Big Bust Curve Appeal: Bralettes for Almost All

Here’s something I never expected to find from multiple big bust lingerie manufacturers at Curve this year: bralettes!

Freya was our first discovery. Remember those adorable mix-and-match Freya Fancies that Leah wrote about in March? They’ve added a bralette to the mix.

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The Freya Fancies bralette is sized from XS to XL, and their model, who wears a 32FF, wears a size small. Basically, it’s like they’ve turned their chemises into cute little bras. Such a great idea!

The “magenta” above is a limited edition continuity color, and black and white are new continuities. I’ll edit this post later to add shipment dates and retail price.

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Tia Lyn includes a bralette in every line, including their new Rendevous line. This one ships in October and will come in sizes S-3X.

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Finally, look what Natori + Support has in store for us in December!

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It’s called the Glance and will comes in sizes 30-42 DD-H (remember: Natori’s H = a UK FF). It also comes in cafe, but the black looks much cooler. It will retail for around $66.

If none of these will work for you, don’t forget Ewa Michalak’s sleep bra that Georgina reviewed in January and CurvyWordy reviewed in February. “Sleep bra” doesn’t sound nearly as delicate as “bralette”, but EM has worked her design magic to create something both feminine and practical.

ewa michalak sleep bra

Off the Rack ~ Comparing Underwire Comfort Pads

Without fail, every single bra I own cuts into me in the same spot—my right side where the underwire and the band meet, and then following the band back. And I do mean that literally. Even too-big bands, even my Panache sport with its padded, enclosed wires, still hits that spot and drives me crazy. With some bras, this phenomenon is super itchy. With others, it can actually break the skin like a rug burn. It’s worse when I’m sitting still at a desk all day.

I know I’m wearing the right size and it’s only on the right side, so I suspect it’s the result of where my ribs happen to be located in relation to the band and the fact that I don’t have much squish in that area.

Depending on what I’m wearing, sometimes I’ll tuck my shirt up under that spot on the band to create some extra padding and give my skin a break. But recently I decided to look for a better solution. I ended up buying two types of “underwire cushion” to compare: Braza’s Underwire Comfort Strips, and Nearly Me’s Silicone Underwire Pads. I found both on LadyGrace.com.

Braza’s pads are thin strips of fabric stuffed with a tiny bit of padding. Their backing is a flexible textured plastic that sticks to the soft side of velcro. The texture will also stick to your underwire casing, and that’s how it stays on. It’s slightly curved to follow the curve of your underwire.

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I tried the Braza strips first, and found them pretty much useless. For one thing, they’re simply too small for the purpose I needed. They only fit over the underwire and aren’t big enough to cover the entire band area that irritates me.

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Further, after one day of use, the underwire has permanently squished and made a dent down the center of the strip, so now it’s basically got no padding at all. It’s been several days since I wore the strip and it still hasn’t bounced back. So I definitely do not recommend these. I’m wondering if I can find some other purpose for them, as it seems wasteful to just throw them away.

The silicone pads, on the other hand, are amazing! After trying it once, I’ve been wearing one every day. They’re available in two lengths—four inches or six inches (I purchased the four-inch ones)—and are a little over an inch wide. They’re super squishy and thick. One side is soft, tan fabric, and one side is ultra-sticky, clear silicon.

You get two in a package, and they come stuck together with a sheet of plastic separating them (like the plastic that comes on Dr. Scholl’s reusable gel inserts for shoes). When you’re ready to use it, you peel one strip off and stick it on your body, then carefully put on your bra. They can be washed with gentle soap and water, then allowed to air-dry before sticking back onto the plastic sheet and storing in a zip-loc baggie (which they come in).

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The silicone pads completely solve the discomfort I was experiencing. They’re big enough that I don’t have to be that precise in putting them on, and they stick really well and stay put all day even when I’m moving around a lot. I do sweat a little extra on that spot when wearing one, but so far it hasn’t bothered me and the silicone still stays stuck on despite the sweat.

Here’s a photo of how I placed it under my bra (this is the Comexim Magic Blue):

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And after removing the bra:

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The other red marks you see are not painful or itchy, they’re just normal imprints I always get. There’s just something about the spot under the silicone that is painful for some reason.

I love these pads so much that I’m probably going to order loads more of them, maybe in both lengths. I’ll probably be wearing them every single day from now on.

 

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.

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

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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.

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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.