Modelled by Role Models

Panache Lingerie Modelled by Role Models

“I like to think there’s so much more to me than just the way I look – Marquita Pring.

There is a lot of nonsense in marketing. I should know: it’s my job. And as I’ve often written (i.e here), I am frequently infuriated by heartstring-tugging commercials espousing “empowering” “real beauty” messages whilst simultaneously hawking products (underarm beautifying deodorant anyone?) that perpetuate our feelings of inadequacy.

I’m pretty cynical about this kind of advertising, but this month Panache Lingerie have punched through my skepticism with the very amazing “Modelled by Role Models” campaign. This new campaign doesn’t just celebrate a diverse range of beauty (age, ethnicity, disability), but it showcases the women inside the pants. And what women they are:

Amy Hughes: sports therapist and world record breaking marathon runner

Martyna Kaczmarek: 19 year old campaigner for blood, marrow and organ donations

Mica Paris: soul legend and prolific charity ambassador and equality campaigner

Rachel Elliott: A&E nurse who volunteered in the Sierra Leone ebola outbreak

Hannah Cockroft MBE: world record breaking paralympian

Marquita Pring: model, body confidence mentor

The campaign is as much about celebrating these (and your personal) role models as it is the (lovely) lingerie on them. I doubt Panache has either the gimmicks or the media budget to make this the same sort of ubiquitous, award winning success other brands playing in this (*ahem*) real beauty space will – but it’s a brilliant campaign with real integrity. And that’s not something you see every day.

 

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Voting blue: Parfait by Affinitas’s Casey reviewed

Parfait by Affinitas Intimates - Casey

Oh it’s nice to be back in London. I loved Amsterdam, but London by the river in the sunshine is home. And it’s nice to know I’m surrounded by hundreds of lingerie shops that stock my back size. I say it’s nice to know, but haven’t actually made it inside any of them. Between working and moving and catching up with people, I haven’t made it near a changing room.

This wouldn’t be a problem were I not mid-international move and, as before in 2011, seriously limited on my usual lingerie stash. With most of my bras in Amsterdam I’m heavily rotating a few classics – meaning I’m missing variety and (let’s face it) accelerating the death of some of my favourite bras through over wear.

To the rescue came Affinitas Intimates – who sent me Parfait’s Casey plunge in a 30G. I haven’t been feeling particularly generous to the Blues this week, but Casey’s near-lilacy hues are much more my cup of tea than right wing politics *winds neck in*.

Casey is a soft moulded plunge bra, similar to Freya’s Deco, with a lace sling for detail on the cups making it a little bit more special than a basic t-shirt bra. My usual 30G fit nicely, although the narrow centre gore couldn’t quite stay fixed to my rib cage on the loosest back hook. This is consistent with how I find Freya’s Deco sizing too though, so I think fans can wear their usual size.

Unlike the Deco it has nearly a centimetre of cushioned trim underneath the cups which I quite liked, and on F+ cups it also has three hooks at the back instead of Deco’s if you prefer that extra security. So far so good.

The cup is similar with two notable exceptions. One, the straps (skinny and satin – rare in a G cup) are fractionally further apart than the Deco making this an excellent alternative for broader shoulders. And two, the cup at the center gore is cuts away fractionally lower. Aesthetically this looked great – gives a lovely rounded cleavage – but it did mean my slightly bigger right boob half wriggled free when I cleaned the floor.

Ah well. Who wears deep deep push up bras to clean the floor anyway? A lovely little option, available now from, well, all over the place – also in black, beige, fuchsia rose and a black and rose print in sizes 30-40 D-G.

[Also from Affinitas: Charlotte and Odette reviewed.]

 

 

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Busts 4 Justice is back to Blighty!

Happy to announce that Busts 4 Justice’s recent hiatus has been Major Life Decision induced. I’m relocating to London from Amsterdam this weekend for some new adventures… and B4J is BACK.

I’m going to miss Amsterdam and the wonderful people we’ve met here. But for selfish, boob related purposes I can’t wait to get back to a city with a thriving lingerie scene, 30 back bras all over the place, and the motherships of some of my favourite brands.

Hurrah!

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The new Fauve? Fantasie’s Melissa Reviewed

MELISSA-BLACK-UNDERWIRED-SIDE-SUPPORT-PLUNGE-BRA-2932-BRIEF-2935

So as promised, hot on the heels of the announcement that Fauve fans could now only find their fix of beautiful luxe lingerie from sister brands Fantasie and Wacoal, I have my first Fantasie set of 2015 in my paws. How does Melissa compare next to the satiny comfort of its soon to be departed sister?

Welllll… On the model, Melissa is a perfect example of classic, elegant, grown up lingerie. So far, so very Fauve. Subtle sheer fabric, ornate lacing, tasteful non-VPL-inducing knickers. It’s no Bronte, sure (what set ever will be?) but it’s beautiful and simple and right up my alley.

Fit wise she’s great too. My normal 30G worked just fine, and she gave a lovely cleavage – subtle, not pushed up or too east-west. Technically, I should be excited.

Except, however lovely she looks and fits, Melissa feels… cheap. And she’s not. At £41/$75 she’s at the upper end of the high-street lingerie scale, but the meshing felt rough – not at all what I would expect from the heir to Fauve’s throne. I can forgive that on actual economy lingerie – such as Figleaves’ own brands – but for that price point I want something soft and special.

To be fair, Fauve just vanished so perhaps this is isn’t quite a fair fight. But I know I and others will be watching Fantasie with interest over the coming months. Can it live up to the legacy of her older sister?

Fantasie’s Melissa is available in sizes 30-32 D-GG, 34-38 C-GG, and 40 D-G.

 

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Help Me Busts 4 Justice : I can’t afford my new bra size

Tangled up bras

Finding the perfect bra size can be life changing, but what happens if you can’t afford your new bra size?

Help me Busts 4 Justice!

Hello, I found this blog while searching for bra sizing charts. The whole ordeal is dizzying. For most of my boob life I’ve worn ill fitting uncomfortable bras. That changed when I gave my cousin a farewell hug and she asked if I was wearing a bra…. I went to the department store to get sized, the lady said I was a 36 B, even though the bras I tried were just obviously not right. My boobs got blamed. After many countless hours of research on the internet I found a more accurate size but they don’t carry it in department stores AT ALL. Now I’m struggling to find decently priced bras in my size that are comfortable and supportive. The only place I can go is online and with international shipping and conversion fees on my credit card I’m starting to feel desperate. Most  brands that carry my size, UK 30 F, US 30 G  are between 60-120 dollars. I’m really frustrated.

N

Hi N,

I’m so glad that you’ve managed to find a better bra size, and I certainly feel your pain on cost. I find it staggering that the US is so far behind Europe in servicing fuller cups. But there are a couple of tricks you can try to make your money go further:

1: Nordstrom Rack – bargains to be had and they do carry European DD+ brands. I always check it out when I’m in the States.

2: E-bay – you’re not alone: there are loads of women in America struggling with the same thing. Often it’s cheaper to sell things on e-bay that don’t fit rather than shipping them back

3: Check out sites that do deliver for free internationally. Large Cup Lingerie is a great example, and I think Figleaves.com should too (they always have free shipping and 20% discount offers, so worth following). There are also really amazing bargains to be had in the sales at the moment.

What I would also say is that with bigger breasts it is worth paying a little extra for quality, but you can dramatically increase the life of your bras by caring for them kindly. Your bras should never see the inside of a washing machine or dryer. I am pretty lazy, so I wash mine when I’m in the shower with some gentle shampoo. Always let them air dry, keep them off radiators. All these tricks keep the elastic from deteriorating and so extend the life of the bra dramatically – meaning your investment goes a lot further.

Thanks for your e-mail, and I really hope this helps. Good luck!

Love from B4J x

What say you readers? What are your top tips for bigger bra shopping on a budget? Let us know below and help N replace her lingerie wardrobe with her perfect fit.

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Farewell Fauve

Fauve Bronte Longline BraLast week, Wacoal Eveden fans received a quiet farewell from Freya and Fantasie’s sister brand Fauve. Fauve is no more, and fans are asked to turn to Fantasie or Wacoal for their luxe lingerie needs.

I’m a little sad about this passing. If Fauve were a sister, she was more sophisticated and more glamorous than the other brands could hope to be. Sumptuous designs and fabrics, beautiful styles; Fauve had a grown-up elegance I am definitely yet to achieve.

She wasn’t perfect though. Although she looked stunning (I maintain that Fauve’s Bronte – above – is one of the most beautiful creations ever committed to G-Cup), her sizing could be inconsistent and she never braved it past a G Cup. If Fauve’s dissolution means Fauve style luxury up to a K cup (as promised by the e-mail) then that is one fantastic silver lining.

We can hope. I’ve not yet tried Wacoal (it is very high on my list to explore) but I’m very curious about how this will steer the previously inconsistent Fantasie. It’s veered from frumpy to fantastic and back again, often murderously high on my (yes, this again) bony sternum. And stranger for a brand hoping to pick up where another luxe one left off, the latest of theirs I’ve tried (Melissa in Black, review coming this week) is… well, it feels a bit cheap and scratchy.

We can but wait and see. In the meantime, I’m crossing everything. And pausing for a moment to reflect on Bronte: the most perfect bra I never owned. If Wacoal or Fantasie could successfully re-animate her, they’d have me for life.

 

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New Year Firecracker: Curvy Kate plunge bra reviewed

Curvy Kate Firecracker Plunge Bra

A perfect fit is much more nuanced than a letter and a number. Being full up top or full up bottom, having wide set breasts or ones that sit close together – these are all perfectly normal variations that will mean your perfect fit is different from someone else with the same bra size. For me, it’s the shape of my rib cage. It’s bony and it flares at the bottom.

This is not something you would notice, or not something that remotely bothers me. It just is. And specifically, it is the reason that many balconette bras don’t work for me. It’s a bummer because I love balconette styles, but anything with too tall a centre gore won’t sit properly on my sternum and after a few short minutes of wear I’m tearing it from my body.

Which is why Curvy Kate’s Firecracker leaped off the screen and in to my basket. It’s a deep, deep plunge bra – but with a lace detail and shape that makes it for everyday that for show-stopping cleavage moments.

In my usual 30G I found it fractionally big in the cup which made the lace baggy, but after adjusting the straps it wasn’t really noticeable. The 3-hook back was nice and firm. My only gripe was the feel of it. CK describe the cup as being “laminated for firm support”, which it certainly does give – but it feels a little plasticky with it. I also struggle with the matching undercracker options – I love a frill as much as the next girl, but I also need knickers that don’t give me VPL at 20 paces.

On balance, though it’s not for me Firecracker really is a really good bra – it gives a flattering, subtle cleavage with a great, comfortable support. It’s also dirt cheap over on Brastop right now, if you’re looking for a bargain…

More of this shape in future, Curvy Kate!

 

Photo borrowed from Brastop.com

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