Undressed to Impress

Curvy Kate Lola Babydoll review

I’ve been excited for around a year waiting for the Autumn/Winter ’13 lingerie ranges to launch – most notably because a couple of brands (Cleo and Curvy Kate) have launched styles that have rarely been seen in the mainstream small back, large cup market: babydolls. I’ve never owned a babydoll, but have often lusted after ones that simply don’t come anywhere near my size. Last year I tried out the Parfait Honey babydoll but at the time the brand did not offer any 28 backs, and I unfortunately found the back and body far too large. This season is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to try a babydoll in a 28 back, and I purchased the Curvy Kate Lola from Figleaves the moment I saw it pop up online.

Curvy Kate isn’t a brand that generally works well for my shape. I often find the cups too shallow, the wires too wide, the bands too loose and the straps set too far apart (i.e. the bras are usually a complete disaster on me). However, I really fell in love with the styling of the Lola babydoll and I was keen to give it a go regardless. I really want to support a brand that’s helping lead innovation in the fuller bust market, and so I was willing to accept some fit problems in order to do this.

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Firstly, I think the babydoll is a great price – £39 vs. the usual £30 I’d expect to pay for a bra. It feels affordable and within the reach of most women. For the price, the materials used felt quite luxurious. The mesh body is soft and smooth, and the satin edging helps weigh it down nicely and adds a luxurious finish. As with most padded Curvy Kate bras I’ve tried, the inner material feels cotton-rich and soft and comfortable against my skin.

I was happy with how the babydoll fit in the body. It’s an A-line shape which I didn’t expect to be hugely flattering, but it will accommodate pretty much any body shape and provides plenty of room in the hips. I was surprised at how well I felt the shape worked on me. The mesh was just the right level of transparency to hide lumps and bumps but show off my body shape, and I felt very comfortable in it. It is worth noting that it could be tricky to get into if you’re blessed with ample hips, as there is only a small cut-out in the fabric to help with putting it on.

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As you can see in the picture below, I did have to close the babydoll on the tightest hooks as the band was very stretchy. This is a common complaint with padded Curvy Kate bras, and it’s a shame to see this hasn’t been addressed. However, the stretchy material of the band is very comfortable, and as it’s a ‘bedroom’ item I was willing to accept the looseness.

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I was quite disappointed with the fit in the cups. I found them quite large, and ended up sizing down to a 28FF. The FF was a tad small in the cup, but gave me more cleavage than the G (which had definite spare space), so I figured it was more appropriate for the intended use. I could really use a FFF though!

More of an issue than the size was the unfortunate shape the cups created on me. I’m not sure whether this is due to incompatibility with my shape, but the look was somewhat pointy. This isn’t a shape I particularly like (although some women do), so I’m hoping the cups will soften up a bit with wear.

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I didn’t choose to try the matching briefs (rare for me) as the length of the babydoll would mean they’re obscured, so I felt a plain black pair would do the job just as well.

I don’t think the pointy shape will stop me from wearing this babydoll, and I’m still really pleased with what Curvy Kate have produced – and this is coming from someone whose shape doesn’t match the brand’s at all! If you’re someone Curvy Kate works for, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. The fit of the babydoll has been matched to the Daily Boost, so if you’ve tried this bra you can buy with added confidence. As ever, I’m hugely impressed that Curvy Kate have offered the babydoll in their huge, inclusive size range of 28-40 D-K.

Next season, the Lola will come in a lovely ivory/gold colourway that would be just perfect for brides-to-be.

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Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Review

I’ve long admired Mimi Holliday’s beautiful lacy bras, and tried a few in the past but never settled into a long-term relationship with any. But an idle browse of the Damaris website a couple of months ago revealed a bra so perfect for me that it looked like I’d designed it: the Bisou Bisou Azure maxi bra. It’s teal. With eyelash lace. Need I say more?

But then disaster struck. It was OUT OF STOCK IN MY SIZE.

I started pining for this bra. I emailed to ask if more stock would come in, and received a vague “we’ll email you if it does, but we’re also bringing out this pink version that might work for you instead you’ll totally hate” response that did little to allay my fears that this beautiful bra had slipped out of my reach. I spent so long looking at the lone 28GG in stock that I began to wonder if I should buy it and try and alter the cup down. A silly idea, I’m sure you’ll agree. BUT I WANTED IT THAT BADLY.

And then, my calls were answered! I clicked onto the website in bra-stalker mode and found a sole 28G in stock. I bought it as fast as I could and bobbed about in excitement for the next few days until it arrived.

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And it was every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped. They were actually out of stock in my size in the matching briefs, but I spotted them on Figleaves with a lovely 20% off, and within a few days I had the most gorgeous matching set I’ve ever owned.

CIMG9912OK, so now I’ve got some of that bra delirium out of my system, onto the actual fit. The band is nice and firm, and fit me comfortably on the second set of hooks (of 4). The band is quite wide, and has only two hooks but within an area that could really fit three. I don’t have any particular preference for two or three hooks so this suits me just fine, and the width of the band has me feeling comfortably supported. The cups fit me like a glove, but they feel so delicate I am extra careful when scooping myself into it. They give a shape similar to my natural shape, but slightly uplifted. With cups so delicate I wouldn’t expect any more heavy lifting, and I’m pleased that Mimi Holliday have reached a happy compromise between aesthetics (quite frankly, an additional lining would have ruined it for me) and support. I find this maxi bra style a darn sight more supportive than anything else this brand produces, and it definitely feels like fuller bust engineering has gone into it.

CIMG9910The matching briefs are another delight. I went for the classic brief style, which remains consistent in size across collections and I knew an XS would fit me well. The lacy back is really stunning as well as being flattering, and I love how it keeps the set interesting even from behind. The little peephole edged with the teal silk is a perfect finishing touch – and oddly popular with my boyfriend!

So there you have it, my new lingerie love affair. Excuse me whilst I go and take my clothes off so I can admire it again.

 

 

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Bravissimo Autumn/Winter Mini Round-Up

Bravissimo’s latest Autumn/Winter collection has had me intrigued with quite a few interesting new styles. Since my last trip to Brav was quite a while ago, I decided to pop into store this weekend to try on a few of my favourite styles from the collection.

First up was the Panache Idina Moulded bra. I’ve seen the balconette version of this in store before, but it didn’t come in a 28 back and I’m not a big fan of unpadded bras so I passed it up, despite liking the design. The moulded version very much reminded me of my beloved but sadly no more PL Black from Ewa Michalak in terms of styling, so I was keen to try it out.

The 28G was a good fit on me – the same size I wear in the Masquerade Amor (the only other moulded style I’ve tried from Panache). I was pleasantly surprised by the wires – they weren’t horrendously wide (as I expect from Panache) and felt very wearable. The band was firm and felt comfortable on the second hook (bearing in mind my 26″ underbust measurement). The overall shape was rounded, but I felt like something odd happened at the top of the cup. The pictures below don’t capture it and it’s quite hard to describe, but I felt like there was just a bit of shape incompatibility at the top. It didn’t quite feel like overspill, but it didn’t feel like there was quite enough space at the top and the shape wasn’t quite there for me as a result. I think this problem could have been avoided with a slightly lower cut cup, which would have left the shape feeling more open at the top.

Looks-wise, it was very pretty and definitely one to consider if you’re looking for the smooth shape of a moulded cup but want something a bit prettier than your average t-shirt bra.

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Next up was the Curvy Kate Flaunt. This is based on the traditional CK plunge shape seen in the Tempt Me and Wild bras, so I knew straight away it wasn’t going to be compatible with my shape. However, I absolutely adore anything peacock-related (or pavonine, if you will) so I had to try it out.

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I asked to try on the 28GG in this style, as this is my best fit in the Tempt Me bra, and didn’t realise until after I’d tried it on that I’d actually been given the 28G. I actually quite enjoyed the fit of the 28G – the straps weren’t too wide-set (as is the case for me on the 28GG) and I got some excellent cleavage from it! The centre gore did not lie flat, however, as the cups were far too shallow for me. The band is also incredibly stretchy, and the 28 was too loose for me on the tightest hooks. I’m still almost certainly going to buy this bra though, because the design is just amazing. Since it’s so wildly impractical for me I’m tempted to go for the cleavage-tastic 28G.

Next up was the style I was most excited to try – the Satine basque. I’m a big fan of the Satine bra, as it’s so very comfortable on me. I like the plunge style as I find balconette wires uncomfortable due to my close-set shape, and the cups are cotton-lined so they’re great even on a hot summer’s day. My only complaint is that the band is a bit too loose for me in the 28, so I was worried this would leave the basque feeling too loose for me in the body.

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I was pleasantly surprised to discover the basque was a really good fit for me on the second row of hooks. It definitely feels slightly tighter than the standard bra – for reference, my waist is 25.5″ at the moment. The basque has boning down the front and sides to help pull everything in, and I felt comfortable and supported by it. The Satine bra used to have an issue with the thin layer of padding not lying flat within the fabric on some of the bras, and I’m pleased to see that the issue appears to have been fixed on the basques (at least, I didn’t notice it on any that were out on the shop floor). An added feature that’s great to see on the basque is multiway straps, making the basque more versatile. The suspenders are also detachable.

The basque felt a good length on me, and I can see it working for a number of different heights as it’s not too long. However, I think women with a larger waist to high hip ratio than myself might struggle with the sizing, as it was snug on me all over. It’s also worth noting that the back sat quite low on me – although perhaps something that could be altered with a different strap length – and as a result I got a bit of back bulge at the top.

Overall I really liked the basque and probably would have bought it if I liked the pattern more than I did. It’s a subtle purpley-grey colour that looks different depending on the level of light so I can see it appealing to a lot of women, but it  wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s £59 price tag really made me feel like I needed to love it to buy it. In terms of sizing, I tried the 28G, which is the same size I wear in the Satine bra, and the fit was spot on. I hope Bravissimo will keep manufacturing this style in a 28 next season (unlike the Lola basque) as I’d snap it up in a heartbeat in a less fussy design.

The final item I tried was the new Cleo Marcie Babydoll. My initial desire to try this style faded when I saw the open back design and ultimately I was won over by the floatier Curvy Kate Lola more than the Cleo Marcie. However, I was still keen to try it out and thought I might as well while I was there.

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I tried the babydoll in a 28G – the same size I know fits me in the Marcie bra. In general, I felt the fit was very similar but the cups ran a touch smaller than the red colourway from a couple of seasons ago. This felt to me like the difference black dye can make to bras and to me it didn’t feel enough different to need to size up. Some women have reported that it fits more like the turquoise colourway of the bra, but I haven’t tried this one so can’t comment. The back is firm, as in the bra, and you may need to size up if you’re between sizes or like a looser band. The rounded shape was the same as I’ve come to expect from the Marcie bra and overall I felt it was a very good fit. (The cups weren’t actually wrinkling as you see in the first photo – this was just from lifting my arm to take the photo.)

As I expected, I wasn’t particularly keen on the straighter style of the mesh section or the open back. However, the back does come completely open when you undo  it, so it’s a good option if you have larger hips or worry about getting into this sort of garment. I also think the polka dots keep the babydoll feeling younger and more accessible than the Curvy Kate Lola, and it’s quite fun as well as sexy. Overall, it wasn’t one for me due to the firm wires used in the Marcie styles which I find dig in.
Overall, I’m really impressed with these new styles – it’s particularly great to see basques and babydolls becoming more mainstream in the fuller bust market. Have you tried any of these styles? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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