Tag Archives: Bra

Intimate Insight: Investing in My Chest by Enid

2 Apr

“Buying a phone’s a big deal.  I mean, think about how long you’ll have this thing.  It’s like buying a car or a bra.”
She snaps her bra strap.
“Eight years, man.”
– Zooey Deschanel on New Girl

There are two things my mother tried to instill in me when it came to money – the importance of living within your means and, when it comes to certain items, cheaper is not always better.  The first lesson took me a long time to learn.  As for the second lesson, at the time, my mother was explaining why she was spending so much money for Le Creuset cookware and a Kitchenaid food processor.  She felt it was worth it to spend more money for something dependable and that would work better than it’s cheaper cousin.

For the longest time I’ve always tried to go the cheap route when it comes to clothes to keep within my means.  And for the longest time I saw purchasing a bra as no different from purchasing underwear.  Just something there to wear under your clothes until you wear it out and find another one.  And the marks on my shoulders from the straps digging in, the constant adjusting, the boob seepage underneath the bra and the lack of support were just considered par for the course for a full figured gal like myself.

Since starting these reviews for Moira and learning everything she and other women in her field have taught me, I’ve realized that buying a bra is not like buying any other piece of clothing.  Buying a bra when you have large breasts is more equivalent to buying a pair of running shoes.  Sure, you can go cheap.  And then you can suffer from nerve damage in your leg and sciatica like I did when I started running in cheap shoes that, despite the fancy name brand, turned out to have no arch support whatsoever.

When you go to a good shoe store to get running shoes, they don’t just throw you a pair and say, “Here you go.”  You try them on, go running around the block in them, try on a couple different pairs until you find one that fits comfortably, feels good and gives you the support you need.  And often you may find that the right pair is going to be about $100, but it’s totally worth the investment.  I’ve discovered recently that it can be the same for bras.

When I first found myself paying $60 for some of these bras, I went through some sticker shock.  Having always been used to keeping my apparel purchases to $30 and under, it seemed absurd to pay so much.  But these amazing bras fit well and gave me great support and it was worth the investment to feel comfortable and look good.  But to pay over $100?  No way!!

Well, maybe…

Prima Donna Deauville Full Cup Underwire Bra

I was fortunate enough to have been given a lovely Prima Donna Deauville bra recently.  I about choked when I saw the $138 sticker price.  Craziness!  Who would pay that much for a bra?  Well, it turns out I would now.  I have to say that out of all the bras I have, I live in my Prima Donna bra the most.  Not just as everyday wear, but I get more support from that bra than any of my sports bras.  Thought it’s definitely a fancier bra, I always wear it when I go cycling since I never have to worry about an errant boob knocking me in the face when I hit a bump in the road.

And it looks gorgeous!  I have a couple tops that I’ll wear with it that give just a little peak of the lace pattern when I go out with my girlfriends just to feel a little sexy and flirty.  So often it seems that I have to choose between pretty and functional when bra shopping, but with this one I get both in one amazing package.

So while I will still be looking for more affordable styles, I don’t mind saving up to splurge on a couple more Prima Donna bras because they are so worth the investment.  Because every woman deserves at least one amazing bra that makes her feel and look gorgeous.

Resources:

www.Prima-Donna-Bras.com

You’re Invited: “Let’s Get Intimate” Intimate Affair Trunk Show featuring Dirty Dolls Lingerie and Campbell & Kate Classic Shirts

26 Mar

Bra La Mode and VMV Hypoallergenics are co-hosting “Let’s Get Intimate” Intimate Affair Trunk Show featuring Dirty Dolls Lingerie and Campbell & Kate Classic Shirts on Friday, April 13, 2012 from 2pm – 8pm at VMV Hypoallergenics boutique at 868 Broadway, NYC.  Happy Hour will be from 4pm – 8pm.

The in-store Intimate Affair will feature the latest intimate apparel designs from the acclaimed, NY-based lingerie brand Dirty Dolls Lingerie and the iconic button-front white shirts from the NY-based clothing company, Campbell & Kate.  Merchandise from the two brands will be available for purchase at up to 80% off the original retail prices.

The event is being held in the upscale VMV Hypoallergenics boutique and spa where free makeovers will be offered while guests enjoy champagne and other treats such as cheese & crackers, fruit and chocolates.  In addition, free samples will be provided, VIP VMV gift bags will be distributed and all guests can expect a free gift with purchase courtesy of VMV (valued at over $30.)

Inspired by the vintage under-things worn by the starlets of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dirty Dolls Lingerie is bringing glamour back into the everyday.  This line of beautiful underpinnings caters to women who wear hard-to-find sizes. The bra range starts at a 28C and goes up to a G cup. The full collection includes body shapers, panties, tap pants, and garter belts—all which look and feel fabulously sexy under any outfit.

Campbell & Kate ships iconic white shirts across the globe to women who wear a bra cup size D-H and dress size 2-16.  In perfecting the classic white shirt, the company has paid painstaking attention to the issues that matter to the woman with a large bust, including proportionate sizing between the bust, waist and shoulders, and gap-free closure at the bust.  The classic white shirt is the first of the line to launch with other colors to follow in fall 2012. 

Guests are encouraged to RSVP for the festive, in-store shopping event: www.letsgetskintimate.eventbrite.com

www.vmvhypoallergenics.com

www.dirtydollslingerie.com

www.campbellandkate.com

#IntimateAffair

You’re Invited: The Dirty Dolls Exhibit Pinstripe Pin-Up Collection

21 Feb

Dirty Dolls Lingerie has already made a huge splash with its classic line, which features luxuriously styled bras in hard-to-find sizes, as well as exquisite panties and shapers.  Now the budding company is spicing things up again with its vaudeville-inspired Pinstripe Pin-Up collection.

The new collection features design elements such as bold stripes and playful bows that were influenced by the ladies of the Ziegfeld Follies.  These beautiful chorus women, commonly known as Ziegfeld Girls, wore stunning costumes and exuded pure glamour.  The Dolls’ latest offerings pay homage to these sexy icons.

The centerpiece of the new collection is the Pinstripe Pin-Up brassiere.  This is available in sizes 28C through 38G.  The coordinating panty options are either a sultry power-mesh shaping panty with removable garters, or a provocative string thong.  All of these lovely under-things create a flattering and smooth look beneath any sort of garment, from a sharp business suit to a flirty party dress. 

View the collection at The Intimate Apparel Boutique Lingerie Show today through Thursday.

Intimate Affair: Bare Necessities…. Always ‘Ahead of the Curve’

10 Feb

Bare Necessities Launches BarePlus for Curvy Girls Just Like Us!

Today, everyone in the Intimate Apparel industry is familiar with BareNecessities.com.  But I grew up with them.  The company was around long before they were a dot com.  Initially, Bare Necessities was a well established family-run, brick-and-mortar retailer with a few boutiques in central New Jersey.  I remember them as the intimate apparel store you visited if you needed specialty intimate apparel that couldn’t be found at my local Sears or at the Monmouth Mall.  My Mom took me to one of their shops for a strapless/backless bustier to wear to my junior prom.  Of course, that was ages ago…. (But I think I still have that fiber-fill “contraption” tucked away in a box along with the prom dress.)  Since launching as BareNecessities.com in 1998, they have emerged as the number one multi-brand online lingerie retailer.  And for good reason… they have always been ‘ahead of the curve.’ 

As a champion of curvy girls, I am pleased to announce that Bare Necessities launched a new online boutique designed specifically for curvy women called BarePlus by Bare Necessities.  And, I am honored to say that I was invited to attend their press conference at the Warwick Hotel in midtown Manhattan this afternoon where I received the news firsthand alongside fellow intimate apparel industry professionals, influential bloggers, publicists, media and press.  The theme of the event was “inclusion” for E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.

The announcement regarding BarePlus came along with news of a Curvy Fashion Show to be hitting Fashion Week in September 2012.  Jeff Grinstein, CEO of Jeff Grinstein Entertainment which is responsible for the Curvy Fashion Show, stated that the new fashion show will be a high-end couture show that is dedicated to serving the full-figure woman and that it will change Fashion Week forever.

BarePlus by Bare Necessities will feature more than 500 bras that fit sizes 38A – 56J, including everyday bras, sports bras, and sexy bra and panty sets.  The website, www.bareplus.com, will offer more than 1,000 styles of plus size lingerie, hosiery and swimwear, from 81 brands including Elomi, SPANX, Bali, Wacoal, Hanky Panky and Calvin Klein.

“The launch of BarePlus reinforces our commitment to serving the woman with curves,” said Jay Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer for Bare Necessities.  “The launch marks the beginning of our effort to build the best shopping experience for curvy women.  Over the next several months, you’ll see more features, photography representative of our customer, and exciting new products from the world’s best brands that you won’t find anywhere else.”

BarePlus marks the first major effort executed by Dunn since joining Bare Necessities in 2011 as its first Chief Marketing Officer.  Dunn came from Lane Bryant, where he had been the mastermind behind the landmark “Red Bra” ad campaign.  The advertisement, which ran on American Idol, featured a plus size model flaunting a sexy red bra and panty set and became a national sensation after it was initially banned by both ABC and Fox for showing too much cleavage. The controversy ignited a national debate regarding how curvy women are portrayed in the media.

Curvy Lingerie Models at BareNecessities Launch of BarePlusAt the Intimate Affair, Jay Dunn said that many curvy women are unaware of the vast number of brands available to them.  BarePlus brings all of the brands together in one place.  BarePlus.com and BareNecessities.com will coexist in a tabbed shopping environment, all with a shared shopping cart and checkout process.  Shoppers clicking on the BarePlus tab will see items available exclusively in plus sizes, with navigation and imagery tailored to the plus size product assortment.

Having worked in the intimate apparel industry for over a decade, I can say with confidence that BarePlus will be a true success.  And, as a curvy consumer, I know that there is certainly a demand for an intimate apparel site dedicated to serving the plus size woman. 

Bare Necessities….Always ‘Ahead of the Curve.’

About Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities is the second largest online lingerie retailer (only Victoria’s Secret is larger).  Launched in December 1998, Bare Necessities has sold more than 5 million bras, and also offers lingerie, shapewear, swimwear, sleepwear, hosiery and men’s underwear from more than 180 brands, including Calvin Klein, Wacoal, SPANX, Hanky Panky, Chantelle, Elomi and La Perla.

CEO Noah Wrubel, CMO Jay Dunn and Jeff Grinstein with Curvy Lingerie Models

Resources:

www.BareNecessities.com

www.BarePlus.com

Follow @BareNecessities & @BarePlus

www.CurvyFashionShow.com

Sponsors of today’s Intimate Affair and the upcoming Curvy Fashion Show include BloogLife and St. Elias Mines.

Intimate Insight: Backstage with Bra*Tenders

10 Jan

Alan and Lori Kaplan are very serious about the business of bras.  Their boutique, Bra*Tenders, is a quirky and vibrant shop with a Broadway-theme tucked inside The Film Center Building on Ninth Avenue in NYC’s Theater district.  This hidden gem is not your typical bra store.  There’s no store front.  Passersby would never know it was there.  Non-theatrical clients (civilians like you and me) are required to make an appointment.  And they do very little advertising.  They don’t need to….  Alan and Lori carved out their niche nearly thirty years ago and have maintained loyalty to the clients that supported them in those early days when they hand-delivered undergarments to Broadway Theater stage doors from their home in Brooklyn.  They have built their business by catering to “theatrical clients” in the entertainment industry.  Over the years they have provided undergarments, stockings and other unique intimate accessories (like the “Houdini” for men) to thousands of performers in showbiz. 

Bra*Tenders

Besides the occasional listing in a Playbill, Alan and Lori get little credit for the work they do.  But they have vowed to help all of their customers find the undergarments that help them look and feel their best.  This commitment to providing impeccable customer service sets them apart from other intimate apparel shops in the area.  They dedicate a full hour to every customer that comes through the door.  This is why non-theatrical clients are required to schedule an appointment.  Professional Fit Specialist, Cristal Gordon, sees a client every hour of every day, five to six days per week.  She says, “Every hour is a different boob; and that’s a lot of boob!”  Dedicating a full hour to every client ensures a loyal customer.  As Cristal says, “Finding the right bra isn’t an easy task.”  The unique store often sees brides-to-be looking for a solution-type undergarment to wear on that special day, full-busted and full-figure women that are “hard to fit,” and simply women that are struggling to find a great bra that fits properly and feels good.  The store has held private bridal parties, bachelorette parties and even “Bra-Mitzvahs!”  Bra*Tenders carries every brand imaginable including top-sellers such as Wacoal, Fantasie, Freya, Chantelle, Panache, Cleo, Le Mystere, Simone Perele, The Little Bra Company, and b’temptd.

Bra*Tenders- Racks & Racks of Bras

Although this is plenty to keep any lingerie aficionado satisfied, what really intrigues me about Bra*Tenders is what goes on “behind the scenes.”  Bra*Tenders has a team devoted to filling orders for the shop’s theatrical clients.  Wardrobe supervisors and costume designers are not required to make an appointment.  They often walk in with a cast list as long as your arm.  They provide the Bra*Tenders staff with their requirements and a list of measurements and the team gets to work filling the order.  Behind the “stage door” are racks and racks of bras and other specialty undergarments and accessories.  And there are half a dozen people picking and packing undergarments for shipment or hand delivery to theaters and studios around the globe.  Bra*Tenders has such strong relationships with their theatrical clients that they often send out garments on “memo.”  This means that the staff will select a handful of styles and sizes that they think will suit the performer.  They messenger the garments to the client.  She (or he) tries on the assorted styles and picks the best ones.  Then, they return the balance.  The cast members never have to set foot in the store!  And, Bra*Tenders keeps track of each performer’s prior purchases and sizes.  So when they’re performing in their next show, the wardrobe supervisor simply asks Bra*Tenders to check their records.  This level of service is unheard of in the fast-paced environment we’ve all grown accustomed to.  But Lori says, “Our theatrical clients come before everything else.  I don’t know how to do it any other way.”  I can see why the Kaplan’s have dedicated their business to serving this unique client…..  A typical performer goes through a dozen pairs of pantyhose a week!  By providing undergarments to theater, television and film, Alan and Lori have built a “Broadway Bra Empire.”  Further attesting to their dedication, although the shop is only open from 10am-6pm, Alan and Lori are available 24 hours a day to solve a costume emergency or wardrobe malfunction.

This highly unique bra boutique will play the role of “host” in Bra La Mode’s Debut Intimate Affair on Sunday, January 29, 2012 from noon to 4pm.  The in-store bra fit event will provide women of all ages, shapes, and sizes the opportunity to receive a free bra fitting as well as education on the importance of a proper fit courtesy of Bra*Tenders. Various designers, authors, photographers, and “Bra-lebrities” will also be on hand to showcase everything from newly released books to the classic white work shirt.  Attendees will snack on champagne and cupcakes while they mix and mingle with the hottest lingerie professionals in the New York area. The event is sponsored in collaboration with the world- renowned French lingerie brand, Chantelle Paris, and in association with the leading lingerie trade publication, The Lingerie Journal. 

The event will include a trunk show by Darlene Campbell of the full-busted clothing company Campbell and Kate.  Darlene will be showcasing her innovative“CEO Shirt for the D.E.F. Woman” which ensures that all women can own a classic white shirt that fits them beautifully all over.  Author and bra-fit expert Ali Cudby will be signing copies of her recently released book “Busted: The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras that Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic.”  Professional photographer Michael Steele who is known for “capturing the female form” will be snapping candid shots of guests enjoying the soiree.  Guests will be treated to champagne and cupcakes courtesy of M Squared Sweet and Chic Treats.  All sponsors of the event have generously contributed product for giveaways and/or gifts with purchase.

The highlight of the Intimate Affair will be the raffle for a Grand Prize basket that is estimated as having a value of over $600.  Contributors to the raffle prize include Bra La Mode, Chantelle Paris, The Lingerie Journal, Campbell and Kate, author Ali Cudby, Ann Deal of Fashion Forms, international intimate apparel brand Anita, photographer Michael Steele, and “Bra-lebrity” Jene’ Luciani.  Additional sponsors of the event include the wholesale buying platform Monkey N Middle and guitarist Alan Brace.  All guests at the event will receive one entry into the raffle and guests that make a purchase of a bra at the event will receive a second entry into the raffle. Attendees can purchase a third entry for the raffle by donating to pediatric rehabilitation at a prominent NYC medical center, supporting the non-profit Intimate Apparel Square Club and their fundraising efforts.

Guests are encouraged to RSVP for the Intimate Affair at: www.bralamode.eventbrite.com

Bra*Tenders resident feline "Phineas" at the "Bra Bar"

Bra*Tenders is located at:

630 Ninth Avenue at 44th Street, Suite # 601

New York City, NY

You’re Invited: Bra La Mode’s Debut Intimate Affair

6 Jan


I am very pleased to announce Bra La Mode’s Debut Intimate Affair!  All Bra La Mode readers are welcome to attend….


The Intimate Affair
­ — an in-store Bra Fit Event on January 29, 2012 from noon to 4pm. The event will provide women of all ages, shapes, and sizes the opportunity to receive a free bra fitting in an exclusive appointment-only environment as well as education on the importance of a proper fit courtesy of Bra*Tenders. Various designers, authors, photographers, and “Bra-lebrities” will also be on hand to showcase everything from newly released books to the classic white work shirt.  Attendees will snack on champagne and cupcakes while they mix and mingle with the hottest lingerie professionals in the New York area. The event will be held at the uniquely fabulous appointment-only Bra*Tenders, and is sponsored in collaboration with the world- renowned French lingerie brand, Chantelle Paris, and in association with the leading lingerie trade publication, The Lingerie Journal.

The event will include a trunk show by Darlene Campbell of the full-busted clothing company Campbell and Kate.  Darlene will be showcasing her innovative“CEO Shirt for the D.E.F. Woman” which ensures that all women can own a classic white shirt that fits them beautifully all over.  Author and bra-fit expert Ali Cudby will be signing copies of her recently released book “Busted: The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras that Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic.”  Professional photographer Michael Steele who is known for “capturing the female form” will be snapping candid shots of guests enjoying the soiree.  Guests will be treated to champagne and cupcakes courtesy of M Squared Sweet and Chic Treats.  All sponsors of the event have generously contributed product for giveaways and/or gifts with purchase.

The highlight of the Intimate Affair will be the raffle for a Grand Prize basket that is estimated as having a value of over $600.  Contributors to the raffle prize include Bra La Mode, Chantelle Paris, The Lingerie Journal, Campbell and Kate, author Ali Cudby, Ann Deal of Fashion Forms, international intimate apparel brand Anita, photographer Michael Steele, and “Bra-lebrity” Jené Luciani.  Additional sponsors of the event include the wholesale buying platform Monkey N Middle and guitarist Alan Brace.  All guests at the event will receive one entry into the raffle and guests that make a purchase of a bra at the event will receive a second entry into the raffle. Attendees can purchase a third entry for the raffle by donating to pediatric rehabilitation at a prominent NYC medical center, supporting the non-profit Intimate Apparel Square Club and their fundraising efforts.

Moira Nelson is a proud member of the non-profit Intimate Apparel Square Club (IASC) and works hard to promote the organization’s work.  The IASC raises funds to support a variety of charitable organizations, with pediatric rehabilitation and treatment being the primary beneficiary of its fundraising activities. The IASC’s annual fundraiser, the H.U.G. (Help Us Give) Award is presented to well-respected, high-profile companies, organizations and individuals at the IASC’s annual gala fundraiser in support of pediatric rehabilitation.  Ann Deal of Fashion Forms was the 2011 H.U.G. Award recipient.  Ann has made a very generous contribution to this bra fit event.  At Bra La Mode’s debut Intimate Affair, guests will be invited to make a monetary donation to support the “Kids.”

When asked about Bra La Mode’s recent foray into live events, Moira Nelson said, “I am really excited about Bra La Mode’s upcoming debut Intimate Affair.  I have been writing intimate apparel industry event reports on Bra La Mode for several months now– providing my readers with an intimate look inside the glittery world of lingerie!  It only seemed natural that Bra La Mode should start hosting or sponsoring her own Intimate Affairs.  Leveraging my relationships in the industry, I have assembled a great line-up of sponsors and participants.  Everyone was thrilled to have been invited to participate in the Intimate Affair.  I couldn’t be more pleased and really look forward to bringing together consumers, intimate apparel professionals, independent lingerie designers, influential lingerie bloggers, public relations reps, press and media as well as “Bra-lebrities!”

Guests are encouraged to RSVP for the Intimate Affair at: www.bralamode.eventbrite.com.

More About Bra*Tenders:

Bra*Tenders is one of the most exclusive and experienced lingerie shops in New York. Their cozy and colorful shop contains thousands of styles and brands of undergarments. Aside from their expertise in theatrical, bridal, and full-busted custom-fittings and sales, every woman can find products that will undoubtedly enhance her figure and make that little black dress look 1000 times sexier. In addition to walls and racks filled with every type of bra imaginable, Bra*Tenders has an overflowing stockroom containing a plethora of panties, accessories, and hosiery ranging in prices from $5 to $175.  Co-founders and co-owners Alan and Lori Kaplan put it best. “We’ve never let a customer walk out of Bra*Tenders without the right-fitting bra for her body”, they say, “and we never will. It’s our sincere vow to help you find the undergarments you need to look and feel your best.”

More About Chantelle Paris:

Chantelle Paris has been designing couture lingerie since 1876. Today, Chantelle draws inspiration from this heritage and confirms their desire to create undergarments that are a perfect fit, made with the purest fabrics and the most delicate lace. All of these little secrets of the Chantelle creators, with their invaluable skills, imperceptibly transform women and give them that elegance, that little “je ne sais quoi” which embodies a unique Parisian style.

Please contact Moira Nelson for interviews, press inquiries, and more information.

Bra*Tenders is located at:

630 Ninth Avenue at 44th Street, Suite # 601

New York City, NY

#IntimateAffair


Intimate Affair: Independent Lingerie Professionals- Chicago

8 Dec

Members of the Independent Lingerie Professionals group living in the Chicago area gathered together for an Intimate Affair on Monday evening, December 5, 2011.  The event was hosted by Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights.  Bra La Mode was unable to attend the Intimate Affair (although I really did consider making the cross-country trip in the name of “lingerie love”!)  But lucky for us, the fabulous Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie offered to share the experience (and some great pictures) with Bra La Mode readers.  Thanks, Norma!

The Dottie's Delights Studio, Chicago

Who knew there were so many lingerie companies in the Chicago area? Being new to the area, I certainly had no idea. Luckily I found Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delights. As a 2010 designer in residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator, she is plugged in to the local lingerie scene and graciously hosted us all in her studio earlier this week.

Designers Norma Loehr and Stephanie Kuhr

The goal of the get-together was to meet everyone and learn about what they are working on. As it turns out, we all take a different approach to our respective lingerie businesses and have our own unique style so our gathering was very collaborative. It was great to be in a room surrounded by people who speak “lingerie” and, like me, think nothing of whipping out a lingerie set in a meeting at the local Starbucks!

So, who are the lingerie professionals in the Chicago area? On the designer side, there were five of us at the Intimate Affair:

Dottie’s Delights which specializes in vintage-inspired shapewear and foundations.

Evlove run by Jenny Dombroski lets you design your lingerie on their website or at an Evlove lingerie party.

Naughty4Nice is a line in development by Maggie and Matt. They plan to use organic fabrics and donate a portion of their profits to charities that benefit women. Note that they are still looking for charities to work with!

Orange Lingerie is a company I started to make custom tailored bras and lingerie for individual clients in Chicago and New York.

Urban Fox is the work of Lizzie Cook. Each piece from her line is dyed and sewn by hand from machine-processed bamboo and organic cotton blends in the U.S.

Daniel, Denise and Matt

On the blogger front we were joined by Sarah of StackDD+, a blog with researched reviews, tips, and clothing ideas to support the DD+ woman. Daniel from Directory Sexy, the go-to resource on the web for all things lingerie, made the trip to Chicago to show us the new features he is adding to the site in the first part of 2012.

There were also some newer lingerie entrants at the party.  Denise of Sinsational Nights, a company that puts together in-home lingerie parties was at the event and Lena from her as yet unnamed company which is working on a sports bra for larger breasted women.

It was fun to see samples from other designers. I enjoyed talking to Stephanie of Dottie’s Delights about bra construction and fitting. I also loved seeing her work close-up to really appreciate her use of vintage stitches. I also got the chance to feel the eco friendly fabrics that Lizzie uses for Urban Fox. I really like the trim she uses on her pieces too. It is made of mostly organic linen with some spandex.

Lizzie and Lena

Lena brought sketches for the sports bra she is working on. Sarah of Stack DD+ was very helpful in offering her perspective on Lena’s designs. She knows a lot about fitting DD+ cups and what is currently available in the marketplace, so she is a great resource for feedback on new bra ideas. Happily, I discovered she is on the hunt for a strapless bra as well as a plunge bra. Of course I can make custom fit versions of both for her so I gathered details about exactly what she is looking for. Yes, it is possible for DD+ to have pretty and supportive versions of both!

Daniel shared the enhancements he is making to Directory Sexy in early 2012 and since I don’t want to spoil his thunder, I won’t say too much here other than he is adding flexibility via editing features for those in the directory as well as incorporating some very interesting social networking elements. It was great to get a sneak peek of the new features so we can start thinking about how they may impact our listings in the directory.

Lena and Sarah

Throughout the evening a few themes emerged. All designers have faced the difficulty of finding good patternmakers for lingerie and finding sewing contractors willing to sew bras. In fact, several of us currently handle the production of our own product to get around this problem. Of course, the day is approaching for each of us where it will be necessary to have help producing our garments. This is one of the areas we can help each other the most – sharing our experiences with contractors and other resources.

Another theme was our belief that production in the USA (and preferably locally in Chicago) is important to our respective businesses. Admittedly, we may be biased on this point either by the size of our business or by our independent spirit!

We plan to continue getting together regularly to share ideas.  Perhaps we will invite boutiques so they can meet the designers in person and have a more personal story to tell about the garments in their stores.  And, we can hear more from them on what their clients are looking for in our lingerie!

Intimate Insight: I’m How Big??!! (And Other Lessons I Learned From My Bra Fitting) by Enid

6 Dec

Curvy Gal Enid

When Moira first suggested that I go for a bra fitting and write about my experience, I started thinking back on my bra shopping history and realized that except for one time as a teenager when my mother took me to a department store for a fitting, I’d never been properly fitted.  In fact, I’m not really sure how I knew my size.  I know in college I was a C cup and after that my next recollection is of some girl younger than me wrapping a paper tape measure around me at one of those chain lingerie stores and declaring me a 42D.  Otherwise it seems that I would just stay with the same band and cup size until they didn’t fit anymore, and then I’d move up until something seemed to work and stick with that until they stopped fitting; basically bra size by trial and error.

So when the bra style that had formerly been so dependable started failing on me, I decided it was time to be properly fitted and, on Moira’s suggestion, I went to the Wizard of Bras in Monrovia, California.  I figured that they would confirm that I was pretty close to the size I had been wearing previously….and I was more looking forward to finding some new bra styles to wear.  Instead, I got quite an education on how to find the right bra.

Lesson #1: I’m a 40G… or sometimes 38H??!!!
I remember going to a Halloween party with a woman who was a J cup and had to have her bras specially made and being thankful I was only a D.  So when the woman doing my fitting told me my cup size, I couldn’t believe it.  The stores I usually shop at stop at double D and they seemed to fit… except for the boob slipping out under the underwire or through the front neckline in my plunge cut bras.  But still, a G cup seemed so… large!  Are my boobs really THAT big?  And why the two sizes?  Because…

Lesson #2: Just because it says it’s your size, doesn’t mean it is.
Just as women’s clothing sizes are not consistent across stores or brands, bras that say they are your size (in my case 40G) may not actually fit.  When they don’t fit, the solution is to either go up one cup size and down two inches or vice versa.  So for some of the bras I tried on, I found that 38H’s fit better than 40G’s. (Warning: if you do go up a cup size, make sure that the underwire isn’t digging in to your armpit.  It won’t feel uncomfortable at first, but four hours later you’ll want to rip the darn wires right outta the thing.)

Lesson #3: You’re putting it on wrong.
For my entire life I’ve put on my bra the same way.  Arms through the straps, hook it in the back and adjust boobage as needed.  The problem with doing it this way?  By putting the bra on straps first, I allowed my breasts to be pushed down in the front so that when I was hooking it in the back, the band was now slanted.  If the band is on a slant, it can no longer do the job of holding the girls up.  I always thought it was the straps that held everything up, but in reality it’s all in the band.  The proper way to put on a bra?  Hook it around you first just above your waist like a belt, then pull it up to just under your chest, keeping the band horizontal and making sure that the band stays below your shoulder blades. Then put the straps on and lean forward to adjust your breasts to make sure they are fully in the cups.  Also, when you first get a bra, start hooking onto the outer most loops first, not the inner ones.  As time goes by, the band will stretch out more and then you will slowly work your way to the next set of loops and so on.  If you start with the innermost eyehooks, you have nowhere to go when the band stretches and you end up shortening the useful life of your bra.

Lesson #4: As with clothing, some styles will just not come in your size.
One of the frustrating things about having such a large cup size is that the cute styles I love and want to wear often don’t go higher than a D cup.  Even finding colors in my size can be a challenge.  I used to have a bra drawer that was all colors of the rainbow and now just trying to find a red bra to match my cute red underwear has turned out to be an impossible task.  Fortunately, as I’m starting to find online, it is possible to find some cute styles and colors in sizes for the more well-endowed. While my local mall may be lacking in all the colors of the rainbow, the internet and a credit card can bring it all to my door and all while I’m spending my time doing something more worthwhile… like working out at the gym or getting a massage.

Lesson #5: Finding the right bra is like finding the right pair of jeans.
You have to do the footwork and try on a lot of different styles, cuts and sizes until you find the one that fits just right. And sometimes the one that seems to fit great at the store, may stretch out or take on some other personality quirks a few weeks later that may give you buyer’s remorse.  So if you find one you like enough to buy, don’t buy a bunch that same day.  Give it two weeks and see how things go.  If you still love it, go back and stock up on a couple extra.  Other times, the bra may be almost perfect, but it just needs an adjustment.  I try to avoid bras that have those bones in the side wing because they always end up bending and then drilling into my side.  If I end up with a bra that has those stays, I always cut them out right away.  Another bra I bought ended up taking off some skin because of some sort of adhesive used on a seam in the band that had become rock hard.  I was able to cut part of it off and then have a seamstress cover the rest up with a bit of fabric, and now it fits great without torturing me.

Here are some of the bras I’ve gotten so far:

Le Mystere Dream Tisha # 965
I’ve always had a thing for molded bras, but am told they are not common for my size so I was happy to find this sexy little number.  I have had to adjust the straps some as I’ve continued wearing it, but the support is as dependable as ever.

Parfait Jeanie Plunge # 4801
I have some low cut shirts that I enjoy wearing so I was really happy to find this style.  And for once I don’t suffer from three-boob syndrome that used to be common when I was wearing a smaller cup size.  How you adjust the straps on this one is definitely important to get the right fit.

Elomi Hermoine # 8120
This is another great fitting bra.  It has some slight molding in the cup that makes it great for under T-shirts and the straps fit great.  Just be sure you get the correct cup size.  I was originally given a GG cup and after a couple hours, the underwire in my armpit started to make me feel like someone was shoving wires into the skin.

Fantasie Esme # 2471
This bra is my favorite to wear and the most comfortable.  It’s not good for low cut shirts, but fits great under everything else.  The straps are comfortable and I barely notice I’m wearing anything under my shirts.  I‘ve even slept in this bra.  I have two of these and wish they came in more colors.

If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area and are fed up with ill-fitting bras, take a trip to the Wizard of Bras in Monrovia, California.  And if you are a large breasted gal like me, I hope the lessons I learned will help you on future bra shopping excursions.

Resources:

Creative Woman- The Wizard of Bras

www.WizardOfBras.com

Follow @Wizard_of_Bras

Intimate Affair: Bra-lebrity Jené Luciani Premieres on Bravo’s Mad Fashion in the World’s First Couture Bra Dress

5 Dec

Jene Luciani and The Bra Book

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the newest Bravo-lebrity, Style Expert and Author of The Bra Book, Jené Luciani, premiered her guest-starring role on Bravo’s hit show Mad Fashion; and Bra La Mode was in the house for the star-studded event!  The Intimate Affair, which celebrated the episode, was held at NYC’s Downtown Galway Hooker.  Jené Luciani was joined by Chris March and the cast of Bravo’s Mad Fashion, NY Housewives Jill Zarin & Cindy Barshop, Doggie Moms’ Grace Forester & Karen Biel, Tracy Stern, High Society’s Paul Johnson Calderon & Tyler Burrows, Georgia Jagger, G2 Organics founder & socialite Cherie Corso, Starr Scott (wife of NY Jets Bart Scott), celebrity stylist Lauren Rae Levy, Erica Lundmark, BET’s Wayne Brown, PRO wrestlers Brimstone & Luscious, and many more famous faces.  They walked the red carpet, mingled with some 200 guests; sipped Pisco Porton Bra-tini’s, nibbled on Cupcakes by Missy, and enjoyed Shellac™ manicures courtesy of Nail Gypsy

Jene Luciani in the couture Bra Dress

The highlight of the Intimate Affair— Jené and her guests viewed her Mad Fashion premiere with the rest of the world, from the fabulous West Village venue.  Jené’s episode, entitled “Brastrocity,” revealed the creation of the world’s first couture Bra Dress created by Chris March and his Bravo team.  Jené wore the dress accented with $100,000 worth of jewels from celebrity jeweler Desires by Mikolay, topped off with a bra-cup cap accented with a feather.

 

 

 

Bravo Mad Fashion's Chris March and "The Girls"

Jené is no stranger to the small screen.  She is a regular on NBC’s TODAY Show as well as many other outlets and has appeared on the Style Network, the Discovery Channel, NBC’s New York Live, CNN Money, Good Day NY among others.  She is a regular fixture in both print and online magazines having been quoted and/or featured in nearly every major magazine and newspaper including Star, Glamour, Shape, Cosmo, etc.  Of her first Bravo experience, Jené said, “Working with Chris and team was a fashion girl’s dream come true. Together, we created something that was one of a kind.” At the Intimate Affair, she donned a couture feather confection made especially for her by Constance McCardle.

Jene Luciani and Bra La Mode's Moira Nelson

Hailed as a “brilliant bra guru” by Bravo, a “stylist extraordinaire” and “bra fit guru” by the New York Daily News, Jené is a true Bra-lebrity and is admired by many within the lingerie community.  She is a true friend to me and a huge supporter of Bra La Mode as well as to other independent lingerie professionals.  In fact, Jené is excited to be joining the writing staff of Ellen Lewis’ Lingerie Briefs which is scheduled for re-launch by the end of this month.  Jené will be answering reader’s Questions in the Intimate Inquiry forum on the new Lingerie Briefs.  And, I’m very proud to announce that I will be writing the Intimate Affairs event reports on the soon to be re-launched Lingerie Briefs too.  I’m in good company!

Additional sponsors of Jené’s “Brastrocity” Intimate Affair include HuggrzBOOTWRAPS, Caseable, Cookies.com, Helps Herbal Tea, Kusmi Tea Detox, Muse Activewear, The freshdiet, May Cookie Co., G2 Organics, Vielle + Frances, Unmarx for Clothing and Skin of Gold.

Resources:

Jené Luciani

www.JeneLuciani.com

Follow @JeneLuciani

Bravo’s Mad Fashion

www.bravotv.com/mad-fashion

Follow @BravoMadFashion

Follow @ChrisMarchlol

Follow @IzzyMadsterNYC

Intimate Affair: Dollin’ Around – Dirty Dolls Lingerie Private Doll-House Party

22 Nov

Dirty Dolls Courtney Newman and Erica Paul

On Saturday, November 19, 2011, Dirty Dolls Courtney Newman and Erica Paul hosted a private Doll-House party to showcase the styles from their latest collection, the Pin-Up inspired Pin Stripe Collection.  The Intimate Affair was a private event for friends, family, devoted Dirty Dolls customers and honorary Dirty Dolls like me and my friend Darlene Campbell from full-busted clothing company Campbell & Kate and founder of the Hourglassy blog– Above Average Style for the Above Average Bust.  The convivial event was a perfect “girls night out” replete with girly chatter about art and music, silly topics such as shower caps, shaving our legs, manicures, and of course, boobs and bras!

Dirty Dolls Pinstripe Pin-Up Brassiere and Brief

The Pinstripe Pin-Up collection is contemporary, yet it maintains the flirty and fun retro-feel of the brand.  The new Pinstripe Pin-Up Brassiere is a practical yet sexy full cup bra designed to fit and contour C cups and up.  It combines the allure of vintage glamour with modern bra construction to provide an everyday bra that makes you feel sexy and confident!  It is available in two colors- After Midnight and Tea Rose.  The Dirty Dolls have also introduced a Pin-Up Shaping Panty for Fall/Winter season.  This vintage-inspired brief flattens and sculpts without binding or pinching at the waist or legs.  It has oversized contrast color pink zig-zag stitching at center front panel seams and down center back.  This stitching detail adds to the charm of the panty which also includes delicate lace trim at the legs and waist.  The panty wouldn’t be complete without removable garter straps!  It is a true modern take on vintage shapewear from days gone by. 

The biggest news for the brand is that they are now offering their bras in sizes up to a G cup.  This is exciting for full-busted Dirty Dolls everywhere!  And, the Dolls have recently relaunched their website which now includes ecommerce.  So, for those of you that dream of being a Dirty Doll but can’t find a brick and mortar retailer in your local area, log onto their newly revamped site and order direct from the Dolls!

Dirty Dolls Peek-A-Boo Camisole Brassiere

I left the Doll-House event with a shopping bag laden with Dirty Dolls Lingerie including the new Pin-Up Shaping Panty from their latest collection as well as the Peek-A-Boo Camisole Brassiere, the organic cotton Cha-Cha Cheeky Short, the Smooth Her Tap Pant and the Showstoppin’ Shaper (from the Doll’s debut Classic Collection).  I am in love with the sensibility of this brand (which has recently undergone a brand image make-over), but I think I’m most excited about the Showstoppin’ Shaper which is designed as a heavy control shaping piece.  It is a true high-waisted shaper (it goes all the way up to your underbust) and is a long-leg.  This style is functional and sexy.  It reminds of old Hollywood glamour with its swiss-dot mesh at center front panel and two-tone lace trim at leg openings.  Finally…. Shapewear that’s sexy and sophisticated!  I can’t wait to wear it with my new Peek-A-Boo Cami Bra!  There is a lot of detail in this garment including bones at the side seams and silicone elastic along inside edge of the front/back waistband.  And, it has a “trap door” in the gusset!  What a surprise…. These are the construction details that are often sacrificed in today’s intimate apparel.  Nothing has been compromised in the quality, fit and construction of the Dirty Dolls Lingerie.  I look forward to seeing what’s to come from this emerging brand which has yet to disappoint!

My new favorite undergarment, the Dirty Dolls Showstoppin' Shaper

The Dirty Dolls will be busy Dollin’ Around town over the next few weeks….  On November 30th, the duo will be showing their collection at a Trunk Show being held at the NYC Sugar Cookies Boutique.  The event will be held from 6-9pm.  Champagne and Sugar Cookies will be served!  PLUS, guests will receive a free Dirty Dolls Lingerie lace thong with the purchase of any bra and panty set.  And as if that wasn’t enough, the Dolls will be offering 15% off all purchases made at the Intimate Affair.

Can’t get enough of the Dirty Dolls?  Head over to Woodside Queens for an “Afternoon Delight with the Dolls!”  On Sunday, December 11th, the Dirty Dolls are hosting an event which will feature several independent brands as well as other artists and entrepreneurs.  The event is intended to be an opportunity for holiday shopping as well as networking for local designers, artists and other independent business women.  Bra La Mode will be attending this Intimate Affair along with Darlene Campbell of the full-busted clothing company Campbell and Kate, legendary biscotti baker The Naughty Housewife, gourmet Japanese sugar importer Chambre de Sucre, boudoir photographer Yvonne Lynch, and hosiery retailer Peek Brooklyn.  What an eclectic bunch!  Come join the fun and spend a delightful afternoon with me and the Dolls!  For more information about this unique event, Contact Me.

About Dirty Dolls Lingerie

Inspired by the vintage under-things worn by the starlets of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dirty Dolls Lingerie is bringing glamour back into the everyday.  Dirty Dolls Lingerie was founded in November of 2008 by Courtney Leigh Newman and Erica Rosalind Paul, two veteran fashion designers known to their loyal customers simply as “The Dolls.” The company’s core mission is to provide gorgeous, perfectly fitted brassieres, panties, and shapers to women who wear hard-to-find sizes. The Dolls themselves are among the millions of ladies who’ve long been frustrated by the absence of great brassieres available to those blessed with sexy curves. After years of being forced to buy dull bras simply because they had beautiful bosoms, The Dolls decided to take matters into their own hands.  The founding Dirty Dolls have set off on their quest to fit all women with exquisite lingerie, and to educate them in the importance of wearing supportive, yet coquettish under-things!

Resources:

Dirty Dolls Lingerie

www.DirtyDollsLingerie.com

Follow @DirtyDolls

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