Fit comments on a Nordstrom trip

I went to Nordstrom while at the mall to buy interview clothes, and tried on the Freya Ivy longline, the Freya Patsy halfcup bra, and the Panache Cleo Karen.


I’ve heard that the Freya padded styles can run big in the cup (and Freya bands are really loose). I tried on the Ivy longline and Patsy halfcup in 30G. Unfortunately, they were both definitely too small in the cup for me- I am running a bit full this week and am unsure why. However, the quad-boob was pronounced enough that I wouldn’t chance buying them. The Ivy is a beautiful design, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all five of those hooks often! As for the Patsy, I was really more curious about the way the halfcups fit. Since Freya doesn’t make padded bras besides the Deco in 30GG, they were a definite no-go.

As for Karen, I love the shape and pattern, but the cup runs small- a 32G cut into my breast tissue, and the cup sizes don’t go beyond G. It makes a round shape up top and on the bottom, and I’d recommend it for bottom-heavy breasts if sizing up a cup still puts you in their size range. The stars are a really fun print!


strength and positivity!

I am currently rehabbing a hip flexor strain (not sure how I got that), and I was being down that I have to take it easy on some exercises now. I do have some sense of self invested in exercise these days. Here’s a bit about that.

While we were discussing Wagner’s Ring Cycle, my partner told me that I would make an excellent Valkyrie. I was flattered, since he clearly thinks me-as-Valkyrie is a great idea and “totally hot.” However, I don’t know how many women would take that as a compliment.

I had a diabetes scare eight years ago, and that changed the way I thought about my body. I’d just thought it would take care of itself healthwise somehow. My wrongness was pretty intense- the body requires proper maintenance and upkeep, just like the mind. I began regular cardiovascular exercise, and then more recently, weightlifting. My goal is not to lift a certain amount with certain exercises. I just want to give myself the best chance against diabetes and heart disease, and my fitness is a good indicator of this. I will admit I do have some pride in being stronger than average, though- it’s useful in my daily life!

My response to my partner? “I think I’d make a better Amazon.” He seemed a bit confused, so I had to explain that I might be tall and buff and busty, but my hair’s very short and almost black, my eyes are almost black, and my skin tone is almost never found in native Scandinavians. He replied that he likes my singing voice. Good answer, man. Good answer.

Recovery will take time. I have physical therapy exercises I can do. I can still do cardiovascular activity, and I’m cleared for the leg press. Go go go!

Where do bras come from?

I became curious as to where my money goes if I buy a bra new. A share goes to the retailer, but some also goes to the brand. Most bras I own say ‘Made in China’ on them, so I assume some also goes to the the Chinese factories to the (presumably) Chinese laborers. My impression is that most clothing companies do their manufacturing in Asia (American Apparel is the only American zaibatsu, or vertically integrated company I can think of).  To make things more confusing, many brands have names that are not suggestive of their origin. I thought I’d do some research to find out where bra companies are headquartered.

Here’s what my investigation turned up so far-

  • Wacoal may sound like an English (British or American) word, but it’s interestingly enough a Japanese company! I assumed that they were American due to their market penetration (the brand is the only D-FF brand I see in most US department stores, but do they carry the plus sizes? ).
  • Freya, Fantasie, Fauve, Elomi, Goddess, and Huit form the Eveden group, which I thought were British companies (except for Huit, who were recently acquired from France). Wacoal acquired them last year. My Freya Decos say ‘Made in Sri Lanka,’ so some money is going to Sri Lanka, some to England, and I assume some to Japan.
  • Ewa Michalak is based in Lodz, Poland. They are a small business and ship from Poland. Where is the sewing done? The tags say ‘Product of Poland’. Ewa Michalak is the designer herself, so yes, the money I pay goes to Ewa and her employees who probably live in Poland.
  • All of the Panache/Masquerade bras I own say Made in China, but the company is headquartered in England. Panache is a loanword from the French, as is Masquerade. I guess it evokes French haute couture?
  • Curvy Kate are English, English, English! I’m reminded of Kate Winslet’s quote, were they founded for this?
  • Triumph International are a German company, but their East Asian branch is the one I’m familiar with. When I went to go visit my mother’s family in Taiwan almost all of the bras were Triumph ones. I didn’t see a single non-padded one while I was there. I believe the average bustline in East Asia is smaller. This could be influencing Triumph’s investment in making pretty padded bras that don’t come in plus sizes.
  • When I was growing up, I always assumed Victoria’s Secret was an English brand because of Queen Victoria! Nope, they’re American and headquartered in Ohio. The manufacturing is done overseas.
  • I will mention Fredericks of Hollywood because they have the most transparent name! They were founded by Frederick, and were headquartered in Hollywood! In 2006 they moved to New York City. Their clothing is usually imported. I love their corset designs, shame none of them fit me.

Please let me know if I made any mistakes! I’m curious as to the names behind the brand names, too- what is an ‘elomi’?

Panache Porcelain Plunge

The Panache Porcelain was my first small-band big cup bra. Simple and smooth, looked great under tight tanks. The straps were placed a bit widely for my liking and I owned several 32G Porcelains until recently, when they stretched out after six to nine months and I felt it was time to try other bras that might be more durable. Recently I spotted that the Porcelain Plunge was $30 on ASOS, so I thought I’d give it a try!

black porcelain plunge

The Panache Porcelain Plunge comes in a larger size range than the standard Porcelain- it goes from D-H instead of D-G. I’m not sure what about the construction expands the offering, but I remember Ewa Michalak says that plunge bras are supportive in larger sizes (PL) where half-cup bras don’t work as well (CHP, CH, HP, HM). I can wear a 30GG if the band is stretchy (Freya Deco, CK Emily and Showgirls), so if this stretches out quickly, I’ll buy a 30GG and use an extender next time.


Like the standard Pocelain, the band is not continuous, and the cups are seamless and molded. The contour material is a good deal thinner than an EM plunge or Freya Deco or padded half-cup, which has its ups and downs (feels lighter, but less nipple modesty). Fully adjustable straps!


Very comfortable. This bra stays in place during the day, and I had only a bit of spillage towards the middle after several hours (so far true of all plunge bras I’ve tried, because my tissue is on the soft side). The band is what I would call an ‘average’ 32, does not come up tight as many Panache bras do, but not as stretchy as the Freya bras I’ve worn. The straps did not seem as widely set as the standard Porcelain, but one’s mileage may vary. The cups fit just right in a 32G (what I wear in the majority of bras).
There is fabric at the bottom of the cup where it doesn’t curve out at all, but this seems to be the design to provide support. It didn’t feel like the orange-in-a-glass effect which I get with some bras that have very little room at the bottom of the cup. The fabric doesn’t fold over, just tacks against the skin as in the photo. It may not be for everyone, but suited me just fine and was calibrated for the appropriate size. Hurrah!


Smooth and sleek, this works great for me under fitted or knit tops. No scalloping, no design distractions- even the straps are smooth. The Porcelain Plunge doesn’t give my breasts a ton of lift or projection, but the shape is pretty round and front-and-center. There’s some cleavage where I’d expect it to be, but it’s not as extreme as the PL bra I tried, the Tempt Me, or the Deco.

I haven’t tried a GG or H in the Porcelain Plunge, but I don’t know of any other GG/H t-shirt bra besides the Curvy Kate Smoothie (which is not a plunge). It could be a wardrobe staple for many women sized out of the Deco! I like it better than the standard Porcelain for its straps, extended size range, and the necklines it enables. This one’s a keeper!