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

 

Advertisements

Goodbye Masquerade

I’d heard that Fauve and Masquerade are being discontinued by Spring 2015. I wasn’t quite sure how and what to believe there or exactly what was going on, but I thought I’d buy myself a black Rhea just in case…and sure enough, the style was listed as Discontinued on HerRoom, as were other Masquerade styles. Several other sites are running low on stock.

I should also add that I tried on the Orla and found it ran a band size small and at least one cup size small. Scooping in a 34G left me with overspill, so I’d need two cup sizes up. Otherwise it seemed suited to me, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about the color.

Panache Black is apparently a follow-up to Masquerade and I’m guessing will contain very few styles. Maybe they’ll reissue the Rhea, maybe they won’t. On the chance that they won’t, I bought a Rhea from Amazon and will buy an Amor in my current band size shortly. Zulily even had a few Masquerade styles like Harem and Athena for sale yesterday. So, long story short is buy Masquerade while you can. My assumption is that luxury full-bust lingerie is difficult to sell, so there’s risk in producing a lot of styles. I know I have a hard time spending $90 on a bra plus $35 on the brief unless the bra blows my mind.

I thought I’d shout out to my favorite Masquerade styles over the years:

Delphi

Dreamy vertical seam shape, I had the graphite version and missed out on the black (more fool me), but it was also offered in white-and-berry.

Rhea

I’m still not sure whether this bra technically works for me because I’m bottom-heavy, and it probably doesn’t quite get two-cakes-on-a-plate, but I love the way it looks on me. My favorite version was the mulberry and graphite color.

Amor

20131205_210652_Android 20131205_210444_Android

This bra works for most shapes, I believe. Subtle, sophisticated, rich colors. I think this is the best use of shiny and matte I’ve seen together.

 

Many Masquerade styles seemed too lacy or fussy for me, but sometimes they hit the nail on the head. Dear readers, what have been your favorite Masquerade styles over the years?

Quick notes on some bra/swim fits

I bought and returned the Masquerade Angie. The band is not as tight as other Masquerade bands, but I’d need to go up a cup size (from 34FF). It was quite pretty with a lovely shape, but a bit lacy for me. Did not order an exchange because of that.

I also bought and returned the Panache Talullah bikini. The fit was amazingly accurate in 34FF and the shape flattering, but the color was much duller and purple dominated (instead of rainbows) than I had anticipated. Ergo, since I don’t truly need a swimsuit I’m sending it back.

I got fit for the orange Maddie at a San Francisco Nordstrom. Go up a band and a cup for this one, I think…36FF was the closest fit for me and there might be a teensy bit of overspill. Took it home with me. Still testing it!

I also found that Fantasie’s Susanna fits me surprisingly well in 34FF. It doesn’t feel as deep a cup as most Fantasie bras. I didn’t purchase it due to being uninspired by the pattern.

Spring/Summer with Panache

I think I will be buying Panache bras until they no longer come in my size, they go out of business, or I die. They often have at least a few bras that fit my shape well: full on bottom, soft, shallow, splayed, wider root. However, their deliveries often seem to be late to stores (compared to anticipated day out), and I’m not a huge fan of their fashion orders having such a narrow window so far ahead of delivery date. When your size changes before you get the new bra, well, that doesn’t encourage preordering. I haven’t found any other brand that compares in fit for me, though.

Panache Superbra

I’ve had more luck with their basics than anywhere else except Freya’s Deco. There’s enough variety here to fit most people, but here are the standouts for me in style and personal taste:

Jasmine

Ivory floral looks intriguing, it’s the first Jasmine print I’ve liked in a while. What’s more, it’s coordinated with a purple lace. If Freya did this it would be called ‘quirky’. I find it unusual and attractive. Jasmine is a bit too projected for my shape to feel supported properly on top, but the bra is popular with many because it’s so forgiving on top and supportive on the bottom.

Clara

Turkish Delight? Turkish delight (or lokum) is traditionally more of a pastel color on the outside and the inside can be colored, but I haven’t seen this color before. Regardless, it’s some awesome purples with an attractive cut involving the forgiving stretch lace.

Dahlia

Dahlia

A continuity style which I love and should buy in my new size goshdarnit.

Porcelain Plunge

A great basic in a better size range than the regular Porcelain. I know it’s due to be redesigned, so it’s worth grabbing more if it currently works for you.

 

Cleo

Normally Cleo is too projected for me, with full cups I can’t fill. Then there’s terrifying-to-me lace in places I didn’t know you could stick it. Lace ruffles? Great googly moogly. However, I have found that their molded cups do work for me.

Neve

Pink is my meh, but that big bold floral is fun without necessarily being teenage. I’ve recently found that Neve fits me, and it’s my competitor to Deco for ‘plunge that fits’ with occasional colors I like. I need to go up a band and cup size for it, though (36FF, when I wear a 34FF in many bras). Also, no lace edging at all! No bows! Just a button!

Maddie

I adore orange. Don’t adore animal print, but for sheer orangeness in my size, this can’t be beat. I know I have to go up at least a cup size with regular Maddie, we’ll see how this fits. I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere, though. Waiting waiting.

Marcie

I also love yellow. This is a wonderful cheery color the Lucy came in last year or the year before, can’t remember. I can’t fit in the Marcie myself and it’s not my style, but if you want to have some brights under your clothes, Marcie has deeper cups and wires that aren’t very long.

Masquerade

The past few seasons I have been unimpressed by most of Masquerade, feeling it rehashed and a bit too Old Europe for my tastes. However, they deliver wonderful shapes in tasty fabric at a price point below Fauve (and in more extended sizes). So I’ll keep watching and waiting, while commenting on what I like this season.

Rhea

Oh, I wish they made Rhea in fashion colors again. You can’t go wrong with black, but it feels too safe. Also, please expand your size range I know many women would love it. If we keep on saying it it could happen?

Utopia

Finally, a strapless bra that isn’t neutral. Topaz tone and vertical seams. If I ever wore strapless, this would be a definite buy.

Swim

I need an excuse to buy this new bikini. However, Seattle is not a constant-beach place. Maybe if I’m stubborn enough?

Talullah

Wow. You can get it in tankini. You can get a high waisted brief. And all with those lovely colors. Where can I order this in the US?

 

That’s my current-season Panache roundup, excepting Sculptresse, which I don’t follow because I’m still sized out. What have you liked this season so far?

Status update, and some customer service

Blogging, I can’t quit you…

Or at least it seems that way! I love to read and write and gather data. I’m looking at my most-read posts and they seem to be Ewa Michalak and Masquerade. The Parfait Charlotte posts were pretty popular too (should I even bother reviewing a bra a third time, though this is the third size I’ve had?). Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll order again from EM because I’m quite shallow and their cups are deep. The good news is I’ve ordered the Masquerade Angie so should be able to review that. I spent some time neuroticizing about it, because I have a bunch of Masquerade bras. Unfortunately, they won’t fit anytime soon and some of them don’t fit even with an extender. I will work on finding better homes for those.

In progress for review: photos for Freya Active top, Cleo Neve.

I didn’t mention previously that I ordered through Beau T Full Bras and found the transaction pleasant. I ordered the Charlotte bandeau but it didn’t work for me, so I exchanged it for the padded. Email transactions were quick, and Rene was quick to notify me that she didn’t have my size immediately in stock for the exchange, but would get it to me next week (which she did). There’s a restocking fee with this store of 10% for returns (I didn’t see one for exchanges), and a shipping fee for initial orders and exchanges which is quite low for the US. If you’re looking for a Parfait by Affinitas gallery, they have an extensive catalog.

Mini-review-palooza

I received a Bare Necessities order on the same day I stopped in at Bellefleur. Of the bras I tried on and received, I bought/kept only one, but I would have bought another if it came in a bigger band size.

Bellefleur had a lot of new stock in so I tried on what I could. They have a good selection right now in DD-G for a brick-and-mortar store (I will take what I can get). I tried the Masquerade Orla, Masquerade Ardour, Cleo Lori, and Panache Dahlia on.

The Masquerade Ardour fit in a 32G, although the band was tight and I may want to wear it with an extender for a full day, or just go up to a 34FF since the band is not stretchy. This is basically the Amor in black, so it has the same forgiving fit in the cups. I could have done without all the extra lace detailing, though.

I tried the Cleo Lori in a 34FF since they didn’t have a 32G, and the bottom of the cup was beautifully rounded. The top of the cup was not filled out, so this bra seems best for average to full profiles. Down a size would probably cut in. Also, the band is pretty stretchy.

I tried the Masquerade Orla in a 32G and the bra wouldn’t fasten. Whoops. It was quite pretty though, a nice non-padded half cup that seemed to fit in the cups. I’d love to try it in a 34FF but Bellefleur didn’t have it.

The winner was Panache’s new Dahlia in 32G. Think the Jasmine construction with no lace on top, just sheer mesh with an awesome pattern. It’s probably a bad fit if you’re full on top since the top of the cup is pretty full, but if you’re average profiled or shallow like me, the panel being made of less stretchy material will feel more supportive. The price was slightly marked up (three dollars, which I’m willing to pay for the chance to try everything on). The cups run somewhat generous, and the band feels somewhere between true to size and generous. I was so happy to find this in store! It doesn’t replace the lovely shape Confetti gave me, but them’s the breaks.

My Bare Necessities order contained the Claudette Sophia and the Curvy Kate Gia in purple. The Sophia didn’t really work in that the cups were very small for me in a 34G and the gore wouldn’t tack at all. It felt quite shallow. It’s a pretty bra, but doesn’t seem to come in my size.

I tried the Gia in a 32GG and it was just too big in the cups (I overflow a 32G in most CK bras). The shape seemed somewhat relaxed, though not as much as Emily’s. The shiny purple was excellent though, and I was more enamored of the design than I thought I would be. I didn’t feel like the cups were quite as wide as other CK bras I’ve tried.

New fitting issues

I’ve lived in Seattle for two months, gained some weight, lost some of it, and may have had tissue come from my armpits. I am popping out of my 30GG bras and some of my 32G bras. I finally put my Decos in storage because they required adjusting all the time.

As I’ve gotten older (I’ll be thirty-one in August), my tissue has gotten even softer and I require a slightly higher center gore and longer wires. It can be a bit frustrating to see lots of lingerie targeted to younger women with firm busts (as assumed from the promotional material).

I’ve mostly given up on Cleo. I’ve tried on the Marcie, Bella, Maddie, Rihanna, Juna, and Melissa, and I just did not feel very secure in them. The bands were tight enough, though. What gave? My guess is that the underwires are shorter on the sides and that they may be not quite as robustly constructed (hah!). Sizing’s also a bit tricky. I barely overspilled a Marcie in 32G but a 32GG was far too large. I love the cut of the Maddie but I felt pretty insecure if I walked at a quick pace or went up and down the stairs. Seattle’s got many hills and my building has a bunch of stairs, so it did not really work out.

I’ve also given up on my beloved Decos. The fabric buckling at the bottom is still there and I pop out of the top of a 30GG. That’s the end of their size range. I could try a 32GG, but the band feels quite loose and I’m leery of shortening/altering it myself. This leaves me with the Porcelain Plunge for tight tanks, since most of my other bras show through. I’m been trying to find shirts that aren’t quite as faithful to bra detailing that I still find flattering.

So I still have plenty of bras, but I feel dissatisfied. The Amors buckle a bit at the bottom. The Confetti,Porcelain, and CHP Stalowka are just a bit too small on top some days. The CH Onyx is usually too big and EM bras feel a bit too narrow in the cup. Going up a cup size often is too much volume. Perhaps I’m just extra finicky these days?

My dream bra is a smooth molded cup with enough room in the bottom that I don’t spill out of and otherwise feels secure. I might give Maddie another shot, otherwise it’s the Porcelain for now. I felt a bit droopy in the Fantasie Rebecca when I tried it on, but perhaps I should give it another try.

Anyway, that’s today’s rumbling and grumbling. I hope to provide some useful reviews within the month: Cleo Rihanna and Fauve Bronte. Yes, the Bronte fits. No, it’s not very practical and the bottom of the frilly band rolls up. However, it’s orange and pretty and MINE.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Masquerade Amor review

I’ve always been a sucker for Masquerade’s padded styles, but sometimes feel that they are overembellished for me. The Amor looked perfect on a monitor- clean lines, smooth finish, shimmery satin. However, I’ve had fuller cups (Capella) come up too large on me. I’ve gained about two kilos the past six weeks, a bit in my bust, so I thought I’d give it a try.

amor back view

Construction

Molded cup bra (no seams, the dart in the front of the cup is cosmetic), sweetheart neckline. Fully adjustable straps and two hooks in the back. Like many others, I’d love three hooks in the back for Masquerade styles but it’s just a pipe dream.

Looks

The sapphire blue and berry are jewel-tone galore! Metal strap adjusters and hooks. No other embellishments. Continuous satin band. The fabric contrast seam on the cup shows through some tight tanks.

Fitting

The bottom of the cup is a bit shallow for me, so I get a bit of buckling at the bottom of the cup. If you’re especially full on the bottom you’ll most likely run into this problem as well. However, the cup fit amazingly- rounded with no empty space in. Since I’m a bit fuller right now, you might want to size down in the cup if you’re between sizes. The band runs a little tight, so if you’re between band sizes, size up.

The briefs (size 12 as usual) are a bit full in the backside for me, but they fit my waist pretty snugly.

Despite the small fabric fold, I bought another in the spring Berry colorway from Bellefleur since I’m short on bras that really fit me right now. Unfortunately it only goes to G. I’d love if Masquerade could continue with this style, but it seems to be going to more lacy makes this fall. I’d recommend this bra for women with middle or lower fullness who like molded bras and efficient design.

almost upsizes, and Jockey’s new venture

Since I tried to eat a good portion of Boston before I left and I’m adjusting to Seattle, I’ve gained some weight- just enough to make two thirds of my bras not fit. I think I’ll settle back down in a few months, but for now I’m going to wear bras that tend towards the big side: Masquerade Amor, Panache Sport, and my EM CH Onyx. I rotate in the Porcelain and the black Deco sometimes, but I should really keep on wearing the larger ones to be sufficiently supported so I can run for the bus. I ordered a bigger bra to help tide me over (Cleo Marcie 32GG), but it was definitely too large in the cup.

I’ve been thinking about which bras I feel most stable in, and the results puzzle me slightly. For some reason my Ewa Michalak bras don’t support the top and I feel rather wobbly. Not sure if that’s a size or style question (this is true in my CH and CHP styles, I don’t remember having this issue in the too-small PL I tried).

It seems I need underwires that come up high under my arms and the cup to encompass the front well. Plunge bras actually work well for this because they have to anchor somehow! I have trouble filling out actual full coverage cups. I haven’t had the best of luck with Cleo’s nor Freya’s wires on the side (I get escapee breast) for most bras.

Meanwhile, Jockey International has decided to try a new bra fitting technique with new sizing! Apparently they ship you some plastic cups in different shapes and you stick your breasts in and see what works best (cups are numbered 1-10, instead of given letters). You then measure around your rib cage and send in that measurement. I’m a bit leery of it working at larger sizes, since an H seems to correspond to a 9. In either case, it’s $20 to try it, and then you get a voucher for $20 off a bra. The bras offered aren’t especially interesting, but I do want to applaud and support Jockey for trying something new (and taking away the weird psychological hangups one can have with cup letters). I’d have to go to Tulalip to get fitted in store, so I’ll debate between that and ordering online.

Any of you heard about or tried Jockey’s new bra fitting kit/methodology? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Relocation present(s) to me!

I feel a bit odd about this, but I’m ordering bras from ASOS to essentially check the fit. If I turn out to love them I’ll keep them, but otherwise they’re getting returned. I wonder how retailers feel about this? I ordered a Cleo Maddie, a Masquerade Amor, and a Cleo Juna. Since ASOS has free shipping both ways the only risk is a package getting lost, and that’s a risk I’ve decided to take because I have a new job!

I’m moving to Seattle next month to be with my partner- I was unwilling to move before I found a job offer that I wanted there. I’m excited about my new coworkers and the city. I’ll recoup the moving costs very quickly, especially since I have over three weeks stored vacation which I’ll get an immediate payout for. So I decided to treat myself to some more bras! I’m not in need now, but four of my everyday bras are ten months old (the newest one I wear regularly is four months), so they are going to lose elasticity in the coming months. I’m curious about the fit of the abovementioned bras, so I’ll try them on and see how they work.

fauve bronte photo

I’m most stoked about the Amor because of its clean design, but once I move I am going to try the Fauve Bronte. I’ve never worn a Fauve, and they stop at G in padded cups, and could be a tricky fit. But my favorite color is orange, so the padded longline will be mine if it fits. Oh yes. Lace, maybe, but the orange is so vibrant!