Birthday Giveaway: You Can Win A Soak Wash Gift Set!

I’m turning 26 today, so I thought we’d have a little giveaway fun this week to start the holiday season off right!

I’m a big fan of Soak Wash for lots of reasons, so I was pretty stoked when they offered to sponsor my birthday giveaway. Lots of lingerie lovers don’t think about cleaning their lingerie, but there are actually lots of different lingerie wash options out there. After going through several, Soak is definitely my favorite.

They make a ton of great scents, and it only takes about a teaspoon of Soak to wash a tub full of lingerie. My current favorite scent is Celebration, but I’m looking forward to trying Unleashed and Citrus soon as well. The best feature of Soak Wash is that you don’t have to rinse your lingerie once you’ve soaked it. This means that when your lingerie dries, it smells yummy and extra clean. You also save water and time.

I use Soak on my lingerie and my sweaters, but I’ve also taken to using it on my sheets to make them smell great. They also have a nice range of other products, including high-quality knitting sets, their Phil and Carrie buckets (for lingerie and knitting respectively), and their heel moisturizers that I have fallen in love with.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, as Levar Burton would say. This week I’m giving away a Soak gift set to two winners! Didy will be the gamesmaster/contest runner and will be working diligently throughout the week to monitor things.

Here are the rules:

You have five ways to enter:

1. “Like” The Full Figured Chest on Facebook here.

2. Follow me on Twitter @fullfigurechest.

3. “Like” Soak Wash on Facebook here.

4. Follow Soak Wash on Twitter @SoakWash.

5. Leave a comment with the links to the other ways you’ve entered and how you would use Soak Wash, or just leave a comment for Didy saying how you’d use Soak Wash if you hate dealing with social media.

The contest will run from Sunday the 26th to midnight on Sunday December 4th. Didy will pick two winners using the random number generator and then email you so I can send your gift set!

Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s get started!

Review: The Miss Mandalay Tilly Underwired Lightly Padded Balcony Bra

I’ve been making a concerted effort to get away from blue and green lingerie lately, and I fell in love with the Tilly Bra from Miss Mandalay as soon as I saw it. I loved the coral floral pattern and the cute little bow details, and I’d heard nothing but rave reviews about Miss Mandalay from other bloggers.

The lovely lingerie fairy at Large Cup Lingerie was nice enough to send me a set to try, and I awaited it eagerly. Cha, who runs Large Cup Lingerie, is a total sweetheart and is always around to answer my annoyingly precise lingerie questions. Large Cup Lingerie also provides free worldwide shipping, which puts it a step above lots of other companies shipping out of the UK if you’re a US based lingerie buyer.

The Tilly set arrived beautifully packaged. I had intended to take a picture, but I was so eager to try the bra that I ended up opening it too fast to catch it on camera. The Tilly bra is a lightly padded balcony bra, which basically means it’s lined with a thick cotton layer. I tend to own mostly unpadded lace bras or moulded bras, so this was less familiar territory to me.

I loved the colors of this bra even more in person. Looking at colors on a computer can distort patterned bras sometimes, and these colors were much brighter and clearer in person. The pattern wasn’t as busy as I expected, and I was so glad I’d taken a chance on something different from my usual stuff.

I ordered the Tilly short because I tend to be more of a boyshort person, but it doesn’t have the cut of a traditional short. The short is also very sexy and very sheer. It may actually be the sheerest pair of knickers I own, which I didn’t expect. The elastic is also looser than a lot of my other knickers, so you might want to go down a size from your normal when you order them.

So sheer you can see the tag through them!

I ordered a 34G in the bra (I run between that and a 34GG in some bras), and it came up a smidge small in the cup. The band felt looser than some of my others, but that probably means it fits like a regular 34. I tend to like my bra bands much tighter than other people do. That said, I love the bra and it still looks great by itself and under a shirt.

This is a gorgeous bra, and wearing it reminds me of summer as the colder weather approaches. The bra straps are comfortable and stay put, and the knickers are sexy while providing more coverage than a thong. I’d definitely recommend this if you fit into the Miss Mandalay size range.

Next on my must have list from Large Cup Lingerie and Miss Mandalay is this gloriously girly butterfly print bikini. I’ve read that different styles from them fit very differently, so I’m definitely going to do the experiment.

Miss Mandalay lingerie can be purchased at Large Cup Lingerie. Large Cup Lingerie is an online lingerie boutique specializing in D-K cup lingerie.

Holiday Travel Essentials For The Lingerie Lover

Once upon a time, we all traveled surrounded by glamour and luxury. Women carried matching sets of candy colored luggage through airports wearing elegant coats and never gave a thought to whether their underwire bra would get them body searched by TSA.

As lingerie lovers, we all like to be surrounded by pretty things, especially during the stress of traveling. We also want to protect our pretty things, which is why coming up with a system for keeping your lingerie safe when you travel is important. You can just stuff it into your suitcase, but that can lead to bent wires and out of shape bra cups. Even worse, you can lose your best bra if your suitcase gets lost.

Today I’ve put together a quick guide with some of my essential items for keeping your lingerie clean and safe during holiday travel. I’ll admit that I also like to add some glamour to my life, and that I tend to indulge my vintage sensibilities whenever I can while I’m on the road.

1. A Hard Case.

There are actually lots of travel storage systems for bras on the market, but they tend to be built for smaller cup sizes. So, what’s a G+ cup woman to do when she wants to travel in style? Find your own case, of course.

Image via RockyMountainRetro and Etsy

I found my hard case in a local vintage store, but vintage luggage is all over places like Etsy. If you’re stuck, try searching for train cases. They tend to be a good size and shape for a trip’s worth of large cup bras, and they’ll keep your favorite bras safe and in shape. For extra protection, you can stuff your knickers into the cups to help them maintain their shape. Even better, if you carry your case on you can skip having TSA paw through your underwear.

2. A Lingerie Bag.

Image via Bella Bella Boutique

Lots of people love little lingerie envelopes when they travel, but I prefer lingerie bags. I can put my extra knickers in there, and it can double as a place to store dirty lingerie before washing while I’m on the road. I’m in love with this leopard print bag from Bella Bella Boutique currently.

3. Travel Lingerie Wash

Image Via Soak

I pack as few big bottles of things as I can, but it’s hard to get away with just a travel shampoo for a long trip. Luckily, you don’t have to lug a giant bottle of lingerie wash along in your suitcase. Soak Wash makes these travel sets which give you a range of fragrances without the hassle. There are seven in a set, which should get you through longer trips or a series of trips quite nicely.

4. A Non-Wired Bra.
Everyone has heard the horror stories of underwired bras setting off airport security scans. If you don’t want to take your chances with the scanner there are some great wire-free options out there, and it’s worth taking one along to wear when you’re going through airports.

Image via Figleaves

You can obviously go with a wire-free sports bra like a low level Shock Absorber, but there are some beautiful options out there beyond athletic wear. I’m currently coveting this rich plum colored wire-free bra from Butterfly Collection for travel purposes.

Image via Butterfly Collection

What are your lingerie travel essentials? Did I miss anything?

Designer Interview: Parfait By Affinitas Talks Design and Trends.

I’ve written a lot about Parfait by Affinitas, so I thought it was only right that they finally got a full Monday morning interview this week. I reviewed their Fiona cami for my column on The Lingerie Addict last week, and I continue to remain impressed by the full-busted lingerie they’re putting out.

To put it simply, Parfait by Affinitas is one of the few brands putting out great stylish lingerie for full-busted women that won’t make your bank account cry. Their Bess bra that is returning for Spring 2012 is one of the best bras that I own. They’re also working on expanding their lines to include basques, babydolls, and padded camisoles that fit as well as their bras.

They are represented by Lauren Rich, who is on Twitter as @RichPRStar and is one of my all time favorite people in the industry. Lauren was nice enough to take some time and answer my questions about the Parfait by Affinitas line last week, so let’s get started.

Holly: What are your most popular pieces?

Lauren: We are so glad our Parfait range is constantly growing in popularity all around, but some of our all-stars are:
Jeanie (4801) – The sexy deep plunge, contour cups and the retail price of $40.00 are all features full busted women are thrilled to have available to them! It’s exceptional to have an everyday bra with a deep plunge that goes to 40G.
Kelly Molded Padded Bra & Wire Bra (67016 and 6702) – Great fitting cut-and-contour bras at an unbeatable price point. The Deep Orchid color is to die for, and has been a top seller!
Honey Underwire Babydoll (5808) – This underwire babydoll is specifically designed for the full-bust market (30-40 D-G). There was such a void in this marketplace for a babydoll sized by bra size! (Rather than S/M/L, etc.) The babydoll is sexy, elegant, a dream fit and gives fantastic lift and support. Done and done.
Charlotte 6901 – The flirty, retro style of this bra combined with its excellent fit has easily made it a bestseller. Press love it too – we’re excited to say the bra has been featured in Allure, Women’s Health, ESSENCE, Weight Watchers Magazine and more!

Holly: What goes into making high quality lingerie that is also very affordable? What is your design process like?

Lauren: The key is to source a variety of top quality materials from multiple suppliers to get the highest quality fabrics, trims, embellishments and more at the most competitive price. We produce all of our lingerie at reliable, cost-efficient production facilities, which allow us to offer such a wide range of looks at an affordable price point. Each season we aim to offer a range of styles that the Parfait girl would wear both every day and for special occasions. For this reason we are careful to design each collection to offer both basics in addition to trend-driven, flirty, and sexier styles. Whatever mood she’s in, our goal is to have a Parfait piece to fit it! In addition to paying attention to trends, we pay utmost attention to fit. Our team of technical designers does an incredible job at perfecting each bra before it goes into production to make sure it’s ideal for the full-bust woman. Our bras are all cut-and-sew, featuring plush body elastic, wide-set straps, side boning, power netting, and U-shaped backs to provide superior comfort & support.

Holly: Do you feel like you’re influenced by any particular era or trend?

Lauren: We like to infuse chic European sensibility into every collection, however for Fall we especially drew upon the theme of romance and every girl’s wish for a fairy-tale ending. This is seen in Fiona’s beautiful jewel-toned Balconet Molded Padded Bra, Padded Underwire Camisole and more, featuring luxe stretch-satin with ruched black ribbon trim and sweet chiffon ruffles. Honey also draws upon this inspiration in the style’s feminine flutter-sleeved Molded Bra, Underwire Babydoll and more, available for Fall in beautiful colors Purple Heart and Tango Red. For Spring, we were influenced by the motto “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” creating a collection of coquettishly feminine styles including hot pink Anna, retro-glam Alexis (with a darling satin high-waist brief), and floral Isabella. We mixed it up with a bit of menswear-inspiration seen in Kimberly’s black and white pinstripes and Janet’s sporty-feminine grey and light blue styles.

Holly: What’s next for Parfait by Affinitas?

Lauren: We are excited to continue developing a top notch range of lingerie for the full-bust woman, in fit, style and price point. We’re looking forward to introducing more of our best-selling Babydolls and Padded Camisoles, as well as growing our distribution worldwide. Stay tuned – there’s a lot to look out for!

For more on Affinitas, please visit: Web: www.affinitasintimates.com

To enter the Affinitas Facebook giveaway, go here.

Eveden Previews, Camisole Reviews, and Retainer Client Spots.

Do you ever have those weeks where you’re convinced you’re completely behind on everything only to suddenly realize you’re completely caught up? That was this week. I have picked up six lovely new clients in the last two weeks, and I’m really happy with how things are going.

A quick plug for the business before we get to the roundup: I have two more spots left for retainer clients, and I’d love to fill them with great people this month. Coming on as a retainer client means that you get 50% off my regular rate, and you commit to at least ten hours of work a month for three months. You can then have me do whatever marketing writing you need without worrying about individual pricing! It’s a great deal, and I only fill the spots with businesses that I mesh with very well. If you think we’d be a good fit, and you need some regular marketing wizardry, get in touch at holly@thefullfiguredchest.com.

Now, onto the roundup!

This week was unintentionally Parfait by Affinitas themed. I reviewed their Fiona satin camisole for The Lingerie Addict this week, and I’m running an interview with them on Monday! In addition, they’re running a pretty amazing giveaway for the holidays that you should sign up for. You can win a ton of their lingerie plus some great Apple products. Oh, and some Berry Balls, which I’ve been dying to try out.

The Piper Ewan blog ran a great piece about the dangers of discount sales, which is worthwhile reading for anyone running a small business, especially if you’re focusing on handmade goods.

All of the Eveden brands have been having their previews this week, so if you’re an Eveden fan you’ll want to check out this, this, and this link. I love the Elomi high-waisted swimsuit idea, although Elomi bras don’t ever fit me properly.

Ewa Michalak has marked down a bunch of her bras (which sadly means they will probably be discontinued styles), but it means you can grab some amazing bras at dirt cheap prices. Head over there quickly before your size is sold out!

What lingerie news did I miss? Did you buy anything new this week? Share your week in the comments!

Review: The Charnos Cherub Bra

Charnos is, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated full bust lingerie brands on the market. They’re available in all kinds of places (including Brastop and Figleaves), and they consistently put out gorgeous colors that reflect current trends. So why aren’t more people talking about them?

Image via Charnos Lingerie

All I know is that lots of full-busted women are missing out on a great brand. They technically only make up to a G cup, but their cups run very large for most people. For instance, while I’m a 34GG in Freya, I’m an FF/H in Charnos. It’s definitely worth giving one a try to see if it works for you, even if you’re slightly above a G cup.

I only have the full cup version of the Cherub, although the Charnos website lists a padded balcony version as well. I suspect it would be equally great in a different style. However, let’s move onto the actual bra.

Image via Brastop

My cherub is in emerald, and it’s a gorgeous rich green that is hard to find in lingerie sometimes. It has a cute diamante detail and several small bows, but it’s definitely not as ornate as some other bras out there. The full cup version of the Cherub is an unpadded full cup lace bra, so it won’t give you incredible cleavage. What it does do is provide great support and stay put no matter what you do in it. The lace is soft and supportive, and the bra itself has enough cute detailing that you feel like you’re putting on something really special. It’s rare that you find an every day bra that is also incredibly pretty, and as a result I find myself reaching for my Cherub bra several times a week.

Image via Brastop

The Cherub bra currently comes in a midnight blue color, and can be found in emerald green and pink on Brastop. They’re also putting out a red version for the holidays that is high on my list! I suspect that I will be buying different colors of the Cherub bra for a long time.

Image via Charnos Lingerie

Charnos Lingerie can be found through their website, or through Brastop and Figleaves. Have you tried a Charnos bra? What was your experience with it?

Designer Preview: Sonata Goes To The Belle Epoque for 2012.

Anyone who knows me also knows that I’m devoted to promoting independent designers. I’m thrilled to have these photos to share from Sonata today, as they’re one of my favorite independent designers on the market currently. I’m going to be reviewing the Elektra bodysuit I ordered for my birthday later this month at some point, but today we’ll be talking about Sonata in general and looking at a bunch of really pretty pictures.

I’m putting up two photo galleries today: the first is of the current pieces that are available through Bella Bella Boutique, and the second is of the new Belle Epoque line that comes out in February.

I first got into Sonata when I emailed Aline from Bella Bella to ask how likely it was that I could squeeze into one of the standard size bodysuits. Aline replied that Sonata took made to measure orders, so all I had to do was send mine along and I could have my very own custom bodysuit! Made to measure is an option that isn’t talked about much in the full-figured market, but is very much worth checking out if you’re focusing on buying high quality pieces that will last forever. Yes, the price point is higher, but you’re getting some amazing goods in return.

Sonata takes quality seriously. All of their pieces are made with silk, satin, chiffon and Solstiss lace, and are detailed with raw amber and Swarovski crystals. Each item is made by hand in London. They’re a staple line for high end boutiques, and they currently provide all the lingerie on Next Top Model 2011.

One of my favorite things about Sonata is that each line comes with a full range of pieces. They make bras, bodysuits, slips, knickers, and g-strings. I love designers that give you a wide range of choices, and I love that they’re thinking about how to make their customers comfortable in whatever range they fall in love with.

And the colors. I’ve fallen in love with the colors. Their new line is called Belle Epoque, and Sonata was nice enough to send me photos of the new pieces. The tangerine pieces are all going on my list of must haves. I’ve seen tangerine for Spring 2012 in a few places now, and I feel like this is a color I will be embracing. I’m even contemplating buying the exact bodysuit I just ordered in the tangerine version with the bow in the back. I’m telling myself they double as outerwear pieces. I’ve also fallen in love with the red lace robe.

Which pieces are going on your want list?

Friday Roundup: The Freya Taylor Takes Over.

This week fall officially hit Mississippi. Instead of lounging in beautiful lingerie, I’ve basically spent the week in sweatpants under a blanket trying to resist turning my heat on. Luckily, other bloggers put out some amazing content this week that is really useful when it comes to figuring out what full-busted bras to purchase to get you through the winter months.

This week, the Freya Taylor bra officially ate the internet. There are multiple rave reviews out there now, but these three from Invest In Your ChestFuller Figure Fuller Bust, and Undercover Lingerista are particularly worth checking out.

Image via Freya

The Lingerie Addict made a list of 66 bras for curvy women, which was a fantastic roundup. As if that wasn’t enough of a gift, Darlene Campbell (of the groundbreaking Campbell and Kate white shirt) then went through and listed the largest cup size for each bra for easy purchasing. I was happy to see a few of my favorite brands make the list: Pour Moi, Elle Macpherson D-G, Parfait by Affinitas, Fraulein Annie, and Charnos bras were all featured prominently.

Esty Lingerie specializes in made to measure lingerie by independent designers, and they have some really interesting stuff. They’re also having a giveaway this month that includes some gorgeous handmade lingerie and accessories, so go sign up here. Esty and Bella Bella Boutique are two places that don’t seem to cater to full-busted women on the surface, but have tons of great made to measure options if you’re lusting after a certain item. I highly recommend them both.

The Bras I Hate blog wrote about Curvy Kate this week, and came to a similar conclusion about their sizing as I did in my review. I’m happy to know that trying multiple styles seems to work for everyone.

Last, but certainly not least, go check out my article for the McPeteSez lingerie trade journal on tricks to make your press releases stand out. I’m going to be a regular contributor now, and I’m really excited about it

Review: The Curvy Kate Tempt Me Bra

Curvy Kate is a powerhouse in the full-busted lingerie market, and it’s easy to see why. Their Star in the Bra marketing campaign has been a huge catalyst for change, and is showing full-busted women models who actually look like them. On top of it, their designs are colorful and young.

Given all of these facts, it’s surprising I hadn’t tried a Curvy Kate bra until a few weeks ago. I decided to start with the Tempt Me Bra in black and scarlet, even though I don’t own many plunge bras. I know women who literally live in just Curvy Kate bras, so I had really high expectations.

 

Photo via Curvy Kate

First, a word about Curvy Kate sizing. Their sizing is especially finicky to me, and even though I’m keeping the bra, it was probably too small. I ordered a 34GG (which is also my size in Freya), and probably need to go up one more size for a perfect fit. I can fit into as low as a 34G/I, so there’s a huge size range between what I think of as “my” size and what I am in Curvy Kate. I’ve also read that different styles can also make you change size, so finding someone who wears a lot of Curvy Kate will make the ordering process much easier. I know they’ve been holding fitting events in the UK to work on some of these issues, so they get extra points in my book.

The bra itself is beautifully made with that gorgeous two button detail that grabbed my attention. I realized later that the two button detail is also a feature of my beloved Bess bra, so there’s probably a reason I picked this style to try first. Even in a size that is a smidge too small, the bra is  supportive and the panties are cute. I had my doubts about a plunge bra really being able to do the job, but it did.  It would be even better if I’d figured out the right size, but the fact that I’m not motivated to exchange it says really good things about the bra.

I did end up loving the colors, even if they weren’t the ones I automatically gravitate to. I’m trying to expand my lingerie wardrobe, and there are only so many drawers of blue and green lingerie that one woman can own. The lace overlay was sexy without being trashy, and the set will definitely become a staple for me under certain outfits.

I liked this bra, but I’m not sure it’s my perfect bra. I’m definitely going to try more Curvy Kate (the purple Tease Me set is next on my want list), but so far it won’t replace my staple brands like Parfait by Affinitas and the Elle Macpherson D-G line. I think I’ll feel differently once I try a few more, so I just need to give some other sets a shot.

Photo via Curvy Kate

A lot of this is sadly a reflection on the current state of the full-busted lingerie industry. While you can find bras up to an L cup and the industry as a whole is growing, once you get above a G/I cup your options become much more restricted. If I went up even one cup size, my favorite brands now couldn’t be part of my wardrobe. Curvy Kate is pushing the industry as a whole towards offering more expanded ranges, which is good for everyone. In addition, they’re providing fabulous bras for a section of the market that desperately craves them, and for that I love them dearly.

 

 

 

Three Easy Ways To Make Your Press Release Stand Out From The Pack.

I’m really happy to announce that I’m officially a regular contributor to the lingerie trade journal McPete Sez now! I’m especially honored to be in their 300th issue, which went live last night.

Come check out my article here, and learn three of my jedi writing tricks that will help your press releases shine. Or, if you want, you can hire the jedi master (ahem, mistress) to write your press releases for you.