Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where to find 26 and 24 band bras, and a review of Ewa Michalak/Effuniak

So, I know a lot of you are wondering about the Ewa Michalak bras I ordered a while ago in a 26 band. I had mentioned in this post that Ewa Michalak (also known as Effuniak) was rumored to have very tight bands, so tight that their size 60/28 was more like a 24. Well, I didn't find that to be the case, and neither have many people I have talked to who have ordered from Ewa Michalak recently. However, I found out that Ewa Michalak offers 55 (26) bands on order, so I decided to try them out. I couldn't wait to try out some of the world's first available 26 bands!

The big question: Did they fit? And were they true 26 bands? The answer is yes!!! They truly were a vast improvement over the 28 bands I have been wearing. It is amazing what a difference going down a band size can make. :-) I had mentioned that I was getting sores/blisters/calluses from where the underwires were rubbing under my breasts, and I am delighted to report that I am no longer getting this irritation from the current, tighter, bras. I think it just goes to show that even a bra that's "almost right, but not quite" can still have big problems. I feel especially sorry for women who get improperly fitted using the add 4 inches method, since I wonder how many of them think they have the right size, but then have the same painful rubbing. As for the improvement in appearance, see for yourself:

Comparison of 3 band sizes for you all... click photo to see bigger.

I ordered 3 styles: Toffik, Black Emerald halfcup, and the nude Strapless bra.

The Black Emerald bra is gorgeous- pictures cannot do it justice. It's the sheer, delicate-looking, beautiful bra that so many big busted girls dream of. It's very low cut- my nipples were actually under the very top edge of the cups (and yes, the cups fit perfectly!) and the line across the cups and center gore is almost completely straight, which has an unusual and flattering look. And yet, with all of this, it offers wonderful support and comfort, I would not hesitate to wear it as an everyday bra under clothes. I am quite enamored with this bra, as you can tell. :-)

The Toffik is a nice, everyday bra. It is slightly padded, (enough for modesty, not for adding size.) The fabric is soft, silky microfiber and the color is sort of a dark nude/caramel beige color. The unusual seams and lace edging give it a sort of retro look. I kind of love about Ewa Michalak that they never make a bra that is just plain- they always have to add some special little detail. However, although the seams and lace are subtle and soft, they would show under especially clingy fabrics. I didn't have too much of a problem with it showing through Biubiu's soft, t-shirt material, however, and I personally wouldn't want to wear anything clingier than that. My only negative about this bra is that it ran a bit large, both in band and cup, compared to the black Emerald- although truthfully it still fit much more snugly and comfortably than 28 bras and so perhaps I should really be saying that the black ran a bit snug in the band- after all, I lean towards a 24 in band size. :-) The Toffik was most secure on the tightest hook, though, and I will order a 50/24 in this style next time.

The strapless was very impressive- I found it to be quite comfortable for a strapless bra and although I wouldn't want to wear it all day, it didn't cut in or rub too much. The cups are made of an odd, very stiff material. This bra had a very strange-looking fit on its own, it seemed almost like the cups were too small, and the bottom of them seemed more hollow. But, under clothes it was great. It gave nice cleavage and shape- something other strapless bras I have tried before failed at miserably. And even when I moved around quite a bit in it, and wore it for several hours, it stayed snug and secure. Although some people told me the strapless ran snug, I didn't find it to be uncomfortably tight, though I don't think I would want to go down a band size in it... it was just perfect.

The only negative to ordering 28 or under bands from Ewa Michalak is that you cannot return them if they do not fit. For this reason, if you need a smaller band size, you may wish to order some bras in the band size 65, just to figure out your correct cup size, and then return them and order special bras with the equivalent cups. A bit of a hassle, and it's a shame you can't just try things on before buying them, but IMHO it's totally worth it to get smaller band sizes if you need them.

 If you decide to research Ewa Michalak, you may find that many people seem to think the bands run extremely tight.  I find that the bras run fairly true to size, however, compared to brands like Freya, Panache, Fantasie, etc. I have shown this to be true this in the photo below. I recommend taking your usual band size, or maybe one size up in styles like the Black Emerald, which is a bit tighter. If in doubt, though, it is probably better to accidentally order a too-tight bra, and have to use an extender, than it is to order a too-loose one, for which there is no hope.

Top: Panache Cleo bra, size 28H. Bottom: Ewa Michalak Denim bra, size 28H (60H)
To order Ewa Michalak bras, just click here to go to their website, and be sure to click the Union Jack at the top for English. :-) If you need to order special band sizes, you can email them in English at sklep@ewa-michalak.pl with the size you want and your selections, (band size 26=55 and 24=50, I have verified that they will do both) and they will bill you with paypal. Pretty simple.

Even if you do not need a smaller band size, I highly recommend Ewa Michalak as a brand. The bras are gorgeous and extremely well made- I personally think that they are better constructed than Freya and Panache bras. The bras are also highly affordable if you live in the United States- they run about $30-$40, and shipping is just $10. You can also get matching undies for around $10 a pair, so a set is pretty affordable, especially compared to some of the fancier British brands which can be $80 for a bra and $40 for matching undies!

I really hope this helps those of you that need a smaller band size to feel supported enough, and I hope that the rest of you will consider giving this wonderful brand a try. If you do, I would love to hear from you. :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do 85% of women really wear the wrong bra size?

I have been thinking about writing a post on this for a long time, and recently The Lingerie Addict wrote her own post questioning this statistic. However, I do want to add my own thoughts. :-)

I hear this statistic everywhere. Sometimes it changes a bit. Sometimes it's 80%. Sometimes 70%, sometimes it's even written as 8 out of 10. But the general message stays the same.

It sounds sort of impressive, doesn't it? 85% of women. Well, I'm a pretty big advocate of getting a correctly fitting bra and I do believe that most women are indeed wearing a bra that's not right for them. But I'm skeptical about this particular statistic.

See, I would like for this to have come from some real study. But as many of my readers have probably guessed, I am a skilled and very thorough researcher. And when I encounter something like this on the internet, I frequently find that it is misreported, or just plain comes from nowhere. I always try to dig deeper, find the original research, find out where things came from.

So when I started to hear this statistic, I tried, and tried, to find where it originated from. I would have loved to have actually found something. There are very, very, very few studies on breasts or bra fitting. Most of what we know about the health benefits of a bra that fits are very anecdotal. Some more formalized research would be really nice. But I could not find anything, at all, about where this statistic might have originated from.

And then, even if that was a real study, how would you define a bra that fits, or doesn't, for the purpose of a study? Even so-called "experts" routinely put women in horribly fitting bra. There is no REAL research about the "correct fit," or how that might affect your health, that I have ever been able to find. I think that many Americans are still just unwilling to accept that there might be health reasons, and not just marketing/cosmetic reasons, for having your bra fit correctly.

I see this statistic used primarily as a marketing/scare tactic by lingerie companies. Then, so often, the same companies "re-fit" women into bras that still don't fit. But because the company has "fitted" these women into the "correct size," these women stubbornly believe that now they are wearing the right size, and that bras "just suck" or are painful, by definition. They won't seek out a new fitting, because the scary "fitter" pushed whatever size it was.

You would think that, if these companies actually cared about this statistic, they'd be making steps to change it for the better- and it would have changed over the several years it's been floating around.

So, I think it is safe to say that this is a pretty much meaningless statistic that gets thrown around because it's convenient. Maybe it originated with Oprah. Who knows? But I wouldn't trust it.

However, I DO think that the majority of women are wearing an ill fitting bra size. I would personally estimate it to be much closer to 90% or more. Yes really. Just In the city where I live, there isn't a single store you can even buy sizes outside of 32-48 A-DD. I suspect the average woman needs a 28-32 band size and above a D cup- and that's not even available here. The only people I know or have seen who are wearing correctly fitting bras are people I have fit myself. I would guess that out of the 90,000 people in my immediate area, less than 10 are wearing a bra that fits them right. That's certainly more than 90% wearing the wrong size. ;-)

In the end, it doesn't really matter what percentage of women wear the wrong bra size. What matters is helping women to find bras that fit, and that they can feel comfortable and beautiful in. So maybe, instead of repeating this statistic over and over again ad nauseum, we could just focus on the health and other benefits of wearing a bra that fits. Or better yet, could we have some real research? Pretty please?

Monday, May 16, 2011

A few interesting links...

The Sartorialist calls someone "Curvy" and sparks outrage?

From the Lingerie Addict: Can we Please Stop Making Women Scared of Their Lingerie? I agree that that statistic seems like nonsense to me (I've been planning a post on this as well) and so often companies use it as a sales statement. Better fitting bras *would* help many women enjoy lingerie more, but scare tactics are not going to help that happen.

Already Pretty: You deserve good things. This goes for clothes that fit you perfectly, too!

A great list of reviews of various D+ strapless bras For anybody needing a strapless bra for summer, this is a great resource!

For LOLs: I know the feeling all too well...

Campaign for HAH beauty  -Busts for Justice attempts to create a more positive and accurate term than "real women."

From one of the girls that made the top 10 in Star in a Bra this year: Too skinny to be curvy, too busty to be skinny.

Please feel free to discuss these with me in the comments section!

Sports Bras, Part 1: Picking the right sports bra for you

***Blogger had some serious issues a few days ago and many people who use it had posts deleted, this post included. I'm re-posting it now with a special thank you to reader Elise, who had the great idea of sending me the text that her RSS reader had saved.***

I have had multiple requests from readers for advice about sports bras, so obviously I needed to write about it! I'm going to split this into two posts. This one will talk about how to pick the right one and the next will go over brands and where to buy one.

There are lots of great sports bras on the market right now for big breasts, so there is absolutely no reason your boobs should hold you back from any sort of physical activity. Wearing a sports bra when you are exercising is super important for women of all sizes... And if you are busty, of course, it's impossible to do many things without a proper sports bra. (Somebody could lose an eye!)

There are two basic styles of sports bra:

Compression bras, which are more common and are your typical smush 'em down, monoboob style. The advantages are that they are more commonly available, you can fudge the fit a little bit if you need to, and they often come in styles that are acceptable to wear as outerwear whilst exercising. And, because they don't have underwires to twist and bend, you can generally toss 'em in the washing machine! (I still recommend cold water and hanging to dry, however!) The cons are: They usually look terrible under a shirt, they can make you sweat more ('cause your boobs are squished together!) and they can hide problems of bad fit.

The second type of sports bra is the underwired sports bra. These are not your typical full cup bras, so don't think you can just wear a regular bra and have it work the same- they are still special bras. But the major advantage of these is, they provide separation and therefore look better under clothes so if you need or want to workout in a T-shirt, you can do so without the dreaded "uniboob" effect. Also, theoretically, if you need to do something else after working out without time to change bras, you can do so and still look good. In practice, though, I find that these have to be extremely high cut to stabilize your breasts and so they usually show under necklines. You also have to have a little bit more precise fit with these, which could be a disadvantage if you have unusually shaped breasts or something.

Either style is just fine and up to personal preference. If possible you should try both styles on to see which you prefer. Obviously, though, whichever style you prefer, the most important thing is making sure you are wearing your sports bra in the correct size!

Also consider the activity level the bra is rated for. Make sure you get a bra that's rated for your maximum activity level. If in doubt, go for a higher activity rating and I would personally just go for the highest impact level regardless, unless you do a lot of yoga or something and really want a slightly softer sports bra.

If you are more active, a good guideline on how many to own is enough so that you can wash each one after every time or two of wearing them, since sweat will break down the fabric if you don't wash them frequently.

Everybody should own at least one sports bra. Even if you are currently completely sedentary or don't do a form of movement where you really need a sports bra, still have one laying around in your underwear drawer(s). If the mood strikes you to exercise, you don't want a lack of sports bra to be an excuse- and you don't want to try to exercise without it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Clothes for curves/big breasts-- the complete list.

DD Atelier
Ok, so here it is: My full list of all of the companies that cater for curves/ big busts. I will be updating this list regularly- if you have any additions please let me know, I am trying to be comprehensive! I am going to put a link to this post up in my links section for quick reference, as well. I have highlighted in pink companies that may be good for smaller (under 26-28") waists. If you have tried any of these companies and have written a review on your own blog, let me know and I will link to you. If you own one of these companies and are interested in sending me something to review, please email me at brittany [at] thinandcurvy [dot] com. I hope this is a helpful list!

Companies I have tried:

Trashy Diva-- Click here for my review. Good for smaller waists!

BiubiuClick here for my reviews.Good for smaller waists!

Bravissimo-- (Now rebranded as Pepperberry.) Click here for my review.

Carissa Rose --Wasn't crazy about shirt, didn't fit me like they said it would. Not recommended for
Made In Preston
thinner curvy ladies.

Made in Preston --Sells clothing, previously branded as The Big Bra Bar. Shirt review here!

Jailyn Apparel- Great for smaller waists, review here.

Bounteous Review soon!

DD Atelier  ~(Review Here!)Good for smaller waists

Effie's Heart   Good for smaller waists!

Things I have found, but not tried:


Saint Bustier Good for smaller waists!

Women With Boobs

Simply Voluptuous -- Only in sizes 12+ (UK, so more like US 6-8.)

Jailyn Apparel

DBusted --This one takes the approach of gathering together "lucky finds" and placing them for sale. AU based.  Potentially good for smaller waists!

Campbell and Kate- Button-down shirts by the author of the great blog Hourglassy   ~(Guest review Here!)~

Collectif   Good for smaller waists!

Pin Up Girl  Good for smaller waists!

Urkye  Good for smaller waists!


Hour Shape

AJ Rumina

http://www.etsy.com/ (various sellers) Potentially good for smaller waists!

http://www.shoshanna.com/ Brand available on eBay for much cheaper. Potentially good for smaller waists!

http://moi-meme.com/PerfectFit-fullchest.html Potentially good for smaller waists!

http://www.getcutie.co.uk/dresses/ Cup sized or custom available. Potentially good for smaller waists!

More specialized designs: (All custom so all potentially good for smaller waists)

http://zizzyfay.com/ --Custom Faerie inspired clothing 

http://www.senjoclothing.com/ --Custom Faerie inspired clothing

http://www.fanplusfriend.com/ --Custom fit steampunk style clothing

For curvy hips:
Trashy Diva (Skirts)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Join me on Facebook!

Hey there, I have a Facebook page for my blog now, so feel free to join me there! www.facebook.com/thinandcurvy

I've also just finished this year at my university, so I should have lots of time to write new posts, at a faster pace, now. I've had quite the deluge of requests recently so if you have asked me a question, I promise I am working on it!