Tag Archives: Va Bien Lingerie

Intimate Insight: Bra Straps or No Bra Straps – That is the Dilemma… by Enid

13 Feb

Decorative Beaded Bra Straps from ExposedEnvy.com

Valentine’s Day is coming up and for some of you that might mean dressing up for a night out with your guy.  For me, it means paying a $20 cover charge to go to an overcrowded bar in Beverly Hills with some of my single friends where the majority of the guys will be looking for someone a bit more model-like but, after a few drinks and a few strike outs, they will start thinking that perhaps the big breasted curvy gal might be desperate enough to put out.  Of course being that the drinks are so over-priced, I will not be nearly drunk enough to actually consider their offer and they’ll do the sour grapes thing, and my friends and I will laugh about it.

The one thing in common in both scenarios is that we are trying to dress to impress and, as always, part of that perfect outfit involves a bra.  And if you live in LA where the temperatures are a bit more moderate (as I write this in February, the temperature is in the mid 70’s), your outfit may include something strapless or off the shoulder.  And if you are blessed with a larger cup size, the question becomes do I wear a strapless bra or stick with the straps?

Gravity is not your friend when your cup runneth over and though it’s the band that holds your girls up and not the straps, the straps can often seem to make the difference between wearing a bra and wearing a bra as a belt.  For years I’ve avoided strapless outfits of any kind because invariably the strapless bra would end up around my hips at some point, especially if any kind of dancing was involved.

At the same time, wearing a regular bra also wouldn’t do.  While I’ve seen plenty of women baring their straps without a qualm, given that the straps on large cup sizes tend to be more utilitarian than decorative, for me doing so was out of the question.  And then two great things happened: I Googled and I went to New York.

Enid at Bra La Mode's Debut Intimate Affair

At the end of January, I flew to New York for Bra La Mode’s Debut Intimate Affair at Bra*Tenders.  Moira was bound and determined to have them fit me for some new bras so as the event drew to a close, Cristal took me into one of the fitting rooms and brought me several different styles and brands to try out.  The first discovery is that as I have been slowly losing weight, so have my breasts.  I’m now down to a 38F/38G depending on the style and brand of bra.

I love the Fantasie brand bras and ended up with this lovely black strapless (Style # FL4530.)  It’s a snug fit, but I could jump on a trampoline wearing it and it’d still stay put.  The one thing that amazed everyone was the support.  I came out of the dressing room wearing a cami over it and people thought I was wearing a push-up of some sort and no one believed it was a strapless.  (Seriously, people came in the dressing room so they could see the actual bra on me.)

Also prior to my visit to New York, I had also received the Va Bien Ultra-Lift Strapless Convertible which also has great staying power.  I have a friend who wears this brand and swears by it.  The only thing to be aware of is that the cup sizes can run large so be sure to try it on before you buy.  I ordered it in my old size and it ended up being a bit big for me so I’ll be getting myself a new one because it’s a great bra.

Of course, even with a good fitting strapless, sometimes it’s just nice to have those straps either as a back up just in case or, as I’ve recently discovered, as another type of accessory.  A friend of mine used to order these beaded bra straps to wear with her lacy tank tops in the summer.  Interested in trying them out for myself, I Googled “beaded bra straps” and found ExposedEnvy.com.

Exposed Envy sells decorative bra straps of all sorts – beads, rhinestones, fabric, gems and even just metal.  I don’t wear a lot of jewelry as my skin tends to react badly to the metal in chain necklaces or earrings, so I liked the idea of being able to wear something shiny and pretty that wouldn’t cause me to break out in a rash.

If you saw the pictures from the Intimate Affair, you’ll have seen me wearing an off the shoulder number with some straps made of red roses on dark silver.  When I first saw them on the website, I just had to have them and they were as beautiful in person as on the website.  I got a lot of compliments about them and found that they were comfortable to wear.  The straps themselves are easy to fit as there is a little clasp in the back that you can use to adjust the length of the strap.  I just put them on backwards the first time to get them adjusted and then I was all set to go.

At work I tried a set of beaded straps for a scoop-neck shirt that had a tendency to stretch out and become an off the shoulder number as the day went on.  The beads were nice and flat so I didn’t have anything digging into my shoulder and they looked really nice so that instead of constantly pulling up my shirt to cover my bra strap, I could just focus on work and let a little strap show.

Gemstone Straps and Matching Bracelet

Exposed Envy also has matching bracelets for many of their straps.  I ordered a lovely blue rhinestone set of straps which came with a matching bracelet and I can’t wait to wear them out to that Valentine’s party next weekend.

Each set of straps comes in it’s own green cloth bag which makes for easy storage since they won’t become jumbled with the other straps.  And Kelly Carroll, the owner and designer, adds her own personal touch.  When I made my second order and made a comment on the order form, I found a lovely handwritten note from her in reply on my receipt. I will definitely be shopping her site again.



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Intimate Insight: RichPR ~ Media Preview of Holiday ’11 and Spring/Summer ’12 Lingerie Collections

21 Oct

PR Star Lauren Rich of RichPR graciously invited me to preview the upcoming collections for the Intimate Apparel brands she represents.  What an honor and how lucky am I to get the inside scoop before the collections hit the floor!??!  Being an Intimate Insider has its perks. 

Lauren Rich of RichPR

Lauren and her team worked tirelessly to prepare their penthouse suite at the AKA Times Square Hotel to welcome media and pr professionals to the invite-only preview which was named “Get Intimate with Intimates at Star Crossed Lovers.”  They converted the suite into a fantasyland of lingerie featuring brands: Lola Haze, the playful and flirty “fusion” collection of dresses, tops, lingerie and loungewear which can be worn as outerwear designed by Laura Mehlinger; Brulee Lingerie, the sophisticated, luxe line by designer Kristian Giambi; the ever dependable solutions based foundations and shapewear from heritage brand Va Bien; my new favorite wardrobe solutions brand Second Base; and the affordable, contemporary brands Affinitas Intimates and her full-busted sister, Parfait by Affinitas.  And don’t forget the Berry Ball!  What’s a Berry Ball you ask?  Great question…. The Berry Ball and Bag is the complete laundry solutions set specifically designed to care for your intimate apparel (including molded foam, underwire bras).  Now, any Intimate Insider knows you shouldn’t put your bras in the washing machine.  But truth be told, I’ve been known to do it from time to time (probably more often than I should).  But now, I can use my Berry Ball to ensure that my unmentionables won’t become mangled, tangled, twisted, and deformed!

While I would love to share every detail of the collections I perused at the preview, I’d be here all day….  Plus, it’s a lot more fun to give you a sneak peek and leave you in anticipation.  I saw soooo many fabulous, new, fun styles, colors, prints, fabrics and laces.  Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long as most of these collections will be in stores within the next few months.  Until then, I will tease you with a few highlights of these brands which are as unique and as individual as you can only imagine.

Laura Mehlinger from Lola Haze

Lola Haze never disappoints…. Staying true to her playful and flirty brand identity, Laura Mehlinger’s Spring/Summer ’12 collection is very fresh; inspired by the decadence of the roaring ‘20’s.  The first style which caught my attention was the Bee’s Knees Romper which is made with pale stripe cotton poplin with a rigid, all-over lace inset at neckline.  Although the romper body style isn’t new to Lola Haze, the cotton poplin fabrication is making its debut.  And, the most exquisite piece I saw was the Lola Haze Deco Slip, which is reminiscent of the avant-garde art movement, Cubism.  It is delicate; created using silk and chiffon in muted colors in abstract, color-blocking, accented with a bold, wide black stripe inset.  All of the Lola Haze garments are handmade right here in NYC’s garment district and many styles are one-of-a-kind and are available in only one colorway…. If you see something you like, you better grab it before it’s gone!

Lola Haze Deco Slip

Kristian Giambi’s Brulee Lingerie is the epitome of luxe sophistication.  I am a long-time fan of Brulee and it just keeps getting better.  For the first time, Kristian is introducing a print to the line.  For Spring/ Summer ’12, Kristian has developed an exclusive animal print which maintains the sophisticated presence of the brand.  It is a tonal, muted animal print available in Silver and Lilac colorways in a Chemise, Bralette, and Boyshort.

Brulee Lingerie Noir Satin & Lace Bralette and Boyshort in Fuchsia and Black

And, lace makes its first appearance for Brulee in the Noir collection.  Kristian developed Brulee Lingerie as an alternative to the oh-so-frilly lingerie that was so prevalent in the market.  So, I was surprised that she decided to introduce lace.  But, I’m certainly glad she took that risk as the new Noir corset-inspired Lace over Satin Soft Bra and Boyshort are truly beautiful and still maintain her brand identity.  These pieces are provocative and sultry yet elegant and feminine.  And, you’ve got to get a look at the new Ava Teddie which has been designed with only a center back and center front seam.  The style was designed to fit just right.  It is silk with chiffon trim…  Very sleek.  I suggest you adhere to Brulee’s direction—“Go ahead….Indulge!”

Va Bien's "Droop Proof" Ultra-Lift Perfect Strapless Bra

The heritage brand Va Bien has one mission—to put women in control.  They have succeeded in accomplishing this goal for over three decades.  Combining practical solutions with a French aesthetic, the brand was born out of a necessity.  Every Va Bien bra and shapewear style is developed with a purpose in mind.  Although this style is not new to Va Bien’s range, it was quite a discovery for me—the patented Va Bien Ultra-Lift Strapless Bra is a dream come true for a full-busted gal like me.  I don’t know how I haven’t come across this style before…. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I did!  I have always struggled to find the perfect Strapless Bra.  Although I don’t require Strapless Bras on a regular basis, when I do… it’s a real battle to find one that functions properly.  The styles that are available in the market typically slip down, smash me down, or create the dreaded uni-boob.  I am very pleased with the fit of the garment as well as the functionality.  Although the apex points seem a bit too far “east-west” for me, I tell ya… This sucker isn’t falling down and it provides great lift!  The patented “droop-proof” design is a result of the cup construction.  The cups have been developed with three “magic fingers” encased between two layers of foam creating the Ultra-Lift effect.  This style is available in full-figure and full-busted sizes.  What a great find.  And, I’d like to note that all of Va Bien’s styles are very well-priced. 

Second Base Brittany Demi Camisole in Hot Pink

Speaking of being full-busted, I have always struggled with “cleavage control.”  It seems that no matter what I wear, boobs are busting out all over….  Enter the wardrobe solution—Second Base!  Second Base is a collection of demi camisoles which are available in virtually every color imaginable (to match every conceivable outfit).  In the past, I “contained” myself using tank tops, camisoles, wifebeaters, seamless bandeau bras… I could go on.  I never walk out of the house without an extra layer of protection.  The Second Base demi camisoles satisfy my need for a little more coverage.  And, I can’t wait to try the new Pippa demi cami with velvet piping at the neckline.  It sure beats a tank top or tee.  Second Base is introducing full-length camisoles for Spring/ Summer ’12 in Midi and Maxi lengths.  And the fabric… to die for!  Second Base wardrobe solutions styles are fabricated using an eco-friendly micro modal.  The handfeel and drape of the fabric is incomparable.

Although the brands are only about four years old, Affinitas Intimates, and her sister, full-busted brand Parfait by Affinitas, have created quite a stir.  As a full-busted consumer, I was initially introduced to Parfait while shopping for bras at Linda’s here in NYC.  From there, I discovered the original brand, Affinitas.  I have to say, I have been very impressed with the young contemporary styling (which appeals to both the young and young at heart), as well as the construction and quality, for the price-point.  Affinitas and Parfait by Affinitas offer a luxury-looking product at a great price!  Since I am hard to fit, I judge most intimate apparel on its fit and its ability to withstand the test of time.  Oftentimes, I jump to the conclusion that inexpensive translates into poor quality or improper fit.  These two brands have proved me wrong.  It is affordable luxury… I would definitely recommend these brands to the budget-conscious consumer.  Both brands carry basic everyday essential styles as well as specialty pieces.  And how exciting that I can now find full-busted bras under the $60 mark!  For years, I have been forced to shell out $60-$120 a bra for British or French brands in order to find bras that fit me properly.  Although I am still loyal to many of these brands which have “supported” me over the years, I am so excited that we now have an affordable, full-busted brand right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  This past season, I fell in love with Parfait’s Bess collection.  Bess is a printed stretch satin collection with pin-tuck details and satin-covered buttons.  The floral print is delicate and feminine, yet sophisticated. 

Parfait by Affinitas Bess Balconette Bra and Hipster in Cream/Coffee

For the coming season, both brands are ultra feminine and sweet.  Main fabrics include satin and microfiber in solids and prints.  The trim details include light floral embroidery, eyelet trim, delicate narrow laces, beaded lace trims, European-look galloon laces with cording, tassels, crystal drop detail, and twin-straps pinned with satin ribbon bows.  Colors are both light/pastel and bright, while prints are fun yet romantic and coquettish (including gingham, pinstripes, and florals.) 

I really like Parfait’s Isabella collection which features a softened bright pink floral print with contrast color beaded ribbon lace trim and satin ribbon bows with charm.  And for a more luxurious look, I highly recommend the glamorous, retro-inspired Alexis collection offered in solid ivory.  The high-waisted full brief is on my list of “must-haves” for Spring/ Summer ’12.  The Affinitas and Parfait by Affinitas brands are available in specialty stores/boutiques around the country as well as on ecommerce sites.  And, the company is targeting international markets to expand their business and to offer their brands to women around the globe.

Parfait by Affinitas Alexis Padded Bra and High-Waisted Brief in Ivory

Each brand represented by Lauren Rich is unique in terms of its brand identity and sensibility.  Her portfolio of brands is very well rounded.  You would be hard-pressed to find something you didn’t like…  And, if you’re anything like me….  You’d be hard-pressed to find anything you didn’t like!  All of the brands and products appeal to me, depending on my mood, spirit, or need on any given day…. From flirty and fun, to sleek and sophisticated, to practical and smart, to sexy and sassy!  Keep your eye on each of these brands as they are quickly emerging in their target markets as front-runners.  The Spring/ Summer ’12 collections are expected to be in store by February 2012.


Rich-PR: Lauren Rich

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Lola Haze

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Brulee Lingerie

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Va Bien

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Second Base

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Affinitas Intimates and Parfait by Affinitas

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