War on Moobs

An argument has broken out over a ban on topless men at a funfair in England. Firm or flabby, men’s bare chests will no longer be free to the wind on a hot day (well, in parts of Essex at least).

Now I take no personal pleasure in the type of semi-nudity that we’re talking about here (although for the record I am much, much more offended by the gnarled and fetid unpedicured feet of your average suburban man in flip flops), but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t a step backwards for everyone.

Women are constantly told to cover up their top halves in public, even when attempting to breast feed (well it’s not like that’s their primary biological function or anything…).  That we’d got to the point where men could freely bare their dimpled, sinking, sporadically fuzzed chests to the world on a hot day without recrimination left a glimmer of hope that one day soon we might realise that we’re all just two nippled creatures, and that getting upset by a flash of one or two is as archaic as fretting over a flash of ankle. By enforcing a cover up, you confirm that nipples are something scandalous.

I never thought I’d say this but men: it’s your moral duty. Get them out for the girls*.


Original article from the Guardian here.

*And put those feet away while your at it, yeah?

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Veet score massive own goal with lame ‘dudeness’ ads

Sometimes, I love the world. No sooner had depilation fundamentalists Veet launched a campaign telling their target consumer that 24 hours worth of hair growth is equivalent to growing a penis, were they forced to pull the campaign with an embarrassed apology and faces as red as a freshly home-waxed upper lip.

The world is as far from perfect as it’ll ever be, but the fact that women are slowly but increasingly being heard by advertisers to cut the crap on this kind of misogynist (and a few other -ist + ics) rubbish means it’s not all bad. At least, it means that we’re no longer pretending that body hair is anything worth distracting us from the important stuff, at least.


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Gravity schmavity? Nudwear’s adhesive bra reviewed

Firstly, apologies for the hiatus. New job + three weeks of working away has left little time for boobs… but I’m back at B4J basecamp now and getting back to business.

First up, a shot at the impossible. The extremely nice people at innovative underwear brand Nudwear contacted me before I went away and offered to send me one of their adhesive bras to try. Now I should say here that I always refuse offers of product from brands that don’t cater to fuller cup sizes, but the Nudwear team suggested I give it a go anyway in a sister size. Could a stick on bra support G-Unit? In the name of science, I accepted.

The adhesive bra is not really a bra – rather two beige cups that connect via a clasp in the middle and adhere to your skin with a sticky silicon (not over the nipples – fear not). There are additional stealth hooks to add invisible straps should you want more support. It’s a little tricky to get on if you’ve got more of a handful, but with a little wiggling I had everything in place in a couple of minutes.

My friends, what followed was not pretty. I say I had everything in place… As you know I never share pictures of myself in the lingerie I test, but imagine two large, mis-shapen balls of raw dough slowly sliding down a wall and you pretty much have it. In the case of Gravity vs Nudwear, Gravity wins. For my self-esteem, I must now erase the memory of my reflection from my brain.

It’s worth saying that the adhesive bra get’s stellar reviews from smaller busted girls – I suspect if you don’t need huge amounts of support it’s a useful little tool for tricky dresses – not to mention a nifty solution for holiday packing. Having just carted three weeks’ worth of G-cup bras across America I have huge envy for girls who don’t need half a suitcase for their smalls. My strapless bras practically need their own passport.

Thanks to Nudwear for the sample and the optimism – for a moment I did dare to dream. And in spite of the disappointment, I had almost the polar opposite experience with some of their shapewear tech – so look out for a review coming soon.

The Nud adhesive bra retails at around $40 and is available in cup sizes A-D.

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HMB4J: my new bra size is killing me!

What happens when a bra fitting experience turns in to a daily nightmare?

Help Me Busts 4 Justice

I was recently fitted in a specialty store from my old size of 36B into a 32D. I was informed that I was wearing a hilariously incorrect size and learned the swoop and scoop (not generally taught to smaller busted women, in my experience). I tried on a bunch of bras ranging from 34C-32DD, and the fitter said the 32D was the best size for me.

Here’s the problem: it’s incredibly uncomfortable. The fitter explained that the smaller band may take a little getting used to but I want to rip this bra off my body every time I put it on. The wires don’t appear to be sitting on top of breast tissue, but they dig in and I can feel them all day. The cups will occasionally move out of place, if for example I reach both hands up above my head, but are impossible to move back without grabbing the cups with my hands and hauling them back down. I have red marks around my torso, chest and shoulders when I take the bra off and my breasts feel tender. I feel like I suddenly have all these problems I’ve heard women with large breasts complain about, but it’s ridiculous because I’m small enough that I don’t even need to wear a bra. 

I know it sounds like the obvious answer is a smaller band and a bigger cup, but the one I bought is so tight and uncomfortable I’m terrified to go any smaller in the band. It’s not a cheap bra either, it’s a Marie Jo. My underbust measures 31″ with the tape measure pulled tight, 32″ comfortably, and over bust is 36.5″. How do I get justice for my bust?


Hey K,

Thanks for your e-mail – and sorry to hear your bust appears to be suffering an injustice at the hands of a zealous bra fitter!

While I do know that many women, especially those with heavier breasts, benefit from wearing tighter bras and the method promoted by your fitter – your fitter seems to have forgotten a massively important part of her job: measurements are only one part of the puzzle, and the only ‘right’ bra is the one that the wearer loves.

It’s true that tighter bras do take some getting used to, but usually that means a couple of days before you forget it’s there totally from one end of the day to the next. From your description, it seems clear that your bra is far too tight. While red marks in themselves aren’t anything to worry about (think about when you take your tights off), pain is – and you don’t have to suffer it because a fitter tells you it’s right!

This could be down to a few things. Firstly, your Marie Jo could run very tight in the band, in which case 32D may indeed work for you in other brands. Secondly, your body type might just not get on with tighter bands. This is often the case with muscular body types, and also women with prominent ribs – in which case you could try sister size 34C for a better match. Ultimately, all three bra sizes – 32D, 34C and your old 36B have the same equivalent volume – it’s about what gives you the support you want and the comfort you need.

Assuming you don’t want to go back to the torture dungeon, here are some things to look out for when trying on bras yourself.

1: Sizing (unfortunately) is not standardized. A 32D in Marie Jo may not fit the same as a 32D in, say, Freya. Always take multiple sizes in to the changing room and don’t be afraid to veer from your ‘starter size’ if the fits not right. Most women have multiple sizes in their lingerie draw.

2: After ‘swooping and scooping’, adjust the straps to fit. They should not slip, but they should never be tight or dig in to your shoulders at all – it sounds as if you may have your Marie Jo straps pulled far too tight (or, if you are tall, the Marie Jo straps may be far too short). This could explain why your cups have been moving up so much (and staying there!).

3: Check the band. It should be horizontal and remain so as you move around. It should be firm but not uncomfortable. You should be able to get two fingers under the clasp and pull away an inch quite comfortably. The centre gore at the front should sit flat against the body – it sitting away could mean your cups are too small and/or your band is too loose.

4: Check the cups. The wire should track along underneath where your breast meets your torso, and it should not sit on the breast tissue anywhere. Cups should sit smoothly at the top of the breast, and not dig in (too small) nor pucker/gape (too big).

When trying alternate sizes, when going up a band size always go down a cup size (and vice versa) to get equivalent volume.

I hope this helps you navigate your way to the right bra. Remember, ultimately finding the right bra comes down to your preference and what personally feels right for you while giving you the support you want.

Good luck, and let me know how you get on!

Love from B4J x

Posted in Busts 4 Justice, War on Plus Four | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Deja vu: Tease by Figleaves Boudoir seems familiar…

Figleaves Boudoir Tease

Weird. In a recent review of Curvy Kate’s Roxie I said I didn’t miss their Showgirl range. But it would seem however that Figleaves did – because while Tease Me is gone, Tease is back – reanimated by Figleaves Boudoir for 2014.

To be fair to Figleaves it’s not a carbon copy and I suspect (hope) the name is just a coincidence. But the jewel tones, fussy lace overlay, and odd frills that refuse to rest happily under clothes mean that Tease has me flashing back to everything I didn’t like about the hugely popular range by Curvy Kate. Those mourning Showgirl’s disappearance, take note…

It’s worth saying that this bra gets stellar reviews on Figleaves’ website, from girls who are also a 30G. But I really did not get on with this it. Like other reviewers, I found the back too tight, but this effect was exacerbated by the super skinny two-hook fastening which – dropping from quite a tall side cup – forced the back band in to quite a sharp angle and to dig in. It’s also small in the front, which comes with the dual bonus of thrusting one’s cleavage chinwards and over-emphasising the only partially attached lace underneath clothes. I suppose if I liked the bra more I might try a 32G, but the plain truth is this bra does nothing for me. It’s much prettier and delicate on this model (and presumably, in a smaller size) in the flesh. On, I just felt like I was in raggedy showgirl fancy dress. And for a bra that retails at nearly £50, that’s not good enough for me.

Figleaves Boudoir’s Tease is available in sizes 30B-36G. I have to say: Curvy Kate did it better.

Photo from Figleaves.com

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I’ve got Fever: Freya’s classic bikini reviewed

Freya Fever BikiniI’ve recommended Freya’s staple swim range Fever countless times. Simple, understated, and stylish, it’s an easy basic for girls who shy away from patterns, or who want a one-piece with a bit of extra p-pow. That said – always distracted by patterns – I’ve never actually tried her myself.

I’m glad to say I haven’t been recommending a turkey. I’m a big fan of Freya Swim – I haven’t found a swimwear brand that fits or suits me so well, and their ever-expanding ranges have a huge variety of sizes and styles for all tastes. The Fever sweetheart/balconette bikini is no exception. She’s nice and firm in the back (something you want if like me you’re not a sit-down-and-sunbathe-for-eight-hours-solid kind of a girl). She is ever so slightly big at the tip of the cup, but with fully adjustable straps this is easily resolved without any telltale puckering. She’s also very slightly padded, which is a nice extra layer of modesty/structural integrity for the nervous. Fit wise, she’s great.

And I love that Fever is more special than your average black swimwear. The subtle black stitching and retro style fold and button detail makes it more pool-bar special than your average sports combo, but without being too ostentatious for girls who like to be understated. Constantly reinvented in new colourways, Fever is already a classic and a great staple for any sunshine holiday wardroble.

The Freya Fever sweetheart bikini is available in sizes 30-36 D-GG and 38 D-G… however, Fever runs up to a JJ cup in the plunge style for those with more up top.

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“The Sexy Lie”

I wanted to share this provocative TEDxYouth talk by Caroline Heldmen for a little bit of Sunday smarts. It’s an interesting data led discourse on “objectification culture”, especially self-objectification, and its ability to limit the potential of girls and women.

It’s not perfect and it’s quite radical – she’s speaking to a young, impressionable audience quite likely still in the miserable teenage vacuum of self-esteem (those were the days) – but as she removes her makeup on stage she let’s them know that they don’t have to worry about matching up to an impossible ideal, and challenges them to think about how to make a better world. I think for young women today it’s an inspiring message. I know I wish it hadn’t taken until my late twenties to truly understand that I’d been trying to win at a game that was always rigged against me.

What do you think?

If you’re keen for more, check out model Cameron Russell’s funny and honest talk on how “Looks aren’t everything”. Genuinely inspiring on privilege and beauty. Enjoy.

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