With this post I confess I’m treading into what are, for me, uncharted waters. I am (obsessively) familiar with bras and breast-related foundation garments and clothing because my boobs are the primary reason I struggle to find clothes or lingerie that fit. While I also struggle to find shoes big enough and pants long enough (huge tangent: I found the holy grail of jeans last year, and I went back to the store this week and tried on the exact same brand, style, size, and wash, and the pair in-store is two inches shorter and at least a size tighter than the pair I have at home, and I AM SAD ABOUT IT), I don’t generally have to worry about a garment’s fitting around my rear and hips. Sometimes I fuss with the fit around my belly, but by and large fit issues Downstairs are height/foot related. But as the reader requests began coming in asking for advice on knickers and clothes for curvy bottoms, I really had to sit up and take notice, and DANG, Y’ALL. As hard as it is to get the word out about clothes/lingerie for curvy chests, the general acceptance, understanding, and options for women with rears and hips of varying sizes are wayyyy behind.
Here’s an example. Remember Bravissimo’s size chart for their Alana bra?
That’s over 80 different sizes, and it doesn’t even include the large number of women who wear smaller than a D-cup or larger than a 40-band. So many sizes! It also doesn’t take into account women who don’t find the Alana bra flattering to their breast shape or placement, so they have to seek out a different bra style. With all that variety Upstairs, it’s really ludicrous to assume that all women will just so happen to wear somewhere between a size 2-12 in jeans, for example, or that they’ll all wear the same cut. It’s equally ludicrous to assume that all women’s hips and rears come in the same shapes and proportions. For example, boyshorts are often touted as great solutions and “flatterers” of women with fuller bottoms, thighs, or hips, but that’s like telling women with breasts that they should wear “wrap dresses”. I have NEVER found a wrap dress that truly worked for me without tugging and pinning and discomfort, and for a long time I thought the problem was me (it’s not you — it’s your bra; it’s not you — it’s your clothes). So saying “this [blanket style] works for EVERYONE with curvy hips!” is setting us up for disappointment.
Since my understanding of good and varied fit for women’s lower halves is still poor, I reached out to some other lingerie bloggers, completely unprepared for the outpouring of wonderful shopping suggestions, reviews, resources, and empathy. I’m going to link to them extensively, because their research and reviews have been very thorough and helpful [Administrative note: all these bloggers (and others) now appear in the list of Lingerie Links on the right. Check them out!]. I’m going to break these suggestions up into parts and start with clothes, jeans first, because as someone in the midst of a jeans hunting ordeal myself, I wish to spare others my pain. Continue reading
Florence! You’re singing a song JUST FOR ME!
Pro tip: Florence + the Machine are AMAZING to pole-dance too. I confess that this particular song is . . . maybe not my first choice, but I love her anyway. ALSO IT’S CALLED SWEET NOTHING, YOU GUYS.
True Blood’s season finale is today, and while Ezmeralda’s viewing group has all agreed that the show is trashy and terrible and has been kind of beyond awful the last three seasons, we’re still gonna watch it. I’ve missed about three weeks because of various ailments, but since the plot is basically “Everyone wants to kill and/or have sex with everyone/everything else,” I think I’ll be able to keep up. This week the dinner theme is Sunday Bloody Sunday (because the show is about VAMPIRES, do you GET IT?), and I decided to skip the obvious Red Velvet Cake (I have a great one, it’ll probably come up at some point) and go to raspberries for my red instead. I love a dessert like this in the summer: rich, sweet, with fresh fruit to brighten it up. Plus, there’s not too much fuss: you make a quick crumb crust, fill it with almond paste and a chocolate ganache, and top it with glazed raspberries. Piece of
caketart, especially helpful considering I just looked around my apartment and remembered Mom is coming for Labor Day weekend, and this joint is NOT parent-clean yet. Hop to it, Sweets.
Chocolate Almond Raspberry Tart
adapted (oh-so-barely) from Bon Appetit’s December 2010 issue
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies (about 25, or 4 billion chocolate Teddy Grahams)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted Continue reading
I’m deeply ambivalent about shapewear. For years I thought it was the worst thing that had happened to the 21st century woman. I felt like there was a campaign to convince us that we all “needed” to be wearing Spanx, all the time, no matter what. I’d hear women in fitting rooms moaning about various body parts and how they were going to have to “fix” them. There is a shapewear garment of every possible permutation: control-top tights, bike shorts, unitards, smoothers, shapers, cinchers, even “shapewear bras”, at which I scoff, because well-fitted bras will be much more flattering than bras with weird back panels of shaper mesh. There are Spanx-like garments for your ARMS. The more shapewear products that are available, the more I stop in my tracks and think “Oh god, am I supposed to worry about my butt/ thighs/ back/ belly/ boobs/ arms/ elbows/ ankles now?” Ugh.
Speaking of Spanx, I went into Saks Fifth Avenue in Richmond when I was home for a wedding desperately looking for stockings with a back-seam. I was SURE Saks, of all places, would have some swanky hosiery. They had one display with Wolford and Hue control-top tights, and the rest of the hosiery section was Spanx. Spanx-brand tights, leggings, stockings, and shapewear, all designed to “solve problems.” The only problem I had was a bra-sized shaping slip with suspenders that needed some stockings, and hoity-toity Saks failed me. (I went to Victoria’s Secret. Turns out she’s good for something.)
Oh. See what happened? I was mentally railing against Spanx, but I wanted to find real stockings because I was already planning on wearing shapewear. But I wasn’t hating on my body! No! Um, it was “vintage-inspired”. And I was wearing a softly draping silk blouse. And I kind of adore the retro look of classic shapewear. And I wanted a smooth line under my clothes, and . . . um. Continue reading
In which Sweets leaves her notebook with the most recent draft of her upcoming post at the office, and does gym/laundry/cat pictures instead.
This Friday night I’m dancing at S Factor in front of people other than my fellow students. I have not danced in front of people in approximately 1 billion years. I’m freaking out a little bit. But Roommate and Ezmeralda are both coming, because they rule, and I’ve made them promise to cheer obnoxiously.
I never thought I’d post a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Everybody everywhere makes chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has their favorite recipe, their secret trick, their family’s classic. Heated debates will start between chewy vs. crispy camps and nuts vs. no-nuts supporters (chewy, obviously, and I go back and forth on nuts). The New York Times interviewed some of the major players in the baking world and declared that they’d found the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. So I figured the chocolate chip cookie thing had been done to death.
But you see, I bought a seriously huge bag of chocolate chips at Costco that I thought at the time would be a solid investment, and then I got them home and remembered that chocolate chips are my Kryptonite and they were going to destroy me unless I used up as many of them as I could. I’ve been pretty good about actually putting them in food instead of straight into my mouth, and I’m going to use the tail-end of the bag to make a batch of Deb’s fudge pops here soon. This weekend, though, was the first weekend in a while I haven’t been lying in bed sick in some way or other, the temperature has dropped and it is lovely and breezy and slightly overcast, and my apartment is slowly getting cleaner, and what could possibly be more cozy and domestic than chocolate chip cookies? I usually just crank out the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, but I felt slightly more industrious, so I did my internet research, chose a little of this recipe and a little of that one, made some lucky mistakes, and somehow produced what might be the best chocolate chip cookies I, Sweets, have ever made. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re the ULTIMATE ones, but I did find some simple little tweaks that take a classic recipe to levels of Dang, These Are Pretty Darned Good. Continue reading
I promised in the comments of yesterday’s post that I’d try to track down the cup size graphs and charts I’d remembered seeing in Busted! by Ali Cudby that compared cup size measurements across many of the major brands. These charts are available as PDFs on the Busted! website– go to this link to subscribe (for free!) to access these and other fun bra-related materials. And now, to business!
For small-busted ladies (“petite” in the lingerie world doesn’t necessarily refer to overall stature, but to bust size specifically), here is a chart comparing how some of the major small-bust brands measure up against each other.
For average-to-full bust ladies, here is an extensive chart covering many of the major brands. Unfortunately, newcomers like Claudette and Curvy Kate aren’t included, and this chart won’t include some of the more popular independent labels, but it should be helpful in terms of navigating the major e-retailers and department stores (click to see slightly clearer/larger versions). Continue reading
I remember timidly exploring the world of online lingerie shopping shortly after moving to New York. I Googled my size at the time: 34DDD, according to Nordstrom. Even though I soon found websites like HerRoom, FreshPair, Figleaves, and Bare Necessities, knowing my size wasn’t much of a help. Some of these places didn’t seem to carry anything over a DD cup, or they had letters like Es and Fs, and I wasn’t sure how those corresponded to the size I was wearing. If I did find a 34DDD, the offerings were bland and boring (the next salesperson to suggest I try a Le Mystère bra gets it hurled back in her face). It was then that I learned that shopping as a wearer of D+ bras would forever be a crapshoot.
Flash-forward (eesh, five years already), and my goodness how things have changed. Online lingerie retailers offer huge inventories of merchandise for many previously under-served customers. Just take a look at Invest in Your Chest’s recent report from Moda of the Spring/Summer 2013 trends. Many of the items she photographed are made by companies that cater specifically to smaller or fuller busts and/or smaller back sizes and/or fuller figures, and the styles, colors, details, patterns, and cuts are sexy, feminine, fun, and enticing. It’s wonderful, and it’s an acknowledgment from designers and retailers that 34-38 B-D will no longer cut it. Women come in so many shapes and sizes, and they’re better served, lingerie-wise, than they’ve ever been before.
It’s still confusing though. French, English, Italian, American, and other European manufacturers all have the opportunity to pick a different cup-sizing method, if they want to. The vastness of online lingerie retail means that it’s the shopper’s responsibility to do a little homework before she makes a purchase. She needs to know her brand’s country of origin, and she needs to know her size across different manufacturers. Many e-retailers try to solve this problem by placing a disclaimer next to a product (ex. “This bra comes in UK sizes. Be sure to order your UK size” or “see International conversion chart here”), but HerRoom decided to eliminate some of the homework and create a “Universal Cup Sizing (UCS)” system. In theory, this is great: all the world’s bras united under one sizing system, which simplifies a confusing shopping process. EXCEPT IT’S LOATHSOME AND DUMB, BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN IT CUTS OFF AFTER D. Continue reading
I fell down an internet rabbit hole the other day catching up on some blogs I follow, which led to links to other blogs, which led to a link to a blog about blogging (but not, alas, to the Bob Loblaw Law Blog). There was a forum for the blog’s community members to discuss some blogging pet peeves, and an (apparently) well-known blogger came under particular scrutiny. While many of the forum members had criticisms about some lifestyle, health, and parenting choices this blogger made, what struck me was the perception with which they read her life, as presented online.
This woman is a dreamer. She has lofty goals for herself: get fit, be a parent, advance her education, develop personal style, deepen her faith, promote her blog, and perfect her relationship. These are great goals! No one would question that. But the commenters pointed out that as this woman revealed details of her plans and dreams online, she inadvertently (and most likely unbeknownst to herself) revealed a deep, deep loneliness and emptiness. She carefully cultivates and curates her online presence, but there’s a sense of unease, of nagging emptiness to each new goal she sets for herself or event she sees on the horizon. If only she can get fit, if only she can lose weight, once she gets married, once she has a baby, once the baby is toilet trained, once she runs a half-marathon, once she and her family move to a new home, once she finishes her degree, once she takes care of This Next Major Lifestyle Change, then everything will finally be perfect, and she’ll finally have true contentment and happiness.
Aspiration is human nature, and it’s healthy. It keeps us from getting stuck in a rut. Feelings of frustration or even disappointment and sadness can be great catalysts for positive change. However, as the forum commenters pointed out, this woman, for at least the last several years, has been living her life waiting for the “next big thing”: her birthday party, her vacation, her move, her new house, her new baby, next, next, next. She obsesses over and romanticizes The Next Step to such a great extent that by the time it arrives, she can’t enjoy it, or it fails to meet her expectations. She’ll write of the disappointment, dismiss it angrily, and turn her sights to the next Next Step, which will be the one that finally brings her happiness and contentment and about how she has to get ready, get ready, get ready for it . . . Continue reading