Monday, January 31, 2011

New announcement today on Bravissimo's Facebook fan page...

This morning, there was an announcement on Bravissimo's Facebook fan page:
"Hi girls, we've got some exciting news to announce today. Some of you may have heard some whisperings of a new launch, well we're now in a position to share it with you all. Towards the end of March we will be launching a new clothing line - Pepperberry! We're very excited about the launch as it means we will be able to grow our range of clothes, bringing you more of what you know and love, as well as some of the things you've been asking for! We can't say too much as we don't want to spoil the surprise, but we hope you're as excited as we are and we will bring you more news over the coming weeks!"
As many of you know, I haven't had the best of experiences with Bravissimo, but I am always hoping that they will improve and I can try them again. They aren't giving much away in this announcement, but here's to hoping "some of the things you've been asking for" means size 6's and more consistent sizing! I also know many people have been asking for a petite line. We'll see what happens!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Small-chested women are beautiful, too!

I have noticed that, in online discussions of Christina Hendricks, hourglass-shaped women have a sort of vicious glee over her popularity and the fact that she is considered so beautiful. So much so, that they indiscriminantly insult women who are not shaped like Christina. The attitude seems to be one of, "Our body type has been out of fashion for so long, and we've been insulted for looking like this woman, now it's YOUR turn to feel the pain, curveless women! You are not even real women because REAL women have curves!"

I have also seen D+ bloggers, women on forums, etc, go on about how much better, prettier, sexier, we curvy women are. How no man wants a B cup woman. These women are often saying these things to try to build up the confidence and self esteem of themselves or fellow curvy women. But they are saying these things at the expense of smaller-chested women.

I'm not okay with that.

I think that, in the toxic world of body image that we live in today, you have to insulate yourself, mentally, against all the negativity. I know that many- perhaps even most- large chested women feel at least some degree of shame about their chests at some point in their lives. Part of finding your own beauty is finding women whom you can identify with, and focusing on their type of beautiful. I love the world of fashion blogging for providing role models for any age, any body type, any size, any style. You can, and should, find somebody- or several somebodies- that you find beautiful and can identify with for whatever body type and style you might have. Because anybody and everybody can be beautiful.

For this reason, even I am sometimes guilty of jokingly implying- to myself, my boyfriend, to other curvy women- that our body shape is somehow superior. The truth is, it can be a hard balance to strike. And our beautiful, curvy bodies are worth celebrating. Because everybody should celebrate their body, whatever shape it might be. Not because large boobs are inherently more beautiful than small ones.

Keira Knightly. See? Also beautiful!
I worry sometimes that somebody smaller-chested will run across my blog and think that having a large chest seems like the greatest thing ever. I can tell you that it's not- it comes with a whole load of problems and (sometimes literal) headaches.

If you're a smaller-chested lady reading this, listen. I often feel pretty envious of ladies blessed with small breasts. Oh, how wonderful it would be to be able to go without a bra- or at least have a choice. To look glamorous instead of frumpy in loose-fitting shirts. To not have to deal with the unwanted, creepy male attention. To not have to worry you are showing too much cleavage or falling out of your shirt. The ability to just walk into stores and wear whatever shirt you want! I never wanted big boobs. I knew what a struggle my mother had with them, and I didn't want to have the same issue.

Big busted ladies, we cannot build up our own body image at the expense of other women. It is wrong, and it is harmful, and it is immature. The bottom line is, if we all want our body shapes to be accepted and considered beautiful, then we need to be part of the solution. Believe it or not, it is possible for us to consider multiple body types beautiful at once! No matter what your shape is, you can find ways to dress it and accentuate it and be sexy and pretty.

(FWI if you're new here: I never use "curvy" to mean plus-sized or fat. "Curvy" refers to large chested, pear shaped, or hourglass shaped women of any size.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Join me on twitter!

Hey guys, I've started a Twitter account! If you are into Twitter, join me @ThinAndCurvy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Biubiu review- awesome clothing for big breasts found in Poland!

Biubiu is a small Polish company that sells clothing for women with big breasts. I first heard about Biubiu here, at the blog Bra Fitting Cicade, the writer of which speaks Polish. It is an interview with the founder and owner of Biubiu, Kinga Roback, that was originally in Polish and has been translated.

I first stumbled upon Biubiu shortly after my Bravissimo experience. I was upset by the fact that even Bravissimo, which I had thought would be the ultimate solution, didn't fit me. So I was looking for an alternative. And when I made my way to the sizing chart and figured out my measurements in CM, I knew the smallest size ought to fit me much better than Bravissimo's 8.

Also, while there are a few other companies that try to cater to large chested women, most of them focus on clothing for women who work in an office, with white button down shirts and such. Even Bravissimo really fell into that a lot, but at least they had a little more selection of styles. Not only am I a college student, but I'm an artist, so I'm likely never to need to dress in office clothes. So while one or two button downs might be fine, I wanted some 'younger' and less office-ey options. Biubiu does have button-down shirts, by the way, but they also have many other styles. The clothes are, in my opinion, more beautiful, more unique, more creative than Bravissimo's. They often have a slightly retro look, which I like.

I couldn't find any place on their website where the US was mentioned as an option for shipping. So I crossed my fingers and sent them a message via their contact form- in English- telling them how beautiful their clothing was and how much I wanted to order it. I didn't care if the shipping was expensive- I just wanted to be able to place an order! I waited impatiently for a reply, and to make a long story short, they told me they could ship to me! Kinga had me send her my measurements and bra size, and she recommended the size 34BBB or 34BB/BBB in stretchy things. Biubiu's sizing works much the same as Bravissimo's, but with B's instead of "curviness levels."

I placed an order with the aid of Google translate. If you use Google Chrome, like I do, it has a nifty feature where it detects when you're on a page in a foreign language and asks if you want to translate it right at the top, and that helped a lot.

US shipping wasn't a country option when I was filling out my address, so I filled it in as best I could and wrote it out in the space for a comment, as well. Kinga then billed me with paypal. It wasn't the easiest ordering process in the world, of course, but they made it as easy as possible for me. I hear that Biubiu is working on a version of the website in English, and that should simplify the ordering process considerably.

They warned me that the shipping might be expensive, but in the end, I had a choice between $15 slower shipping and $30 faster shipping, for a pretty big order. I chose the cheaper and slower. Unfortunately, it took a very long time for my order to arrive- about 2 months. I hope that this will not stop anyone from ordering from them, because they truly are worth it, and because I am positive that shipping at that speed was a fluke, and that shipping from Poland to the US generally takes under 2 weeks.

Biubiu was great throughout the whole thing, double checking to see if I had received my package yet and how I liked my clothes, etc. And when they finally did arrive... well, like I said, it was worth it. Take a look for yourself:

Oh and the best part? Zloty to US dollar has a very good exchange rate. So Biubiu's clothing has really, really good prices. We're talking nearly Target prices here, folks! Dresses average about $40 and shirts $20. I got about 7 shirts and a dress for under $200 USD! That is quite an affordable way to build up a wardrobe of clothes that fit, fast- their shirts are what I wear now nearly every day.

If you feel you would need a Bravissimo 6, Biubiu's 34 (or, possibly even 36!) ought to be perfect for you. Although Biubiu doesn't unfortunately offer size 34 in all styles due to demand, the more requests for it they get, the more often they will make it! The sizing is completely consistent, unlike another company I could mention, so as long as you measure yourself and order carefully, there should be no need for returns.

Bravissimo's (newly added) size chart
Biubiu's size chart- talia is waist and biust is bust.
The clothes feel well made, and have held up to washing perfectly, although I have washed them carefully since the labels are in Polish and I'd rather be safe than sorry! The colors are lovely and the fabric they use is quite soft and comfy. I do wish they had more things in a slightly less clingy, t-shirt material, though. They do offer some things in more structured fabric, but right now nothing in a 34. I would love to see some dressier tops that aren't work clothes- what UK girls would call "going out tops." I guess I will stick to Trashy Diva for those for now.

The fit is excellent. In fact, they really surprised me just how well they fit. Not only do the clothes fit around my bust and waist properly, but the shirt and sleeves are long enough! At about 5'10", my sleeves are always too short- I would buy tall sized clothes, but of course they still wouldn't fit my bust. So I usually make do with short sleeves and sweaters. For warmth, it's really nice to have long sleeves that cover my wrists. If you're shorter than me or petite, however, it shouldn't be very hard or expensive at all to shorten the sleeves slightly. I am small framed, so my shoulders are narrow and it fits pretty well there, so if you are petite that should be okay.

So, to sum up, if you want a good all-around company for your booby needs, especially if you need a smaller size than Bravissimo offers, Biubiu is the place to go.

A few more images...
You can see my jeans through the shirt- it's a soft drapey material. The lighting is exaggerating the lumps quite a bit in this picture, though.

Yes, I love my cat. :-) This is Audrey.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fashion and clothing advice for petite and curvy women

Ok, I'm about 5'9" or 5'10". So I have to admit, I can't speak from personal experience on this one. But my mother is 5'3" and I have had multiple petite but curvy or busty friends, and there are a few unique challenges involved.

For some annoying reason, people act like "petite" means everything about you is small. Well, of course that's ridiculous- petite just refers to a woman who is 5'4" or under. Now, generally, if you are petite, you are going to be "scaled down" from a taller version of your body type and frame size, and that's why petite clothing tends to be narrower as well as shorter- the idea is to account for your smaller frame size.

Unfortunately, though, "petite" bras tend to come in band sizes 28-34 or so and cup sizes AA, A, B, and maybe C. If you are a curvy petite, you have to buy "plus size" bras- how ironic is that?

But even if you have a larger cup size, petite women have different bra needs:
    • If possible, it's even more important for a petite woman to wear a bra that fits. It's easier to obscure your waist when you're petite. Learn how to measure yourself here.
    • Look for a bra that has shorter underwires. If the underwires are too long, they will poke uncomfortably into your armpit, even in your correct bra size. A good style to look for is "balcony" or "balconette" bras, which have lower cups and shorter underwires.
    • You may find that the bra straps are too long for you, due to your shorter torso. Of course, they shouldn't be tight, but if they are too long they will be falling off your shoulders. You may be able to find a bra that has shorter straps, but it can be hard to tell when you are buying online unless somebody mentions it in the reviews. It's also a fairly easy alteration to shorten the straps from what I have heard.

As for clothing, I would generally follow the advice for your body shape, not your height. There are a few exceptions or special things to take note of, though:
    • It's the Law of Flattering Clothing for Curvy And Hourglass Ladies, but it's is even more important here: Thou Shalt Define Your Waist. Seriously, buy the liftiest bra you possibly can and always, always make sure that your clothing fits at the waist.
    • I love wide waist belts to define my waist, but you may find that they overwhelm a petite figure. Go with what you think looks good, though. Smaller waist belts are probably good, though.
    • My mother likes drop waist style dresses, because they create the look of a longer waistline.
    • This only truly occurred to me recently- unfortunately, if you are petite, it's a whole lot easier for people to look right down your shirt. Even accidentally. You are probably going to want to show less cleavage than a taller curvy girl could get away with.
    • Unfortunately, there are no clothing companies that I know of that cater to petite and curvy women. My advice is to buy clothing designed with extra room at the bust, and then have it taken in if necessary- shortening sleeves and hemlines is generally going to be an easier task for a tailor than essentially remaking the entire garment to fit your chest.
    • You may find, like my mother does, that regular petite shirts fit at the shoulders better, but are actually too short! That's because a large chest takes up a good bit of fabric- another reason to buy clothing that fits your chest, and have the rest taken in.
    • You might have good luck with Trashy Diva clothes- I have heard that they work well for a variety of heights, and they have some styles that have slightly higher necklines, while still being flattering. Oh, and they go down to a size 2 which is good for about a 22-24 inch waist.

If there's anything I've missed, please do let me know- I will edit this post and add any suggestions that I get!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trashy Diva review- beautiful dresses for big breasted and hourglass figure women.

So, I want to talk about one of my favorite clothing companies, Trashy Diva. Yeah, I know the name's a bit weird, but they have great vintage-inspired dresses. And, although they don't advertise this, they are cut for hourglass figures!

They don't advertise as being good for large chested women. The only reason I found them was I happened to stumble upon somebody else's mention of them in a thread about Bravissimo. I looked them up and though I wasn't impressed with their website all that much, I sure was with their size charts! Not only did it look like the dresses would fit me, there are size charts for each item and they let you know when an item is made from stretchier fabric, or runs big or small.

They were a bit pricey, however, and I was hesitant to believe that they would actually fit me. So I didn't actually try them until I happened to wander into a local shop I'd never been in before. It so happened that they carry Trashy Diva dresses! So of course, then I had no excuse but to try one on... and once I saw how fabulous they looked on me... I had to buy one. I wanted to buy them all! Trying on that Trashy Diva dress was when I first truly realised why people actually want an hourglass figure.

Lots of women who aren't quite as curvy as I am wear the clothing, too, because the dresses are beautiful and well made. I think that the styles and cuts are such that they can work on a variety of chest sizes, although they do work best on those with at least moderate curves. Here is an example of what I mean:

I didn't buy that dress, since it's on the expensive side and I couldn't afford it right now. But you can see how it looks good on the less curvy model, as well as on me. This also means that while you can't select a curviness size like Bravissimo, the dresses will probably work on a variety of curviness levels. I estimate that they would work well on D-J cup women.

The dresses are great because they are in lovely vintage styles that are designed to enhance an hourglass figures. I was amazed how tiny I look in clothing that actually fits my waist... as were the girls who worked in the shop, as I walked in wearing a rather shapeless t-shirt which made me look a good bit heavier than I am. ;-)

I settled on this dress as my first one:

Trashy Diva recently posted several dresses on ebay that were new but with small defects. I had seen this dress on sale on the website and I loved the looks of it, but it was over $200 on sale since it is made of heavyweight silk. On eBay it was only about $55. The zipper pull was missing, but that was no biggy to fix. So I thought it was a very good deal!

The sleeves did look a bit different in the photo than in person and I'm not so sure they are as flattering as on some of the other dresses. They have sort of a weird drape and the dress is a little bit lower cut than I am really comfortable with. They give the dress a sort of Grecian feel, though, which I do like.

If you aren't a fan of showing much cleavage, many of their dresses are quite modest. Although this one has a higher neckline, the tailoring keeps it flattering. When I tried it on, I thought it could be quite appropriate for a job interview or more conservative event.

Here are some of my other favorites... (Click pictures to be linked to the page for each dress)

(This one's just like the Audrey mini above, but with a V neckline!)

This one's on sale now in size 4- click the picture to be linked to it!

I must admit, I'm a bit addicted. They are worth every penny- they are just perfect.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Strange experience the other night...

The town where I live has some great shopping. There are tons of local designers and artists, and it's easy to wander around downtown and find something amazing and unique. But there is no decent place to buy bras. There are the usual mall stores, (but no Nordstrom's which I hear does decent fittings and carries a good range of sizes) and a sort of adult store/lingerie place combined, where the focus is not on fit due to the fact that the lingerie sold is not really meant to be worn for any length of time. The closest place to get fitted is 2 hours away- well worth it, but not the most convenient, for sure.

So a few days ago, my boyfriend, Gregory, and I went to our local mall, with the intention of finding some new jeans for him, hopefully on after-Christmas sale. We wandered into Dillard's, and I decided to look at underwear. I have a habit of occasionally checking out the bras when I go to these stores, because A) it's fun to make fun of all of the claims that they make that are things that would be fixed just by wearing the right size and B) I like to watch to see signs of progress in terms of size selection. I have seen more and more 32DDD's, for example, and three years ago when I still bought bras at these places, that size would have been a vast improvement over the 34D's I had to put up with.

Imagine my surprise when I reached into a sale bin labelled "36D" and pulled out a bra by Fantasie- in the size 30G! And discounted to about $20, no less. I was stunned, but also excited. 30G is my mother's size, and while she already owned the bra in question, maybe they had other styles.

I excitedly went over to the sales woman and asked her if they regularly carried that brand and if there were more of them somewhere. She told me "No, they didn't sell well so we are discontinuing them." At my expression, she added, "I know, that's how everybody reacts, but most people just think they know the size they are and head straight for it."

We talked to this lady for a few minutes- she understood, and told me that she felt fortunate to be a 32, and even that was hard to find. Looking at her, I think she probably truly needed a 30 or 28.

I was a bit crushed, honestly. If I had known, I would have bought my mother bras there, and sent chestier friends there, instead of driving several hours to the nearest place that does proper fittings.

I have focused a lot on wishing there was more selection at places like this- but now I realize even more, as Gregory told me afterwards, that the focus needs to be on educating people. Really, it's a bad idea to have people so easily able to go just buy whatever size they think they are or that sort of fits them- the purchase of a new bra, in an ideal world, would always be supervised by a competent fitter, even if you knew your size. After all, sizes can change frequently, and different styles and brands can fit differently, and a fitter should be able to know their products and be able to help you figure out the best bras for your needs, every time. Until people are taught their true size and are demanding it, places like Dillard's won't change.

So, there needs to be more places that you can get fitted at. I'm tempted to try to start one in my area, but I have a few years of college I want to finish first. But I hope that someday, soon, everybody can be able to get properly fitted and buy a large selection of sizes, in any city we might live in. Until then I will keep educating people as best as I can over the internet.