Best sports bra ever finally takes gold.

Freya Lingerie Sports BraMega and totally overdue congratulations to my partners-in-bounce Freya for finally taking the first prize for their sports bras in the UK Lingerie Insight awards.

Freya’s underwired sports bras (moulded and non-moulded) are the only ones I trust to keep me supported and cushioned when I run/jump/climb trees. Sadly, a Figleaves shipping cock up means I’ve been making do with Panache’s much hyped but hopelessly incompatible with me sports bra for nearly two months now*. In fact, I write this message fresh from a Nike Training Club session in aforementioned nemesis. As if a drill called “stretch and burn” wasn’t painful enough…

I digress. I love these bras, Freya Active deserve huge recognition and possibly a Nobel prize for physics for getting me and G-Unit in to fitness. I have two replacements on their way, to be paired with these ultra rad Nike flash running leggings to get me back out on the road over Christmas.

Nike_Flash_Allyson_Felix_1_original

Freya Active forever!

*I’m not entirely sure why I am so incompatible with Panache’s sports bras. After extensive evaluation (and some tears) I think it’s too big for my torso. Even when I play with sizes, it comes up extremely high and cuts in to my under-arm muscles. Evil creation.

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All I want for Christmas…

I’ll be honest readers: I’m in a lingerie funk. 2014 has been awesome for a great many reasons, but frankly it’s been a personal low for my undercrackers.

It all started with my new job in March. I L-O-V-E my job. But my job has me living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time, first forcing me to make some hard style-vs-practicality choices, and then getting me stuck in bad habits.

Taking 7 lingerie sets for a week long meeting bonanza away from your husband isn’t a great use of your baggage allowance. So you start compromising: a couple of sets and some vaguely co-ordinated frillies from M&S’s 3 for 2 selection. Then you realise the bras you’ve chosen aren’t optimal for the mix of outfits you’ve packed, so you sub them out for some more basics – forgetting, perhaps, to even vaguely co-ordinate with the bottoms. Before you know it your packed lingerie selection looks as mish-mashed as an end-of-season bargain bucket and… worse… you’ve even stopped caring.

Well, enough. Lingerie has always been my thing- and right now I’m a mess. My lingerie’s all over the place and – probably no coincidence – I feel pretty crap about my body. I need a make-over (make-under?) in the smalls department. And I need it fast.

Desperately seeking: pretty, flexible and practical lingerie sets with non-aggressive cleavages, low center gores, and non-VPL making pants. Santa, I’ve actually been pretty good this year. Help a sister out?

layla in black by miss mandalay

Layla by Miss Mandalay

Lilliana by Tutti Rouge

That green! Lilliana by Tutti Rouge

Bravissimo DixieI know this is boring but that colour makes me feel all Disney inside. Dixie by Bravissimo.

PANSY-MIDNIGHT-UNDERWIRED-PLUNGE-BALCONY-BRA-1681-1682-BRIEF-1685 (1)

I just want a butt covered in pansies. Pansy by Freya.

What is my list missing? I need you, lingerie elves!

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Victoria’s Secret has the perfect body (but it’s not yours)

victorias-secret-perfect-body-campaign-1414684193

That Victoria’s Secret would plaster “The Perfect Body” over ten very thin women in an advert can come as no surprise to anyone. This is a brand who have previously retouched the very butt cheeks out of their already uniformly thin models. They are not known for their dedication to diversity (even in haircut, let alone size) or promoting body confidence.

But as jaded as I am, Victoria’s Secret is still a $5bn business and an American icon that is now aggressively forcing its way on to European high streets. As much as I loathe it, they are an aspirational brand for millions of women – especially young women. This truth has prompted a petition of nearly 20,000 people calling for Victoria’s Secret to stop promoting mostly unattainable standards of beauty in their marketing. #iamperfect argues that Victoria’s Secret should be more responsible about the welfare of their customers and I am right behind them.

The problem is though – and I really hate being this negative – but I just don’t think Victoria’s Secret care. Victoria’s Secret was founded by a man, to make the lingerie shopping process more comfortable for men. This is a company that has got rich promoting a certain kind of thin, mostly white, long shiny haired, lipgloss pouted homogenous kind of sexy. That sentence alone tells you how much they care about women. Talk about unrealistic expectations of beauty: as if it wasn’t godawful enough to ignore the fact that we come in a multitude of shapes and colours, who would rationally believe it was possible to navigate long hair and lipgloss without inadvertently ending up with a beard?

This is not a company that gives a tiny crap about your self-esteem. Or your perfect fit. Or anything. Yes, petition them. Yes, use the hashtag. Yes, tell every woman you know how much they suck. But the only thing Victoria’s Secret will understand is the sound of our purses snapping firmly shut.

 

[Read more on why I HATE VICTORIA’S SECRET. Two years old. All still true.]

 

 

 

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When in Rome: Bestform reviewed

rome-balconette-black-bestform

So I have been travelling and working a lot, and with my brain super busy with all that it’s made some inexplicable decisions in other aspects of my life. I’ll abandon getting dressed half way through to write one e-mail, only to come round an hour later shivering and powering through my list of things to do. I have made some questionable style choices, not least cutting my own bangs (when will I learn, seriously?). And, when asked to review a bra for Bestform I chose a style not available in my size… from a brand who makes my size.

I have started running again for my sanity, so I am coming back in to the light…

But that still leaves me with a 32FF bra to review. Bestform are a 91 year old lingerie company, and while they definitely do a stalwart line in – let’s say – conservative basics, of late they’ve been pushing their brand forward with brighter colours and prettier patterns. They cater for a range of sizes from a 30 back and up to a J cup.

Which again, doesn’t really explain why, 30G and a fan of bright things, I requested a black 32FF Rome

Everything about Rome is classic. It’s decent quality, the full balconette offers good coverage and the wires perfectly encased my boobs. The “B” pendant on the centre gore may be a little much if your name isn’t, say, Beckie and you don’t write a blog called Busts 4 Justice, but no one’s named a bra after me yet so I’ll take what I can get.

The only problem is – just as with any bigger banded bra – is simple physics. With big boobs, it really doesn’t matter how well the cup fits if the band doesn’t anchor them to your body strongly enough; if your breasts are heavy their weight will pull the perfectly fitted cups away from your ribcage and you end up a jiggling mess. I – and many other women – need a tight band to keep everything in place. This is why the traditional +4 method fails so many fuller breasted women: heavier breasts simply need a stronger counterweight to keep them up. See, physics.

I won’t labour my struggles with this bra – especially as I’ve reviewed Bestform in my correct size before and found it to be a great fit. Ultimately in cup fit, quality, style – this bra is a decent basic. They just don’t happen to make it in my back size.

I’m not having a great streak in 2014. Need topick up some sizzlers to ride the year out with a bang…

Thanks to the kind people at Bestform for letting me try this bra: I can only apologise for my ordering insanity!

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Oops I… quite like Britney’s new lingerie line, actually

That Britney Spears has launched a lingerie line perhaps isn’t that surprising, though I’m sure that – pre click – the Internetz was looking forward to a good old LOL about a trashy lingerie line inspired by her Vegas residency.

Well haters, sorry: Britney Spears’ lingerie collection is actually pretty good… and it goes up to a (UK) GG cup. Woah!

So confession: I bloody love Britney. I turned eighteen dancing to a Britney megamix in a sweaty Bournemouth nightclub. I think she’s handled over a decade of public, messy breakups, mental health issues, and not-always-the-most-successful releases with remarkable dignity. And… aw hell, I don’t need to justify myself: it’s Britney, bitch! I think she’s awesome and hope this collection proves to be as good as it looks.

And how does it look? For the most part, it’s clean lines and simple designs. The Anenome Cage bra is definitely an homage to Marlies Dekkers (Britney’s a fan, she’s worn Dekkers on stage before).

I love the simplicity of the Angelika Lace Bra. Minky grey and pink = perfect.

And there are a couple of long line bralettes that I wouldn’t mind pretending I didn’t have G-cups for…

The collection is completed by cute knickers, a couple of basic and strapless options, and even a few chemises too. It’s surprising in its simplicity, and I love Ms Spears all the more for it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to Toxic in the bath.

First image by the mighty perezhilton.com. Lingerie detail shots from barenecessities.com, where you can pre-order the collection here.

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Jet set Odette: Parfait from Affinitas reviewed

Odette by Affinitas Parfait

My Odette has to go in to my lingerie hall of fame – not as another pretty, vintage-feel bra from Affinitas’ Parfait collection (which it is) – but as the most well travelled review item ever. This summer it has been to Sao Paulo, Boston, New York, London, back to Amsterdam, back to London and on to Sicily in the hope that I might have time on my travels to review it. I am nothing if not optimistic.

Although it ran a little small in the cup, I liked their Charlotte a lot [still available, review here] and I liked Odette too. It’s a simple floral number, and it gives a really nice 50’s style cleavage (think Betty Draper rather than Joan Harris). Fit wise, it could be snugger in the back – even post Sicilian Carb Binge it was loose. The cups are fractionally small though, so sizing down in the back would have sized me out of the range. Sad face. Greedily, I can’t wait for this lovely little establishing brand to branch out beyond its D-G range.

Unfortunately while the fit is nearly there, as is my eternal curse with balconette styles, the centre gore is a little taller than my flared and bony rib cage can hack for extended wear – especially on a band that can’t anchor steadfastly to my body. So after all of those intercontinental adventures this little treat will remain for now at home.

One quick note – as per Charlotte I absolutely love the pants. Affinitas are clearly knicker wizards. Flattering with soft lacy bits that don’t do their best to expose themselves through your clothing, these are cracking little undercrackers. Fit seems true to size, so unlike with Charlotte and her mind-meltingly matching bottoms you don’t need to size down. Enjoy!

Odette by Parfait from Affinitas is available in sizes 30-40 D-G.

Thanks very much to the kind people at Affinitas for the sample: I’m sorry it took about 10,000 air miles to get to print! xoxo

Photo from affinitasintimates.com (less retouching on the poor models for future lookbooks please!)

 

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What is up with Wonder Woman?

Photo via io9.com

Okay, so before I get back to lingerie reviews and feminism and the usual stuff, I have to first deal with a huge, unshakeable disappointment: the brand new Wonder Woman costume.

Ugh. Ignoring for a second that this is a near perfect imitation of fellow warrior princess Xena (as if WW needs to steal anyone’s style), does anyone believe that – under self-administered lasso of truth – Wonder Woman would thank her stylist?

Wonder Woman has flair! She has her own playful style! She has gold and red and high cut hotpants with stars on for the love of god. Sure, so much exposed flesh can’t be good in combat and she’d probably get cold in flight, but as every girl who has ever winced the night away in beautiful but evil heels will attest sometimes impractical is worth it if you love the outfit.

What this has done is strip Wonder Woman of her unique signature style and forced her to conform to the other warrior princesses’ fashions, but without the payoff of a more practical or comfortable outfit. Wonder Woman is an icon and a complete bad ass and apparently wandering around on the smouldering ruins of something pretty messy up there. You think she’d pass up something longer in the leg for BROWN?

Wonder-woman

 

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