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.

Lingerie for Lady Detectives: Inspired by Miss Phryne Fisher

Guys, in case I haven’t made it clear over the last few posts, I STRONGLY FEEL that you should check out the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, starring Essie Davis as the Honourable Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher (season 1 is streaming on Netflix, season 3 was just announced, and season 2 is available exclusively on Acorn TV, which makes me cranky because the last thing I need is to sign up for yet another video streaming service, and yet I can feel that I might cave any day now, because I want my Miss Fisher).  It is pure catnip to lovers of mysteries, romantical shenanigans, and olden-time eye candy.

The Honourable Phryne Fisher, who of course keeps daggers in her stockings.

The Honourable Phryne Fisher, who of course keeps daggers in her stockings.

They are frothy and flapper-y and charmingly cast and I promise the first two or three episodes will have you digging through your liquor cabinet searching for a cocktail to swill while you watch. Miss Phryne Fisher is a sexually liberated feminist who can handle her booze, her boys, and her bad guys with equal aplomb. She is slinky and sassy and compassionate and fierce and impeccably coiffed and I love her.

Yes, I am fabulous.

“Yes, I am fabulous. Observe my feathers.”

I also love her wardrobe.

Phryne in one of her many baller kimonos.

Phryne in one of her many baller kimonos. Swoon.

Julia Lambert (“Julia Lambert” is my twin sister’s blog alias, for those of you who are newbies) and I have both begun reevaluating our lingerie drawers with the single criterion “What Would Miss Fisher Wear?”, and in light of that I thought it would be fun to share some of my picks for How to Build Miss Fisher’s Lingerie Wardrobe. Let’s all pretend we’re wildly wealthy aristocrats in Australia in the 1920s with a yen for social justice and a predilection for awesomeness, shall we?

The 20th century was a period of immense change in the fashion world in general, and women’s lingerie was no exception. Lingerie was hugely affected by the other Big Deal Things that were going on in the world at the time, like, you know, suffrage, world war, industrialism, and general social and political upheaval. Women’s clothes grew shorter and slinkier, so all-in-one garments like cami-knickers and “step-ins” became popular for their comfort and practicality, allowing the lighter, closer-fitting garments to hug the body. Instead of waist-nipping corsets, many women chose to wear longer, slimming girdles, corselettes, and other pieces of shapewear that helped them achieve the long, straight silhouette of the 1920s. Shorter skirts meant shorter slips and visible stockings, and pale pink and blush were some of the most popular colors. This distinctly retro color palette has made a resurgence lately, so you have plenty of options to begin building your flapper’s lingerie wardrobe.

Phryne Fisher Lingerie

Clockwise from top left: Dollhouse Bettie “Juliet” Black Silk Seamed Flapper Stockings, Angela Friedman “Charlize” Slip, Mimi Holliday “Knickerbocker Glory” Camisole and Shorties, Hips and Curves Satin Chemise and Robe Set, Dottie’s Delights Gold Lace Bra and Girdle Skirt, Mimi Holliday “Bisou Bisou” Teddy, Kiss Me Deadly sheer “Elle” Knickers and “Van Doren” Bralet

Phryne is, to quote Singing in the Rain, “so refined I think I might kill myself”, and as a woman dressing in the height of sophistication, she would DEFINITELY have some slinky black pieces in her lingerie drawer. These seamed silk stockings, fluttering tap pants, silky teddies, slips and camisoles, and a stunning girdle skirt would make any of her lovers weak in the knees.

Phryne Fisher Lingerie

Clockwise from top left: Harlow & Fox “Eleanor” collection, Dottie’s Delights “Century Girl” Slip, Harlow & Fox “Eleanor” collection, Mimi Holliday “Banoffee Pie” camisole and shorties, Dollhouse Bettie “Juliet” Silk Flapper Stockings.

But she’s not in full seduction mode all the time. This woman takes her detective work seriously (“I don’t allow myself to be lustfully compromised during my murder investigations”), and she dresses impeccably for every social engagement, from cocktails and dancing to a ladylike garden party. These beautiful ivory styles make a lovely counterpoint to black evening wear.

Phryne Fisher Lingerie

Clockwise from top left: Carine Gilson “Sonia” Short Kimono, Trashy Diva Flapper Robe, Layneau Collection “Contessa” Robe, Carine Gilson “Sakura” Long Kimono, Jenny Packham Long Satin Robe

Phryne busts out an awesome robe in the very first episode, while seducing a Russian ballet dancer, and that’s how I knew we were soulmates. I could see her wearing any of these stunning robes, particularly the velvet Layneau “Contessa” robe, which reminds me of one of her many fur-trimmed evening coats.

I see you, you saucy minx.

I see you, you saucy minx.

Don’t forget accessories!

I have not seen this episode, and so seeing this picture pop up on the internet caused me actual pain because I'm so stoked to watch it, NETFLIX.  Get on it.

I have not seen this episode yet, and so seeing this picture pop up on the internet caused me actual pain because I’m so stoked to watch it, NETFLIX. Season 2. Get on it.

While I can’t in good conscience recommend keeping a dagger in your stockings (we’re not all loaded, Phryne– how many pairs of silk stockings do you accidentally stab?), Dollhouse Bettie offers a silk garter flask that cracks me up, and also I want one.  Throw in a feather boa and some dancing shoes, and you’re all set!

Phryne Fisher Lingerie Accessories

Clockwise from top left: Dollhouse Bettie fan, garter flask, and boa, Very Fine ballroom shoes, Jacques Levine Kraze silk marabou mules

There were far, far too many wonderful options out there for me to include them all in the post. If you’re looking for more, be sure to check out Dollhouse Bettie, Dottie’s Delights, Kiss Me Deadly, Mimi Holliday, and What Katie Did for more retro goodness. From slips to camiknickers to tap pants to seamed stockings, each retailer and brand offers a huge range of vintage-style (and modern!) lingerie pieces in a variety of shapes and styles.

Oh you two. Get a room.

Oh you two. Get a room.

Go catch bad guys and drive the local detective inspector wild.

Miss Fisher and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson.  I want Phryne to have all the lovers she wants, but I am firmly Team Jack, in my heart.

Miss Fisher and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. I want Phryne to have all the lovers she wants, but I am firmly Team Jack, in my heart.

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Legwear, Loungewear, and Lingerie Accessories

So, look, as lovely as it is to receive bras and bra-sized things as gifts, sizing can be a source of anxiety for both the gift-giver and the recipient.  Sometimes it can take a few tries to find the right size in a new style for ourselves, let alone for someone else!  With that in mind, today’s post focuses on some lovely holiday pieces that offer a little more flexibility in terms of fit, beginning with hosiery and ending with some just-for-fun goodies.

LEGWEAR

1.  All-Over Heart Stockings from Hips and Curves

I love these fun heart print hold-ups (according to the product description they can be worn without a garter belt) from Hips and Curves.  All right, yes, I have cheesy taste in hosiery, and yes, they’re definitely holiday-appropriate (hi Valentine’s Day), but they’d also be really fun peeking out of an otherwise all-black ensemble.

All-Over Heart Print Stay Up Stockings from Hips and Curves ($16.95).  Available in sizes 1/2X, 3/4X, and 5/6X.

All-Over Heart Print Stay Up Stockings from Hips and Curves ($16.95). Available in sizes 1/2X, 3/4X, and 5/6X.

2.  Glimmer Thigh Highs by StockinGirl (made in the USA)

I’ll mention StockinGirl again in a bit, but I had to share these beautiful hold-ups.  Not only are they super-festive and shimmery, but they’re also made in the USA and are available in both average and plus sizes!  I’d love a pair in light gold to go with my New Year’s Eve dress.

Liza Metallic Sparkle Lace Top Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($21.00).  Available in sizes Small-Medium, Medium-Large, Queen 1, Queen 2, in black, silver, platinum, ivory, light gold, and white.

Liza Metallic Sparkle Lace Top Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($21.00). Available in sizes Small-Medium, Medium-Large, Queen 1, Queen 2, in black, silver, platinum, ivory, light gold, and white.

3.  Disco Holdups by Figleaves Boudoir

These unusual, gleaming embellished holdups are so striking!  They remind me a little of the ultra-gorgeous Bebaroque stockings, only more wearable and much more attainably priced.

"Disco 20 Denier Sheer Holographic Hold Up" by Figleaves Boudoir ($38.00).  Available in sizes Small, Medium, and Large.

“Disco 20 Denier Sheer Holographic Hold Up” by Figleaves Boudoir ($38.00). Available in sizes Small, Medium, and Large.

3.  Customized Stockings from StockinGirl

After discovering that I could have my name put on my stockings at StockinGirl, I’m now kind of obsessed with personalization and customization.  StockinGirl offers a great selection of really cute and (discreetly) holiday-themed stockings and hold-ups, topped with snowflakes, holly, and other signs of the season.  Check out the full selection of custom stockings here.

Christmas Treet Accented Stockings or Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($33.99).  Available as thigh highs in sizes S/M and M/L; as stockings in sizes S, M, L.  Available in black, red, grey, white, beige, and chocolate.

Christmas Treet Accented Stockings or Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($33.99). Available as thigh highs in sizes S/M and M/L; as stockings in sizes S, M, L. Available in black, red, grey, white, beige, and chocolate.

Bow-Topped Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($21.99).  Available in sizes S/M and M/L in black, white, or red with bows in black velvet, red velvet, or gold shimmer.

Bow-Topped Thigh Highs by StockinGirl ($21.99). Available in sizes S/M and M/L in black, white, or red with bows in black velvet, red velvet, or gold shimmer.  Wait, maybe THESE are my NYE stockings.  Decisions, decisions.

"Holly Mistletoe Top Sheer Stockings" from StockinGirl ($29.99).  Available in sizes S-2XL.

“Holly Mistletoe Top Sheer Stockings” from StockinGirl ($29.99). Available in sizes S-2XL.

5.  Jonathan Aston Stardust Backseam Tights

These great semi-opaque tights look sedate from the front and sassy from the back, with a beautiful shimmery backseam.

Stardust Metallic Backseam Tights by Jonathan Aston ($19.66).  Available in black/bronzer or black/silver in sizes A/B and B/C.

Stardust Metallic Backseam Tights by Jonathan Aston ($19.66). Available in black/bronzer or black/silver in sizes A/B and B/C.

LOUNGEWEAR

I read somewhere recently that some ridiculous amount, like 80-90%, of all pajamas and robes sold in any given year are sold in the month before Christmas.  Feel free to quote those incredibly specific, fact-checked statistics.  Nevertheless, loungewear makes SUCH nice gifts: we’re heading into the coldest time of year (at least in the northern hemisphere), they’re fairly easy to guess at, size-wise, and who doesn’t love a good robe?  So snuggly and comfy!  Speaking of which:

1.  Fleece Bettie Robe by Betty Blue’s Loungerie

This might be the greatest fleece robe I’ve ever seen in my life.  It’s cut to the same pattern as BBL’s absolutely stunning peach satin peignoir, but it’s in fleece, and therefore both warm AND sassy.

"Fleece Bettie Robe" by Betty Blue's Loungerie (£220.00).  Available in sizes X-Small through X-Large.

“Fleece Bettie Robe” by Betty Blue’s Loungerie (£220.00). Available in sizes X-Small through X-Large.

2.  “Susan Motion Fishnet” reversible body by Kriss Soonik Loungerie

Remember how earlier this week I said I thought everything Kriss Soonik makes is just so cool?  That opinion still stands.  The body below is fully reversible, so you can style it in multiple ways, and more importantly I can’t even handle how awesome the juxtaposition of punk, edgy fishnet with the sweet, cutesy puffed sleeves and bow is.  Just perfect.

"Susan Motion Fishnet" reversible body by Kriss Soonik Loungerie (€139).  Available in sizes S, M, L.

“Susan Motion Fishnet” reversible body by Kriss Soonik Loungerie (€139). Available in sizes S, M, L.

3.  “Cherie” Teddy by Kiss Me Deadly

I’ve heard from a reliable source (i.e. Julia Lambert) that this teddy is the perfect thing to chill out in after work, drinking a whisky and petting your giant orange cat.  It’s available in pink and black at Kiss Me Deadly, but this cheery, zingy red with glittery black lace is available exclusively at Joanna’s Wardrobe.

"Cherie" Teddy in Claret by Kiss Me Deadly (£59.00).  Claret is available exclusively at Joanna's Wardrobe.

“Cherie” Teddy in Claret by Kiss Me Deadly (£59.00). Claret is available exclusively at Joanna’s Wardrobe.

4. Stretch Satin Lace Trim Cami Set from Hips and Curves

My love for navy/black combos knows no bounds.

"Stretch Satin Lace Trim Cami Set" (on sale for $29.95) at Hips and Curves.  Available in Navy, Red, Lilac, and Black in sizes 1-4X

“Stretch Satin Lace Trim Cami Set” (on sale for $29.95) at Hips and Curves. Available in Navy, Red, Lilac, and Black in sizes 1-4X

5.  Soft Lace Trim Robe from Hips and Curves

As much as floofy robes will always win my heart, sometimes you just want something comfy and snuggly to curl up in.  This robe looks incredibly comfy, while maintaining a cool, elegant air.

"Super Soft and Comfy Lace Trim Robe" from Hips and Curves ($59.95).  Available in sizes 1/2X, 3/4X, 5/6X.

“Super Soft and Comfy Lace Trim Robe” from Hips and Curves ($59.95). Available in sizes 1/2X, 3/4X, 5/6X.

6. Jacqueline Slip by Angela Friedman

I’ve seen this sucker in person, and I’ve got to tell you: it’s stunning.  The hammered silk satin has beautiful dimension and sheen to it, and the delicate lace bow-shaped cut-out perfectly walks the line between holiday whimsy and elegant luxury.

"Jacqueline" Slip by Angela Friedman ($215).  Available in sizes XS-L.

“Jacqueline” Slip by Angela Friedman ($215). Available in sizes XS-L.

7.  Rib Vest PJ Top by Bravissimo

Bravissimo’s PJ tops offer wire-free support for sleeping and lounging.  This (fairly basic, admittedly) tank top covers a much wider size range than I’d seen from them before, in band sizes 28-38 and “cup” sizes D-E through HH-J.

"Rib Vest Top" in Berry by Bravissimo (£30.00).  Available in sizes 28-38 D-E, F-G, GG-H, HH-J.

“Rib Vest Top” in Berry by Bravissimo (£30.00). Available in sizes 28-38 D-E, F-G, GG-H, HH-J.

8.  Belle de Nuit Robe by Fleur of England

Fleur does color so well I feel almost guilty including a black piece, but is it not just the most glamorous thing you’ve ever seen?  Be sure to check out the rest of the Belle de Nuit collection, especially the amazing silk tulle and guipure bodysuit.

Belle de Nuit Luxury Silk Robe by Fleur of England (£455.00).  Available in sizes S/M (8/10 UK) and M/L (12/14 UK)

Belle de Nuit Luxury Silk Robe by Fleur of England (£455.00). Available in sizes S/M (8/10 UK) and M/L (12/14 UK)

LINGERIE ACCESSORIES

1.  “Ume” Kimono Silk Pasties by Karolina Laskowska

Karolina Laskowska is still a student, but her amazing harnesses and strappy lingerie pieces have already gained a huge following.  Her newest collection features a mix of French Leavers lace and some stunning pieces crafted from vintage kimono silk, including a selection of one-of-a-kind nipple pasties.

Ume silk nipple pasties by Karolina Laskowska (£50).

Ume silk nipple pasties by Karolina Laskowska (£50).

2.  “Megan” Garter by Hopeless Lingerie

Hopeless makes some incredibly awesome strappy lingerie pieces and knickers, and this garter, made of fully adjustable straps of satin elastic, is a great way to embrace a slightly kinkier lingerie aesthetic without worrying about precise sizes.  I would totally wear this pole dancing.  In case you wondered.

"Megan" garter by Hopeless (AUS$48, or $80 for a pair).

“Megan” garter by Hopeless (AUS$48, or $80 for a pair).

3.  Plum Silk Gift Set by Ayten Gasson

Ayten Gasson makes very pretty, classic lingerie pieces in richly colored silk, all designed and made in the UK.  These boxed gift sets feature a side-tie silk knicker (which gives some flexibility in terms of sizing) and a beautiful silk and lace eye mask.

Plum Silk Gift set (side-tie knicker and eye mask) by Ayten Gasson (£49.00).  Available in sizes S, M, L.

Plum Silk Gift set (side-tie knicker and eye mask) by Ayten Gasson (£49.00). Available in sizes S, M, L.

4.  Marabou Puff by Faire Frou Frou

I want one of these with A FIERY PASSION, and I know Gus would just eat it.

Faire Frou Frou Marabou Powder Puff ($60).  Available in White, Pink, or Black.

Faire Frou Frou Marabou Powder Puff ($60). Available in White, Pink, or Black.

5.  “Villa Satine” Lace-Up Cuffs by Maison Close

I think these are so gorgeous, and so, so sexy.  You can wear them with just your lingerie, of course, but I think they’d be so tantalizing peeking out from the sleeve of an otherwise discreet ensemble.

"Villa Satine" Lace Cuffs by Maison Close ($63.53).

“Villa Satine” Lace Cuffs by Maison Close ($63.53).

6.  Linden Lingerie Wash by Journelle

In addition to their beautiful boutiques stocked with gorgeous high-end lingerie, Journelle offers their own in-house lingerie wash that smells like linden flowers or, according to some, heaven.

"Linden Lingerie Wash" by Journelle ($12.00 for 16 ounces)

“Linden Lingerie Wash” by Journelle ($12.00 for 16 ounces)

7.  Velvet Hot Water Bottle by Ruby & Ed

For all those times you’re staying at an aristocratic house party in the 1930s and you need to “refill your hot water bottle” in the middle of the night, i.e. sneak down to the kitchen and canoodle with the mysterious stranger who arrived unannounced before dinner with a look of adventure in his/her eyes.  Or for when you’re, you know, cold.

Velvet Hot Water Bottle by Ruby & Ed ($62).  Available in Orchid Pink (pictured) or Ruby.

Velvet Hot Water Bottle by Ruby & Ed ($62). Available in Orchid Pink (pictured) or Ruby.

8.  Lingerie Cookie Cutters

Because obviously.

Bra and Panty Cookie Cutter Set ($16.95).

Bra and Panty Cookie Cutter Set ($16.95). Click the picture for more, including corsets, stockings, and marabou slippers!

Holiday Gift Guide: Lingerie Picks for Full Figures

Today we’re back with more gift guides for the upcoming holidays, including some of my favorite festive lingerie for full figures!
Again, as a general rule, “full-figure” in lingerie world refers to lingerie in band sizes 36 or 38 or higher, and loungewear in sizes above a L or XL.  While I’m including some items that cover additional sizes, these are largely my starting points.  (Looking for full-bust (28-38 bands, D+ cups) lingerie?  Check out last week’s Full-Bust Gift Guide).
1.  “Imogen” by Elomi
Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m featuring a LOT of Elomi, and I feel like I should apologize, but I’m not going to: Elomi has had an amazing, amazing couple of seasons.  They’re picking bold, flattering colors, adding new shapes, and even taking some beautiful design risks.  My favorite set of theirs, and possibly one of my favorite lingerie sets of the year, period, is the Imogen.  It is grown-up, sophisticated, elegant, and sexy.  I love that it’s dark without being black, I love that there are two different knicker shapes (a thong and a high-waist brief) and two different bra shapes, and Y’ALL, this waist cincher.  This waist cincher is (I hope) a game changer.  It’s something I’d love to see more in full-bust lingerie, and it thrills me that it shows up in full-figure lingerie first.  Look, we all have different shapes: I may wear the same bra size as someone else, but we might wear very, very different clothing sizes and we might prefer different styles.  A lingerie set that includes a waist cincher essentially allows the wearer to build her own basque, choosing the individual components to fit her bust, waist, and hips separately.  She can wear the waist cincher when she wants to but still have a fantastic bra and knicker to wear on more everyday occasions.  More please!
"Imogen".  Padded Half Cup Bra, $72, 36-46 D-F, 36-44 FF, 36-42 G.  Full Cup Bra, $76, 36-44 E-FF, 34-44 G, 34-42 GG-JJ (UK).  Matching Brief ($34), Thong ($32), M-4XL, Matching Waspie Waist Cincher, $48, M-2XL

“Imogen”. Padded Half Cup Bra, $72, 36-46 D-F, 36-44 FF, 36-42 G. Full Cup Bra, $76, 36-44 E-FF, 34-44 G, 34-42 GG-JJ (UK). Matching Brief ($34), Thong ($32), M-4XL, Matching Waspie Waist Cincher, $48, M-2XL

2.  “Izzy” by Elomi
Izzy is like Imogen’s youngier, brighter, frillier sister, and it feels a little like a full-figure answer to the bright, chipper designs of full-bust brands like Tutti Rouge or Cleo.  Available in a pretty purple “hummingbird” color as both a bra/knicker set and a babydoll, this range is cheerful, pretty, and a bit more whimsical than many of Elomi’s other offerings.  Check out Holly’s review here!

"Izzy" babydoll in Hummingbird. 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H.

“Izzy” babydoll in Hummingbird ($94). 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H. Bra ($64) 34 G-JJ, 36-42 E-JJ, 44 E-G.  Brief ($30), M-4XL.

3.  “Betty” by Elomi 
Betty is one of Elomi’s continuity styles, and while it shares Izzy’s whimsical polka dots, the darker, classic black-with-white-dots color scheme kicks it into sultrier, slinkier territory.

"Betty" Babydoll. 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H.

“Betty” Babydoll by Elomi. $92 Available in sizes 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H.

4.  “Juliette” Corset from Hips and Curves 

While you won’t get the same fit from a ready-to-wear corset that you would from a custom one, Hips & Curves has a really fabulous selection of both steel-boned and lighter fashion corsets in some really lovely colors.  This “Juliette” style features an unusual stripe in a rich cranberry shade.  Gorgeous!  For RTW corsets you generally order a size between 4-6 inches smaller than your waist measurement.

Juliette corset hips and curves

“Juliette” Luxe Steel-Boned Corset ($159.95), available in sizes 28-44 at Hips & Curves

5.  “Isabella” Shelf Bra and Stretch Lace Strappy Bra from Hips and Curves
One of the other things I love about Hips & Curves, besides their corsets, is their fantastic selection of truly sexy quarter, half-cup, and strappy bras.  The Isabella bra is available in two bright, bold, on-trend neon shades, with daringly low-cut cups, while the Stretch Lace Strappy Bra is available in a variety of colors and pairs perfectly with coordinating cage-back panties.  These are definitely more like boudoir pieces than actual supportive bras, but they are adorable and hot!
Isabella Shelf Bra Hips and Curves

“Isabella” Shelf Bra ($39.95), available in sizes 38-42 C-D, 42-44 D-DD. Also available in turquoise.

Hips and Curves Stretch Lace Strappy Bra

Stretch Lace Strappy Bra ($34.95 or 2/$49) by Hips and Curves. Available in sizes 38-44.

6.  “Dina” by Sculptresse

Oh Sculptresse.  What am I going to do with you?  Sculptresse is one of the few brands out there offering G+ cup sizes in 44+ band sizes, yet their first two seasons have felt so, so staid.  They seem a little tentative about offering some of the same variety as Elomi (no waspies or babydolls here), instead sticking to lace molded cups or classic seamed full-cup bras.  I’d LOVE to see Sculptresse borrow some of Panache’s best-loved styles, like Sienna, Jasmine, or even Cleo’s Marcie, and adapt the shapes and colors for their full-figure customer.  Nevertheless, I do like the subdued elegance of this pretty “Dina” set.  Rather than default to oversized embroidery or floral lace, the cups feature a light geometric pattern and subdued, wine-colored lace trim.  It’s elegant and subtly sultry.

Panache sculptresse DIna

“Dina” by Sculptresse (Bra $62, short $34). Available in sizes 36 F-J, 38 E-J, 40 DD-J, 42 D-J, 44-46 D-HH. Brief sizes 14-26 UK (10-22 US)

7.  Retro Shapewear by Rago, with custom dyeing by Girdlebound

Calling all you vintage-loving vixens, you should probably know Rago.  Made in the USA for over 50 years, Rago is THE go-to brand for authentic retro shapewear, from girdles to corselettes to pin-up panties to everything in-between.  Secrets in Lace stocks some of the more colorful options, while retailer Girdlebound offers custom dyeing in a huge range of colors.

Rago open bottom briefer black red

Open-Bottom Body Briefer by Rago ($63), available in sizes 34-40 B-DD. Also in black, white, pink-black, and black-mocha.

Rago panty girdle girdlebound yellow

Rago panty girdle ($39), available in sizes S-4X. Girdlebound offers custom dyeing, as in this lovely yellow example.

8.  Indie Brands

Holly at The Full-Figured Chest is an inspiration to me in terms of taking the plunge into custom work from our favorite independent designers.  I tend to assume that smaller, independent brands will only work well for women with more average or slender figures than mine, and Holly has taught me that this is absolutely not the case!  I spoke with several designers this week, and all of them said they absolutely will produce custom, made-to-measure pieces for their plus-size and full-bust customers (with some restrictions– full-figure D+ bras require a special skill set).  Taking a cue from Holly, here are some lovely holiday-appropriate pieces from my favorite indie brands.

"Cabin Fever" knickers by Ohhh Lulu.

“Cabin Fever” knickers by Ohhh Lulu ($29).

Dottie's Delights custom plus size bra girdle

A stunning custom bridal set by Dottie’s Delights, including a plus size girdle and a size 44C bra. Image via Dottie’s Delights’ Instagram feed

"Gem" high-waist ruffle panties with flounce by Sandmaiden Sleepwear

“Gem” high-waist ruffle panties with flounce by Sandmaiden Sleepwear ($48). THAT COLOR, Y’ALL.

Red Deco Camisole ($200) by Honeycooler Handmade, size XXL.  Many of her pieces are made of vintage silks and materials, like this one-of-a-kind piece.

Red Deco Camisole ($200) by Honeycooler Handmade, size XXL. Many of her pieces are made of vintage silks and materials, like this one-of-a-kind piece.

Christmas reindeer knickers by Knickerocker

Christmas reindeer knickers by Knickerocker ($24)

Angela Friedman custom plus size overbust corset

A beautiful custom corset by Angela Friedman. Corsets start at around $225 for waspie waist cinchers and around $450 for overbust corsets, subject to fabric choices and embellishments.

What do you think?  Have I missed any beautiful pieces that are on your own wishlist?  Let me know in the comments!  There are more gift guides to come, including some great lingerie and boudoir accessories, no sizes required!

A Little Wickedness

Look, I used to get so irritated by the omnipresence of sexy Halloween costumes for women.  It seemed like once we (females) passed trick-or-treat age, the freedom to be creative, scary, fantastical, or over-the-top disappeared, and “shorten your skirt and show your tits” became mandatory.  Ugh, like, don’t tell me what to do, Halloween Industrial Overlords.  I may be over 18, but I reserve the right to dress like a cretinous hag for Halloween if I want to, GOSH.  This year, though . . . I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I get away with looking at gorgeous lingerie “for the blog” every day, maybe it’s because I’ve been pole dancing and playing with costumes, maybe it’s because I’m more at peace and happy with my body, but this year I kind of DO want a sexy Halloween costume.  Halloween costumes, just like our lingerie, give us the chance to express different, perhaps hidden, sides of our personalities, explore fantasies, and mine our creativity.  I don’t want to be a polyester “sexy nurse”, or whatever, but I have been drawn to some really gorgeous lingerie-inspired costumes that do more than scream “look at my legs/boobs!”  They suggest a story, mystery, danger, or even a suggestion of sweetness, and I think I’d like a Halloween like that.

[I'm barely scratching the surface here.  There are so, so many pieces of lingerie out there that would make gorgeous costumes, so I'm going to touch on some of my favorite options that also happen to be either size-or-budget-friendly.  I personally dig costumes that speak to a woman's beauty, power and mystery, so angels, witches, queens, and superheroes are more my style than, say, sexy Big Bird.  You do you.]

Dark Angel costume: corset, tutu, shaper skirt with suspenders, spiked collar, and wings/halo. All pieces available at Hips and Curves.

For starters, Hips and Curves’ Halloween lookbook is completely awesome.  They have done a FANTASTIC job of showing how you can take some “basic” pieces, or maybe some lingerie pieces that aren’t necessarily for every day but that also don’t scream “costume”, and mix and match them with a few accessories to create gorgeous and unique costumes.  Browsing the lookbook really encouraged me to think more creatively about costumes.  You could take any of the tutus and create your own Black Swan costume.  You can take any of the corsets and create tons of historically or fairy-tale inspired costumes.  The stunning blue corset below, for example, could be adapted for so many costumes: historical queens, Shapespearean heroines, fairy tale characters, even Wonder Woman!  A gorgeous retro slip and some red lipstick, and you’re Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”  I’ve built a small wardrobe of sassy pieces for pole dancing, and I have a feeling many of them are going to come into play for Halloween this year.

Snow White, made of a cropped blouse, a gorgeous blue corset, a short yellow satin skirt, a short petticoat, and a shaper skirt with attached suspenders.

I particularly liked the Snow White, the witches and fairies, the pirates, and the evil queens.  Not only will you look mind-blowingly lovely, but you can guarantee that no one who went to a costume store will show up wearing the exact same thing as you.  Hips and Curves also stocks a great selection of costume accessories like gloves, masks, hats, wings and halos, horns, capes, eyepatches, and even little stick-on jewels shaped like blood drops, for the vampirically-inclined.

Long stretch velvet cape with wide satin ribbon. There are several pretty capes available in different lengths or colors, but this is hands-down my favorite. I’m sorely tempted to buy this just so I can wear it pole dancing and feel it stream out behind me in flying tricks.

Kiss Me Deadly’s new Fairy Tale collections, worn alone, are probably best reserved for the bedroom, but the individual pieces could make great costume components.  The stunning product shots have pretty much already done your job for you– check out KMD’s gorgeous takes on Snow White (parenthetically, Snow White is EVERYWHERE this Halloween.  I credit Charlize Theron), Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.

“Tempest Rose” (as Cinderella) by Kiss Me Deadly.

No innocent maidens here, I think you’ll agree.  And oh, the gorgeous Maleficent: terrifying and beautiful.

Elle Robe by Kiss Me Deadly.

Trashy.Com

If you want a complete, knock-out, jaw-dropping costume, Trashy.Com’s selection of sexy costumes is stunning.

Evil Queen. Congratulations, you just won a costume competition.

There are tons of options, both in terms of styles and prices.  “Trashy Originals” costumes are incredibly detailed, complex (especially given how little, you know, actual fabric is covering your body), and made-to-order, but the cost, especially once you add in accessories, can skyrocket.  For better deals, check out the other categories like “Trashy Knockoffs” and “Trashy Bargains.”  Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable wearing a lot of the costumes, but that’s a matter of personal style.  However, I’m blown away by the accessories.  Trashy’s collection of shoes, stockings, hats and headpieces, masks, gloves, wings, tutus, and more absolutely can’t be beat.

Pirate Hat! I confess, this one is on the more expensive end of things. But it’s so FLUFFY. You could wear it for all those times you needed to be a pirate or an old-timey duchess or Moll Flanders or something. You know, like you do.

“Annette” Shoe

“Damsel” wings. They’re black feather wings trailing a floor-length sheer rhinestoned cape thingie. We need to talk about how badly I want them. Also, they’d be great to throw on over your favorite Little Black Dress to create a seductive dark angel costume: you could wear a dress that you love and still be all mysterious and Halloween-y.

Black Swan Tiara. Are we surprised I like this? We are not.

Wonder Woman!

Maybe wearing out-and-out lingerie is just not for you.  In some cases it would obviously be super inappropriate (family-friendly or office celebrations, for example), but maybe you’d like to find a costume that appeals to a personal fantasy and makes you feel sexy, but isn’t, you know, underwear.  Consider looking to the past!  Pin-Up Girl Clothing offers a huge range of sizes of dresses, shoes, foundation garments (including classic Rago shapewear pieces for a period-appropriate silhouette), and accessories that could help you build a fantastic Mad Men costume.

“Ava” dress in Teal. Joan Holloway Harris, perhaps?

Or are you more of a Betty? Birdie Dress in Peacock.

This adorably retro sailor dress is both cute and sexy. “Hello Sailor” wiggle dress with red stripes.

Not feeling old-fashioned?  Pin-Up Girl has some great dresses that can also go darker and more contemporary.  I love these two; they’d make great femme fatale costumes, particularly the black “Janelle” dress, which just screams “Pam from True Blood” to me.  Add some fangs and you’re ready for the night.

The Masuimi Dress in Deep Plum.

Janelle Dress in Black.

Finally, many popular mass-market lingerie retailers offer bargain costumes in time for Halloween.  Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, and Ricky’s are all chock-full of quick, easy, sexy options, and Ricky’s in particular has a diverse size range.  I’ll also shout-out to Tic Tac Toe in NYC once again, especially since I saw some great dancers perform Saturday night, and we all discussed afterwards how much we love that store.  It’s a very size-and-inclination-inclusive sex shop in the West Village, and the top floor is stuffed with sexy shoes, costumes, accessories.

“Midnight Mistress” at Ricky’s

“Cartoon Siren” (who are we kidding? Jessica Rabbit) costume at Frederick’s of Hollywood.

*     *     *     *     *

A quick parting note which I’m sure is redundant, because you’re all attractive and intelligent people, but it bears repeating: racism is never sexy.  I really, really strongly urge you to avoid “Indian Princess”, “White Trash”, “Geisha”, “Tribal” or similar “sexy” costumes that reduce, fetishize, and trivialize the history, culture, religions, or traditions of fellow human beings, and which are unfortunately widely available, even at some of the retailers I’ve linked to here.   I have similar icky feelings about “maid” costumes, although I know some people may think I’m being overly sensitive.  Have a little fun venturing into the realm of the spooky, the storybook, and the supernatural instead; after all, isn’t that the point of the holiday?

Clothing Your Curves: Suggestions for Fuller Bums, Part 2: Knickers Edition

In addition to sharing their favorite clothes shopping secrets, my blog buddies all graciously got personal with me and shared some knicker preferences.  The incredible surge in lingerie brands and sizes in the last five years means that there are lots of choices in terms of styles (bikinis, hipsters, cheeky boyshorts, thongs, g-strings, high-waisted briefs, tap shorts, etc.), and while that’s great, it still seems like there hasn’t been much discussion about how to approach fitting these garments.  For example, sometimes a woman tries on one brand of thong, and if the rise isn’t right (the waist rides up too high or is too low to fit comfortably), she’ll write off thongs entirely.  Sometimes a woman finds a bra she loves but hates the coordinating pieces that come with it.  In response to situations like this, some brands, like Freya, have stepped up in recent years and begun offering multiple styles per range.

“Gem” in blue by Freya. Half-cup bra and high-waisted brief pictured.

For example, the new season style “Gem” will offer a half-cup bra up to an F-cup, a balconette bra up to a K-cup, a Brazilian brief, a short, and a high-waisted brief, all in two different colors.  It gives the customer a lot of variety to choose from so that she can purchase the range she likes in the styles that suit her best (I, for example, desperately want the balconette bra and the high-waisted brief in either color), but it can be a burden on retailers.  Erica discusses the issue of briefs and matching sets in this post, and I particularly enjoyed reading her replies in the comments about why matching briefs can be so expensive, and how it can be very, very hard for boutiques to calculate their inventory.   This, in turn, can make it hard for shoppers to have the opportunity to try on all the styles available to find the ones to suit them best.  There’s also such a strong focus on bra-fitting in the general lingerie world that by the time that’s taken care of, knickers can seem like an afterthought.

There’s nothing wrong with knickers being an afterthought, of course!  Nothing at all.  I know lots of women who put their time and energy into selecting bras that best suit their shape, tastes, and style, and who then prefer to buy multi-packs of basic cotton underwear.  These women feel pretty and comfortable, so they should keep on keeping on.  (For some great recommendations on basic knickers for different shapes, check out Braless in Brasil’s knickers post).  However, I remember the first time I had a matching set of underwear (after I’d graduated from college), and I felt so womanly, sophisticated, decadent, pretty, and sexy.  It was like a little treat to myself, after years of thinking I wasn’t allowed to have pretty underwear (really).  For me, finding the right bra opened up the world of lingerie sets.  For women with curvier bums and fuller hips who are looking for some good knickers to make their lingerie sets complete, here are some suggestions.

Curvy Kate

“Emily” bra and brief in Midnight/Blush by Curvy Kate. Also available in beige, black, and white (other colors may be available on sale).

Several bloggers responded that they’d had good luck with Curvy Kate, in particular the briefs for the “Emily” and “Princess” ranges.

“Princess” short in black.

The way CK cut the top of their briefs leads to less digging into the hips, and the rise is better than some other companies’, coming up higher in the back so that the briefs aren’t falling off the bum.  (Bravissimo, for example, who really changed the game in the full-bust bra world, has some work to do with their knickers.  They cut their (own brand) briefs very, very low in my limited experience, and several times it has made me unwilling to commit to overseas shipping, for fear of needing to return the order.  I’d love to see some high-waisted briefs, or even highER-waisted briefs, to go with their lovely bras.)  Curvy Kate in general offers a good range of knicker styles, including briefs, thongs, high-waisted briefs, and shorts with detachable suspenders, so you should be able to try your favorite styles.  I’m also happy to recommend Curvy Kate because of their generous range of sizes (28-40 D-K), and because they’re becoming more and more widely available in North America.  Figleaves (which is also running a competition on Facebook to win a Curvy Kate set), HerRoom, Bare Necessities, Linda’s, A Sophisticated Pair, and Butterfly Collection all carry Curvy Kate, as do many smaller boutiques.

Parfait

“Charlotte” High Waist Brief in Red, in sizes XS-2XL

Their high-waisted retro briefs are to die for.  Check out Invest in Your Chest’s and Sophia’s reviews to see some curvy girls rocking the “Charlotte” range.

Elomi and Freya

I’ve already fessed up to the fact that I don’t have a pronounced waist-to-hip ratio, and that my underwear shopping tends to be fairly straightforward and painless.  I would still be remiss not to say that I have loved almost every single Freya brief I’ve ever worn.  I love the design and details of my Cleo by Panache sets, but the briefs are incredibly hit or miss with me.  Freya’s bikini-style briefs and high-waisted briefs are always winners (their thongs though . . . yikes).  Elomi, Freya’s sister brand for fuller figures, also offers a beautiful range of knicker styles, and their designs just keep getting better and better.

“Betty” ruched brief by Elomi. Available in sizes M-4XL.

“Patsy” ruffled brief by Freya. Also available in black. Sizes XS-XL.

“Taylor” high-waisted brief by Freya. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Hips and Curves

Caged Back Lace Panty. Available in multiple colors in sizes 1X-4X.

Can we talk about how hot those panties are?  They’re SUPER HOT, y’all.  They’d look dynamite with your favorite black bra and hold ups.

Embroidered Lace Front Brief. Available in sizes 8-14 (is this how panties are sized?) in black, white, and red.

Stretch Lace Boyshorts. Available in sizes 1/2X.

Curveturiere

Curveturiere will launch their full catalogue online on September 10.  All knickers will be available in sizes XS-3X in a huge range of styles and colors, including high-waisted briefs, bikinis, and thongs.  Check out this photo from Curve NV for a glimpse at some of the colors:

Their ranges are designed to mix and match to suit each customer’s personal taste.  I’m really looking forward to hearing fit feedback once the brand is available for purchase.

By Baby’s Rules shared with me a good general, curve-friendly construction tip: ruched back seams.  I like a good ruched back seam because it’s sexy, but she pointed out that it can also help the brief fit better to the wearer’s shape, so it’s definitely a design feature to look out for if you have a curvier bum.

The high-waist brief I saw at the Curveturiere preview party, the late and lamented (by me) “Pollyanna” range by Freya, and the lovely “Paris” briefs by Miss Mandalay all share this design feature.

“Pollyanna” brief by Freya. The “Faye” style is supposed to be the same as Pollyanna, except it’s NOT AND I HATE IT. RIP Pollyanna. You were my first favorite bra.

“Paris” brief in hot pink. I had a rotten time getting a good picture of it, but there’s a vertical elasticized seam running up the back of the briefs. I adore these briefs. When the black “Paris” set is available later this year I might totally cave and purchase it.

Etsy

I’ve highlighted some Etsy sellers before.  So, yes, sometimes Etsy is full of nonsense.  Sometimes Etsy is full of INSANELY GORGEOUS UNDERWEAR.  Here are pictures/links to some of my favorite sellers (I’ve deliberately selected items made of natural or eco-friendly fibers):

“Phoenix Lights Garter Short” by ClareBare. Black Bamboo Jersey, available in sizes S, M, L, or to custom measurements.

Bamboo High Rise Panties with Lace Trim by sandmaidensleepwear. Available in multiple colors, sizes XS-XL or custom measurements.

Organic Cotton High Rise Lingerie Knickers by sandmaidensleepwear. Available in multiple colors, sizes XS-XL or custom measurements.

Panties with Pink Heart by knickerocker. Available in S, M, L, or XL. Not organic, but oh-so-cute.

Here’s the cool thing about Etsy sellers: sure, you might pay more than you will at Target.  Sure, you may not be able to find a matching bra.  But some of these sellers are incredibly awesome people.  If you see something super close to want you want, but maybe not in your size or color choice, you can contact the seller directly and ask them about it.  Ask them if they’ll make you a custom-sized pair.  Ask them about how well they’ll fit your bum/hips.  Explain to them that you have this one bra you love but you can’t find a good knicker to match, and if they’d be willing to make a custom size for you.  I know that Knickerocker has taken on a custom-knickers-to-match-a-bra order before, so what have you got to lose?

I hope you find these suggestions helpful!  Again, a huge thanks to A Sophisticated Pair, Braless in Brasil, Curvy Wordy, Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, and By Baby’s Rules for their help with knickers recommendations.  If you have any questions or other recommendations, please let me know!