Undressed to Impress

High-street dress shopping May ’12

Back in May, not long after I moved back to England, I went shopping on the high street for some new dresses. I was looking forward to trying out the latest collections from some of my favourite brands that aren’t available in France, particularly Oasis as I have had some luck in the past with clothing from there that fits over my bust. I usually look for styles with a fitted top and flared skirt, as they suit my shape very well, and I found several dresses that fit the bill, plus one that didn’t but I liked it enough to try it anyway.

…Can you see a theme there?! I love blue, but didn’t quite realise what I’d picked up until I was in the changing room!
These are the stock images of the dresses I tried:

The first dress fit OK on my bust, but was far too big on the waist. On the right is how I wanted it to look!

The next dress was a better fit, although the lace panel came down quite low and would probably show my bra. The main issue was the lumpy seams around the waist. I also wasn’t a fan of the cheap-looking zip at the back.

The third dress was one I’d admired in several magazines and was a lovely purple/blue colour. Unfortunately, I don’t often get on well with shift dresses, and this one was particularly bad. It was too small on the bust, too big on the waist and too small on the hips all at the same time! Definitely not one for curves, which was a big disappointment.

The last dress almost fit on the bust, but was too big on the waist again and I didn’t feel it looked particularly flattering.

So no success with Oasis! Later on I went to H&M, where I had no hope of finding anything fitted that would work over the bust. For example, this turquoise maxi dress really caught my eye, but was so small on the bust I just had to take a photo. Does it look painful? Because it was!

And then, miraculously, I found this!

I don’t know what made me pick up this dress because I didn’t expect it to fit at all, but the shape from the side was exactly what I’d been looking for all day! And it was only £12.99!

What about you? Do you know any high-street shops that cater particularly well for your shape? Or do you find things that fit when you least expect it?

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Bravissimo Satine review

I recently took a trip to my local Bravissimo store to try out their own brand padded plunge bra: the Satine. I’ve tried on a couple of Bravissimo brand bras in store before, but have never been particularly interested in their offerings because they’ve most been balcony and/or unpadded styles, both things that I’m not a fan of in a bra. So I’ve been excited to try this one ever since it came out a few months ago, but have had to wait due to not living in the right country!

I know a lot of people will be underwhelmed by the black or white colour options in this bra, but I was more than happy – I’ve wanted a plain black padded plunge bra that looks a bit nicer than the Deco for a very long time, but have never found one that fits requirements until now. Still, if you’d like something a bit jazzier, Bravissimo recently released the floral Oh So Kimono version of this bra. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s definitely more summery and interesting.

I went for the 28G in this bra – the size that usually fits me best in plunge bras. Bravissimo bras seem to strike a happy medium between the wide wires of Panache and the narrow ones of Freya, so they probably work for a lot of people. The bands run a little loose, and this 28 works for me only on the tightest hook – meaning I will have to shorten the brand in the not too distant future. Thankfully the straps are fully-adjustable so I’ll only be needing to make one alteration. They’re also a good level of slipperiness – easy to adjust but they don’t lengthen as you wear/wash the bra.

Shape-wise, this bra doesn’t give me much cleavage. It also has more of a natural shape under clothing than the likes of the Deco, so it would be a good option if you don’t like the perfectly rounded look. I find the cups have more coverage than some other plunge bras I own, which gave me a little sizing hiccup. My breast tissue comes up quite high on my chest and I often find that cups with a lot of coverage cut in ever so slightly at the very top. This is usually either not an issue, or becomes very pronounced after I have been wearing the bra for an hour or so. Thankfully it’s not an issue in this bra, but I wouldn’t wear it under a skin-tight top because of this. The other reason I wouldn’t wear it under a very tight top is I find lines often appear on the outside of the bra due to the lining. This seems like a construction issue and varies from bra to bra – I tried on another that was much worse than what you can see in the picture below. With mine, I find I can smooth this out, but it’s a bit disappointing considering the bra retails at £29 (or £32 for the Oh So Kimono – apparently printed fabric comes at a premium these days…).

An issue I often find with plunge bras, but don’t experience too much in this one is the ‘orange in a glass’ look where space is left at the bottom of the cup. I get this very badly on the Curvy Kate plunges because they’re so shallow in the cup. In the picture above I’d been wearing the bra for a whole day, and you can see a slight hint of empty fabric at the bottom of the cup, but it’s barely noticeable. It doesn’t show up under clothes and, more importantly, doesn’t leave me at the risk of my nipples making a break for freedom. I felt very supported and contained by the bra all day.

I don’t usually pay full-price for bras, but I made an exception for this one as a good plunge bra is hard to find and Bravissimo don’t discount their stock very much when it comes to their sales. What really makes it worth the price is how comfortable it is. There was no need to ‘break-in’ this bra – it was comfortable the very first time I wore it. Overall, I’m very happy with this bra and would recommend it to anyone searching for a good basic plunge. It’s currently available from Bravissimo for £29 in 28-38 DD-J – a fantastic range of sizes for a padded bra.

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Ewa Michalak PL Malachit

Hello! Long time no see! I’m back in the connected modern world, with a fully-functioning laptop, and settled in my new house. Oh, and well-supported boobs that I need to tell you about!

Thanks to the excellent community that is the Clothes for Boobs Buy/Sell/Chat/Share Page (and bras!) on Facebook I managed to pick up an Ewa Michalak set I’d been eyeing up for a while: the PL Malachit. I’m currently writing this while sat on my teal bed sheets, wearing turquoise jeans, with my hair in a teal towel. It’s fair to say that I quite like teal/turquoise/whatever you want to call any colour between green and blue, so buying an underwear set in this colour seemed like the logical next step! Having been wearing my PL Black quite a bit lately, I’ve been hesitant about making another EM order due to the pain the unpadded wires cause me. I read some reviews of this bra by Curvy WordyFuller Figure Fuller Bust and Sophia Jenner and none of them talked about this problem, so I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, as 26 bands have to be specially sewn, they’d run out of material by this point! So, while not the perfect size, I decided to give the 30FF/10 set I saw on the Facebook group a try. And boy am I glad I did!

It’s a great set, and gives me the up-front shape EM is known for. It has removable padding, either for correcting size differences (which I don’t have much of) or creating awesome cleavage! I’ve never owned a push-up bra since I started wearing my correct size, and it’s really nice to have this option available. In terms of the cup sizing, I find that this and all EM plunge bras I’ve tried run small in the cup. I am usually on the smaller side of a 28G, but find this (or equivalent) size from EM to be a perfect fit. If you’re thinking of ordering from EM and have never tried them before, I don’t particularly recommend using the calculator as it doesn’t give me the right size and I know many people have also experienced this.

The main reason I love this bra is that it’s insanely comfortable! I can wear it all day long without it digging in anywhere or hurting me in any way. The wires don’t really feel like they have more padding on than my PL Black, but they are somehow so much comfier.

The band is not actually as loose as I expected, although I do have to wear it on the tightest set of hooks. I still plan on shortening when I get the chance – I have a blog post planned about methods for doing this and other alterations to bras. The alteration I had to do before I could wear it was to shorten the straps. They are only partially adjustable and were far too long for me at their tightest. Luckily, it only took me five minutes to fix. Now they’re the right length, the straps are great – really comfortable and with just the right amount of stretch so that they don’t dig in but still provide support.

The matching knickers complement the bra very nicely, and give good rear coverage. They’re too big for me in a 10, but I can just about get away with them. I got a bit confused by the European sizing conversions when I first ordered from EM, but just so you know a 10 is a 38. I find it very difficult to get hold of matching undies from EM unless I order the bras when they first appear on the site – I assume this is down to them running out of fabric again. I’m not usually that bothered about matching sets as the knickers that go with D+ bras are usually a bit expensive in my opinion, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind if you like to have the set.

This bra set is still available in a small range of sizes on the Ewa Michalak site, and it’s also currently reduced!

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