Undressed to Impress

As Seen On Smaller-busted gals

I recently ordered some bikinis from Asos in the sale as they had some real bargains and I need a new bikini or two for my holidays later this year. Asos have their own selection of ‘Fuller Bust’ bikinis with a very limited size range of 30-34 D-F. Kudos to Asos for including a 30 back in that size range, but since they’re clearly targeting the smaller end of the D+ market with that range it would have been nice to see some 28 backs. Since I’m not so fussed about a firm back on a bikini I decided to try my luck with a 30F and there were a surprising number of styles still available in this size.

I ordered four styles, all of which I was a bit dubious about as the same model is used for the regular bikini range as well as the fuller bust range, suggesting she is at the smallest end of the already small range and so you can’t get a good idea of how supportive they are from looking at the pictures. I really like the catwalk video with every item on the Asos website, and with a bikini it would be nice to see a full-busted model walking down the runway to see if the bikini is supporting her or if there’s a lot of movement as she walks. However, with worldwide free delivery (and free returns from the UK and France certainly, although I’m not sure about elsewhere) you’re not really losing out if your order doesn’t fit.

I was most suspicious about the first of the bikinis, the Cross Back Spot Halter Bikini, because the version from the standard range and the version from the fuller bust range both look rather skimpy. In fact, the only addition to the fuller bust range seems to be the addition of a band (rather than a string) and an underwire. To the credit of Asos, both are the same price. No M&S-style price discrimination here!

Standard string bikini style ‘Fuller bust’ version

It just looked ridiculous on me. The cups were far too small and cut away and from the side you could see it was giving no lift. I really like the design of the back, but it means the straps are not adjustable and since I usually need to shorten all straps significantly, these were too long for me.

The next bikini I tried was the Spot Print Halter Bikini, which looks a lot like the Freya Pier in Black, which I like but can’t really afford. The halterneck strap on the Asos version certainly looks less supportive than the Freya, but since they’re not producing particularly large cup sizes presumably Asos aren’t too bothered by that.

Freya Pier Lookalike

I was pleased to see a little more coverage with this one, but the fit issues were the same. In the last picture I’m actually glad for red marks for once, as you can see how much smaller the cup was on this than the bra I was wearing. The neck strap was, as I had expected, rather flimsy and I can envisage it digging in after just a short time wearing this top. The frill trim also felt a little cheap and I certainly couldn’t see it standing up to much more than sunbathing. The thing that annoyed me the most about the top was that the spots very obviously didn’t match up on the seams across the cups!

The final bikini I ordered was a bit bigger in the cup and fit much better. It still had the poor neck strap of the previous style, but at only £11 for the set I decided it would be OK for sunbathing. I should mention that the backs of all these bikinis had a standard clip fastening and felt like a 29″ back – tighter than some 30s and tight enough that I felt OK wearing them, but not really comparable to a 28. In all the styles I ordered my usual size 8 bottoms and found them to be a good fit. They were low cut but provided reasonable coverage and didn’t dig in to my hips.

Overall, I am not particularly impressed by the Asos ‘Fuller Bust’ range. I think the limited size range is down to Asos not putting much effort into designing for the larger bust, and I am dubious that it can support a 34F bust (the largest size available) when it struggled for me in a 30F. I certainly would not have paid full price for the one bikini I kept, but in the sale their bikinis are OK if you’re not expecting to do more than sunbathe in them. They also provide a fairly large and youthful selection, which is not always easy to find.

As ever, the whole ordering experience with Asos was smooth, with items being dispatched the day after I ordered and arriving in France 3 days after that. In fact, I find their free international delivery to France is almost always quicker than the UK Super Saver delivery, although that probably just reflects well on the French postal service. Paying for international delivery is the biggest thing that puts me off ordering for companies – especially when worldwide is a standard £6- 7 regardless of the country. I know it is probably like this so that European customers absorb some of the cost of postage for destinations further afield, but it still grates a little when you consider the distance.

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BiuBiu Buys

I’ve heard a lot about BiuBiu in the big-busted blogosphere (great reviews can be found here, here and here, among others) which has been tempting me to try them out for a while now. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t have the biggest bust in the world and so I don’t have too much difficulty finding flattering and reasonably well-fitted clothing on the high street. However, when it comes to the working wardrobe I’ve not had quite so much luck. My wardrobe contains a fair few dodgy shirts – ranging from styles that fit me in the bust but from there downwards make me look pregnant/like a painter/both if I’m really unlucky to styles that fit in the waist but won’t button any higher.  Luckily, since school (when I sported both of the aforementioned unfortunate looks) I haven’t had any jobs that required regular shirt wearing. But as job-hunting season creeps ever closer, I decided it was about time I put together a smart, formal interview outfit – with hippy chic and cleavage both firmly off the table. Enter BiuBiu.

BiuBiu are a small Polish company specialising in clothing for women with larger busts. In the UK this business idea began with Bravissimo’s Pepperberry range, which offers regular clothing sizes with an extra choice of three levels of ‘curviness’. Unfortunately for me and many other women, the clothing sizes come up large, with their size 8s usually swamping me. They are also expensive and I find the styles can often be on the frumpy side. BiuBiu also use standard clothing sizes with an extra choice of three bust sizes: B, BB and BBB, with BBB being the largest. The styles are also much more affordable, with tops and shirts giving you change from a £20 note and dresses ranging from about £25-£40. The real selling point of BiuBiu for me is that the majority of their products are simple, stylish and versatile – meaning you’re going to be able to wear them every day. This gives the products more of a youthful feel over Pepperberry in my opinion.

Using the sizing guide I decided I was a 34BB in tailored styles and a 34B/BB in jersey styles. The current stock included plenty of jersey styles in my size, but unfortunately only two shirts in the tailored styles, both in colours that don’t suit me. Since finding a shirt was the main point of my order, I decided to size up to a 36B and ordered the short-sleeved City shirt in blue. I also chose the Fuego in Jade in a 36B/BB – again, there was no 34 in stock and I loved the colour too much to resist – and the short-sleeved blue Porto – again in a 36B/BB, this time because I’d heard it’s quite clingy.

City Fuego Porto

The whole ordering experience with BiuBiu was very easy. The website can be translated into English by clicking the flag in the top corner of the page and this also changes the prices for you. In my case it changed them into euros, but I’m in France so I don’t know whether this is location sensitive. In any case, it gives you a better idea of how much each item is without having to type everything into your calculator as you browse. The only problem I encountered was not being able to find an international shipping option at first.  However, once I’d created an account with my address I found the option I needed with ease. The postage was quite expensive: 9 euros for three items, jumping to 15 if I added a fourth to my basket, but my items did arrive quickly (within 4 days, if I remember correctly). In addition, all the items I ordered were reduced, so they still worked out being very reasonable.

The items weren’t a rousing success in terms of size, but since I’d had to size up I wasn’t expecting perfection. Firstly, here is the City shirt:

As you can see, the shirt fits well over the bust and shoulders but is too big on my waist and hips. Here’s how I wanted it to look:

Since I can’t exchange for a smaller side, I’ve decided to keep the shirt and alter it. There are two darts running up the back of the shirt which would be very easy to increase, and this will give me a tighter fit at the waist without losing any of the bust room. I’m also going to remove the turn-ups on the sleeves as I think I will prefer it without these. These are both minor alterations and overall, I’m pleased with the shirt. It’s well-made and the fabric is good quality, and the short-sleeves will keep me cool in the summer. My only complaint is that it is a little see-through, but this is to be expected with lighter-coloured fabrics and it’s not really a problem.

Next up is the Fuego:

The colour of this one is a little more green than I was expecting, but it’s still very nice and a great colour on me. Unfortunately, like the City, this one is too big. In addition, it’s slightly too long for my 5’6″ frame and ends at an unflattering point. The length would be great for women who are a bit longer in the torso, and, in the right size, good to skim over a slightly flabby tummy. In a larger size, it would conceal a small baby bump well but since I don’t mind standing on the bus, I decided to return it!

Finally, the Porto:

The Porto is my favourite of the three tops I ordered. I’m glad I sized up in this one, as it fits well without being overly clingy. It shows off my lumps and bumps a bit more, but not excessively so. The length is much better for me and the bust fits perfectly.

I’m very impressed with BiuBiu, particularly in terms of the quality of the items at such low prices. I will definitely be ordering again in future, and hope that more small sizes will be available when the stock is replenished. The Porto is a top I can see myself wearing again and again, and the City shirt will be great for interviews and office wear. The site provides a good selection of clothing for the busty working woman, which I think is a great idea as the workplace is an area where few women want to be showing cleavage. Finally, BiuBiu make it extremely easy to place international orders, so this clothing is an affordable option for women everywhere.

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Isn’t Elegance forgetting what one is wearing?

I love to wear plunge bras, even though it is often tricky to get the right fit and I know a lot of women don’t get on with them. For me, the low centre wires always appeal as I often find bras with higher wires dig in, even when they are the right size. They’re also great for low-cut tops and a good plunge bra will give me the kind of cleavage I love. With this in mind I purchased the Curvy Kate Elegance a while back for a bargain price on Amazon, with free delivery and free returns – a massive bonus when shopping online for lingerie as sizes can vary hugely even within the same brand.

The Elegance is a simple but sexy plunge bra styled in black or white satin and trimmed with thick lace. It is lightly padded but not moulded for just the right amount of shape. Like all Curvy Kate styles it is available in a large range of sizes, with backs from 28 to 38 and cups up to a J in some back sizes. I bought this style in black in a 28G rather than my usual 28FF as I find I often have to size up in plunge bras, including Curvy Kate’s Tempt Me style (in which I actually have to size up by two cups).

 

Unlike the Showgirl range, which runs large in the band, the Elegance fits firmly on the loosest hook in a 28 back for me. It fastens with three hooks and I find the band to be just the right width to lie smoothly and not cause any bulging. The cup fit on me is unfortunately less successful. The cups are very shallow and flatten out my profile, but I do get a good cleavage from the front. I don’t quite fill the bottom of the cups and some of the material just above the underwire rests flat on my chest. I used to own a Wonderbra that had this effect to the extreme and I kept falling out of it. Needless to say, I no longer own it! The shallowness of the bottom of the cups on the Elegance is not  significant enough to cause me to fall out of it, but this may be because I sized up in the cup. I don’t think the FF would have been a successful fit at all, but there is some empty material under the armpit in the G.

The bra is very comfy to wear all day and doesn’t dig in anywhere, to the point that you can actually forget you’re wearing it! I found the back a bit stiff at first but it loosened slightly after a couple of washes and now I don’t notice any problems. It also hasn’t stretched out beyond this point in the few months I’ve owned it, so it is likely to have a longer life than my gorgeous Showgirl bras. This is not a bra I’d wear under a tight t-shirt, as the thick lace would show through and the bra also flattens my profile, as I mentioned before. However, with a low-cut top the cleavage is great for an outfit on a night out. I’m very curious to try out the new Curvy Kate ‘Wild’ plunge style to see how it compares! Alas, it won’t be released until later this year, along with the blue Tempt Me which looks like the bra of my dreams…

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Flame Boy!*

Before Christmas I placed an enormous Amazon order for lingerie – about 20 bras in total – in the hope I’d find a couple of new ones before I returned to the wasteland of ill-fitting bras that is France. I kept just two of them, but made notes on all of them for future reviews. Unfortunately a complete lack of computer access over the holiday period left me unable to write or publish any of these reviews so they’re a little late coming, but here is the first!

Any 28 band wearer knows that the range of bras available is much smaller than even the 30 band market, let alone the 32+ market. The options are also heavily biased in favour of unpadded, which is unfortunate for me as I don’t like and hence don’t wear unpadded styles. I generally find that they produce a shape I really don’t like, or just don’t fit me quite right –  I often find myself wanting something halfway between a FF and a G no matter how much I try varying the strap length and the way I sit in it in an attempt to alter the fit. I have also generally found the wires to dig in more than on a padded bra, and this is something I often have a problem with due to having very little fat around my ribcage. However, cutting out such a large chunk of the bras available in my size without even considering them doesn’t seem like the most sensible option and so I’m making an effort to try more unpadded styles in the hope of finding one that works for me.

The Curvy Kate Emily is a style I’ve previously ordered and quite liked, but I ended up returning it because I didn’t think I would wear it often enough. I bought the Flame option this time round, and as it is from a past season I got it in a 28FF for the bargain price of around £8 from Amazon, with the matching knickers for just £2 from Brastop. At just £14 for a bra and three pairs of knickers, this was a brilliant bargain.

The Flame colourway is aptly named and features a bright red base highlighted with delicate orange embroidery. It’s a lovely bright set and whilst I think the embroidery can look a bit old-fashioned on some of the other colourways, it really works here. In typical Curvy Kate style, bow detailing between the cups and where the straps attach finishes off the look. The bottom portion of each cup is double-lined for extra support and the whole thing feels well-made. The band closes with three hooks and the straps are quite wide and fully adjustable. The only downside of the construction for me, which applies to most unpadded bras, is that the polyamide mesh won’t be very breathable and so won’t be good in hot weather. Probably not a massive worry for those of us in the UK though!

(I had to use the flash on my camera, so please bear in mind that my photos aren’t a great representation of the true colour!)

The band is true to size, and fits me well on the loosest set of hooks. The cups are also a good fit, enclosing all my breast tissue well without any wrinkling or overspill. The shape is good from the side, looking smooth and rounded under clothing. My only issue with this bra is that I find the wires dig in painfully. Under the arms they are OK and don’t come up too high – in fact, the wires finish before the end of their casing. However, the centre wires were digging in so badly that I was desperate to take the bra off after only twenty minutes. I think this is mostly down to me having a very bony ribcage, as I often experience this problem with balconette bras and so favour plunges with their low centre gore. I’ve been put off from wearing this bra because of the wire problem, but I am hoping that it will soften up a little after wearing and washing, otherwise I will have to try bending the wires and/or sewing some extra padding over them.

 

*A little Friends reference for you in the title. It has nothing to do with anything except it came to mind when I saw the name of the colour. And I love Friends!

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