Browsing Tag

underwear

curvykate
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!

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.

curvy_kate
DD+, Lingerie, Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested: Curvy Kate Lingerie

curvy_kate

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!

gokwan_shapewear
Featured, Lingerie, Shapewear

Big Girl tries Gok Wan shapewear

gokwan_shapewear

He makes a living out of making women look and feel gorgeous, so it’s no surprise that Gok Wan has branched out into Big Girl’s secret weapon, shapewear.

The right slip, corset, bra or big knickers can really make a difference to an outfit. You can slim your silhouette, enhance those curves and keep everything in check.

Gok’s range offers a bit of everything from Bridget Jones esque knickers to the sexier slip and satin corsets. My tip is the Sassy Slip for £55. Don’t let the naff name put you off, this baby hoists your boobs, sucks in your tummy and has suspender clips for those looking to make their shapewear sexy. This is the closest to a proper old-fashioned girdle you’ll find without buying vintage. With a padded plunge bra, adjustable & convertible straps and a super-strong hook and eye fastening that extends all the way down to the hips it gives plenty of support up top. Further down there’s loads of seriously strong powermesh to keep your lumps and bumps at bay, and a hook-and-eye fastened internal gusset (not so much sexy as practical).

If you want something more practical, the same style is available in a bodysuit – the Curve Controller (£55). This is great under trousers, or if you hate the restrictive feeling of an old-fashioned girdle style.

Also worth a look is the Sex Kitten Corset (£45), which is made to go under your clothes, but is nice enough to be worn as a top if you’ve got the boobs to fill it out (just swap the bright pink ‘Gok’ emblazoned ribbons for the plain black). With clever design additions like a slightly stretchy section on the sides and beautifully curved sweetheart cups that flatter (and support) a bigger bust, this is the one to go for if you want something that’ll look just as good to others as it will to you. There’s a mini waspie version if you’d rather wear a bra, too.

View and shop the whole range here in sizes 34A – 42G or 8 – 32.