2014 Swimwear: Torrid Skirted One-Piece

 

 

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Image Courtesy of Torrid….sorry for the size. Available in sizes 0-4 for $78.50

Well, it’s definitely that time of year again…..retailers are churning out their newest styles, colors and designs of swim suits to get you amped up for warmer weather. I’ll be honest….the ridiculous weather in Ohio is really starting to get to me. And any day that it’s 40 degrees feels like summer (that’s really how cold it has been here). As I write this post, there’s a winter storm warning (Titan, I am told), with the threat of schools being closed on Monday.

But I digress…. I’m always on the hunt for a good swim suit. When it comes to fit in the boob area, I am usually fairly lax with regard to swimming. As long as my nipples are covered and I have no fear of falling out, I don’t typically care how much cleavage there is. Also, I prefer one piece suits. This is a personal preference of mine. I also like skirted suits cause I am self conscious of my tummy and can hide it this way…

So imagine my sheer joy when I saw Torrid’s latest swim suit a week ago….(pictured above). While I wasn’t thrilled about the price, I loved the color and the shape of the suit. I decided to order it and give it a try.

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Cute? Check. Color? LOVE. Shape? Pretty good. Fit???? Wellll…..

I ordered this in a 3 which is Torrid’s equivalent of a 22/24, roughly. I find that I currently wear about a 20 in Torrid’s jeans, and typically a 2 in their tops. My intention in ordering the 3 was so that I would have more boob room. Well…..when I went to put this suit on I was super surprised. Now, I know that this suit is specifically marketed as a hip concealer….but how can it conceal them if it’s impossible to get on? I really struggled to get this suit up over my hips, and the top only stayed up once I put the straps on (the straps are completely detachable). Not a good sign.

Also…the other fit problem….

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Now I don’t consider myself to be tall, but if I remember anything from always having my measurements taken for ballet back in the day, I have a longer-ish torso. The problem with this suit is that it is too short in the torso area. In this photo, I simply took a wide step to the side and lifted up the skirt. You could clearly see my underroos. Now, if I didn’t have underroos on, this photo would be downright indecent for public swim time. Unfortunately, this makes the suit completely unwearable for me and I will be returning it. Remember, I’m only 5’4″, so this is pretty bad!

I also found that the straps very easily came unhooked (as you can see in the photos), which would be a problem for active swimming.

Pros: Color, shape, skirted silhouette

Cons: Length of torso, runs small, straps come easily unhooked

-Nicole

BONUS photo….a nod to Zoe over at Weirdly Shaped’s post about thinspo photos....

My thigh gap 🙂

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Plus Size Bra Review: Elomi ‘Renee’

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Image courtesy of Elomi Lingerie

 

The Renee is available in sizes 34 G-JJ, 36-42 E-JJ, and 44 E-G for about $70.00 from various retailers

When I tried this bra, I ordered it in both a 38J and a 40J; I decided that the 40J was the best fit of the two I received.

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I think I would have liked to see what a 40JJ did for my side fluff that seems to be a problem, however I did have empty space in the top of these cups and the problem would only have been exacerbated more with a bigger cup size.

Features: Fully adjustable straps, bows on straps and gore, 4 part cup construction, banded bra, floral print, 3 rows of 3 hook-and-eyes in the 40J and the 38J.

Fit: To me, this seemed like a whole lot of bra. However, I would say that the band of the Renee runs truer to size than most Elomi bras, as the band did not stretch as much as I would have expected. The straps are more centered on the cups (instead of more to the outside of the cups), and I think that this is why the bra cuts in so much in the arm area; I like a more wide set strap because I have fairly broad shoulders I guess, and this centered strap placement didn’t really appeal to me. Although, it was nice to have the weight of my breasts set differently on my body. As mentioned, there was some gaping at the top of the cup.

Support and Shape: The support in this bra was very secure, and the shape is what you can expect from Elomi’s banded bras (think the Libby as well).

Wire Height and Width: No complaints; the wires were comfortable under my arms, and were a good width for covering all of my side tissue.

Look and Feel: I was a little disappointed with this bra. The stock photo on the model makes the Renee look a little Victorian and sexy with the sheer upper panel of the bra. However, I think this must be a feature in the smaller cup sizes because the Renee in a 40J was fully lined, even in the top cup. To me, the bra looks a little less delicate. Also, the material used is similar to the material that Elomi uses for the Betty bras (starchy, less flexible, and heavy), and I think the material mutes the pretty flower print, making this bra look almost rather depressing.

Pros: Centered straps are great for people with narrow shoulders, the support is spot on, and the banded portion provides that bit of extra support.

Cons: The press photos are misleading in that the larger cup sizes are fully lined, and the material is (personally) not my favorite.

Overall Grade: A-

**I’m gearing up to celebrate the blog’s 1st anniversary, so please keep your eyes open for contest details in the next couple weeks! 🙂 ***

-Nicole

Ewa Michalak CHP Mak Nowa Koronka; review and strap alteration.

I went for my usual size in this bra, 60G, because my 65FF HP Cielus fits in the cups but is too big in the band. I don’t know what it is with Ewa’s band sizing but in the PL and CH/CHP that I’ve tried, the 65 is too big and the custom 60 is too small, so I’m going with a 60 band and wearing an extender.

60G is a custom order and I also requested a 3 hook fastening, which means that it was non refundable if it didn’t fit, and cost an extra 20pln, which I really do not agree with/think is fair, and why I put off making an order for so long.

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The bra came within about 3 and a half weeks of ordering, not bad for a custom order, and I am really very pleased with it. The cups are a perfect fit, the band with an extender is perfect and it’s a gorgeous bright red with creamy silver accents on the band. The only problem, and very big problem, is the strap placement. The straps are almost under my arms, which is uncomfortable and also means that moving my arms around makes the cups gape. A lot of petite women have this problem with the CHP, which is a brilliant bra otherwise, so I decided to move the straps. This is not meant to be any kind of tutorial, I am not qualified to show anyone how to alter bras, just wanted to show you what I did.

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Much too wide strap placement

1. Unpick the stitched holding the strap on. This is not easy, they are sewed on tight, but keep at it.

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Straps unpicked after about half an hour with a seam ripper

2. Pin the strap in different positions and find out where is best for you, I moved mine about 2 cm inwards.

3. Sew the straps back on by hand and check the fit again, then machine sew them with 2 rows of straight stitch, emulating how they were attached in the first place.

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I folded the strap back on itself, the same way it was attached in the first place

4. Neaten up the edges where the straps were removed, possibly add more bows in the new strap position which I intend to do just for aesthetics.

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New strap placement

I know there are better ways to do this, Dressing curves has a better, more professional looking way of doing this, here. But I’m very happy with how my alteration went, and the bra is so much more comfortable and fits better now 🙂

So, after the alteration I can give this bra a much more optimistic review.

Measurements

The shape is rounded and projected, but not rounded like the deco shape, more of a natural looking teardrop shape. The wires are narrow, typical of EM, but perhaps wider than the PL and about the same as the CH (only other styles I’ve tried). The band is very firm, and I think without the extender this would be a good fit for someone who needs a 26 band.

Overall, I love the bra and it was worth buying and altering. Despite the extra cost and non-returnable status, I will probably buy another CHP in the future, I LOVE this shape:

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Fit; 9/10

Look; 9/10

Comfort; 8/10

-Amy

Plus Size Bra Review: Bravissimo Betsy Bow

I tried the Betsy Bow bra from Bravissimo in a 38JJ and in a 38K; The 38JJ was too small in the cups. Here are the photos of the 38K

 

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Features: Fully adjustable straps, 3 part cup construction, bows on straps and gore, 3 sets of 3 hooks and eyes in a 38K, wide wires, low under arm

Fit: The fit in the 38K was actually perfect. The gore laid flat, the cups were smooth and did not cut in, and I filled out the bottom fairly well. I was really happy that Bravissimo’s wires worked so well for my shape. The band in the 38 was comfortable and was supportive.

Support and Shape: The shape in the Betsy Bow is very up front, swooped up looking, with quite a bit of projection. Overall, I returned this because I was not a fan of the shape. Also, because this is a 3-part cup construction with low wires on the side, my migrated tissue would not stay put. I really need a 4-part cup construction with side slings or at the very least with taller wires on the sides. The straps were really quite stretchy, which I was surprised about.

Look and Feel: The bra itself is quite adorable. I love the bright magenta in contrast to the shell color of the bra. The materials were soft; the lower part of the cup was a sturdy material that provided more support. The upper cup does not have any stretch at all, so if you are full on top, you will probably want to size up.

Other thoughts: Overall, I was really surprised by how small Bravissimo’s bras run in the cup. I also tried the Darling Heart (which I will review soon) and it was too small in a 38K. I thought that Curvy Kate won first place in small cups, but Bravissimo is taking 1st place. If you want to try this, I would suggest sizing up 1-2 cup sizes from your “normal” size (i.e. Panache size).

Overall Grade: B+ 

-Nicole

Review: Curvy Kate Desire 28FF

I have not got on well with curvy kate in the past, I have tried the tease me, the tempt me and the elegance, had no luck with their loose bands and wide wires. I tried this because I want me and kate to be friends, her bras are so cute, and I have my eye on the starlet petrol for autumn.

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Again with the poor quality pictures, I know, I’ll have a real camera next week.

This is a multiway plunge bra, available in black or white, with a subtle pattern on the cups and a little bow…..thingy in the middle. The straps are thick, really long, fully adjustable and easy to switch around.

Band: 22″ unstretched, 28″ stretched

Cup width 5.3″, depth 8″

Side wing 2.7″, gore height 1.6″

Compared to the other CKs I tried in the past, the wires are a bit narrower (yey) and shorter (yey) and the band is true to size (yey). The band is also 3 hook fastening, the same width across and quite thick.  So far so good.

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The bra is just not a great shape for me (boo), the top edge of the cup seems to me made for a full on bottom shape, and gives me an odd shelf-like appearance that doesn’t come across so much in pictures. I know I have some quadboobing but there’s also space in the bottom of the cup, that won’t stay where it’s supposed to because of the lengthy straps. If you find yourself tightening straps a lot, be wary.

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It works a bit better as a halterneck for me, the strap is really comfy around my neck and the cups easily lend themselves to the halterneck shape without digging in/ making armpit fat like others tend to do.

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Fit 6/10, cups run small.

Appearance on me 5/10. Someone more full on bottom might get a better shape with this.

Fitting 101: That’s So Tacky

Today’s post in the fitting 101 series discusses the importance of a properly tacking center gore, and some general trouble shooting tips for gores that aren’t so tacky.

Let me start with some visual aids 🙂

A properly tacking gore looks like this: 

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Completely flat against the chest

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An improperly tacking gore looks like this:

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Does not rest between the breasts

 

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So why should the center gore tack against your sternum? Although there are some companies like Braologie that insist that the center gore tacking is not necessary, I believe that in order to have the best fit and support, your center gore should tack between your breasts.

The benefits of a tacky gore:

  • If your gore is tacking, that generally means you have the right cup size, so your wires are not sitting on breast tissue, which can be painful otherwise
  • When it sits flat on your sternum, you will have clear separation between your boobs. Yay for two boobs instead of 1. or 4. (or more, really)
  • If your gore is properly tacking, it won’t be visible under your clothing
  • You’ll get the best lift out of a bra with wires that tack against your sternum and ribcage properly

Admittedly, I think that a less tacky gore is the first compromise many women make when trying to find a good fit. The reality is that even in your proper size, the center gore may not always tack to your sternum….but do not fret….here’s some simple trouble shooting:

Reasons your gore may not be tacky:

  • You’ve done the swoop and scoop, and now you not only have double boob, but your gore isn’t sitting flat between your breasts. Time to go up 1-2 cup sizes until the double boob goes away, and your gore is tacking
  • You know your cup size is right, but the gore still isn’t tacking…. Is your band too big? Sometimes if the band is too big, there is not enough tension on the wires. The right balance of cup size and band size is important in ensuring a properly tacking center gore
  • I’ve got the right cup size AND band size, and the gore still isn’t sitting flat! Is the gore narrower or wider than the space that you have naturally between your boobs? If the gore of the bra is wider than you have space between your boobs, it most likely will not sit flat. Also, you may have troubles settling your boobs into a bra if the gore is narrower than the natural space between your boobs. Measure the space between your boobs and measure the gore on your bras. Are they the same size?
  • The gore is too tall or too short for your boobs. I know that for me, if a gore is too tall, it won’t tack, no matter what size I try. You’ll have to try a lot of different bras to really get a feel for the ideal height of the gore for your body, but it’s worth it to figure it out.
  • If you’ve done all of the above and your gore still isn’t tacking, you may need to try a different cut of bra. For example, if you always have problems with your gores being too tall in full cup bras, why not try a balconette, or a plunge?

Side bar:

***If your gore is not tacking, do this to find out if you have the right cup size: With the bra on, use your fingers and push the gore flat against your sternum. If you have double boob anywhere – including under your arms, go up in cup size until the gore sits flat. If you do not have double boob when you do this, try and determine if the wires are too wide, if the gore is too tall, or if it is an issue of bra shape.**

As always, if you have any questions/comments/or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below

-Nicole

Fitting 101: To Add or Not to Add

Continuing with the fitting 101 series, today we’re going to talk about whether you may want to add inches to your under bust measurement or not to get your best fit.

If you do some research, there are many conflicting opinions about whether you should add inches to your raw under bust measurement or not. The following information represents my knowledge and my honest opinion about when you may want to add inches and maybe when you will want to subtract inches. Ultimately, the most important thing is that your bra fits (meeting the proper fit criteria), and that it is comfortable. 

When to add inches 

In some situations, it is necessary to add inches to your raw under bust measurement. Here are some scenarios in which adding inches is common:

  • If you have little to no body fat around your ribcage, you may want to add 2-4 inches to your raw under bust measurement for comfort
  • If your breasts are smaller and are set further into your chest (not wide set), you may want to add inches so that you do not have a lot of empty cup on the side. In this instance, you need more band than you need cup. Adding 2-4 inches would be ideal
  • If you prefer a looser band, add 2 inches (adding 4 may make the band too loose and unstable, depending on your build, body fat percentage, and weight of your breasts)

When to add NO inches

The general advice I give is to start with your raw under bust measurement, adding no inches to your measurement. Here are some scenarios for when this is useful:

  • When finding a starting size if you have a very poorly fitting bra; a raw under bust measurement can point you in the right direction for a proper band size
  • If you have some padding, moderately sized breasts (think DD+) and want a comfortable level of support

When to subtract inches

In some instances, subtracting inches from your under bust measurement will help you to get the most support and comfort out of your bras. Here are some common scenarios for subtracting inches:

  • If you have a lot of body fat around your ribcage and are quite squishy, subtracting inches from your raw under bust measurement may help your band better tack to your body. I would recommend only subtracting 2 inches at the most (going down one band size from what you measure).
  • If your breasts are at the upper end of the size range (think HH+); having a snugger band can help to carry more of the weight of your breasts, putting less stress on your back and shoulders. I would recommend only going down to the next band size
  • If you prefer a snugger band, for whatever reason. I would only suggest going down 2 inches from your raw under bust measurement

As mentioned, these suggestions are based on my knowledge, experience, and in some cases, personal preferences. However, only you can decide what feels comfortable and what will work best for you.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below 🙂

-Nicole

Fitting 101: Bra Troubleshooting

As part of my bra fitting help series, I wanted to address a handful of questions I usually get when I am fitting others or when people ask for help.

 

  1. My straps slip off my shoulders
    –There are a couple things that could be going on……Tighten your straps. If this does not alleviate the problem, it’s possible that the straps are too wide set for your body. Try going down a band size, or trying a different bra cup style. Look for bras that look like the strap is sewn on the middle of the cup.
  2. The band elastic flips up or curls up 
    –Again, a few things could be going on. First, check if your band is too tight. Sometimes if the band is too tight, the elastic will curl up. If your band is not too tight, check and see if the elastic is “dead” in your bra. Dead elastic doesn’t tack to your body properly and is usually stretched out too far from repeated wear. Elastic that is dead will often flip or curl up. Lastly, check and see where the band of your bra is hitting you on your body. Is it landing on soft tissue or on your ribcage? Depending on this, it’s possible that your band is just being pushed up by your soft tissue
  3. The straps dig into my shoulders
    –Your straps are too tight, OR your band is too big and the weight of your breasts is resting on your shoulders
  4. I’ve tried everything and the bra still has gaping/wrinkling in the cups (even after swooping and scooping)
    –It’s possible that the bra you are trying is a full cup. I would suggest trying a balconette or a demi bra.
  5. Where can I find a plunge bra in a large cup size?
    –The Freya Deco goes up to a GG cup, and Ewa Michalak will custom sew plunge bras up to at least a K cup
  6. I feel like I can’t breathe when I wear my new size
    –While it’s possible that your band is too tight, consider the age of your bra. If your bra is new, it requires a break in period. Wear the bra with an extender for the first couple weeks while the bra loosens up and gets used to your body. If you are making a huge change (i.e. going from a 36 band to a 30 band) you’ll need to give yourself time emotionally and physically to get used to your new size. If after all this your band is too tight, try the next band size up and see how that feels

 

If you have any other questions, please be sure to include them in the comments so that I can add them to this post. Everyone can benefit from the answers! 🙂

 

Quick Review: Bravissimo Paradiso Plume

Ah…I’ll always think of the Paradiso Plume as the one that got away. I mean, it’s a seriously gorgeous bra. And it *almost* fit. Unfortunately, I can’t justify keeping a $44 bra that doesn’t fit and I can’t wear every day. I’m working some seriously long hours, and I’m moving around a lot. I have to have bras that are comfortable for all day and are somewhat closer to full coverage.

Anyways…. I ordered the Paradiso Plume in a 38J from Bravissimo.

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Also, seeing as I have gained about 5 pounds since I took these photos, I’m like “DAYUM… I was looking good.” But that’s a topic for another day. I had a session with my personal trainer yesterday and it was a good swift kick in the ass. I needed a motivator. The girl scout cookies are *almost* gone and spring is *almost* here. Both are recipes for positive change 🙂

Measurements for the 38J

Features: Umm…hello. Gorgeous feather print. Bright colors. I would consider this to be a push-up demi bra, non-padded. Wide wires, shallow cups, fully adjustable straps, 3 sets of 3 hook-and-eyes, double bows on straps, bow on center gore

Fit Issues and Concerns: The band in the 38 was perfect. It felt so good. The lift in this bra was amazing, and I really loved how widely placed the straps were. Unfortunately, the cups were really quite shallow, and I needed at least another cup size up. It fitted my smaller breast pretty well, but the larger of the two was definitely bubbling over, and I did not feel very stable in this bra. While it was gorgeous and I wanted to keep it for nights out (HELLO CLEAVAGE!!!) I really couldn’t justify the cost. Also, the center gore came up pretty high on me and thus would probably be visible in any of the shirts that this cleavage would have been great in. The wires are fairly long on this bra (18″).

I REALLY wanted to keep this bra, but I am on a bra budget as is… I have quite a few bras that I have not been wearing recently due to weight gain and/or comfort for long days at work…….so I really can’t justify needless spending on bras I can’t wear all the time.

I would definitely recommend this bra, though!

Other reviews: Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Becky’s Boudoir, XL Hourglass

-Nicole

Plus Size Bra Review: Ewa Michalak ‘Pl Burgund’

The PL Burgund is not available anymore on EM’s site, but this was a bra that I had received from Bra Nightmares to try, as part of my first attempt with EM’s bras. This is the PL Burgund in a 42J (95J)

My photos:

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The PL Burgund OVER the stalowka 

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The PL burgund on its own

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Burgund over the Stalowka

 

The photos for this review are a bit different because of all of the fit issues that I had with the Burgund.

Measurements of the Burgund:

  • Flat band: 33″
  • Stretched band: 41″
  • Cup Depth: 15.5″
  • Cup Width: 9.25″ 
  • Gore height: 4.5″
  • Wing Height: 5.25″
  • Wire length: 14.5″ 

Features: Fully adjustable straps, NO padded inserts, bow on center gore, four rows of three hooks and eyes

Fit: I don’t know where to start. It really just didn’t fit, and I think the pictures show that quite well.

Support and Shape: The straps were really stretchy, and I think the cups were made badly. They did not support the weight of my boobs at all. When I layered this bra with my PL Stalowka (40J), the shape was so much better.

Other Thoughts: I did end up selling this bra. It went to a good home. I did like that there were four rows of hooks and eyes, as opposed to the standard three as that was a first for me. However, I know that quite a few women found this bra to be a miss, so no surprise there.

Overall Grade: D-