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.

tina-fey-strips-down-to-her-spanx-to-say-goodbye-to-david-letterman

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.

 

Continuing My Fight Against Full Bust Frumpiness

If you read my experiment with skirt length and top tightness last June, you probably felt like I had a long way to go in my fight against frump. So did I, and I found the comments on that post to be super helpful. As a result, I’ve spent more time in the petites department, where I found this Lauren Ralph Lauren polka dot faux wrap top in size Petite Large. Although I liked Malica’s suggestion to change the shape at the bottom of my denim skirt, it was simpler to have my skirt taken in by two inches at the waist.

The pictures below don’t exactly compare melons to melons–the pose and shoes are different, plus I’m tanner and a few pounds lighter–but I think it’s instructive. What makes the biggest difference in fighting frump? The same answer we’re told over and over again: fit. Besides that, what else do you think helps? And what more should I do?

full bust frump fight comparison

 

Big Bust Balance with a Trumpet Skirt

Here’s a seersucker Ralph Lauren trumpet skirt in size 10P that I found on clearance a few weeks ago. I was actually looking for a basic khaki skirt to throw on with a tee shirt for errand runs, but I liked how the flouncy hem made me look curvier on the bottom, and blue seersucker is pretty much a summer neutral, so I bought it.

big boob balance with trumpet skirt

I’m wearing it with my Panache strappy top in 34FF (that no one claimed at last year’s clothing swap–hooray! Saturday’s swap was outstanding, by the way, and you’ll hear more about it very soon). While I was wearing it, I thought, “Oh I am SO tiny up top now!” Looking at the photos, I realize I am not tiny AT ALL, and I’m not doing anything to minimize my boob presence. No balance point or “third piece” considerations like a necklace or cardigan, and white color is doing its usual job of maximizing me. Plus, the band in this top is pretty stretchy on the tightest hook, so I’m not getting optimum lift.

Instead, I’m relying upon the flouncy hem for balance, and I think it provides it. Do you agree?

Off the Rack ~ Fitting the Bottom Half of the Hourglass: Panty Reviews

I’ve written a couple articles now about panties for the hourglass figure. On the search for the perfect pair, I’ve started branching out and trying new brands. This week I’ll be sharing five different underwear styles across three brands, and gauging my success with them as a woman with a rather ample rear compared to my waist measurement.

My natural waist is about 29″ and my hips are 41″ at the widest point. As such, my waist usually falls into size medium and my butt size large. After noticing that a lot of my size medium underwear is creating massive panty-lines and near-constant wedgies, I’ve started buying size large instead. But even then, it’s still hard to find a truly good fit. Hmm, this is sounding familiar . . . .

First up is two types of underwear from a brand called Warner’s. I found these by browsing on BareNecessities.com when they had an underwear sale a couple months ago. I was looking for something that wasn’t too low-rise, with good butt coverage, no panty-lines, and no muffin top pinching. I ended up with the “No Pinching, No Problems Hi-Cut Brief” and the “No Wedgies, No Worries Hipster.”

Here are stock photos of the briefs:

warner brief1

warner brief2

These still look pretty low-rise, right? Well they’re not. I think the photo is a little deceiving. They are most definitely a high mid-rise (and I say this as someone with an extremely long torso). So I’m a little limited in which pants I can wear with them.

The fabric is a silky and soft microfiber. I really love the way it feels. The wide waistband is also really fabulous. It hides elastic within the wide band, so it truly doesn’t pinch or create muffin tops. It gives a nice, smooth look.

My biggest complaint is that the legs are cut a little too high. It cuts across my butt cheeks and feels like it’s perpetually on the verge of turning into a wedgie. These are also very granny-looking on the body.

As for sizing, Bare Necessities uses a weird sizing system of numbers 5–8. The size chart only lists hip measurement, and I corresponded to a 7. Of course, when I received the underwear, I discovered that its own label uses the usual word size, in my case Large. So really, 5 is a small, 6 medium, 7 large, and 8 extra large.

The large is a little big for me. There’s too much fabric in the crotch and the butt feels a bit saggy. But I’m afraid if I had ordered Medium, it would pinch on the sides and give me phantom muffin tops.

Next up is the hipster:

warner hipster1

warner hipster2

These photos are more accurate. I’m quite pleased with this pair and would certainly order them again. Unfortunately, all the fun colors are sold out in my size, otherwise I might have already done so. I have enough tan and black underwear, thankyouverymuch.

Anyhow, these are low rise enough to wear with my mid-rise jeans (which on my torso are more like low-rise), but not so low that the bikini line is visible. There’s excellent back coverage and I’m pleased to note that they really do live up to the claim of being wedgie-free. Instead of having a wide waistband, this time the wide band is around the legs. The legs are also cut lower so that the fabric actually cups under my butt cheeks and not across them.

Again the crotch is a little baggy, but I think that’s because it’s simply cut too wide. I find this to be a problem with loads of panties. It’s like they’re designed for a huge thigh gap or something. I frequently have fabric bunching up on either side of the crotch because the space between my legs is far narrower than the piece of fabric.

The last underwear I bought from BN is the Maidenform Microfiber Boyshort:

maidenform boyshort2

maidenform boyshort1

I often have trouble with boy-shorts because the front will be too long and the back too short, so I end up with excess fabric bunching up in the front, and my butt not fully covered in back. One of the underwear listings I looked at on BN even noted that the front and back were exactly the same—as if that’s a good thing. No matter how small your posterior may be, it’s always going to have at least a little more volume than your front side, right? So why would you wear symmetrical undies??

I’m happy to report that these Maidenform shorts do not have the same length in back as in front. When you lay them out, they are clearly longer in back at both the top and bottom. Thus, I have full coverage in back, covering the entire length of my rear—no plumber’s butt! They’re also long enough that there are no wedgies or riding up at the bottom edge.

To be fair, the front is a little long for me, so I do get a bit of bunching. But it’s minimal and I don’t feel it. It’s more of an aesthetic thing.

The fabric is thinner than the microfiber of the Warner’s underwear and isn’t as silky, but it’s still perfectly comfortable. And the lace trim keeps it from pinching in. The lace texture might show through really clingy fabric, but otherwise it’s not visible. I bought these in 7 (aka Large) and they fit perfectly. They are not saggy anywhere and don’t feel loose or tight. They’re just right.

And finally, we return to my old friend, the Hanky Panky Bare Collection. After seeing the new colors and boy-short style at CurvExpo, I was eager to try the pale pink “vanilla” shade and the new cut. With a fat coupon courtesy of flash sale site Gilt.com, I purchased two more high-rise thongs as well as a traditional thong and the new boy-shorts. Sadly, the boy-shorts are not yet available in vanilla, so I went with the taupe color, but the others are all in the pale pink.

I order all of my Hanky Panky in size Large. And honestly, I think they run a little small. The Large is definitely the right size for me, so anyone who’s even just a little bigger would be sized out. Buying these a size small would defeat their entire purpose, since it would create lumps instead of smoothing them. Maybe some day they’ll introduce some XL’s. They offer XS, after all!

First up is the traditional thong:

bare thong

This is the actual color I purchased. The model is quite tan so it stands out a lot, but on my lily-white body, it blends into my skin much better than the taupe does. I have to be very careful to only wash it with like colors, though!

Ordinarily I am not a fan of thongs. But I wear a lot of jersey dresses and those things show terrible panty-lines. So it’s a necessity sometimes. However, the Hanky Panky Bare thong is so thin and free of seams that I can’t even feel it. It’s easily one of the most comfortable pieces of underwear I own, if you can believe it.

They’re totally invisible under clothing. However, I think it was a poor decision to place a seam on each side of the waistband. The high-rise thong only has one seam down the back. It’s really a minor complaint, though, and the reason I care is purely because I intend to wear this under my Cheetara costume—little more than a leotard and tights, which show every seam. The more seamless I can get my undergarments, the better (it’s bad enough having that big, fat line from my tights right up the middle!).

Moving on, I have mixed feelings about the boy-short:

bare boyshort1

bare boyshort2

As a positive, they are appropriately longer in back than in front. And they are amazingly invisible, as the following photos will show. As you can see, this fabric is so thin and clingy that you can see my belly button through it. It’s a bit excessive, really. And I’ve struggled to find underwear that doesn’t show. The Bare boy-shorts are the first I’ve found that actually work.

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Those bumps you see are my tummy and my hips sticking out, not the underwear.

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However, since there’s no seam along the edges, the front does fold up when you sit down or walk a bunch. The fabric is thin enough that I think it’ll remain invisible under normal fabric, but with this particular dress, you can see it if you really look.

Further, the back isn’t quite long enough to have enough volume for my butt. So it’s very low in back, almost with some plumber’s butt happening. It also doesn’t quite cup under my butt cheeks like the Maidenform boy-shorts do. So by the end of the day, after sitting down and getting up and walking up and down stairs repeatedly, there was a mini-wedgie happening at the base of the panty. The faster I walked and the bigger my strides, the worse it got (which is really fun in a city like New York, where you’re pretty much always power-walking).

Still, I would probably buy these again. I’m still hoping Hanky Panky makes a pair of Bare hipster briefs. As long as there’s enough volume in the butt, that’d be perfection!