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niggle
DD+, Lingerie, Sponsored Posts

Improving Your Life One Niggle At a Time

You may have already stumbled across Triumph’s latest lingerie campaign, which is all about fixing the little niggles that make life more difficult. You know what I’m talking about, when you make a delicious meal and realise too late that you’re out of the one herb or spice you need to bring it all together, when you ladder your tights as you’re walking out the door, when you find yourself on public transport face-to-armpit with a man wearing yesterday’s shirt…just take a look at the video for more. I think we’ve all been there!

 

Of course, as a bra obsessive and advocate of the perfect fit when it comes to clothes, the heart of this campaign is close to my heart. Ill-fitting bras are definitely one of my niggles! But even if you’re wearing the right size, wires can dig over time, shift about during the day, and cause discomfort and temporary marks (if the marks start to become permanent, it’s definitely time for a fitting and a new bra). But the alternative – a non-wired bra – isn’t an option for many of us when it comes to support. I can think of only one viable non-wired D+ bra that even exists!

So I’m intrigued by Triumph’s new Magic Wire bra, which seems to offer the best of both world. It’s seamless, and looks a little sexier than some non-wired offering, but the new silicone ‘wire’ provides the support that many of us need. Size wise, it goes up to an E or F cup depending on the band size, so while it’s not technically a fuller bust option, it does cater to much more than the usual A-D range available in most non-wired options.

What’s more fun, though, is the #nigglefix campaign, which really got me thinking about those little things that drive me mad. I’m talking people who stop in the middle of a busy street with no warning, skinny jeans that sag at the knees, flat shoes that suddenly start rubbing the backs of your heels despite the fact you’ve been wearing them for months, rucksacks on public transport, when someone pronounces it “expresso”, and absolutely everything about self-service checkouts.

I’m only scratching the surface here, but I’m sure you have plenty more to share. You can share them with Triumph using the hashtag #nigglefix – you might make it onto the microsite, and maybe someone can help fix your niggle?

Disclosure: Posted in association with Triumph

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DD+, Lingerie, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Curvy Kate ‘Tease Me’ lingerie review

I was very excited to recently be invited by one of my absolute favourite online retailers, BraStop, to be part of their Fuller Focus group. I’ve shopped at BraStop for ages and I love their dedication to finding great brands for bigger busts, and the fact they hunt for new reader models every month, letting their customers show off the different sets brilliantly and never airbrushing their pictures. Being part of their reviews team is a great honour, but before I began my official duties, I was sent a special set from one of their key brands – Curvy Kate – to review for this site. They obviously did their research into the styles I love, as the set I got was their very best retro-inspired favourite, the ‘Tease Me’…

Tease Me is a longstanding Curvy Kate favourite – what makes it so special is that it doesn’t really comply with the usual stereotypes of DD+ lingerie. There are no thick straps or full cups, no frumpy prints, white lace or wide back bands. The bottoms aren’t the usual predictable boring briefs or diggy-in thongs, either.

Instead, you get a lace and ribbon trim balconette bra with a tiny bit of subtle padding (for shape and support, rather than adding any more fullness) and retro-style bottoms with frills across the back and detachable suspenders. There’s also a frilled thong for those who prefer. This set is just like the stuff that comes in ‘standard’ A – D sizes, but with the benefits of being created by a brand that really understands how to fit for the larger bust.

I tried the set in the Black / Almond colourway, which was a lovely fit and very comfy. I know a lot of women have trouble with balconette bras but I actually love them as I find the deeper central panel is more comfy and gives a better shape. I did find it came up a bit big on me though, and the top of the padded cups sat out from my chest a bit. Dramatically shortening the shoulder straps made a big difference, but if I got this set it in another colour (and it comes in plenty) I’d definitely go down a cup size so the cups sit completely flush to my body at the top like they do on the model above (who is, coincidentally, one of my fellow Fuller Focus panelists, Lauren Colfer – isn’t she gorgeous?).

The real selling point of this set as far as I’m concerned is the lovely briefs. I’m not a thong fan at all. I love a pair of big pants, but I like them to be cute and retro, not frumpy and mumsy. These are perfect. Still hipster, not high-waist (which can dig in a bit) but with frills on the back and lovely details.

I’m so happy about the amount of lingerie that’s no available with suspender clips / belts. I remember trying to find a decent (cheap) suspender belt about five years ago and the only nice ones I could find were from speciality vintage lingerie brands. Now stockings are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, there’s plenty of choice which is brilliant for fans like me, and the little clips on these bottoms are a lovely touch. They’re easily removed too, if you’re more of a tights girl!

Overall, I really like this set. It has real style and doesn’t feel like standard, boring DD+ lingerie. I’d say the bra comes up a bit big (go down a cup if you’re between sizes) while the briefs are true to size. Running up to Christmas, I’d recommend nabbing it in the Emerald colourway for a bit of a festive feel!

Disclosure: The lingerie was provided free of charge for review purposes. However, all thoughts are my own and I was not paid to publish them.

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DD+, Dresses, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: The Pepperberry Summer Clothing Challenge

Yep, I’ve been back to Pepperberry, purveyors of clothes for ladies with boobs. This time I was invited to take part in their Bloggers’ Summer Clothing Challenge. Basically, I got to choose an event and Pepperberry would dress me for it! I was sent down to the Oxford Circus store in June, where a set of frocks had been picked out for me to try on. I then picked my favourite and styled it up for the event in question. I chose a picnic with friends for my birthday, though I ended up swapping that for an afternoon in the pub (I didn’t trust the weather). I had planned to wear the dress on the day, but it ended up being a bit too restrictive. The moral of the story? Don’t pick a super-fitted dress with a synthetic lining, then put on 5lbs and expect it to still fit on one of the hottest days of the year…

The service at Pepperberry was, as always, great. I can’t really fault the Bravissimo / Pepperberry team. They’re friendly, knowledgeable and really love what they do. They also fitted me for a new bra while I was trying my dresses and I, of course, ended up buying it. I love the friendly atmosphere in store and the fact that if something isn’t in stock in your size, you can order it there and then and get it delivered to your home for free. As there are only a few stores around the country, it takes the stress out of going all the way there only to find your size is not in stock.

I just want to show you the pics from the day I tried the dress, to confirm that that they don’t allow women to walk out in dresses that are clearly a bit on the tight side! In fact there was a lot of attention paid to getting exactly the right fit. On the day the frock was the perfect fit, but it’s amazing what only a few pounds will do to my hips and tum, and now it doesn’t look half as nice as it did back then and has a bit of a tendency to ride up and crinkle. This realisation has forced me back onto the exercise regime that’s been sorely lacking in the last month, and I’m just beginning the hilarious ‘Bootcamp for Tummies’ challenge via work, so hopefully that’ll help too. I really would like to be able to wear this dress properly before the Summer is out!

I tried three dresses in total. The black one above (the ‘hepburn’ £59) I really liked but it’s very similar to other 50s dresses I own, and this was a Summer challenge and I felt the black was a bit dark and safe. The other dress I tried was a purple jewelled shift (£69). It was very pretty and fit me well, but the dress was just not my style at all. My boho days are over and I wore so many similar dresses as a teenager that now they just seem a bit outdated to me!

So I went a bit mad and picked the dress I wouldn’t normally go for, featuring colour I never wear – yellow. You can see from the pics how pale my legs are, and I always think of yellow as a colour that goes with a tan, but I think I can just about get away with this. It’s a close call, but with this challenge I wanted to come out of my comfort zone a bit and try something new. I know the print won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but if there’s one thing I love it’s a mad, mad print!

The good news for you lot is that this review’s taken me so long to do, that the dress is now in the sale, for £39. I will warn you though, it is quite a shiny fabric that will ride up, so if in doubt, go a dress size up. There’s quite a lot of detail across the front, with contrast seams that can pull if it gets tight (as you can see!) so beware your sizing and get the right cup size too. The cups come up relatively small on this (I’m wearing a ‘curvy’ but I tried the ‘really curvy’ too and very nearly got that one. It was a close call).

Oh, and I know you noticed the shoes. Aren’t they amazing? They’re the ASOS Powertrip heels, now down to ridonkulous £18. I insist you buy them! They’re surprisingly comfy for such high heels.

Disclosure: Pepperberry let me keep the dress as a gift. However, I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.

lingerieplease
DD+, Lingerie, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Lingerie Please

You all know how passionate I am about making sure the right outfit is supported by the right underwear, so when Lingerie Please got in touch to see if I’d like to review a few of their products, how could I say no? I dropped them a line with my size and told them what I love, and sat back to see what they chose for me.

But first a quick note about bra size. There’s a huge, huge chance (an 80% chance, in fact) that you are NOT wearing the right size bra. So pull your head out the sand and go and get re-measured if you haven’t done so in the last couple of years. And by ‘couple of years’ I really do mean two, not ten. I spent years unwittingly wearing the wrong size, and the difference a well-fitting bra has made is unbelievable. So if your bra straps fall down, if the back of the band rides up, if your boobs overhang (above OR below the cup) or if you just want to double-check, go and get measured somewhere they don’t use a tape measure and finally enjoy the joys of a bra that does its job!

So, on the subject of bras that do their job, the first of my Lingerie Please goodies was the Freya ‘Arabella’ plunge bra (£28.99) and matching brief (£14). This is a classic bestselling Freya style that comes in loads of colours. Mine was a really pretty sheer aubergine / plum coloured set, perfect as a change from black under darker clothing.

It’s quite a sexy style – bear in mind because it’s sheer there can be a bit of visible nip going on! The briefs are really lovely and the medium fit me really well without digging in. I love how the set looks – young, sexy and not at all mumsy like a lot of D+ sets, but it still has decent support.

I’ve tried a few Freya bras in the past and found the shape a bit wrong for me. In general, the cups are deeper where I need them to be wider, so I end up with excess fabric in the centre front, but fleshy bits at the sides of the cup. Lingerie Please sent me the 34DD in this set, and I have to say the cup fit much better than the E’s I’d tried in the past. It was still a little narrow across the front, but the band didn’t feel tight. A lot of Freya styles are plunge, which I find difficult to wear because the underwiring digs in at the centre. This fit a lot better than I expected and was comfy for most of the day, but by the evening I could tell it was starting to rub, and would never be as comfy as bras with a wider middle panel between the cups. It’s a lot prettier, though!

Next up came the Cleo by Panache Penny bra (£28) and matching brief (£16).

I was expecting big things of this, because I love the brand. I’d say at least 80% of my bras are by Panache, because I find them really comfy and the fit of the cups is perfect. I can basically order any old Panache bra in a 34E and I know it’ll fit – and this was no exception. This is another plunge, so I was worried about it digging in, but it’s actually turned out to be one of the comfiest plunge bras I own – but not a patch on Panache’s ‘Zara’, which I’m slowly collecting in every colour!

The set is hot pink, which does limit what it can be worn with, but I like bold colours and have loads of red and pink items, so it suited me to a tee. I also loved that though it looks quite sexy in pictures, the fabric is actually very soft and is a cotton mix, not a scratchy synthetic like many others. It very nicely tows the line between practical and pretty, so can be worn as a nice everyday set. Both top and bottoms fit perfectly in my usual sizes, without having to size up or down.

Finally came the Triump Romantic Desire bra (£28.99) and maxi brief (£19.49).

Now I’ll be honest, though they’re tried very hard with all the lace and the purple colour, this set was the frumpiest of the three. The bottoms are high-waisted, and I thought they might work in a sexy, vintage way…but once I had them on, it was more of a ‘oh, my mum has those’ way. That said, though they’re not shapewear, they do have a bit of a shaping and smoothing effect, which is lovely under fitted clothes.

The bra is quite generous when it comes to fabric too, as it’s a full cup style with quite wide straps. The benefit of this, however, is that it is definitely the most comfortable bra I’ve tried in a long time. It’s super-soft, none of the lace is scratchy, and the fit is really good. You can tell this is a good quality set made from decent fabrics.

This set shapes the body well and is really, really comfy, it’s just a shame it’s not as sexy as it could be. Perhaps with the smaller briefs it’d be better, rather than the deep version. The purple colour definitely helps – it also comes in white and I think that’d be too frumpy for me – and I’ve found myself wearing it quite a lot because it’s so comfy.

Overall, I think my favourite set is the Freya, which really surprises me having been a Panache girl through and through up until this point! I’m just happy to have found a Freya style and size that works for me because they do so many great styles in larger cup sizes, but would also really recommend the Cleo brand for really lovely modern, pretty sets.

Buy all the sets at Lingerie Please.

Disclosure: Lingerie Please sent me the underwear for review, but all views are my own and I was not paid to write this article.

retro
DD+, Lingerie, Retro / Vintage

Winter Wishlist: retro-inspired lingerie & nightwear

My list of the best places online to buy reproduction vintage and retro / rockabilly style fashion continues to be one of the most popular pages on the site every month, so I know plenty of you reading have been as seduced by this style as I have.

The right lingerie is the finishing touch to your vintage-inspired look, but I know the classic bullet bra may be one step too far for some (if it’s not, go to What Katie Did right now). Luckily, plenty of more modern brands have now turned to vintage for inspiration. Here are some of my current fave more modern takes on vintage luxury undies and nightwear. Throw away your cotton 6-pack of knickers and flannel PJ’s and get yourself something gorgeous instead…

Long Vintage Silk Chemise £80 La Senza

La Senza has come a long way since the time it was the place to find 3 brazillian knickers for £10 and pajamas with ‘Sexy Chick’ on. The lingerie has slowly moved more and more upmarket, and the store offers some amazing pieces up to a G cup / size 18. Granted, I’ve picked the most expensive item on the entire website (typical) but there are plenty of more affordable bits and bobs in the ‘Pure Luxury’ section that you might be surprised by.

Olive Silk Elizabeth Bra (£79), Skirted Knicker (£54) and waspie by Ayten Gasson

I know this set is incredibly expensive, but I couldn’t resist including it after seeing it in the flesh at a press event recently. Its by Ayten Gasson, who uses pure silk trimmed with vintage Nottingham lace in her handmade creations. These are not mass-produced pieces that everyone will find under the tree at Christmas, they’re pure luxury with real vintage touches, and if you love this style, this is the brand to treat yourself too. Plus, there are a few beautiful pieces in the sale if you click here!

Gok Wan Mesh Longer Line Bra £32 and Deep Brief (£18) by Simply Yours

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve looked at this set and thought ‘should I get it?’. My experience with the Gok Wan range so far has been brilliant. I love the way this range genuinely makes shapewear look sexy…plus it’s in my favourite animal print! As a final brilliant touch, the awful patronising names have gone – no more ‘banger booster’ or ‘curve controller’ – just proper descriptive names for these new designs, which go up to a 42 band, G cup, and size 32.

Virginia bra (£80), briefs (£55) and suspender belt (£70) by Mademoiselle Fred at Fairy Gothmother

Another pricey set, but a beautiful one from French lingerie brand Mademoiselle Fred. If for you (or your other half…) Christmas undies mean red and sexy, you may as well do it with a touch of Burlesque glamour! The shorts come with frilled sides, which are really pretty, though the thong is probably a better bet under the suspender belt (which I think is the best bit). Just add some fabulous fully-fashioned stockings (try Stockings HQ for them).

Leopard print panel basque £35 at Evans

This gorgeous little basque first made an appearance on this site back in April when I spotted it at the Evans press day. Now it’s in stores and an amazing retro-inspired option for those ladies needing larger band sizes. It goes up to a 46 in the band in C- E cups, and is the perfect choice for something sexy but shaping under a party dress. The matching bra and knickers were born to be worn under a trouser suit for a bit of underwear-as-outerwear glam.

Sway with me raspberry silk bra $125 and tie briefs $95 by Toadlillie on etsy

Toad Lillie lingerie is “Inspired by vintage couture gowns of the 30s – 50s” and this set definitely has vintage charm about it. I love the high-waisted bottoms with their ruched sides. I also love the fact that these sumptuous handmade pieces go up to a 50″ hip (though 32-38 A-D is less inclusive for those of us blessed with bigger boobs). If you want something truly special, you can’t beat the personal service you get from etsy craftspeople.

Floral and mesh longline bra $35 and knickers $30 by Banbee on Etsy

The knickers from this set caused quite a stir when my mate Jane featured them on Domestic Sluttery, but I’ve had the seller bookmarked ever since. Everything about this set screams Beyonce ‘Why Don’t You Love Me‘ – a music video that epitomises this modern take on pin-up girl underwear. What’s not to love? Even the price is good compared to Beyonce’s Dolce & Gabbana alternative.

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DD+, Lingerie, Uncategorized

Six sweet lingerie sets for Spring

The DD+ lingerie market is something of a minefield. While more and more retailers are branching out into bigger sizes as they realise just how many women wear (or should be wearing) a D cup or larger, a lot of them are just resizing their main range – and I don’t know many E cup ladies who want two inches of padding and spaghetti thin straps on their bras! Bigger breasts need more support and more attention to cut and detail. I’ve hunted down some pretty but practical sets for Spring that cater well for bigger busts without completely sacrificing style. These are light, floral and fresh – not a black lace overlay or ‘sexy’ red satin number in sight…

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Ballet ‘Arabesque’ bra (30D – 40G) £28 at Bravissimo

Spotty ribbon on crinkle floral, broiderie anglaise trim…I like that this bra has something of the exhibitionist about it without resorting to satin, lace and cheap-looking sexiness. It’s also got a classic balconette shape, which often works better for bigger cup sizes (I know it does for me) because of the deeper central panel. I also like the sheer panels in the matching knickers which stop the set looking too cutesy and cotton-like.

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Dimity SO ‘Counting Petals’ balcony bra (30D – 38G) £28 at Figleaves

Brand new label Dimity SO offer more modern styles than you’ll find from a lot of D+ ranges, and I love the vintage print and pretty shape of this floral ‘Counting Petals’ bra. The extra depth around the underwire would hopefully help avoid any lines or painful digging-in, and the low-cut cups wouldn’t be visible under a round-neck top. I also like the frilled straps so much I might even consider showing them off (which is usually a big no-no for me).

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Elomi ‘Tamarie’ full-cup bra (36DD – 42GG) $60 at Bare Necessities

If you’re wider in the back as well as the cup, Elomi specialise in bras for the fuller figure, with back sizes going up to a 42. You don’t get quite the same delicacy as you might get from a brand like Dimity SO (above) but at least it’s not all white nylon bullet bras and huge ‘over the shoulder boulder holders’. I like the romantic pink colour and semi-sheer cups of this bra, and the embroidery adds a pretty touch.

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By Caprice ‘Miranda’ padded plunge bra (30A – 36G) £22 at ASOS

Model Caprice’s ‘By Caprice’ range goes up to a G-cup, though with the slim central columns, thin straps and padded shapes, I get the feeling these bras are created more for the smaller cup sizes than those of us who need serious support. However, if you’re lucky enough to have big boobs that have stayed on gravity’s good side (or implants, even) this bra avoids all the trappings usually associated with larger bras (ie. it doesn’t look like something your frumpy PE teacher would wear) but still come in a good range of sizes.

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Lepel ‘Honeycomb’ pistachio balconette bra (30D – 38G) £14.95 at BraStop

I have a bra from Cleo by Panache that’s a very similar shape to this, with a wide sweeping section that comes up the side and joins the strap quite high up. It’s surprisingly flattering, especially if you find that you get a little roll of flesh around the underarms on lower-cut bras. It also provides loads of support for bigger boobs with high-rise cups. It’s also the cheapest of the lot – it’s not often you can get a good D+ bra for under £15!

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Freya aqua ‘Celia’ push-up bra (30DD – 38G) £28 at Debenhams

Finally, we have a bright, bold blue and green floral set from ever-reliable D+ brand Freya. They understand that young women’s busts are getting bigger (and not just because the girls themselves are bigger – contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be plus sized to have a D cup!) and they constantly deliver modern styles to cater for that market. This set is a bit younger and brighter than the others, and a good shape if you wear V-neck tops.

holyfit_tees
DD+, Events & Launches, Special Ranges

Laura Lees wants you to wear a well-fitting bra!

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If you missed the chance to get your mitts on affordable Laura Lees designs when she was creating stuff for Topshop and ASOS, fear not! The quirky designer has teamed up with lingerie brand Freya for a special collaboration to mark the launch of the ‘Holy Fit’ campaign.

The campaign is dedicated to making sure more women are wearing the right size bra. We all know the stats by now – 80% of British women are wearing the wrong size and 60% of those currently wearing a C cup should be wearing a D cup or higher. So there’s a pretty big chance you might be in the wrong bra even if you were measured fairly recently.

With this in mind, I’m off for a fit next week, and given that last time I was fitted I went down a back size and up three cup sizes compared to the bra I was wearing when I walked in, I’m going with an open mind! Hopefully after that I’ll be able to tell you about all the lovely D+ sets I’ve tried…but until then, let’s get back to these t-shirts!

There are five designs to choose from, all featuring Laura Lees’ trademark tattoo-style illustrations, and they’re priced at £25 each. Only 60 of each design are available, so move fast if you want one. Proceeds from all sales will go to The Genesis Appeal, the only charity in the UK entirely dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer.

Find out more (and win a t-shirt) at The Holy Fit website, or buy the t-shirts at Leia Lingerie.

curvy_kate
DD+, Lingerie, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Curvy Kate Lingerie

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When it comes to bras that fit, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that only a handful of brands can really cater for the fuller figure. All of them charge upwards of £25 for a decent bra, so buying pretty new lingerie quickly ends up costing a fortune.

So I was happy to discover BraStop.com, who offer all the brands I’m familiar with (Panache, Kalyani, Freya etc) along with one I didn’t – Curvy Kate – with discounts all round. The money off ranges from a couple of quid to around 50% off, and with one Curvy Kate bra on special offer at £10 this week, I thought it rude not to give it a go…

I have to say I was thorougly impressed. First of all, with BraStop’s service. I didn’t specify next day delivery, but I ordered the bra in the afternoon, it was dispatched within hours and it was on my doormat when I got home the next day, prettily wrapped in tissue paper beneath the plastic shipping bag.

The bra itself was a real surprise. For £10, I wasn’t expecting much (I didn’t note the £26 RRP at the time). Even Primark charge £6+ for its D+ bras and I’m used to paying around £30 for Panache and Kalyani, but the quality was on a par with those other brands I’m used to. The choice of style is limited (there are about 6 bras in the range, all fairly similar) but each comes in loads of colours and prints so when you find the one you like, you’re set!

Like most of us, I vary between a couple of sizes depending on the brand, but I decided to go with the smaller back size on this occasion given that Curvy Kate is a specialist brand and they tend to be slightly more generous around the band than high street D+ ranges with their padding, frills and over the top detail.

I was right to do this. The bra I tried was called Portia, and I’d liken the fit of it to similar styles from Panache – the cups are quite wide and the back is fairly generous (if you’re between two sizes, go down as there’s quite a lot of stretch). Most importantly, it’s incredibly comfortable. I often find the bones start to dig in after a day’s wear but with this I couldn’t feel a thing. The straps didn’t slip at all, and nothing itched or rubbed. All in all, I was suitably impressed. It’s great to discover another brand that fits and flatters, especially one so affordable.

Prices on BraStop for Curvy Kate range from about £12 up to £16 and right now there’s free shipping with the code JAN10PAY. I’m definitely going to be investing in a few more!

I paid for the bra and received no incentive to write this. I just loved the brand!