Review: Maria Babydoll by Elomi

As though I couldn’t love the Maria collection more, Elomi had to go and introduce the cutest freaking sheer babydoll ever. I’m sorry, Cleo Marcie, you’re very, very cute, but this one has ruffles. No contest.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Elomi Maria Babydoll

Maria babydoll by Elomi, garter by Creative Touch Decor

Note: I purchased this piece with my own money under my real name. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Appearance

Maria features a sheer ivory mesh four-piece seamed cup with fully adjustable straps and a three column/three row hook and eye closure. Delicate white-on-white embroidery adorns the top section of the cup, with an ivory satin bow at the center gore. A sheer full skirt with an open, fly-away front fully trimmed with ruffles extends down past the hips.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Elomi Maria Babydoll

Maria babydoll by Elomi, Esme kimono by Fleur of England

I really just think this is one of the cutest things out there, let alone in this size range. It feels so light and vibrant and fresh, particularly in the occasionally-staid-and-stiff world of full-figure/full-bust lingerie. The fly-away front is delightfully flirty, and it makes the piece very accommodating of different body shapes.

Fit

I took my “regular” size in the babydoll, and I found it very comfortable, if a little generous in the cups. The sheer fabric feels a bit more forgiving than some of the mesh and laminates Elomi uses in their other bras, and because it’s so sheer, the extra space I have in the sides of the cup is very, very noticeable. Elomi underwires are usually quite a bit too wide for me, and this piece is no exception. If you’re between sizes, you might be able to get away with sizing down. Like many Elomi cups, the embroidery in the center is a little more rigid, so if your breasts are very full in the center you may need to experiment with the “swoop-and-scoop”, or even try a few different sizes. The band did feel true to size, and like many Elomi bands, it lies nice and smoothly across my back without digging or pinching.

Comfort

Oh man, y’all. Oh man. This is so, so comfy. It’s super lightweight and breathable and soft. I’ve tried sleeping in underwired babydolls before, and usually give up after an hour of tossing and turning, but Maria feels just wonderful.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Elomi Maria Babydoll

Maria babydoll by Elomi

Overall

What an absolute winner. My only regret is that I didn’t get to wear it very long before my size changed. A beautiful component of the full bridal range, it’s also available in black for Fall/Winter. I’d even love to see it in a range of colors: imagine raspberry, or mint green, or pale yellow! It’s just lovely. Go buy it. For real.

I also reviewed the rest of the Maria bridal collection last week, if you’re looking for  lingerie to wear under strapless gowns.

*****

Photography: Kate Ignatowski (originally published on Burnett’s Boards)
Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Babydoll: Elomi Lingerie “Maria” Babydoll, via Bare Necessities. Available in sizes 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H (UK cup sizes, so the cup size progression goes E, F, FF, G, GG, H. A UK H-cup is approximately the same as a US K-cup.)
Kimono: Fleur of England “Esme” Kimono (borrowed)
Garter: Creative Touch Decor (borrowed)
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Anny Chow

Review: Maria Bridal Collection by Elomi

When I was planning the bridal boudoir editorial featured last month on Burnett’s Boards, I knew I wanted to make sure to feature lingerie pieces that are available in a range of back sizes. After all, curvy really describes a shape, not a size. There are women who are very slim with small ribcages who have curves, and there are women with broader ribcages and heavier physiques who have curves. I’ve experienced some pretty unfortunate/sizeist comments from staff in bridal stores and salons when I’ve been shopping for wedding dresses with some of my friends, so I’m really pleased today to review pieces from Elomi’s beautiful full-figure bridal collection Maria. Note: while Elomi very generously provided this set for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Elomi Maria Basque and Brief

Appearance

Part of what I think of as “Elomi’s 2013-2014 Surge of Greatness”, the Maria collection is a beautiful, ground-breaking special occasion lingerie set for people who wear full-figure + full-bust bra sizes. Featuring a strapless bra, convertible basque, brief, and thong, all in gleaming satin, sheer mesh, and delicate lace, Maria is stunningly pretty, highly functional, and an absolute standout in this particular demographic of the lingerie industry.

The basque features panels of ivory satin interspersed with sheer mesh and delicate lace. I love that some panels are totally sheer: it’s a really sexy touch! The basque features four vertical soft bones in the front and four in the back, for smoothing and support. The cups are seamed, three-piece cups made of spacer fabric with a soft, flexible bone sewn vertically inside each cup for extra stability and lift. The back closes with two columns of eight rows of hooks and eyes, and the four suspenders are fully detachable. The straps are also convertible and fully detachable, and there are two points of attachment in the front on each side, you so can adjust the straps to suit different necklines.

The briefs feature an opaque center front and fully sheer stretch lace hips and rear. Both the basque and brief feature ivory bows at the center front.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings + Kate Ignatowski + Mimosal Floral 4

Fit

I took my “regular” (the size I wear most frequently) bra size and my “Freya” brief size, or one size down from what I take in some other brands. I find most Eveden briefs are cut for hips and rears that are a little fuller than mine, so your mileage may vary. For the basque I found the sizing to be spot on and consistent with other Elomi bras. At first I thought the top of the band was snug, and then I realized that I was simply trying to hook it too high on my back: this piece has a surprisingly low back for a full-bust basque, a lovely feature for gowns that feature low or sheer back details! Once I pulled the back down lower it hooked quite comfortably. I had a little more room than I needed towards my waist and hips, which I again attribute to my not being as full in the hips as I am in the bust.

One tradeoff that comes as a result of the lower back is a not-quite-tacking center gore. In a traditional full-bust bra, the firm, horizontal band combined with the slight lift from the shoulder straps help pull the center gore against the chest wall. Without these forces, I found that the center gore of the basque hovers slightly off my sternum. This means this is probably a good foundation garment for a dress with a little more structure to it, as opposed to one that is looser or more flowing.

I’ll just note here that it’s quite common to wear a different size in “occasion” lingerie than you might in your everyday bras. Sometimes the specialized construction affects the fit (there are often different bells and whistles involved to help provide support and structure), and sometimes you might just find that you want a larger cup or a smaller band to help with lift or to make sure you feel supported but still comfortable. Even though I found a pretty good fit in the Maria basque in my “regular” size, don’t be afraid to try on a few different sizes to make sure you get the comfort, shape, and support you want. For many special occasions, and for weddings in particular, there’s a very strong chance that you’ll be standing, getting photographed, hugging, dancing, eating and drinking, and generally celebrating good times, come on, in your special-occasion lingerie. It’ll be worth it to take some time to make sure your underwear will treat you kindly throughout all of those activities.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Elomi Maria Basque and Brief

Comfort

As I mentioned in my review of the Serenity collection by Masquerade, it’s rare to find special-occasion lingerie or strapless bras that are as comfortable as everyday bras. That being said, for a lower-backed full-bust strapless basque, Maria is pretty exceptional. I really appreciate the boning in the cups, as they help the cup hold its shape and provide a little extra lift. Because this is a seamed cup, the shape is not as perfectly rounded as what you’ll find with a molded cup, but as many wedding gowns and dresses are more structured to begin with, I personally didn’t mind the shape. As with the floating center gore, there are some tradeoffs to be made when constructing a strapless low-back bra for larger, heavier breasts, and a perfectly rounded, perfectly lifted profile (such as you’d get with your everyday bras) is one of them. The bones in the basque are sturdy enough that they don’t buckle or bulge, but flexible enough that there’s no restriction or discomfort.

The briefs are incredibly comfortable. The rise is my personal sweet spot about an inch below my navel, and the stretch lace over the hips mean there’s no elastic to dig in and create panty lines. I happen to think thongs are The Worst, so I love that there’s such a pretty, functional brief to pair with the set, though of course there is a coordinating thong for those of you who prefer them.

Overall

I am so, so, SO pleased and impressed with this collection from Elomi. The size range is phenomenal, the shapes and design are carefully considered, the construction is detailed and flawless, AND the whole darn thing is available in both ivory and black, which makes it incredibly versatile. I’m eager to hear from women across the size range to get a sense of what the fit is like in different sizes. Have you tried the Maria collection? What did you think?

*****

Photography: Kate Ignatowski
Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Lingerie: Elomi Lingerie “Maria” Basque and Brief (c/o Elomi). Basque available in sizes 32 DD-HH, 34-40 D-HH, 42 D-H, 44 D-G, 46 D-F, 48 D-E (UK cup sizes), brief in sizes M-4XL.  Coordinating strapless bra and thong also available.
Stockings: Charnos
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Anny Chow

Review: Serenity Bridal Range by Masquerade

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade basque and Harlow and Fox Robe

Serenity basque and brief by Masquerade, Eleanor robe by Harlow & Fox

Earlier this year Panache offered to send me Masquerade’s brand-new “Serenity” bridal range for review and for inclusion in the bridal boudoir editorial published last week on Burnett’s Boards. Masquerade always creates incredibly special bridal collections; past season styles like Tiffany, Hestia, and Deity offered the D+ bride luxurious lingerie in a variety of shapes and styles that were every bit as supportive as they were beautiful. I was especially pleased to see that the Serenity range includes two strapless styles, a basque and a strapless bra, that are both available up to an H-cup, as there aren’t very many strapless options past a G or GG-cup. Panache generously sent me the strapless bra, convertible basque, brief, and suspender belt for review. While I received these items free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade, Harlow & Fox, Dollhouse Bettie

Serenity strapless bra, brief, and suspender belt by Masquerade, Sophia robe by Harlow & Fox, Juliet silk stockings by Dollhouse Bettie

Appearance

The Serenity collection is, quite simply, stunning. In cool, bright ivory satin with large white-on-white floral embroidery and silver-toned charm accents at the center front and waist, this is a classic bridal collection that looks and feels like an heirloom.

As part of Panache’s more luxurious Masquerade line, the price points for these pieces are higher than Panache or Cleo prices, but I have to say the price is justified, just on looks alone. With fine materials and rich, elegant embroidery, this collection goes above and beyond aesthetically. Check out the beautiful lace on the removable straps—I felt like a princess when I was wearing them. Just to be a total cliché.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade Serenity Basque

Serenity basque by Masquerade

Both the strapless bra and basque use the same cup structure: a padded three-piece cup with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup and one horizontal seam across the center, with an embroidered upper cup. The bra closes with three columns of three rows of hooks and eyes, and the basque closes with three columns of thirteen rows of hooks and eyes. The basque features four flexible bones in the front and two in the back (one on each side), more embroidery along the sheer mesh hip panels, and four detachable suspenders.

The brief features a smooth satin waistband, embroidered hip panels, a double-layer mesh rear and a center backseam. The suspender belt closes in the back with two rows of three columns of hooks and eyes, and it features all-over embroidery and a sheer center panel, with four suspenders. Each piece includes a small blue bow on the garment tags, just in case you still need a “something blue” for your bridal ensemble.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade Serenity Collection

Serenity strapless bra, brief, and suspender belt by Masquerade

Fit

Oh Masquerade, you adorable bunny rabbit, your sizing is all over the place. I often have to try multiple sizes to get the right fit with this brand, and Serenity is, in my (larger) end of the size range, no exception. I usually find Masquerade basques quite tight, as I have a thicker waist, and I sometimes have fit issues with padded bras, so I asked for one band size larger, keeping the same cup letter, which gives me a size that is technically one band AND one cup size larger than I normally wear. This was a good call, y’all. I found both band and cup on the smaller side, in both the bra and the basque, so I’d recommend experimenting with sizing up, especially if you wear a larger size like I do. I found it more comfortable to wear an extender on the strapless bra during the photo shoot, even though the band was a size larger than I normally wear, so that sucker is firm. The briefs and the suspender, on the other hand, ran quite large on me. I should have asked for my “Freya” size, which is one size down from what I normally wear in other brands. I was able to exchange the suspender for a smaller size so that it would sit on my waist instead of sliding down towards my hips, and I should have done the same with the brief. By the end of the photo shoot the briefs had stretched a bit and didn’t fit as smoothly and firmly as I’d have liked.

So, my take: consider sizing up in the band (and cups, if your breasts are fuller) and sizing down in the briefs and suspender, especially if your hips and rear aren’t as full.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade Serenity Collection, Harlow & Fox Eleanor Robe

Serenity basque by Masquerade, Eleanor robe by Harlow & Fox

When worn with the straps, both the bra and basque give romantic, rounded lift and cleavage. The straps are placed quite wide, which helps to pull the breast tissue forward and center, as well as helping the center gore to tack. The cups are not especially deep (as I find is typical with padded bras), another reason to experiment with a few different sizes to find the one you like the best.

Now, full disclosure: I get the best shape in a strapless bra from molded cups, even though I prefer non-molded for my regular bras. They seem to hold their shape more aggressively, and I feel more confident wearing them under looser, more flowing strapless garments.

With seamed strapless bras, like Serenity, I personally feel like there’s not as much help from the bra when it comes to defying gravity. Although the padding helps provide structure and support, when I take the straps off the Serenity strapless bra, the band stays put (again, mine was super small and firm), but my breast tissue wants to spread out to the sides, a common occurrence in strapless bras for full-bust sizes. The basque definitely felt more secure and supportive, because there’s more structure holding the breasts in place from below. I’d probably recommend the strapless bra under a gown that’s already got some form and structure to it, rather than under a flowing, bias-cut silk or chiffon, for example.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade Serenity Collection, Dollhouse Bettie Juliet Stockings

Serenity strapless bra (worn with the detachable lace straps), brief, and suspender belt by Masquerade, Juliet silk stockings by Dollhouse Bettie

Comfort

Look, let’s not kid ourselves: I’ve never met someone whose favorite, most comfortable bra ever was their strapless bra. That being said, this collection is really, really special. The materials are soft and feel good against the skin, the extra row of hooks in the strapless bra (Masquerade normally only uses two rows, but I prefer the three rows they use here) helps distribute the weight of the breasts more smoothly and comfortably, and the bones in the basque are firm enough that they don’t bend or buckle, yet flexible enough to allow for movement.

The suspender belt is not the sturdiest around, I will say. The suspenders themselves are quite thin, and the materials of the belt have some stretch to them. I strongly recommend sizing down if you can: you want a suspender belt to fit firmly around your waist, so that it doesn’t have room to slide down your hips. The last thing you want to be worrying about during a special occasion is hiking your bra up or adjusting your stockings.

Bridal Boudoir- Sweet Nothings wears Masquerade Serenity Collection, Harlow & Fox "Eleanor" Robe

Serenity basque by Masquerade, Eleanor robe by Harlow & Fox

Overall

The full-bust market has grown astronomically over the last decade, and brands like All Undone, Harlow & Fox, and Mimi Holliday have created some incredibly beautiful, luxurious lingerie for full busts and smaller back sizes in particular. Even in an increasingly vibrant market, the Serenity collection is a standout. I think Masquerade were smart to offer a basque instead of a bodysuit like Deity’s (even though it was so very pretty), as they can be a much trickier fit. The shapes they chose feel smart, and I can see them appealing to lots of different brides for wearing under a range of dress or gown styles. With each piece available in back sizes from 28 to 38, the collection covers one of the widest size ranges out there in the full-bust bridal market.

P.S. How about those Harlow & Fox robes, huh? Pretty great? And the Dollhouse Bettie silk stockings, amirite? I’ll do a wrap-up post at the end of this series with all the details!

*****

Photography: Kate Ignatowski (originally published on Burnett’s Boards)
Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Lingerie: Panache Lingerie (c/o).  Available in sizes 28-38 D-H (UK cup sizes) and XS-XXL.
Robes: Harlow & Fox “Eleanor” Robe and “Sophia” Kimono (borrowed)
Stockings: Dollhouse Bettie “Juliet” Silk Flapper Stockings (c/o); Charnos
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Anny Chow

CurveNY Returns with Spring/Summer 2015 Collections

It’s that time of year again! The Fall/Winter collections we saw back in February are just beginning to ship to retailers, and now it’s time to preview the Spring/Summer collections for next year! Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets bewildered by talking about Fall/Winter styles, in August, as being “last season.” I’m not alone, right?

Curvexpo is one of the major lingerie industry trade shows in North America, held twice a year in both New York City and Las Vegas. This year’s NYC show runs from August 3-5.

Curve Fall/Winter Trend Report 2014- Sweet Nothings & Miss Underpinnings

Longline bras from last season’s (Fall/Winter 2014) CurveNY show: clockwise from top left: Curvy Kate “Carmen” in Black/Boysenberry, Sunday Intimates “Lolita” in Black, Parfait “Danielle” in Peacock Blue, Claudette “Dessous” in Pointe Shoe/Malibu Polka Dot/Elsa Pink, Freya “Pansy” in Midnight

I’m really thankful that I live in New York City, because I love getting the chance to check in with my favorite brands, discover new ones, and try to get a sense of trends, both in terms of the industry and in terms of the fashions. I’ve made appointments with some of the top full-bust brands like Panache, Freya, and Curvy Kate, hot indies like Claudette, Fleur of England, and Dollhouse Bettie, brands that are fairly new to me (though they have incredible history) like Empreinte and Maison Lejaby, and brands that are making their first trip to Curve, like Miss Mandalay and Tutti Rouge.  I can’t wait to see the new collections– any brand in particular you’re eager to hear about?

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 next week, alas (the best laid plans never go as planned, do they?). 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?

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