Undressed to Impress

Quick review: Ewa Michalak S Szafirek

I love blue bras, so when I saw the Szafirek pop up on Ewa Michalak’s site I ordered almost straight away. As an added bonus, the bra had 20zl off for two days only!

I ordered a 65FF with the matching briefs in size 36 (UK 8). I received the set in about a week – the fastest I’ve ever had an EM order delivered, as nothing had to be made to order.

The bra didn’t quite look how I expected it to – I think I was expecting a slightly lighter blue. However, I’m still really happy with the overall look. The fabric is navy blue lace over a beige background, which matches my skin tone rather well. This gives it a slightly sheer appearance in real life (the photo below doesn’t represent this well) despite it being a padded bra. The knickers don’t have the beige backing behind the lace panels, so if your skin tone is significantly different from the bra backing this is worth taking into account. Personally I would have preferred the beige backing on the knickers too, simply for consistency. The knickers are made of a silky polyester fabric which is also found on the wings of the bra.

Image

Fit wise, the 65FF was OK. I’d have preferred a slightly tighter band, but I expected this and I like to avoid special orders wherever possible so it’s not too much of a concern. In my experience with the S style (albeit I’ve only tried 3) the bands have always been slightly looser than the older PL styles I have. Cup wise, the FF was pretty spot on with the removable padding in place. My boobs have shrunk a tiny bit in recent times, which has led me to wonder if I could get away with a 65F without the padding. I love the 3D styles from Ewa and these sometimes go up to an F, so I’d love to try and squeeze in one! The knickers were a good fit on me in my usual size.

I wore the set all day today and found it very comfortable straight out of the box. This surprised me, as I always expect some discomfort from non-plunge bras due to my close set shape. However, the gore is very narrow on this bra so it’s a good choice for others with this shape. Other things to note about the shape are the cups. For those used to the rounded shape of Ewa bras, the S gives a slightly different silhouette. The website describes this as a “rounded shape with a subtly marked peak”, which I think is very accurate. Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture to show this. Personally I prefer the perfectly round shape I get in the PLs, but this isn’t different enough for me to be particularly bothered.

Overall I’m a big fan of this bra and looking forward to the other new bras to come from Ewa for Spring!

Leave a comment »

Evollove Bird Song Review

 

ASOS have recently been expanding their full-bust offering and I was surprised to see a number of new (to me, at least!) brands available in my sister size of a 30FF. Among these, a few sets from Evollove really stood out to me with their unusual, youthful designs.

I wanted to find out a bit more about Evollove, and discovered the brand has only been around since July 2012, and was designed to be “the affordable lingerie brand fuller busted women have long coveted”. The brand is owned by parent company Bendon, which also owns brands such as Elle Macpherson Intimates and Fayreform. While Fayreform also specialises in larger cup sizes, Evollove looks to have a more youthful feel, and it’s great to see the launch of a new brand in this often-overlooked area.

“Modern, fashion-conscious women will revel in evollove’s provocative mix of on-trend prints and fashion-forward designs.

The evollove debut collection gives traditional, structured shapes an infusion of vibrant colours and mischief, while luxurious fabrics, soft lace, and impeccable fit heightens desirability.

Inspired by LOVE, this is lingerie as it’s meant to be; confident, exciting, sexy and available in size D-G cup.” (Taken from the Bendon website)

The range covers Australian sizes 8-16 D-G, which is equivalent here to UK 30-38 D to FF (their G cup appears to be equivalent to a FF cup, as no FF is offered). This is a conservative size range and really what I’d class as middle ground in the bra sizing spectrum, so the brand certainly isn’t breaking any new ground. Many will be disappointed to be sized out of the four cup sizes offered in each band, but I’m pleased to see the inclusion of a 30 band here. That said, with a younger focus it would have been nice to see some smaller back sizes included, so it’ll be interesting to see if this is an area the brand considers expanding into once it’s more established.

I chose to try out the Bird Song set, as the combination of the pale blue background and the on-trend bird print really appealed to me. I tried the bra in a 30G (the equivalent of my usual UK sister size of 30FF) with the matching brazilian briefs in XS/size 8.

The bra is a moulded cup design with partially adjustable straps and 2 hook fastening.
CIMG9179

CIMG9180

CIMG9181

I didn’t find the 30G to be a good fit for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I found the cups of the 30G to be a little large for me, but not to the extent that I would have sized down. As a result of this, I didn’t get much uplift or cleavage. Secondly, the straps were too long, as is so often the case when they are only partially adjustable. Finally, the band was predictably too loose for me. I’d recommend sticking with your usual band size in this bra.

I really like the material this bra is made of, as it’s soft and feels like it would be comfortable to wear. I don’t think it would work well for the straps, as it feels quite slippery, which is presumably why the adjustable section is made from a different fabric. Despite seaming and lace on the cups, the bra was actually fairly undetectable under clothing and gave a nice rounded shape similar to the Freya Deco. The quality of the bra seems to be very good, and it looks well made for the price, which is towards the higher end of the usual price range you’d expect in the fuller-bust market at £34 for the bra and £20 for the matching knickers.

CIMG9184

The matching brazilian briefs are low-rise, which I prefer, and fit well in my usual size. The set together is very pretty and felt like it would be comfortable as an everyday bra. If it came in my size, I’d be really happy with this set, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those of you who fall into the limited size range. I hope to see Evollove expand its size range in the future, as I feel like the fun, fashionable and not overly sexy designs would be great for teenagers and young women in particular.

1 Comment »

Masquerade Persia Review

The Masquerade Persia first appeared on the scenes last season, and I barely paid it any attention. It seemed to somewhat divide opinion, with some loving the unusual design and others, like myself, seeing fussy embroidery in the same colour as my secondary school sweatshirt. Come to think of it, the sweatshirt thing is probably what put me off…it was REALLY nasty and I had to wear it for 4 years. Anyway, out in the lingerie blogging world Miss Underpinnings was a big fan and Invest in Your Chest liked it too, but had some fit issues. So when I saw it in blue for AW12, I paid it a little more attention.

I’m a total sucker for a blue bra, and this colour just suddenly made me start thinking ‘expensive’ rather than ‘fussy’. Unfortunately, it lives up to that description quite well – at £40 for the bra alone it’s a bit too far from payday for me to afford. To try it out for size, I ordered a bargain one in last season’s colour from Amazon with the intention of returning it. Not something I’d ever do with a small retailer or a brand I cared about, but with someone as huge as Amazon I think it’s OK. It’s not often in the full-busted lingerie world that I can try something out for real and pay no postage and no return fee! Oh and should Amazon wish for my real custom, they need to start carrying Masquerade in a 28 back…but I digress. I ordered the set in a 30FF with matching size 8 brief.

The fit wasn’t right on me at all. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a 30 to fit me, but I can attempt to comment on it compared to other 30s I’ve tried recently. I thought it  probably fit about true to size or maybe half a size small (i.e. like a 29″ back). It was looser than the Masquerade Harem but tighter than the Amira (two sets I’ll be reviewing soon). Both Invest in Your Chest and Miss Underpinnings found the band to be tight in a 28, so it may be worth sizing up if you’re on the larger end of your band size or prefer a slightly looser fit.

The cups weren’t right at all on me. It’s fuller in the cup than the bras I prefer to wear regularly, as styles like this always cause me fit issues at the top – usually resulting in ski-slope look in the above right photo. Whilst not particularly wide, I found the centre gore to be painful, and the straps did not adjust short enough for me as they are only partly adjustable. Oh and you may have noticed it’s not padded. Another thing I’m not a fan of!

On a more positive note, the briefs fit me really well and felt like they would be comfortable. They come up smaller than most other Masquerade styles, which is good for me as it meant the 8 fit rather than falling down (I’m looking at you, Rhea) but others may prefer to size up. The ‘nude’ coloured underlay also matched my skin quite well, so gave a good sheer look without showing off too much. It’s something I thought I ought to point out, as I can imagine it could look odd on one of the many skin tones significantly darker than my own.

Overall, I’m not a fan of this bra. I’ll be saving my pennies for a good deal on the beautiful Rosetti when I see it!

4 Comments »

Vava Voom! – Miss Mandalay Vava Review

I’ve been doing some highly un-glamorous (mostly by coach) globetrotting the past few weeks which has, sadly, left me no time for lingerie shopping! Thankfully, before I went I made an order from the Asos sale and three new sets were waiting for me on my return. Since Asos offer free worldwide delivery and free returns but rarely sell 28 backs, I usually use them to gauge the fit of new styles but return most of what I buy. This time I tried two Miss Mandalay sets and one Gossard set and I ended up surprising myself by keeping one of the three.

The Miss Mandalay Vava is a lightly padded half cup bra. The cup is made up of two pieces joined by a vertical seam and I was hoping this would give me a good rounded shape. It’s available in three colours of leopard print: traditional brown, green and grey. The green and grey are exclusive to Bravissimo, selling for £35, while the brown is £42, which I think is a little steep. This bra was on sale at Asos and I paid a much more reasonable £21, with the matching shorts down from £26 to £13. The bra is available in sizes 28-38 D-H, with 28-36HH also available from Bravissimo. The matching thong or shorts come in sizes XS to XL. The bra has semi-adjustable straps and two hooks in all sizes.

I find leopard print can often look tacky, but this bra certainly doesn’t. The pattern is muted and looks quite classy, finished off with a rosebud and bow in the centre and a small chiffon ruffle along the band. The matching brief is similar in style but sheer. The fabric of the bra is a soft microfibre that’s sure not to irritate.

I find Miss Mandalay comes up small in the cup, and I wear a 28G in the unpadded styles (I am a 28FF/28G depending on the bra). I ordered the 30FF in this style and it was an OK fit – a little bit small but not enough that I’d want to go up a cup size. As usual, the band was snug and I felt my 25″ underbust would have been quite at home in the 28. The knickers fit well in XS (please ignore the muffin-top look in the picture above – my hips just go in there for some reason so everything which sits there looks like it’s too small!).

I wasn’t overly impressed with the shape I got from this bra. It was quite rounded but I didn’t get any lift. I also had a bit of an east-west look going on (which I didn’t manage to photograph).

It’s a comfortable and pretty bra, and a good way to try out leopard print if you’re not sure you’re a fan. However, I feel like the full-bust engineering you get with my favourite half cups, like the CK Thrill Me and the Masquerade Rhea, was lacking here. At £42 it’s also quite a bit more expensive than the Thrill Me or Rhea, and for me it wouldn’t have been worth the extra cost.

1 Comment »

Mimi Holliday Nonnettes Bra

This weekend I found a memory card full of review photos from December that I thought had gone to lingerie heaven. As far as I can find, there aren’t many Mimi Holliday reviews around, so I’m particularly keen to share this one with you.

Mimi Holliday is the diffusion line from the upmarket Damaris brand. The London-based brand was launched in 2004 and has been hugely popular ever since. Whilst Damaris pieces start from £150 and can cost more than £3,0000(!!!), Mimi Holliday is much more affordable, with knickers costing around £35 and bras around £50. The collections are youthful, colourful and fun, yet also sexy, and the brand is great for special occasion lingerie for those on a budget. Each design is made in several options, including shoulder bras, push-up bras, boyshorts, knickers and thongs. The size range is a respectable 28-40 AA-GG (although the largest cup sizes are not offered with the larger band sizes).

I love blue bras (and hence can’t wait for all the blue I’ve seen in AW12 collections from other brands!) so this one really caught my eye. The base fabric is a beautifully soft navy blue satin, which is overlaid with a lighter blue lace with some metallic strands running through it. The delicate straps, although they don’t look particularly supportive, really suit the style of the bra. Looks-wise, I can’t fault it!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so pleased when it came to the fit. I’ve tried a few Mimi styles in the past, and have always found the bands to be quite loose and the cups to be a full size too small. I could only get hold of this in a 30 back, so it’s far too big in the band. I was a 28FF when I bought (and photographed) this, and in the 30FF the cups are still on the small side.

Apologies for the heinous red marks. These are the pictures they looked least bad in!

The cups on this bra are cut very low, and you might be able to spot one of my nipples attempting to make a break for freedom. This is described by Mimi Holliday as a ‘super plunge bra’, and whilst it doesn’t look like a plunge bra to me, the centre gore is quite low. This is handy if, like me, you have close-set breasts and find that balconette styles usually dig in.

The Damaris website talks about how women who can afford to splash out on Damaris for a special occasion use Mimi Holliday as their daywear, whereas women who can’t ‘stretch’ to Damaris use Mimi Holliday for their special lingerie. Personally, I wouldn’t use Mimi Holliday as daywear even if I could afford Damaris, and I wouldn’t recommend any D+ woman to. The bras are beautiful, there’s no denying that, but they are clearly not designed for the larger bust. The straps are practically non-existent and the bands fasten with a single hook. I have an unpadded Mimi Holliday bra and the delicate lace cups give me no support at all. If I did go out in lingerie like this, I’d be embarrassed by the amount of bouncing that would occur, and paranoid that I’d flash something I didn’t intend to! I like the amount of cleavage I get, but it feels very precarious. I also could have got more lift from the bra if the straps were more than part-adjustable, as I had them as tight as they would go and they still felt quite loose.

As much as I love the appearance of this bra, I didn’t end up keeping it. Whilst Mimi Holliday is significantly cheaper than Damaris, at about £90 for a set, it’s too expensive for something I’d never be able to wear outside the bedroom. I love the colourful, high quality lingerie that this brand produces, but I really wish they’d put a bit more thought into making it wearable for D+ chests. That said, I do think a large part of the problem is that I find even the 28 bands too big, but with a single hook fastening I don’t think a 34G would find much support from this either.

6 Comments »

Panache Page Swimsuit Review

I’m a big fan of Panache swimwear, and the Page swimsuit really caught my eye this season. With its cute print and retro styling it really stands out from the crowd. Unfortunately Panache don’t make most of their swimwear in a 28 back, and when they do it’s never the cute patterns that attract me. Nevertheless, a tight band is not so important to me when choosing swimwear so I still buy some of their styles in a 30, which is what I did with this swimsuit.

I was really intrigued by the empire line look of the swimsuit and couldn’t figure out how it worked until I saw it! It turns out there are two layers from under the bust, the first being a curve-skimming outer layer with the pretty pattern and the second being a bikini bottom attached to some white mesh. This is quite clever and it’s good to know you won’t be indecent if a sudden gust of wind catches you out. However, it will certainly make the swimsuit a little warmer, which might not be great for a hot summer’s day but will probably be excellent for a somewhat chilly British beach this summer! My other concern is that as the top layer of material was quite loose, it could easily float up if you went swimming in it, revealing the less attractive white mesh beneath. The swimsuit clearly isn’t designed for serious swimming, but it might be one to reserve for sunbathing with this in mind.

I’m very much between sizes at the moment, which has been rather irritating. I decided to order this in a 30FF, but as the cups aren’t padded I had some wrinkling going on at the tops. For that reason I think it’s fairly true to size. Swimsuits with underwires are never a delight to get on, and this certainly stabbed me a few times whilst I wriggled into it, but the addition of a bra back fastening underneath the outer layer made it a bit easier. I was pleased to note that the bikini bottom style part gave good rear coverage, which I generally find of Panache swimwear compared to Freya, which I find quite skimpy. Most of your bum is covered by the outside part, but it was again good to know I wouldn’t be on show when the wind blew.

This swimsuit would be ideal for anyone lacking in body confidence, which I expect is most of us when it comes to stripping down to our smalls in front of strangers on a beach. It provides more coverage than a normal tankini or swimsuit because the fabric is not clingy, although if you were slightly larger in the tummy area you might find it a little less loose. Personally I disliked the coverage of the swimsuit, as I felt it didn’t do anything for my figure, and there was slightly more fabric around the tummy area than I would have liked. I think this was partly due to the sizing – I (ideally) wear a 26 back, not a 30, so it makes sense that the whole thing was a bit too big for me. The bikini bottom part was also on the large side, although it was held up by the white mesh area. This is a common complaint I have with Panache, as I often find their size 8 bottoms too large when I take an 8-10 in other brands. In future I hope to see them revise this, or introduce a size 6 as standard.

Another bonus I can see with this swimsuit is it caters for a variety of body lengths. I know a lot of people struggle with the length of the body in swimsuits, but this is far more forgiving. For instance, if it was too long in the body you could allow the white mesh section to scrunch up a little, whilst retaining a smooth outline on the outside. The mesh has a lot of stretch, so I can imagine it would also stretch to accommodate a longer body, and then the outer material would simply sit a little higher.

Overall, I’m a big fan of this swimsuit and the bikini which is also available. I’m disappointed I won’t be able to keep it, as it was simply too big for me and it didn’t suit me because of this. Please, Panache, can we have some 28 backs in your beautiful swimwear?

8 Comments »

Longline Lust

I’ve been drooling over longline bras for a very long time now, and have been envious of my friends who can buy dress-sized ones from high street shops. It induces that kind of bra stupidity in me where I think ‘oh but I could just buy a large and take in the band’ or ‘a 34 back won’t be THAT huge, will it?’ Luckily, I didn’t succumb to this foolishness and was just a miserable bystander in this trend until a Christmas promotion at Debenhams reeled me in a couple of months ago. I spotted two longlines in their ‘Gorgeous range’ which both started from a 30 back, which I was willing to try as I have had some tight bands from their range before.

Black Spot Flock Longline Bra Gold Jaquard Flower Longline Bra

Like all the bras in the Gorgeous range at Debenhams, both the longlines are very reasonably priced at £24 with matching knickers coming in at £8.50. Debenhams also offer free delivery on orders over £30 and simple, free returns. My experience shopping online with Debenhams was positive overall and only let down by the delivery man who was clearly lacking intelligence. In the week before Christmas when it was cold and wet, he put my parcel over the back gate, where it lay for three days as I was away for the weekend. The bag was wet inside but luckily the bras were in individual plastic wrap, otherwise they would have been wet too and probably damaged. What was most illogical is that the parcel could have easily fit through my letterbox!

Lookswise I very much like the black bra. I’m a sucker for anything with a flocked pattern as I love the way it feels. I like the details on the bra, with the contrasting purple straps (which are a lovely velvet texture at the front), frill edging and the velvet bows. With only five hooks you get the longline style without the difficulty of a lot of hooks to wrestle with. My only major disappointment on receiving the bra was realising that the straps are only partly adjustable. As you can see I ended up tightening them as far as they would go and this still wasn’t enough for me.

From the front the bra looked promising, but you can see from the side picture that the cups were far too small. The underwires sat on my breast tissue and there was some overspill, although this is not visible in the picture. As a result, the overall shape was minimised and not ideal. The back band was OK, tighter than your average 30 but not really comparable to a 28. I think I would have put up with it if the cups had been a better fit.

I’m much less of a fan of the styling of this one. I don’t particularly like the colour and the lace in the middle just looks weird to me. It does also come in a silver version, but this wasn’t available in the 30F I was looking for.

The fit issues here were the same, and I found the two bras to be pretty similar, so at least there is consistency in the range. My previous experiences with the Gorgeous range have also pointed towards the same fit, and I have needed to size up in the cup and sometimes the band. Once you find your size in this brand I think you could buy with confidence, and as there are so many pretty designs to choose from at such reasonable prices, this is a definite bonus. If it was in stock, I probably would have bought the 30FF in the black longline, as it is a really pretty bra.

I returned both of these bras in store, along with some other bras I ordered at the same time. I found the returns process to be a little odd, as I was told only some items could be returned at the till and others had to be returned ‘out the back’ and sent back to a warehouse. One of the items that was sent back to the warehouse I never received the refund for, but when I phoned customer services they were incredibly helpful and sorted this out for me with ease – I particularly appreciated this because I was no longer in the country and envisaged difficulties  resolving the problem! Overall, I definitely recommend ordering online from Debenhams. Whilst these bras weren’t available in a 28 back, many others are, including a large proportion of the Gorgeous range, and there are often discounts on the already low prices. International delivery is a little pricey at £7-£15, depending on where you are, but they deliver to over 40 countries and the regular discounts could easily make up for the postage cost.

1 Comment »