Tag Archives: Product Review

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

Intimate Insight: Attack of the Body Shapers by Enid

11 Jan

Curvy Gal Enid as Maid of Honor

A few years ago when I was getting ready for my sister’s wedding (I was the maid of honor), I discovered that the dress I had bought months earlier was suddenly a bit too snug.  (I’d never worn it or washed it but somehow it had shrunk in my closet. So peculiar…)  To keep from looking like a sausage in a frilly, flowery casing, I decided to try one of those popular body-shaping undergarments.  Anything to just smooth out the lumps and make me not look quite so Jabba-licious in the photos next to my very slim little sister was all I needed.

Using the sizing chart on the back of the package, I picked out one that allegedly was going to fit.  Being that the sizing chart used was very similar to the sizing charts on the back of pantyhose, I should have realised I was in danger.  Following those charts, I usually end up with a pair of hose where either the crotch starts mid thigh or my legs aren’t long enough and I end up with sagging stockings around my ankles.  (I am ever so grateful to be living in LA because I can get away with not wearing pantyhose.)

The day of the wedding, I’m trying to get into this… device of torture… and I decided that the person who had invented this thing had been attacked by a boa constrictor and, in the midst of having the life squeezed out her, happened to see herself in the mirror and thought, “Oh, well I do look a bit skinnier, don’t I?”

It took me a good amount of time to shimmy into that sucker.  The heavy, flesh colored fabric was so rough and it was made to fit so tightly that I began to wonder why they didn’t recommend you put it on with dish detergent much like putting on a wet suit.  I’m amazed I didn’t get any type of burns from the fabric, but I figured the friction it caused was meant to help it stay put.  When the garment was finally in place, I felt triumphant for having gotten it on while also feeling like I was stuck in a very tight hug.  The style was similar to a pair of high-waisted biking shorts – all the better to even out all problem areas, I thought.  I discovered that it worked fine as long as I didn’t move much at all and never had to pee.  Fine for a first date drink and a movie.  Not so fine for when one is in a wedding party.  But for at least 30 minutes I looked great.

Pre-wedding, as I had to rush around with the sudden list of tasks my sister had given me, I found that the waistband of my undergarment preferred to be at my actual waist as it slid down and started bunching up there.  In front of my family, I had no problem doing a little adjustment shimmy to get it back up where it belonged but, once guests started arriving, it became an annoyance to run back and forth to the bathroom to fight with it.  Eventually the rest of the garment followed suit, choosing to shift to the areas of least resistance and actually squeeze the skinnier parts of me enough to make the bigger parts even bigger.  I guess by body shaping, they meant shaping my body into a balloon animal??

The other issue was that the bands around my legs were soooo tight and they just seemed to get tighter and tighter until it just stung.  Even though the dress wasn’t terribly snug, you could actually see where the undergarment ended as it attempted to form a tourniquet mid-thigh.  At one point during the reception, I considered taking the damn thing off, but as I wasn’t wearing any other underwear, I was certain doing so would just lead to one of those embarrassing moments that gets caught on camera and is passed to everyone on the internet until you find yourself in a job interview with someone who can’t look you in the eye because they’ve already seen your wax job.

And forget going to the bathroom.  Though the garment was made with a little gap for you to pee through, once I actually had need of it, I realised that there was no way I wasn’t either going to pee on the garment or my hand.  So I treated it like underwear, which then meant another 20 minutes in the stall trying to get the thing back up while people impatiently knocked on the door.  Had they really thought this through, the inventor would have provided a handy catheter.

I was so happy when I finally got home and could take off that thing.  I’ve never worn it since and had sworn off all body shaping garments.  There are many who believe that beauty is pain, but I am not one of them.  Life is too short!  (Plus, if you suddenly find yourself with an attractive man and on the verge of a night of passion, the last thing you want to do is tell them to wait 20 minutes while you try to extract yourself from one of those garments or try to explain the unseemly welts on your legs.)

So fast-forward to last month when Moira asked me to try out some body shaping garments.  My first reaction was to run for the hills, but I have a bad knee and with all the holiday dinners, running just isn’t my thing right now.  And since Moira’s a friend, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out a pair; though I was not optimistic.  Fortunately I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

Bali One Smooth U Hi-Waist Brief

Hanes sent me a pair of Bali One Smooth U Hi-Waist Briefs and I took them for a test run – once to a holiday party in a bar in Downtown LA and once at work.  The first thing I noticed was how easy they were to put on and how comfortable they felt thanks to the satin fabric.  No 20-minute shimmy needed to put them on and, instead of feeling like I was wearing a pair of long underwear, it felt just like any other pair of panties, albeit ones that hugged me a bit more.  The waist and leg bands were nice and flat so they didn’t squeeze and don’t stand out under clothing and the fabric information is printed right on the garment so there’s no itchy tag to deal with either.  The best part though is, because they were a high waist style, I didn’t have that annoying line around my middle.  (Nothing worse as a full figure gal than to look like you have an equator.)

For the holiday party, I wore a pair of slacks that I’m just now able to squeeze into again.  I found that they were easier to slip into with the briefs because of the smooth fabric.  And in the mirror I didn’t detect any panty lines – always something a lady likes to avoid when going out, especially if she’s hoping to meet a guy.  I had a great night out and never once had to rush off to the ladies room to put my undies to rights.

The real test, though, was when I wore them to work because I’m constantly moving – sitting, standing, walking, kneeling – which can lead to a lot of unintential wedgies if your undergarments don’t fit just right.  Again, no loosey-goosey waistband, no chaffing at the leg and no worries that anyone would think I was smuggling dinner rolls in my pants due to unfortunate lumpiness.  I just put them on and forgot about them.

If you are looking for something to give you a better shape under those body-hugging outfits and that won’t put you over your budget, (seriously, these are about half the cost of some of the other shapewear out there,) I recommend you try a pair of these.  It can be hard enough dressing to impress a potential boss or love interest without having to suffer in pain due to uncomfortable clothing or being constantly distracted by misbehaving undergarments.  A pair of these can help eliminate one worry while being kind to your wallet as well.

Resources:

www.BaliIntimates.com

Intimate Insight: Ahab, Indy and Enid- I Found My Holy Grail, My White Whale – My Perfect Bra

21 Dec

Ever since I began learning about all these great lingerie brands made for Tig O’ Bitties like mine, I’ve been drooling over their websites, all the while keeping an eye out for my dream bra – a red balconette style bra in my size that would match my sexy red boy short panties.

Why boy shorts?

In my 20’s I was doing the thong thing, but ever since I bought a six pack of Marks & Spencers black cotton boy shorts on a trip to London, I’ve been hooked on that style. Not only are they comfy, but I find that on a plus size figure, they are much more flattering.

My faves are those Marks & Spencer knickers that first got me hooked, and two sexy styles from Frederick’s of Hollywoodthe Angelina  (being discontinued so get them on clearance while you can) and the lacy Jessica  (stretchy and forgiving.) 

Why red?

Why not? It’s sexy and racy and bold – all characteristics I aspire to take on as I go into 2012 as a newly single gal!

But the key for me – regardless of color – was the style (no full size cups – I want demi balconette all the way) and that it fit well and didn’t drive me to tears by the end of the day. So imagine my delight when Affinitas sent me their Charlotte red balconet bra from their Parfait line to try out.

Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte Bra in Red with Black

I loved the retro style of it when I had first seen it on their website, but worried that this would be a case of a regular size bra being incorrectly up-sized and that I’d end up suffering from a case of “my cup overfloweth” leading to hourly trips to the ladies room to shove myself back into the bra. Some companies – when they try to go into the plus size market- don’t correctly readjust their styles to accommodate a larger breast size. You put a bra on that is supposed to be your size, but then find out that your nipples are constantly popping out and you spend the rest of the day seriously contemplating the use of duct tape to keep your breasts in place.

Imagine my joy when I put it on and found that the girls sat in the cups quite nicely without dangerous overflow issues, even if I leaned over to pick something off the floor or touch my toes. (OK, I lie. I can’t touch my toes quite yet. But I can wave at them.)

And the bra looked amazing!! Sometimes I’ll get frustrated when something I buy in the store doesn’t look nearly as good on me as it does on the model, but for once I think I actually looked better than she did. I was disappointed to have to put a shirt on because I looked so good in that bra! (I was actually humming “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” while I modelled it for myself in the mirror. Heaven… I’m in heaven… )

The bra was so comfortable to wear. The one frustrating thing about underwires is that after 8 hours, that stuff just digs into your skin like crazy and as soon as you get home, the first thing you want to do is take it off, but after a full work day wearing this one, I was in no hurry to take it off.

But my favorite thing about this bra is how I feel in it. There are certain items of clothing you will find that, for one reason or another, you will want to wear all the time – a business suit that makes you feel more powerful, a dress that makes you feel sexier, a pair of slacks that make you seem slimmer and taller or a blouse that hugs your curves in all the right places and makes you feel like a model. When I wear this bra, I can’t stop smiling. It gives me a little extra boost of confidence.

I will have to get myself an extra one of these because I know I’m going to be wearing it often so I could use a spare just in case. Now if only they made this one in navy blue as well…

Resources:

Parfait by Affinitas

www.affinitasintimates.com/parfait.html

Follow @AffinitasIntima

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

%d bloggers like this: