Want Of the Week: BH “Venezia” Blue by Sugarshape

sugarshape-birthday-venezia-bh-shop

I end up featuring Sugarshape in these columns every few months because their stuff is just so pretty! I’ll admit that this bright blue bra feels just right for this week – I’m working on clients in three different time zones, it’s going to rain for two days and it’s Easter! What better time to fall in love with a blue lace lingerie set?

There are lots of pretty lace lingerie sets out there, but the detail on this lace is luxurious and lovely. I’m really impressed how Sugarshape keeps using their community to turn out lingerie that reflects the needs and tastes of actual consumers – they’re great at walking the line between pretty and useful. This is one of their girliest options yet and I’m seriously tempted to grab one for myself. It would be great combined with their bird bra charm.

If you’re new to Sugarshape, remember that they use centimeter measurements instead of cup sizes to make things easy. Grab a tape measure and try it out for yourself! Their sizing system really works.

Do you love this new set from Sugarshape? Have you tried them yet?

Want of the Week: The Panache Jasmine in Ivory Floral

Image via ASOS

Image via ASOS

I’ve had a weird couple weeks in regards to lingerie. I felt really mentally overwhelmed after doing all of the Autumn/Winter previews and even with all of the new stuff, there were only a few brands I really truly loved. I usually pre-order a bunch of bras, but nothing I looked at grabbed me. Part of me wondered if I was just suffering from too much bra-itis, which happens occasionally when I’m doing lots of writing and lots of client work all at the same time. Luckily, running across this bra seems to have snapped my brain back into normal working order!

There’s nothing groundbreaking about florals for spring, but I think the colors in this bra are just wonderful. The color of the lace is a nice unexpected contrast and the ivory is fresh without feeling too fussy. It reminds me of a china pattern, in the best and most wearable way. It helps that this bra is based on the home run construction of the Jasmine and Envy bra (I’ve reviewed the Envy here), which definitely gives me a reason to own two versions of it.

Do you love or hate this bra? Have you tried the Jasmine yet?

Betty Le Bonbon Custom Skirt Review: Trains, Planes and Antique Houses

Betty Le Bonbon custom skirt

I was lucky enough to work with the fabulous Jasmine of Betty Le Bonbon and in the process I also got to try one of her amazing skirts! I’ve put it up on social media a few times, but earlier this week I wore it up to the Garden District to get some proper photographs of it. It turned out to be a great choice, considering it was nearly 80 degrees out and I’m not used to the sun and humidity yet here (these pictures are from before I started to resemble a lobster!).

Gatsby Fabric from Betty Le BonbonBetty Le Bonbon skirts show up all over the internet now, but if you’re unfamiliar with them then here are the basics:

1) BLBB offers tons of amazing vintage inspired fabrics. All you have to do is pick your favorite!
2) BLBB asks for your waist measurement and skirt length (up to 24 inches long for most skirts). You pay and your custom skirt magically ends up at your door!

I immediately fell hard for this Jazz Age inspired fabric, but loved it even more once I realized it had metallic accents in it! That said, this skirt clearly works for both casual and dress occasions. I’ve now dressed it up in multiple ways and it’s worked with each outfit.

My Betty Le Bonbon skirt with a La Lilouche bodysuit

My Betty Le Bonbon skirt with a La Lilouche bodysuit!

It looks pretty nice with some beautiful Garden District houses behind it too! This is how you can identify me in a crowd generally

- I’m the woman clutching the hot coffee in 80 degree weather. skirt1

There is supposed to be a review in here somewhere, so let me get to it. These skirts are gorgeous and extremely well made. It closes with a hidden zipper and a hook and eye clasp on the back. This skirt has a 33″ inch waist, which is exactly what I measure in other vintage repro brands. I’m 5’4″ and this is the maximum available length for this skirt – when I buy another one I may actually try it shorter! The print is eye catching without being too loud and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it every time I’ve worn it. I haven’t tried washing or dry cleaning it yet, so I can’t report back on that. I suspect it’ll be treated much like my Trashy Diva dresses in that respect, so I’m not really worried about it. This has the shortest possible waistband, which means there is no bunching under a belt or over your hips. Yay! That’s a common problem with vintage repro skirts, so it’s nice to see that Betty Le Bonbon has it under control.

Betty Le Bonbon Custom Skirt

Betty Le Bonbon has started to offer lots of other options besides skirts, so I’m honestly torn about what my next purchase will be. A sassy miniskirt? A Dita Homage dress for winter? Decisions, decisions.

As a bonus, here are a few pictures from my trek to the Garden District today for those of you interested in architecture and the occasional aboveground gravesite. 

 

Full Bust Bra Review: The “Envy” Bra by Panache

Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon

I know this review is a little behind the times, as most bloggers have already reviewed the Panache Envy or it’s cousin, the Panache Jasmine bra. Panache has always been a hit or miss brand for me, so I honestly haven’t tried them in three or four years and I’ve only ever tried the Tango. On top of everything else, I truly hate the idea of beige bras. Unfortunately I really like this dress, so when my lone beige bra died I needed a replacement.

Luckily Erica of A Sophisticated Pair had lots of great suggestions when I called the store – her first choice for me was this Envy bra. I do a lot of preorders through her, but she happened to have one in my regular size in stock! A few days later, this 34HH Envy bra showed up on my doorstep.

So how does this look in a 34HH?
envybra

Apologies for the awkward color of the photo – I’m not used to the stronger sun here yet and keep getting sunburned despite my best efforts.

This bra boosts some very smart construction along with some really nice materials. Panache bras can be a bit scratchy, but this one is soft and flexible. I love how the houndstooth pattern livens up the cup some, while the stretch lace top provides some sizing flexibility. This is the rare bra that works great for multiple breast shapes and tissue types, which has obviously contributed greatly to its popularity. In some ways it reminds me of the Elomi Valentina bra, which also uses the stretch lace construction to great effect. The band and cups on this bra fit true to size, so I’d stick with whatever you think of as your real UK bra size.

Chi Chi by Sculptresse

Panache has already taken this construction (originally seen in their popular Jasmine bra) and rolled out the Envy as a basic version of it. Given my tastes in lingerie, I was extra excited to see it will now be showing up as the bold and fashion forward Chi Chi set in the Sculptresse line. I definitely plan on sister sizing into this to give it a try when it releases in the autumn.

I love the fit of this bra, although I’m still on the hunt for a beige bra with a deeper plunge to go under some of my v-neck dresses. This is the perfect everyday bra that I was looking for and I’m glad I took a chance on Panache after all of these years.

Have you tried the Jasmine/Envy yet? Did you like it?

 

 

#NOTYOURBEFOREPHOTO: Reflections on being fat on the internet and in life.


For more background on this campaign, check out the original post at The Nearsighted Owl.

I wasn’t always plus size, believe it or not. When I was younger and even while I was in high school, I was skinny. I danced in ballet classes for more than 10 hours each week, ate total crap and was able to count my ribs through my shirts. All of this stopped when I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. My metabolism slowed and I was put on terrible medications that made me gain 50 pounds. I had to stop dancing. I also realized that all of the sudden, I was a different person to nearly everyone I knew. My family started treating me like “one of those fat people”. People started mentioning diets and exercise, like I didn’t know about the whole calories in/calories out thing. My highschool boyfriend slept with someone else because my new sick body wasn’t attractive to him anymore. It took me years to figure out that being a new person didn’t have to mean that I didn’t have value. I eat better now than I did when I was thin. I consciously exercise more. My habits are healthier. I have nicer friends and healthier relationships. And yet, fat girls on the internet are always targets.

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I say this all of this as background, and as a way of explaining that I completely understand why The Nearsighted Owl went postal when she saw that her fat positive bikini picture was being used as a diet ad. As you get older, I think you learn to brush away the hurt that comes from your family or friends treating you badly because you’re fat. You learn to delete troll commentary on the internet and find communities where you feel safe. Having your picture used as a “before” example in a diet ad would be a shocking violation of your space that you couldn’t just ignore. It’s everything you’ve learned to wall yourself off from, but shoved into one little ad that everyone sees and won’t go away.

Lois Dress, size 12

 

Every time a plus size blogger posts, they’re taking a chance. They’re putting themselves out their despite harassment of women on the internet (especially plus size women) to help show others that it’s possible to be plus size and love yourself. That plus size women are worthy of existence and respect. That we’re people too.

Navy Blue Elomi "Isis" Set

Internet trolls are scary enough, but they’re crazy people who don’t really have to abide by any formalized code of conduct. Corporations are a whole different thing. Stealing a plus size blogger’s photo to use in a diet campaign is despicable but also illegal. Accusing the blogger in question of profiting off of the attention is even worse. We already have to maintain our cool in our daily lives – surely large companies can follow the rules and not contribute to our stress levels?

DSC_0095 2

 

When I was a teenager, I never realized that believing that fat people were equal to skinny people would constitute developing a radical political position. Logically, it shouldn’t. On the internet and in the world we live in, it does. The least we can do this week is band together and teach big companies that we are not their “before” pictures to exploit.

 

Full Bust Bra Review: The Curvy Kate Carmen Padded Balcony Bra Set

Image via Figleaves

Image via Figleaves

Longline bras are taking the full bust world by storm (thank goodness!) but this season Curvy Kate has released one with the best cup size range yet. While Freya, Parfait by Affinitas and Elomi have released several that go to a G cup and H cup, it’s nice to see Curvy Kate extending the style to a large cup market that has desperately been wishing for it. I’m a proponent of the “longlines for everyone” philosophy, so I really hope this means that more companies will be using this style for larger cup sizes soon.

This was the set that caught the eye of most bloggers back when Spring/Summer 2014 previews were released, so I was thrilled when Curvy Kate offered to send me a set to try out. I based the bra size off my Princess size and took a stab in the dark at the panty and garter belt size. I ended up with a UK 16/US 12, which was pretty much perfect.

So how does it look on a real person? Check it out:

Curvy Kate Carmen

 

This set is just gorgeous. It’s supremely girly, but the contrasting accents act as a great palate cleanser when you see it all together. The roses are floral without feeling fussy – this is a great example of how to do florals in a new and exciting way. Other brands, please take note! On a side note, several people have asked about the stockings I’m wearing: they’re Vienne Milano and I love them to death. They’ll get a whole separate review later!

This bra is true to size and I love it, but it’s definitely better suited for full on bottom breasts than full on top breasts. It fits me, but I do have a bit of that orange in the glass effect going on at the bottom. That said, I’ve worn it a ton. In fact, it took me all this time to get the review up because I was washing and wearing it constantly.

Curvy Kate Carmen - back view

 

As you can see, this bra has a real longline band and tons of hooks! It feels secure yet comfortable, like a firm hug.

Curvy Kate Carmen, detail shot

You get a bonus shot of the floral pattern because it is just that pretty. I love it. It really feels like spring to me.

curvykate-carmen-black-boysenberry-padded-balcony-bra-SG2201-thong-SG2202-2-pf

 

If pink isn’t your thing, Curvy Kate will be re-releasing this for Autumn/Winter in this black and bosenberry combination. Guess who will be picking that one up? Yeah, me. It’s rare that I want two colorways of the same bra, but this one is an exception to my rule.

Have you tried the Carmen bra yet? How do you feel about longlines? Let me know in the comments. 

Want of the Week: Sinfully Sweet Georgette Babydoll by Hips and Curves

Hipsandcurvesbabydoll

I’ve spent the last week sorting through all of my clothes, underwear and pajamas so I don’t have to move stuff that isn’t useful/wearable. There’s nothing like moving 200 miles to help clarify what’s important in your wardrobe or lingerie collection! What I did find was that most of my sleepwear options are pitiful. Lots have holes, are worn out, or are just giant pilled t-shirts that I really hate. While I’m totally set if I’m ever offered a random boudoir shoot, I didn’t have a lot of stuff for sleeping in. I’ve spent the winter hibernating in two pairs of warm pajamas, but now that it’s warm again I’m ready for cute and girly sleepwear.

I was lucky enough to win a Hips and Curves gift certificate through the Bras and Body Image blog giveaway and used to it check out the pink version of their georgette babydoll. I’ll be doing a full review next week, but I fully fell in love with it (to the extent that I bought two other colors since their stuff sells out so quickly). This babydoll represents everything that I love about Hips and Curves. They come in basic colors and fashion colors, including an adorable red/fuschia clashing colorway that I couldn’t resist. They’re affordable at $39.99 per babydoll, which gives you room to add in a cute matching thong that works for daywear and sleepwear. They’re also incredibly flattering on and have that flirty sexy appeal that Hips and Curves projects so well.

tealteddy

One quick warning: I’ve totally ruined two awesome Hips and Curves pieces before by putting them through the washer without reading the tag. They sadly haven’t made this vintage style teddy in the teal color again, or I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat as a replacement! It was absolutely my fault – the washing instructions were very clear about handwashing and I spaced out and put them through a regular wash cycle. Make sure to read the washing instructions!

Secondly, their pieces tend to sell out quickly so if you want a particular color I’d buy it sooner rather than later. The red and fuschia colorway only had one size left when I bought it, so I’m glad I took the plunge even though it means more stuff to pack. These will be great sleeping staples for me, even though they’re found in the sexy underwear section of the Hips and Curves site.

Have you tried Hips and Curves? What do you think of this babydoll? Do you buy cute sleepwear or prefer some other option?

Hose. Tights Spring/Summer 2014 Preview: Sophisticated and Budget Friendly Screenprinted Tights

Spring/Summer 2014 line for hose. tights

1. duck-egg blue cockatoo tights 40 denier
2. duck-egg blue raspberry tights 40 denier
3. pale grey cactus tights 40 denier
4. lilac raspberry tights 40 denier
5. pale grey raspberry tights 40 denier
6. pink cactus tights 40 denier

I’ve been a fan of hose. tights for several years now, but I think their offerings this season are especially sophisticated. Hosiery can be a harder sell during warmer seasons, especially as the bare legged trend seems to show no signs of letting up. Instead of switching to socks and marketing them with heels, hose. has smartly stayed with their signature products: affordable tights with simple designs screenprinted by hand. Three designs are offered on multiple candy colored backgrounds, making the whole line feel sugary sweet yet sophisticated.

hose. tights always look expensive, but come in at $33.50 a pair – they’re great for budget minded customers who want their tights to last for awhile. Each pair is screenprinted by hand rather than by machine on 40 denier tights, making them pretty and sturdy.

This season’s motifs include raspberries, cacti and cockatoos. I love the unusual inspirations in this line (not a floral pattern in sight, thank goodness) and how it feel so vibrant and summery.

Would you wear tights in the spring and summer? What do you think of the new line from hose. tights? Which pair is your favorite?

Links of the Week (or Three Weeks): Moving, Breast Reductions and More!

The blog has been a little empty for the past two weeks, which lines up with a slightly unexpected change in my life. I’ve wanted to move to New Orleans for ages now, but never got serious about in any real way. Suddenly, due to a set of lucky and wholly unexpected circumstances, I’ve found myself with a new lease and a moving date of the first week in March!

NewOrleans

I stayed in the neighborhood I wanted to move to ages ago, but also found out that rentals hardly ever came up – as a result I resolved to wait until the fall to begin seriously looking. To my surprise,  I was privately contacted by a landlord a few weeks later who knew the owner of the B & B I had stayed in. They were looking for a nice tenant who came recommended and had the world’s most perfect house coming up for rent. I’ve spent the last couple weeks driving to and from NOLA to see the place, finalize leasing details and figure out the logistics of moving.

Here’s the important part if you’re thinking about working with me: I am still actively taking clients, and now is a good time to book since the Valentine’s Day season is basically over and I will have spaces opening up. I will also be opening up a small number of retainer client spots for the spring, so if you want to plan ahead you should contact me as well (although some of you already have!). I’m not sure what my capacity will be yet for rush jobs for the next month or so, but if you contact me soon I should try and be able to slot you in.

While this week will be the first I’m back on a regular blog schedule, I have been reading lots of lingerie and boob related stuff. Here are some of the highlights:

  •  This author writes about the joy her breast reduction gave her for The Huffington Post. I have some fairly mixed feelings about breast reductions, but I’d love to know what all of you think about this. Would you have a breast reduction? Why or why not? Do people randomly ask you why you haven’t had one, or is it just me who gets that?
  • Claire of Butterfly Collection writes about the gap between thin and plus size on her blog here. This is a thoughtful piece about how we categorize women’s bodies in popular culture.
  • Erika from A Sophisticated Pair has a great review of the full bust Bolero Beachwear dresses, which look great on her!
  • I got an opportunity to work with the amazing Betty Le Bonbon last week, which made me start thinking about how many quirky separates I can incorporate into my wardrobe. I love this Gatsby print they’re currently offering, but part of me really wants to go with the print based on the famous medieval unicorn tapestries.

gatsbyfabric

Kelsey’s List of Fabulous and Affordable Valentine’s Day Lingerie That You Can Still Wear When You’re All Alone

So, in case you weren’t aware, or haven’t read any other blogs, or haven’t received an abnormally high volume of emails from stores you’ve never been to…Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I sometimes wish that I could be the person who says that they think the holiday is silly or that it’s just another marketing scheme for companies to stay in the black after Christmas…but at the end of the day I really really love Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been in a relationship during it, so don’t try to peg me as someone who just wants an excuse to receive gifts (although that’s not entirely untrue), but I can’t help but get excited about the idea of having an entire day dedicated to telling someone, or reminding yourself, how awesome they/you are. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic at the end of the day.
It’s also a great excuse to create a wonderful and fabulous gift guide! Because even if I’m sitting in bed watching Parks and Rec with a bottle of wine on Friday, February 14th, at least I’ll be wearing something adorable. So here it is: Kelsey’s List of Fabulous-But-Affordable-Valentine’s-Day-Lingerie-That You-Can-Still-Wear-When-You’re-All-Alone.

gift guide

1. Pour Moi Addicted Half Cup Bra ($51.85), Thong ($22.22), and Suspender ($29.63)—from ASOS
Okay, no, I probably won’t be wearing this when I’m sitting in bed alone. BUT wearing the bra and panty all day will definitely make me feel the love. Also, I look good in red.
2. BlueBella Opaque Bow Stockings ($16.00)—from Figleaves
Since New York is always at least 10 degrees below a comfortable temperature, I always choose opaque stockings since they tend to be a little thicker and warmer. The bow details on these make them a glamorous step up from my fleece lined thigh-highs I normally layer on top of my tights.
3. Marie Meili Catherine Push Up ($40.74) and Brief ($14.82)—from ASOS
I love how simple and feminine this set is. Aside from the fact that it’s super affordable, sometimes understated details like those tiny bows and a hint of lace are all I need to feel pretty without going over the top.
4. All Yours Teddy ($58.00)—from Nasty Gal
A former scoffer of rompers and teddys, I have quickly turned a new leaf on these garments. Totally comfortable for sleeping, and quite honestly, a nice change of pace from passing out in my yoga shorts.
5. Floral Bustier ($9.95)—from H&M
In addition to the cold temperatures in New York, it’s also pretty much gray skies from November to March, needless to say I have to add in color where I can. Layering this under a semi-sheer shirt adds a sexy pop of brightness , also, its UNDER $10!
6. Je t’aime PJ Set ($148.00)—from Wildfox
But let’s be honest, I’ll probably be curled up in pajamas—at least this pair is a little more glamorous than my college sweatpants.

See anything you like? I’ve shopped at all of these stores before and for anyone who has a straighter figure with a smaller bust, these sites are great and I’ve found them to run true to size.