I’m not making excuses, but….

A few days before Christmas

I swear to you lovely readers, I’m not making excuses, but life has been crazy busy.  I like in a part of Alaska that is remote enough to be unfriendly for even mail ordering bras (it gets worse!) but has the basics covered. Life here has not been easy, and it has definitely impacted my blogging. So I thought I’d share a little bit of what life is like here and why I’ve been away.  The photo above was taken the Thursday before Christmas, a normal day in my part of Alaska.

So let’s start by talking about how beautiful Alaska is. Below are two different seasons, from my front windows. The first would be fall everywhere else, but it is already snowing here. The second is late spring/early summer as the snow has finally melted off.

It is amazing how different the two are! And yes, those are real moose in my front yard. We have a little moose family that lives around my area, they come through regularly. It’s not as cool as it looks, they are very dangerous. That mama moose could easily kill me with a single kick of those legs. Now, all this beautifulness aside, AK is not an environment you easily adapt to. Summer is amazing, the longest days the sun technically sets but it is still light outside. Winter has very short days where the sun peeks over the horizon just to set again, there is hardly any daylight. Look at the first picture and you can see the sunrise time, almost 11am!

Most people wouldn’t be driving on roads like these!

Going out and driving is always a risk. Most people wouldn’t risk driving on roads like this. But every year we change out our tires for studded tires, we drive slow, and we try to be safe. Just so we can run to the grocery store. The road in this picture is actually a major highway. This ends up causing limited travel and a lot of cabin fever.

Moose tracks through my front yard

Another visit from our lovely moose friend. She trampled through the front yard while we were grocery shopping. To let you know how deep the snow is, I went out a few days later looking for the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), I sank into the snow up to my knees before I hit a layer of snow so compacted from the snow above that I can no longer sink. I am 5’2″ with pretty long legs, the snow depth is about mid-thigh on me.

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My back door trying to freeze shut with a very unhappy Ozzy the boxer.

Every year we end up frozen into the house for at least a little bit. The backdoor and front door often freeze shut. With daily use we can usually break it open pretty easily. My poor furkids wear dog boots to go outside to do their business. Ozzy the boxer is a little bit of a priss, so when it gets too cold he also wears a jacket. Living here can be very hard on them too.

How we heat our home, a wood stove.

What causes the most complication is heating your home. Homes are heated using wood stoves, pellet stoves, or oil heat. Even the electric is a byproduct of oil. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Oil is very expensive. January is the coldest month of the year and you can easily spend $1000 on oil to heat your home. Pellets have to be purchased regularly at a super store. Wood has to be chopped and moved. We use a wood stove, which comes out to the least expensive. But every year you stockpile a lot of wood for the use all through the winter. That wood has to be moved all winter long, brought into the house to use. I’m not saying we live like they do in the Alaska: The Last Frontier TV show, but we definitely do not have the easy life.

So what have I been up to? Well, not much and a lot at the same time. I’m spending the rest of the month with just my furkids and Gabrielle, my husband has military commitments. So we spent a bit of time getting the house ready for him to be gone. It is impossible for me to keep up with moving wood with a 14 month old little one running around. So our garage is stocked up with what is hopefully enough wood for us for this cold month. We also did some extra toddler proofing of our kitchen, Gabrielle loves to get into any cabinet and the dishwasher. We did a midwinter clean of the entire house. Do you have any idea how stuffy house can get when it has been shut up for several months in the horrible cold?  We celebrated Gabrielle’s first Christmas where she could open presents. We had some really cool family portraits done, complete with zombie make up. I took an intro photography class with the hopes of getting a tripod and taking better photos for the blog.

I’ve also been dealing with some health problems. Gabrielle had months of sleep problems which has had a major impact on my sleep. Lack of good quality sleep can really do a number on the body and mind. I have tried to focus on getting better sleep for myself, and helping Gabrielle get better sleep too. We are getting there, I’m slowly starting to feel like myself again. I’m still very tired many days, but things are improving. This has really affected my ability to work out, eat how I’d like, and my body image. It is really hard to take pictures in a bra or undies when you are feeling pretty down about how your body looks. So the month of January is (hopefully) focused on continuing to get better sleep for Gabrielle and I, to eating to fuel our bodies, and to being more active. I’m trying to improve my health, my body image, and my mental health.

So there you have it! I hope this is the first post to me getting back to blogging. I’ve got a lot to write about, a lot of bras to review. Please feel free to drop a line and let me know how you’ve been doing. The chatting helps me feel motivated to keep posting.

No one ever claimed to be perfect

As a blogger, posting my pictures on the internet, talking about bra fit, and talking about breast implants I have opened myself up to criticism. When is part of the deal, I get that. All blogger do. But let’s get things straight here,

bloggers never claim to be perfect

Why would we? Bloggers tend to be someone with hard to meet needs. A person with strong opinions. A person with the desire to help and to share.

We critique brands to try and help the consumer get a better product and to be their voice to the brand. (See Miss underpinnings Freya post)

We talk about specific fit needs that may not be met by mass produced labels. (Like the original Bra Band Project)

We show products we are excited about, even when they do not fit us ideally. Like one if current favorite bras, the Cleo Maddie.

Cleo by Panache Maddie in 28H, too small, but so comfy!

We review products outside our size range when there is something we know our readers would like to know. (See my recent review of the Debenhams Gorgeous strapless bra)

We wear bras that do not fit, because it’s what we can find. We never claim that they do. We post photos that may show fit problems as part of our reviews. We are using our bodies like any fashion model would, to display the garment.

Parfait by Affinitas Alexis in 30G. Way too small in depth, can’t settle into the cups, but we all need a “nude” t-shirt bra.

We talk about fit problems and possible solutions. We share fixes when there isn’t a bra to do what you need. (Several bloggers are featured in the bra alterations section of Busty Resources)

We post about our personal lives on Facebook and twitter. Did you know I posted a picture of my face on twitter?

We put ourselves out there, knowing we will be criticized and hurt. But please, remember when you are criticizing that we are people too, we are not claiming to be perfect, we do not always wear a perfectly fitted bra, and we have feelings too.

There is an anti body snark policy on many blogs. That doesn’t mean that criticism isn’t welcome. It is! It does mean to double check yourself before posting. I’d like to see this extend to all the bra fitting communities. There is no reason that The Lingerie Lesbian and The Lingerie Addicted should be slammed on reddit for wearing bras using a +4 fit. Brittany from Thin & Curvy (and other bloggers) should not feel targeted by the Polish forum Balkonetka. Bratabase users should not feel judged by their fitting preferences.
Bra fitting is not a science or simple math. You’re dealing with human bodies, personal preferences. And we all are not perfect, we don’t just fall in line to the math.

And really, when it comes to someone else you would criticize their choice in wearing a tampon, menstrual cup, cloth pad, or disposable pad. Why should you be able to do so for the fit of someone’s undergarments? Discussion, learning, and sharing, not criticism and judgement. Because at the end of the day, none of us are perfect.

Gorgeous Strapless, By Debenhams

Tis the season for parties, dresses, and special occasion bras! Thanksgiving is coming fast in the US an after that are the holiday parties and New Years festivities. That means buying cute party dresses.

With a little one at home I don’t plan on going out to party, but I still need a strapless bra. When I was offered the chance to review a bra from Debenhams I jumped at the chance to try their house brand, Gorgeous. I was torn between their sports bra and a strapless, but the holiday season is here so I went with the strapless. Currently they have several strapless options available. Here’s the kicker and the biggest reason why I wanted to talk about them, their regular price is £22, which is about $37 (USD). How is that for a reasonable price? And for a special occasion bra? Seems too good to be true right? Well let’s find out!
(This bra was provided by Debenhmas. All opinions in this post are my own.)

I’ll start this review by talking about the biggest negative of the line, sizing. In small bandsizes the sizing is limited. It stops at a 30 band and a G cup. But in 32-38 bands it goes to an H. Here is where you are probably wondering why I’m reviewing this as I’m out of the size range. Well for starters, strapless bras usually run tight. Secondly, I’m trying a new approach, I cannot find a perfect fit so I am rotating out my fit problems. But more on that in a future post.

So let’s talk sizing and the bra. I went with a 30G. The bra has 4 sets of hooks an eyes and the band is quite firm. I can comfortably wear it on the loosest hooks with no falling down. That is an amazing accomplishment to me. Like usual, I had a blog helper, Gabrielle dumped the last of my coffee on the bra staining the band in time for pictures. She’s a walking baby disaster right now.

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The side wings of the bra contain small pieces of boning. This works to keep the band from rolling up during wear. I found that they did their job perfectly, I had no issues with a rolling band. I did have light pressure marks from the casing, but that is to be expected.

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This particular bra is the Ivory Lace Strapless, currently on sale for £19.20 or $30. It is a basic moulded cup with lace detailing on the band. Nothing too fancy for looks, but perfect for a seamless look. It’s basic enough to compete with the Deco strapless for versatility (I have not tried the Deco strapless so no comparison), pretty enough for basic bridal, cheap enough for many budgets. You don’t see something like this in the US department store brands.

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I’m going to apologize for this next photo, I just can’t get it right. I wanted to show you the pretty detailing in the gore and along the bottom of the band. I just can’t quite get the lighting right. The material reflects the flash making it look messy. I promise, it’s a pretty detail! It’s not a weirdly shaped mess like this photo shows. But I think this photo can tell you something, the fabric of the bra is a normal smooth choice, the lace detailing is lightly reflective while matching the color tone of the main body of the bra. Some of you may remember how picky I am about blacks that do not quite match. Well that goes for any color.

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From the inside you can see that there are two areas for strap placement on the cup and on the back band of the bra. As a person that experiences armpit strap quite often I appreciate this feature. It seems to be pretty standard on the strapless bras I tried before my augmentation, but as a full bust customer I really understand the need more.

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The cup edges have the normal silicone strip to help the bra stay in place. Usually I find these strips to be incredibly irritating. So irritating that by the time my special event is over I want to commit bra homicide. I wore this bra through the morning, laying in bed with a napping baby, and through lunch. Not once did I consciously think of that silicone strip.

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The silicone strip is along the band of the bra as well. The picture below is of the inside of the center gore. This is where my second issue with the bra is. When I wear the bra I cannot get that part of the band to lay flat. Now I know the cup depth is too small, but it’s not so small that the band should lift that far below the gore. The gore not tacking is expected. A friend of mine also tried this bra on. She is 1-2 cups smaller then I am and had the same issue. I am not sure if it is the bra or the fact that we both have implants with a lot of projection.

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The front view shows that the cups are a bit small, as expected. You can see there is a slight east/west look. I think that would appear more on a woman with natural breasts. The bra itself would probably work for me with about two more cups in volume. The gore is no where close to tacking and I get a squished upwards appearance.

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From the side you can see that the wire width is much better then the width of a bra that fits the cup depth I need. It’s still too wide, but it’s much better. You can also see the plastic boning on the band.

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With this bra I am trying to balance a need for cup depth with out a horribly wide wire. It may seem silly to do this in a strapless, but a strapless with a wide wire is much more uncomfortable then a strapless with a lifting gore. I wore this bra for several hours, chased a baby, laid down while she napped, chased a baby some more. Not once did I do anything but a minor adjustment. I never did the bra chimmy to wiggle it back up. I never pulled at the silicone strips because they where uncomfortable. I did not sigh with relief when I took the bra off. I’m pretty impressed! Add in the cost of the bra and I think this would be a great option for this holiday season. Debenhams does offer international shipping, with delivery ranging from £7-15 depending on your location. International delivery usually ranges around 1-3 weeks depending on your location and customs speed, so you just have time to order before Thanksgiving. Do check out the rest of the Gorgeous line, there is a lot of value for your money!

Check out Holly’s review of a 34HH full cup bra on The Full Figured Chest and Miss Underpinnings review of a 28G balcony set.

Happy Birthday Gabrielle!

One year ago today I posted about Gabrielle’s birth. It has been my most popular post to date. 🙂  It’s been a long year, full of some struggles. My baby girl is finally one!

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This first year has been a challenge in many ways. We had breastfeeding issues due to Insufficient Glandular Tissue, Gabrielle was born with hip dysplasia and had to wear a brace, moving from the southern US to Alaska in the middle of winter, reflux, multiple trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital, a sleep study, still unidentified sleep problems, crawling, and now walking. But watching her grow has been amazing. She has her own personality and is changing in so many ways.

 

Stay tuned for birthday cake pictures, I’m sure it will be a mess. Until then, here is Gabrielle as a newborn.

1 week old

The cake results

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Guest Post- The other side of Curvy Kate’s discrimination

This is a guest post, we will call the author Ms. R.  I’m sure this post was not easy for Ms. R to write, there for I am enforcing a strict no snark rule for the comments! I reserve the right to remove or not post any comment left on this post! The opinions in this post are that of Ms. R, please respect her.

First, I’d like to thank By Baby’s Rules for letting me rant up her blog, since I don’t blog yet. Maybe I should. (Heck yes you should! A very valuable perspective!~BBR)

By Baby’s Rules and I had opposite surgeries. Yet, we both have the same reaction to Curvy Kate’s Star In A Bra rules. Disgust is putting it mildly to me.
As per ASPS numbers, a half million women a year undergo breast surgery in the US alone. That’s not a small section of the population, and that ignores minor procedures that disqualify a women from entering, such as a lumpectomy or cyst removal. As one living with a fairly major surgery, it wasn’t easy, and still isn’t that easy, to find bras that fit and aren’t painful. Bras that don’t have an irritating liner for hyper sensitive skin. Wires that don’t rest on or pinch scarring. Now, get into finding a bra that is comfortable and find one in a small band, large cup size. Now find one that’s not just some beige boulder holder type bra. Good luck. It’s hard. It’s not fun.
Society loves to tell women as a whole that your breasts are only good to attract a sexual partner. But if you dare let a doctor near your breasts, apparently now they are nothing and you should be ashamed of them and hide them. That’s harder to deal with than living with breasts that didn’t fit a bra, no matter what.
Yeah, the surgery that mutilated my breasts? I was at least a 30V under UK sizing. I had surgery over a decade ago, well over. 30V is a size that does NOT exist now, women can barely find a bra over UK KK cup sizes. 10+ years ago, heck, in the US any UK sizing was not around. At 30V, with the genetic fun of dense, heavy breasts, the weight is damaging. I have spinal arthritis. I have shoulders that have some permanent rolling forward. I have scars from ill fitted bras fighting to hang on to my shoulders and carry the weight. My surgeon does not do surgery under the age of 25 without serious medical need, and he makes sure one is wearing a correctly fitted bra first. He never questioned putting me through a difficult, nasty, invasive surgery that could have left me with deformed breasts because it was what I needed to function and survive without wrecking my body.
I was potentially too young during surgery, and yes I’ve had plenty of returning tissue. It’s still dense and heavy. I’m now in the 32G-H range, depends on the line. So I’m not small. But heck, I’m still on the edge of sizing out of some lines. So, yeah, I still get what it’s like to have to look at cute bras and go “nope, won’t fit, hrm, if I go to a 34….” So, it’s not a friendly world still. But 32G is better than 30V.
Per Star In A Bra T&C (found on CK’s Facebook page and the SIAB app)– it’s for natural D+ cup size breasts that are not enhanced. Well, I’ve got natural D+ breasts and I don’t find medically needed surgery to be an enhancement. But as anyone who asks will learn, ANY surgery is disqualifying. Take a cyst out – you can’t enter. Have a mastectomy and reconstruction – you can’t enter. Have implants – you can’t enter. Have a medically needed reduction – you can’t enter.

The first reason is that altered breasts are an unfair advantage. Well, great, but hrm, looking at my breasts, they seem to be fitting my bra the same as any other G cup woman. I can look at By Baby’s Rules and see how bras will likely fit since we share the annoying issue of center gores being too wide and too high, so I think she’s rocking some pretty normal looking breasts.
But that fails as the other reason is alter breasts don’t fill a bra normally. If I’m not filling a bra and looking “normal”, then how is that an advantage? If I’m spilling out all over, or having cups wrinkle badly – no one is going to think I have attractive enough breasts to model a line. I wouldn’t blame them for that, and I’d agree.
So the two reasons are busy negating each other. So I am directed to contact CK to go over this in more detail. Well, hrm. I got a read response in 17 minutes. I got NO contact for 4 business days. I got told it went to the wrong person, it went to the wrong inbox, and it accidentally went to spam. Sure thing. Because the reality is I got no response until I went and put it out publicly that they requested the email and are now ignoring me. Email did me nothing since I just got quoted prior claims and that oh, so sorry you won’t buy the bras now, but you’ll come back was the underlying statement. I posed valid, serious questions which are still not answered. I did wind up with another contact, which I suspect I probably wasn’t supposed to, but that woman did answer questions, take me seriously and treat me with basic respect.
Too bad she was the second/third contact I had. Because the discrimination and mockery of my needed surgery went too far. Because I’d rather alter bras to fit from lines who may not be diverse but don’t claim to be.
Curvy Kate makes a big deal about diversity in the bra world. Unless of course you have the audacity to mutate your breasts via surgery. Then, your unnatural, enhanced breasts are an unfair advantage and don’t fit a bra normally.
But then, I’m being mean by not supporting Curvy Kate trying to make women happy with their big breasts. If that’s what they were actually doing, I’d be supporting them. I’d be waving the white bra with the best of them. But it’s not what they are doing. You still have to fit their odd standard of perfection. You can’t have a health scare. Because any change to your breasts is not allowed. If the rules allowed medically needed surgery, I’d still not enter, but I wouldn’t be so pissed.
It does come down to breast hate. I stuffed myself in badly fitted, cheap sports bras because that was “comfortable”. That’s just me being stubborn. I wasn’t ashamed of my breasts, I just didn’t like the uncomfortable bras I should wear. Well, when I started to wear the right size bra, huh, they aren’t uncomfortable. I love my breast and don’t I have some CUTE bras! Wait, I had a reduction. I should have breast shame for that. Because a well fitted bra fixes everything. It’s bad enough to see on nearly every big breast blog. Because I’m tired of pointing out that per ASPS, medically needed reductions are far more common than cosmetic reductions. Because I’m tired of someone other than my doctor thinking they know what is best for me. I have to live with these breasts, no one else does. If it makes me happy to have a reduction until I’m a 32A cup, then I’m happy and that’s who matters.
Support for women should be very, very simple. Are they happy with their breasts as they are now? If so, good, support them. If not, help guide them NICELY into the best option to make them happy. If they’re happy in a VS bra that’s too small, give up and let them wear that until they learn otherwise if they aren’t badly sized. If they are happy in a 42F, yay for them! It is NOT my business what makes someone else happy with their breasts. It is not anyone’s business that I am happy with my breasts post surgery.
But Curvy Kate is just following the big breast standard that surgery is “evil”. Which is all some of us hear, and face every day. But people seem to not get that the woman who is wearing a soft cup bra who has uneven breasts may have several reasons why. Maybe that’s just how her breasts are and she’s comfortable in that soft cup. Maybe she’s getting implants fixed. Maybe she just had a cyst remove and one side is swollen and sore. Maybe she’s recovering from a mastectomy and preparing for her first round of radiation or chemo. Or there are countless other reasons why she’s wearing that bra with uneven boobs. Unless she expresses dislike for her appearance, it doesn’t matter. She’s still wearing a bra and deserves the same respect anyone wants.
But with current standards and Curvy Kate rulings, every single woman is one health scare away from being disqualified and being told she should be ashamed of her breasts. Which is a very danger precedent to set and use as an example of so called diversity. Let’s try for diversity that accepts EVERY breast out there, no matter who has it or what has happened, so long as the one who wears the breast is happy with it.

Ms. R

Curvy Kate Star In a Bra- Why I Can’t Enter & You May Not Be Able To Either

*Disclaimer! This post was very difficult for me to write, for many reasons. It is hard to write a post with moderate emotions when you feel targeted, disrespected, and judged. This post will probably anger some people as well. I can understand that. I am enforcing a strict no snark rule for the comments! I reserve the right to remove or not post any comment left on this post!

Tis the season of SIAB. The full bust social media circles are abuzz with all things SIAB. There are just a few days left, so if you are going to enter you may want to hurry up! I love the concept. It is a great thing to see, a brand with their customers as models. These women are women that would not normally be a model, but here they are, representing a brand they love and chosen by the brand’s customers.

Curvy Kate’s media blitz states “We want your curves!” And they do, kind of. Women of any body shape or size are encouraged to submit their photos. But many women run into a problem, size or fit. One of last years top ladies was Brittany from Thin and Curvy, who is sized out of the brand by needing a smaller bandsize. I have read countless times from women how they would love to enter, but CK doesn’t fit them well or doesn’t make their bra or panty size. SIAB is for D+ women, but sub 28 bands, women above a K cup, or women who need panties over a size 22 feel like they should not enter because of their size. I have not seen anything but encouragement from the company for women who fall into these categories, so I hope that these women will consider joining.

But there is one group of D+ women who are left out, those who have had breast surgery. Because my breast surgery is breast implants, I asked about it on twitter. Last year there was a huge issue on the CK Facebook page, culminating in insult and judgement against women with implants. I wanted to know ahead of time if the rules had been changed. They hadn’t.

Twitter
Last year it was unclear if it was just women with breast implants or if it was any breast surgery. The SIAB contest rules use the word “enhancements.” Really, CK means any breast surgery. Including reductions, lifts, lump removal, reconstruction, and breast implants. This one rule prevents an incredibly large number of women from entering. From the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s 2012 Plastic Surgery Procedural Statistics, last year alone 286,274 women had a breast augmentation (up 35% from 2000), 89,067 women had a breast lift (up 69% from 2000), 42,022 women had a cosmetic breast reduction (trend statistic unavailable), 68, 416 women had reconstructive breast reduction, & 91,655 women had breast reconstruction.  Lump removal is not a plastic surgery statistic, so that data is not included. So not including women who have had a surgery to remove a lump in their breast, that is 559,433 women from ONE YEAR that would not be eligible to enter in SIAB (assuming they wore a D cup bra). OVER HALF A MILLION WOMEN!!! And that is just the US numbers, not Canada which is also included in the North American SIAB.

Really, how will they know? What gives them the right to know my private medical information? Does HIPPA apply here? (It doesn’t.) There is actually no legal precedent in place that protects a woman’s right to not disclose this information as part of the contest. Then the next question would be if they have the right to exclude so many women based on this information. Again, no legal precedent. Please note, I do not have a legal background. If someone who does can provide more information I’d love to include it.

And this from a post on their Facebook page, “Cosmetically altered breasts were considered an unfair advantage by our fans and customers as they may show the fit of our bras differently. It may also be an unfair advantage to other women you would come up against in the competition.” I was a CK customer and do not recall ever seeing anything asking what I thought about this. Maybe the before the original SIAB in the UK, but the US and North America is a highly different market. This makes me wonder how much (if any) research was done on the US and North American markets.

So the rules are in place to show how their bras fit and support the natural bust? Do they not realize that breast implants need support too? Or that there are women who have a significant amount of breast tissue over their implant, so no one would ever know that they have implants? There are women with gorgeous augmented breasts that have no one in their lives that know they have implants, and no one would ever guess. The Showgirl line is actually ideal for women who have a wider breast base, usually a moderate or moderate plus implant. Their regular line is ideal for a more narrow breast base, usually a high profile implant. Because they have attractive designs and colors women with breast implants are very attracted to this brand. Why? Because these women have worked hard to feel comfortable in their skin again, they want beautiful lingerie to reflect that.  And I’m not even going into women who have had a reconstruction. I don’t feel qualified to discuss anything about reductions are lump removal, but I am sure there is a similar feeling about wanting to feel beautiful too.

Continuing from the linked post, “You have raised an interesting point, one of which we are torn by as it is really difficult for us to know where to draw the line regarding surgery, as there are so many different cases. Each competition we hope to find a solution but, unfortunately, we have found no way around this rule to date and so have to have one rule across the board xxx”
So far nothing has changed from previous competitions. Still waiting for the support of diversity here. I’d actually love to know what has been considered for a solution.
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And the image above. A great way to show the stereotype women with implants are up against. The original commenter was unfairly judged by the second woman, someone she doesn’t even know. The comment was never addressed by the page, but I’m sure that the commenter will find that this negative attitude will reflect her chances of being considered. Comments like these are part of why this blog exists.

While we are on the subject, I’d like to suggest an edit to the about section of their Facebook page. It says, “We continue to champion curves through our annual Star in a Bra modeling competition, which searches for the new Face and body of the brand. The competition celebrates healthy curves, diversity and is open to anyone who can wear our bras.”
I suggest the following, changes in bold, which I feel would be a more accurate description of SIAB.
“We continue to champion curves through our annual Star in a Bra modeling competition, which searches for the new Face and body of the brand. The competition celebrates natural curves, (remove word diversity) and is open to any woman who can wear our bras.”

*Special thanks goes to another blogger who helped me do some legal research on this subject. She knows who she is. 🙂

Post Op Bra Research Survey

Hi everyone!! I hope that you can all take a few minutes to help out. Please see the request below from Alison.

Hi, my name is Alison and I’m in my second year, studying Contour design at DMU. I’m currently working on a project, where I will be using a special type of silicone and support bra in order to help support and heal breasts after surgery. I, myself have had a breast augmentation and understand the problems that occur with the support bra, and the discomfort that it can cause. If anyone has had a breast reduction, uplift or augmentation, please could you take two minutes to fill in my survey as it will be a great help within my research.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KRY7X5S

 

Be honest and help her out!!  Designers with personal experience are the best way to really have needs understood and met.

 

Panache Sports Bra

This bra was provided by Large Cup Lingerie. All opinions are my own. Unfortunately the pink is out of stock, but they do have the black, grey, & white. I’m sure that the will also carry the next set of fashion colors. The Panache Sport is currently 38£, which at current exchange is $60.

This review was a long time coming. I tested this bra in every way I could to see what it would be great for or not so great for. I put it through the wringer!
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Let’s start with sizing. I have sizing issues with this bra. No matter what I do I cannot get the gore to sit flat. I seem to need a 28GG 1/2. The 28GG is a touch small, the 28H is a touch big. It’s still functional in either size, but I may pick one size over the other depending on the needs. I have tried the black in 28GG and the pink in 28H. There is some sizing difference between the band lengths of the two. Sorry for the messy bed picture!

Black 28GG, pink 28H

Black 28GG, pink 28H

It is not really visible from the size view, but I have a tiny bit of emptiness at the deepest part of the cup. But only on my smaller side (right), the left is OK. The wire width is also visible here, which you can see is too wide for me. Pretty much every wire is too wide, but it is comfortable. That is my priority when it comes to wire width.

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The reason for the comfort is probably the padded wire. The picture below shows the wire and the bend of the padded wire casing. To me this is pretty important for consideration outside the activewear purposes. For women who may need to wear an underwire after a breast surgery I would highly suggest this one. The padded underwire is ideal for sore and healing breasts. It won’t be perfect, you’ll still be uncomfortable, but it will most likely be much more comfortable than a normal wire bra. Side wing and wire

I don’t really think you can see it here, but this shows the front seam that curves down and around the cup. This gives the bra a seamless shape under many clothing items, but I’m not totally sure of its purpose. I do not know anything about bra construction so I won’t make any assumptions for what it is for. Front of bra

The inside of the cup is completely seamless. This is great for when you have sweaty boobs. Personally I do not find this material to be extra absorbing, but it does OK. If you are a heavy sweater you should expect to soak through. With working out I tend to have skin fluctuations. So any seams can dig in and be very uncomfortable. No problems with the cups and seeming, I find that very appealing in this bra. Inside of the cup

The underwire does not go up the entire center front of the bra. It does go a little high for me personally, but many women do not have complaints about the heights. It does not work well for my close-set boobs, I just do not have the space for the wires to squish in there to sit flat. The floating gore does seem to change the support factor, but more on that below.

Center Gore

The back of the bra is a standard hook/eye closure with straight straps. There is a hook that can be used to convert this to a racer back. If I could figure out how to hook it while on or how to wiggle into it with the straps hooked. Is it even possible or do I need a bra buddy to hook me in?
Back of the bra

Something random that I noticed, the underarm area. Depending on what I am doing the cup/strap area will dig because it is too high. But I also get the underarm fat look which makes it look like it is too low. No idea what is going on with that. Here you can also see a close up of the straps, which are also nicely padded. Another great feature to see in sports bras.

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Last but not least, clothing. I usually wear some kind of basic tank. The one below is a cheapy from Forever 21. The bra shows both from the side and from the front. But that is from the design of the tank, not the fault of the bra. Any less coverage in the underarm/sideboob area would not be enough coverage.
20130909-153636.jpgSo what did I use this bra for, how did it do, and why?

Hiking- A+ This bra was amazing while hiking. No shifting, comfortable, supporting. Perfect under hiking clothes.

Tossing wood- B+ I tested this while stacking wood for this winter. It did great except I noticed shifting with twisting movements. That is probably because the back could be more firm on me.

Running/stair running- C This just did not work for me as a high impact bra. I think part of that is because the floating gore. The rest is because this bra is an encapsulation style sports bra, no compression. Most full bust bras in this size range will be encapsulation. Because I have breast implants my needs are a bit different. I need some compression to limit bounce. More on that in a future post on working out with breast implants.

Sleeping- A I can sleep easily in this bra. I don’t mind sleeping in wires, but many women will not. I do have some issues with the wire digging with certain bending movements, this is because the bra band and the bend of my waist are very close together.

Weight training/calisthenics B+ The only reason this does not get an A for me is because the previously mentioned wire digging and shifting with twisting movements. I have digging of the wires with sit ups or crunches, shifting of the back band with oblique twists.

Post operative (ungraded) I would have loved to have had this bra when I had to have a revision. I wore an underwire bra after one week. I would have loved to have a padded wire! If anyone has any thoughts on this please let me know, I’d love to add that to the review!

September Happenings

Hey everyone!! Welcome to the month of September. I wanted to share with you some posts that are planned, partially because I’m excited, partially because I want you guys to get excited.

Panache Sport, photo from Large Cup Lingerie

Panache Sport, photo from Large Cup Lingerie

Fussy Busty has started a series Fit & Active September. This will include posts sports bras and active wear, but also working out with boobs. Several bloggers are participating, so there will be a ton of variety for every reader. I plan on jumping in to talk about working out with breast implants, sharing how I like to work out, sports bras for different breast needs, a review of the Panache Sport in pink from Large Cup Lingerie and possibly revisiting my Freya Active review for some post pregnancy updates.

Gorgeous by Debenhams Strapless, photo from Debenhams

Gorgeous by Debenhams Strapless, photo from Debenhams

Sounds like a lot, but there is more!! It’s September, and that means it’s time to start planning Halloween costumes and dress shopping for holiday dresses. And that means special occasion bras. Courtesy of the wonderfull Debenhams & Simply Be, I’ll be able to talk about a few special occasion bras that will hopefully help make your costume and dress options a bit bigger. As many of these options are not easily found in the US I wanted to get things started early. So you’ll be looking at a review for a strapless from the Debenhams Gorgeous line and the Gossard Ooh La La Corselet from Simply Be.

Gossard Ooh La La Corselet from Simply Be, photo from Simply Be.

Gossard Ooh La La Corselet from Simply Be, photo from Simply Be.

Some of you may be thinking, but Chrystal those bras do not come in your size. I have an explanation for that too. I’ve been talking with other bloggers, and then made this bratabase post. I am going to be exploring some different fits and rotating out my fit issues to see what I find to be most comfortable in a longer term. I tend to end up getting rid of or reselling bras quickly, I need a solution for more comfortable long-term wear.

Return of the Rhea

*These items were sent to me by Large Cup Lingerie. All opinions are my own.

Large Cup Lingerie held a twitter giveaway recently, and while I did not win, the did graciously send me this Rhea set to review. I want to start by telling you what I love about LCL. They are fun, take a look at their twitter and Pinterest. They interact with their customers, in fact if you can’t find something just ask because the may be able to help. The have free international shipping. Their prices are great. I could keep going here. But on to the bra.

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LCL sent the bra (with a second) wrapped nicely in pink tissue and boxed to prevent the bra from being squished. Huge plus for me. A bra shipped from a US retailer may survive and envelope, but international shipping in an envelope is risky. They matching shorts were not immediately available, and were sent separately after they were located. The envelope with the shorts actually came a day before the box, that’s customs for you.

If you’ve read my previous review of the Rhea, you’ll know it is a bra I love. While I was pregnant and nursing I was sized out though. While I loved my nursing boobs, I was insanely excited to shrink back down the smidgen I needed to fit back into the Rhea. Pre pregnancy I had the Antique color way, this one is the black. There are minor differences in fit between the two, most likely due to the fact that the dark black dye can cause some fabric shrinkage.

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I LOVE this set. Seriously. I don’t have any matching sets right now, I’m still getting rid of what fit while nursing, what fit while pregnant, and what fit before. I couldn’t just nicely fit into any of those sizes. So having this matching set is wonderful. Not only because it matches, but because the entire thing is so comfortable, while being gorgeous.
Some people think that black lingerie gets old. But on a pasty pale girl like me it works wonderfully. I have a slight yellow base to my skin tone, so some colors do not work well on me. Photos disguise this well, but in person it’s not alway pretty. This black is a nice true black (which means it shows dog hair like crazy), it really accents itself by matching the details. There is no slight color differences between the body of the bra and the detailing. High five on that one, Masquerade! I really dislike when dyes just don’t match up between fabric types on a solid color garment.
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I love the half cup style, vertical seams work well for me. This style of bra is the kind that can make my augmented breasts look augmented. It can be a bit minimizing for projection as the cup is created with more lifting room then projection room. The wires are not what I’d call wide or narrow, kind of a middle of the road fit. The open top of the cup really leaves room for some upper boob, so some ladies who are sized out may be able to squeeze into the next size down.

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Here’s where we get to my two complaints about this bra, both of which are about the straps. First, they are widely placed. Definitely an armpit strap look. Second they loosen easily. That is because they are made from the same material as the bra, which is wonderfully soft and silky. But when your bra straps start sliding because they have loosened, not so good.

Now on to the matching short. It could not get a good picture of the detailing on these, the black on black makes it hard to photograph with my limited skills. I’ll start by saying that I could happily wear these every day. I’d like one pair for every day of the week. They are so comfortable on me. I seem to be just between sizes, I went with a (UK) 10 based on LCL’d recommendation. So if you need help with sizing for a particular product, ask. Seriously, Laura is a wonderful and sweet lady, she will help you out! The 8 definitely would have cut in at the flank area, but still have fit. I like the smoother line of the 10. I expected the material to shift when wearing because it is so silky, no problem with that. Just soft sexy comfort. I’d really like a bunch more.

20130826-175352.jpg Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll have to contact Panache. After just a few wears this is what happened. I know it isn’t a problem with the design or fit, I have this bra in another color way. The band on this bra is slightly firmer, but not enough to cause pulled eyes. So I’m sure it’s just a product defect.
My little blog helper. 🙂 I guess a bra is a great toy.20130827-164035.jpg

Until you cannot get it off your head. 20130827-164043.jpg

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