Off the Rack ~ Autumn/Winter 2015 Curve Coverage Part III: Freya & Fantasie

Apologies for my absence last week, dear readers. I really wanted to do my Eveden post as soon as possible, but then I got swamped with work! Finally, here is my overly excited report on Freya and Fantasie’s latest and upcoming offerings. This is going to be an image-heavy post, with explanations of each item located after each photo.

First up, Fantasie lingerie:

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This was the first item pulled for us, and Darlene and I were pretty much swooning over the lovely print. “Alicia” in blossom print. Plunge bra 32-38 C & 30-38 D-G, side support bra 30-40 D-FF & 30-38 D-J. Release date May 2015

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I really enjoyed the candy pink coloring of this baby. The cream one would make a lovely bridal set, and includes a molded strapless, padded half-cup (also in pink), side support bra (also in pink), and basque, along with high-waisted briefs, regular briefs, thong, suspender belt, and even a garter. What a collection! The “print” on these is actually a super soft velvet. I was a huge fan.

“Mae” in lipstick or champagne. Strapless 32-40 D, 30-40 DD­-E, 30-38 F-G, 30-36 GG; padded half cup (both colors) 32-38 C & 30-38 D-G; side support (both colors) 30-38 D, 30-42 DD­-F, 30-40 FF-G, 30-38 GG­-H; basque 30­-38 D­-G. Release date Feb 2015 (champagne), May 2015 (lipstick).

A closeup of Mae’s modern floral velvet print.

A closeup of Mae’s modern floral velvet print.

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Easily my favorite Fantasie piece of the entire collection. This gorgeous Japanese-inspired print immediately made me think of a kimono or Ukiyo-e (woodblock) print. It also felt really silky and nice.

I’m super confused, however, because it’s missing from the AW15 lookbook. Somehow I forgot to take the previous season’s book, which features items being released right now, but it’s not on Fantasie’s website either. So I have no idea of the release date and I was only able to collect size information from other bloggers, so this is not complete: “Clementine” side support bra in 30-40 D-FF & 30-38 G-H.

In any case, here’s a closeup of the sheer back of those cheeky panties. Love it!

In any case, here’s a closeup of the sheer back of those cheeky panties. Love it!

Next up is Freya lingerie, which, oh gosh—so much to love!! Some of this stuff is from the collection that’s out right now and some is from AW15.

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Of course I have to start with Deco! I totally adore this neon yellow set with black and white animal print straps. You can even choose a thong in all print with neon yellow trim for a less monochromatic matching set. I swear, I never get tired of neon citrus colors (lemon, lime, and orange).

“Deco” molded plunge in zest: 32-38 B-C, 28-38 D-G, 28-36 GG. Release date March 2015.

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Another Deco! Apparently I’m a sucker for neon blue as well, though this was more of a super saturated sky blue than a neon in reality. Love that black trim. It’s also coming out in purple with neon pink accents. Includes a J-hook in back.

“Deco Vibe” molded plunge in electric blue: 32-38 B-C, 28-38 D-G, 28-36 GG. Release date Oct 2015.

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Love this mint color and the total sheerness of the Starlet. Also the polka dots on the bows. It also comes in…

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A lovely neon blue! With orange bows.

“Starlet” in peppermint and electric blue. Vertical seam bra in 32-38 B-C & 28-38 D-F; plunge balcony 32-36 C & 28-38 D-G. Release date January 2015 (peppermint), April 2015 (electric blue).

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Next season will also see the addition of neon pink (though I think it looks like orange) and black (continuity). Same size range, release date June 2015.

Starlet brings me to Freya’s next big innovation—mix-and-match panties called “Fancies.” Here’s the blue Starlet bra with its matching briefs and a pair of Fancies on the bottom:

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And here are all the colors being released Dec 2014 through April 2015:

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The idea with these boy-short and Brazilian panties is that you can match them with several bras from the season. I think it’s really clever and the styles are cute. However, I’m a little disappointed by the price point. These aren’t as upscale as the other matching underwear in terms of materials and construction, but they have almost the same price point at $26-$28 (compared to $28-$30). I’m sorry, but I will never pay more than $15 for a pair of panties, no matter how well they match my bras.

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Here is a design that I’m desperate to try, as much for experimentation’s sake as because I like the style. I don’t really care about the leopard print (though that lilac trim at least makes it a little different), but check out these details:

Keyhole and very deep plunge.

Keyhole and very deep plunge.

Single hook and eye—single??

Single hook and eye—single??

Extra narrow strap (on the left).

Extra narrow strap (on the left).

The narrower plunge strap on top of the padded half-cup version. It’s 3mm smaller than the half-cup and 7mm smaller than the GG-K balcony, according to the lookbook.

The narrower plunge strap on top of the padded half-cup version. It’s 3mm smaller than the half-cup and 7mm smaller than the GG-K balcony, according to the lookbook.

The keyhole, straps, plunge, and band design are unlike anything Freya’s made before. I really, really want to check out this bra to see how it feels and how supportive it is. Plus, the AW15 colorway is way more up my alley:

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Halloween colors!!

Halloween colors!!

When the Hourglassy crew was part of a focus group at the Eveden NY office some time ago, several of the other busty ladies present said they wanted all the delicate trappings of smaller bust bras (thin straps, single hook, less cup coverage, etc), and I think this bra fits that bill. So kudos to Eveden for listening! Of course, the plunge stops at G, but I have a hard time believing such a dainty design would be supportive enough for K cups, which is what the traditional balcony version goes up to.

“Minx” in leopard, Tabasco, and sugarplum (not shown, but it’s light pink leopard with pink lace). Plunge balcony 32-38 C & 28-38 D-G; balcony 28-38 GG-J & 30-36 JJ-K; padded half-cup 32-38 B-C & 30-38 D-G. Release date May 2015 (leopard), Sept 2015 (Tabasco), Nov 2015 (sugarplum).

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Lastly, I just need to point out the gorgeous jade color new to the basic (but excellent fitting on me!) Rio bra. And I also enjoy the back of the thong. It’s, like, half brief and half thong. Interesting (and maybe more comfortable than a regular string thong?).

Rio in “jade” plunge balcony: 32-38 B, 30-38 C-D, 28-38 DD-H.

Next up is Fantasie swimwear.

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I could take or leave this print, but I’m thrilled that a large-cup lingerie company is offering a one-strap swimsuit. It’s so on trend!

Inside is a full-on underwire bra with adjustable band.

Inside is a full-on underwire bra with adjustable band.

“Cayman” comes in a balcony bikini top up to HH, bandeau up to G, tankini up to H, two swim bottoms, a maxi dress, and the asymmetric one-piece in 32-38 D-G. Release date July 2015.

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I don’t usually go for obviously tropical prints on swimwear, but something about these layers of green with just pops of pomegranate really spoke to me. “Antigua” comes in a full-cup bikini top up to H, bandeau up to G, tankini with adjustable sides (shown here) up to H, a one-piece suit up to J, two bottoms, and a long sarong.

That’s all that really caught my eye among Fantasie’s swim offerings, but Freya had lots for me to get excited about.

First up, speaking of on-trend asymmetrical swimwear…

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Oh my god, what is this?? Holy crap, it’s a gold foil, stripper-chic, cut-out monokini. This is so far from my style, but I am sooooo happy Freya is making this. It only goes up to an F cup, but that’s still a lot bigger than the boobs that will fit in the completely support-less strips of spandex these suits are usually made of.

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The inside features hidden underwires and a non-adjustable clasp. And if you want the gold amazingness of the fabric, but prefer something a little more traditional, there’s also a halter bikini that goes up to FF:

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I’d be tempted to just buy the bottoms and pair them with a solid black or white top.

“Gold Rush” cut-out suit comes in 30-36 D-F and halter bikini in 30-38 C-E, 30-36 F, 30-34 FF. Release date December 2014.

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Augh, loooooove the watermelon and coordinating watermelon seed print! I want to buy every item in this group and mix and match them. I think it’d be so cute to pair the fruit print on top with the seed print on bottom (or vice versa).

“Watermelon” comes in a wired halter bikini up to H, padded bandeau up to G, wired halter tankini up to G, two bottoms, and a bandeau dress. The seeds (“Pip”) come in a wired halter bikini up to H, sweetheart padded bikini up to GG, two bottoms, and a one-piece up to FF. Release date: February 2015.

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Moving into a sportier look, we have “Revival” in “Surf,” with just a touch of neon. It also comes in an indigo base with fuschia and white accents. On offer is a padded bandeau top up to GG, sweetheart padded top (shown here) up to GG, padded bandeau tankini up to GG, and two bottoms; “Indigo” also comes in a third bottom and a bandeau one-piece up to GG.

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Continuing the trend of sporty + neon, here is the swimsuit I am utterly obsessed with! I actually bought this from Asos earlier this week and am waiting for its delivery. Hello, a longline bandeau top with sporty black accents? In neon?? With high-waisted bottoms??? It’s like Freya read my mind! I cannot wait to try this suit.

“Bondi” in “Vibe” also comes in a padded sweetheart top up to GG and a soft triangle up to F, plus two bottoms and a swim skirt (the longline goes up to G). I’m not as big a fan of the sweetheart top because the pink strip at the top is narrower and continues onto the straps, whereas I’d much prefer the straps stay black like the longline and the soft cups.

This suit is also coming out in a “Seaspray” color combo that I’m even more in love with in August:

Soft triangle top and classic brief.

Soft triangle top and classic brief.

I’m really disappointed (really), however, that it’s not being released in the longline or the high-waisted bottoms. WHY NOT?? I love the way the soft triangle cups look, but they stop at an F cup for crying out loud. That’s too small to even sister size into unless I want a huge, loose band. It also kills me that the two bikini bottom options are just solid instead of featuring the accent color at the waistband.

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Continuing with the neons is the delightfully Barbie-esque hot pink, polka dot “Bon Bon,” available in a sweetheart padded top up to GG, padded halter (seen here) up to GG, padded plunge up to J, bandeau tankini up to GG, and two choices of bottoms. Release date May 2015.

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Last up is the Saved by the Bell-looking “Tribal Tax.” Again I love the black trim, and I’m a big fan of this “mid-line” padded bandeau top, which goes up to G. This print also comes in a sweetheart padded top up to HH, and there are two bottoms.

Whew! That’s all of it. And that’s all for my Curve Expo coverage this go-round.

 

Busty Swimsuits to Look Forward to in 2015

Goodbye Summer 2014! Here are some of the amazing swimsuits to come in 2015. There’s also my recent Miss Mandalay report.

 Kris Line

Just because this print is beautiful.

kris line swim 2015 4Curvy Kate

When I saw this color-blocked tankini, I begged the designer for a matching rash guard.

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Ocean Drive. 30-40 D-K.

curvy kate color block ocean drive plunge bikini

Ocean Drive padded plunge bikini. 30-40 D-J. There’s also a halterneck bikini in the chameleon shade that you see on the bottom (30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G). Available in April.

Cleo

cleo swim 2015

My camera died and I had to use my cellphone for this tiny photo of the models having fun posing at the end of a long day.

Cleo swim Cassie longline bikini high waist pant back

Like the Cindy this year, you know this new padded longline called the Cassie is going to sell out fast. 28-38 D-H.

Panache

panach swim Britt red spot bandeau high waisted pant

Panache Britt. The padded bandeau comes with detachable straps, and in GG-H it has cross back wings with a swan hook fastening. That’s a removable bow on the high waisted pants! 30-38 D-H.

Curvy Kate

curvy kate luau love bandeau bikini black

The Luau Love–they simply turned their highly anticipated strapless into a bandeau! It also comes in the flamingo (pink) color you see in the padded bikini below. Black available this December, flamingo available beginning in February. 28-30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G.

Luau Love profile

They tested their strapless on a trampoline, and when their 30GG model did a cartwheel in it, everything stayed in place. They also tested the swimwear with cannonballs and back flips!

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Padded bikini. 30-40 D-K. There’s also a tankini.

Empreinte

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I realize this is a simple black one-piece, and Empreinte swimwear only goes to an F. But I’m impressed that the internal soft bra lining works all by itself without relying on the outside fabric for any support or compression. They’ve also made the seams of the lining super flat so that they don’t show through.

Plunge.

Plunge.

empreinte balconette bikini top

Empreinte balconet bikini top.

Curvy Kate

curvy kate cocoloco bandeau

Cocoloco bandeau. Available beginning in February. 28-30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G. (There’s also a padded plunge bikini, 28-40 D-J).

curvy kate shock wave tankini

Shockwave halterneck tankini. 28-30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G. April. (Also padded bikini 30-40 D-K and halterneck bikini same sizes as tankini.)

curvy kate shockwave tankini backKris Line

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Some of the prints that caught my eye.

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Their ombre tankini that is their most popular design in the upcoming season.

A Better Class of Bikini for the Big Bust: Miss Mandalay

Like many of us, Lorraine Morton grew up with a dearth of fashionable swimwear options, but she’s one of the few who decided to do something about it. Nine year ago, she created her own company, Miss Mandalay, to offer fashionable big bust swimwear without sacrificing fit and function. Along the way, she has become a strong and steady pioneering force in the full bust market.

Rather than create a wire for a smaller size and then grade it to fit larger cups, Lorraine begins with super firm underwires created specifically for large cup sizes (her sizes range from 30D to 38HH*).  In 2007, she created an underwire plunge shape that gives large-busted women a version of a triangle top. Bravissimo had a 90% sell-through rate in the first five weeks that they began selling it. No wonder companies like Eveden soon followed her lead with a similar shape.

miss mandalay 2014 2 underwire

Miss Mandalay has also offered a balcony shape with 2 mm foam padding and fully adjustable straps, such as the one below that I saw at the 2013 Swim Show. I didn’t see any balconies in her Spring/Summer 2015 lineup at Curve, but I hope she’ll reintroduce this shape in a future collection.

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Here’s another look from last year’s show.

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Here’s my favorite look from Curve earlier this month. It’s called the Bardot and is scheduled for delivery in February 2015. The top will come in 30-38 D, DD, E, F, FF, G and GG.

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The Boudoir Beach is one of her most popular styles, and with its elegant hardware, I can see why. It comes in both “ice white” and “mocha”. It’s also scheduled for February delivery and comes in the same sizes as the Bardot.

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L to R, Bohemia (April), Los Angeles (December in black or magenta; April in fluoro yellow) and Venom (March). Same band and cup size offerings as the others.

Miss Mandalay suits are manufactured in Morocco of European fabrics, and you can find a good selection of them at Linda’s Online, Asos and the Miss Mandalay website itself.

Reviews, however, are harder to come by! Bravissimo customers love the Los Angeles, and Amy raved about her red gingham set on FussyBusty last year. In 2011, Undercover Lingerista told us great things about her Boudoir Beach bikini. If you’ve tried a Miss Mandalay swimsuit or can point me in the direction of more reviews, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you’d like to try Miss Mandalay at your own local boutique in 2015, now is the time to urge the boutique owners to place their order!

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*Although I’ve heard in the past that Miss Mandalay goes to HH, the highest cup size I can find in the S/S 2015 line sheets is for an H cup in the Amelie bra in powder (bands 30-38), due for delivery in February 2015. (True & Co. also carries Miss Mandalay bras, but do you think they’ll ever offer them in an H cup? If they do, I’ll have to revise my low opinion of them.)

h cup amelie powder

You can find a picture of the model wearing this bra in Miss Underpinnings‘ recent excellent review of Miss Mandalay’s lingerie showing at Curve. I am infatuated with the Amelie bra because of its satin one-way stretch outer sling that is meant to center our boobs.  Lorraine herself is wearing the Amelie in 30G in the photo below.

amelie centers big boobs with side sling

30G amelie on miss mandalay founder

As you’ve probably realized, in her mission to provide fashion for big boobs, Lorraine is committed to technical expertise. She isn’t rushing to bring the next new thing to the full bust market. In fact, when I asked her at Curve if she had anything new, she told me that there have been no changes except the prints “because what we’re doing is still working.” (Sorry, Leah!)

Hallelujah for the Panache Tallulah

32G panache tallulah front

Usually I’m with the 33.86% of you who only buy a swimsuit every 2-3 years, but my 36GG Elomi swim bra (that I chose in practical black in order to wear it for years to come) is now too loose, forcing me to join the 25.2% of you who purchase a swimsuit annually. Happily, this was my chance to get the Panache Tallulah one-piece that I admired all last summer. I mainly wanted this suit for the figure-flattering solid blue panels on either side of the floral center, but I also felt it would offer great support because:

1. There’s a keyhole back with a clasp. If most of a bra’s support comes from the band, it makes sense that the most supportive swimsuits are going to have a band, either in the form of a high back or a keyhole back. I like a scooped back as much as the next large-busted woman, but “bouce-less” won out over back-less this summer.

2. It was a one-piece.  After my Panache Geneva tankini, I’m biased against tankinis. I now realize that I looked and felt so droopy in that suit because the 36 back was probably too large for me in 2010, but I also think it could have felt more secure if it weren’t divided into a top and bottom–if the “band” extended from bosom to thigh, so to speak.

3. The breast section is basically like a bikini top with a body sewn to its base. In other words, it’s like a pretty bra–a pretty three-part cut and sewn bra with a supportive mesh lining integrated into the seams. By integrating the lining into the bra’s seams, there’s no show-through because the seams are part of the design. The tankini, on the other hand, is like a Panache strappy top, with a little “bridge” that links the center gore of the bra to the suit’s shell. Not only is this less supportive, but if there are any seams in the bra, they show through the outer shell, especially when the suit is wet. Of course, this is less of an issue with a print like the Tallulah than it was with my solid Geneva.

tallulah tankini bra vs one piece bra

Tankini on the left. One-piece on the right.

It took me a while to find this Holy Grail, but I finally located it for 50% off at Linda’s Online in both a 34G and a 32G. Since it was final sale, I couldn’t order both and return one, so I finally decided to take a chance on the 32G because I’ve always found Panache bands to stretch out pretty quickly, and swimsuits tend to stretch once wet anyways.

What a relief it was when I tried it on and it fit perfectly! We went swimming the very next weekend, but it was too cold for me to get all the way wet. Today I finally had my chance.

32G Panache talulah side

The suit is totally wet in this picture.

After taking this picture, I marched around the pool to make sure I felt confident in it. There’s the inevitable slight bounce that comes with big boobs–this isn’t a sports bra, after all!–but I would have felt entirely at ease wearing this at a pool party or chasing a toddler.

I really only have two small complaints about this suit. First, there’s a slight wrinkling at the top of the cups once it’s wet. This is probably a size and/or shape issue. Someone who is fuller on top probably wouldn’t run into this, and I’d rather have wrinkling than pillowing of the breast tissue above the cup. It’s easier for me to settle myself into the cups and get rid of the wrinkles than it is to cram myself into cups that are slightly too small to get rid of the quadraboob.

Second, the fabric is super basic. I already mentioned this when I compared it to the Prima Donna swimsuits that I tried. However, I feel like I should be able to get two years of moderate to heavy use out of this suit before it’s time to replace it. I’d be curious to hear how you’ve found the fabric to be in some of the Panache suits you’ve owned.

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P.S. After finally venturing out in bikini last year, I would have loved to have owned the Tallulah bikini set with the high-waisted bottoms. However, I found the elastic waistband  on these bottoms to be unflattering on me. Perhaps I needed a larger size, but a wider waistband would have been even better.