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Lingerie, Websites

The Panache Bra Fit Challenge: Reviewed

Panache, maker of two of my favourite bras in the world (the Tango Luxe and the Zara) has recently added a new section to its website – the Bra Fit Challenge. It’s a simple online tool that asks you a few questions about your current bra and then gives advice on whether you need to rethink your choice. I was asked by Best British Bloggers to test out the tool (with some handy Strictly Come Dancing-esque scoring paddles) to see if it really will help women find the perfect fit…

Take the Bra Fit Challenge for yourself by clicking here

First, let’s talk about ease of us. It’s a pretty straightforward site, with a simple design and easy to read questions. However, even on my fairly large laptop, I had to scroll down to see the full page sometimes. I think there’s a bit of room for tidying up, but the photos and questions are clear and it definitely does the job. A very respectable…

…7 points for the look and feel of the site.

Now the questions themselves. It asks your current bra size, then goes through a series of fairly obvious questions about fit (how are the straps, how does the band sit, how are the cups). As you answer each question, you’re given a bit of feedback on what this means in terms of fit. My big issue was that you couldn’t choose multiple answers. For example, if the underwire sits away from the body at the centre front, it’s highly likely the whole wire moves away when you lift your arms, but you can only choose one or the other of those options. You *can* go back but it’s a bit fiddly. For this reason, I give the questions themselves…

…a bit of a stingy five. For me, these questions were a bit obvious and can easily be found on most lingerie websites. They do get to the point quickly but I feel a few things were left out. For example, on the question about how you bra straps feel, if you choose ‘straps often fall down’ it doesn’t really given any explanation as to why this might be except ‘they are too loose’. Why are they too loose? Probably because the band is too big so the straps are too wide set, but this is not clear! This is a big bugbear for me because this issue with straps falling down is often what I find really hammers home to women that they need a smaller band. You probably don’t have sloping shoulders or bad posture, you’re just in the wrong bra!

Now to the results. When you’ve answered all the questions, you can fill out your details (or leave the boxes blank) and receive your results. The actual ‘prescription’ the site gave me was spot on. It told me I’m wearing the right size bra – which is lucky given how frequently I get measured. The fit challenge recognised I knew my stuff and told me exactly what I expected. I also gave the tool a go as if it were 5 years ago, when I was in a badly fitting 36C. I was honest with what that bra felt like – band rode up, cups felt ok, straps fell down – and it told me exactly what my Bravissimo fitter told me – I needed a smaller band and a bigger cup to compensate. It then advised me to go and get fitted asap. With this in mind, the score for accuracy has to be…

…top marks! A score usually reserved for things like Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy’s Salsa. I couldn’t fault the results, so there’s no reason to knock off points here. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter how you get to the results, so long as they’re right, that’s the most important thing.

Overall, the fit guide is simple, easy to use and will help anyone who’s not sure how a bra will fit. For me personally, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but due to this blog and the amount of time I’ve spent working with lingerie brands or attending their events, I’m probably a lot more knowledgable on bras than your average shopper. I like that they don’t suggest you measure yourself at home and try and calculate your new size with a tape measure and calculator – A good fitter and trying bras on is the only way to get the right size so I have to praise Panache for recognising that.

If you’ve not been measured since your teens and you don’t know about modern bra fitting techniques, I strongly suggest giving the tool a try to see if you learn anything new. If you’re a bra obsessive who knows all the tricks, you probably won’t get anything out of it except the smug feeling of being right all along. But it is fun, especially if you take stupid photos while you do it…

Now for a bit of silliness to finish! I spent quite a lot of time taking photos for this, so I had to share the outtakes. GIF TIME!

one to ten with a complete idiot
Events & Launches, Lingerie

Wishing a Happy 3rd Birthday to Curvy Kate

A couple of weeks ago I took some time out from unpacking at my new flat and melting in the heat to head over to Curvy Kate HQ in West London for a blogger party to celebrate the lingerie brand’s 3rd birthday.

It’s safe to say there are very few brands I love as much as Curvy Kate, and this was exactly the kind of fun night I’d expect from them. There was pass the parcel, ‘pin the bra on Lauren’, bubbly, party food and a sneaky peek what’s to come from the brand. It was a chance to meet or catch up with loads of amazing bloggers – some new faces like Kitty, Callie, Hanna and Jess, some gorgeous girls I’d met before like Lilla and Cheryl, and Becky, who I’d virtually adored for a very long time and couldn’t wait to meet in person. Here we are with the birthday cake.

Aside from the fact they make very pretty, competitively priced lingerie in my size, I just love the Curvy Kate ethos. Their advertising has such a strong positive message. The brand doesn’t hire professional lingerie models and airbrush them beyond recognition. The girls you see in the catalogue and shoots are customers. And they’re always smiling – there’s no pouting allowed!

Many of you have probably heard of the brilliant ‘Star in a Bra’ competition, which is run annually in the UK and now in the USA and Australia to find these new models for Curvy Kate.

What I love about Star in a Bra is that it’s not just a clever marketing stunt. The women who take part in the competition aren’t just used for one promo shoot and then forgotten in favour of professionals a few months later. The winners (and often the runners up too) become part of the Curvy Kate family. Winners from years ago are still modelling frequently for the brand.

Some of those models were at the party – 2011 and 2012 winners Lizzie Haines and Sophie Morgan, along with 2012 finalists Alice Rose Rayman and Charlotte Upton.

Lizzie, Alice, Charlotte from Curvy Kate (she designs the bras!), Sophie and Charlotte

There was such a sense of fun and feeling of friendship amongst this group and the Curvy Kate team. These models are brilliant. They’re all stunning beyond words, and though none of them are above a size 12 or 14 they are all different shapes, with fleshy bits, varied proportions and perhaps even a few stretchmarks and a bit of cellulite here and there (though I didn’t see much on show on the night)! It was so refreshing to see models messing about, having fun, not feeling the need to “stand up straight and breathe in” (I can’t be the only chubby child raised on THAT advice?) and think, just for a second, ‘hmm, their bodies kind of look like mine’. In ten years of working in this industry and attending events I have never felt like that, and it’s a surprisingly powerful thing.

As well as meeting the models we got a sneak preview (in the flesh, natch) of a few of the designs that are now available or coming soon from Curvy Kate. The big star of the night was Entice, shown here on Charlotte and now available at Debenhams.

You wait until you see what colour this is coming in for Spring / Summer!

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.

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…


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.


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).


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.


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.


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!


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.

DD+, Lingerie, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Curvy Kate Lingerie


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, 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!