Due to a move with getting out of shape, an enforced period of inactivity after surgery, medication changes, and vacation in several places, I’ve replaced muscle with fat. This means over half my bras don’t fit. Too tight or too small in the cup. I’ve been putting bras in storage (some which I was waiting on wearing until others stretched out) and had to buy a few new ones. Some of them I will give away, and some I might try reselling. It’s been a while since I measured myself anyway. The older bras will be on standby if I get into a different shape. I changed gyms since the move and now go to the Y for weights and stationary cycle at home while reading.

I made myself a new rule: anything that doesn’t fit right now goes in a suitcase. Looking at it in the drawer is just depressing. I do this monthly. The new arrivals I’m rocking include Curvy Kate’s Dita and the Masquerade Antoinette. The new arrivals that did not rock with me were two Claudette Dessous. I will review them all for you as life slows down a bit.

I received my order from Pillowbook and am floored by the lovely silks. Before I get pictures of the treasures on I recommend you check out their site for Far East lingerie with geometric flair. Their showcase garment is the dudou, an evolution of a tied top dating back to the Ming dynasty. Also, check out the Mondrian capsule collection (thanks Caro!). I never thought I’d enthuse over the use of corners in lingerie, but life has taken me stranger places.

Over vacation I went to the Taza chocolate factory and I must say I ate the chocolate covered cashews too fast. Worth it, though. They’re out of stock in the online store right now:

promo photo from tazachocolate.com

 

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Bravissimo Can Can review

I’ve been experimenting more with cut-sew bras, because they are easier to take along when traveling, and dry faster after a washing. While I’m not going to give up my padded or molded bras just yet, I like finding new options that can work for me, and ideally give you all looking for bras some help. For Christmas I ordered the Bravissimo Can Can. Why is it called the Can Can? Your guess is probably better than mine.

Construction

Three-part balconette cut-sew bra. The bottom part of the cups is a stiff fabric overlaid with a thin black mesh. The upper part of the cups is made of sheer black mesh. There is additional lining in GG-K cups, which may be a major bummer for you. Two hooks in the back, three for GG-K cups. Straps are fully adjustable with a bit of detailing on the edges so they don’t slip.

cancan_frontcancan_side

Fit

The band is a pretty generous 34, but I don’t think I’d say size down. The cups felt a bit generous, too. A 34FF, which is the smaller of the sizes I take, felt comfortable through the day.

The gore is very narrow, so may work for persons who have breasts very close together, or at least not splayed like mine (I can easily put two fingers between my breasts, and they point outwards to boot). See the empty space in the cup and the line of the breasts? I can’t fill the cup near the gore, but the gore does lie flat. Near the gore the bottom of the cups do not have enough projection for me, so my breasts are lifted and there’s a trapped fold in the center. This is not true out towards my shoulder, though.

cancan_side2cancan_back

Looks

The green is a dark forest or hunter green, a little darker than I thought from the online store. The leaf embroidery on the top of the cups There’s a little charm at the gore which I usually don’t notice but the camera caught the flare of. I get a lifted shape close to my own, even if I’m fighting the cups towards the center.

I bought the bikini to coordinate, which has more of the green and black detailing on the sides and sheer black mesh on the back. The bikini ran a little large, especially in the back for me since I have no butt.

I don’t like how the unfilled space at the gore looks (and some others have reported the same thing on the Bravissimo website), but the bra’s comfort of all things had me keeping it. This is my first Bravissimo brand bra, and I’m impressed. Bravissimo are one of the champions of actually having GG+ bras in the 28-34 band range, even if they add extra lining. 28 F-J, 30-38 DD-K. 34 GBP ($50.50) plus eight dollars shipping. My two experiences with Bravissimo say that they ship quickly to America and handle returns promptly as well.

Have you tried Bravissimo? What are your favorites?

Pairing

Chocolate: Divine Mint Dark Chocolate. Has a crunchy mint crisp. Retails around $4 for a 3oz bar in grocery stores. Somewhat Christmasy, but good anytime.

elomi Caitlyn underwire side support bra review

Caitlyn by elomi is the company’s best-selling bra, according to HerRoom. So why are there so few blog reviews out there? I am guessing it’s a demographics issue: elomi’s models look older than Cleo’s or Freya’s. Many bloggers are not in the 36+ band group, or 36+ age group, and most elomi bras start at a 36 band. Additionally, elomi had a reputation for being matronly-looking. They have made some amazing designs in recent years, but this is a review of a classic that has a new colorway every season.

caitlyn_front

Construction

Four-part fabric cup with side support panel (no sling, just reinforced satin like the bottom of the cup). Continuous band with a medium-high gore. Two hooks in some sizes, three hooks in 44DD-48DD, 42E-46E, 40G-44G, 38H-42H, 36I-46I, 34GG-44GG, 34H-42H, 34HH-40HH. Tall wings on the side, leotard back, and fully adjustable straps.

caitlyn_side

Fit

The cups run large, and I sized down to 34F, which worked rather smashingly (yes I know that’s not a real word). I don’t always quite fill the apex of the cup, but it’s a better fit than many Eveden cut-sew bras are on me. The band seems a slightly loose 34. I didn’t have an issue with strap width. There’s enough projection at the bottom of the cup that I don’t get an upside-down seven or torpedo shape from my body fighting the bra. So comfortable.

caitlyn_side2

Looks

I like shiny, and I love jewel tones. The Ink color is both. Lots of other colors are simply shiny enough to require SPF 30, like this season’s Camellia Pink, but I think sheen spices up a basic bra nicely. Swiss embroidery on the top semi-sheer panel. I think Swiss embroidery is Eveden’s ‘whoops we are out of ideas/aren’t sure what to do designwise’ default. I like it on this one, though.

The shape given is lifted and contained. The seams don’t show through most of my t-shirts and tanks, and I can wear medium to low necklines if I feel like it.

caitlyn_back

Additional Comments

Caitlyn is the most comfortable and supportive cut-sew bra I’ve tried. I had surgery yesterday and this bra and Panache Sport are the only ones I can tolerate. I’m a convert. Size range is 34-36 E-K, 38-42 DD-K, 44-46 DD-H. Maybe that’s why it sells so well and is so hard to find on sale! It’s $55, reasonable compared to other DD+ bras. There’s also a wireless version sizes 36DD-44G which has side boning. That seems to miss the point in my mind, but I guess sternum issues aren’t the same as side issues?

If you are looking for a less expensive alternative, Goddess’ Keira has a similar frame for $44. It’s the Swiss embroidery that cost $11, you know! Keira has a less inclusive size range, starting at higher cup sizes, and may fit you differently. Still worth a shot for the savings, though.

Caitlyn will be discontinued this fall and replaced by Cate, so there’s a limited time to stock up.

Pairings (comestibles compatible with this bra)

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% bar and Twinings Earl Grey. My favorite value for money and classics I always keep stocked.

On Valentine’s day, I’ll wear chocolate!

One of the things I’m regrettably good at is getting melted chocolate or coffee on things, which is always a pain to wash out. Valentine’s Day meant chocolate for a long time, and still does. For many, it means red clothes and lingerie and sometimes gift guides. There’s more red lingerie out there than I can physically lift, but I’ll touch on a few favorites.

The most important advice about Valentine’s Day lingerie (or anything you’re wearing for a special occasion) I can give: Don’t wear anything you haven’t before. Trying something new or surprising someone else can be fun, but getting a fit or comfort issue when you have fun or festive undergarments is not a surprise I’d enjoy. If there are people who want to buy lingerie for others here, I say buy it early and let the recipient break it in before Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a gift guide that’s a little different for a lingerie blog. It should fit anybody!

TCHO Joyeux “Gear Love” Valentine Gift Box

TCHO is based in Berkeley, California. They source their own beans, and most of their products are organic and fair trade. This gift set has all their signature styles: four different dark chocolate varieties and two milk. The little squares are a wonderful serving size. Plus, the mechanical heart is pretty awesome. They’re mail order or in San Francisco at the Westlake Center.

Theo Valentine’s Day 2 bar bundle

Theo is a Seattle company, bean to bar (they control every aspect of the chocolate making), completely organic and fair trade. They also have a factory close enough to my apartment to make the air smell delicious when the wind’s blowing right! I’m not a huge fan of these seasonal flavors: one is Holy Lego Man is that enough cinnamon bomb and the other is more sweet than I like it, but they are definitely different and fun to try. The bars are available in Seattle in grocery stores, I’ve also seen them in Boston grocery stores. My guess would be that they’re available all over America, but you can mail order them. $8, or $4/bar.

Taza Mi Corazon Bar Bundle

Stone ground chocolate has a different texture than the way chocolate is usually made in the US. Taza gives us chocolate where it originally came from, Mexican-style: ground with granite mill stones. The result is intense: granules of chocolate flavor in the best way. The factory is in Somerville, Massachusetts, but their distribution seems to be nationwide in grocery stores. You can also buy online. $15.

All of this a bit rich for your blood or taste? Here’s the best taste-for-money product I’ve ever found in chocolate:

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate

Over a pound of high-quality balanced-taste Belgian chocolate with a bit of a bite. Goes with anything, works great for baking. And the packaging is red, so why not make it for Valentine’s? $5/pound plus bar (or $2 for a three-pack of 1.67oz mini bars) at Trader Joe’s if you have one. If you do not, you can probably find it on Amazon, but it may not be as sweet a deal.

…yes I am in fact eating it right now.

Do you enjoy chocolate? Are the occasional posts on chocolate or baking something you could tolerate/want to see more of? Sound off with a comment!