Monday, July 30, 2012

Introduction 2 - My Clothing Experience

Hi! I'm back for my second post!

This time I'm going to be talking about my experience with clothes, and how difficult it can be to dress the curvy hourglass figure.

I mentioned in my last post that at the age of 16, I had a growth spurt of the bust almost overnight, and because of that, my entire wardrobe no longer seemed to suit me.

Not only was it no longer functional (buttons popped open, dresses would not zip up, shirts would squish me or not pull down all the way), it was also no longer flattering.

The styles in my closet which had once suited my more slender hourglass figure, now made me look heavier than I actually was, or - to my horror - even bustier!

A turtleneck sweater-dress that had fit me like a dream only one year earlier suddenly made me look disproportionately top-heavy. Not only that - it was suddenly too short! And I mean, Britney-Spears-Coming-Out-of-a-Limo short. I hadn't gotten taller. No, still a 5"2 munchkin. What had actually happened was that my chest took up extra inches of fabric, making the hem of the dress about 3 inches shorter. And trust me, 3 inches can be the difference between a cute little dress, and a cute little butt peeking out of that dress.

As for clothes that added pounds, looser tops and dresses that had once draped over my figure, now only draped over my bust, adding inches of empty space to the front and sides of my stomach. My torso looked like a perfect square.

Over the years, through a lot of research (and trial and error), I began to understand the shapes and cuts that worked for my tricky figure. Unfortunately, these things are difficult to find in mainstream retail stores.

That is why my upcoming blogs will give tips on what to look for, where to go, and what alterations to make for the curvy and/or hourglass figure (and perhaps the petite figure, as well!)

My next few posts will be reviews of two excellent online stores based in Poland. Biubiu and Urkye both have a phenomenal sizing system which takes into account both your bust measurement and your waist measurement. In my opinion, it is far superior to the S, M, L system typically found in mainstream retail, which assumes that if two women are a Medium, they have the exact same waist and bust measurements. Ridiculous, non?

I also plan to talk about thrift shopping, which can be surprisingly successful!

Here is a dress that I found at Value Village:

I will explain why this dress (and a few other thriftstore items I've nabbed) are flattering in an upcoming post!

Introduction - My Bra Experience

Hi! My name is Ally. I'm 21 years old and I'm an aspiring artist.

To be honest, I've never really blogged before, save for when I was 11 years old and my best friend and I slapped together a couple of beauty sites. Still, we ripped everything off of Cosmogirl (ahh, the days of innocence).

Ten years later, I'm taking another stab at it, except now I have both personal experience and a thorough understanding of plagiarism :P.

Let me elaborate on the personal experience: it all started in the 12th grade, when I had a localized growth spurt. Where was it, you ask? In my bra. Suddenly I was "well endowed".

I was still wearing my sister's C-cup hand-me-down bras when it became evident that something was wrong; I was uncomfortable and spilling out of them. I figured that I needed new bras that weren't stretched out, so I went to a lingerie store near my house named Change. As fate would have it, this store specialized in larger bra sizes.

When I approached the salewoman, she asked me if I knew my size. I confidently answered, "34 C". She looked me up and down, smiled with sheer amusement, and replied, "There is no way you're a 34 C, hunny". 

I ended up buying a 30 F bra that day. I was stunned - how could this have happened? Why was my size so abnormal? I had never heard of anyone having a 30 F cup in my life. What's worse, they warned me that I really needed a 28 band, which even specialty stores did not carry in my cup size. Not only was every mainstream, relatively cheap bra store like Victoria Secret or La Senza off-limits to me, but even the expensive stores that specialized in uncommon sizes could not help me.

I tried to console myself with the knowledge that my 30 F bras still fit, and that after all, it was just a number/letter - albeit an expensive one.

But soon I grew even larger, and the F cups just didn't fit anymore. I also began noticing that the 30 band didn't seem to be supportive enough for my comfort or my appearance. I began looking high and low for 28 bands in larger cup sizes, but no store seemed to carry them. I couldn't even find 30 bands in sizes larger than an F.

Desperate for a bra that - at the very least - fully encased my breasts, I bought a few 34 DD's at La Senza. Because the bands were so incredibly loose, though, the straps had to take on full responsibility for supporting the weight of my chest. Obviously this caused a number of problems, from shoulder pain to a sagging silhouette.

Feeling frustrated and isolated, I began my search for a better bra again. I ended up finding a 30 FF at a high-end specialty store, which I shelled out around 200 dollars for. The band was still too loose, but due to my lack of options, I wore the bra practically every day.

Obviously, the straps and the band quickly stretched out, and the bra looked awful on me. 200 dollars for one month's worth of a kind-of-okay bra? Screw that.

I pretty much gave up on high end stores, and ended up wearing the same stretched out bra - the only one I owned that was vaguely comfortable and flattering - practically every day for a year.

Then one day, during one of my google-browsing sessions, I came across Bravissimo. Bravissimo is a reasonably-priced bra store in England that targets women with larger busts, while also carrying smaller band sizes. I quickly ordered off of their website (they ship worldwide), and excitedly awaited my order.

Through some expensive trial and error (shipping prices there and back), I found my size: 28 G.

I was ecstatic and relieved to find cute bras (my other ones looked like the kind your great granny might give away to charity), which actually felt secure, fitted, and comfortable. I looked way better in my clothes, I felt a lot sexier in my underwear, I didn't have to worry about embarrassing pop-outs, I did not have aching, sore breasts by the end of the day, and there were no more wires scratching me.

After feeling disregarded by the lingerie industry for so long, and dealing with the consequences of ill-fitting bras, I feel it's important to help other women who are struggling with the same issues. We all deserve to feel confident, beautiful, and comfortable.

That is why I plan to write about my experiences and knowledge in this blog, which will hopefully help other women find their perfect bra.

Me in a my favourite bra: Deco by Freya (I was too cheap to buy the matching undies - but these pink and grey ones kinda work!)
I won't lie, it feels weird to put pictures of my body online, especially because I recently recieved some pretty nasty comments about my bust size. But the lovely, confident women of Thin and Curvy and The Curvy Kitten have inspired me to be happier in my own skin, and I'd like to do the same for others.

Stay tuned for an in-depth review of the Deco Bra!