Sweet Nothings Featured on Burnett’s Boards Today!

Sweet Nothings Mimosa Flora Kate Ignatowski Curvy Girls Bridal Boudoir

I’m super excited to share a project from April that I collaborated on with two of NYC’s most talented wedding professionals! Photographer Kate Ignatowski, designer Lilli of Mimosa Floral Design Studio, and I styled and shot a bridal boudoir session specifically with curvy brides in mind.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Harlow & Fox %22Eleanor%22 robe

I got to wear some truly beautiful pieces from some of my favorite D+ brands, and Lilli created stunning floral arrangements (and hairpieces!) that made Kate’s bright, light-filled studio feel like a magical garden.  In back sizes from 28 to 46 and cup sizes from D to K, there are some lovely pieces of bridal lingerie for a wide range of shapes and sizes. Head on over to Burnett’s Boards to see the full photoset, and then check back here over the coming weeks: it will be a bridal-and-special-occasion-lingerie-review-palooza round these parts!

Finally, a small teaser: in addition to shiny pretty bridal lingerie, you might just see a shiny pretty new Sweet Nothings if you check back later this week. It’s been in progress for a long time now, and I can’t wait to announce its arrival.

Photography: Kate Ignatowski
Florals: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Makeup: Anny Chow
Hair: Andy Tseng
Basque: Masquerade by Panache
Robe: Harlow & Fox

Sweet Nothing Du Jour 7/25/14: Hopeless Lingerie Andie Suspender

Hopeless Lingerie has been on my indie lingerie wishlist for years now.  Designed and handmade entirely in Melbourne, Australia by designer Gabrielle Adamidis, each collection features extraordinary pieces that feel both daring and bold as well as organic and natural. I still regret missing out on the amazing Maja harness and matching garters, and I hope one day I’m in a financial position to be able try Hopeless out for myself (as well as many, many other indie designers– the list is incredibly long at this point)!

I’ve been eagerly watching as pieces from this season’s Tenebrae collection make their debut, and my favorite by far is the amazing Andie suspender.

Hopeless Andie Suspender

Hopeless Lingerie “Andie” suspender (sizes XXS-XXL). $160AUS.

With my recent size changes I’ve been revisiting a bunch of lingerie I’d packed away, and I’ve discovered that my personal style has changed a lot in the last two years. I’m less inclined to grab at any and all bright colors or laces or bows, and I am more inclined to seek out pieces with a little more sophistication that are both unusual and versatile. Andie hits a real sweet spot for me: the suspenders and full circle cut of the skirt speak to my girly side, and the sheer athletic mesh and severe black color temper the frilliness with a sexy, dangerous edge.

Hopeless Lingerie "Andie" suspender (sizes XXS-XXL).  $160AUS.

Hopeless Lingerie “Andie” suspender (sizes XXS-XXL). $160AUS.

I think this suspender would be a really good introductory piece for anyone who’s intrigued by darker, more bondage-influenced lingerie items like harnesses, but who might feel intimidated about incorporating them into their wardrobe. I know I’m in that boat: I have such a squishy torso that I worry about whether or not I’ll feel comfortable wearing lots of straps, but I absolutely adore the look. This awesome suspender? I’d wear this in a heartbeat.

The Andie suspender is available from Hopeless Lingerie. All Hopeless Lingerie is made to order in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Review: Panache Sport Top

Sweet Nothings reviews the Panache Sports Top

Back in January I shared my thoughts on the super-popular Panache sports bra, and you might recall that they were pretty glowing.  I seriously have four different colors of this bra in my lingerie drawer right now, and I kind of want to buy four more because my size is changing and some of mine are worn out.  After a few successful seasons built around the bra and matching workout shorts, I was really interested to see what I thought of a new addition to the sports range: a new sports top, which features a built-in Panache Sport bra.

Appearance

The debut colorway is a bold, saturated coral with contrasting neon multicolor accents. It’s… I won’t lie, it’s a lot brighter than I normally go for in my workout wear—I prefer black and neutrals. That said, it’s definitely cheerful and summery, and if I’m trying to drag myself to the gym in the morning before work, it’ll wake me up!

Neon yellow contrast piping lines the neckline and continues onto the straps and J-hook, and swooping panels of the multicolor accent sweep down the front and create a long, streamlined look. Well, that might be the idea—in my size I felt like the panels just emphasized the width and curve of my bust, which again isn’t usually something I’m dying for in my workout clothes.

The top contains a built-in Panache Sports Bra (original flavor) with partially adjustable straps, a J-hook, and three columns of three rows of hooks and eyes.

Sweet Nothings reviews the Panache Sports Top

The wonkiness at the neckline is there for a few reasons: I’m stretching, which is pulling the cups closer to each other, the molded cups are fairly open at the top, and the cups are slightly too big, as I lost a little bit of weight between the time I bought the top and the time I reviewed it.

Fit

The bra part? Business as usual, which, as I mentioned in my review in January, is very good business indeed. This is an underwired encapsulation style sports bra (as opposed to a compression style sports bra), meaning that the cups and underwires fully contain (encapsulate) each breast to minimize movement from all sides. I’ve found that this is the style I prefer—I stay cooler and drier during a workout, I can breathe more deeply and easily, and I have a full range of movement without worrying about shifting, digging, squeezing, or poking. I found the bra part fit very similarly to my regular Panache sport bras: the cups are round and full (some women prefer to size down in the cups, and indeed I think it’s time for me to do so with all my sports bras, as I’ve started to get some chafing where the center gore lies because there’s a little too much room in the cups). The band is quite firm (though I find they stretch fairly quickly).

Sweet Nothings reviews the Panache Sports Top

I am so glamorous all of the time.

The top part itself is where I got into a little trouble. I was worried it might be short, as I’m 5’10” and sometimes find clothes made in the UK are short all over for me, but the length is good. Well, at first. The top is cut very slim, which is great as it means that there’s no bagging or drooping or bulk to get in your way while you’re moving. The drawback is if your waist/hips are wider than your underbust (as mine are), the top immediately begins climbing skyward, as you can see in the picture above. By the time I finish a run the hem is usually higher than my navel, if I haven’t been yanking it back down to my hips every minute or so. You also have to really wriggle into that sucker, and then fasten the bra underneath the skin-tight top, so if you have joint pain or any issues with joint rotation and flexibility, be warned that it’s definitely trickier to get into than the standard sports bra (I tend to step into it and pull it up, FWIW). In an ideal world I’d love to see the top have a little more room through the body, with a hem that accommodates the curve of the hips, but then again, that’s just me: many athletes have leaner, more streamlined torsos, so this top might be perfect for them.

Comfort

The bra part? A+! I feel supported and stable, and I feel comfortable running, using an elliptical, dancing, and doing all sorts of other cardio-based activities that made me uncomfortable before I had a good sports bra.

Sweet Nothings reviews the Panache Sports Top

That being said, the top itself isn’t my first pick, unless it’s a really hot day and I’m going to be exercising outside. For one thing, I’m more self-conscious than I realized about my back (so here’s a picture of it! woo!). Because the top is so snug on me and I have a fairly squishy torso, you can see a clear line where the bottom of the bra band digs into my fluffy bits. It also clings to my belly (before it begins traveling upwards), so when I’m not busily yanking it back down I’m busily sucking in my stomach, which—ugh, why do I even care about doing that at the gym? I’m at the GYM, not The Club, and yet here we are. So I usually wind up wearing this on days when I know the gym is going to be underpopulated, like early mornings during the weekends. It’s dumb that I feel self-conscious about how I look at the gym, but there you have it. I’d prefer the top to be looser, so that it hangs better, otherwise I’d just as soon wear a regular sports bra and tank top.

Overall

My personal fit and flattery issues aside, this top is a brilliant addition to the Panache Sports lineup. If my budget allowed I’d love to track down the coordinating running leggings. I really, REALLY like the look of the Fall/Winter 2014 styles, and I’m excited to test out the wire-free version of the sports bra that will debut later in the Fall. I’m not sure if it’s an increased activity level or just a sign that I need to invest in some smaller sizes, but after several years of wearing the underwired style with no problem, I’m suddenly developing some sore, chafed patches of skin where the underwires meet between my breasts. It will be nice to have a wire-free version of my favorite sports bra, so that I don’t have to stop exercising while my skin heals.

Sweet Nothings reviews the Panache Sports Top 1

Panache Sports Bra is available in sizes 28 DD-H, 30 D-H, 32 C-H, 34-38 B-H, and 40 D-GG.  All cup sizes are UK cup sizes, so the cup size progression goes B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H.

The Panache Sports Top is available in sizes 28 DD-H, 30-38 D-H, and 40 DD-GG.  While this colorway is discontinued, the new colorway (black with multi-print, below) should begin showing up in stores at the end of this month and into August.

Panache Sport Top Black

*****

Photography: Lydia Hudgens
Top: Panache Sports Top (available here with a few sizes left here)
Pants: Gap (yay for tall-person athletic wear!)

My Favorite New Styles for Fall/Winter 2014

As I’m beginning to make my appointments to see the upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collections at Curve next month, Holly’s recent article for The Lingerie Addict reminded me that I never shared some of my top picks for Fall/Winter 2014! Cecily and I covered some of the trends for this season after the show in February, and now that some of these styles are starting to show up in stores (Fall/Winter styles begin to ship in late July/August and continue through November), I thought it would be fun to show you the pieces I’m most looking forward to seeing!:

Elomi

"Bijou Soiree" by Elomi. Available in sizes 36-44 E, 34-44 F-G, 34-42 GG, H (UK)

“Bijou Soiree” by Elomi. Available in sizes 36-44 E, 34-44 F-G, 34-42 GG, H (UK)

While I thought Elomi’s season wasn’t quite as strong as F/W 2013 or S/S 2014, this baby stood out as a clear winner. With an on-trend trompe l’oeil lace print and a versatile, smooth plunging shape, this bra is a huge stand-out in the full-bust/full-figure market. The price is a little higher than some of Elomi’s other bras (recommended retail is $82 for the bra alone), which might drive it out of the reach of some, but as a special occasion bra it’s pretty outstanding.

Sculptresse

"Flirtini" by Sculptresse, available in sizes 36 F-H, 38 E-H, 40 DD-H, 42-46 D-H.

“Flirtini” by Sculptresse, available in sizes 36 F-H, 38 E-H, 40 DD-H, 42-46 D-H.

Sculptresse is REALLY starting to find its feet, style-wise. After some timid early seasons the brand has stepped up and begun offering vibrant, cheerful and pretty full-bust full-figure lingerie that reminds me of the strongest offerings from sister brands Cleo and Panache. Y’all know how I feel about polka dots, so Flirtini is a no-brainer as my favorite pick. This is one of the brands I’m most looking forward to seeing in August.

Panache

"Envy" Bodysuit by Panache, available in sizes 30-38 D-J.

“Envy” Bodysuit by Panache, available in sizes 30-38 D-J.

I’m so, so excited to try this bodysuit I can’t even handle it. I’m on a major spending lockdown at the moment, but if I buy one piece of lingerie in the next few months, it’ll probably be this one. The placement of the stretch lace, the cool houndstooth pattern, and the careful construction are making me extremely hopeful that this piece will be a winner.

"Clara" by Panache, available in sizes 30-38 D-J (UK)

Runner-up: “Clara” by Panache, available in sizes 30-38 D-J (UK)

While Clara wasn’t the best fit for me, shape-wise (it’s a cousin to Andorra, so if that shape works well for you you’ll probably be set), this gold and black colorway is staggeringly lovely.

Freya

"Deco Darling" by Freya. Plunge Bra AND Strapless Bra in sizes 32-38 B, C; 28-38 D-G; 28-36 GG. Brief, Short, Thong sizes XS-XL, Suspender sizes S-XL.

“Deco Darling” by Freya. Plunge Bra AND Strapless Bra in sizes 32-38 B, C; 28-38 D-G; 28-36 GG. Brief, Short, Thong sizes XS-XL, Suspender sizes S-XL.

I am lukewarm on Deco, at best (it’s a fantastic bra, truly; it’s just not my cup of tea), and I’ve wearied of seasons built around eight different colors of the same bra, but wow: this collection is lovely, versatile, and understatedly elegant.

Claudette

"Fishnet" by Claudette in Pointe Shoe. Available in sizes 28-38 A-G (UK).

“Fishnet” by Claudette in Pointe Shoe. Available in sizes 28-38 A-G (UK).

I am obsessed with Claudette’s color names, because they are consistently perfect, and this pointe shoe color slays me.

"Paloma" by Claudette in Pointe Shoe. Available in sizes 28-38 A-G (UK).

“Paloma” by Claudette in Pointe Shoe. Available in sizes 28-38 A-G (UK).

Not only does it appeal to eleven-year-old me who was convinced that despite her towering height, big boobs, and flat feet she could still ONE DAY be a professional ballerina, it also satisfies my new What Would Miss Fisher Wear? lingerie criteria, by being a lovely retro-ish blush pink. For a shiny, luxurious look, try Paloma, with its fabulous button-back brief OR side-tie knicker, or give the fabulous Fishnet collection a try!

Masquerade

"Aleah" by Masquerade (cancelled). Was going to be size 28-38 D-H (UK)

“Aleah” by Masquerade (cancelled). Was going to be size 28-38 D-H (UK)

Just kidding, it was cancelled. Poor Masquerade—from everything I’ve heard they had a rough season, sales-wise, which is a shame, because I thought it was one of their stronger seasons in years, style-wise. After some dreary lookbooks and drab oatmeal-and-greige color schemes they finally presented a collection featuring sumptuous, flattering colors and some new shapes (and G+) sizes. The Aleah bra, a non-padded, non-molded (hallelujah!) D-H bra in a totally luxe grey-and-gold color scheme, reminded me of one of my favorite books from when I was little – Beauty by Robin McKinley. I was prepared to pay good cash money for this bra (it was one of my favorite bras I’d seen in my size in years), and I was incredibly disappointed that it was cancelled.

"Alice" Slip in Ink by Masquerade (cancelled). Was going to be sizes 28-38 D-G (UK).

“Alice” Slip in Ink by Masquerade (cancelled). Was going to be sizes 28-38 D-G (UK).

My second choice (the Alice slip in a gorgeous navy with gleaming floral embroidery, which also reminded me of Beauty’s wardrobe from the afore-mentioned favorite-book-of-my-childhood) was cancelled too. I’d have loved to have seen both Aleah and Alice at a higher end boutique like Journelle, and I’m not sure why Masquerade had such trouble finding buyers at the show. The collection they’ve been left with for the season feels like a motley crew of stragglers (there’s a dusky berry color with lace for Antoinette, there’s a somewhat basic purple molded bra, there’s a random hot raspberry bra, there’s that one exceptionally boring black lace bra for H-cups, there’s the bridal collection. We’re done). Masquerade is getting a rebrand for SS15 (it will become “Panache Black”), so I’m interested to talk to brand reps at the show in August and get a little more information about what’s been going on behind the scenes.

Fantasie

"Rebecca Mirage" by Fantasie, available in sizes 30-40 D-FF, 30-38 G, and 30-36 GG.

“Rebecca Mirage” by Fantasie, available in sizes 30-40 D-FF, 30-38 G, and 30-36 GG.

I’m going to talk about Ivana in a second, but first: Rebecca Mirage is SUCH a smart choice for both the brand and the style. Rebecca (original flavor) is a really fantastic bra: a seam-free molded bra in lightweight, breathable spacer fabric, it offers smooth coverage and a flexible fit. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (it’s MUCH more full-coverage than, say, Deco), but for women who don’t like seams but want something more breathable and comfortable than a standard molded cup, this bra is amazing. Rebecca Mirage offers the same great shape in a new, grown-up color and print. I love the stylized swirling floral vines and the delicate velvet bows, and I love that they’ve taken one of their basic, workhorse bras and made it a little special and elegant. A+.

"Ivana" Basque by Fantasie, available in sizes 30-38 D-G (UK).

“Ivana” Basque by Fantasie, available in sizes 30-38 D-G (UK).

Ivana speaks for itself. It’s beautiful and I love it and the color and I LOVE IT.

Cleo

"Jolie" by Cleo, available in sizes 28-38 D-G (UK)

“Jolie” by Cleo, available in sizes 28 D-G and 30-38 C-G (UK)

I was torn trying to choose a favorite from Cleo, because I think the raspberry version of the Marcie babydoll (below) is the perfect marriage of color and style, but ultimately Jolie charmed the pants off me. Look at how interesting the neckline is! Look at how great the charcoal-orange-pink-red color scheme is! Look at all the bows! I don’t even care for padded bras and I still think this is just a damned delight.

"Marcie" Babydoll in Raspberry by Cleo. 28-38 D-J (UK)

Runner-up: “Marcie” Babydoll in Raspberry by Cleo. 28-38 D-J (UK)

Harlow & Fox

"Augusta" Collection from Harlow & Fox: Bra, Brief, Suspender Belt, and Robe. I want it all.  All of the silk, and all of the tassels.

“Augusta” Collection from Harlow & Fox: Bra, Brief, Suspender Belt, and Robe. Bra available in sizes 30-38 D-G, accessories in XS-XL.  I want it all. All of the silk, and all of the tassels. It’s available in both Scarlet (pictured) and Black.

TASSELS! I mean, I could be more eloquent, and I could say that this too belongs on the list of Lingerie for Lady Detectives, and I could talk about how staggeringly lovely we’d all look slinking down a grand staircase by candlelight with a drink in our hands and soft, silky fringe swishing against our thighs, but I don’t reeeeally need to say those things, because duh.

Huit

"Nouvel Emoi" by Huit, available in sizes 32-38 B-E, 32-36 F (UK sizes). Colors: Poppy (pictured) and Noir.

“Nouvel Emoi” by Huit, available in sizes 32-38 B-E, 32-36 F (UK sizes). Colors: Poppy (pictured) and Noir.

I know Huit is more of a core size brand, but this bra goes up to an F-cup and it has sleeves (which can be swapped for regular straps), and they please me. That is all.

Curvy Kate

"Roxie" Camisole by Curvy Kate. Available in sizes 28-30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G.

“Roxie” Camisole by Curvy Kate. Available in sizes 28-30 D-J, 32 D-HH, 34 D-H, 36 D-GG, 38 D-G.

I don’t care for padded bras, blah blah blah, you’ve heard this song before, and I don’t care because THIS IS ADORABLE. And it’s available up to a J-cup in some band sizes. It is so stinking cute.

"Dare" by Curvy Kate in Boysenberry/Silver. Available in sizes 28-38 D-J.

“Dare” by Curvy Kate in Boysenberry/Silver. Available in sizes 28-38 D-J.

I also enjoy Dare’s new sparkly embroidery, which continues onto the back of both the bra and the knickers, very, very much indeed.

Parfait

"Danielle" by Parfait, available in sizes 30-40 D-G (UK). Continuity colors Dusty Rose and Imperial Purple.

“Danielle” by Parfait, available in sizes 30-40 D-G (UK). Continuity colors Dusty Rose and Imperial Purple.

I will never stop wishing the Danielle longline bra in pretty pale pink came in my size, and I will never not be jealous that Julia Lambert has one. For those of you lucky enough to fall in this size range, this peacock-blue satin set trimmed with black embroidery is simply dazzling. Please wear it, as I cannot.

Fauve

"Grace" by Fauve. Available in sizes 32-38 B-C, 30-38 D-G (UK).

“Grace” by Fauve. Padded half cup available in sizes 32-38 B-C, 30-38 D-G (UK), plunge balcony bra (pictured) available in sizes 30-38 D-G, 30-36 GG.

 

This bra reminds me of Rapunzel from Tangled. I’m not a huge Disney nerd, although I loved fairy tales from all walks of life when I was little, but this beautiful bra looks like a dreamy watercolor. I think it’s much lovelier in person– the brand images don’t really do it justice. So pretty!

*****

Did any of these make it onto your wishlist? What are your favorite picks for the upcoming season?

Lemon-Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Sweet Nothings Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Heat and humidity got you down? I have just the thing to help cool off: lush ice cream with a major citrus-y kick, paired with cool spicy gingersnaps. Oh ice cream maker, I love you all the time, but I love you most of all in summer.

For the Lemon Ice Cream:

2 c. heavy cream, divided
1 c. whole milk
1 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
6 egg yolks
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a quart-sized measuring cup. Place a mesh strainer on top and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine remaining 1 cup cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture is hot and just barely beginning to simmer (do NOT boil). Immediately pour the hot cream/milk mixture into the egg yolks in a very thin, slow stream, whisking all the while to ensure the eggs don’t cook or scramble. Once the eggs and cream are thoroughly combined, return the custard to the saucepan and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, begins to steam slightly, and reaches a temperature of no more than 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the reserved 1 cup cream and whisk in the vanilla extract. Chill the mixture until very cold, at least a few hours or overnight.

Sweet Nothings Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Once the custard is thoroughly chilled, whisk in the 1/2 cup lemon juice. Note that this will give you a huge punch of lemon flavor; if you prefer a more delicate, subtle hint of citrus, feel free to reduce this amount to 1/3 or 1/4 cup (and consider reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup). Freeze the lemon ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for 2-3 hours so it has a chance to firm up.

Sweet Nothings Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Gingersnaps:

3/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional—I didn’t have any in my baking stash, so I didn’t use it this time)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

about 1/2 – 3/4 c. granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; stir in the crystallized ginger (if using) and set aside.

Combine the shortening, brown sugar, eggs, molasses and vanilla, in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix for 1 minute on low speed, then increase speed to medium and beat for 3-4 minutes until light and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and crystallized ginger (if using). Mix again on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth.

You may find that the dough is a little soft and sticky (mine was, because my oven is terribly insulated and GOOD GRAVY it gets hot in my kitchen in the summer). If it’s too sticky to roll into balls, refrigerate the dough for an hour or two before proceeding to the next step.

Using a heaping tablespoon of dough, roll out dough into small balls between the palms of your hands. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on prepared baking sheet, no more than 12 per sheet, as the cookies spread during baking. Bake for 13-15 minutes until slightly darkened and set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Nothings Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Once the cookies are cool, transfer them (and a small baking sheet) to the freezer for at least 15 minutes or so, so they’re nice and cold and won’t melt your ice cream when you start assembling your ice cream sandwiches.

When you’re ready to assemble, place 1 small scoop of lemon ice cream on top of half of the gingersnaps. Top each scoop of ice cream with one of the remaining gingersnaps, pressing them together gently to flatten the ice cream scoop. Immediately transfer the ice cream sandwiches onto the cold baking sheet and return them to the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Once the sandwiches are thoroughly frozen, you can either serve them or place them in an airtight container. While you can eat them right away, of course, I actually like letting them sit for a day or two, so that the cookies will soften and make everything both easier and less messy to eat.

Sweet Nothings Lemon Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes approximately 2 dozen ice cream sandwiches.

*****

Fleur of England Dash of Lime

For our lingerie pairing, I’m sticking with the citrus family and sharing THIS TOTALLY FABULOUS lime green delight from Fleur of England.

Fleur of England Dash of Lime

I know Dash of Lime is an older collection, but this lace/silk/neon combo will never stop feeling fresh and vibrant. The lace racerback chemise, the high-waist shortie, the beautiful lace and silk bras– the whole collection is just giddy and gorgeous. I’ll be honest and say that I rarely consider neon lingerie for my personal lingerie wardrobe, but if Fleur of England made my size I’d be sorely, sorely tempted.

Fleur of England Dash of Lime

A Dash of Lime is available at the Fleur of England official site.

Sweet Nothing Du Jour: 7/10/14 Claudette “Fishnet” in Blondie

This is one of my favorite sets of the summer:

"Fishnet" by Claudette in Blondie/Hot Coral. Sizes 30-38 D-G (UK). Matching suspender brief sizes XS-XL.

“Fishnet” by Claudette in Blondie/Hot Coral. Sizes 30-38 D-G (UK). Matching suspender brief sizes XS-XL.

Fishnet, as an entire collection, remains pretty unique in full-bust world, where there tends to be a LOT of “inspiration” (ahem, sometimes outright copying) amongst the different brands. To some extent, a mesh three-piece balconette bra is a mesh three-piece balconette bra is a mesh three-piece balconette bra, and similarities are excusable, but there are some cases (like new brand Bombshell Boudoir’s “Bombshell” bra, which is a pretty blatant ripoff of Parfait’s “Charlotte” style) where a brand deliberately copies another brand’s popular design.

Fishnet by Claudette in Blondie/Hot Coral

I can’t really think of another set in this price range available up to a G-cup that looks like Fishnet.  The fishnet fabric, the sporty lines, the bright colors, and the unusual two-part cup construction make it a real standout collection.  The first few colorways featured neon bases with black contrast, and for summer the color scheme’s been flipped: neutral Blondie makes up the base, with Hot Coral accents.  It’s SO sassy, and kind of lean and athletic, but the suspender knickers make it kind of retro-and-pin-up-y too, and GAH I love it.  It’s currently available at Faire Frou Frou and Butterfly Collection, for those of you lucky enough to fall in the size range. Someone get this and rock it for me, please.

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Knickers

Sweet Nothings Angela Friedman Adrienne sneak peek FW14

I’m really, really, REALLY excited to share an early preview of two styles from Angela Friedman’s Fall/Winter 2014 Muse collection: the high-waist “Adrienne” ruffle panties and the “Laurel” ruffle bikini panties.

Full disclosure right off the bat: I received these as a holiday present from Angela, because we’re buds and neighbors. She gave me two pairs of handmade silk underwear, and I gave her a jar of caramel sauce, because I’m the worst. So while this post is written in the spirit of embarrassed and overwhelmed gratitude, all opinions on the underwear itself are my own.

Sweet Nothings Angela Friedman Laurel FW14

I’ve been excited for the Muse collection to launch ever since I saw it during February’s market season. The thoughtful details and touches I expect from Angela, like silk, French lace, impeccable lines, and sophisticated silhouettes are all there in abundance, and this new collection introduces a loose-limbed athleticism and some unusually angular, streamlined looks. While her exemplary corsets and beautiful, feminine details are absolutely present, there are also pieces in the collection that I can see appealing to customers who might not identify with frills or corsets or ruffles, like cropped camisoles, silk tap pants, and sleek, body-skimming chemises with elegant racerback details. Basically, just wait. It’s fantastic, and it’s coming soon.

Now, I tend to be of the “ALL THE RUFFLES FOR ME, please” mindset, and fortunately, the Muse collection does not disappoint in that department either. Like, seriously, these are the most Sweets-appropriate underpants in the world.  First up: the stunning high-waist “Adrienne” silk and mesh suspender knickers.

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

These stunning knickers feature a fabulous keyhole closure at the back of the waist and detachable suspenders for stockings. The center front panel is pure, luxurious silk, available in black, pink, or purple (Angela chose black silk for mine, so that they’d be versatile and go with everything), and the hips and rear are sheer black mesh, trimmed with two parallel rows of delicate dotted mesh ruffles. They feel light and luxurious on the body, and I love that the ruffles add a little bit of volume to my hips to balance the fullness of my bust.

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

I like wearing the Adrienne knickers under fuller skirts for a little added poof. Also, can we talk about how fabulous the sheer mesh back looks paired with sheer black stockings?

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

In keeping with the general fanciness of things, I styled these knickers with my luxurious Maison Lejaby bra from my trip to the Journelle Atelier, plus my personalized nylon stockings.

The second piece from the collection is the shorter and sassier “Laurel” bikini panty. Where the Adrienne knickers feel delightfully old-fashioned and grown-up, the “Laurel” knickers feel more contemporary and streamlined. With a silk center panel and sheer mesh hips and rear like the Adrienne knickers, Laurel features two rows of soft, full, floaty ruffles across the seat.

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

Presenting a sleek face from the front and a little bit of sass from behind, Laurel feels cheeky and playful. I paired mine with the cute open-backed Marcie babydoll from Cleo, the better to let the ruffles peek out and and say hi.

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

My knickers are slightly modified from the ready-to-wear versions. For one thing, they’re larger than Angela’s RTW sizes (she estimates that they’re somewhere in the XL-XXL range), and for another, Angela made some special adjustments just for me, after a fitting session at her studio. I’m tall, so even though I think of myself as short-waisted, sometimes bikini briefs literally aren’t deep enough to stay on my body (hi, Cleo! Your panties are so cute, and then they fall off me). So Angela adjusted the rise on both the high-waist briefs and the bikini knickers to sit more comfortably and proportionally on my body. The Adrienne knickers rise to my natural waist, just over my navel, and the Laurel knickers rise to a classic bikini cut, a few inches below my navel. This is one of the many, many reasons independent lingerie designers are so amazing: you can get a fit that is tailored to your unique body.

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

The Muse collection launches in late August, so be sure to keep an eye on Angela’s official site for updates. Interested in getting a custom fit like mine, or want to know more about the upcoming collection? Contact Angela for details!

*****

Photography: Lydia Hudgens

Look 1// Bra: Maison Lejaby, via Journelle; Knickers: Angela Friedman c/o; Stockings: Stockingirl customized RHT stockings; Earrings: Anthropologie (old); Ring: personal; Lips: Stila “Sonya”; Nails: Dior “Violet Graphique”

Look 2// Babydoll: Cleo by Panache; Knickers: Angela Friedman c/o; Earrings: Anthropologie (old); Ring: personal; Lips: Stila “Sonya”; Nails: Dior “Violet Graphique”

Hair and Makeup: Sweets

Sweet Nothings previews the Angela Friedman Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

Happy 4th of July! Here are Some Blondies

A very happy and festive 4th of July, American readers! Everyone else: hey, it’s still Friday, right? Win!

Chocolate-Chip Butterscotch Toffee Pecan Blondies

In case you’re looking for a last-minute sweet treat for your picnic or cookout (except this stupid Hurricane Arthur is really throwing off our festive groove, no?), here are the blondies that I have probably made more times in my life than any other dessert. They’ve accompanied me to birthday parties, holiday parties, high school theater rehearsals, dances, sleepovers, etc. etc., and I’ve probably made them more times than I can count. This is a formative dessert in the history of my baking career, is what I’m trying to say. Mom invented them while trying to use up some pantry leftovers, and we’ve never looked back, because why mess with perfection?

Chocolate-Chip Butterscotch Toffee Pecan Blondies

Chocolate Chip-Butterscotch-Toffee-Pecan Blondies

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. all-pupose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 c. butterscotch chips
2/3 c. toffee bits or crushed Heath bars
1 c. raw pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 x 13″ Pyrex baking pan.

Combine butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract.

Sift together the dry ingredients. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.  Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  Stir in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toffee bits, and pecans until evenly mixed.

Spread the mixture in a prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and a tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.  Allow to cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Makes around 40 blondies.

*****

For our lingerie pairing, I decided to branch out to swimwear, because in theory it would be lovely if we were all spending a festive 4th of July keeping cool by the pool, but, alas: hurricane.

Modcloth: Esther Williams Beach Blanket Bingo Swimsuit in Red

Modcloth: Esther Williams Beach Blanket Bingo Swimsuit in Red (Plus)

I love these polka dotted swimsuits from Esther Williams (via Modcloth).  The size range is fantastic: styles are available from size 4 to 26, and y’all know I can’t resist a polka dot, especially in swimwear. Add in red, one of my absolute favorite colors, and one that’s totally on-point for July 4th? Perfection, just like Mom’s blondies.

Review: Megan Longline Bra and Brief by Elomi

Sweet Nothings reviews Elomi's Megan Longline Bra

Last February I decided to special-order some of my favorite upcoming Spring/Summer styles through A Sophisticated Pair. Erica offers a very generous special order/return policy, and while I often wait for certain pieces to go on sale (or for me to impulse purchase them during a Netflix-induced internet spiral), I knew I wanted to get a jump on one or two styles as soon as they became available, and I wanted to support an independent boutique while doing so. The first set on my list was Elomi’s “Megan” collection, including a lovely non-padded longline bra and coordinating brief. [Note: I purchased this set under my real name with my own money. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Appearance

The longline version of Megan features an opaque laminate fabric in a dark purple/navy blue color with a contrasting pink and white ditsy floral print. The longline band features a subtle colorblock effect with the printed center panel contrasting with dark navy powermesh at the sides and back. The band includes built-in flexible boning below the center of each cup, under the arms, and near the center back, to help keep the band lying straight and flush against the ribcage without wrinkling or curling up. The straps are fully adjustable and are set fairly close together in the back, which ensures they don’t slip off the shoulders. The band closes with two columns of five rows of hooks and eyes.

The cups are four-part cups, with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup, a horizontal seam bisecting the cup, and a side panel connected to the strap, for forward projection.  The bra features a slightly lower center gore, and while I wouldn’t say it’s a true plunge, it’s definitely a lower profile than Elomi’s full cup bras. The cups are trimmed with coordinating pink embroidered mesh, with a pink bow at the center gore, at each strap, and at the center front of the briefs.

Sweet Nothings reviews Elomi's Megan Longline Bra

So this print: when I saw it at last August’s Curve, I thought “well, it’s better than the terrible denim weirdness that was last year’s version”. It’s very sweet, very cheerful, and very pretty. I think the colors will be flattering on a range of skin tones, and it feels very bright and summery whenever I wear it.

However.

I have been waiting impatiently for the magical day when a non-padded G+ longline bra would be mine, and I may have let my hopes get too high. I’ve wanted a longline bra since the trend first picked up steam 3-4 years ago. Freya, Panache, Curvy Kate, and Parfait all make (or have made) lovely D+ longline bras with padded or molded cups (see Julia Lambert’s review of Parfait’s Danielle), but I strongly prefer unpadded bras. Claudette has since introduced a cute longline version of Dessous, but they don’t make my size. My dream version, if anyone cares to know, is a sheer mesh longline bra with boning in the band and matching sheer high-waist suspender briefs, maybe with contrast seaming or opaque piping, or a set that’s unabashedly retro in pale pink silk with matching tap pants, like one Miss Phryne Fisher might wear. In other words, I want something really, really sexy or special, without sacrificing the fit and comfort I get from nonpadded bras.

Megan, bless its darling little heart, is not really, really sexy or special. It’s cute as a damn button though, so I’ll allow it. I feel like longline bras in fuller cup sizes can sometimes read as a Whole Lotta Bra, which can be a turn-off to some customers, and designing a set to be a showpiece or a special occasion set (like Curvy Kate have done with the black version of Carmen for A/W 14) can help make the style extra enticing, instead of intimidating. This purple-and-pink ditsy floral print can read as simultaneously little girlish or as mumsy (not that there’s anything wrong with youth or motherhood!), but this is a market demographic that, when not  dominated by beige, black, and white, is a little over-saturated with girly and mumsy. I’d love to see some pieces that might appeal to a full-figure woman looking for more fashion-forward, directional lingerie.

Sweet Nothings reviews Elomi's Megan Longline Bra

Fit

I’ve enjoyed wearing Elomi over the last year because the brand’s style has gotten both cuter and more sophisticated. They offer lots of different shapes, and I’m freed from the tyranny of the molded/padded bra. That being said, Elomi isn’t a perfect match for my body, and Megan is no exception.

I tried on last summer’s longline “Roxy” style once at a lingerie boutique in Virginia, and based solely on memory, Megan’s band feels a bit looser and less constricting. It’s firmer towards the top and more forgiving towards the bottom, where some full-figure customers’ waistlines widen. In fact, I sometimes hook the bottom three hooks on the firmest column and the top two on the loosest, in order to get the band to hug my ribcage more firmly. I’m not complaining about a more relaxed band: one of the issues I wondered about when it comes to longline bras in full-figure sizes was how flexible the fit would be in terms of accommodating different shapes (as many of us carry our weight in different places), and I think Megan will be flattering on a range of body shapes.

The cups feel true-to-size for Elomi, although, as is often the case, they’re the primary source of fit shenanigans for me. The shape is designed for a body that’s different from mine: the wires feel wide, and the cups have more room in the sides and less room at the center front. Elomi bras are great for women who feel like they have a lot of breast tissue under their arms, like their breasts are wide-set, or like the underwires in other bras sit on the breast tissue and dig. My breasts are high on my chest wall with a lot of forward projection, so sometimes it feels like Elomi bras sort of pull my breasts out to the sides of my body. Megan fit fairly well when I bought it, with occasional digging in along the neckline where my breasts are fuller, but now that I’ve lost some weight I really notice the extra space at the sides and in the bottom of the cup.

For the briefs, I chose what I think of as my “Freya” size (one size down from what I wear in other brands), and I’m glad I did, as I found Megan’s briefs fit very comfortably in the smaller size.  My hips and rear are smaller in proportion to my bust, so if you have a curvier lower half you might be comfortable in your usual size.

Sweet Nothings reviews Elomi's Megan Longline Bra

Comfort

So, why did I buy a longline bra from a brand that isn’t the best shape for me, when the print and color didn’t really set my world on fire?

So help me, I just really wanted one. I really, really, REALLY wanted a longline bra. The deeper bands distribute the pressure of supporting heavy breasts more evenly without digging in at the top or bottom edges, plus they offer extra smoothing to your back and sides, and some souls more daring than I even wear them as crop tops or as midriff-baring base layers. I totally wear Megan around my apartment when I’m cooking (hi neighbors) or cleaning or just lounging with the cats, and it’s very handy for some sleeveless tops, because the straps are set closer together in the back. It’s not quite right for racerback styles, or for tops with wide-set straps, but I’ve definitely found a home for it in my wardrobe.

The briefs are a really comfortable cut for me: low enough that they don’t dig in to my waistline or hips, high enough that they don’t curl up and roll down under my belly. I love the way Elomi cuts their knickers, so two thumbs up from me!

Overall, and in spite of some shape incompatibility, I’m really pleased with this set. I hope Elomi keeps the longline style in their Spring/Summer collections– I’d love to see them experiment with some more unusual prints or styles. I think a solid colorblocked version, or one that featured sheer mesh or lace, could be a deeply dramatic, show-stopping piece. What do you think?

“Megan” Longline Bra is available in sizes 34-40 E-H (UK cup sizes, so approximately F-K in US cup sizes). Coordinating brief available in sizes M-4XL, and coordinating banded bra available in sizes 36-42 E-JJ, 44 E-G.

*****

Photography: Lydia Hudgens

Lingerie: Elomi Lingerie via A Sophisticated Pair (also currently on sale at Nordstrom); Earrings: Anthropologie (old); Ring: personal; Lips: Stila “Sonya”; Nails: Dior “Violet Graphique”

Summer Snoozing: Light and Breezy Pajamas and Loungewear

Well, the East Coast is heading surely into summer after a long winter and a (thankfully) long spring, and as someone who doesn’t sleep well in the heat, I’m looking for pajamas and loungewear that are both cute and cool.  I can’t really sleep with anything long on my legs anyway, so summer pajamas are right up my alley: camisoles, boyshorts, babydolls, and short-sleeved pajamas in soft, breathable fabrics and relaxed silhouettes offer comfortable relief from the heat.  Here are some of my favorite styles I’ve spotted in stores recently– anything catch your eye?

"Intrigue" Bird Print Nightie by Hotmilk (A-D and DD-G versions available).

“Intrigue” Bird Print Nightie by Hotmilk (A-D and DD-G versions available).

Somewhere Julia Lambert is sniggering “put a bird on it, Sweets”, and I KNOW, I have lots of bird stuff in my apartment/lingerie drawer, but whatever. This is light and pretty, and it comes in two versions to accommodate mothers who wear both core and full-bust sizes.

"Zen Floral" Plus-Size Chemise by Natori

“Zen Floral” Plus-Size Chemise by Natori

Sometimes I look at satin/silk/lace summer loungewear and think “you are so pretty, and you would make me so sweaty”. Even though this chemise features lace, the top is stretch lace and the skirt is soft knit, which I find much more comfortable in warm weather. It’s a pretty plus-size option that reminds me of …

"Pandora" D-G Stretch Lace Chemise by Figleaves

“Pandora” D-G Stretch Lace Chemise by Figleaves

… this lovely full-bust stretch lace chemise from Figleaves. I’ve never tried any of their loungewear, but I’d be really curious to see what the support is like, because the styles are very alluring and feminine.  Speaking of supportive nightwear for full-bust sizes…

Cami Top in Lagoon by Bravissimo (D-H cup sizes)

Cami Top in Lagoon by Bravissimo (D-H cup sizes)

Bravissimo has a really great range of full-bust nightwear, including some options that are available up to J-cup sizes.  While not as lacy or romantic as Figleaves’ offerings, the range of simple, colorful camis, night dresses, and tank tops will keep you feeling cool and supported without an underwire.

Nightdress in Bramble by Bravissimo

Night dress in Bramble by Bravissimo (D-J cup sizes)

Shorts and camis not your thing? I’d totally wear this night dress as loungewear to goof around the apartment on a hot summer weekend.  Best of all, it’s available up to a 38J, offering support to a wide range of full-bust sizes.

Come Out & Play Babydoll in Bamboo/Dawn by Between the Sheets

Come Out & Play Babydoll in Bamboo/Dawn by Between the Sheets

I adore my Venus in Play babydoll from Between the Sheets (review here), and I’ve worn it so much it’s nearly on its last legs.  With a flattering, flexible fit for small-bust and full-bust sizes alike, this snuggly babydoll is light, soft, and breezy: perfect for a hot Summer night.

"Lotus Blossom" Babydoll by Dollhouse Bettie

“Lotus Blossom” Babydoll by Dollhouse Bettie

One of my favorite new-to-me brands at February’s Curve trade show was Dollhouse Bettie. Their in-house designs are simultaneously contemporary and retro-inspired, and they inspire a playful creativity that encourages the wearer to mix and match pieces to suit her personality. The Lotus Blossom collections feature lots of gorgeous pieces (particularly for those who wear petite sizes (and check out these cool snag-proof stockings!)), but I was totally charmed by this babydoll.  In stretch lace and sheer mesh, this strapless babydoll mixes sophistication and an effortless, almost beachy sense of relaxation.  The Azure colorway is a winner too!

Anthropologie Eberjey Shorts and Cami

“Bohemian Reverie” Cami and Shorts by Eberjey (image via Anthropologie)

This color will never not remind me of Pistachio Ice Cream.  Also this whole set is adorable, I love the sweet lace trim, and Eberjey is the master of comfy, cute jammies.

"Domino Dots" Plus Size Pajamas by Oscar de la Renta

“Domino Dots” Plus Size Pajamas by Oscar de la Renta

Navy blue! Polka dots! Ruffles! Sold.

Pajamas (DD-H) version in grey by Hotmilk

Pajamas (DD-H) version in grey by Hotmilk

Sometimes simple is super. This classic cami-and-pajama-pant set offers wire-free support up to an H-cup for new mothers and mothers-to-be. The Hotmilk website suggests packing this set in your hospital bag, and I can’t help but agree.

"Venice" Night Dress by Only Hearts

“Venice” Night Dress by Only Hearts

I just really love a good, classic night dress. This one, made in New York City by Only Hearts, is beautiful. The soft knit and relaxed silhouette offer comfort, and pretty lace trim adds a little romance.

Lace Trim Camisole and Boyshort by Hips and Curves

Lace Trim Camisole and Boyshort by Hips and Curves

This right here? My favorite style of pajamas. Available up to a size 5X in multiple colors (and currently on sale for $19.95!), this set would make a great lingerie-drawer staple.

"Constanza Eyelet" Slip by Eloise

“Constanza Eyelet” Slip by Eloise

Finally, this one just makes me want to go on vacation. Can’t you see it? Relaxing in a beach house, strolling in the waves before breakfast, kicking back to snooze in a hammock with a glass of iced tea…

If you need me, I’ll be at my desk. Daydreaming.