Sunday, 9 December 2012

Formal wear for the XL Hourglass

I don’t really do style posts, mainly because I do not have much style (how do you think I got cast for that make-over show I posted about?) but here comes one ;) I just found a nice, curvy- and plus-size-friendly outfit, so I had to share!

First things first:
The dress is the Yvette Dress from Gina Tricot in size XL, 299dkr (£32/$52)
I’ve added sleeves to mine. Here in the midst of winter, bear arms isn’t really the look, plus I prefer not to show my upper arms in general, so I go through all sort of hoops to add sleeves to my tops and dresses (can’t tell you how many cut-up shirts I have!).
I had an old see-through shirt that had a tear at the body, making it a bit trashy, so I put those sleeves to good use. I felt it would be a shame to put a cardigan over this dress, since the sheer back and shoulders are kind of the point, so I felt this worked well. Gina Tricot has lots of sheer sleeved tops (must be the trend atm), but since it would be used to cut up, you can probably find something cheaper elsewhere, if you wish to do the same.
I really love this dress, as the full skirt makes it very comfortable and flattering, accentuating my waist-to-hip ratio, and not constricting in any way. The sheer shoulders gives a nice illusion of not being as covered as I actually am. It definitely doesn’t downplay my chest size, but seeing as I like that in order to balance out my larger lower half, that is just a plus for me! The soft material, viscose, feels soft and warm, and I don’t doubt I’ll feel nice and comfy in this during the Christmas festives J I would have wished the neckline was a bit larger, either showing a bit more shoulder or more collar bone, just so it isn’t that covered, but since I don’t have a sowing machine or any sowing skills, that is one alteration that will have to wait, if I decide to do it.
The sheerness of the back continues down a good bit lower than the buttons, which again helps balance out the covered-ness. And, with sheer rather than completely cut out, you can get away with a lot more, I think. A black bra going across the sheer area can easily look intended ;) 

On to the sizing,  you can see from the stock photo that this dress obviously fits me differently than intended (aka. the skirt looks like it was supposed to start at the top of the hip, though on me, it is more like an empire cut), but I don’t mind, I think it looks fab J It’s a bit tighter across the seam where the opaque (I know it seems a bit see through due to the flash in the pictures, but it really isn’t) meets the sheer, so I wouldn’t want to size down, even though the rest could easily have been smaller:

I generally find Gina Tricot to run much larger than other comparable brands, especially in those items listed S, M, L rather than numbers.
Check these pictures I took last summer:
These tops look identical in the store, but the left is size XL from H&M, and the right is size L from Gina Tricot! And Gina Tricot also has up to XXL in some items, so even though they don’t have a plus-size collection like H&M does, I’d say they are a good place to go for larger sizes, even though their size chart doesn’t really indicate this: XL is said to match measurements B: 105cm/41” , W: 87cm/34”, H: 112cm/44”: This dress must be much larger than that in all three measurements, since I measure around 48”-34”-49”. So I think ladies much larger than me from the underbust and down would also have luck in a dress like this.

I think my curves make it shorter than intended too: Their dresses are based on a woman of 172cm (bit less than 5’8”), and I measure 173cm (bit more than 5’8”), but it came up a bit short with heels.

They don’t have this dress on their website for some reason, but it was part of the news in the store, so they should have plenty left if you go to one. If there is none near you, check these similar dresses you can shop at their site:

From left to right, that is the Majkan Dress, the Elin Dress, the Mildred Dress, and the Marcia Dress.

Because of the loose waist, I’ve added a belt. I don’t have many, but this one fits my needs. I don’t know the brand, but bought it at Gunnva, and they also had it in beige, and in bigger sizes (this was a “75”, and they also had it in “85”. I don’t think that is cm, since I wouldn’t be able to fit something that measured 75cm. Maybe they are inspired by EU bra-sizing? Since it is an under-bust belt).
Note that it actually had 3 of those leather panels, but I cut one off, as it was just adding too much bulk. Now it can sit more smoothly at my waist and underbust.
If I want to wear this dress for not so late evening events, I think I’ll pair it with a more colorful belt. I want to wear it for Christmas I think, so I’ll try to get my hands on a red belt, and perhaps some red accessories to lighten it up a bit

The shoes are from Vagabond. They are so my style, and very comfortable and practical, and I use them a lot, but they still look all new, so it’s excellent quality. I think a “lighter” shoe would match the elegant style of the dress better, but a) I don’t have other fancy shoes and b) I like these too much to pass up a chance to wear them ;)

Under this dress, I am wearing Trinny&Susannah All In One Seamless Body Shaper in a size Medium.
Not me, obviously. 
I don’t know what’s up with the sizing, because according to their size charts, medium fits a waist of 27”-30”, which I am obviously not. But, this is the only shapewear piece I’ve tried that actually shaped my waist, which is sort of the point of why I want shape-wear in the first place, I have an annoying roll between my underbust and waist, and I have some rolls at the back, right around where I would like a belt to sit smoothly.
Extra bonus for giving me a nice bum: Despite being an hourglass, I don’t actually have a bum to write home about, my bottom half fullness is more due to my thighs, hips and lower belly. But in this piece of shapewear, I got a nice little shelf!
Speaking of my bottom fullness, aka. thighs, this is of course too tight there. Not as bad as on other pieces, showing that this piece is definitely more curvy in its sizing, so I can wear it without having to alter it/wear something  over it to keep it from rolling. I may still alter it at some point (as I’ve done with other pieces) to get a smoother look on my thighs in case I want to wear it with more form-fitted things.
I just said I didn’t have to wear something over it, but that is not entirely true: Because the fabric is stretched to it max, the texture get rather ribbed, meaning it makes a loud swooshing sound when I walk. But, easy fix, some cheapH&M leggings in 2xl cut off at mid thigh, and you are ready to go (are you sensing a trend of me cutting up stuff to make things work?)
One thing that puzzles me about shapewear, is that the backs come up so high – if this one was to sit tight and shaping at the top of my bra-band too, it would come up to over my shoulders, and the straps are way too long for that. I may alter this, cut it lower in the back/make the straps shorter. But not for this dress
A last note of praise for this shapewear piece is the crotch area. These all in ones are a nightmare to wear to a party, because they aren’t meant to just quickly take off and on, but still the crotch area isn’t always so manageable. But this one is much better, it is more elastic in that area, which means it also gets bigger when you put it on, and isn’t so much of a hassle. To make it even less of a hassle, I have cut the seams a bit of the overlap, so they overlap more loosely, and I now won’t worry one bit when getting tipsy at a party.

I am wearing this dress with my newest Ewa Michalak bra, since they black and nude colors work well with this, even if it is seen a bit at the corners of the sheer parts, the nude will camouflage itself, and the black will look like a seam/part of the look. Plus, no bra gives as attractive a shape as the EM’s do, so I really prefer to wear it

Monday, 3 December 2012

Figuring out Ewa Michalak

EwaMichalak, worlds biggest size selection of bras. They even make sizes if they don’t have it. Their narrow wires are like an answer to so many busty womens bra-prayers. Their uplifted, centered shape is one of the most coveted looks. So it is no wonder, that finding your right EM size is of high priority for many!

In the dawn of time, I ordered a 36H CH Biszkopty bra from Ewa Michalak. I loved the lightly padded cup, the uplift, the shape… But  then I noticed something:
What is that?! Well, I soon learned that it was the “Orange-in-a-glass” effect! I’ve talked about it earlier when I had my “shape epiphany” (funny how I didn’t notice for so long, and now it seems so obvious… But I guess I needed to be closer to my size to have other fit issues than “too small”)
The bra is not big enough near the bottom to allow the boob, much like if you put an orange in a narrow glass: It’s not that the glass doesn’t have enough volume, it just the shape that isn’t compatible:
 (Was it reasonable that I was super surprised when nothing bra related came up when I searched for “orange in a glass”, or do I just forget that others don’t have bra-related connotations to everything? I even had to take this picture myself!)
Since then, the CH has become too small on me (as I mentioned in this post, my boobs have grown noticeably since last spring when my proper “bra journey” started), and the Orange in Glass has become ridiculous (because it is too small all over, it is even pulling more at the fabric near the bottom, making it flatter!) 
(Difficult to photograph, as the best angle to see it, would mean the camera was covering it, with my oh so stealthy pics-in-mirror-shots)
This would turn out to be quite the obstacle between me and Ewa Michalak.
I tried some PL's in 36H which were definitely too small cup/too big band, and returned them for PL Onyks and Carmen in 34JJ. I have since referred to these as “disaster bras”. The obviously have similar problems, but Carmen is made of a thinner, less stiff fabric, and it is therefore not as noticeable, so Onyks will have to take all the rap for this mess:
Despite 34JJ being my “larger cup volume” (I estimate that I am a 34J-JJ, and sometimes a 32band), it did create a whole lot of “orange in a glass”. Well, no harm, I thought. Wrong!
^That is what eventually happened. The gap was not stable enough to support either boob or bra, and it was bound to collapse under the weight at some point. When it did so, it made some ugly folds in the bottom of the cup, making the bra cup sit lower than the wire itself, dragging my boobs down with it (droopy boobies!), distorting the entire fit horribly (as also discussed in the Shape post)
Because of excessive wear of this bra, these folds have turned quite permanent, and therefore the problem just worsens, because now the folds have taken up more space than the gap originally did!
Here we have so pictures to prove the mess this bra is on me:

And here we see how that messes with the overall compatibility between me and the bra:
I saw  another example of orange-in-a-glass, and the same incompatibilities again in a CHP Brzoskwinka in 34HH, though had it been larger, I think it would overall be much better for my shape. (Took a chance with a non-returnable order, just to try it out) (Only took one side-shot before I put it up for sale, and the picture was super blurry, so you’ll have to take my word for it ;) )
I discussed this on Bratabase, and both me and MilkAndHoney compared which styles, CHCHP or PL we found the most bottom shallow. I felt like the PL was the most bottom-shallow, and CHP had the most volume, but she felt that CHP was the most shallow, and CH was the deepest! Hmm! I had already sold my CHP at this point, but she took a look at the bras, and concluded that *actually* CH goes out in the deepest angle from the wire, and PL the most shallow. So we concluded that whether the cup is too small at the bottom, can come as a result of different things in the overall compatibility  for example, the width of the bra overall, the width of the bottom if the wire etc. So many factors! It is not too difficult to see that you can't just pick bras of the rack and expect them to fit!

But, what to do when a bra is not compatible with your shape? You size up!
Here we have PL Cappuccino in 34K:
Now, I do think that this is technically too big, and some fitting issues associated with that comes into play: For example, it covers a lot of my armpit too (which is often the result of too big cup with too tight straps), and it is fuller coverage than I think was intended (I don’t mind though! My soft-ish boobs would appreciate the higher center gore promised to come in a future style, too!), and there can be slight gaping unless I am 100% scooped! But, what makes me confident that this is more like my EM size, rather than a smaller one, is the fact that I STILL get a bit of orange-in-glass:

But, I am quite happy with this bra! I am glad I have found something from EM that really does work for me, and I will continue to fine-tune my fit, because I really appreciate their shape, and I applaud EM for accommodating so many hard-to-get sizes! 

So, for me, EM is a really, really tricky business! But I feel like it is such a must have bra! When ever I’ve been wearing one, even my disaster bras, I get sort of disappointed by the shape of most other bras: I would do anything for that centered look, which so far I’ve found only EM to give!

On an unrelated note, I AM SELLING BRAS at Bratabase!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

TV styling for the XL Hourglass

I have mentioned it a few times on Bratabase as well, but I've been cast to get a make-over in a show (I am not mentioning the name here, because I don't want this blog to pop up when people search the show).

Well, it was today!

As I've mentioned on Bratabase, I encountered some problems with the bra brand who sponsored the show: They only went up to a UK G-cup, which is just never gonna cut it for me. You'd have to sister-size the shit out of it to get close, and many fitters have tried, and most have admitted defeat (others have said "Oh, but it is normal for a new bra to cut in" and "Some bras just aren't meant to have a flat center-gore" and "You just have to really keep pulling the band down")
I had informed the casters of my size in bras and everything else from day one, and still it was impossible to convince them that this wouldn't work for me. After some very condescending emails from the production, and a slightly snarky answer from me, they contacted the brand, who said they could do nothing to help, and that was it. I am quite disappointed  as the make-over hosts have stressed in interviews how important a proper bra is, and one of the hosts herself is a 32G. But oh well, I'll rather not get a bra, than be forced to say "Oh, how wonderful to get this lovely bra" about an ill-fitting one.

I know most of the stores that carry this brand very well, and therefor know that most of the ladies at the make-over show would not get a good fitting (we had to go get it ourselves before the make-over day), so I was rather worried.

The day came, and all the ladies were excited about their new bras, and so was I, on their behalf. Luckily, some of them were spotted to need a re-fitting at the set, and came out with much better garments than those they had brought.

I was advised to go talk to the bra ladies about my 'situation' and I was already sick of it. They bra-ladies had not been informed that I had already discussed this throughout  so they were rather confused: I said I did not fit an G-cup, and they said they wanted to take a look , and already my guard was up. To my surprise, even though I was wearing the most unfitted top I own, thus making my waist look 40"+, they said "How about a 38band?" (which is usually what I am suggested after I demonstrate that I am not as wide as I look in loose clothing) I then put my hands around my underbust and said "Actually, I prefer it much smaller than that, to get proper support" and they surprised me (I was prepared fot the worst) by saying  "Yes, of course, smaller bands is how you get the support, and you are much smaller than we thought - I'll bring you a 34band" Hooray! A fitter who knows what they are doing! She put me in a UK 34G, and, surprise  surprise, it was much, much too small. And that was it! They admitted "you are right, we don't have your size, so brilliant you brought your own ones, I think the one you are in now is great for the make-over" (It was Ewa Mickalak PL Onyks 34JJ) I am so glad I didn't have to struggle with the fitters there, and so relieved on the others behalf that they are in good hands. And so glad that the show actually bothered to get someone skilled!

Moving on to other hourglass-related topics on the show: I have to say, I am disappointed that despite giving my measurements, sizes and fit problems of clothes, none of the clothes brought seemed like they had been bought with any of that in mind. I only tried one thing on, that wasn't way too tight, and that was an oversized tunic.

First there were some stylists who put me in a bunch of different clothes, while I was blind folded - I got a full body wear-your-own-bra shape wear ting, which, as always, was too tight (rolling up) at the thighs, and too loose (not shaping) at the waist. Story of my life! But perhaps again a case of who is sponsoring - this was the hosts own line of shape-wear, so obviously they couldn't use something else.

Then I tried on about a million wiggle-dresses. And when I say wiggle, I mean that several stylists had to try to attempt to pull it over my boobs, or over my bum and thighs  If they finally succeed  the waist was still loose-ish , and omg, I can't sit down (or breathe).

When the host came, she took a look on me (note that I had to cover up, as my bra was the 'wrong brand', whereas the others were styled from their underwear - so perhaps I don't mind too much that they didn't get me a bra? :b), and said "Your thighs and breasts - fantastic breasts - are what is causing you a problem, size wise, and that's why we never see gorgeous your waist" You got it! So, good start. But as I said, nothing was brought to actually solve these problems. So it was a bit steep from then.

Weirdly enough, she didn't put me in any of the clothes that I had been pre-styled into - she gave me jeans, long tunic and a small jacket.
The jeans, no shocker, was waaay too tight around the thighs, and too loose at the waist - meaning it was inevitable that they would crawl down all evening.
The tunic was a thin , wrap-over-bust, low empire cut, which sort of draped over the belly, and created a rounded shape around the bum (for an hourglass like me, I've got a surprisingly insignificant bum, so a bit of extra volume there is welcome). All in all quite flattering for my shape, I think. It was larger than what I would have gone for (meaning that it would often fall open at my bust, and bunch up around cleavage, underbust and waist), but seeing as options were limited, I figured it was fine.

She wanted the jacket to stay open at the bust, and then pinned at the waist, and I must say, that was a flattering look - but oh my, arms way too small. The host then argued that most plus-size clothing is made much more tent-like, so if I want a waist like this, I wouldn't have to sacrifice size in other places, in this instance in the arms "But I can't move" "But you'd look fantastic going out for drinks with your friends" "Not if I intend to get a drink near my face" "You could with a straw, couldn't you?" "It would have to be a very long straw" Chuckles from the film-crew, and cue the jacket was sent to a seamstress to be made a bit larger in the upper arms.

When it was returned to me, they had continued the extra piece of fabric down to the bust (which was fine - the tunic was see-through, so more coverage was welcome), but they have put it too far, so it also gave extra room at the waist and underbust - though it was already too big there :( So, "Story of my life" continues! (They are wide stitches though, so I'll make an effort to alter it myself) But, because I had seen a lot of the other ladies get something they really, really weren't comfortable with, I decided to stick with this that was almost good.

So, all in all, I don't think they were properly prepared to actually give an XL Hourglass like me, an amazing make-over. The clothes were lovely (though perhaps only one at a time ;) You know how it is for TV, a little over the top), but styling and fit-wise, nothing new. Still same old struggle to find something that even fits, and the only thing they focused on was to emphasize my waist - something I am already desperately trying, so knowing the 'what'  is not enough: I need the 'how'!

After the show has aired, I will share some pictures and stills with you to show you more, I just figured a post now, while it was fresh in my mind, was in its place :)

I am curious/anxious about the editing of my interviews, because I get the sense that they are sticking to their view-point of who I am... I know that so often these shows are about someone with low confidence who feels inadequate, who gets turned around... But I said in interviews that I am not insecure at all, so I am more looking for clothes to match my confidence, but they may just edit that out :b They also kept asking me 'what would you wear for this or that', and I said an example ('jeans and a fancy top') 'Oh, so you never wear heels?' (could see them thinking 'we must show her how good heels are') 'no, no, I often wear heels' 'ok, but you always keep your legs covered, you'd never wear skirts or anything short?' 'No, I have lots of short skirts' Sorry I am not a stereotype of an body-insecure girl xD
And they also asked something like 'most other young people care a lot about clothes, how do you compare to your friends, when you are going out for example?' and I said that my friends care more about clothes, and they know what works for them, whereas I just don't really make the same effort... Well, I think (I couldn't hear properly) that they presented me on stage as "She often feels left out when her skinny friends dress up", and that's not at all what I said, at all. First up, she doesn't know anything about how big my friends are - from what I said, they could just as easily have been bigger than me! So I hope there are not too many of those bits where I am put in a way different light :o

I am glad that you are already used to seeing me without my head, because the hair they made for me was hideous! Anybody out there with very 'fat' natural curls? Do you know what we hate? Hair dressers. Know why? Because there is apparently no other outcome from a hairsalon than frizz. And proof here, when the best hair stylist of the country, gives me hair 3 times it's size, spread out one strand by strand. Luckily, they liked the color and they liked the length  so they just refreshed that, so nothing is permanent! 
And on another non-hourglass relevant note, they loved my make-up :b They said I had the best self-applied make-up they had seen when doing this season shows (and this was during the 28th episode, so I am very flattered!), so they also wanted to keep that much the way I had it (of course a bit bolder, as it has to be seen on TV)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A coat for the hourglass: Mission impossible!

Sorry again for neglecting this blog for a while! I've got plenty of excuses, but hey, doesn't matter, I hope I am back now :)

So, winter has come, it's cold, and we need to be dressed warm. But oh, it is not easy when no winter clothes seems to be made for our shape, is it?

So, here are some of the jackets I've battled with this season:

Here we've got an H&M jacket that I bought in 2009 (yes, it's been a while. I am a practical type of person, I only shop out of necessity, which is also why you won't see many style-posts from me ;) ), and if I remember correctly it cost £75 / $120. Though I rather liked this one, I knew it wasn't ideal for my shape. As you can see, I look quite flat-chested (and I very much like being busty, so this is sad news for me), and my waist looks huge - I definitely don't look like the shape I have! There is the option to tighten the waist, but as you can also see, the 'waist' is no where near my waist - it is in fact higher than my underbust. The top section is just too small, and tightening it will just make the boob-space even smaller! There is also a little bit of flattening boobs, due to the small shape. The jacket is a good fit on the rest of me though, not too much excess fabric at my hips or arms, and I loved everything else about it, so I would have kept it: Unfortunately  I forgot it when vacationing this summer :( (I went north, hence why my jacket-season started early) 

So, reluctantly, I went on a hunt for new jacket!

I had a coupon for Ellos, so I went there and found this coat for £85 / $136. I went by the size guide (Which is definitely not a curve-friendly chart), and took a size 52 (UK 24 / US 20) to make sure there was room for both my hips and bust. 

I think it is very obvious that this is a quite large size, that I have tightened excessively at the waist band (and it is still not actually at my waist) and I am not crazy about that look. There is just too much bulk at my arms and armpits, and the waist area. But, I think this is as good as it gets when it is done by sizing up, and it is not too bad.

But, this is a horrible, horrible jacket, and that is just unacceptable for that price. It is so horrible that Ellos has agreed to give me my full  amount of money back. The quality is just horrendous, and it started to fall apart from day 1. Added to that, I think it is obvious that there has not been put much thought into it - the pockets openings are almost vertical, making them useless as storage (compare those to my old jacket, where I could store bottles of water and books if I wanterd to. The fabric of the coat is of such poor quality that it can't even support it own seams, and the waist band has broken - horrible jacket.
But, up here in the cold north, I can't exactly send it back without something to take its place, now, can I? So the hunt continues... 

Enter Pepperberry
I have much love for Bravissimo, and I really want to love their clothing as well, but oh, it is difficult.
My waist measures 85cm, so that is on the small side of a size 16. But, the bust and hip measurements put me off this: My bust is about 119cm standing up, so I outsize even the Super Duper Curvy for size 16, and with a hip measurement well beyond the 110cm suggested  as well, it didn't seem likely.
So on to size 18. With a hip measurement of 117.5cm, and a Super Curvy bust of 118cm, this seemed a bit more likely (there are no Super Duper Curvy coats. I wish, though!).

I have to admit, this 'making do' with sizes reminds me an awful lot of the compromises I have to make with regular size charts?

I chose the Fur Trim Parka Coat, for £60 / $95

This is a truly lovely coat. I was worried that it would be too thin, more like a shell-type, but it seems quite warm, and quite heavy. The cotton feels very sturdy and of high quality.
And check the inside:

Cute floral at the back of the neck, along with a little chain that says Pepperberry. A little pocket with matching floral trim, and blue checkered trims along the inner seams, and the inside of the sleeve is satin. Quite lovely details, that adds to the luxerious feel you get from Pepperberry.

But, looks are not everything, lets look at the fit:

I am wearing a regular long sleeved top under this, and I can tell you, it is quite tight at the hips, as I feared it would be. It wouldn't be a deal breaker if it was great everywhere else, as it wouldn't be impossible to wear an extra layer. And to be honest, it looks so great when it is more trimmed down around the hips.

Going further up, we encounter the first problem, which is quite the opposite of what we had with the first coat: The waist on this one is too low. It is not at my narrowest point of my waist, it is closer to my hip, in fact. This fitted waist was not very fitted either, but since I had sized up to a size 18, I don't blame them, and it can just be tightened with the inner straps.

Now comes the most important: The fit of the bust. And oh, I'm sad :( It is so small! Like, really, really small, probably smaller than in most jackets in fact. As you can see, it really really squashes my boobs flat, if you compare it to the Ellos jacket. And I can hardly move my arms, because all the fabric is needed to allow me to breathe! It is especially tight at the top of the bust, and is therefor squashing my boobs downwards: I imagine this would not be a bad fit for droopy boobies - the lower (and looser) waist means there is plenty of space right around my underbust. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) my boobs are much higher than that, and this jacket fails at making room for them :(

So, it seems I am stuck with having to size up in jackets, and then just tighten their waist. I do find it annoying that jackets are even more so 'straight figured' than so most other clothing - with all the extra padding they give, I would have thought there would be especially demand for them being nice and fitted? Or is stuffy-looking simply the look for winter? I hope not :o

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Emma Lingeri: I'll stick to online shopping...

Sorry for neglecting this blog a bit! I’ve had some crazy weeks, and then I had a horrible cold for some time as well, so no blogging :o

So, on to the post: I am always looking for stores near where I live, that had decent size rangers: I was looking at what stores had Freya bras, and there was listed a big department stores (which was not successful, as you can see I wrote about here on bratabase) but they did recommend another store, which I had also seen had Freya.

(excuse the crappy pics, they are from google maps)

Described as so on their website: (translated, obviously)
“Special advice for girls with big measurements - all sizes of bras”
“We cover a wide range - from AA to K cups.”
Already here, I was a little concerned. Why claim to have all sizes, when it is technically impossible? Unless they will create bras in any given size (almost like Ewa Michalak are willing to – though I am sure even they have a limit) And as seen in the more modest statement below, they don’t have all sizes. Several brands now offer up to UK L-cups, so up to K is in no way covering all sizes.
A bit weary, I contact them to a) ask if it was UK K-cups, or EU K-cups (which is about a UK H-cup), and b) if it really is true, or just a glitch on their website, that they charge 1000dkr for every Freya bra (
£108/$174) (The most expensive Freya bra I could find at ‘expensive’ Bravissimo for example, was £34! What could possible justify the extra £74? I know we have high taxes, and that a physical store will always be more expensive, but surely not 218% more?!)
I realize that a question about if it really is true, would be rather annoying to have to answer with “Yes”, but I did actually expect an answer, but weeks passed, and none.

Yesterday, I was coincidentally in the area, and popped in to see the store for myself. It’s a small little boutique, crammed with lots and lots of bras, and there were two people at work. One who I think may be Emma herself, and another young lady, who quickly came to the counter when I entered. I told her I had heard they had Freya bras, and she asked what size I would like to try. I asked for a British size 34J and she went to look for some. They didn’t have anything in that size, she told me, but she did have an Arabella in 34HH “which is just a teeny bit smaller than the J”

I tried it on, and besides being an adorable bra, it was, not surprisingly, too small in the cup, but what was surprising, was that the band was so, so loose! I've figured I’m probably a small 34, but in this one, even in the inner most hook, I could very easily fit both my hands under the band. I told this to my fitter, who quickly said that I was not to close it in the tightest hook – went on to hook it in the middle, and proclaimed this to be a good band size for me. Good thing she knows it shouldn't be on the tightest  but it really shouldn't be on the middle either. And it shouldn't be loose on either of those. She then said that I had to adjust it a bit, because it was way too high on my back, so I had to make sure to pull it down so it was level ever so often. Gee, if only there was a way to avoid the band riding up, eh?  Even when she was pulling it around, I was baffled that she could not tell just how loose it was on me – she could easily fit both her hands under it, and pull it out a few inches when adjusting. Everything also moved around just as freely as if I had been braless – there was just nothing done by that band.
But the cup was too small, especially on my larger breast – some definite quadro-boob. I also pointed out, had the center gore been flat, then the smaller breast would also have some quadro going on. But she said that some bras just don’t lay flat. Well, technically true, but then that most likely is the wrong bra for you.
She let me try on a 34J, which they had waiting for another customer (so I could not buy it), and it was obviously better, despite the large band which meant the center was still not flat (and it is quite difficult to scoop on a too loose bra, I’ve found!)

She then moved on to offer me a Marie Jo, though I said I was certain they didn’t have big enough cups. She gave me a 80I (  ̴36G), “as these are probably tighter than the Freya you just tried” (well, I’ll hope, that Freya Arabella was uncharacteristically loose, as confirmed when I looked it up on bratabase: All reviews said so.)
The band did feel like the right snugness, but I’m pretty sure that also had a lot to do with the fact that the cups were approximately 3 sizes too small! So part of the band was used around my boobs, rather than just around my torso. When I said the cups were obviously too small (my soft breasts were literally folding a bit along the edge! Which they do if the cup is much too small both in width and depth), she told me that the edge was a bit elastic, and would stretch out to accommodate my breast. This rather annoyed me. Why would the bra be made to be very ill-fitting from new? Unless, of course, it’s not. Give Marie Jo some credit, I am sure they didn’t make the bra to purposefully give quadro-boob. And someone with smaller breast would not have it as so.
The worst thing, however, was the center-gore. One thing is a center gore that’s not flat, like the Freya was, that’s just not getting the full potential of the bra. But a bra where the wires are literally squeezing breast-tissue? No thanks! As it was just a coincidence that I got to go to this store, I did not have a camera, but here are some pictures to give you an idea:
(Pictures from Playtex, Bravissimo, Brastop and  Funny enough, Playtex shows this as an ’after picture’ from a bra-makeover, whereas the others show it as a bad fit)
On these pictures, it even looks like the wires are more so ‘resting’ on the tissue, where they were actually squeezing me on the Marie Jo bra.
I pointed the center gore problem out to the fitter, and she repeated what she had said of the Freya bra, that some bras simply don’t lay flat. I explained that this was different than just a slightly hovering center, this was actually pressing on my breast tissue. She then just repeated that not all bras sit flat, and the reason this was on my tissue, was just because it wasn’t separating my breasts. I had to quite firmly tell her, that I would never want a bra where the wires were squeezing my tissue, before she let it go with a “well, this is probably not the right shape for you, then”. I have to say, her ‘advice’ on this bra quite shocked me. Had I not been prepared with some decent bra knowledge myself, she could have talked me into getting a bra which was just so horrible for me. I was very disappointed. 

She then said she had one from Fantasie, in a JJ “so that may be too big for you, since you say you normally use J”, she said. I told her the bra I was wearing when I came in, was actually a 75JJ (Ewa Michalak), so I would give it a shot “This is a 70 (32), though, since you fitted the 75 Freya on the middle hook, you can probably use this on the loosest until it stretches” Ok, so then it was cleared up that she did not understand how cups depend on band! The Fantasie bra was actually an excellent fit, despite it being a seam pattern I would normally not think much of (I think it was the Kara Full Cup), and the shape was not bad either,  but I had already decided that I would not spend my money in this boutique (especially not if they charge more than 200% of the bras value!). 

She asked if I knew of the brand Ulla, “who even have some bras in K or even L-cups!” and gave me a look of ‘can you believe it?’. If we are talking UK cups, L-cups are unusual, so I’ll forgive her for being a bit baffled at that, though I don’t like it when fitters treat any size as unthinkable. So I ask “Are those UK or EU cup sizes?” To which she answers that there are no difference at all between UK or EU. It suddenly made sense why she though an EU I-cup might fit me when I asked for a UK J-cup! (I checked Ulla, btw, and it is EU sizes: Their specialty is up to EU I-cup/UK G-cup and over 38bands, though they had some EU L/UK HH and smaller bands).
I remembered their site said they had up to K-cups, so asked about it: “Well, that just means we can order up to K-cups” Well, heck, so can I!
So, all in all, extremely disappointed with Emma Lingeri, and will not go again. As mentioned, Emma herself was there as well, (I assume it was her, as she is the same who is standing in front on their group picture on their website) doing some account work right next to the fitting room, so she could have done something, if she realizes what bad advice I was given. This to me can only mean that either she doesn't care, or she doesn't know better advice, neither which is good.

So, it seems things are not very promising for bigger bras and fittings in Denmark L There are very few stores left in my area that could possibly have more sizes.

Good news though, is that I am becoming more sure of my size: Those who’ve seen me on bratabase, will see I’ve added two big loads of bras, and in the second load, most the bras I got was a good fit :D Then it was just a question of liking them or not. I reordered the Marcie Bra from Cleo in 34J rather than 32J, as it could do with being a bit bigger in the cup. It could also do with the cups to be closer together, so I will take in the center gore, meaning that it is fine that I had to go up the band to get a bigger cup, as it will probably take an inch off the band when I alter it.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bra fitting on a fat body

Recently, I have become aware that bra fitting is not just that – it can be very different from body to body. Eliza at bratabase recently made a post about “Bra fittingfor the overweight or pendulous”, and we have both talked of bra fitting for the overweight on several occasions at bratabase, as have others (if you are not on bratabase yet, sign up! :D It’s a great resource!) 

I also noticed that Georgina also addressed some fit issues that will be different from body to body: One is straps digging in, as she says: “the straps should take 20% of your breast weight and 20% of my breast weight is a hell of a lot!” And also, squishy shoulders will be squished, even if it was a light weight that they carried.  She also addresses back-fat, which is quite relevant – even for someone as smooth as her. I am not that smooth, so now I will address back fat and bands from my point of view: 

So, I want to talk about something that has been a problem for me a lot here in my bra journey. Band. A lot of bra fitting just doesn’t seem to work for me. For example, the difference between a tight, snug or loose measurement is not so clear defined. Part of the reason for that may be that for a lot of women, it doesn’t actually make that much of a difference. If they land on an uneven number, they can just round up or down depending on if the measurement was loose or tight. But for me, and many bigger ladies, I am sure, the difference is between 28.5” and 35.5”. That could mean 5 different band sizes! So what to do? I usually put down 33.5” as my measurement, because that is what I get if I measure just about as tight sock or panties, which is probably a good reference. And it can’t be said enough, bras should be determined of fit, not just the numbers. So on we go to look at how a band is supposed to fit:

 Here the problem starts: My back will never look like that. A band will never fit like that on me. Bra advice tells us “the band should lie flat on your back”, but what if my back is just no flat? It is difficult to see on a soft back, how a band doing any work could possibly not dig in. 

^These are lableld as too tight bands, because they dig in, and create those bulges. But again, a lot of plus size women will always have bulges, it’s not the bras fault, and a looser band certainly wont make it any better. When ever I naively walk up to a fitter, they often tell me that I need a much larger band, because “oh, isn’t it painful when it is digging in that much?” and they’ll say that even if I am wearing loose, loose bands. What they don’t seem to realize is, that those bulges aren’t bra-bulges, they are the natrual shape of a body with rolls. But I bet there aren’t many of those in bra-school.

Another very important thing about how a band looks on a larger women, is also the fact that a lot of weight is put on the band: On a slim woman, a too loose band with a lot of weight on, would probably fall down, if not held up by the straps. On a woman with a belly, or a stubborn underbust roll like me, the bra cannot fall down, and instead “rests” on the top of the belly, and will then look like it is strained on the body, because there is put so much preasure on it from the weight, rather than by the tightness.

And now I’ll show you why I always look like my band is digging in. I have to say, I didn’t think I would volentarily have pictures of my rolls anywhere, but hey, in the name of bra education (of which I care very much), here we go.  First up is how I look without a bra: You can clearly see what I mean about “bra bulges” with no bra! And also forementioned underbust roll. Next up is how 36, 34 and 32 bands look on me, both without the strain of weight, and with it. So here we go:
No bra
36 band with my boobs lifted, so no weight is putting pressure on the band

36 band with weight on
34 band with boobs lifted, so no weight is putting pressure on band

34 band with weight on
32 band with my boobs lifted, so not weight is putting pressure on band

32 band with weight on

For the 36band, at the front, you can really see the difference between having weight on the band or not: Again, because the band is not giving any support, all the weight is put on my roll – this really makes it look like it is very very tight at the front, even though the oppesite is the case.
On the 34band it is clear how the band riding up slightly, means that it sits exactly at the my back roll, making it look like it digs in – and this is even exagerated when the weight is put on. So here it is easy to imagine, that a smaller band that doesn’t ride up, will actually eliminate some of the bra-bulges!
Also on the 32band, you see that when the weight is put on, everything just get’s more squished, but much less than with the 36 for example. What is interesting, is that there is no more back fat than there was with the 36 or no bra: So it is a myth that the tightness of the band causes the back fat.
So, what is the conclusion? The look of the right fit can be very different for fat women vs slim women, so we can’t always rely on those handy fit-pictures and advice. Fitters, or people who fit themselves, must learn to know what is supporting, rather than what matches the picture, because fact is, if you look nothing like the picture to start with, a bra cannot make it match up. Look for wide, firm bands, with wide elastic at the edges. And notice how much difference there is whether your weigh it down or not – I think that can be a good trick.

I can also tell you, that just yesterday, I wore my Ewa Michalak Onyks without the straps, and the mark from the band would make it seem it was much much tighter than normally - so I guess this proves my theory that weight, not tightness, can put a lot of strain on the band, making it look like it is tight.

All in all, I know this was not a too long post word-wise, but I hope the pictures speak for themselves, and can give a more size-varied view of bra fitting :D

Next post will probably be about bratabase and a few words about my recent order (very few words, because it is not too fair to properly review a bra that I got in the wrong size)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


At 02:00am, I hit one thousand views on my blog! Thanks to all who have read what I had to say, I hope it was useful to you :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

My bra journey: Shape!

I've hinted at my bra journey earlier, but to give you an idea:

I don't really know when I got breasts, though I think it was earlier than my peers: I remember my mom begged me to wear bras, and I despised them!
2004: I have a vague memory of talking bras with a friend when I was 12-13 and I said I was a C, even though my friends guessed me to be a D. I came to identify with being big busted.
2006: I was distraught when I lost 24kg when I was around 14-15 and my boobs went, so I padded my bras like crazy, though I quickly stopped as I was found out, so instead I just stopped to think of boobs.
2008: When I was 16, I moved to US, and when shopping with a relative, I said I found it hard to shop for tops, because I often ended up looking flat chested. This made my relative laugh and say it would take an illusionist for me to look flat chested. So off to get 38DD's at Victoria's Secret. This was probably the worst time for my boobs: I was very physical active at that time, and my back was killing me. I was so ashamed that I had to wear a sports bra for even light activity, and I was restrained from a lot of things because of bra discomfort.
2009: When I moved back to Denmark, my VS bra was literally falling to pieces (as pictured: yes, that is yarn and a key-chain I had used to stick it back together. And the lines at the band is where the hem is supposed to be),

so I reluctantly went to a very good fitter, who showed me how to put on a bra etc, all sorts of good things that changed my "bra experience" But when it came to the size she proclaimed me: "32GG?! You must have lost your mind!", I said, and walked out with a 38DD
2010: My 38DD's needed replacement (also, weight gain), and this time I dared to try some other sizes. Ended up with 36E's (didn't understand sister sizes, so in my world, this was up a cup)
2011: Bras needed replacement again(more weight gain). This time I went for 36FF (this is the highest size you can find in Denmark, except at Change Lingerie) and 36G (Change Lingerie). Started to think of myself as "busty".
2012: With my new status as busty, I wanted more bras. So I went out and got some 34F's and 36FF's. I wanted strapless clothing like I had seen on the blogs, and in early March, I asked a question on Y!A about strapless bras in what I thought was my size. Angela from there, linked me to reviews done by FullerFigureFullerBust, and I learned many new things about bras (UK sizing was a very important step in my epiphany!) . This was also at the same time where Change Lingerie dared to offer EU K-cups (UK H-cups). Went and got a 34H and 36GG, as pictured (Note, these pictures are taken on the day I got them, so this is what I was fitted to, and I thought was a good fit):

I signed up for Bratabase, and in April I placed my first order online, 34HH's, 34H's, 36GG and 36H's, from Curvy Kate. I tried the 34HH  Daily Boost, and it seemed too small, and I was mortified and amused. Kept the Thrill Me in 36GG  and Tease Me  in 34H. (it is so weird to see my old reviews, and see just how clueless I was of how a good fit should be!)

And from then on, I have studied bras so much, and I have placed many orders, and returned almost everything. I still need to find better bras, but my current best bras are two plunges in  34JJ's and a balcony in 36H from Ewa Michalak and Masquarade Rhea Bra in 36H. I still need to learn a lot about bras and my breasts, before I can get the right fit (which is hard with breast re-migration and weight changes!), but here is the newest step for me:

I have realised what my shape is! For a long time, I thought I was "full on top", because in too small bras, or push ups, my breasts would easily be pushed up to my collarbones. Now I think that has more to do with the placement of my bust: It is pretty high up. Also, because I have fat everywhere on my body, my collarbone area also has a layer of fat, so when my breasts were pushed up, they would also push together all the fat on my upper-chest, making it seem like I had that high of a cleavage.
No, I believe I have "full on bottom"-breasts. I have to give BrasIHate a lot of credit when it comes to figuring the importance of your breast shape. She has full on top breasts, and I soon realised that bras that were excellent on her, were shite on me (Masquerade Rhea, for example), and that the issues she seemed to have never bothered me.
Another thing that made me think of that my breasts probably aren't full on top, was the fact that I never got this look:

That "crease" at the top of the boob. I've seen skinny women, and fat women, small busted and large busted ladies with it, so that led me to think it is a question of shape, rather than size and body. Whereas I always just have that "sloping" curve going down to my boob. Even if I wear a too small push up bra, that sloped curve is just moved up.
Most of all, what made me realise that I was full on bottom, was look at the fit issued such shape would cause, and realising that is exactly what I experience with every single bra I've failed with:

On picture 1, you see my breast shape (pretty accurately, actually). On picture 2, you can see how that is just not compatible with the bra. And on picture 3 and 4 you see the most common outcomes this causes:
Picture 3 shows the very common "Orange in a glass" effect: The bottom of your breast is too large (could be both width and forward volume), and cannot settle in the bottom of the cup. This forces the bra to sit a bit lower, so the bottom if not filled, but the top may seem right or create a bit of overspill, because part of the cup is now not in use, and therefore too small. As seen here in my Ewa Michalak in 36H, and the previously reviewed Moulin Rouge:

Picture 4 is one I haven't heard talked much about, but one I suffer from a lot! It is often in the combination of a big band, I believe. The large bottom of the breast, forces the bra to be tipped over, allowing a bit more room for the breast to settle. This of course messes up the fit of the cup. It means the centre gore cannot lay flat, as it is tipped away, and so is the rest of the cup. This means that there will actually be a lot of gaping at the top of the cups as well: The smaller upper part of the breast is already having a hard time filling the top, and when it is tipped away, there is no contact. This can of course be very confusing, because a centre gore sticking out is usually a sign of a too small cup, but the cups can gape so much, making us think it is too big! Also, the sides may rest a bit on tissue too, because they can't reach all the way back when the bra is pushed away. Here it is shown in my Masquerade 36H and Ewa Michalak 34JJ: (I also experience that the bra seem to "collapse" under my heavy breasts, further seeming to tipping over the bra) (apologies for lousy pictures, it is rather difficult to show on photos)

Also, a picture of the Ewa Michalak when it was new, so the band was tighter, and my boobs were smaller:

Here it is also clear, that I have much more volume on bottom than on top: My heavy breasts weigh the bra down, but my top-shallowness makes the top section sort of close on top of my breasts.

So, now that we have found the root of the problem, what can be done? I don't know. I will try to look for bras that look too have more space at the bottom, maybe like this wide-bottomed wire from Gok Wan, as reviewed at FulleFigureFullerBust. (If you scroll down to Geroginas friend in the bra, from the side) You can see that the wire almost has a corner, because it is pretty much as wide at the bottom, as on top. Most bras have more round shape of the wire, so it is significantly narrower at the bottom. This only comes up to a G-cup, so I am out of luck, but if any full on bottom ladies fits that range, maybe you could try it out, and tell me if I am correct in my guess that this would be a good wire shape?

I read a lot of places, that you should look for bras that are more closed at the top, to fit the bottom heavy shape (so often those with an upper section with perhaps a ribbon on top), but, if you are like me, you want those open top bras! And I believe it can be done.
I have tried the Tease Me, The Demi Diva (as I also discussed in another post) and the Rococo Charm, which will all give a similar shape to the Masquerade Rhea bra, but are more fit for bottom heavy breasts, I believe (though they are limited in cup sizes: The Demi Diva and Rococo Charm come up to HH, and the Tease Me comes in sister sizes of a 30J). Here is a little sketch comparing their shapes to the Rhea bra: (rhea in blue, the others in purple):

On the Rhea bra, the top of the cup is the fullest part of the curve, and if you try to draw a circle following the silhouette of the bra, you'll see that the fullest part is yet to come: This is why it is good for full on top breasts. On the other silhouette, if you follow the curve, the fullest part is in the bra, just as would be the case with bottom heavy breasts. Unfortunately, I don't fit any of these bras I've just suggested, but now I know what to look for! And I hope you do too.

At Bratabase, you can search by tag, and find some bras that have fit others with the shape you searched for. I can't seem to search more than one shape at a time, so it is a bit tedious work to cross reference the results of "Full on bottom", "close boobs" and "high on chest", while also finding some that come in the right size, but I have just made a big order of bras, and I hope I can soon post some recommendations for you with similar breasts on this blog!
Also, when I get these bras, I will post on the next big fit issue I have: Bands! So look out for that! ;)