Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Kris Line Bras

Kris Line is a Polish bra brand that has the largest size range that I’m aware of, going from A cups to O cups and 28 bands to 50 bands. It follows the UK letter schema from A to HH, then has an I before moving to J (most UK brands skip I), JJ, K, KK, and single letters L – O. So their O, I think, is approximately a UK N. There are 197 sizes in total. Pretty amazing!

Considering that I get my best fit in Polish brands Ewa Michalak and Comexim, I’ve been wanting to try Kris Line for quite some time. They offer cut-and-sew, semi-soft, and molded-cup bras in luxurious, sometimes over-the-top designs. They’re also frequently on US flash sale site Zulily.com, so I recently took the plunge and bought two different styles in two different sizes to try them out.

I’d been advised that the cut-and-sew bras are inconsistent in fit, that the semi-softs run small in the cups, and that the molded ones run really small. Since I generally consider myself a 28G (though really I’m between sizes in both band and cup), I got a semi-soft in 30G and a molded push-up in 30GG. Either Zulily offers few 28 bands, or they’re actually quite rare among Kris Line’s offerings, because the smallest band available on any design, except one or two, was a 30. Here are the manufacturer’s photos and descriptions of my choices:

Merlot Floral Sheer Bra
(Semi-soft, size 30G)

Decorated in feminine floral embroidery, this delicate peekaboo mesh panel, full-fit bra will light up any boudoir. Adjustable straps and a modifiable back closure create a custom fit, while the underwire offers extra support.

zu red

Emerald Cleopatra Push-Up Bra
(Molded, size 30GG)

Luxe lace lends allure to this top-drawer staple, while molded, underwire cups and adjustable straps create supportive comfort.

zu blue

They’re both really gorgeous with plenty of effort put into the details. Unfortunately, neither one fits me right.

First up, the Merlot. It features a padded bottom half of the cup with removable pads and a sheer, embroidered top half. The gore is lace with a bow and small crystal charm, while the wings are a solid, smooth fabric.

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Even though it’s a 30-band, it runs tiny, like a small 28. It stretches from 22” to just barely 29”. The cups are small on me, though not by much. However, they’re such a weird shape that even in a size up, there’s no way this bra would suit me.

The cups are not tall enough, and the sheer lace top half is way too restrictive, especially considering how much space and projection there is in the bottom half. In fact, the bottom, padded portion seems to fit just fine. But the sheer portion is insane. Observe:

Smaller boob.

Smaller boob.

Bigger boob.

Bigger boob.

What is that?? Why is the sheer section at such a sharp angle? It’s a nice change not to have bra cutting into my armpit, but these cups are not the right shape or height to hold all my tissue in, as such:

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At least the gore tacks and the band is made of a decent fabric (unlike the Emerald, as you’ll read below). The band feels silky and is opaque and not too stretchy, just the way I like it:

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As for the Emerald…Ugh, you guys this bra is so pretty. It’s a tone-on-tone leopard-esque splatter print in the loveliest shade of petrol blue:

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It also has a navy and petrol lace gore:

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And removable, fully-adjustable straps, so you could wear it cross-back, halter, etc:

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The cups have that Victoria’s Secret-style graduated padding where it’s thickest at the underwire and fades into light padding at the cup edge, to give incredible Y-cleavage. Unfortunately for me, though, the fit again is all wrong.

This time the cups are a little too tall, so there’s empty space in the outer corners:

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But if I throw my shoulders back to force it to sit flush, then I get major pillowing. The bra has a slightly east-west shape to it, and my boobs are more front-and-center, so I’d say that’s what’s causing both these issues, as I do think this is the “correct” cup size for me.

Next, the cups eat my armpits. It’s not so bad that it’s painful, but there’d be major visible side-bra under any sleeveless top or dress:

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This also contributes to the issue of the straps being way too wide-set for me. They’re really on the verge of sliding off:

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Finally, I am not impressed with the band. It’s made of a very soft jersey fabric with no lining. While this may be really comfortable, I can’t imagine it would last very well, and would likely stretch right out:

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Additionally, the band is a completely different length than the Merlot even though they’re both size 30. It starts at 24” and stretches to 33”. Um, what??

As for the famous narrow Polish wires, these are more narrow than most British brands, but still wider than my Ewas and Comexims. Overall, I don’t think these are inherently “bad” bras, but they’re definitely not for me, and I won’t be spending any more money experimenting with the brand.

 

 

The Shadow Bra Industry: Jessica Fits to a J Cup

Today I continue my Shadow Bra Industry series with the first of four women that I interviewed who are forging separate paths to help women find their perfect fit. My earlier posts covered the direct sales model and my experience with two companies, Peach and Essential Body Wear.

As you know from my first post on the subject, this series was sparked by the dreaded question: “Where should I go to get fitted for a bra?” I always feel like I should have a one-size-fits-all answer for a one-size-doesn’t-fit-all question! Now, instead of a single answer, my research for this series has given me multiple choices.

If one of these women offers services in your area, I encourage you to reach out to her. And if you know other D+ fitters in the Shadow Bra Industry or are a shadow fitter yourself, please let me know so that I can update my new Big Bust Bra Fitters resource page.

Before I proceed, here are some of the questions that I asked each of the women that I interviewed:

  • Why can I trust you to take care of a friend that I send to you?
  • What type of friend should I send to you? Or, what are your customers like?
  • What experience can I tell the friend to expect?

———-

Jessica has a story that a lot of us can relate to. She skipped an A cup growing up and jumped right into a B for her first bra. To her mom’s credit, she took Jessica to specialty bra stores from the very beginning. Even so, Jessica wore “grandma bras” all through college until her magical first experience with Bravissimo when she was 22. That’s when she discovered her true size of 32F and that it came in pretty styles and colors.

It’s also when she discovered her passion for bra fitting. When asked why we can trust her with our friends, she told me, “Because it’s personal.” She wants other D+ women to have the same experience that changed her life.

Jessica is the only fitter that I interviewed who doesn’t charge a fee. As she puts it, “My goal is client satisfaction. My main focus is not on the bottom line right now.” That’s saying a lot for a fitter whose day job is as an accountant!

Her ideal customer is a serious shopper who wants a proper fit, rather than someone who is only browsing, and Jessica would much rather sell two bras to her every six months than eight every two years.

Here is what the New York friends that you refer to Jessica can expect from the process. As they’re setting up an appointment date over the phone, Jessica will ask your friend what bra she’s currently wearing to figure out where she might be in the D-J cup range and the 30-38 band range (Jessica also carries some 40 and 42 bands for a specific customer). Once they meet, Jessica usually identifies the correct size within three try-ons.

Next, she’ll give your friend everything she has in her size, beginning with a tee shirt bra and moving on to non-molded cups if she’s interested. If a non-molded bra fits best, she’ll try to encourage your friend to choose that one. Finally, she’ll introduce sexier styles into the mix. As Jessica tells her clients, “There’s a technical need for a bra, so it might as well be pretty!” Jessica offers bras from Simone Perele (her favorite), Panache, Addiction and Parfait, as well as shapewear from Yummie Tummie and BodyWrap.

Catching Up with Patsy, Pepperberry & More Front Room

It’s been a while since we’ve published a Fitting In column (Patsy shared her button-front blouse odyssey in December), so when I caught up with Patsy for lunch at a nearby department store on Wednesday, I stole the opportunity to catch up with her wardrobe as well.

Patsy was a complete breath of fresh air when she breezed into the store wearing this Pepperberry ice blue double breasted coat in size 18SC.

pastsy pepperberry coat accessorized

I’m a big fan of the double princess seams that accommodate the bust and define the waist.

patsy pepperberry coat 3 quarter view

Patsy is a big fan of the pockets that are deep enough to keep from losing her cell phone.

patsy pepperberry coat deep pockets

patsy pepperberry coat back view

Underneath that coat she wore one of her More Front Room tops in XL.

Patsy in More Front Room top with blazer

Besides horizontal ruching that runs across the torso, this top has vertical ruching that runs the length of the chest area. Patsy feels there is definitely room for a larger bust than hers and that she could even size down to an L.

patsy more front room top side ruching

patsy more front room top back view

It looks like this style is currently sold out on the More Front Room website, but its popularity is a good sign that It’ll be back. And speaking of being back, Patsy promises she’ll be back with a new column soon.

Off the Rack ~ Kix’ies Thigh High Tights Reviewed

Technically this post is still related to Curve even though it’s now 5 weeks past. Kix’ies, the hosiery brand beloved by the pinup community, was there for the first time, and I got to chat with a rep. She also gave me a sample pair of tights to try!

Kix’ies are thigh-high tights with a special no-slip, no-sink triple band at the top of the thigh so you can wear them without garters and they stay in place. I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously my ban on clothing that makes you get undressed in order to use the toilet (though I’ve since broken that vow with the Trashy Diva Hepburn jumpsuit and my Freddies of Pinewood Chain Gang jumpsuit), so tights that don’t have to be pulled down in order to pee are right up my alley! Plus they come in a wide range of styles, and the triple-band just looks cool.

The Kix’ies display at Curve.

The Kix’ies display at Curve.

I ended up selecting the sheer black tights with a seam up the back, to go with all my vintage reproduction dresses. I literally don’t own any sheer stockings, so I’m always stuck with freezing bare legs or opaque black tights.

The Kix’ies rep showed me the size chart and measured my thigh at the point where I expected to wear the tights. Since there’s no threat of a mis-fitting crotch, you only need to consider your height and thigh circumference. The sizes are as follows:

A = height 4’11” – 5’5”, thigh up to 20”
B = height 5’5” – 6”, thigh up to 25”
C = height 4’11” – 5’5”, thigh up to 30”
D = height 5’5” – 6”, thigh up to 35”

I fall right in size B at 5’6” and 23”. If you’re on the border of two sizes, consider the material of your selected tights. I was told that fishnets are stretchier, and sheer and thinner materials are less stretchy.

You may be wondering how those three bands give the appearance of floating on your skin. Well they have tiny parallel lines of fishing line-like threads between each layer. They practically disappear on your leg, and they keep each opaque band from digging in. The way the tights stay up so well is by first selecting the correct size, and second each opaque band is lined with a flat strip of clear silicon.

So let’s get to some photos, shall we?

I only dressed up for work so that my outfit would match the tights!

I only dressed up for work so that my outfit would match the tights!

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Getting those seam lines straight was no easy feat! But at least they didn’t shift around once in place.

Getting those seam lines straight was no easy feat! But at least they didn’t shift around once in place.

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You can see that the bands aren’t digging in, and the fishing line is totally invisible. Success! However, I did have one minor complaint…

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That tag!! The little white care tag on the inner thigh was really itchy. I think they should just do away with it, and put all the care instructions on the packaging. Plus, who doesn’t already know that tights are supposed to be hand-washed? (Though I’m lazy, so I just throw them in a lingerie bag and use the washing machine’s delicate/hand-wash settings.)

Also, if you click on the tag photo above, you’ll be able to see that I drew two little lines on the top of my thighs with permanent marker so I could see if the tights slid down at all throughout the day. I drew the lines on at about 1pm, and here’s how the tights looked at 7pm when I got home (after sitting down and getting up from my desk several times, walking up and down a flight of stairs twice, and riding the subway home):

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My left leg did pretty well, only sliding down about a centimeter—but my right leg! It slid down like 4 inches! This is especially unexpected because if anything my right leg would be bigger (since that’s the one I favor, the muscle gets used more and could conceivably be slightly more developed). Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have short legs. Or it could be that this side was more stretched out due to having the cardboard square stuck inside of it to keep the tights flat in the package. I guess next time I’ll pull the bands up even higher, and see if that’s an improvement.

Despite not entirely living up to the claim that they never fall down, I would definitely buy more of these. In fact, the Kix’ies rep told me there’s a new vintage-friendly style in development—sheer tan with a black Cuban heel. Can’t wait!