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.

 

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

Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Customized Clothing from eShakti

I recently tried online retailer eShakti for the first time. This is an India-based company that sells moderately priced clothing of all different styles. The unique feature is that they will customize any garment to your measurements for a fee of only $7.50. I’ve honestly read more bad reviews than good ones complaining that things turned out huge and not fitted to the provided measurements. So I was really on the fence about trying them. But when they sent me a $40 credit for joining their newsletter and then had a huge sale (they constantly have huge sales, by the way), I decided to finally give it a try.

I ordered a chambray dress with custom measurements and a button-up shirt without customization.

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First up, the dress. I chose this dress because I had been looking for a chambray piece for the summer, and I know this particular style can be boob-friendly (I already own two Lindy Bop dresses with similar bodice construction). I was having a bit of a heavy day when I measured myself, so my bust and hips came out an inch bigger than usual (though still the same at my waist), but I stuck with that anyway because it’s not a stretch fabric and I figured it’d be better to have a little extra room than not enough.

The measurements I provided were upper arm circumference 12”, hip 42”, waist 29”, underbust 29”, bust 38”, chest (above the bust at the armhole) 36”, shoulder (across your upper back from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of the other) 17”, and arm length “average.” If you create an account, there are several other measurements you can add as well.

When the dress arrived, it looked a little big at first and I was worried. But as soon as I put it on, I was really impressed by how well it fit!

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The underbust is a little loose, but the waist is perfect. Additionally, considering how long my torso is and that there is no space to include that in your measurements, I was surprised to find that the length of the bodice was appropriate and the waist hit at my actual waist. I was also impressed that the underbust seam is actually under my bust instead of resting on breast tissue. Let’s see a few more photos, shall we?

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Hello, humongous pockets!!

Hello, humongous pockets!!

In addition to the excellent fit, the quality is quite good. There is an invisible zipper up the left side that’s easy to open and close, plus a hook-and-eye, and there are no stray threads or wonky seams. Despite the lack of stretch, the cap sleeves are designed in such a way that I can move my arms freely yet there’s still no visible side-bra.

My only real complaint is that the opening across the chest is a little too wide for my frame. It’s possible I measured across my shoulders incorrectly, so I may decrease my measurement by an inch next time and see if there’s improvement.

I use fashion tape to hold the panels together (pictured here), and another strip on my right boob to keep the fabric from floating away from my chest so much (not pictured here).

I use fashion tape to hold the panels together (pictured here), and another strip on my right boob to keep the fabric from floating away from my chest so much (not pictured here).

When I pull the sides wider, there’s no more gaping.

When I pull the sides wider, there’s no more gaping.

As for the underbust being a little loose, well there are two seams up the front of the bodice that I could easily take in a smidge if I care that much:

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Next up is the rabbit-print button-up tunic blouse. My bust matches size 10, which measures bust 37”, waist 30”, while my waist matches size 8 (36” bust, 29” waist). Since button gaping is such an issue with big boobs, I decided to play it safe and go with the 10. Plus I figured I’ll probably be wearing this top tucked into high-waist bottoms anyway, so a slightly too-big waist wouldn’t matter.

In hindsight, I think an 8 would have been better, but the 10 is still serviceable:

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It’s quite loose in the waist, and the bust is surprisingly forgiving. Additionally, next time I’ll pay closer attention to the tailoring, because I didn’t even notice in photos that this shirt has princess seams up the front and back! Princess seams are a busty gal’s best friend, and they make tops so much more accommodating to big boobs. Had I noticed them, I definitely would have chosen the size 8.

Click on the photo to see it larger, and you’ll be able to see the front princess seam.

Click on the photo to see it larger, and you’ll be able to see the front princess seam.

The princess seam on the back (again, click to view larger).

The princess seam on the back (again, click to view larger).

Still, the print is adorable (I’m a sucker for bunnies), the sleeves are interesting, and the fabric is nice and light, so I definitely see myself getting a good amount of wear out of it. Finally, I’d like to note that this top came with three extra covered buttons. Most tops only come with one spare.

With the sale prices, my $40 off coupon, the $7.50 customization fee, and $12.95 shipping, the order came to a mere $35.85. EShakti has sales and coupons all the time, and they’ve sent me a $20 coupon twice since using up that first $40 one, so there are ample opportunities to score a good deal. Plus, in addition to the measurement customization, that $7.50 fee also allows you to change the style to different necklines, lengths, sleeve types, and more.

Where else can you get that level of customization for a mere $7.50??

 

Off the Rack ~ Spring/Summer 2016 Curve Coverage Part II: Old Favorites

Following up on my Curve Expo coverage, here comes Curve Part II. Again, these are the Spring/Summer 2016 collections. Unless otherwise noted, everything you see below will be released for sale around March–May 2016. This week I’m discussing our favorite brands: Claudette, Curvy Kate, Eveden, Panache, Parfait, and Tutti Rouge.

All brands here use UK sizing.

Claudette

It’s always a pleasure chatting with the Claudette ladies. They’re so open about their product and the business overall. Darlene and I learned all kinds of interesting things about what the brand is up to lately.

For example, some American consumers may have noticed that Claudette shows up on flash sale site Zulily fairly regularly. Turns out this is a great way to be introduced to new customers. Zulily has thousands of subscribers, so by selling a few items on there, a brand is basically getting free marketing. The Claudette items on Zulily and other flash sites are typically three seasons old so as not to cut into the business of brick-and-mortar retailers.

Along those lines, earlier this year Claudette also introduced their own sale site for discontinued styles, Claudette Encore. This site offers strictly items from past seasons that brick-and-mortar retailers are no longer carrying, at prices as low as $9.99. The most recent season you’ll find on there is Spring/Summer 2013, but there are bras going all the way back to their very first collection (yes, the neons!).

Encore has proven a great success! Apparently some customers have been buying a few bras in different sizes, then coming back and buying every single bra available in their final size. Additionally, for retailers who don’t want to carry the smaller bands and bigger cups because they think there’s no demand for it, Claudette can now point to Encore’s sales to prove just how much demand there is.

Alright, enough talk! Let’s see what’s new for next year:

The new Dessous colors, left to right: (With Elsa Pink trim) Elsa Pink, Safety Orange, Absinthe, (with Matchstick trim) Kandiu, Twilight, First Kiss. All delivering January 2016.

The new Dessous colors, left to right: (With Elsa Pink trim) Elsa Pink, Safety Orange, Absinthe, (with Matchstick trim) Kandiu, Twilight, First Kiss. All delivering January 2016.

Safety Orange is easily my favorite.

Safety Orange is easily my favorite.

But Absinthe is a close second.

But Absinthe is a close second.

Kandui is also lovely, and the Matchstick trim offers a more subdued look.

Kandui is also lovely, and the Matchstick trim offers a more subdued look.

Another “Safety Orange” pick that I adore is the Darling bra. It’s also available in Kandui blue, but you know the neon orange is my preference! Delivering April 2016.

Another “Safety Orange” pick that I adore is the Darling bra. It’s also available in Kandui blue, but you know the neon orange is my preference! Delivering April 2016.

Here are the new fishnet colors, Licorice and Twilight. Delivering April 2016.

Here are the new fishnet colors, Licorice and Twilight. Delivering April 2016.

Love these Fishnet “pin up knickers” with removable suspenders.

Love these Fishnet “pin up knickers” with removable suspenders.

Finally, we have the Dessous Core tee shirt bra, a lightly padded seamed bra in the same shape as the mesh Dessous, with fully adjustable straps and hot pink lining. Colors include Licorice, Allure, and Sunkissed. I kind of wish the bow in front was also hot pink just for fun, but that would be pretty impractical for these nude shades. Delivering May 2016.

Finally, we have the Dessous Core tee shirt bra, a lightly padded seamed bra in the same shape as the mesh Dessous, with fully adjustable straps and hot pink lining. Colors include Licorice, Allure, and Sunkissed. I kind of wish the bow in front was also hot pink just for fun, but that would be pretty impractical for these nude shades. Delivering May 2016.

Refreshingly, all of Claudette’s bras come in the same size range, which includes 32/34A, 32­–38B, 30–38C, and 28–38 D–G, with all bottoms in XS­–XL.

 

Curvy Kate

Another brand whose team is very accommodating to press and so pleasant to work with! This year CK showed us a few highlights that they’re most excited for. The theme is bright, sherbet colors while still presenting a slightly more mature look. Perfect for my stage of life! I still love eye-searingly bright colors but don’t necessarily want my lingerie to look like it came from the juniors’ section.

(Note that some of these items are not the model’s actual size; any gaping or fit issues you may see are a result of that, not a standard feature.)

The Vixen, a new style, features three-part seamed cups and a lace overlay. It’s Curvy Kate’s first bandless bra, and I’m a big fan of the cross-over gore. Sizes 28–40 D–J.

The Vixen, a new style, features three-part seamed cups and a lace overlay. It’s Curvy Kate’s first bandless bra, and I’m a big fan of the cross-over gore. Sizes 28–40 D–J.

The Daily Dream in Apple Dot (though I’d call it mint, not an apple green) was easily my favorite piece. Apparently the Daily Dream has been retooled a bit for more uplift. Sizes 28–40 D–K and 42/44 D–G.

The Daily Dream in Apple Dot (though I’d call it mint, not an apple green) was easily my favorite piece. Apparently the Daily Dream has been retooled a bit for more uplift. Sizes 28–40 D–K and 42/44 D–G.

Curvy Kate is also introducing four new babydolls, including one based on the classic Tease Me bra.

The Scantilly boudoir-inspired collection has been selling really well, and I’m excited to see that CK is introducing some color into it, including light pink, dark leopard, and a gorgeous bright red.

The Invitation set just barely covers the nipple, and I think the ballet slipper pink with the black is fantastically alluring. Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

The Invitation set just barely covers the nipple, and I think the ballet slipper pink with the black is fantastically alluring. Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

Finally, we have CK’s first basque with the Surrender set. Even though the band is clearly too big for the model, it’s still nipping in at the waist and looks amazing on her! Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

Finally, we have CK’s first basque with the Surrender set. Even though the band is clearly too big for the model, it’s still nipping in at the waist and looks amazing on her! Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

The back view of Surrender.

The back view of Surrender.

We didn’t take a look at that much of CK’s new swimwear, but I did absolutely love the Siren one-piece bathing suit on the model. It can be worn strapless, and the sides have adjustable ties so you can bring the coverage down, or tighten the strings for a higher leg cut. It also comes in a bandeau bikini top and a padded plunge top, with shorts or low-rise briefs. This photo, for once, is color-accurate:

Sizes: Padded plunge 28–40 D–J; bandeau bikini and swimsuit 28/30 D–J, 32 D–HH, 34 D–H, 36 D–GG, 38 D–G.

Sizes: Padded plunge 28–40 D–J; bandeau bikini and swimsuit 28/30 D–J, 32 D–HH, 34 D–H, 36 D–GG, 38 D–G.

Speaking of swimwear, as of next season CK will be replacing all elastane content with lycra instead, as it lasts longer over time. Additionally, after complaining about the non-lined butts in their bottoms in our June swim coverage, Darlene and I asked about it and were told it’s a deliberate choice, as it keeps the fabric lighter when it gets wet and you don’t get droopy butt.

 

Eveden

Oh boy, here comes a big one. As usual, I was interested in tons of what Freya and Fantasie are selling. A couple news bites to share: Eveden will be eliminating the word “nude” from its lexicon and making a push for more skin tones. Additionally, I notice in the lookbook that the padded longlines are going up to HH cups and the regular padded half-cups are up to H. Yay! I can finally buy one in the proper size of 28GG!

Utopia (top) and Zentangle padded longlines. Sizes 32–38C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG–H.

Utopia (top) and Zentangle padded longlines. Sizes 32–38C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG–H.

Deco Delight (top), Charm (left), and Vibe in Frappe, Magenta, and Opal (a new continuity), respectively. Sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36GG.

Deco Delight (top), Charm (left), and Vibe in Frappe, Magenta, and Opal (a new continuity), respectively. Sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36GG.

The Strawberry Fields collection includes a plunge balcony bra, padded half-cup bra, camisole; brief, short, and thong panties; and lounge shorts, shown here. I love the lounge shorts!! Too bad they’re completely sheer. I can’t do shorts if they aren’t appropriate to wear while walking my dog.

The Strawberry Fields collection includes a plunge balcony bra, padded half-cup bra, camisole; brief, short, and thong panties; and lounge shorts, shown here. I love the lounge shorts!! Too bad they’re completely sheer. I can’t do shorts if they aren’t appropriate to wear while walking my dog.

Lately Freya has been introducing items that mix and match across collections. Take the Hero bra, shown here, which goes well with the Strawberry Fields group. Hero is Freya’s first four-part cup and I quite liked it, especially the cornflower blue color.

Lately Freya has been introducing items that mix and match across collections. Take the Hero bra, shown here, which goes well with the Strawberry Fields group. Hero is Freya’s first four-part cup and I quite liked it, especially the cornflower blue color.

Silver detail on Hero. This bra also features a solid fabric band lined in power mesh, which is what I prefer instead of just mesh alone. Plunge version in sizes 28–38 D–G, balcony version in 28–38 GG–J and 30–36 JJ/K.

Silver detail on Hero. This bra also features a solid fabric band lined in power mesh, which is what I prefer instead of just mesh alone. Plunge version in sizes 28–38 D–G, balcony version in 28–38 GG–J and 30–36 JJ/K.

Hero on a model.

Hero on a model.

I like tone-on-tone in general, and this neon Boho bra is no exception. Sizes 32–38B, 30–38C, 28–38 D–HH.

I like tone-on-tone in general, and this neon Boho bra is no exception. Sizes 32–38B, 30–38C, 28–38 D–HH.

A tiny feather charm on the gore of Boho.

A tiny feather charm on the gore of Boho.

Neon yellow Heartbeat, so named because the pink stitching looks like a heart monitor. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–J.

Neon yellow Heartbeat, so named because the pink stitching looks like a heart monitor. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–J.

Grey made a bigger appearance than usual this season. Here is the Zen in Dove. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–GG.

Grey made a bigger appearance than usual this season. Here is the Zen in Dove. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–GG.

Zen is lined with three-part power-mesh for extra support and shaping. I’m looking forward to trying this innovation.

Zen is lined with three-part power-mesh for extra support and shaping. I’m looking forward to trying this innovation.

And Zen in Vanilla on a model.

And Zen in Vanilla on a model.

Love the black on peach color here, especially the black trim along the cups. Kiyoko comes in a plunge balcony in sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–G; and a padded half-cup (seen here) in 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG, 30–36H.

Love the black on peach color here, especially the black trim along the cups. Kiyoko comes in a plunge balcony in sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–G; and a padded half-cup (seen here) in 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG, 30–36H.

Moving from Freya to Fantasie:

I love the rose pattern on Penelope. It looks like cut glass. Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

I love the rose pattern on Penelope. It looks like cut glass. Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Closeup on Penelope’s print.

Closeup on Penelope’s print.

Alex’s new continuity brown color, “Ombre.” The blush pink is called “Petal” and the former “nude” color is now called “Sand.” Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Alex’s new continuity brown color, “Ombre.” The blush pink is called “Petal” and the former “nude” color is now called “Sand.” Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Next up, swimwear. There are sooooo many ones I love:

Are you kidding me with these colors?? This is Freya Virtue, also available in a soft triangle tankini. Bikini sizes 30–38 D–E, 30–36 F; tankini sizes 32–38 D/DD, 32–36 E/F.

Are you kidding me with these colors?? This is Freya Virtue, also available in a soft triangle tankini. Bikini sizes 30–38 D–E, 30–36 F; tankini sizes 32–38 D/DD, 32–36 E/F.

The Freya Deco bikini in new Aquamarine. Freya has also introduced a Deco molded tankini and molded one-piece swimsuit. Bikini and tankini sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG; swimsuit 30–38 C–G, 30–36GG.

The Freya Deco bikini in new Aquamarine. Freya has also introduced a Deco molded tankini and molded one-piece swimsuit. Bikini and tankini sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG; swimsuit 30–38 C–G, 30–36GG.

Aaaaaaah the new Freya Bondi in black and white and grey!! I love love love this. I’m so glad they retooled these bottoms to show all the colors instead of the previous solid ones. Who would have thought I of all people would go nuts for a monochrome look? But I adore this­—it’s so sleek and chic. The collection includes this underwire sweetheart top (sizes 30–38 D–G, 30–36GG), padded bandeau (30–38 D–G), and soft triangle (30–38 C–DD, 30–36 E/F), plus these hipster briefs, shorts, and high-waisted briefs.

Aaaaaaah the new Freya Bondi in black and white and grey!! I love love love this. I’m so glad they retooled these bottoms to show all the colors instead of the previous solid ones. Who would have thought I of all people would go nuts for a monochrome look? But I adore this­—it’s so sleek and chic. The collection includes this underwire sweetheart top (sizes 30–38 D–G, 30–36GG), padded bandeau (30–38 D–G), and soft triangle (30–38 C–DD, 30–36 E/F), plus these hipster briefs, shorts, and high-waisted briefs.

Here’s something different! This print looks like some kind of stock image/Photoshop disaster, but somehow I like it. It’s part of the Freya Rumble collection, which includes this padded halter suit (up to FF), padded bandeau (up to G), plunge bikini (up to HH), hipster briefs, and rio briefs, in addition to a coordinating leopard-print padded plunge bikini (up to J) and gathered hipster briefs.

Here’s something different! This print looks like some kind of stock image/Photoshop disaster, but somehow I like it. It’s part of the Freya Rumble collection, which includes this padded halter suit (up to FF), padded bandeau (up to G), plunge bikini (up to HH), hipster briefs, and rio briefs, in addition to a coordinating leopard-print padded plunge bikini (up to J) and gathered hipster briefs.

This!! The Atlantis is easily my favorite swimwear of the season. I love the colors, I love the black trim, I love the way it looks against the teal carpet (I’m imagining it with a teal coverup)—the only thing I don’t love is that the soft triangle tops stop at F cup. Whyyyyyy?? And not only do they stop at F, the last time I tried one it ran SMALL. If I normally wear 30G in Freya swim, I would have to sister-size to 34F, maybe even 36F depending on fit, in order to fit my boobs into this top. Argh I just can’t understand why Freya won’t make bigger cups on the soft tops. If Cleo can do it (the Tilly triangle top from S/S13 went up to G), then there’s no reason Freya can’t!

This!! The Atlantis is easily my favorite swimwear of the season. I love the colors, I love the black trim, I love the way it looks against the teal carpet (I’m imagining it with a teal coverup)—the only thing I don’t love is that the soft triangle tops stop at F cup. Whyyyyyy?? And not only do they stop at F, the last time I tried one it ran SMALL. If I normally wear 30G in Freya swim, I would have to sister-size to 34F, maybe even 36F depending on fit, in order to fit my boobs into this top. Argh I just can’t understand why Freya won’t make bigger cups on the soft tops. If Cleo can do it (the Tilly triangle top from S/S13 went up to G), then there’s no reason Freya can’t!

Finally, I have to share the new color of Fantasie’s Lombok [http://hourglassy.com/2015/06/off-the-rack-busty-the-beach-fantasie-lombok-bikini/], which I reviewed in June. Note that it’s actually called “St Barts” even though it’s literally the exact same bikini. In any case, it’s a gorgeous metallic bronze with gold and copper shimmer. Sizes are 30–40 D–G, 30–38GG.

Finally, I have to share the new color of Fantasie’s Lombok, which I reviewed in June. Note that it’s actually called “St Barts” even though it’s literally the exact same bikini. In any case, it’s a gorgeous metallic bronze with gold and copper shimmer. Sizes are 30–40 D–G, 30–38GG.

Look how sparkly! So pretty. I’m just imagining the sun glistening off this amazing fabric.

Look how sparkly! So pretty. I’m just imagining the sun glistening off this amazing fabric.

Lastly, I have a couple sports items to share. I’m a Panache sports bra gal all the way, but the new colors of Freya’s two sports bra styles have me wondering if I ought to try something new:

Mint with hot pink trim?? Gimme gimme!

Mint with hot pink trim?? Gimme gimme!

 

Panache

Get ready for another massive set of photos, because here comes Panache!

Once again I’m a huge fan of the new Panache Sport colors, and once again I was told there are no plans to turn this sports bra into a bikini. I just don’t understand why not!! All they’d have to do is use different exterior fabric. All the construction would stay exactly the same. This black one would make an awesome swim option:

“Black Animal” delivery December 2015. Sizes start at 28 band and go up to 40, with cups from B to J depending on the band.

“Black Animal” delivery December 2015. Sizes start at 28 band and go up to 40, with cups from B to J depending on the band.

“Pink Marl” delivery March 2016.

“Pink Marl” delivery March 2016.

Moving on to the Panache Superbra line…

The new Clara colors are to die for. Red/Gold and Duck Egg Blue will be delivered in December 2015 and May 2016, respectively. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

The new Clara colors are to die for. Red/Gold and Duck Egg Blue will be delivered in December 2015 and May 2016, respectively. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

I love colored lace over a neutral background, and this pastel blue Georgia is no exception. Also please note that it matches my nail polish (lower left) perfectly. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–K.

I love colored lace over a neutral background, and this pastel blue Georgia is no exception. Also please note that it matches my nail polish (lower left) perfectly. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–K.

Something about this antique floral over another print really spoke to me. Floris is delivering in February 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–K.

Something about this antique floral over another print really spoke to me. Floris is delivering in February 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–K.

Panache Black is introducing some lovely colors this season, including dark red and two shades of blue. They’re also introducing “more luxurious” fabrics like satin.

I am crazy about the gorgeous silvery grey of the Aria collection. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–H.

I am crazy about the gorgeous silvery grey of the Aria collection. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–H.

A closeup of the “Oyster” Aria. So pretty. I think this would make a sleek bridal set.

A closeup of the “Oyster” Aria. So pretty. I think this would make a sleek bridal set.

I love the visible seams on the slightly sheer Esme, as well as the moody “Petrol” color. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30 F–HH, 32–38 D–K.

I love the visible seams on the slightly sheer Esme, as well as the moody “Petrol” color. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30 F–HH, 32–38 D–K.

Next up is Cleo, one of my top brands. This season, they’re going for less cutesy and more “fashion.” Like Curvy Kate’s similar statement, this is music to my ears. Of course, the bra I will absolutely be buying is still pretty girly…

Love! This is the new Skye style. When I caught sight of it on Panache’s booth banner, I think I may have gasped out loud. I just love this color combination. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

Love! This is the new Skye style. When I caught sight of it on Panache’s booth banner, I think I may have gasped out loud. I just love this color combination. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

My second favorite Cleo bra of the new collection is this new Marcie colorway. The coral details are so unexpected yet perfect. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 D–J.

My second favorite Cleo bra of the new collection is this new Marcie colorway. The coral details are so unexpected yet perfect. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 D–J.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the Kali babydoll featuring stylized embroidered hearts on the cup. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the Kali babydoll featuring stylized embroidered hearts on the cup. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

I like how open the back of Kali is. Perfect for pairing with some cheeky or keyhole panties.

I like how open the back of Kali is. Perfect for pairing with some cheeky or keyhole panties.

Here’s something unexpectedly sexy from Cleo—the new Della with removable garters. You know I love that black trim on the bra cups. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 E–J.

Here’s something unexpectedly sexy from Cleo—the new Della with removable garters. You know I love that black trim on the bra cups. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 E–J.

The new Blake has impressive side slings and features a tiny leopard-print bow at the gore. Its fabric is sooooo soft. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Blake has impressive side slings and features a tiny leopard-print bow at the gore. Its fabric is sooooo soft. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Harley style is unusually mature for Cleo. I feel like this whole collection has styles that transition from the age of 13 to the age of 40. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Harley style is unusually mature for Cleo. I feel like this whole collection has styles that transition from the age of 13 to the age of 40. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

Next, we have the Breeze longline. It’s not a new style and I’m honestly not that into this particular floral print, but this was the first time I got a closeup look at the style and it has a lot of construction features that I feel other brands’ longlines are lacking. For one thing, the band is actually long. One or two inches does not a longline make—it’s just a slightly wider band than usual. Breeze’s band was almost as long as my palm.

Next, we have the Breeze longline. It’s not a new style and I’m honestly not that into this particular floral print, but this was the first time I got a closeup look at the style and it has a lot of construction features that I feel other brands’ longlines are lacking. For one thing, the band is actually long. One or two inches does not a longline make—it’s just a slightly wider band than usual. Breeze’s band was almost as long as my palm.

Second, instead of putting the boning in the front where it can bend or stab you, the hard boning goes on the sides. Duh! This way, it’ll keep the band from rolling up, like Freya’s non-boned ones do, but it won’t stab me like Claudette’s longline does.

Second, instead of putting the boning in the front where it can bend or stab you, the hard boning goes on the sides. Duh! This way, it’ll keep the band from rolling up, like Freya’s non-boned ones do, but it won’t stab me like Claudette’s longline does.

Finally, Cleo’s longline still has reinforced seams up the front where hard boning would normally go, so it still has enough structure to avoid rolling. Breeze is delivering in March 2016. Sizes 28 DD–H, 30–38 D–H.

Finally, Cleo’s longline still has reinforced seams up the front where hard boning would normally go, so it still has enough structure to avoid flipping. Breeze is delivering in March 2016. Sizes 28 DD–H, 30–38 D–H.

Love the sherbet color of the new molded Koko Muse—which by the way has a J-hook in back! Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–GG, 30–38 D–H.

Love the sherbet color of the new molded Koko Muse—which by the way has a J-hook in back! Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–GG, 30–38 D–H.

Lastly, we have the new molded plunge strapless Koko. Cleo tends to run shallower in the cup so I doubt this will work for me, which is really disappointing because…

Lastly, we have the new molded plunge strapless Koko. Cleo tends to run shallower in the cup so I doubt this will work for me, which is really disappointing because…

…Koko strapless has wiiiiiiide trim on the top and bottom edges of the band! The Freya Deco strapless gives amazing support and shape, but the bottom edge is thin and really bites into my skin painfully. Maybe I’ll give it a shot and hope the cups are deeper than usual. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 E–G, 30–38 D–G.

…Koko strapless has wiiiiiiide trim on the top and bottom edges of the band! The Freya Deco strapless gives amazing support and shape, but the bottom edge is thin and really bites into my skin painfully. Maybe I’ll give it a shot and hope the cups are deeper than usual. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 E–G, 30–38 D–G.

Finally, we have swimwear. Panache Superbra is offering a selection of great nauticals, and Cleo features some really fun prints and colors.

The new navy Britt. The buttons are cute, but I still prefer the bow of this summer’s red Britt. This collection includes a halter bikini (seen here) halter tankini, and bandeau, plus high-waist pant (seen here), fold pant, and gather pant. Bands range from 30 to 38 and cups D to H depending on style. Delivery January 2016.

The new navy Britt. The buttons are cute, but I still prefer the bow of this summer’s red Britt. This collection includes a halter bikini (seen here) halter tankini, and bandeau, plus high-waist pant (seen here), fold pant, and gather pant. Bands range from 30 to 38 and cups D to H depending on style. Delivery January 2016.

Darlene and I were huge fans of the entire Portofino collection, featuring crisp white and navy with gathered and folded details on all the pieces. This molded balconnet bikini top looks so clean and the gathered sides of the cups make it seem so flattering. I also enjoy the extra-wide straps in front (though it does mean they’re only half-adjustable). Sizes 30–38 D–H. All pieces delivering January 2016.

Darlene and I were huge fans of the entire Portofino collection, featuring crisp white and navy with gathered and folded details on all the pieces. This molded balconnet bikini top looks so clean and the gathered sides of the cups make it seem so flattering. I also enjoy the extra-wide straps in front (though it does mean they’re only half-adjustable). Sizes 30–38 D–H. All pieces delivering January 2016.

The origami-like folds on the Portofino bandeau are fantastic. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

The origami-like folds on the Portofino bandeau are fantastic. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

And I imagine the cross-over trim and gathered side of the Portofino balconnet swimsuit will be ultra-flattering. It comes in a truly impressive size range of 30–38 D–K.

And I imagine the cross-over trim and gathered side of the Portofino balconnet swimsuit will be ultra-flattering. It comes in a truly impressive size range of 30–38 D–K.

I also appreciated the sleek Santorini bandeau swimsuit with its heart-shaped white detailing. The entire suit is one smooth piece of fabric with all the support and structure hidden inside. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

I also appreciated the sleek Santorini bandeau swimsuit with its heart-shaped white detailing. The entire suit is one smooth piece of fabric with all the support and structure hidden inside. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

Closeup of the fractal/paisley print.

Closeup of the fractal/paisley print.

The new Suki bandeau has an impressively stiff longer band. It reminds me a bit of the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless [http://hourglassy.com/2013/06/off-the-rack-review-of-wonderbra-ultimate-strapless/]. I like the color combination a lot. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

The new Suki bandeau has an impressively stiff longer band. It reminds me a bit of the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless. I like the color combination a lot. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

I also like the Suki padded plunge top, with a tie at the center gore. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

I also like the Suki padded plunge top, with a tie at the center gore. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Love the lime trim and unusual print of the new Blaire, available in a bandeau tankini and wired triangle top. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Love the lime trim and unusual print of the new Blaire, available in a bandeau tankini and wired triangle top. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Lastly, we come to the new Avril style. It’s a little similar to the Freya Atlantis, but it’s missing the vertical black seams, so it’s not quite as sporty-looking. Still, I like it. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–H.

Lastly, we come to the new Avril style. It’s a little similar to the Freya Atlantis, but it’s missing the vertical black seams, so it’s not quite as sporty-looking. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–H.

 

Parfait

After the massive Eveden and Panache coverage, I’m ready for a smaller collection! This season, Parfait has expanded their sizing yet again. No additional large cups, sadly, but they have added cups down to a C (previously they started at D), bands up to 44 (previously 40), and panties up to 4XL (previously 2XL) in Carole, Casey, Charlotte, and Jeanie. It seems like Parfait is really embracing the plus-size market with these additions.

They’re also adding three new styles—the Darlene, Penelope, and Lucie.

The Darlene bra is a little sweet and demure for my taste, but I had to share it since it shares a name with Hourglassy’s founder! Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The Darlene bra is a little sweet and demure for my taste, but I had to share it since it shares a name with Hourglassy’s founder! Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The new Penelope unlined bra. Love those triangular cups. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The new Penelope unlined bra. Love those triangular cups. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

New Lucie unlined wire bra in “Mood Indigo” and “Barely Pink.” Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

New Lucie unlined wire bra in “Mood Indigo” and “Barely Pink.” Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

Lucie has super subtle silver thread in it, which I tried to capture here.

Lucie has super subtle silver thread in it, which I tried to capture here.

I love the new Casey print and purple lace trim. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

I love the new Casey print and purple lace trim. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

Finally, we come to the most amazing print of the show, in my opinion—the new Charlotte in black and white “Floral Shimmer.” This print is to die for! It’s so gorgeous, I would want to walk around in just my skivvies to show it off. Charlotte and I have not gotten along very well ever since I bumped up from 28FF to 28G several years ago, but I might have to give her another shot with this set. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 28–40 D–K and bottoms XS–2XL.

Finally, we come to the most amazing print of the show, in my opinion—the new Charlotte in black and white “Floral Shimmer.” This print is to die for! It’s so gorgeous, I would want to walk around in just my skivvies to show it off. Charlotte and I have not gotten along very well ever since I bumped up from 28FF to 28G several years ago, but I might have to give her another shot with this set. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 28–40 D–K and bottoms XS–2XL.

Obviously I needed a closeup of Charlotte’s print.

Obviously I needed a closeup of Charlotte’s print.

 

Tutti Rouge

The last brand I have to show you is Tutti Rouge. I still haven’t tried their bras myself, but I’m impressed with their styles and innovation every season. The current lookbook has a little “Which Tutti Are You?” chart in it explaining which styles are great for shallow busts, amazing uplift, fabulous forward projection, or major cleavage. For my full-on-bottom and moderately full-on-top shape, I would reach for the “fabulous forward projection” or “major cleavage” and avoid the other two. The recommendations are:

Shallow busts: Liliana (28–38 D–J)
Amazing uplift: Betty (28–38 D–HH), Kitty (28–38 D–HH)
Fabulous forward projection: Nichole (28–38 D–HH), Fifi (28–38 D–J)
Major cleavage: Jessica (28–38 D–HH)

Top row, left to right: Kitty in Fizzy Peach, Jessica in Ivory Nude, Liliana in Crème/Nude. Center row: Betty in Brighton Rocks, Nichole in Parma Violet, Liliana in Fruit Salad. Bottom row: Fifi in Rox Pink, Jessica in Noir Nude, Nichole in Leopard

Top row, left to right: Kitty in Fizzy Peach, Jessica in Ivory Nude, Liliana in Crème/Nude. Center row: Betty in Brighton Rocks, Nichole in Parma Violet, Liliana in Fruit Salad. Bottom row: Fifi in Rox Pink, Jessica in Noir Nude, Nichole in Leopard

The soft-cup Jessica bra is quite exciting, in that it comes with three padding options—no pad, “Tutti Booster,” and “Super Booster.” Here’s a shot of the Tutti booster on top of the Super booster:

For the Tutti booster, you use it in addition to the Super, for massive pumped-up cleavage.

For the Super booster, you use it in addition to the Tutti, for massive pumped-up cleavage.

We asked the model to use no pad on the right and both pads on the left to see the difference, and it was truly noticeable, even though I had a hard time capturing it with my camera.

We asked the model to use no pad on the right and both pads on the left to see the difference, and it was truly noticeable, even though I had a hard time capturing it with my camera.

For a better view of the different effects, check out this banner from the Tutti Rouge booth:

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.05.00 AM

In addition to the black Jessica with Tutti boosters, there’s also this ivory version with a teeny tiny blue gem in the gore, to serve as the “something blue” for a bridal set. So clever!

In addition to the black Jessica with Tutti boosters, there’s also this ivory version with a teeny tiny blue gem in the gore, to serve as the “something blue” for a bridal set. So clever!

While the Betty bra probably wouldn’t work for me, as I understand it’s better for a shallower profile, I’m definitely on board with the matching satin and mesh short.

While the Betty bra probably wouldn’t work for me, as I understand it’s better for a shallower profile, I’m definitely on board with the matching satin and mesh short.

Loooove the mostly sheer back. So sweet!

Loooove the mostly sheer back. So sweet!

I also must point out the map of the UK on the Betty “Brighton Rocks” print. The little pink heart in the middle of the country is where Tutti Rouge headquarters are located!

I also must point out the map of the UK on the Betty “Brighton Rocks” print. The little pink heart in the middle of the country is where Tutti Rouge headquarters are located!