Pretty Bras for Big Breasts: Empreinte Again

Empreinte was the inspiration for my very first “Pretty Bras for Big Breasts” post in 2011. Once I saw their bras in person, I longed to own one. As it turned out, I ended up owning the same one twice. First I purchased (and returned) the Kaela and showed you the difference between it and the Melody on me. Then Empreinte gifted me with the Kaela, and I learned the sad lesson that if an Empreinte bra doesn’t tack, it doesn’t fit. My cup size had grown, and I was sized out.

Three things happened recently to cause me to stare longingly at Empreinte again:

First, I’ve drunk the Kool-aid . . . or rather, the champagne! To celebrate the launch of Lingerie Francaise’s new blog, Truly French, Lingerie Francaise invited several bloggers to a dinner with its member brands. I may some day be able to persuade myself again that a bra is just a bra, but right now I’m still inebriated by the idea of lingerie that is “truly French”.

In Empreinte’s case, ALL of its cutting and 20% of its stitching is done in Brest, France, which helps guarantee their quality (the remaining 80% is done in Tunisia, Morocco and Madagascar). Something else “truly French” is their L’Atelier Lingerie that I would love to visit in Paris. Could you imagine having every single bra in your size wheeled into your dressing room?

Second, when Patsy went to Town Shop to find her swimsuit size ahead of our June swimsuit reviews, Empreinte was having a trunk show. She walked away with four Empreinte bras, and she can’t stop raving about them.

Third, as I walked past the Empreinte booth at Curve, I caught a glimpse of this bra hanging on their racks. If Cinderella were to have worn just a bra to the ball instead of a gown, it would have looked like like this. It’s called the Pompadour, and the color is “sky”.

empreinte sky blue pompadour closeup

Empreinte pompadour sky blue briefs closeup

Pompadour will be available in C-G cups and 30-46 bands (depending on the shape, eg., 3/4 balconette or classic with side panels–this applies to all size ranges given below as well).

empreinte sky pompadour model poster

Sky and “powder” (below) ship in January. They are one-time colors.

empreinte pompadour blush closeup

Black ships in December and will be available seasonally.

empreinte pompadour noir on model

If the Pompadour is my fairy tale bra, the Lily Rose is my dream “everyday bra”. The seasonal color “argent” ships in January and comes in C-G and 30-48.

empreinte lily rose closeup

A friend once mocked me for purchasing the matching briefs for my Kaela set. Admittedly, those bottoms were pretty basic, but I can’t imagine owning the Lily Rose without the matching bottoms below.

empreinte lily rose bottoms closeup

Here is another beautiful “everyday” option: the Elsa in “petal”. It also comes in “smoke” and white. It will ship in February and be available in C-G and 30-46.

empreinte elsa blush closeup

empreinte elsa grey closeup

empreinte elsa bottoms

The use of embroidery (vs. lace) and microfiber make Elsa a little less expensive than the more elaborate styles. It retails for $150.

empreinte white elsa on model

Here is the Grace in the one-time color “smoothie”, which ships in March. It will come in C-G and 30-44.

empreinte grace pink closeup

empreinte grace pink bottoms closeup

Excitingly, Empreinte is contributing the Grace in blush (below) or black to our raffle on September 26. If you’re in the area and haven’t already rsvp’d, be sure to do so!

Empreinte Grace

Finally, the ever-popular Melody isn’t going anyway anytime soon, but Empreinte has added a new continuity “color”: gold thread.

empreinte melody gold thread closeup

They took things a step further at Curve by beading and embroidering the Melody live at their booth.

empreinte embroidered melody in my hand

empreinte embroiderer 2

empreinte beadwork description

(Amelie’s day job as a prototype engineer actually involves grading the bras.)

empreinte embroidery step 1

empreinte embroidery on mannequin

You’ve probably noticed that every bra I’ve mentioned goes to a G cup, but Empreinte currently offers two styles that go to an H in their full cup shapes: Thalia and Irina (C-H from a 32; to a G in 30). The Thalia “lagoon” color has been out for a while, so it may be difficult to find in an H cup in anything other than neutrals, but look for a gorgeous turquoise called “Pacific” in March (you can see it peeping out from beneath the smoothie Grace above).

As for Irina, when I saw it in “Byzance” on the Bits of Lace website while researching for today’s post, I realized that I have been seriously behind in covering Empreinte! This FW15 color just shipped on August 15, so it’s still available in H cups from a 32 band and to a G cup in the 30 band (in the demi shape).

empreinte irina

I made up for lost time by contacting Empreinte for information on the FW15 styles, and I post the pictures they sent me after the jump for those of you who love looking at luxury lingerie that fits big busts as much as I do. I also post some of the SS16 swimsuit styles . . . just because. Enjoy! [Read more…]

Here Comes Pour Moi. Watch Out, Victoria’s Secret!

I’d seen the reviews on Invest In Your Chest, but since Pour Moi wasn’t available at brick and mortar stores in the U.S., I didn’t pay much attention. That changed when I met Michael Thomson, the company’s founder, at Curve last week.

Here are the retail prices for their bras that go up to a British J cup: $40 and $44. That’s U.S. dollars. Basically, he’s charging U.S. customers the same price they’d pay if they bought his bras in the U.K.! Lucky for us, he’s doing this by absorbing the extra cost until he can set up a Pour Moi warehouse in the United States.

If he set up brick and mortar stores in the U.S., I believe he would give Victoria’s Secret a run for their money. Interestingly, brick and mortar stores are exactly how Thomson began. He stocked his three stores with other full bust brands, studied their fit, and paid attention to customer feedback as he developed his own line with these three priorities:

  • accessible price
  • great fit
  • a little big different.
pour moi 1

Besides continuity white, the Amour will come out in coral in February. This non-padded underwire is one of seven Pour Moi styles available to a 30J, and it retails for $40.

pour moi 3

I love the contrast between the lining and the underwires. Thomson explained that unpadded Pour Moi bras are constructed of an outside layer together with two laminates of fabric on the inside to maintain rigidity. Other manufacturers often use a single laminate.

pour moi 2

The Amour will also be available in Ink in November and Zest in April. According to Thomson, the Amour is “a boob job in a bra”.

As Thomson puts it, Pour Moi is “meant to be fun, fab, and you buy lots of it“. Here’s what I love about his statement and the rest of my conversation with Thomson: he never limited his brand to “young”. I realized this when Thomson’s husband told me how much his own 70-year-old mother loves this Obsession bra in cream. In fact, Pour Moi’s own designer has just turned 60! As you might suspect, the company’s philosophy is to design with a spirit in mind rather than an age.

pour moi 15

If you look closely, you can see the strapping detail above the cups. This style goes from a 30 to 40G. The retail price is $53. Leah and I both loved the ruffled lace at the bottom of the band, not just because it’s so pretty but also because it seems unlikely to roll or stretch.

This Obsession half pad bra goes to a G cup and retails for $52.

pour moi 18

The ivory/black comes out in January.

The Forbidden half pad bra also goes to a G cup and retails for $52.

pour moi 12

This purple comes out in January. It also comes in a continuity color of black/pink, and cherry comes out in October.

pour moi 14

The matching Forbidden briefs have strapping as well.

Now here’s a really fun style that launches in September–the Cabaret! It goes up to a G cup.

pour moi 19

Black comes out next month. Red comes out in January. Retail is $44 for the underwire bra, $52 for the cami, $26 for the brief, and $22 for the thong.

pour moi 20

At the other end of the spectrum is their upcoming Sheer & Opaque collection that is meant to be “sleek and sophisticated” for everyday wear. I don’t have launch dates in my notes, but I’ll try to update you with the info soon.

pour moi 10

The longline retails for $47 and goes to a G cup.

pour moi 11

There are many more beauties to share with you, but for now I’ll close with another new style, the Cherish, that caught my eye with its gathers along the underwires. The padded, underwired and soft versions of this bra go to a G cup, and there is a side support version that goes to a J.

pour moi 6

Besides coming in continuity blush, this style will also be available in continuity colors of smoke (October), black (January) and white (March).

I haven’t even touched on their swimwear, but that’ll have to be another post.

With their depth of design, cup sizes that extend beyond the common G, and super affordable prices, I’m hoping that Pour Moi will help more D+ women in the United States make the switch from Victoria’s Secret to the transformative power of proper fit.

Fauvey Finds from Fantasie

As Eveden began to phase out its high-end Fauve line last year, we were assured that so many Fantasie bras look like Fauve, we wouldn’t even miss the brand when it disappeared. So when Leah, Patsy and I visited the Eveden showroom in February, I asked to see all the “Fauvey” bras from Fantasie. Here are the three Fauviest–beginning with my favorite, the Francesca, which ships in September.

francesca front

Francesca side profile

It’s the Swiss embroidery and diamante bow details, plus the lace on the straps and down each side of the five hook-and-eye fastenings that make this longline so Fauve-like. Even the suggested retail price is Fauvey: $125. Part of the Blue and Black sub-category that Sweets reported on in her trend report, I love how the multiple shade of blue stand out from the black base.

francesca back

The longline will be available in 30-38 D-G . It will also come in a vertical seam bra in 30-38 D-FF and 30-36G for $82, as well as the side support bra you see below in 30-40 D-FF and 30-38 G-GG for $86.

francesca side support

Bottoms are available in a brief (below), short and Brazilian thong, retailing for $46, $50 and $44, respectively.

francesda brief

Based on the Fauve Emmanuelle, the Fantasie Mae has an actual Fauve pedigree. Its Fauviness also derives from its Italian flock print, jewel-trimmed bows and lace-trimmed straps.

fantasie mae lipstick

The lipstick color above will ship in May and comes in a padded half cup (30-38 D-G) and side support (30-42 DD-F; 30-40 FF, G; 30-38 GG-H), plus brief and Brazilian thong. The champagne color (bridal and continuity) shipped in February and includes a strapless (30-40 DD-E; 30-38 F-G; 30-36GG) and a basque (30-38 D-G), plus high-waisted brief, suspender belt and garter in addition to brief and Brazilian thong. A new black continuity will ship in August. It comes in a strapless but not a basque.

Finally, here is a peek at the Marianna padded half-cup bra in magenta (30-38 D-G). It also comes in a side-support plunge (30-40 D-FF; 30-38 G; 30-36 GG). For those of us sad about Panache Masquerade’s demise, this half-cup almost looks Masquerade-y, doesn’t it? And I’m excited that the Marianna also comes in a gorgeous chemise.

fantasie marianna side support plunge

If Fantasie will do more with embroidered satin as it did with my beloved Lucia and the beautiful Bronte, then maybe I really won’t miss Fauve.

(The fresh Clementine that Leah is going to show you will also help me forget!)

A New Big Bust Story from Natori: + Support to a U.S. H Cup

Four months ago, a friend told me she was going to the Nordstrom’s in Menlo Park, New Jersey. I’d long been pestering her to get a bra fitting, so I insisted she visit the lingerie department while there. Before sending her off, I measured her underbust at 30″ and suggested she try a 32 band since she didn’t like things too tight. She returned with two Natori Feathers bras in 34DD because the Nordstrom fitter said they had no D+ cup sizes in 32 bands.

If this story took place after April 20, 2015, it could have a very different ending because that’s when Natori will launch Natori + Support, its new full-bust line in 30-42 DD-H (U.S.)*. It’s common knowledge that Nordstrom’s is supposed to carry 32 bands in brands like Freya, but perhaps they need an extra push to carry smaller bands with larger cups from a blockbuster brand like Natori. Natori + Support includes Pure Allure, their large-bust version of the top-selling Feathers bra. So next time my friend goes bra-shopping at Nordstrom’s, maybe the fitter will put her in the right size!

natori h cup pure allure feathers

While just as soft to the touch as the Feathers, the Pure Allure uses a power mesh over the cups.

natori h cup pure allure feathers back

The power mesh and lace extend all the way around.

One of the sales reps loves her Pure Allure so much that she let me take a picture of it on her. She’s wearing a 34G here, but she admitted that she’d been eating out so much that she should be wearing a 34H.

34G Natori pure allure on sales rep

34G natori pure allure profile sales rep

Nice lift and rounded profile.

34G natori pure allure front under dress sales rep

Now I want to know where she got that dress.

Pure Allure will be available in Black/Charcoal, Natural, Vivid Violet and Light Pansy. (Pure Allure is actually the one style that is also available to a 44 band.) Two more Natori + Support styles that become available on April 20 are Smooth Scroll and Chic Comfort. The retail price for these bras is $66-$74.

h cup natori smooth scroll

Smooth Scroll will be available in Black/Café, Light Mocha/Cashmere, and Rouge/Tulle.

I don’t have a picture of the Chic Comfort, but it’s a basic tee shirt contour bra with a nice sweetheart neckline that will come in Black, Buff, and Wild Orchid.

On May 20 the True Decadence demi contour and True Decadence cut-and-sew arrive in Black/Café, Café/Ivory, and Hot Pink/Cashmere.

H cup natori True Decadence contour

H cup natori true decadence cut and sew

Later in the year things REALLY start turning beautiful! I’m most excited about Seduction, shipping September 20 in Gunmetal, Café, and Ayame.

h cup natori seduction gun metal

h cup natori seduction deep color

Toujours ships on July 20 in Black/Silver Dusk, Café/Ivory, and Midnight/Slate Blue. The Cranberry/Cashmere below ships on October 20. All three-part cups have a rigid side with a soft top.

h cup natori toujours

Finally, Satin Fleur ships on August 20 in Black, Buff, and Spearmint.The color in this photo is Deco Pink, which ships on November 20.

h cup natori satin fleur

Naturally, you can expect to find Natori + Support online at Nordstrom’s. For those of you who usually order online, I asked how the bands tend to run and was told that “Natori bands tend to run very true to sizes. That’s why we are so well known for comfort, fit, fabrication, and feel.” So it looks like we’ll need a few reviews to see how “true to sizes” compares to the other big bust brands we’re already familiar with.

Finally, for those of you who want to try the brand in person, here is a list of stores that will carry Natori + Support. If there’s a specific style and size you’re looking for, be sure to tell your store to order it!

BARE NECESSITIES – LUTHERVILLE, MD

BEAUTY AND ATTITUDE – BERKELEY,CA

BLOOMERS – ALEXANDRIA,VA

BRA LA LA – FULTON, MD

FASHION GROUP USA INC – SEA RANCH LAKE, FL

FORTY WINKS – CAMBRIDGE,MA

INDIAN SUMMER – BEACH HAVEN, NJ

JOURNELLE INC – NEW YORK, NY

JUDYS INTIMATE APPAREL – TACOMA, WA

LA LINGERIE – MADISON, WI

LACE SILHOUETTES LINGERIE – LAHASKA, PA

LINGERIE BY SUSAN – EDISON NJ

PETTICOAT FAIR – AUSTIN, TX

THE LINGERIE SHOPPE BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, AL

UNDERTHINGS – CHICAGO, IL

*Natori + Support’s cup size progression is: DD – DDD (UK E) – G (UK F) – H (UK FF)

 (Side note: 36-38 bands will also be available in D cups.)