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!!