Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sizing... WTF?!

I'm sure a lot of you ladies will agree with me when I say that bra sizes can be a pain in the... well... tits. To give you an idea (I'm aiming this at all of you really but it might offer a bit of insight to otherwise 'clueless-about-bras' men), this week I have tried sizes from a D-cup through to an F-cup and had a good fit from examples of each. How is it possible to be a D-cup, an F-cup AND everything in between? I shall tell you how. The only consistency in bra sizing is inconsistency. Seriously. The sizes differ so much between manufacturers, I just cannot see how shopping for bras online can possibly be a good idea! Since my jaunt to Selfridges, I have tried bras by Freya (I took a 36DD... just), Elle Macpherson (again, 36DD), John Lewis' own brand (36E... was a bit of a squeeze though), Lejaby (36E), La Senza (36E and 36F) and today, Kiss Me Deadly (36D). I'll show you a couple so you can see the sort of fit I got in various places.

First is the Elle Macpherson number. Really nice fit, cute style but, obviously, not what I'm looking for. Lacy, not see-through enough and I'm not digging the cream bits at all. Not for this mission anyway. Outside of the quest for the perfect bra, I would definitely wear this. It was comfy too. It was £38 which, though a bit much for a bra I'm not completely head over heels for, really isn't that bad. To be honest, I'd be inclined to buy this just for the shape it gives. Nice and round... not nuclear warhead-esque shapes going on here. I'm not a fan of anything but a nice round silhouette where my boobs are concerned thank you very much! Also, it's not right up to my chin so could be worn with lower necklines.

Next is a totally see-through Freya bra. Yeah, sorry about that. Haha! This was also a 36DD and, although a bit of a squeeze, actually not bad. Goddamn pink bows and bits. If there weren't any of those fussy details, this bra, even with its seams, would have been a sure contender for the award. Sadly, not this time. I grumbled quite a lot about that on my way to return it to the fitting room staff in John Lewis. Still, this pic serves as an example of the fit more than anything really! Snug, but not bad.

Next I headed to La Senza. It would seem these guys don't actually believe in see through at all... so that was a bit of a waste of time. However, time was something I had to kill so I decided to try a black balcony bra I liked the look of just to see what it was like. It made my boobs into a shelf, was way too bulky and not very comfortable. It was a 36E and felt no different in size to the Freya one above except that it was a bit tighter across the back. Have look. That's it to the left. Mega-shelf of dooom.

Finally, for bra pics anyway, the Kiss Me Deadly bra. This is the one my friend Karolina (see 2 entries before this one) found for me at the Playful Promises sample sale last week. What a steal at £5! It was damaged and needed a bit of a repair job as one of the rings that holds the strap at the back had broken. Karolina, being a lingerie designer/maker, had a few spare rings though so she included a pair when she sent this to me. I repaired it this morning and whaddya know?! It fits perfectly... and it's only a 36D. Now. If I was ACTUALLY a 36D, this quest would have been over before it began... but I'm not... so it wasn't. I'm wearing this bra right now (this pic was taken about half an hour ago) and it has to be said, it's £5 incredibly well spent! It's the Van Doren style sheer bra that is still available on the site (linked above) in limited sizes and it retails at £25. Sadly, though more than adequate in every other way, it doesn't make the grade for one major and one minor reason. Major = it's sheer but barely see through at all as it's 2 layers of fairly dense mesh. Minor = seams, goddamn it.

So, all of this faffing about with strange sizing lead me to do a bit of research into measurements and how they work. Ladies! Tape measures at the ready!


Back size: In order to find one's back size (the number bit, so, in my case it's 36), measure around your ribcage, underneath your boobies. If you measure an even number, add 4 inches to this measurement and that gives you your measurement (so, my underbust measurement is 32"). If you measure an odd number, add 5 inches (so if you measure 31", you'd also be a 36). Make sure to pull fairly tight when measuring... but obviously not so tight it's cutting into your skin!

Cup size: Next, take the tape measure and measure around the fullest part of your bust. I find the best way to do this is to measure whilst wearing a NON-PADDED bra. Right. Now you take your back size (this is INCLUDING the 4 or 5 inch addition) and subtract it from your bust measurement. I measure 40.5" so i shall use myself as an example. The next bit is pretty easy. If your measurements are the same (i.e. back size including 4 or 5 inches = 36 & bust size = 36), you are an A cup. If it is one inch bigger, you are a B cup. 2 inches is a C, 3 inches is a D and so on and so forth. Obviously, taking into account the presence of sizes such as DD, it basically continues through the alphabet with each inch indicating one cupsize. As I am 40.5 inches, that lands me right bang smack in between a DD and an E. It is my opinion that in cases such as this it is best to round upwards as a bit of extra room is far preferable to a bra that pinches a little.

By way of a disclaimer, I would like to say that, first of all, I do not profess to be an expert in bra fitting at all... this is purely what I have gleaned from poking about online, paying attention to what happens when being fitted and reading about it in shops. The above instruction for fitting is what most places, including many high street shops, consider to be 'standard' but, as evidenced by the various sizes I supposedly am, there doesn't appear to be any such thing as standard so this is to be treated as a rough guide! Also, please note that sizes in different countries may differ slightly and that this is based on UK sizes.

My advice, where bra shopping is concerned, is quite simple. If you can try on, definitely do so. If you're in a hurry and just want to buy and go, or if you are shopping online, make absolutely sure you can return anything that turns out to be wrong. With the differences I have experienced just this week alone, I feel it would be foolhardy to assume you'll get it right just by going by each shop/brands size chart every time.

Ok, I'm almost done now. I have 2 more things to address! First of all, my last entry received a lot of feedback and suggestions. Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to read and respond! It's much appreciated. If you like what you've seen/read so far, don't forget to recommend it to your friends! Anyway, I'm getting off topic. One of the responses I had to the last entry was from a representative of Gossard having been directed to my blog by a mutual friend. She informed me that the brand currently has a line entitled 'Glossies' which includes a sheer, black, seamless bra. JOY OF JOYS!! But... guess what?! It stops at a D cup. For now anyway. She also informed me that, due to much hassle from larger busted women, they are currently working on larger sizes for this same line with a view to releasing them sometime in the new year. This is amazing news :D Might I ACTUALLY find a suitable sheer, black, seamless bra on the mass market? Time will tell! But this illustrates a different point as well. Enough moaning and hassle from us, the general, bigger busted, publc CAN get results. You see now why I want to get as much weight behind this blog as possible? Seriously. The more the merrier!

Ok, ok... I can see you're all falling asleep. I shall hopefully liven you all up a bit with this next picture. One of the greatest things to come from the whole burlesque movement (and I promise you, I'm not turning this blog into yet another ode to the art of striptease, pin-up or the 1950's) is definitely pasties! And now, with the likes of Gothfox Designs and Nikki Lipstick on the scene, you now have a very contemporary take on the good old classic nipple tassle! Gothfox have stuck with the decorative feel that burlesque is so well known and loved for, but has applied it to designs as fun and far-removed from the boudoir aesthetic as the Star Trek logo. Seriously, go look! Nikki Lipstick, on the other hand, has taken the concept of nipple pasties and made it all her own with seriously cute and eminently wearable designs that include stuff like lips, kitty faces, Hello Kitty-esque bows through geeky designs such as the Tri-Force logo and Pokeballs to more simplistic yet seriously effective designs like X's, crosses & triangles. Being a bit of a goth, I couldn't resist the crosses so I shall leave you with one of my boobs modelling one of my Nikki Lipstick crosses! Cheeky ;)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Selfridges, anyone?

Today, I made a quick trip to Selfridges in London (and by quick I mean I was only in there for a total of 1hr 15mins... Shocking!) to check out their lingerie department in the vain hope that I may find the bra that will herald the end of my quest. Yes, I also went to look at shoes but that kinda goes without saying. Anyway, I digress. Selfridges lingerie department. It's nice. Very nice. Of course, I had been before but I had only ever really passed through it on my way to a different part so I decided that today was the day to have a proper look- and by a proper look, what I mean is, spend about an hour scrutinising every non-padded black bra I could find.

The first thing I see upon entering this particular department are the concessions held by familiar and notoriously luxurious (and expensive) brands such as Bordelle, Agent Provocateur and Myla. More or less everything these companies have to offer appeals to me in some way but again, as always, the bras are just not designed with the larger bust in mind! I would go as far as to say that most of the designs on offer are aimed at women no larger than a C-cup and god forbid said ladies should have any sort of over-hang if they're looking at some of the gorgeous little cupless designs! Now, practicality is the least of my concerns so, were I anatomically suited to these sorts of bras I would no doubt have drawers full of the things, but alas, I am not, and so it was with a heavy heart that I decided to proceed onwards to the more sensible designs. You have NO idea how much it pains me to use that word in reference to something I am looking for for myself.

I did have a hard time moving much further past this baby, it has to be said. Pictured to the left is the 'Bondage Angela' dress by Bordelle. At £525 before VAT, it is a little bit out of my price range so I had to make do with ogling it both on the mannequin and on the hanger and wonder whether or not the deceptively large cups would actually comfortably support these badboys *points at boobs*. In my mind, it's a perfect fit.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah. Sensible. Yawn. It wasn't long before I found a section filled with bras and pants (remember, I am English ergo pants = panties, not trousers) by Wacoal. It wasn't long before I found a few bras that looked promising but even at first glance I could see they didn't check all the boxes. Black? Yes. Underwired? Yes. 36E? Yes. Seamless? Some of them. Sheer? No. They were all see through lace. If it's see through enough, I might, MIGHT, be able to make an exception. So. What happened next? I tried three of them on.

The first of the three didn't even remain on me long enough to get its picture taken. It was useless. The size was fine but the design wasn't. The style was ok but the fabric wasn't anywhere near transparent enough and since this whole mission is based around the need for a see through bra, there was no point even humouring it. NEXT. Wacoal bra number 2! First of all, let me show you the picture of it on their website. Ignoring the fact that they only show it in the nude colour, that is the bra in question to the right. Yes, it's lace, but in person it's quite fine lace and on the hanger it certainly looked like a potential contender. Now let's see what it looks like on me shall we?!

Oh yeah now I remember one of the main reasons having bigger boobs sucks. For some godforsaken reason, all these big lingerie designers seem to think that the whole of your upper half needs to be swathed in fabric and GOD FORBID you should have any visible cleavage. Lift and separate, ladies. Lift. And. Separate. Ugh. Also, too goddamn lacy. It's not transparent enough for my requirements. Shame really because the fit was nice, the shape was lovely and the price wasn't bad either. For anyone interested in this style, it's called the 'Halo Lace seamless bra' and its product code number is 65149. Anyway. NEXT.

Next up is the 'Beyond Basic' lace underwired bra also by Wacoal (product code 855136). The fabric was nice as, even though it was also lacy, it was more sheer than the previous number and offered a bit more transparency as a result. Initial impression of this one on the hanger is that it'd probably do the job at a push. Let's see it in action then!

Yeah, the fabric is good. The shape is good. It has an opaque panel in each cup, off to the side and it has the whole lacy pattern thing going on but, as you can see, it's pretty much see through. However- and this is a big however- once again, my whole chest is covered. Not cool, Wacoal. Not cool. I do like it though, as you can probably tell from the pic.

To conclude todays foray into department store lingerie concessions, I have once again come away empty handed but I have learned that Wacoal, though not really what I'm looking for in this instance, do some nice, comfortable bras that give a really nice shape. I'd definitely consider buying their designs in future when I'm not being such a fussy madam and looking for something that, seemingly, doesn't exist!

Jesus. Who knew I could talk so much crap about bras?!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Where we're at so far.

Blimey, 2 posts in one day?! So. It became pretty clear to me that this quest was definitely on when lingerie catalogues started landing on my doorstep. The first was the spring/summer 2011 catalogue from What Katie Did.

I was already aware of their 'Cabaret' mesh bra which ticks a lot of the required boxes. All of them in fact, except that it has seams. Am I going to have to overlook this and just go for it anyway? Maybe. Who knows? The mission continues. But yeah, What Katie Did. I've known about them for a while now and have liked a few of their styles here and there, but they are very much about the whole 1950's glamour thing, which is great, but not what I'm after at the moment. Still, flicking through their catalogue was fun & they do, undoubtedly, have some very sweet stuff!

Next up is Playful Promises who were brought to my attention initially when a friend of mine landed a job working for them. They actually had a sample sale today which another friend of mine (who I will be introducing you to in a moment) attended and kept her eye open for anything that might fit my spec whilst there. What you see to the right is a quick phone pic she snapped and sent me. That baby right there is a bit on the small side but was a steal at £5 and, though you cannot see really, is apparently made from a couple of layers of fine mesh and is, therefore, suitably see through :D I decided to take a chance on it for that amount of money. I'll let you know how that turns out once it arrives!

So. More about this mysterious friend of mine. Her name is Karolina Laskowska and she is a lingerie designer (oh! How handy ;D) and student. You can see her work on her website, which I very much suggest you do. Her designs are a beautiful fusion of feminine detail and bold, contemporary structure. I have already begun gently harassing her into perhaps allowing me to commission her for something along the lines of what I'm after so we'll see where that takes us ;) Karolina, I promise I won't drive you insane! In the meantime, I shall also suggest you all go check out and like her Facebook page!

So, that's where I'm at for now! Please feel free to chip in with any suggestions, links, ideas or recommendations in the meantime!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Quest Begins!

Oh my goodness. Where to start?!

The beginning I guess. Ok. Here goes.

I'm Tea. This is me. Hi.

I have been blessed/cursed with a sizeable rack. Since reaching maturity, my chest has been as big as a 36FF and as 'small' as a 34DD. For the most part, this is ok, but it is not without its annoyances. Big boobs are all well and good, but what happens when you want to wear clothing that isn't bra-friendly? What about beachwear? What about, god forbid, wanting to look sexy in lingerie? I said sexy, not like a hooker. There is some mind-bendingly beautiful lingerie out there but it all stops at a C or D cup which is disheartening in the extreme when all you want is a nice, pretty bra for boobs that, let's face it, are not SO gargantuan that they require some sort of scaffolding-like structure to keep them aloft. My boobs may be larger than average, but not so much so that they should need that sort of special equipment!

So, what's my problem? Well. I had an idea. An idea for a look that I want to be able to sport as and when I feel like it. Long story short, said look involves a see-through bra (it's definitely not what you're thinking!). It has to be black, it has to be sheer, it has to be underwired and, ideally, I really don't want seams. A quick search online showed me that there aren't as many of these around as you might think... and when you start getting size-specific, the well dries up completely. So here I am, reaching out to you, people of the internet! Can you help me in my quest for the perfect bra? Here's the spec once more, just so you all know what it is we're hunting for here. The holy grail of bras!

- Black
- Sheer/see through
- Plain as possible
- No seams
- Underwires
- Size 36E... 36DD at a push (I'm right in between sizes)

So far, the style of bra I'm referring to has been found but it only goes up to a D. Here it is, just so you know what I'm hunting for!

See? It really is NOTHING SPECIAL. So very simple and yet, seemingly, way too much to ask for! And so, let the quest begin. Find me the perfect bra!

This is not entirely without incentive. I say incentive. I wouldn't go that far really. But anyway, once this bra is within my grasp, I shall post pictures of myself sporting said undergarment the way I picture it in my mind. So there you have it. If you care to see my boobs in this bra, or are just curious as to why the hell I want it (disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for any disappointment), then go nuts!

By way of an FYI. I would like to make it clear right now that I am not expecting anyone to buy this bra for me. I am not fishing for anything here except your assistance in locating it. ALL I want is help to find a sheer, seamless, black bra. That is all! Ok? Let's do this thing.