I know more often than not we make wishlists for things that actually exist (that we generally wind up impulse-purchasing in a moment of weakness– wait, just me?), but having just come from Lingerie World Extravaganza Expo All the Lingerie Ever February 2013, I’ve been looking at my wardrobe, my lingerie drawer, and my shopping options with an ever-more-critical eye. I’ve been ruthless about my wardrobe lately; pruning things that no longer fit or flatter, eliminating “fast fashion” pieces that last three wears or fall out of style quickly, and seeking out clothes that are cut to fit me, rather than forcing a sort-of-but-not-quite fit. Thanks to some re-migrated breast tissue my bust is fuller than it used to be, and thanks to pole dancing my shoulders are stronger and a bit broader than they were five years ago. The clothes I’ve worn for 5-10 years are tired and no longer fit. I’m sick of too-short skirts, tops that don’t fit my shape, cardigans that gape, and synthetics. I don’t necessarily follow fashion “rules” like no-short-skirts-past-20 or big-boobs-can’t-wear-high-necklines, but I do evaluate any new clothing item very, very carefully, thinking about how I’ll feel by the end of a work day. Will I still love it, or will I want to tear it off and reach for a t-shirt?
My lingerie is the same. It’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes we have to wear a new bra for a full day before we realize it’s not a match made in heaven. At that point, of course, you can’t return it, and you’ve sunk $40+. With time and practice you get better at recognizing a good fit from the get-go, but it can be supremely frustrating trying to build a supportive, complete lingerie wardrobe and figure out what brands fit you at the same time.
As winter is beginning to trickle away sloooowly, I’m evaluating the holes in my regular wardrobe and my lingerie wardrobe, and I’m beginning to think about some budgeting. The bad news is, there are lots of things I’d love to add to my wardrobe. My sense of style and fit is stronger than it’s ever been before. The good news is, none of the things I’d like to add to my wardrobe exist in the full-bust market! Woohoo! Wait.
Look, some of these things exist, or they’re starting to exist. In many cases, however, I’m still waiting for a perfect fit, rather than a this-almost-works fit.
Oh my god, WHAT is the holdup with a G+ longline bra? Seriously, this trend has been happening for the last three years, it’s here to stay (I hope), and yet it’s still mostly trapped in the 30-38 A-G size range (Fussy Busty and Windie (picture below) provide reviews of Freya’s most recent iteration of their half-cup longline). Why is everyone married to a padded half-cup shape as the only cup shape available to slap a longline band on? It doesn’t support as many sizes, and frankly I don’t really LIKE padded half cups. Elomi is getting there with their Roxy style for Spring/Summer, but even that’s only planned to go up to HH. What about smaller-backed G-K customers? WANT.
When I spoke with the Freya rep at CurveNY she confirmed that Freya is expanding their cup size range for their half-cups (to an H), but G+ longlines (especially non-padded) are still but a dream (also, Eveden brands don’t play well with my shape). Bravissimo, the ball’s in your court. Your basque is amazing, now just shorten it.
After talking with a few retailers, I can sort of see why the trend has been a little slow to reach the G+ market: you have to keep a bra’s hanger appeal in mind, and a 34HH or 30K longline bra is going to look like A LOT OF BRA. If you’re just opening a woman’s eyes to life past DD, she might take one look and balk (she might also be stuck in the mindset of “lingerie must be sexy for men and men won’t like this”. First of all, lingerie CAN be sexy, but sexiness is not its raison d’etre, and secondly, you are the one who wears it. If it makes YOU feel good, that’s the important thing). I think, though, that with the explosive growth of the lingerie markets in the last decade, increased public awareness of different styles, and more fashion-conscious women looking for lingerie that fits their personal style, G+longlines would be a good bet for a designer. At the end of the day, a good, firm, deep band with 6 or more hooks (and even some light side boning) would feel so, so glorious for women in the G+ size range. Our boobs are heavy. Support comes from the band. Help us hold them up, please.
Strapless basque: I suspect Bravissimo might be working towards this, as they’re selling their own strapless bra up for F-J cups now, but I would love a strapless/convertible bra with a longer line, or even a strapless basque. I very much want to wear halter dresses and strapless dresses and tops this summer, on account of pole-dancing arms, but so many halter dresses have elasticized backs that bunch up unattractively over a good firm strapless bra band (I confess to some middle-torso smoosh contributing to this). Bravissimo’s Lola Luxe basque is light and breathable, yet still smoothing, and a strapless/convertible basque or longline with that kind of figure flattery would be worth its weight in gold.
More interesting matching knickers and accessories: I get it, I get it. Bikini + Thong. They are the classics, and I don’t want them to go away. HOWEVER! Look at what Claudette is doing. Look at Parfait. They still offer bikinis and thongs, but they are also offering SO MUCH MORE. High waist knickers, suspenders, ruffles, shorts, skirted thongs, tap pants, tangas. Some days (and some times of the month) you just want a comfy giant pair of underpants. I would adore it if they were also cute and matched my bras.
Prints: Oh my gosh, this topic came up recently in a discussion amongst some of my fellow bloggers, and their suggestions are AMAZING. Seriously, take a look at this list and tell me you don’t also want bras like this:
From Quest for the Perfect Bra: Old school botanical prints, cats, tiny whales, galaxy print
From Bras I Hate and Love: Polka dots, tiny animals like whales, cats, and dogs, snowflakes, and Fair Isle
From The Lingerie Lesbian: Hieronymous Bosch prints
From Sophia Jenner: Tiny boats, tiny tigers [zomg tiny tigers would be so cute! -Ed.], tiny ponies (sensing a theme? we were all pretty gung-ho on tiny animals)
From Les Gros Bonnets: Tiki prints or deep green jungle foliage
From Braless in Brasil: Space ships, race cars, superheroes
Lingerie is able to be so much more than the beige/black/pink floral-lacey things we put on under our clothes. There are so many creative people working in this industry now, and some wonderfully fashion-forward offerings are available even at budget price points. It can really be an expression of personal style, the more so since you can hide it under your uniform or business clothes. Why NOT have a little fun with it? I definitely don’t want florals or lace to go away (never leave me, lace), and Freya and Cleo have made some headway in the full-bust print department, but I think we can do more.
Loungewear: The scene is getting better, I’m just crabby and want more.
I want to see babydolls (Cleo and Curvy Kate are the first out of the gate with this one, with J-cup and K-cup babydolls, respectively, on the horizon for the end of the year), chemises, rompers, bodysuits, tank tops, pajama sets, the works, all designed to fit and/or support a larger bust. In particular, I’d love a high-quality jersey robe with enough room in the bust to wrap around me completely and STAY wrapped. I also wouldn’t say no to a fitted long silk kimono with dramatically enormous sleeves, and I believe my stance on floofy robes is well-known at this point.
Baddassery: If you are a full-bust lady, especially in the G+ range, your style options are much more limited than your smaller-busted counterparts’. Don’t get me wrong, IT’S SO MUCH BETTER than it used to be. I still feel so sorry for Teenage Sweets. She had the worst underwear, bless her heart. However, if kitschy prints, florals, lace, dots, and other girly/womanly/super feminine styles aren’t your cup of tea, your options are pretty much non-existent unless you go for custom-made.
I’d love to see full-bust versions of FYI by Dani Read, VPL, Marlies Dekkers, Lascivious and other high-end, edgy, sophisticated lingerie lines– something with a darker, fiercer bite, something a little sportier, or something a little more androgynous. I love the feminine frills, of course, but not every full-bust woman is born with an innate desire to look like a pin-up girl or a Gibson Girl. I’d like to see more options available.
I was going to include clothes, but I’ve been living at the office this week and haven’t had time to blog, and anyway this post has gone on long enough, don’t you think? We’ll tackle clothes soon. What would YOU most like to see in the full-bust market? Is there anything you absolutely love that you think is missing, or that you think would find an eager customer base?