Monday, December 27, 2010

What do you need from me?

Do you have any questions, comments, suggestions? Is there something you've been trying to find? Do you have a bra fitting question? Or just any general reader question? Do you know about a new brand for us busty and hourglass ladies? Do you own/represent a company for large-chested ladies and you want me to do a review?

I've set up an email address for this blog, at which you can contact me. It's brittany at thinandcurvy dot com. Email me! I want to help you. :-)




Image via weheartit

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bra Care



Now that you are wearing a bra that fits you properly, you need to take care of it. Sure, the nice bras that come in sizes that fit larger-chested ladies are more expensive than any old cheap 34B you could grab at Wal-Mart, but they are much better made, and if you take good care of them, they should last much longer, not to mention offer better support.

Washing:

  • Never machine wash your bras! Hand washing might seem like a pain, but it's really not that hard. If you machine wash your bras you will ruin them pretty much instantly. Do you want to throw away $50? I thought not. The only exception is sports or wire free bras that explicitly state that they can be handwashed. And never, ever put any bra in the dryer! Ever!
  • To handwash:
    1. Fill up a clean bucket or sink with lukewarm water and gentle or delicate laundry soap. I use one by Ecover, but there are lots of options. In a pinch, just use shampoo. I have heard that woolite is bad for bras, however.
    2. let the bras soak for about 1/2 hour, swish them around gently.
    3. drain the sink or bucket, refill it a few times and swish the bras around to rinse. If you are using a soap that is designed for delicates it shouldn't be hard to rinse out.
    4. Don't wring out your bras! You can gently press them with a clean towel or just let them drip over the tub for a few minutes.
    5. Hang them to dry.
    6. See? Not that hard.
  • Don's invert molded bra cups inside one another, it wears them out. You can store them stacked inside of each other.
  • Don't wash your bras after every wear unless you are sweating a lot. I wash all of my bras about once a month. (They have been rotated and each been worn about a week total.)
  • Have at least 3-5 bras, and don't wear the same one 2 days in a row if you can help it. The fabric needs a break or it will wear out much faster.
  • You need new bras at least once a year, or when you are on the tightest set of hooks. When you get there, your bras are 'dead' and not offering enough support. It makes sense to re-evaluate your size that often, too.

image via weheartit

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you ever feel like there is nothing made to fit you?

As much as I try to stay positive, sometimes the search for clothing that fits me gets incredibly frustrating. My body shape is supposed to be a good thing- even "ideal," but everywhere I turn, things just aren't designed to fit me. It's especially sad when I find a new company that is supposed to make clothes for a slim waist and large breasts, and then I look at the size chart and find, yet again, that the smallest waist size is designed for somebody 2-3 or more inches larger than I am. I look everywhere, but the smallest bra band is 28- and I simply cannot believe that there aren't plenty women who need 26,24, even 22 bands. I want to shake manufacturers and scream, "I might have a small frame, but I'm 5'10"! And I need a smaller size than you make! What about women proportionately smaller than me?" But all I hear in reply is "statistically unlikely... not enough demand... not our target customer... "

Objectively, I like my body fairly well. If I could wave a magic wand and magically shrink my hourglass thighs, I probably would. Every body shape- even hourglass- has its pros and cons. However, the fact that NOTHING is designed to fit me makes me feel strange, like a freak, an outsider. Sometimes I wish I could add inches to my ribcage just so things would fit me.

My body type is like a unicorn- special, but not supposed to exist.

Sometimes I wonder if I really was the best person to start this blog- there are a lot of brands I simply cannot fairly review, because I can tell from a glance at their size chart that there's no way they will fit. But that's how I found out all of the information that I write about. I was determined to find things that fit me, and I found a lot of things along the way that will fit a lot of people with slightly less extreme curves than mine.

And I am determined to keep asking. Manufacturers will continue not to offer my size unless I do. So I will. I will keep writing them and searching for new brands and new clothes and new solutions. Maybe I have a chance with the brands that already try to cater to hourglass shapes. Are you with me? Thin AND curvy girls, demand properly fitting clothes!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

By the way...

I'm back! That was actually a way more intense couple of weeks with school than I had even anticipated. This semester's finals week was the worst I have ever had- I had almost all of my teachers assign 2, 3 or one teacher even assigned 4 different "finals" things (big final papers, projects, tests, final exams, presentations, etc) I'm pretty sure each teacher is "supposed" to have one final! And of course everything was due on the same few days...

But anyway, things are better now and I should be back to posting as usual. :-)

Victoria's Secret bras don't even fit the models!

Victoria's Secret, for some reason, is hailed as the leader in bras and lingerie in the US. But they carry a very, very limited range of sizes and they have no idea how bra fitting actually works. And while I often hear people make reference to how "sexy" their lingerie is, 99% of it is hundreds of boring variations of t-shirt bras, in various colors. Yawn.

But poorly fitting bras are not sexy, anyway. And while VS tries to hide it with Photoshop, the bras clearly don't fit the models anywhere near properly. Take a look:


1-- you can clearly see her breast tissue spilling out the sides although they have tried to smooth it with photoshop.
2 --The center of the bra is not touching her ribcage.
3-- What is up with this? Somebody screwed up with the liquefy tool, it looks like she has a dent in her ribcage.



1-- Again, the center is not against her ribcage the way it is supposed to be.
2 -- The armpit fat has been removed, but the underwires are not high enough, and you can see that the cups are too small.


1-- More obvious armpit fat (aka breast tissue!) that has been weirdly smoothed.
2-- The back of this bra is riding up so much! The back should always lie horizontal. She clearly needs a much smaller band.



1-- Again, the center is not sitting as it should.
2-- Once more, the back of the band is riding up quite a lot.


1-- Again, more smoothed-over spilling breast tissue. In addition, you can see that the underwire is not enclosing all of her breast. The cup is clearly much too small.
2-- While they have 'fixed' it, her breasts would have been spilling over the cups "four boob" style in person. You can still kinda see it.


As you can see, although they try to hide it, VS bras almost never fit the models properly. This is problematic. If the images we see all the time of lingerie models don't show a proper fit, how are women supposed to learn what a well fitting bra looks like?

Between this, and the fact that they have an attitude of superiority and make anybody who doesn't fit into their small range of sizes feel bad about their bodies and as though they are strange, I choose never to shop at Victoria's Secret- even for non-bra items.

But luckily there are so many better choices out there. Why would you wear one of the above bras when you could choose any of these:



Fantasie Elodie Underwire Side Support Bra
sizes 30-40 D-H!



Ella Bra Navy/Orange (I love this one! Looks so pretty!)
28-40 DD-J

Showgirl Tease Me Bra Black/Purple by Curvy Kate
28-40 DD-J

Frankie Bra by Freya
30-38 D-GG

DiminitySO Bra
30-38 D-G


Panache Cleo Lizzie Bra
28-38 D-J


...And many more. The point is, why buy cheaply made, boring bras from a company that doesn't even properly fit its models, when you can buy gorgeous European lace bras that fit you spectacularly and actually come in a nice range of sizes? Sounds win-win to me...

(ETA: For some reason, a lot of people seem to be misunderstanding the point of this post, so let me clarify. I don't 'hate' Victoria's Secret and I'm not insulting those who shop there. This post also isn't about why photoshop is bad or anything like that. It's also not about insulting smaller busts. However, many people have this idea that VS are the ultimate bra place and that's simply not true. They do a particularly bad job with fittings. And their models don't wear bras that fit well at all, which means that people don't have any idea what a bra that fits is supposed to look like. So that's what I am criticizing them for. As for the next section, I have heard from a lot of larger girls that they feel sad they can't shop at VS because they think that only VS has sexy pretty bras- a myth VS has carefully encouraged. But you can in fact find pretty bras at other places, that have a much wider size range, and so that's what I was trying to show examples of. There. Does that clear up everything?)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fit is the most important aspect of your clothing.

Have you ever watched a live action movie adaptation of Cinderella? Or any other oppressed princess? Have you noticed that, even dressed in filthy rags, Cinderella always looked gorgeous? It's part of the story, after all- her stepsisters dress her in rags but she still looks more beautiful than them. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't look nearly so gorgeous when I'm in my housecleaning clothes.

So how does Cinderella manage to look beautiful, even in dirty, torn, stained rags? Or rather, how do costumers manage to portray her as beautiful but still dressed in rags? And where am I going with this?

It all comes down to fit.

Way, way too much of the focus of fashion magazines, blogs, websites, etc; is on styles and patterns and colors. I'm not saying those don't matter; quite the contrary. But before you can worry about any of these things, you should be prioritizing fit.

All clothing, apart from a few specialized companies, is designed to fit one specific body shape.

But women come in so many varied shapes and sizes. How on earth did it come to this? Even in America, where we are really bad about bra fitting and having a wide enough range of sizes, we still don't think bras are "one size fits all." So why design everything for a B cup? Why can't women's clothes be sized by bust and waist separately- like men's pants? Oh, I know, it's cheaper this way. But it would make so much more sense the other way. When all patterns are designed for a B, that leaves out all of the A,C,D,DD,E,F,FF,G,GG,etc.... cups!

Why is it that B-cup women look thinner? Because off-the-rack clothes are designed to fit them well. If you are a large chested woman, and your shirt or dress does not fit at the waist, you are making yourself look fatter. Period.

So please, stop ignoring fit and focusing only on styles and patterns and colors. If your clothes fit, you will look fabulous. If they don't, the nicest clothes in the world will be dumpy and make you look fat. A lot of clothing advice for large busted women focuses on styles and colors we can wear. But when we go put those things on and they still look bad, it's confusing. Some advice, alternately, will tell you you can only wear stretchy fabrics, confusing what you can fit into with what might actually look good on you, if it fit.

You can wear just about anything you want, as long as it fits you perfectly, and still look great.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review of Bravissimo Clothing: The Biggest Company is not Necessarily the Best.

 Bravissimo is the business for large breasted gals. If you do a search for clothing or bras for large chested women, they are going to be one of the only results. They are, by far, the largest, best promoted, most well known business for large chested women.

In many ways, I love Bravissimo- I love what they stand for, I love them for spreading proper bra fitting throughout the UK. I love that they help promote the idea that big breasted girls can be thin, too. Their website is nice, easy to use, and professional. They offer a large variety of products that are up to date with clothing trends while keeping to styles that will look good on a large chested woman. Oh, and might I mention how lovely their models are? It's refreshing to see thin, but hourglass-shaped women portrayed in this way. It was wonderful for me to see what my body type looks like on professional models- it made me feel normal, and, dare I say it, pretty?

However, I have to say, my actual experience with their products was extremely hit or miss. Mostly miss.

The first thing I bought was a purple jersey dress in 8 Super Curvy (8SC). I don't have a picture of myself in it, because I returned it. It was... extremely clingy. In that makes-my-hips-look-lumpier-than-they-actually-are way. It sort of dipped inwards at the crotch level, as well, making me look like I had a bit of a belly. SO not flattering. I had envisioned the dress with a much more flowing skirt. It did fit well at the top, so I decided to try again.

I ordered two shirts on sale, and one for a good price on ebay. At the time, Bravissimo did not have a size chart on their website. They said to go by standard UK sizing, and then pick by cup size. This seemed a bit confusing to me, but I looked up a standard sizing chart online and found that a UK 8 was supposed to be equivalent to a US 4. Well, I'm sometimes a 4, and sometimes a 6, but since it would be cut with extra room at the bust, I figured their 8 should be good. Cup size... Well, I really need a 24/26 HH/J. But I went with around GG in a 28 back to estimate that I would need a Super Curvy. I found this whole process pretty confusing.

The two shirts I ordered were MUCH too big. They even bagged at the bust, which, I will grant you, is not something I'm used to! My mother suggested that I try a curviness size down... but really, that would defeat the purpose as they were too big everywhere. I think if I could have scaled all of the seams down a few inches, it would've been great.




But then, the third shirt... WTF? It was on the loose side in the waist area... but at the boob level I couldn't zip it up. I'm talking like zipper 4 inches apart couldn't zip it up. And even if I could have, the line that was supposed to fall under my breasts would have bisected them. So basically, it fit just like any other shirt from any other store that makes clothes for a B cup. Just to prove it to myself, I had my 30C little sister try it on. It fit with only a little bit of extra room!

The only thing that fit acceptably was this jacket, although it still is slightly weird at the armpits and is a bit big, especially at my waist:



So, basically, I found their sizing really inconsistent. I think, overall, that most things tended towards too big for me, and I have read a lot of complaints on Bravissimo's Facebook fan page about this. Although they claim to use UK sizing, I think that their sizes tended to fit more like smallish US sizes.

If they are going to stick with such overinflated sizes, they ought to at the very least keep them consistent, and introduce a size 6! Seriously, they advertise themselves as being for women with big breasts and small waists... and they sell band sizes down to 28... but your typical 28-band-size-wearing woman probably would need a Bravissimo 6. Also, I feel like they don't know quite what body shape (other than large breasted which is just one element of your shape) that they are designing for. They claim to design for a 5'5” woman... and I definitely can tell that their clothes are designed for somebody shorter than me because the boob area always seems a little too high for me... as though for somebody with breasts higher up on their ribcage (like a more petite woman.) But petite women complain about weird fit issues, too. In addition, the hip area tends to be rather slender by all accounts, (what I experienced with the jersey dress!) even though most of their customers tend to be hourglasses or pears.

So, to sum up the issues:
    • They really need more consistent sizing
    • They need smaller sizes
    • Correspondingly, they need an extra super curvy or some such.
    • More hip room for hourglass-shaped ladies
    • For me, the clothes are too short- for petite ladies, they are too tall.
    • The clothes are very expensive for the quality

Until they fix these problems, I end up feeling like their brand is a bit of a lie, honestly. They were started for women with large breasts but not large bodies... but they don't carry smaller sizes that so many women need! The whole, entire reason for buying clothing from a specialized company like Bravissimo is to get a perfect fit. If their sizing is inconsistent, random, and doesn't come in the range their customers need, what's the point? Not to mention, returning things is a hassle and very expensive if you don't live in the UK.

I would encourage you to contact Bravissimo and ask for what you want. Eventually, they do listen to what customers want- for example, it is because of Bravissimo that there is a 28 band size! I hope that soon, they can get these issues with their clothing line worked out. But until they do, there ARE alternative companies out there. They may not be as well known, but that just means that they might be more willing to respond to customers' needs! And even if Bravissimo does get their act together, it's important to have options.

(edited to add: for good alternatives, click here or here)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why do so many bra measurement guides tell you the wrong way to measure?

If you look up how to measure your bra size on the internet, most of the guides you will find tell you to measure under your breasts, and then add 4-5 inches to that measurement to get your band size. Adding 4-5 inches won't give you the support you need if you are a large-busted lady! And actually, if you are smaller-chested, it's not so great either, since proper bra sizes are much more comfortable and give a much better shape, which is crucial for all breast sizes!

But why is it that so many places tell you the wrong way of measuring? Even so-called “experts?” How can manufacturers tell you the wrong way to find your size in their own products??!

I honestly don't have a perfect answer for you. But here's what I have found out in my research:

When the recognizable bra was invented, in about the 1930's, and through the 60's, stretchy materials weren't widely used, and bra bands were much tighter and without any give. So, in order to get a comfortable fit, you had to add inches. But now, bra bands are made of stretchy materials, which are nice for comfort. However, you need the band to be quite snug for proper support, so now you should take your (snug!) underbust measurement and round up or down to the nearest even number, whichever feels more comfortable for you.
Honestly, I think the newer system of simply having your underbust measurement be your band size makes a lot more sense and is a lot less confusing. But I still don't really understand why manufacturers haven't caught on.

Here's my speculation: I think that it would be a lot to change and companies would end up losing money at first. 32-48 A-DD doesn't actually reflect the sizes that most women should be wearing, so companies would have to change the sizes that they carry to reflect the real sizes of women. A more realistic size range for average women would be, say, 28-36 D-G. And a lot of women are confused by their true size, saying “I can't be a D, my breasts are small!” and “30G? I've never heard of such a size!” and they refuse to change, preferring to continue believing that they are a “normal” size 36B, even when their poor boobs are telling them otherwise. So a lot of marketing and a complete change of size ranges would be in order, basically. And companies like Victoria's Secret are just plain too lazy.

But hey, if we all figure out our real sizes and stop shopping there, sooner or later they'll have to change, eh?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On Photoshop, Retouching, and Retouching Disclaimers

 Once upon a time, there was a cave man. His people wasn't as dumb as some people have in their heads that he was. I mean, hello, fire? The wheel? Language? The birth of Human Civilization? Could you have done all that stuff? One day he realizes something amazing. Using ashes, and berries, and sticks, and whatever he has around, he can create visual representations of things that have happened to his tribe!

So, he gets busy, creating visual records of what has happened to those he knows. Using the natural curvatures of the rock inside the caves, he creates breathtaking paintings of the hunts that he has participated in. It is the first 'written' language, the first way of recording their history and of giving others valuable information. The others are thrilled and our cave artist shows them how to do it, too.

But then something happens. Young cave artists start to... ever so slightly exaggerate the size of the last Wooly Mammoth they took down. I mean, cave chicks totally dig good hunters. And it's not like they were hurting anything, right?

But then, other young cave men start to feel inferior. They become depressed, have trouble attracting mates, and sometimes die tackling prey too big for them. The cave drawings have given them a distorted view of reality. Even when the saber tooth tigers painted are bigger than is ever possible in real life, they don't realize it because the distortion has happened so gradually.

For a time, the cave elders debate requiring a disclaimer on the paintings, saying “Cave paintings are an artistic creation and do not represent actual reality.” But this is a problem since they haven't actually invented written words yet.

Eventually, though, it all works itself out. Folks realize that since the artist has total control over what they are painting, and therefore, it's nothing more than artistic license and vision reflecting simply a more badass version of reality. After all, every civilization believes themselves to be more badass than the rest. And the artists' job is to show the qualities that their civilization has decided make a person especially badass.

This continues throughout history. Just look at the Ancient Greek statues. The problem is that these... 'statues' look so lifelike that people mistakenly believe that they reflect reality. So young men overexercise and generally have low self esteem in the attempt to look as Zeuss-like as possible. I mean, those statues looked so lifelike, how could they not represent total reality, right?

Eventually, though, they realize that statues are just statues and the artist can do whatever they want to make them look more badass than is actually possible for real people. And they just accept them as simply art and everybody's happy.

Now fast forward to the 20th century AD. This thing called photography is invented. And after a while, it becomes digital photography, which is cheaper, faster, more convenient, doesn't require darkrooms with chemicals, and is basically pretty awesome. Of course, we have to create software to process these images to replace the chemicals of the darkroom. And before long, folks discover that you can use that software to do a lot more than just process the image. You can fix mistakes! How cool is that? And then, before you know it, artists are using the software to represent the 2000's view of what makes one totally badass. This time around, it's having an impossible waistline and rubbery-looking poreless skin, but hey, who am I to judge?

The problem, though, is that these... 'photographs' look so lifelike that people mistakenly believe that they reflect reality. So youngsters diet, do crazy things to their skin, and generally have lousy self esteem in the attempt to look as Vouge-model-like as possible. I mean, these photographs look so real, how could they not represent reality, right?

So there' lots of hubbub- I mean, these young girls are hurting themselves in the attempt to look like fake pictures! They think that's real! So there's talk about putting disclaimers on the images to tell people they don't actually represent reality. The written language has even been invented at this point! The problem is, though, that it's impossible to process a modern digital photograph without some form of editing touching it at some point, even if just to correct lighting and process it into a format that magazines can use. So it's basically impossible to define what amount of editing requires a disclaimer or not. Not to mention, the photographer can use lighting, photography, and lenses to change a lot before the photo is even taken.

So instead, everybody eventually comes to realize that, even if they might look real, photographs are just another way of creating illustrations that represent a more badass version of people. So they stop harming themselves to try to look like that, and then the standard of beauty changes such that magazines that feature less heavy retouching and more diverse body shapes start to sell better than their heavily retouched counterparts. And everybody's happy.

That is, until 3D photographs come along...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Signs of a Poor Fitting Bra

You know your bra doesn't fit when...

    • The straps are digging into your shoulders
    • The straps keep falling off your shoulders even when you tighten them
    • The center part in between the cups does not lie flush with your ribcage
    • Your 'breasts' are causing you shoulder or back pain
    • the underwires dig in or hurt anywhere
    • you get rashes or soreness where your bra was
    • your breasts hurt after you take your bra off at night (If not PMS related)
    • The line of your nipples sits below halfway between your elbow and shoulder
    • your underwires frequently pop out and stab you
    • You have scarring along where the underwires go, or on your shoulders from your straps.
    • You can't run or jog without pain and a lot of bouncing
    • You have “armpit fat”
    • You have “back fat” around your band
    • You have to go readjust your bra during the day
    • Your underwires are sitting on top of breast tissue
    • Your bra's band rides up in back or is not level
    • You had to start at the tightest hook
    • Your bra or breasts are causing you pain or discomfort in any way

If you have any of these, your bra doesn't fit and you need to go down in the band and up in the cups. Period! Click here to learn how to measure yourself for a bra.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Signs of a Bad Bra Fitter

By the way, Victoria's Secret never counts as a proper bra fitter. Their “fitters” are sales people and only want to make a sale. VS carries an extremely limited range of sizes and will try to shove you into whatever they have.

A good fitter should:
    • Bring you several different styles and sizes to try on, and keep doing so until you find something perfect.
    • Be attentive and listen to your needs
    • Be somebody you feel comfortable with
    • show you how to put on a bra correctly

A fitter should NEVER:
    • Make you feel bad about your body or breasts
    • Tell you that you need a reduction
    • Touch your breasts without permission or in a way that makes you uncomfortable
    • Pressure you to buy a bra that you don't feel fits right or is uncomfortable **
    • Please leave without making a purchase if any of the above occur! And tell me so I can tell others!

The following may not be signs that your fitter is bad:
    • They don't use a measuring tape- actually, this probably means that they are more experienced.
    • They encourage you to give a bra with a band that feels much tighter than you are used to a fair try before declaring it “too tight”**

**(Caveat: Many bra fitters have told me that women will think that their band is too tight, and be unwilling to give it a chance. Remember, the band is what is giving you all of the support! If you can get it closed, it probably fits. Consider buying one, and trying it for a few weeks. Or if you really can't stand it, try one band size up from that only and try getting used to it for a few weeks to a month, and then see how you feel. If it's still uncomfortable then, it doesn't fit. But even if it feels “too tight,” It might actually be too loose, with too small cups (which would make it feel “too tight.” bras can be weird that way, trust me on this one.)

If the only fitters in your area are incompetent, you may just have to learn to measure yourself!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to Put a Bra on Correctly (It's Important!)

 You cannot tell if your bra fits right if you do not put on your bra correctly. One of reasons so many women wear the wrong size is that your bra can seem okay when you first put it on. (incorrectly.) However, when you wear too small cups and a too large band, you are smashing your poor breasts' tissue to the sides and top and into your armpits, even. This is terrible for your breasts! Here's how to do it right.

  1. Put on the band and hook it. It doesn't really matter whether you prefer the put-it-on-straight method or the put-it-on-in-front-and-twist-it-around method.
  2. The straps should not be too tight at this point. If they are, loosen them up. Once you are used to this bra you can keep them on the length you like.
  3. Lean forward and put the straps on your shoulders and fit your breasts into your cups.
  4. This is the most important part! Neglect this step at your peril! Reach into the cups, to the side, under the wire in your armpit. Pull the flesh forward and up. If you have “armpit fat,” pull this in too. Trust me.
  5. At this point, if you have bulging or "four boobs" above the top of the cups, it means you are wearing the wrong size! 
  6. Now you can tighten the straps. Don't tighten them so that they are pulling on your shoulders, just tight enough so that there isn't any slack and there is a slight bit of tension.

 Please note that, if you are wearing the correct size, the cups will probably seem a little bit "empty" and too big until you scoop the flesh into them. But as long as the top of the cups sits smoothly on your breasts after you scoop in, the cups should be a good size.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Horizontal Stripes

A recent article dispels the myth that horizontal stripes are unflattering. In fact, horizontal stripes are slimming- and vertical stripes are the ones that make you look wider. I have always kind of suspected that this was a myth.

This is cool because you can wear horizontal stripes and those who don't know your secret are thinking “Wow, she must be really thin- I could never wear horizontal stripes, I would look so boxy, but she looks great!” ;-)

I also think that horizontal stripes can be a great pattern for a curvy girl to rock- with the contrast between our natural curves and the straight lines, it would be impossible for us to look boxy even if it were true that horizontal stripes caused that effect. Stripes are also cool if you want to experiment with mixing patterns- since they are a fairly simple pattern they can go well with floral prints, polka dots, or animal print.

What do you think? Could this be a good look for us curvy girls?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why you should go get a professional bra fitting

I realize I just told you all about how to measure yourself for a bra. But really, the very best way to make sure your bra fits is to go to an experienced fitter.

Not only are they skilled experts in ascertaining the fit of your bra, but they can tell you what styles might work best for you based on the shape and placement of your breasts, what your needs are, etc. They should also know their stock well, and, just like clothes, fit will vary from brand to brand and style to style. So they will be able to tell you, “you would normally be a 32F but this brand runs loose in the band, so I would suggest that you try a 30FF.” And it is invaluable to be able to try things on and see which ones you like the fit of the best. They should also show you how to put on a bra correctly. This can make a HUGE difference in the size you need. In addition, if you have been wearing a style that's vastly wrong for you, then you won't be used to the feeling of a well fitting bra and so anything that's better than what you have could seem perfect at first!

However, sadly, an experienced bra fitter is hard to find, especially in the US. I have heard all too many stories of women going to an “experienced bra fitter” only to have them try to convince the woman that they need the wrong size, just so they can make a sale, or because they weren't so experienced on fit after all.

This is why I told you to measure yourself. You have to go informed. See what size you think you need before you go to try on bras. Be informed on how a properly fitting bra should look.

It also might be the case that you simply cannot get to a fitter. If this is the case, I encourage you to make this a priority. However, in the meantime, you may wish to measure yourself and order online. Even if the size you get isn't perfect for you, it will probably be a big improvement!

I would suggest you research online for the best fitters in your area. If you travel, make it a habit to look and see if there are any well reviewed or recommended fitters in the place you are traveling to. If there are no fitters in your home area then this may be the only way you can get a fitting. If there are, then a second opinion never hurts anything!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to measure your bra size, the correct way!

Ladies, this isn't something there is more than one right way to do. There are many, many sites (Even manufacturer's websites!) that will tell you the incorrect way of measuring. Many will tell you to measure your band size above your boobs, or to add 5 or 6 inches to your band measurement. This is absolutely, positively, NOT CORRECT. Don't do it. Just don't. I don't care what they tell you. It's not correct. Here's how to do it right.

It would help if you can enlist somebody else to help you measure. If you can't I find it helpful to measure in front of a mirror so that you can tell better whether you are holding the tape straight or not. You will need a cloth, non stretchy, inch tape measure.
  1. Put on your best fitting bra. It shouldn't be padded but a bit of molding is probably fine.
  2. Measure around your rib cage, right under your breasts. Keep the tape as straight and parallel to the floor as possible. Measure this tight! You don't need to be straining to pull it tight as a corset, or leaving marks on your skin, or anything like that. But you should measure this much snugger than you would normally measure another part of your body. Write down your rib measurement.
  3. Measure around your breasts. Measure loosely this time. It might help to lean forward, especially if the bra you are wearing isn't particularly supportive. Write down this measurement.
  4. The rib measurement you wrote down is your band size. If it's a fraction, just round to the nearest whole number. If it's an odd number, say 31, you should try both band sizes around this (A 30 and a 32.)
  5. Now take the breast measurement you came up with. Subtract your band size from this number. (For example if you measured 29.5 and you were going to start with a 30 band and you measured 36 inches around your bustline, then the result would be 6.)
  6. Each number is a cup size. It generally goes: A,B,C,D,DD,E,F,FF,G,GG, H,HH,J,JJ,K,KK... But, brands can be slightly inconsistent. Some brands might skip some of those, or substitute DDD for E, or something, so double check to make sure that you are buying the size you think you are! In addition, some brands or styles may run large or small and you may have to adjust accordingly.
  7. If you thought you were a 36DD, and you come up with something like 30H, don't freak out! You aren't weird, I promise. So many people are wearing the wrong size that we have a really distorted idea of what a “normal” size is. Just give it a try. It's only a number!
    **If you want to know my recommendations on where to buy bras in a large range of sizes, click here.

    Once you have figured out our size according to the above methods, remember that it's only a starting point. If you try that size and you are still seeing signs of a poor fit, it may because you need to go up or down in the band or cup. Or it may even be because that style or brand of bra is incompatible with your body or breast shape. Keep trying until your find the perfect fit!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    My Story


    I am hourglass shaped, although I didn't realize it until recently. My research into clothing for the hourglass shaped woman began three years ago. At the time, I just wanted a bra that didn't dig into my shoulders, giving me painful welts and blisters. I wanted to not be slipping out of the bottom of the cups. I wanted my breasts not to hurt all of the time. I also wanted to help my mother, who suffered from the same problems I did. What I found was shocking. Everything I thought I knew about bra sizing, everything all of my friends and family thought they knew about bra sizing, was wrong.

    Wearing the right size bra is truly life changing. You look much better and your bra isn't uncomfortable! After I began wearing the right size and realized how much better it was, I began to wonder about clothing. I could pretty much only fit into stretchy t-shirts. But when I wanted to dress nicer-like for a job interview- It was challenging. Besides, I was (am) young, and I'm an artist. I wanted to wear things that were fun. I wanted to wear styles I couldn't fit into but knew would look good on me if I could, like halter necks, empire waists, anything with underbust detailing. I knew there must be clothing that would fit me.

    Finally, after much research, I have found companies that cater to thin, but curvy women. I want to share them with you. But first, I want to talk about bra fitting. Trust me, the most important part by far of your wardrobe is going to be your bra. But most places, especially in the US, will tell you the wrong size out of ignorance or a desire to sell you a size they stock. What to do? You will have to take charge of becoming your own fit expert! So, in my next post, I will tell you the correct way to measure for a bra.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Why I'm making this Blog

    The hourglass. Possibly the most misunderstood body type. I have seen it used to mean plus size. I have repeatedly heard references to it being the body type that all clothing is designed for, or the body type that fashion models have. Some people think that if you are chesty, that automatically means you are hourglass shaped. Some think that curvy hips means you are an hourglass. Even the most conscientious of body image writers will say things like, "everybody has body issues, unless you are tall and thin and hourglass shaped," or "I aim to help those who are not hourglass shaped find flattering clothes." When you look up fashion advice for hourglass shaped women, you almost always read, "If you are hourglass shaped, you have the perfect body type. You can wear anything." This, as you know if you are curvy, is very untrue. Clothing companies almost all create clothing designed for a B cup!

    To add to the confusion, the word "curvy" has been taken over as a euphemism for plus sized. While I mean no offense to larger women, this is incorrect and leads to confusion. I wish to attempt to reclaim the original definition of curvy: a woman of ANY size who either has large hips in comparison to her waist, or large breasts in comparison to her waist, or both.

    I am hourglass shaped, and at this point I have done literally years of research on bras, clothing, and body image issues surrounding women who have curves, particularly women who have large breasts. In my research I also read hundreds of comments and forum posts and yahoo answers posts and more, from women and girls of all ages who were just as frustrated as me. Many of them hated their bodies and their large chests. One very young teenager vividly described wanting to take a chainsaw and cut off her breasts. It was heartbreaking, and many of these women never received answers. I couldn't answer them all individually. So that's why I want to start this blog. I want to share my findings with as many frustrated, curvy women out there as possible. I want to help them to love their bodies and feel respected and comfortable in their skin. I want to help them feel beautiful.