Browsing Tag

curvy kate

Curvy Kate Bikini
Swimwear, Tried & Tested

The Other Reason I Went On Holiday Was to Review This Bikini

It will come as no surprise to you that I have too many bikinis. But despite the fact I have more two-pieces than I do days a year to wear them, I’ve never actually shared a photo myself wearing one before. I’ve talked in great detail about my struggles to accept my less-than-perfect body, but I worked hard before my wedding to really get to a good place. And when Bras and Honey offered me the opportunity to review a style from one of my favourite brands, I decided it was now or never.

I own a couple of Curvy Kate bikinis already, and they’re some of my most comfortable and supportive styles, so I was excited to try one of their newer styles. Bras and Honey picked out the Luau Love style for me, in hot fuchsia pink. I tried the bandeau top which has detachable straps, and the skirted bottoms. There are three tops and three bottoms to choose from in the range, so there’s something for everyone.

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As expected of Curvy Kate, the top is super supportive and well made. I can’t fault the construction. I think the strapless top is cut using the same (or a very similar) pattern to their famous Luxe strapless bra. As such, it gives a very rounded, forward-facing shape and is quite narrow across the front in comparison to some of the brand’s other bras and bikini tops. I tried the top in a 32E and I think I would have actually done better in a 34DD, as my bust is quite wide-set and I could have done with an extra inch across the front of the band. Getting into this top took a lot of “swooping”, but once I was in the support was incredible, with or without the detachable straps.

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Now onto the bottoms. A lot of swimwear guides push bigger briefs and shorts for curvier body shapes, I guess the idea being that if you’re larger, you will want to cover up more. But it took me a long time to realise that sometimes, less is more. For my body at least, I feel like a fuller bottom actually just accentuates my widest part (my hips). As the years have gone by I’ve tended towards slightly skimpier bottoms which accentuate my waist, or something low-cut with a little frill.

So despite suiting my retro taste, this skirted brief was actually a bit of a departure for me. Luckily, the style is much more flattering than boy shorts (which I hate – camel toe ahoy!) and once I’d worked out where to position them on the hips, I grew to really like having the extra coverage around the bum and hips. The ties are adjustable and there’s a lot of fabric to play with; I preferred them pulled up relatively high on the legs, but if needed you can loosen them right down to an almost knee-length skirt if you prefer. I’m wearing the size 14 / L here. I’d say they run a little on the small side, as with most swimwear, but the shape is fairly forgiving so there’s some wiggle room (literally).

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The good news if you love this set? It’s in the sale! The bandeau top is £29.75 and the skirted briefs are £21.25.

Disclosure: Product sample provided free of charge for review purposes.

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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!

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In My Wardrobe, Sale shopping

(soon to be) In My Wardrobe: What I bought in the January sales

2012 is going to be quite a frugal year for me financially (I’m saving for more important things than shoes for once!) so spending my Christmas money in the January sales is basically my last hurrah. After these purchases, I’m battening down the hatches and sticking to an ‘only what’s necessary’ approach to spending. I’m not saying I won’t buy anything this year, but I’ll definitely be reviving Frugal February and after that I’ll be sticking to those good habits at least 80% of the time, putting as much as I possibly can in the bank at the end of each month. Even with the sales I’ve tried to stear clear of the shops and only buy a few things online. Of those, I’m sure at least one or two will get returned. But while I wait for them all to arrive…here’s a look at what I bought!

40s tea dress with pintuck detail was £45 now £18 and blue midi dress in lace with seam detail was £60 now £32 both at ASOS.

The first dress I bought purely out of curiosity. It’s so ill-fitting around the chest on the teensy model that I thought it might be perfect for my big bust / small waist body shape. I don’t hold out much hope, but that ASOS premier subscription comes in handy when you want to try something and see! The blue lace dress is something I’ve had my eye on since it first arrived on the site, but I couldn’t quite stretch to the original price tag. I absolutely love the 40s shape and I’m hoping the fit is good enough to keep so this can become the first of my London Fashion Week outfits.

Bunny2 PU Stretch Thigh High Boots £20 (were £76)

I can tell you now that these will probably get returned, but at that price I couldn’t resist at least trying them. Thigh high boots scare me a bit, but having seen them on other people, I at least want to try them out. I think they might be one of those things that only work on very slim girls, but equally as I’m about 70% legs I thought I’d take a risk. I think they need to be worn in the right way – with jeans or a dress that covers the tops ( think Fergie, not Kim Kardashian) as I’m not ready to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman just yet!

Purple deco colourblock dress was £42 now £20 and Turquoise deco dress was £42 now £20 both Dorothy Perkins

Two very similar dresses that I couldn’t decide between, so I decided to order both and see how I get on. I’m unsure about the midi length of the turquoise one but I couldn’t find it in any stores to try on so I had to go online and take a chance. I worry it might look a bit frumpy on me teamed with the high neck, but at £20 I thought it was worth a shot. The purple I know looks good – I tried it in a 12 in store to get an idea of how it fits and the length, and let’s just say I definitely needed the 14!

Ruby Belle Princess dress was £50 now £12, Black Nightingale dress was £70 now £19 and Blue Valentino dress was £70 now £19 all from the Fever sale at Brand Alley

I can’t resist a Fever sale, and when dresses are at this price, I have to stock up, even if I could probably make the dresses in the time it takes Brand Alley to deliver them. I think these will be numbers 8, 9 and 10 in my Fever collection. You might think that’s excessive but it’s nothing on Roisin who seems to be wearing a new one in every photo! I know the fit will be good on a Fever dress, and the styles are quite timeless and generally good for work. I wasn’t sure about the Valentino dress with the fringing details, but having seen the pink one on Sian, I had to snap one up. Cobalt is one of my favourite colours for clothes, so I had to go with the blue.

Curvy Kate Tempt Me bra £16.95 (was £29) and high waisted brief £6.95 (was £14.50) at BraStop

If anyone can make a plunge bra that doesn’t dig in at the middle, it’s Curvy Kate. The brand is probably one of my favourite discoveries of the last couple of years. I had my eye on this set before Christmas, so when I saw it in the sale at Brastop I decided to give it a go. I love, love, love the retro style high waisted briefs.

Irregular Choice Oz Can’t Touch This shoes were £80, I paid £44.99 (now £49.99, oddly) at Schuh

I don’t have anything to say about these except how could I resist? They are absolutely insane, my mother would hate them, I’ve been scared to show them to the boyfriend for fear he’ll think I’ve lost my mind, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re shoes of wonder and I can’t wait to wear them. Look at the heels!

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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+, 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!