Let’s talk about some lingerie-loungewear hybrid pieces. Take, for example, this lovely chemise by Only Hearts (gorgeous lingerie, loungewear, and clothing designed and manufactured in NYC!):
It’s soft and draping with an easy sensuality. There’s no corset to be laced or bows or knots to be untied or boning or wires or stiff satins. It has a pretty, relaxed elegance to it. As a full-bust woman, I look at it admiringly from afar. Those tiny little triangle cups? Yeah. Not gonna happen.
Or what about these beauties from Mimi Holliday?
These are some classic lingerie pieces, rendered in elegant silk and lace. It’s the sort of lingerie you wear when you’re the heroine of some epic 1930s romance on a trans-Atlantic steamer voyage from New York to Paris and you’re a wealthy heiress WITH A SECRET and you’re engaged to some kind of cruddy rich (but Spoiler! GASP it turns out in the end he’s broke and was only after you for your money!) dude but there’s this young scamp of a newspaper reporter on board and he’s IMPERTINENT and prying because he just wants to uncover a big story and make his name but he’s also brave and charming and kind and so you two feel an irresistable attraction to each other and then there’s a MYSTERY of some kind to solve and there’s also dancing at some point and you realize he’s the one for you (lovable scamp, not cruddy rich dude). Hijinks probably ensue. I’m just brainstorming here. But there’s definitely champagne and long gloves and silk underthings involved. And hats.
When I look at pieces like this, it’s usually through a haze of envy, because there is no way in creation they will fit and flatter my boobs. No way. I love wearing really gorgeous, structured lingerie pieces, and I love my bras, and I figured that was that. Certain lingerie pieces were for me, others weren’t, and I’d just have to deal with it.
Enter Diana St. Louis, designer and creator of Bijte, and all-around awesome lady.
I first heard of Bijte (Beezh’-tay, a play on the French “bijoux”) when I read Holly Jackson’s article at The Full-Figured Chest and Darlene Campbell’s article at Hourglassy. I was intrigued, and, I confess, a bit confused. My understanding of lingerie and nightwear for the full bust market was that sexy lingerie should be bra-sized, and that I would only ever feel comfortable or sexy in a garment with an underwire. When Darlene hosted the wonderful Busty Clothing Swap this past weekend, I got to meet and chat with Diana, who was offering a Bijte piece as one of the raffle prizes. A full-bust woman herself, she knows the pain of walking past the delicate silky and lacy chemises and camisoles, knowing that the skimpy tops will in no way contain our boobs, let alone support them! She created Bijte in response to that desire for delicacy.
The raffle prizes were extraordinary, and while I would have been happy to win any of them, I had my fingers crossed for something new. When I won the Bijte raffle I’m afraid I squealed obnoxiously.
Diana sized me up and suggested I try the silk chiffon and charmeuse halter babydoll. She explained that because of my height and broad back and shoulders, the halter design was going to fit more comfortably than one of the pieces with a classic camisole top, and the back would be less likely to ride up or “dump” my boobs out. Even though the sample I tried was a size smaller than she recommended, I was blown away. The piece she chose for me is a beautiful, vibrant peachy pink silk chiffon, trimmed in silk charmeuse ribbons that tie at the nape of the neck and the back, with a skirt fluttering to fall just below the rear.
Each design is slightly different, allowing the customer to choose the shapes that suit her tastes. All of the pieces are trimmed with delicate silver butterflies, and almost all of them come in a lovely Ivory, which would make stunning bridal lingerie. This cami, in particular, which Miss Underpinnings got to try and review, is very, very cool.
Seriously, I would never in a million years have thought something like this existed for the full-bust customer. The vertical drawstring allows you to cinch the center front for a little less coverage and a little more lift, or you can loosen it, as you prefer.
All pieces are available in sizes Small (plus), Medium (plus), and Large (plus), as well as coordinating briefs, shorts, and thongs in sizes S, M, and L. That “(plus)” is there to indicate that the size allows for full busts; customers should match the S, M, L sizes as best as possible to their general clothing size. While the Bijte website promises good fit for sizes 4-14, C-F cups, I personally haven’t seen an F cup in lo these many years. Even though nothing will give you the oomph of a wired bra, I still felt fully contained and supported by the chiffon cups. I would estimate that women who wear up to H-cups may be able to find a good fit, depending on their preferences, shape and band size.
Is there as much support as in a wired bra? Well, no, of course not. My boobs are heavy, and underwires are my friend. But I do feel undeniably lifted and “in place”, which is all I ask for comfort, and the silks are bias-cut for stretch, while still providing a lot of strength. This isn’t wear-under-a-dress-and-strut-around-town lingerie, it’s recline-on-a-divan-and-order-another-champagne lingerie. Works for me!
A huge thank you to Diana, for meeting me tonight and bringing me my lovely prize in the correct size, and another huge thank you to Darlene of Hourglassy for hosting the Busty Clothing Swap and the incredible raffle. I was delighted to meet and do some bra gossip with Diana, to talk to her about the creation of Bijte, and to observe her obvious passion for the pieces she’s created. Being fitted by her was a real pleasure; she made me feel as lovely as garments themselves. She has really created the lingerie I never knew I wanted, and I’m thrilled beyond reason to have a piece of my own. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go introduce it to my marabou slippers, and then I have a trans-Atlantic steamer to catch.
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Bijte is made in the USA. It is available to order online, and available to try on and purchase in-person at Iris Lingerie in Brooklyn. I received my babydoll as a raffle prize; all opinions and evaluations are my own.