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…]

Where Are We Now?

My grand ambition for the month of August was to revisit some of the startup brands that we’ve written about in the past and ask, “Where are they now?” It seemed like a perfect (there’s that word again!) follow-on to Curve and a great way to highlight the brands that work so hard to meet the needs of our full bust readership.

On the way to August, however, we had a surprisingly sparse July. We had a lot of days with no new content, and I was overdue for an Hourglassy identity crisis. So instead of asking where the brands are, I’ve been asking where we are. You may have been wondering the same thing.

Happily, each of us remains passionate about affirming women with busty body types and providing insights and resources for living with large breasts. However, you know the phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget”? Well, I have full-time dreams for Hourglassy on a part-time schedule! In fact, there aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish all that I’d like to do with Hourglassy.

My “aspirational” time management style has been catching up with me. While I’m not even going to pretend that I can tear myself away from HourglassyI already tried and failed at that in 2012–I’m going to have to be strict with myself about only writing once a week. You’ll also continue to hear from Leah every Friday. Things are a little up in the air with Patsy and Mia, so I’ll let each of them update you on their schedules the next time they write.

I don’t plan to be strict with myself this week, however. Tomorrow I’m going to squeeze in one more post about a brand of lingerie that’s as aspirational as my time management style: gorgeous French lingerie from Empreinte.

Off the Rack ~ Spring/Summer 2016 Curve Coverage Part II: Old Favorites

Following up on my Curve Expo coverage, here comes Curve Part II. Again, these are the Spring/Summer 2016 collections. Unless otherwise noted, everything you see below will be released for sale around March–May 2016. This week I’m discussing our favorite brands: Claudette, Curvy Kate, Eveden, Panache, Parfait, and Tutti Rouge.

All brands here use UK sizing.

Claudette

It’s always a pleasure chatting with the Claudette ladies. They’re so open about their product and the business overall. Darlene and I learned all kinds of interesting things about what the brand is up to lately.

For example, some American consumers may have noticed that Claudette shows up on flash sale site Zulily fairly regularly. Turns out this is a great way to be introduced to new customers. Zulily has thousands of subscribers, so by selling a few items on there, a brand is basically getting free marketing. The Claudette items on Zulily and other flash sites are typically three seasons old so as not to cut into the business of brick-and-mortar retailers.

Along those lines, earlier this year Claudette also introduced their own sale site for discontinued styles, Claudette Encore. This site offers strictly items from past seasons that brick-and-mortar retailers are no longer carrying, at prices as low as $9.99. The most recent season you’ll find on there is Spring/Summer 2013, but there are bras going all the way back to their very first collection (yes, the neons!).

Encore has proven a great success! Apparently some customers have been buying a few bras in different sizes, then coming back and buying every single bra available in their final size. Additionally, for retailers who don’t want to carry the smaller bands and bigger cups because they think there’s no demand for it, Claudette can now point to Encore’s sales to prove just how much demand there is.

Alright, enough talk! Let’s see what’s new for next year:

The new Dessous colors, left to right: (With Elsa Pink trim) Elsa Pink, Safety Orange, Absinthe, (with Matchstick trim) Kandiu, Twilight, First Kiss. All delivering January 2016.

The new Dessous colors, left to right: (With Elsa Pink trim) Elsa Pink, Safety Orange, Absinthe, (with Matchstick trim) Kandiu, Twilight, First Kiss. All delivering January 2016.

Safety Orange is easily my favorite.

Safety Orange is easily my favorite.

But Absinthe is a close second.

But Absinthe is a close second.

Kandui is also lovely, and the Matchstick trim offers a more subdued look.

Kandui is also lovely, and the Matchstick trim offers a more subdued look.

Another “Safety Orange” pick that I adore is the Darling bra. It’s also available in Kandui blue, but you know the neon orange is my preference! Delivering April 2016.

Another “Safety Orange” pick that I adore is the Darling bra. It’s also available in Kandui blue, but you know the neon orange is my preference! Delivering April 2016.

Here are the new fishnet colors, Licorice and Twilight. Delivering April 2016.

Here are the new fishnet colors, Licorice and Twilight. Delivering April 2016.

Love these Fishnet “pin up knickers” with removable suspenders.

Love these Fishnet “pin up knickers” with removable suspenders.

Finally, we have the Dessous Core tee shirt bra, a lightly padded seamed bra in the same shape as the mesh Dessous, with fully adjustable straps and hot pink lining. Colors include Licorice, Allure, and Sunkissed. I kind of wish the bow in front was also hot pink just for fun, but that would be pretty impractical for these nude shades. Delivering May 2016.

Finally, we have the Dessous Core tee shirt bra, a lightly padded seamed bra in the same shape as the mesh Dessous, with fully adjustable straps and hot pink lining. Colors include Licorice, Allure, and Sunkissed. I kind of wish the bow in front was also hot pink just for fun, but that would be pretty impractical for these nude shades. Delivering May 2016.

Refreshingly, all of Claudette’s bras come in the same size range, which includes 32/34A, 32­–38B, 30–38C, and 28–38 D–G, with all bottoms in XS­–XL.

 

Curvy Kate

Another brand whose team is very accommodating to press and so pleasant to work with! This year CK showed us a few highlights that they’re most excited for. The theme is bright, sherbet colors while still presenting a slightly more mature look. Perfect for my stage of life! I still love eye-searingly bright colors but don’t necessarily want my lingerie to look like it came from the juniors’ section.

(Note that some of these items are not the model’s actual size; any gaping or fit issues you may see are a result of that, not a standard feature.)

The Vixen, a new style, features three-part seamed cups and a lace overlay. It’s Curvy Kate’s first bandless bra, and I’m a big fan of the cross-over gore. Sizes 28–40 D–J.

The Vixen, a new style, features three-part seamed cups and a lace overlay. It’s Curvy Kate’s first bandless bra, and I’m a big fan of the cross-over gore. Sizes 28–40 D–J.

The Daily Dream in Apple Dot (though I’d call it mint, not an apple green) was easily my favorite piece. Apparently the Daily Dream has been retooled a bit for more uplift. Sizes 28–40 D–K and 42/44 D–G.

The Daily Dream in Apple Dot (though I’d call it mint, not an apple green) was easily my favorite piece. Apparently the Daily Dream has been retooled a bit for more uplift. Sizes 28–40 D–K and 42/44 D–G.

Curvy Kate is also introducing four new babydolls, including one based on the classic Tease Me bra.

The Scantilly boudoir-inspired collection has been selling really well, and I’m excited to see that CK is introducing some color into it, including light pink, dark leopard, and a gorgeous bright red.

The Invitation set just barely covers the nipple, and I think the ballet slipper pink with the black is fantastically alluring. Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

The Invitation set just barely covers the nipple, and I think the ballet slipper pink with the black is fantastically alluring. Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

Finally, we have CK’s first basque with the Surrender set. Even though the band is clearly too big for the model, it’s still nipping in at the waist and looks amazing on her! Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

Finally, we have CK’s first basque with the Surrender set. Even though the band is clearly too big for the model, it’s still nipping in at the waist and looks amazing on her! Sizes 30–38 DD–HH.

The back view of Surrender.

The back view of Surrender.

We didn’t take a look at that much of CK’s new swimwear, but I did absolutely love the Siren one-piece bathing suit on the model. It can be worn strapless, and the sides have adjustable ties so you can bring the coverage down, or tighten the strings for a higher leg cut. It also comes in a bandeau bikini top and a padded plunge top, with shorts or low-rise briefs. This photo, for once, is color-accurate:

Sizes: Padded plunge 28–40 D–J; bandeau bikini and swimsuit 28/30 D–J, 32 D–HH, 34 D–H, 36 D–GG, 38 D–G.

Sizes: Padded plunge 28–40 D–J; bandeau bikini and swimsuit 28/30 D–J, 32 D–HH, 34 D–H, 36 D–GG, 38 D–G.

Speaking of swimwear, as of next season CK will be replacing all elastane content with lycra instead, as it lasts longer over time. Additionally, after complaining about the non-lined butts in their bottoms in our June swim coverage, Darlene and I asked about it and were told it’s a deliberate choice, as it keeps the fabric lighter when it gets wet and you don’t get droopy butt.

 

Eveden

Oh boy, here comes a big one. As usual, I was interested in tons of what Freya and Fantasie are selling. A couple news bites to share: Eveden will be eliminating the word “nude” from its lexicon and making a push for more skin tones. Additionally, I notice in the lookbook that the padded longlines are going up to HH cups and the regular padded half-cups are up to H. Yay! I can finally buy one in the proper size of 28GG!

Utopia (top) and Zentangle padded longlines. Sizes 32–38C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG–H.

Utopia (top) and Zentangle padded longlines. Sizes 32–38C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG–H.

Deco Delight (top), Charm (left), and Vibe in Frappe, Magenta, and Opal (a new continuity), respectively. Sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36GG.

Deco Delight (top), Charm (left), and Vibe in Frappe, Magenta, and Opal (a new continuity), respectively. Sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36GG.

The Strawberry Fields collection includes a plunge balcony bra, padded half-cup bra, camisole; brief, short, and thong panties; and lounge shorts, shown here. I love the lounge shorts!! Too bad they’re completely sheer. I can’t do shorts if they aren’t appropriate to wear while walking my dog.

The Strawberry Fields collection includes a plunge balcony bra, padded half-cup bra, camisole; brief, short, and thong panties; and lounge shorts, shown here. I love the lounge shorts!! Too bad they’re completely sheer. I can’t do shorts if they aren’t appropriate to wear while walking my dog.

Lately Freya has been introducing items that mix and match across collections. Take the Hero bra, shown here, which goes well with the Strawberry Fields group. Hero is Freya’s first four-part cup and I quite liked it, especially the cornflower blue color.

Lately Freya has been introducing items that mix and match across collections. Take the Hero bra, shown here, which goes well with the Strawberry Fields group. Hero is Freya’s first four-part cup and I quite liked it, especially the cornflower blue color.

Silver detail on Hero. This bra also features a solid fabric band lined in power mesh, which is what I prefer instead of just mesh alone. Plunge version in sizes 28–38 D–G, balcony version in 28–38 GG–J and 30–36 JJ/K.

Silver detail on Hero. This bra also features a solid fabric band lined in power mesh, which is what I prefer instead of just mesh alone. Plunge version in sizes 28–38 D–G, balcony version in 28–38 GG–J and 30–36 JJ/K.

Hero on a model.

Hero on a model.

I like tone-on-tone in general, and this neon Boho bra is no exception. Sizes 32–38B, 30–38C, 28–38 D–HH.

I like tone-on-tone in general, and this neon Boho bra is no exception. Sizes 32–38B, 30–38C, 28–38 D–HH.

A tiny feather charm on the gore of Boho.

A tiny feather charm on the gore of Boho.

Neon yellow Heartbeat, so named because the pink stitching looks like a heart monitor. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–J.

Neon yellow Heartbeat, so named because the pink stitching looks like a heart monitor. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–J.

Grey made a bigger appearance than usual this season. Here is the Zen in Dove. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–GG.

Grey made a bigger appearance than usual this season. Here is the Zen in Dove. Sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–GG.

Zen is lined with three-part power-mesh for extra support and shaping. I’m looking forward to trying this innovation.

Zen is lined with three-part power-mesh for extra support and shaping. I’m looking forward to trying this innovation.

And Zen in Vanilla on a model.

And Zen in Vanilla on a model.

Love the black on peach color here, especially the black trim along the cups. Kiyoko comes in a plunge balcony in sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–G; and a padded half-cup (seen here) in 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG, 30–36H.

Love the black on peach color here, especially the black trim along the cups. Kiyoko comes in a plunge balcony in sizes 32–36C, 28–38 D–G; and a padded half-cup (seen here) in 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG, 30–36H.

Moving from Freya to Fantasie:

I love the rose pattern on Penelope. It looks like cut glass. Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

I love the rose pattern on Penelope. It looks like cut glass. Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Closeup on Penelope’s print.

Closeup on Penelope’s print.

Alex’s new continuity brown color, “Ombre.” The blush pink is called “Petal” and the former “nude” color is now called “Sand.” Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Alex’s new continuity brown color, “Ombre.” The blush pink is called “Petal” and the former “nude” color is now called “Sand.” Sizes 30–42 D–FF, 30–38 G–J.

Next up, swimwear. There are sooooo many ones I love:

Are you kidding me with these colors?? This is Freya Virtue, also available in a soft triangle tankini. Bikini sizes 30–38 D–E, 30–36 F; tankini sizes 32–38 D/DD, 32–36 E/F.

Are you kidding me with these colors?? This is Freya Virtue, also available in a soft triangle tankini. Bikini sizes 30–38 D–E, 30–36 F; tankini sizes 32–38 D/DD, 32–36 E/F.

The Freya Deco bikini in new Aquamarine. Freya has also introduced a Deco molded tankini and molded one-piece swimsuit. Bikini and tankini sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG; swimsuit 30–38 C–G, 30–36GG.

The Freya Deco bikini in new Aquamarine. Freya has also introduced a Deco molded tankini and molded one-piece swimsuit. Bikini and tankini sizes 32–38 B/C, 28–38 D–G, 28–36 GG; swimsuit 30–38 C–G, 30–36GG.

Aaaaaaah the new Freya Bondi in black and white and grey!! I love love love this. I’m so glad they retooled these bottoms to show all the colors instead of the previous solid ones. Who would have thought I of all people would go nuts for a monochrome look? But I adore this­—it’s so sleek and chic. The collection includes this underwire sweetheart top (sizes 30–38 D–G, 30–36GG), padded bandeau (30–38 D–G), and soft triangle (30–38 C–DD, 30–36 E/F), plus these hipster briefs, shorts, and high-waisted briefs.

Aaaaaaah the new Freya Bondi in black and white and grey!! I love love love this. I’m so glad they retooled these bottoms to show all the colors instead of the previous solid ones. Who would have thought I of all people would go nuts for a monochrome look? But I adore this­—it’s so sleek and chic. The collection includes this underwire sweetheart top (sizes 30–38 D–G, 30–36GG), padded bandeau (30–38 D–G), and soft triangle (30–38 C–DD, 30–36 E/F), plus these hipster briefs, shorts, and high-waisted briefs.

Here’s something different! This print looks like some kind of stock image/Photoshop disaster, but somehow I like it. It’s part of the Freya Rumble collection, which includes this padded halter suit (up to FF), padded bandeau (up to G), plunge bikini (up to HH), hipster briefs, and rio briefs, in addition to a coordinating leopard-print padded plunge bikini (up to J) and gathered hipster briefs.

Here’s something different! This print looks like some kind of stock image/Photoshop disaster, but somehow I like it. It’s part of the Freya Rumble collection, which includes this padded halter suit (up to FF), padded bandeau (up to G), plunge bikini (up to HH), hipster briefs, and rio briefs, in addition to a coordinating leopard-print padded plunge bikini (up to J) and gathered hipster briefs.

This!! The Atlantis is easily my favorite swimwear of the season. I love the colors, I love the black trim, I love the way it looks against the teal carpet (I’m imagining it with a teal coverup)—the only thing I don’t love is that the soft triangle tops stop at F cup. Whyyyyyy?? And not only do they stop at F, the last time I tried one it ran SMALL. If I normally wear 30G in Freya swim, I would have to sister-size to 34F, maybe even 36F depending on fit, in order to fit my boobs into this top. Argh I just can’t understand why Freya won’t make bigger cups on the soft tops. If Cleo can do it (the Tilly triangle top from S/S13 went up to G), then there’s no reason Freya can’t!

This!! The Atlantis is easily my favorite swimwear of the season. I love the colors, I love the black trim, I love the way it looks against the teal carpet (I’m imagining it with a teal coverup)—the only thing I don’t love is that the soft triangle tops stop at F cup. Whyyyyyy?? And not only do they stop at F, the last time I tried one it ran SMALL. If I normally wear 30G in Freya swim, I would have to sister-size to 34F, maybe even 36F depending on fit, in order to fit my boobs into this top. Argh I just can’t understand why Freya won’t make bigger cups on the soft tops. If Cleo can do it (the Tilly triangle top from S/S13 went up to G), then there’s no reason Freya can’t!

Finally, I have to share the new color of Fantasie’s Lombok [http://hourglassy.com/2015/06/off-the-rack-busty-the-beach-fantasie-lombok-bikini/], which I reviewed in June. Note that it’s actually called “St Barts” even though it’s literally the exact same bikini. In any case, it’s a gorgeous metallic bronze with gold and copper shimmer. Sizes are 30–40 D–G, 30–38GG.

Finally, I have to share the new color of Fantasie’s Lombok, which I reviewed in June. Note that it’s actually called “St Barts” even though it’s literally the exact same bikini. In any case, it’s a gorgeous metallic bronze with gold and copper shimmer. Sizes are 30–40 D–G, 30–38GG.

Look how sparkly! So pretty. I’m just imagining the sun glistening off this amazing fabric.

Look how sparkly! So pretty. I’m just imagining the sun glistening off this amazing fabric.

Lastly, I have a couple sports items to share. I’m a Panache sports bra gal all the way, but the new colors of Freya’s two sports bra styles have me wondering if I ought to try something new:

Mint with hot pink trim?? Gimme gimme!

Mint with hot pink trim?? Gimme gimme!

 

Panache

Get ready for another massive set of photos, because here comes Panache!

Once again I’m a huge fan of the new Panache Sport colors, and once again I was told there are no plans to turn this sports bra into a bikini. I just don’t understand why not!! All they’d have to do is use different exterior fabric. All the construction would stay exactly the same. This black one would make an awesome swim option:

“Black Animal” delivery December 2015. Sizes start at 28 band and go up to 40, with cups from B to J depending on the band.

“Black Animal” delivery December 2015. Sizes start at 28 band and go up to 40, with cups from B to J depending on the band.

“Pink Marl” delivery March 2016.

“Pink Marl” delivery March 2016.

Moving on to the Panache Superbra line…

The new Clara colors are to die for. Red/Gold and Duck Egg Blue will be delivered in December 2015 and May 2016, respectively. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

The new Clara colors are to die for. Red/Gold and Duck Egg Blue will be delivered in December 2015 and May 2016, respectively. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

I love colored lace over a neutral background, and this pastel blue Georgia is no exception. Also please note that it matches my nail polish (lower left) perfectly. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–K.

I love colored lace over a neutral background, and this pastel blue Georgia is no exception. Also please note that it matches my nail polish (lower left) perfectly. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–K.

Something about this antique floral over another print really spoke to me. Floris is delivering in February 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–K.

Something about this antique floral over another print really spoke to me. Floris is delivering in February 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–K.

Panache Black is introducing some lovely colors this season, including dark red and two shades of blue. They’re also introducing “more luxurious” fabrics like satin.

I am crazy about the gorgeous silvery grey of the Aria collection. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–H.

I am crazy about the gorgeous silvery grey of the Aria collection. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–H.

A closeup of the “Oyster” Aria. So pretty. I think this would make a sleek bridal set.

A closeup of the “Oyster” Aria. So pretty. I think this would make a sleek bridal set.

I love the visible seams on the slightly sheer Esme, as well as the moody “Petrol” color. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30 F–HH, 32–38 D–K.

I love the visible seams on the slightly sheer Esme, as well as the moody “Petrol” color. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30 F–HH, 32–38 D–K.

Next up is Cleo, one of my top brands. This season, they’re going for less cutesy and more “fashion.” Like Curvy Kate’s similar statement, this is music to my ears. Of course, the bra I will absolutely be buying is still pretty girly…

Love! This is the new Skye style. When I caught sight of it on Panache’s booth banner, I think I may have gasped out loud. I just love this color combination. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

Love! This is the new Skye style. When I caught sight of it on Panache’s booth banner, I think I may have gasped out loud. I just love this color combination. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

My second favorite Cleo bra of the new collection is this new Marcie colorway. The coral details are so unexpected yet perfect. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 D–J.

My second favorite Cleo bra of the new collection is this new Marcie colorway. The coral details are so unexpected yet perfect. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 D–J.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the Kali babydoll featuring stylized embroidered hearts on the cup. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the Kali babydoll featuring stylized embroidered hearts on the cup. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–J.

I like how open the back of Kali is. Perfect for pairing with some cheeky or keyhole panties.

I like how open the back of Kali is. Perfect for pairing with some cheeky or keyhole panties.

Here’s something unexpectedly sexy from Cleo—the new Della with removable garters. You know I love that black trim on the bra cups. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 E–J.

Here’s something unexpectedly sexy from Cleo—the new Della with removable garters. You know I love that black trim on the bra cups. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–H, 30–38 E–J.

The new Blake has impressive side slings and features a tiny leopard-print bow at the gore. Its fabric is sooooo soft. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Blake has impressive side slings and features a tiny leopard-print bow at the gore. Its fabric is sooooo soft. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Harley style is unusually mature for Cleo. I feel like this whole collection has styles that transition from the age of 13 to the age of 40. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

The new Harley style is unusually mature for Cleo. I feel like this whole collection has styles that transition from the age of 13 to the age of 40. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 F–H, 30–38 D–J.

Next, we have the Breeze longline. It’s not a new style and I’m honestly not that into this particular floral print, but this was the first time I got a closeup look at the style and it has a lot of construction features that I feel other brands’ longlines are lacking. For one thing, the band is actually long. One or two inches does not a longline make—it’s just a slightly wider band than usual. Breeze’s band was almost as long as my palm.

Next, we have the Breeze longline. It’s not a new style and I’m honestly not that into this particular floral print, but this was the first time I got a closeup look at the style and it has a lot of construction features that I feel other brands’ longlines are lacking. For one thing, the band is actually long. One or two inches does not a longline make—it’s just a slightly wider band than usual. Breeze’s band was almost as long as my palm.

Second, instead of putting the boning in the front where it can bend or stab you, the hard boning goes on the sides. Duh! This way, it’ll keep the band from rolling up, like Freya’s non-boned ones do, but it won’t stab me like Claudette’s longline does.

Second, instead of putting the boning in the front where it can bend or stab you, the hard boning goes on the sides. Duh! This way, it’ll keep the band from rolling up, like Freya’s non-boned ones do, but it won’t stab me like Claudette’s longline does.

Finally, Cleo’s longline still has reinforced seams up the front where hard boning would normally go, so it still has enough structure to avoid rolling. Breeze is delivering in March 2016. Sizes 28 DD–H, 30–38 D–H.

Finally, Cleo’s longline still has reinforced seams up the front where hard boning would normally go, so it still has enough structure to avoid flipping. Breeze is delivering in March 2016. Sizes 28 DD–H, 30–38 D–H.

Love the sherbet color of the new molded Koko Muse—which by the way has a J-hook in back! Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–GG, 30–38 D–H.

Love the sherbet color of the new molded Koko Muse—which by the way has a J-hook in back! Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28 E–GG, 30–38 D–H.

Lastly, we have the new molded plunge strapless Koko. Cleo tends to run shallower in the cup so I doubt this will work for me, which is really disappointing because…

Lastly, we have the new molded plunge strapless Koko. Cleo tends to run shallower in the cup so I doubt this will work for me, which is really disappointing because…

…Koko strapless has wiiiiiiide trim on the top and bottom edges of the band! The Freya Deco strapless gives amazing support and shape, but the bottom edge is thin and really bites into my skin painfully. Maybe I’ll give it a shot and hope the cups are deeper than usual. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 E–G, 30–38 D–G.

…Koko strapless has wiiiiiiide trim on the top and bottom edges of the band! The Freya Deco strapless gives amazing support and shape, but the bottom edge is thin and really bites into my skin painfully. Maybe I’ll give it a shot and hope the cups are deeper than usual. Delivery May 2016. Sizes 28 E–G, 30–38 D–G.

Finally, we have swimwear. Panache Superbra is offering a selection of great nauticals, and Cleo features some really fun prints and colors.

The new navy Britt. The buttons are cute, but I still prefer the bow of this summer’s red Britt. This collection includes a halter bikini (seen here) halter tankini, and bandeau, plus high-waist pant (seen here), fold pant, and gather pant. Bands range from 30 to 38 and cups D to H depending on style. Delivery January 2016.

The new navy Britt. The buttons are cute, but I still prefer the bow of this summer’s red Britt. This collection includes a halter bikini (seen here) halter tankini, and bandeau, plus high-waist pant (seen here), fold pant, and gather pant. Bands range from 30 to 38 and cups D to H depending on style. Delivery January 2016.

Darlene and I were huge fans of the entire Portofino collection, featuring crisp white and navy with gathered and folded details on all the pieces. This molded balconnet bikini top looks so clean and the gathered sides of the cups make it seem so flattering. I also enjoy the extra-wide straps in front (though it does mean they’re only half-adjustable). Sizes 30–38 D–H. All pieces delivering January 2016.

Darlene and I were huge fans of the entire Portofino collection, featuring crisp white and navy with gathered and folded details on all the pieces. This molded balconnet bikini top looks so clean and the gathered sides of the cups make it seem so flattering. I also enjoy the extra-wide straps in front (though it does mean they’re only half-adjustable). Sizes 30–38 D–H. All pieces delivering January 2016.

The origami-like folds on the Portofino bandeau are fantastic. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

The origami-like folds on the Portofino bandeau are fantastic. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

And I imagine the cross-over trim and gathered side of the Portofino balconnet swimsuit will be ultra-flattering. It comes in a truly impressive size range of 30–38 D–K.

And I imagine the cross-over trim and gathered side of the Portofino balconnet swimsuit will be ultra-flattering. It comes in a truly impressive size range of 30–38 D–K.

I also appreciated the sleek Santorini bandeau swimsuit with its heart-shaped white detailing. The entire suit is one smooth piece of fabric with all the support and structure hidden inside. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

I also appreciated the sleek Santorini bandeau swimsuit with its heart-shaped white detailing. The entire suit is one smooth piece of fabric with all the support and structure hidden inside. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–38 D–G.

Closeup of the fractal/paisley print.

Closeup of the fractal/paisley print.

The new Suki bandeau has an impressively stiff longer band. It reminds me a bit of the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless [http://hourglassy.com/2013/06/off-the-rack-review-of-wonderbra-ultimate-strapless/]. I like the color combination a lot. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

The new Suki bandeau has an impressively stiff longer band. It reminds me a bit of the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless. I like the color combination a lot. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

I also like the Suki padded plunge top, with a tie at the center gore. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

I also like the Suki padded plunge top, with a tie at the center gore. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Love the lime trim and unusual print of the new Blaire, available in a bandeau tankini and wired triangle top. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Love the lime trim and unusual print of the new Blaire, available in a bandeau tankini and wired triangle top. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–G.

Lastly, we come to the new Avril style. It’s a little similar to the Freya Atlantis, but it’s missing the vertical black seams, so it’s not quite as sporty-looking. Still, I like it. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–H.

Lastly, we come to the new Avril style. It’s a little similar to the Freya Atlantis, but it’s missing the vertical black seams, so it’s not quite as sporty-looking. Delivery March 2016. Sizes 28–38 D–H.

 

Parfait

After the massive Eveden and Panache coverage, I’m ready for a smaller collection! This season, Parfait has expanded their sizing yet again. No additional large cups, sadly, but they have added cups down to a C (previously they started at D), bands up to 44 (previously 40), and panties up to 4XL (previously 2XL) in Carole, Casey, Charlotte, and Jeanie. It seems like Parfait is really embracing the plus-size market with these additions.

They’re also adding three new styles—the Darlene, Penelope, and Lucie.

The Darlene bra is a little sweet and demure for my taste, but I had to share it since it shares a name with Hourglassy’s founder! Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The Darlene bra is a little sweet and demure for my taste, but I had to share it since it shares a name with Hourglassy’s founder! Delivery March 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The new Penelope unlined bra. Love those triangular cups. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

The new Penelope unlined bra. Love those triangular cups. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

New Lucie unlined wire bra in “Mood Indigo” and “Barely Pink.” Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

New Lucie unlined wire bra in “Mood Indigo” and “Barely Pink.” Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

Lucie has super subtle silver thread in it, which I tried to capture here.

Lucie has super subtle silver thread in it, which I tried to capture here.

I love the new Casey print and purple lace trim. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

I love the new Casey print and purple lace trim. Delivery February 2016. Sizes 30–40 D–G.

Finally, we come to the most amazing print of the show, in my opinion—the new Charlotte in black and white “Floral Shimmer.” This print is to die for! It’s so gorgeous, I would want to walk around in just my skivvies to show it off. Charlotte and I have not gotten along very well ever since I bumped up from 28FF to 28G several years ago, but I might have to give her another shot with this set. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 28–40 D–K and bottoms XS–2XL.

Finally, we come to the most amazing print of the show, in my opinion—the new Charlotte in black and white “Floral Shimmer.” This print is to die for! It’s so gorgeous, I would want to walk around in just my skivvies to show it off. Charlotte and I have not gotten along very well ever since I bumped up from 28FF to 28G several years ago, but I might have to give her another shot with this set. Delivery January 2016. Sizes 28–40 D–K and bottoms XS–2XL.

Obviously I needed a closeup of Charlotte’s print.

Obviously I needed a closeup of Charlotte’s print.

 

Tutti Rouge

The last brand I have to show you is Tutti Rouge. I still haven’t tried their bras myself, but I’m impressed with their styles and innovation every season. The current lookbook has a little “Which Tutti Are You?” chart in it explaining which styles are great for shallow busts, amazing uplift, fabulous forward projection, or major cleavage. For my full-on-bottom and moderately full-on-top shape, I would reach for the “fabulous forward projection” or “major cleavage” and avoid the other two. The recommendations are:

Shallow busts: Liliana (28–38 D–J)
Amazing uplift: Betty (28–38 D–HH), Kitty (28–38 D–HH)
Fabulous forward projection: Nichole (28–38 D–HH), Fifi (28–38 D–J)
Major cleavage: Jessica (28–38 D–HH)

Top row, left to right: Kitty in Fizzy Peach, Jessica in Ivory Nude, Liliana in Crème/Nude. Center row: Betty in Brighton Rocks, Nichole in Parma Violet, Liliana in Fruit Salad. Bottom row: Fifi in Rox Pink, Jessica in Noir Nude, Nichole in Leopard

Top row, left to right: Kitty in Fizzy Peach, Jessica in Ivory Nude, Liliana in Crème/Nude. Center row: Betty in Brighton Rocks, Nichole in Parma Violet, Liliana in Fruit Salad. Bottom row: Fifi in Rox Pink, Jessica in Noir Nude, Nichole in Leopard

The soft-cup Jessica bra is quite exciting, in that it comes with three padding options—no pad, “Tutti Booster,” and “Super Booster.” Here’s a shot of the Tutti booster on top of the Super booster:

For the Tutti booster, you use it in addition to the Super, for massive pumped-up cleavage.

For the Super booster, you use it in addition to the Tutti, for massive pumped-up cleavage.

We asked the model to use no pad on the right and both pads on the left to see the difference, and it was truly noticeable, even though I had a hard time capturing it with my camera.

We asked the model to use no pad on the right and both pads on the left to see the difference, and it was truly noticeable, even though I had a hard time capturing it with my camera.

For a better view of the different effects, check out this banner from the Tutti Rouge booth:

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.05.00 AM

In addition to the black Jessica with Tutti boosters, there’s also this ivory version with a teeny tiny blue gem in the gore, to serve as the “something blue” for a bridal set. So clever!

In addition to the black Jessica with Tutti boosters, there’s also this ivory version with a teeny tiny blue gem in the gore, to serve as the “something blue” for a bridal set. So clever!

While the Betty bra probably wouldn’t work for me, as I understand it’s better for a shallower profile, I’m definitely on board with the matching satin and mesh short.

While the Betty bra probably wouldn’t work for me, as I understand it’s better for a shallower profile, I’m definitely on board with the matching satin and mesh short.

Loooove the mostly sheer back. So sweet!

Loooove the mostly sheer back. So sweet!

I also must point out the map of the UK on the Betty “Brighton Rocks” print. The little pink heart in the middle of the country is where Tutti Rouge headquarters are located!

I also must point out the map of the UK on the Betty “Brighton Rocks” print. The little pink heart in the middle of the country is where Tutti Rouge headquarters are located!

 

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.