject. And your comments on this blog helped make some of my best points Monday night. Because of you, I could give the audience a perspective based on the experiences of many full-busted women, not just the one in front of them.

True to form, just as I’m always learning as I blog, I kept learning as I prepared for the workshop–and the learning continued during the workshop.  Here are two discoveries from the process.

1. I expected to use this Calvin Klein dress to demonstrate how to accessorize a neckline that’s higher than a high balance point, but it does a much better job of demonstrating the minimizing potential of color blocking. The two black side panels have the same effect as wearing a cardigan or jacket–they cut the visible area of our chest. This is a great option for hot weather when we don’t want to add layers, and there’s no worry about an unbuttoned cardigan flapping to either side of our chest. (Sadly, the armholes in this dress revealed way too much underarm bra.)

calvin klein color block bust minimizing

2. I thought this dress was going to demonstrate how a center panel of print elongates our torso and distracts from our chest, but I was wrong. Instead, it demonstrates once again the importance of grouping! Do you see how? If not, scroll further down to my markup.

dress print waistline boobs

dress print waistline boobs demo

The pattern divides into two sections–the top scrolls, which are grouped with the neckline, and the bottom scrolls, which are grouped with the waist. My bust gets grouped with the bottom scrolls and subsequently looks much lower than in the Calvin Klein dress, even though I’m wearing the same bra. The yellow is meant to demonstrate something that an audience member pointed out: the lighter color to each side actually widens my chest, which is the opposite effect of the black panels in the first dress.

We barely scratched the surface of all there is to know and think about dressing big busts on Monday night. As you might suspect from these photos, the emphasis was on work wear and how to create an effect of low boob prominence.

Big Bust Celebration Dressing: Fraulein Annie Falling in Love Waist-Cinching Panty

Sometimes our memory embellishes a thing, and when we see it again, we wonder, What was the big deal? Well let me assure you, this doesn’t happen with Fraulein Annie lingerie.

I’ve admired this brand for a long time, and Frauke Nagel recently offered me a bra and panty set to review. It took me weeks to make up my mind, but I finally chose the mulberry/slate Falling in Love fuller bust bra in 34F and waist-cinching panty in US size L. They arrived last week.

My memory hadn’t exaggerated the quality and beauty of these pieces, and because the bra fit perfectly this time, I also experienced the exquisite softness of the satin cups and straps. However, it fit best on the tightest hook, so I’ve placed an order for a 32FF to compare the fit, and I will give you my full review after it arrives. On the other hand, I don’t want to delay reviewing the waist-cinching panty because Fraulein Annie shapewear is exactly what some of you will want to wear under your special occasion dresses this summer.

Like Tina Fey, I have Spanx in my lingerie drawer. Mine is the open-bust body suit that combines her two pieces into one. It made my shirts fit better when I was heavier, and it smoothed me out for a couple of weddings. But I hate it. It’s such a letdown to peel off my carefully put-together outer look to come down to this.

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Besides being hideous, it goes higher than the sides of my bra, so the edge rubs me raw whenever I reach my arms forward. I thought this was a necessary evil to maintain an uninterrupted plane of smoothness from bra band to shapewear, but thanks to Fraulein Annie, it isn’t.

I measure 16 inches from my bra band to the beginning of my crotch.  When I’m wearing the waist-cinching panty, I can easily lay my bra band on top of the waist cincher band. The only skin visible is a little triangle under the center gore of my bra. With the silicone edging around the band, it stays put. All Sunday I kept reaching up to make sure it hadn’t slipped down, but there was no need. It never budged.

The bra and cincher panties worn together are so beautiful that I wish they could be outerwear. As I undressed down to my pearls and Falling in Love cincher panties at the end of the day Sunday, I suddenly understood why the Fraulein Annie trademark is wearing evening gloves with her set–these lingerie pieces are made to be elegantly accessorized.

fraulein annie falling in love waist cinching panty front

I’m sure my neighbors wondered why I was laying shapewear on top of their azaleas yesterday, but it was too pretty to resist.

fraulein annie falling in love waist cincher silicone band

Closeup of the silicone edging. I love that the burgundy bows aren’t too matchy-matchy.

falling in love waist cinching panty snap closure

Extremely easy to fasten and unfasten, but it stays secure while wearing.

fraulein annie falling in love waist cincher cotton panel

Cotton-lined gusset.

Besides being beautiful, I know you’re wondering about the function, so let’s begin with hold. Basically, I find it on par with my Spanx. Neither are corsets, so there is no boning that will force you to suck in your stomach, but it takes up to 1.5 inches off my waist. This made a giant difference in the comfort level of a size 6P dress I tried yesterday–when I wore the cincher, the fabric glided over my waist. When I didn’t wear it, the fabric clung.

The experience of gliding vs. clinging reminds me of this interesting tip from The Wardrobe Wakeup by Lois Joy Johnson–an excellent book, by the way:

Wear shapewear as a liner to improve fit. When designers and manufacturers cut costs, linings are the first to go. These silky inner “skins” used to mean quality but now even pricier clothes scrimp on them. Linings do help tailored skirts, dresses, and pants keep their shape, but wearing control garments under inexpensive unlined items provides the same benefits. You don’t need maximum strength shapewear–any silky, light compression piece will help clothes skim over stress points. Shapewear works as a buffer between unlined items and your skin. It prevents sticking and pulling so clothes won’t crease, pull or ride up as you bend and move.

I asked Frauke how she would rate the hold of her shapewear on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the strongest. She said, “I’d give it a 4. Marks & Spencer classify their shapewear in ‘Light, Medium, Strong, Extra Strong’. All my shapewear pieces are Strong.”

As you know, I’m also curious about shapewear’s smoothing effect on my back. The cinching panty didn’t obliterate my bulges, but it definitely helped.

waist cincher comparison

Without on the left. With on the right.

You may also be wondering if the beauty of Fraulein Annie shapewear is also its weakness: will the embellishments show through? If you’re wearing something super thin and sheer, they might, but I was surprised at how little showed through the thinnest, clingiest top I own.

sheer stretch fabric over fraulein annie falling in love waist cinching panty

I’m also wearing the Falling in Love bra in this photo.

There was, however, a bit of VPL with the blue dress I mentioned above. I attribute it to a combination of the dress being slightly too small and the legs of the panties being very slightly loose on me. My only wish for this panty is a flatter band around the legs with the same silicone edging as is in the waist band.

As far as sizing goes, my waist measures 83 cm, so the US size L is right for me. It is far more comfortable than I expect shapewear to be, though, so I would have considered trying an M if my experience with the Va Bien longline hadn’t already convinced me to err in the direction of a larger size when in doubt.  Frauke concurred: “I won’t recommend wearing a smaller size than one that fits well. It would create bulges and would be uncomfortable and irritating. After all, shapewear is to flatten bulges and to give you better proportions. Also, if you are wearing a garment a size too small, the material gets tired faster and it won’t last as long as it should.”

I also asked Frauke how she would recommend wearing panty hose or stockings with the cinching panty, and she advises hold ups in the summer and panty hose in the winter.

I’m absolutely delighted with my mulberry/slate Falling in Love waist-cinching panty, but if you study the Fraulein Annie shapewear options, I know you’ll understand why it took me so long to choose just one. Based on my own experience, I know you’ll be happy with whatever choice you make.

 

Curve Cam: Interesting Bust Seams

I’m buried in workshop preparation right now. It’d help if I’d stop getting distracted by things like Mayim Bialik’s appearance on What Not to Wear in 2011 . . .

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which I discovered after looking for a photo of Melissa Rauch in a high-boob-prominence look like this one

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to contrast with a low-boob-prominence look like this one.

Melissa Rauch purple cardi

So now that I’ve spent more hours than I could afford, it’s a good thing I have a backup Curve Cam for today! I met the teenager wearing this dress after church yesterday and immediately asked if I could take a picture of her bodice for my blog.  Her mom bought this dress for her a couple of years ago–from Avon, of all places. I think the double seams across the bust are a great way to combine both design and function to make room for the bust. It also helps that the back is an elasticized panel.

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I’ll take both this and Melissa Rauch’s dress please!