Friday Followup: Do Big Boobs Rock, and What About Feminism?

I’d normally do a roundup on Friday, but after all the brouhaha yesterday I wanted to write a follow up post and talking about the many complicated issues involved with bodies, being a woman, and how I feel about feminism. First though, you should go check out the incredibly thoughtful followup post by Venusian*Glow, who was the author of the guest post.

Background on the guest post:
I got a wide range of responses to this post, both in my inbox and via Twitter. Reactions ranged from “What’s the big deal?” to “You’re promoting sexism and hate all gay people/transgender people/women/skinny women” to “I’ve been waiting to see a post like this for a long time and it’s lovely.” The fact that so many different people could have such strong reactions to a post that was a numbered list is fascinating to me. As I said in the comments yesterday, I read through the post before putting it up and I don’t agree with all of the items. Some I love very strongly (reading in the bath with your Kindle when you have big boobs is an awesome perk) and others give me some trepidation. That said, I didn’t feel it was fair to censor any of it because I’ve heard full busted women make all of these statements on multiple occasions. That fact that Eternal Voyageur interviewed her full busted friends lends more weight to my theory. Whether you like them or not, these are commonplace statements that full busted women make about their bodies to each other in small groups. 

So about this feminism/sexism thing: 
I’ve been thinking about all of this heavily over the last few days because I’ve been reading Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in these issues. Caitlin argues that feminism can be found in a series of small every day decisions rather than in the halls of academia. The way we talk to each other is about feminism. Whether we get a bikini wax or not and why involves feminism. The way we treat our boobs and our sexual selves is about feminism. Basically, all of those “fluffy” issues we women discuss every day are a workbook of feminist theory that we can explore and learn from.

To make a long argument short, I think that the fact that we’ve accepted this kind of talk privately isn’t so great. But I don’t think refusing to talk about it in a public forum is the solution, and ultimately why I didn’t take down the post despite getting a migraine’s worth of grief over it. Why is it okay to tell your friend that she has traffic accident level cleavage and not have it as a list item in a blog post? If one is sexist and unfeminist, surely the other is as well. Except in an internet forum, I saw exactly that interaction two days ago and it was positive and meant to be empowering. I honestly think the woman in question took it as a compliment and the person saying it meant it as one. Now whether that’s okay is a different question, but refusing to air these kinds of statements in public and pretend they don’t exist isn’t responsible either. I saw some incredibly passionate and intelligent discussion of this stuff on Twitter yesterday as a result of that post. Obviously getting there without offending lots of people is an ideal, but tell me how often you discuss feminist issues on a Thursday passionately without some kind of starter annoyance. Isn’t true feminism being able to have a discussion and explore these issues together as women rather than pretending we’re saying something different in private than in public? I think Caitlin Moran would argue that the feminism is in the exploration rather than in the answer, which I’m inclined to agree with. 

On body talk and bigotry:
I think talking about our bodies is extra hard on the internet, but that’s where lots of the discussion is at these days. I’m with Eternal Voyageur on this: how do we talk about the things we love about ourselves without insinuating that it’s better than something else? If I tell someone I love my J cup boobs should they assume I think whatever they have is inferior? Please note, I’m not dismissing the issues that people had with the wording in the post yesterday. I understand and agree with where the commentators were coming from, but I’d also like some alternative suggestions as well.

One of the solutions posited yesterday was that I should write a post on the benefits of being small busted as a followup. I’d love to do that, but I can’t, because I’m not small busted. It would in-authentic and not well informed. This doesn’t mean I don’t love small busted women, but just because I love something doesn’t make me an expert. On a side note, if readers would like to guest post on these topics I’d love to run them.

And here’s the rub: I’m a big supporter of people of all body sizes, orientations, genders and proclivities. However, that doesn’t mean I can write about them authentically or do them justice in an article. I’m also a firm believer that not writing these articles does not make me a hateful bigot, and should be an acceptable choice. More and more bloggers these days are asking this very question: How can we show our support for all kinds of diversity without having to be an expert in it all? 

Lastly, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. These are complicated issues that need exploring, and all view points are welcome. Please leave some discussion in the comments!

 

 

 

Guest Post: Why Having Bigger Boobs Rocks

I’ve been wanting to include viewpoints other than mine on the blog recently, so I was thrilled when a blogger I admire offered to guest post. Today we have a guest post by Eternal Voyageur, the author of the lovely and informative Venusian*Glow blog. With all the negative talk about big boobs on the internet over the past few weeks, I was happy to feature a post that highlighted lots of reasons that having big boobs can be great! Check out the Venusian*Glow blog for lingerie news as well as helpful posts on natural makeup and things of that nature. 

Addendum by Holly: I’ve gotten lots of outraged feedback about this post, so I’m going ahead and posting some more information here. This is from an email I sent to someone who was very upset by the post, and while it was written before I was fully caffinated, I think it’s the best and most succinct way to put it. I’m also going to write a longer and more thought out response as part of the weekly roundup tomorrow, so check back then as well. I’m hoping that Eternal Voyageur will come by and comment as well, as her responses may be totally different from mine. The response below is by me and not her, just to clarify:

“I actually debated about putting up the post for just these reasons, and went ahead with it anyway. I think your concerns are totally valid, but the main reason I went ahead and published it was pretty simple. Whether I like it or not these are all reasons I’ve heard women privately state that they love having big boobs. Yes, this includes the issues about winning arguments with men, distracting from a figure they don’t love as much, and feeling like more of a “woman” than other women. Do I love this? No. Do I make these statements in my free time? No. But, I do think they are common things that women talk about and that they hit home, whether they are politically correct or not. 

I could write a long essay about this because I’ve thought about it a lot but I think the things that make people mad about this post are the result of things that women already think about themselves, which is worth considering and talking about. That said, a bullet point blog post was maybe not the way to go about that! I expected to get some people saying exactly what you have said, so I may leave it up and write a response tomorrow saying some of this in more detail to help clarify my feelings about things. That said, I do appreciate you responding to it and thinking about it, as well as being a regular reader. I’ve passed your email onto the post author as well!”

Obviously if you are wearing the right sized bra your boobs will not be rocking and swaying when you walk. Once you have found your real bra size and got a couple of bras that you love, having full breasts has so many perks! Here some great things about a bigger bust.

1. Some dresses are just made to be filled out at the top.

2. It’s easier to do a mammogram.

3. You can prop your book up on your bust in the bathtub and keep it dry.

4. Many beautiful bras start at a D cup.

5. Full breasts distracts from an imperfect figure.

6. The reactions you get when you say “I wear a J cup”. Priceless!

7. Gorgeous cleavage!

8. Feel feminine, like a grown woman.

9. Even a big belly doesn’t look big because the breasts stick out more.

10. There is no temptation to save money by buying cheap crappy bras. Beautiful, well-constructed ones are a necessity!

11. You always have a strong argument in your favour (actually two!) when negotiating with guys.

12. You have a great place to display your collection of pendants.

13. Everyone can read what is written on your Tshirt.

14. No need for push-up bras or inserts to have a lovely cleavage.

15. You can strongly distract men and even make them collide with random objects on the street.

16. You can support your plate on your boobs when you eat (not recommended for real ladies).

17. When you stand straight and draw yourself up you automatically look more imposing.

18. More surface area for caresses.

19. You can use your boobs to make space for yourself in a crowd.

Now over to you: what are the things you love about having bigger boobs? Do share!

Review: The Full Figured Chest Takes on the Ahh Bra and other Rhonda Shear Products

A few months ago, a whole bunch of blog owners got an email on behalf of Rhonda Shear’s company about trying some products for review. I was actually really excited — there have been several great reviews of the Aah Bra as a sleep bra in the comments here, and I was eager to try out the flagship product of the Rhonda Shear empire. Rhonda Shear has sold 25 million Aah Bras, which isn’t too shabby.

It’s really hard to not like Rhonda Shear and her company. She has a great online presence and a wonderful sense of humor. She is also clearly great at promoting her stuff and running a company. That said, this is the first time I’ve seen lots of lingerie bloggers review the same company around the same time, and the Aah Bra (and this company in general) brought up some pretty extreme reactions.

I will also preface this review by saying that I don’t own a tv and pretty much only watch commercial free shows, so I wasn’t familiar with how this bra was advertised. I haven’t seen any infomercials or seen Rhonda on HSN, so I came into the products with a fairly fresh eye. I had seen Rhonda Shear products carried by various boutiques that I respect like Dollhouse Bettie, which made me think they must have something good going for them.

I received a mix of samples that included The “Aah Generation” Bra with Removable Pad (which I did remove), The “Cheeky” Lace Panty and the “Sweet Nothings” Short Kimono. All of my samples were size medium. My regular bra size is 32J, and I’m a size 12 or so in dresses.

We’ll start with the one everyone wants to hear about, which is the Aah Bra itself. The version I received had pads that would have worked on someone in a smaller cup size but were mostly glorified nipple covers on me. I took them out. The band was decently tight on me and stretched to encompass all of my breast tissue, which is no small feat with my bra size.

I didn’t go into this review believing that this bra would be an out of the house option, but I’ve been searching for a sleep bra and thought that this might do the trick. For me, it does. This bra won’t give you a ton of lift or separation, but it’s great for lounging around the house or making sleeping on your stomach easier. I even wore it out to walk the dog once and it wasn’t bad, although I wouldn’t try that on a regular basis. Even better, it’s cheap and washable! I’ve worn mine to sleep in a lot and it’s still in good shape despite repeated trips through the washer and dryer. This bra won’t  rock your world as a substitute for a great fitting underwire bra, but if you’re looking for something cheap and easy to make sleeping more comfortable this is definitely worth picking up.

The Cheeky Panties are a basic tanga style lace panty, but they were comfortable and fit well. Hipster cut panties usually don’t work for me as I have the narrowest hips on the planet, but these felt comfortable and were flirty and fun. That said, I’d be more likely to recommend the bra than these because of the price. At $22 a pair, you can do much better in terms of style and fabric quality by hitting up an independent designer on Etsy.

The big surprise of this sample set was the Sweet Nothings Kimono. Mine was in the strawberry color, which is shockingly pink but not enough to make me think of Pepto Bismol. The fabric is almost like a thick spandex, with lace trim running down the sleeves. I’m the proud owner of lots of robes, but I don’t wear them as much as I would like to due to dangers like spilled coffee, Didy jumping into my lap when I’m half awake, etc. This robe is cute and comfortable, and can survive anything and wash beautifully. As a result, this is my new go to robe for the mornings. I can play piano, make tea, do dishes, or play with Didy in it. When it gets dirty or I spill something on it, 15 minutes with some lingerie soap in warm water makes all of the gross stuff disappear. It’s perfect for those of us who want to look nice without risking ruining an expensive or difficult to clean item.

What do you think of Rhonda Shear products? Have you tried the Aah Bra? Let me know in the comments.

Friday Roundup: Are Big Breasts A Blessing or a Curse?

It seems that the internet has become obsessed with full busted women this week! It started out with this article on Slate about how difficult it is to find full busted bras in stores in the US (which this blog is cited in!) and was followed by this completely frustrating article on Jezebel about how women think they want bigger breasts but they’re really just a curse. You should go read both articles, but I almost gave up when the Jezebel writer concluded that big breasts were only good for drooping and attracting truckers. I suppose it’s inevitable that as full busted women get more press lots of it will be negative, but I hate seeing these kinds of stereotypes show up on sites that I respect and read frequently.

In positive body related news, Robyn Lawley will be modeling for Ralph Lauren! At 6’2″ and a size 12, I’m not sure Robyn represents the average plus size woman on the street, but you can’t deny she is both gorgeous and talented. I’m hoping she starts showing up everywhere now, and I want to know what her exercise routine is.

This article on The Lingerie Addict about Fall/Winter tights is worth a read, and also reminded me that the new Les Queues Des Sardines collection is out! People seem to love or hate their stuff (I am in the love category, my mother is in the hate category), but their designs are sophisticated while retaining that childish sense of fun and clashing colors. My Bouba tights have been wonderful, and they’re definitely worth a splurge.

Hourglassy will be co-hosting a Busty Clothing Swap in NYC on October 20th! The thrift shopping addict in me loves this idea and I wish I could go. Anyone want to go and do a guest post for me on the experience?

Speaking of thrift shopping, I’ve resumed my thrifty clothing hunts this week. I really lucked out at two places, and I’m thinking of doing some outfit posts about it. Are people interested in thrift store based outfit posts, or are they not useful because you can’t replicate the outfits? Please let me know, and I’ll plan some content accordingly.

Miss Underpinnings has an adorable video review of the Piper Longline bra by Freya. I’ve never really loved the styles from Freya, but next season may change all of that.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Designer Interview: Bijte Creates Delicate Lingerie for Full Busted Women

Picture taken and owned by Darlene of Hourglassy

Darlene featured Bijte a few days ago on her Hourglassy blog, which was the first time I had ever heard of them. It was love at first sight when I saw the pictures. So much so, that I emailed the designer, Diana, about an interview and picked up some pieces for myself the same day.

Bijte focuses on making luxury lingerie staples for full busted women. Lots of designers are making loungewear in full busted and plus sizes these days, but finding a great babydoll or camisole is still pretty rare. When you start looking at the luxury market, your chances get even slimmer of finding something that works. All Bijte pieces are made of stretch silk charmeuse and chiffon and have that classic European feel to them.

Read on to find out more details about the construction and inspiration behind the line, as well as details on sizing (the short version: C-J cups should snap this stuff up). Bijte pieces can be purchased through their website or in person at Iris Lingerie.

Holly: How do you create support while keeping your lingerie looking delicate and feminine?

Diana: Support is created in the design of our garments.  We have non-stretch adjustable straps on all our garments and we have back panels and ties on all our babydolls.  Most of the garments have shirred cups so that the stitching allows for reinforcement to lift the breast.  The plunge cami, triangle cami and the baby dolls (except the halter) have mesh slings inside the cups to add even more support under the curve of the breast.  We like to remind our customers that they are not wearing a sports bra when they put on a Bijte garment, but they most certainly will get the lift and fit they want.  We like to say we are “pretty packaging for the girls”.  There will be no “dumping” in our garments (“dumping” is when the breast slips below the stitching of the garment).

Image via Bijte

Holly: Do you feel like full busted women have a different outlook on lingerie than other women? What common complaints/wishes do you encounter when you talk to your customers?

Diana: I believe full busted women have a totally different outlook on lingerie because they have traditionally not been able to find garments that really fit them; and the few that fit are super structured so it’s the equivalent of wearing a foundational garment (a bra).  As a result, full bust women either do not bother with lingerie or they spend their time and money looking for bras and panties instead of pretty, flirty, sexy camis and babydolls.  It’s fantastic that we have options re: bras and panties, but that’s different from sexy sleepwear and playwear.  Our goal is to offer softer flowing items that give busty women the option to wear flirty and sexy without having to fake the fit or wear a bra beneath it.

Our most common request earlier on was for a garment with the back out while still having support.  That’s why we did the halter babydoll.  Generally, most women are surprised that the garments actually fit across the bust.  We are working on the next collection to add more variety re: colors and patterns.  The complaint that we work to accommodate is always about support.  The reality is that a DD cup and above is a heavy breast and that makes it harder to have a delicate lace or silk support it while still being pretty, we are confident that Bijte garments have got a design pattern that is addressing that issue.  Now, there are a lot of bra manufacturers doing the bigger cup, but there are barely any lingerie manufacturers addressing the desire for camisoles and babydolls for busty women.

Image via Bijte

Holly:  What cup and band size range does your line cover? How and why did you choose the types of pieces that you would produce?

 Size Chart:

Bijte Size Dress Size Bust Size
Smallplus 4-6 32C-F

34C-DD

Mediumplus 8-10 32FF-J

34D-GG

36C-F

Largeplus 12-14 34DD-H

36D-G

38C-F

Diana: We choose this range because we found that this size range was where there was the most need.  Most women in this size category are not wearing their proper sizes because they are still “average” size women but because their busts are bigger (without being extraordinarily large) they don’t fit well in most lingerie, though they can fake it.  This was also the range we could realistically fit and lift in our garments.

The pieces we manufacture are essentially what we consider the staples in building a proper lingerie wardrobe.  Since most women in our size range do not own many camis and babydolls that fit them properly we thought this would be the perfect way to start them off.  The designs are flattering without being overly complicated.

Image via Bijte

Holly: What’s next for your line?

Diana: We are looking to expand our color and pattern options.  We are also working on a couple of new designs, but have done well with our current offerings, so we will definitely continue to offer them.

Full Busted Bra Review: The Bravissimo Satine, Three Ways

I have a kind of bizarre confession: I pretty much live in plunge bras. I know lots of women consider them special occasion bras, but I’ll cheerfully toss one on underneath a t-shirt and jeans when I go to the grocery. My normal plunge bra of choice comes from Ewa Michalak, but for the first time in ages I decided to give a different brand a shot. For those who shop at Ewa Michalak, you may have noticed them stocking fewer large cup sizes and adding more fees onto each order. While this won’t stop me from ordering from them, it does make me feel better about exploring other options.

This all came to a head when I ordered my new Birdie Dress from Pinup Girl Clothing and realized that I needed a white or a nude bra to go underneath it. My last white bra recently bit the dust (it dramatically died and got turned blue at the same time), so I was way overdue for a replacement. I’ve been jealous of everyone else and their gorgeous Bravissmo bras, so I decided to give their white Satine a try. I may have gone slightly overboard by ordering the Oh So Kimono Bra and the Floral Mink Bra at the same time. These are all the same shape as the Satine, so it was either going to be a pain in the butt return or love.

I’d heard that the cups in the Satine shape run small, but I was brave and ordered the 32J anyway. I then promptly spent the next week being nervous that all of it wouldn’t fit. Shipping took 8 days from the UK (which is practically the shipping equivalent of a Star Trek transporter) and wasn’t expensive at all. Three bras cost around $100 without shipping, with the Oh So Kimono being slightly on sale.

The white Satine was a practical purchase, but it had an appealing elegance. The Oh So Kimono bra is a gorgeous bright blue Asian inspired print and the Floral Mink is classic while feeling a little offbeat due to the colors.

Thankfully, they all fit perfectly. More than that, this may be my new favorite bra of all time. Each bra is a smooth moulded cup that is covered with a soft satin. This gives even the basic Satine a dose of glamour and really makes the pattern in the two others pop. I was especially impressed that all three bras fit the exact same way. I’ve gotten so used to colors of the same bra fitting differently that this was a welcome change. The 32 band is firm but not uncomfortably so and the cups are soft and supportive. These bras also have the lowest gores I’ve ever seen in a plunge bra in this size range, which makes me extremely happy. The only downside is that the straps are incredibly long, so those of us with smaller shoulders will have to really work to keep them tight enough.

The Satine shape bras won’t do the same thing that an Ewa plunge does — if you’re looking for that full on torpedo boob effect, this probably isn’t the bra for you. It’s a more subtle sort of plunge, although it seems odd to describe it that way. If you struggle with underwires that attack your armpits, these bras are great (Ewa Michalak bras are not immune to this problem). Nothing has poked or prodded me since I got them, and I honestly forget that I’m wearing a bra when I have them on.

I’ll happily buy any more versions of this bra that Bravissmo will put out!

Pick of the Week: A Rescue Dog

It’s Didy’s birthday today, which means that we’ll be taking a break from the usual lingerie and fashion talk to do some rescue dog promotion. For those who don’t follow Didy’s adventures through Twitter, here’s the capsule review.

Sir Didymus (or Didy for short) is a springer spaniel rescue dog I adopted several years ago. He was found in a cage at the back of a meth lab when the police raided it, and was then put into another cage at a no-kill shelter. By the time I adopted him he was, as the Project Runway contestants would put it, a hot mess. If you tried to put a leash on him, he would hunker down in a fetal position and cry. If you tried to feed him, he’d hide until you left the room. If you surprised him, he’d hide under the bed with his paws over his eyes and cry.

With lots of work, treats, and love Didy has turned into the world’s greatest pet. He sits on my feet all day when I work and even keeps me company while I handwash all my lingerie. He still has a long list of things he isn’t a fan of: delivery people, unexpected noises, other dogs, strangers, and anything that has a lower calorie count than a Twinkie. He’s not perfect, but he’s the perfect dog for me. We’re a team, and I’m grateful that I found him.

Which brings me to the non-sappy part of this post — rescue dogs are great, and everyone should have one. Shelters are literally overflowing with dogs who are desperate for a nice quiet home and a little love. Lots of shelters are smart and put the cute puppies upfront, but many shelters have a whole room in the back of dogs who are well…less immediately adoptable. Some are huge, some are traumatized, and all of them just need a little bit of help to get back on their paws. My experience with Didy shows me that those are the dogs that have the most to give back.

If you’re looking for a specific breed of dog, you don’t have to go to a breeder! Most breeds have nationwide rescue organizations who can help connect you with the right dog for you. Alternatively, you can try sites like Petfinder to browse dogs who might be the right fit before you go meet them. However you do it, don’t discount your rescue dog options when you’re searching for your next pet.

How To Create a Customized Matching Lingerie Set

Have you ever bought a bra but hesitated about buying the matching panties? Yeah, me too. What if I don’t like the bikini or thong only option? What if (and let’s be honest, this is often the case) the quality of the panties don’t match the quality of the bra? Luckily, there’s an alternative solution out there for us matching lingerie set lovers.

We can create our own.

Well, not we, because that includes those of us who can’t even sew on a button. But with the power of independent designers and the internet, we can. Honestly, this has been my go to solution lately. Instead of buying the matching panties, I’ve either found matching or complementary options online or commissioned them from designers who do custom work. This sounds expensive, but it’s really no more than buying the complete set. After all, if you’re contemplating spending $25 on a pair of knickers, why not make them your dream ones?

There’s a bonus to creating your own matching lingerie sets: you get to go crazy and really be you! Go for bows or buttons, or even crazy contrasting colors. Stock up on vintage high waisted briefs (my personal poison) or collect the sheerest thongs you can.

If you’re stuck on where to start, here are my five favorite independent/custom panty sources online.

Amuse-Bouche Lingerie:

Amuse-Bouche is a one woman designer lingerie maker based out of Scotland. She has a wonderful limited selection on her website, but her real stock in trade is custom pieces. Lots of her requests are bridal, but she takes every day things as well. If you want something girly and fantastical, this is the place to go. I own the panties pictured above and they are one of my absolute favorite pairs.

Ohhlulu:

When you want fun and frilly, head to Ohhh Lulu Lingerie on Etsy. She has tons of feminine and totally affordable offerings, and even sells handmade panty packs in various styles. She carries lots of pastels but also lots of basics, which are great for mixing and matching with your favorite bras.

OnTheInside:

OnTheInside is another great source for cute and affordable panties to mix and match. She features lots of comfortable everyday pieces, as well as some lacier options. Prices are only slightly more than you would pay at your local Target and are long lasting and comfortable.

Knickerocker:

I write about Knickerocker all the time, but it’s because she’s truly awesome and her Etsy store is one of my favorite places to spend money. Her options range from punk to the purely romantic, and she’ll happily help you pick out fabric for custom orders as well. If you’re looking for panties to match a bra you’ve bought, just shoot her an email.

Sandmaiden Sleepwear:

Sandmaiden focuses on natural fibers and comfortable basics. This is one of the easiest stores to shop at if you’re looking to match a bra perfectly. Each style already comes with a photograph of helpful color samples and you can request custom colors easily at check out. Their prices are slightly higher than some of the other designers listed here, but they’re worth it for the natural fibers and quality work.

Do you mix and match your panties? Do you always crave matching lingerie sets? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. The Lingerie Addict blog got a fantastic writeup in Vogue Italia today — with all of the writers mentioned by name! Congratulations to Cora who has done a wonderful job curating an amazing site and putting together a great team of writers. I’m proud to be one of them!

Pick of the Week: The Zoom Sports Bra

I have had a marathon of a time ordering a new sports bra in my size. I know I’m always going on about the glories of online lingerie shopping, but even I hit a wall sometimes. I bought my Royce sports bra (the only one in my 32J size) from Figleaves over a month ago. The only two places that offered it were UK based, so I knew if it didn’t fit I’d have to do a long and painful exchange. Predictably, it didn’t, so after waiting two weeks and paying return shipping to the UK I am now waiting for my replacement to be shipped.

Without a sports bra that fits, I’m really hampered when it comes to exercise. Even low impact stuff is frustrating and I miss my cardio-kickboxing. Sadly, I’ve had to put it off until the new bra gets here just in time for the next ice age. The worst part? If this one doesn’t fit, I’ll have to do the whole thing again.

Here’s the short version: I’m so glad that a US company will now be making sports bras for full busted women. Lynx Sportswear is coming out with a great new full bust sports bra offering!

Meet the Zoom:

Image via Lynx Sportswear

Their size chart seems dead on to my eyes, which makes me really hopeful that this will be a worthwhile option for those of us on the large end of large cup sizes. They say that the bras will ship in September, which I hope means soon. I can’t wait to see how this holds up against trusted brands like Shock Absorber.

Has anyone tried a bra from Lynx Sportswear before? What do you currently use as a sports bra solution?

Designer Interview: State Of Mind Creates Perfect Plus Size Activewear

I’m fascinated by the relationship that women have with activewear and body size, especially when it comes to plus size women. Remember all those photos that came out of poor Jessica Simpson outside the gym post-baby? I saw articles featuring that set of photos all over the place –each of them picked apart some aspect of her appearance. Some seemed offended that she hadn’t lost the baby weight, while some just couldn’t believe she’d go out wearing an unflattering outfit like that. As someone who works out on a regular basis and has trouble finding flattering workout gear, I completely sympathized with Jessica Simpson. Luckily, State of Mind is trying to prove that plus size women can work out and look great doing it. I was lucky enough to be able to ask them about their unique approach to activewear as well as negative attitudes towards plus size women and exercise and how to combat them.

 

Holly: What do you think plus size women want from swimwear and activewear? How does it differ from what someone in standard sizes would want?

State of Mind: Plus size women want the same availability and variety of choice as their standard sized counterparts.  In the UK over 40% of women are size 16+ (12+ in USA) which puts them firmly into the plus size category.  It’s a sad fact that these women are not catered to by most swimwear and activewear companies where they are often told that theirs is a specialist size and only available on special order (if at all!).  Many retailers don’t design clothing with plus size women in mind, believing that simply making their clothes bigger will do the trick.  This does not meet the needs of plus size women who have their own requirements.  Our research has shown that their top design concerns are a) support for a fuller bust; b) longer top lengths, specially at the back, so they feel safely covered; c) ruching and other flattering design tricks such as double panels; d) tops that don’t cling at the tummy or hips; e) swimwear that they can feel comfortable walking around in – our skirtini is a bestseller for the simple reason that you don’t have to carry a sarong around to cover yourself up all the time.  In essence, plus size women want to feel securely tucked in, covered in all the right places and with great freedom of movement.

Holly: I love that you show your the dress size and height of your models on your website. What made you decide to do that and what has the reaction been?

State of Mind: Thanks! We are very proud to use plus size models and it’s really important to us to communicate that with our customers by showing their size and height.  The reaction has been fabulous and we get a lot of positive comments about it.  In fact, we had a facebook ‘fan’ comment to us the other day about how ‘fat’ a size 16 is.  When we pointed out that our model is a size 18 and looks absolutely fabulous, she was very quick to reply with a “OMG – really, she looks amazing!”.  It’s great to change people’s opinions like that.

Holly:  Work out clothes take a beating due to frequent washing. You advertise your activewear as being particularly long lasting. What design and fabric choices have you made to create strong long lasting pieces?

State of Mind: We worked really hard and had to be very patient while we tested a variety of fabrics for our activewear range. We initially sourced our fabric in China but we weren’t satisfied with its durability.  We now source a more expensive and long lasting Supplex© (92% polyamide 8% lycra) from Nottingham in the Uk and we are very pleased with its durability and moisture wicking performance.

Holly: As a brand, do you feel like you have to overcome the perception that plus size women don’t exercise? Do you feel like attitudes towards plus size women are changing or staying the same?

State of Mind: We created the brand State of Mind with the sole aim of empowering women to get out and get moving in the “kit to give them confidence”.  Our research showed that many plus size women see the lack of appropriate workout clothing as a barrier to exercise.  We also found that many women don’t believe that they ‘deserve’ nice work out clothing, choosing instead to wear their boyfriend’s old t-shirt until they can fit into that ‘cute little outfit’.  I think it’s a long road towards better acceptance of the idea of plus size women being fit and active and we hope to be a part of that journey by helping women believe in themselves by giving them the right activewear to meet their goals.