Off the Rack ~ Comexim Bra Reviews: Eris, Jacqueline, & Free Time

It’s been a year since my last Comexim order, and I’ve been clamoring for more of the Polish brand’s bras the whole time. Recently, a group of friends from around the US and I made a big order together in order to save some money on shipping. It was a bit of a process, since we needed them to ship the bras in separate packages each with a value of no more than $200 in order to avoid getting hit with customs fees.

But since we were making such a big order, they ended up giving us a bulk discount and we saved even more money in the end, so it was definitely worth it!

The three bras I selected were “Free Time,” “Jacqueline,” and “Eris.” The style and fit is the same across all three: fully adjustable straps, two rows of hooks and eyes, and lightly padded three-part cup construction. Though Comexim will customize their bras with reduced cup height, reduced or raised gore, etc., I just bought them all as-is, in size 60J, which is the equivalent of a British 28G or GG.

These fit much like the last Comexims I ordered: Very narrow wires, very deep cups, with a profile that’s super rounded, uplifted, and brought together in front. There are a few details that are ever so slightly different, though.

The band definitely feels tighter than the other 60 I own. It’s still not as tight as Ewa Michalak, though, and I don’t feel the need for an extender, so I don’t think I need to go up to a 65. Plus the bands are pretty stretchy and my last ones stretched out a lot after getting plenty of wear. So I still believe the 60 is right; it’s just rather pinch-y right now.

I also feel like the cups are a bit bigger. The volume still seems right. I’m pretty sure going down a cup would be noticeably too small. My last Comexims had a tiny bit of gaping along the top of the cup, especially on my smaller boob, and with these three that gaping is now more pronounced, including on my bigger side. It doesn’t seem to affect the look under clothing, but it has a bit of a deflated look without a shirt unless I’m standing totally straight and rigid.

Now, on to the fun part—photos!

First up is Eris, a most unusual cutie:

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What’s so unusual about a bright red, sparkly bra, you ask? Well take a closer look. Those aren’t glitter hearts—they’re tiny apples!

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As a resident of New York City, “The Big Apple,” I’m a big fan of subtle apple accessories, and this bra is a perfect example. My only concern is that the glitter is going to fall off over time. It’s actual glitter affixed with some kind of glue, not mere thread with minor sparkle. I’m wondering if tracing over all the apples with liquid fabric glue or clear nail polish would be a good insurance policy against shedding.

I do like the fact that the glitter tends to grip the fabric of whatever shirt I’m wearing over it. It’d be great for deep V or wrap tops that ordinarily slide around and show off more chest than you want.

Eris’s straps are fully adjustable and the band is a double layer of soft, stretchy microfiber-like fabric. I love these non-mesh wings! Since the straps are quite smooth on both sides, I’m a little concerned that they may not stay in place. But I’ve worn it twice already and so far so good.

Like most Comexim bras, Eris has a big bow in the gore. I’m not really a fan of these bows. For one thing, my boobs are close-set, so they tend to swallow the bow between them. And for another, the large size sometimes peeks out of lower cut tops. I think I’ll probably just remove this one. The little bows on the straps can stay, though, as they give this monochrome bra just a little more visual interest.

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Oh, one last thing I just noticed: Comexim’s photo of Eris shows a little scalloped trim along the cup edge…but in real life there is no trim! Their photo also doesn’t show the bows on the straps. How weird. I can’t say I particularly care, though.

Next is Jacqueline, which I’ve wanted ever since I placed that first order a year ago. I can’t believe they’re still making it all this time later!

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I do love a good houndstooth, especially paired with a hit of red. This isn’t even my first bra with this pattern, though technically Jacqueline is not a true houndstooth, it’s more of a wiggly checkerboard. This is real houndstooth:

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Again you may notice some subtle differences between the manufacturer’s photo and the actual product:

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The pattern in real life is much heavier with the black, almost like a little white pattern on a black background. I do confess I prefer the Comexim photo, but not enough to really complain about it. Sadly, the pattern of the cups does not continue onto the band, which is a single layer of black mesh (boo!).

Another difference is the red lace trim: It’s a floral pattern in real life instead of the heavier-looking yet narrower scalloped shape of the photo. This also means the bow is a little more dramatic since the lace is wider. The straps are also lacking the texture you see in the photo.

However, I like the practicality of the straps, as they’re shiny on the visible side but felt-like on the bottom, to better grip the adjuster. I also appreciate the detail of the adjuster being black against the red strap.

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Finally, we have my favorite, the Free Time bra:

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This one is a perfect match to the photo! My picture’s not great, and the color is much closer to the manufacturer’s photo in real life. The print is placed in the same spot, to be symmetrical on each cup and on the band. That is really impressive.

I just love this bra! The construction is pretty neat. The dark blue is silky microfiber and the plaid is the same type of mesh bra bands are usually made of. The band is actually lined in the dark blue microfiber with the mesh as the overlay, instead of vice versa. The microfiber feels really fabulous against my skin, especially because bras in general, if they’re as tight as they should be, tend to itch me a lot at the point where the band meets the cup. But this fabric helps keep that to a minimum.

Additionally, even though I was just complaining about not liking the big bows, I like the dual-color double-layered bow on this one. The two colors make it look much more deliberate and like less of an afterthought.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

Off the Rack ~ Wedding Dress Shopping Part III: Alterations

It’s time for another wedding dress post! Yaaaaay! In case you missed the first few, here are some links so you can see the whole story:

Leah’s Happy Swimsuit Memory
Wedding Dress Shopping Part I
Wedding Dress Shopping Part II: David’s Bridal
Wedding Lingerie Shopping: Masquerade Hestia Basque
Hestia Bustier Revisited (and Wedding Dresses!)
Le Mystere Soiree Low-Back Bustier Reviewed

Next, I realized I never shared the rest of the photos from the store where I ultimately bought my dress (there aren’t too many, don’t worry). The store, by the way, is called Lovely Bride, and it is wonderful. If you live in or near one of the cities where they’ve got a shop, I highly recommend them if you’re looking for something pretty but also a little offbeat.

No idea what any of the brands or models are, so it’s just an image dump with some quick thoughts:

This was the shape I initially thought I wanted. This particular dress was very pretty and immediately shot to the top of the list of “maybes.” It has subtle sparkly beading on all those lines. It’s maybe not doing my body any favors, though.

This was the shape I initially thought I wanted. This particular dress was very pretty and immediately shot to the top of the list of “maybes.” It has subtle sparkly beading on all those lines. It’s maybe not doing my body any favors, though.

This was the exact color I actually wanted: Blush pink that didn’t blend in with my skin too much. And I liked this dress a lot. But it had teeny tiny, training bra-sized boob cups so I wasn’t willing to choose it since, even if the designer could make it with bigger cups, I couldn’t get a good idea what the final product would look like since it would be so different.

This was the exact color I actually wanted: Blush pink that didn’t blend in with my skin too much. And I liked this dress a lot. But it had teeny tiny, training bra-sized boob cups so I wasn’t willing to choose it since, even if the designer could make it with bigger cups, I couldn’t get a good idea what the final product would look like since it would be so different.

The red lines are where the boob cups stopped and the blue lines are about where my actual boobs stopped. Way too much of a difference to risk it.

The red lines are where the boob cups stopped and the blue lines are about where my actual boobs stopped. Way too much of a difference to risk it.

Ugh hated this. Don’t know why the consultant even brought it out. I hate these semi-sheer on top lingerie-look dresses. So trashy.

Ugh hated this. Don’t know why the consultant even brought it out. I hate these semi-sheer on top lingerie-look dresses. So trashy.

My face says it all. The cut is way off and the crinkle fabric seemed cool in theory, but messy-looking and weird in reality.

My face says it all. The cut is way off and the crinkle fabric seemed cool in theory, but messy-looking and weird in reality.

Cute and so easy to wear, but Grecian is not really my thing and it doesn’t show off the waist at all.

Cute and so easy to wear, but Grecian is not really my thing and it doesn’t show off the waist at all.

This one was a little pinker in real life. But it was too simple and sweet for me. I need more edge.

This one was a little pinker in real life. But it was too simple and sweet for me. I need more edge.

I loved this one, if for no other reason than it was totally different. But the color was so unfortunate. It was, truly, light brown. Maybe tan. It comes in ivory too, but I looked at a photo of the ivory and it completely lost all impact. I also knew that even in the right color, this is something the fiancé would have actively disliked.

I loved this one, if for no other reason than it was totally different. But the color was so unfortunate. It was, truly, light brown. Maybe tan. It comes in ivory too, but I looked at a photo of the ivory and it completely lost all impact. I also knew that even in the right color, this is something the fiancé would have actively disliked.

I loved the back, though. It had really nice volume and these long, elegant ribbons cascading down the back. So cool.

I loved the back, though. It had really nice volume and these long, elegant ribbons cascading down the back. So cool.

Here comes the worst one! I think I’m actually laughing in this shot. This was supremely unflattering and the fabric was so limp and sad. Chiffon is not my friend.

Here comes the worst one! I think I’m actually laughing in this shot. This was supremely unflattering and the fabric was so limp and sad. Chiffon is not my friend.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the awwwwwesome dress I did choose! I picked it up a month ago and finally took it to the tailor (Sew Elegant in New York City) this past weekend, so the tailor’s future alterations are what I’m really here to discuss.

When I first tried on the dress, the sample was two sizes bigger than I needed, which meant the boob space was actually perfect and the waist was clamped all over in back. The consultant measured me at the same numbers I’ve measured myself at home (37” bust, 29” waist) and ordered me a size 8 with the addition of increased cups and a raised neckline (for extra $$$, of course). Here’s a photo of the actual dress when I picked it up:

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And the back:

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I’m wearing my Le Mystere Soiree Bustier under the dress and it’s looking pretty good! However, as I moved around, the dress shifted and the bra started peeking out more and more:

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Why hello there!

Why hello there!

Aside from the visible bra, though, I thought this was pretty much a perfect fit. How wrong I was!

The tailor will be taking in the bodice at the bottom of the waist, taking in the top line of the cups in two places so it rests more closely against my skin, and will be attempting to lower the gore of the Soiree bustier so it doesn’t interfere with the dress’s ability to cleave to my chest. (And if they can’t fix the gore, well I’m going to attack it with my own sewing skills and, trust me, I will make it work.)

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The blue is where the waist is being taken in. The pink is the two spots where they’ll be taking in the bust cup. This pink alteration will also help make the cups a little more rounded along the top edge. As you can see, right now they come to a bit of a point near my armpit.

I’m also having a bustle put in so I can pin the train up during the reception. All told, the alterations are costing more than half the dress’s price tag. And if I add the extra fee I paid up front to have bigger bust cups, all the alterations together are almost equal to the dress’s original price!

Oof. Us busty gals do not have it easy when it comes to formal wear. Good thing the dress was part of a trunk show and significantly under budget in the first place. I guess it goes to show that if you have a body with any kind of extreme shape, plan to pay at least 50% extra to make the gown work for you.

Off the Rack ~ Curvy Kate Revisited: A Review of the Eden Bra

The last time I tried Curvy Kate, it was an unmitigated disaster. I had to go up two cup sizes, the wires were too wide, the cups too shallow, and the straps were so far apart that they were essentially growing out of my armpit and rubbing me raw.

This was two years ago, and in the time since I’ve heard that CK has improved some of these flaws, including narrower wires and deeper cups. There have been a lot of CK bras that I’ve thought were simply lovely and really wanted to try, but knew they wouldn’t work. With the most recent season, though, there were so many that I liked that I just had to try again. Surprised by the price point (were they always under $50?) and armed with a fat coupon for Figleaves.com, I started with the rose-print Eden. Something about the print just spoke to me:

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I ordered my usual 28G and a 28GG, since I had to size up in the cup last time. First impression upon unwrapping it: so pretty! The darker pink is much brighter than the manufacturer’s photos would lead you to believe, and it’s mixed up with very pale pink flowers and very pale green leaves. What a perfect spring bra. The quality, too, seemed top notch. The fabric is smooth and strong and totally opaque.

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As for fit, well it’s a vast improvement, but it still doesn’t work on me. The internets were correct, the wire width and depth are much better. But the straps are still so far apart! They’re growing out of my armpit again and it’s completely ruining the fit. Here are two shots from ever so slightly different angles to illustrate how deep into my armpit the strap’s base is:

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Now, because the straps are so far out, they can’t provide any lift. Shockingly, 28G is the accurate size this time, but the bra still has the appearance of being slightly big since the cups are basically limp on me no matter how tightly the straps are shortened. There’s simply nothing holding the cups up.

Aside from looking loose, I’m also getting a gap in the very far corner of the bra where the strap is attached. This is because my arms are pushing the straps far inward, and the cup corner is along for the ride. Here’s a photo illustrating this phenomenon:

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Lastly, that lack of support is giving me sad ski slope boobs. My breasts have very narrow roots and are quite full all around. So ordinarily it’s very easy for me to achieve a preternaturally round profile. But in this bra, I’ve basically got a straight line leading from my collarbone down to my boob’s apex. This is unacceptable. The profile I want is a pair of grapefruits glued to a board, not a straight 45-degree angle!

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It’s such a shame. The band felt really good, the price was right, and the bra is so darn pretty. But these ridiculous straps are just unwearable.