CurveNY Spring/Summer 2014 Trend Report: Shapes, Styles, and Sizes

After covering some of the colors on the horizon for Spring/Summer 2014, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the shapes and styles that are headed our way. Obviously this in-depth, hard-hitting, sophisticated fashion journalism is skewed a little by my interest in full-bust brands and by who showed what at the New York City events, so I would LOVE to hear from people who have other reports to share!

"Hopscotch" padded longline bra by Freya, 28-38 D-G

“Hopscotch” padded longline bra by Freya, 28-38 D-G

If I had to come up with a name to apply to the major trend I spotted, it would be Updated Retro. Longline bras, bustiers, basques, suspender belts, seamed stockings and the like have really come back with a vengeance over the last couple of years, after the dominance of the low-rise boyshort and thong. It’s possibly attributable to TV (frequently cited: Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey), possibly to the rise of vintage and rockabilly fashions and the rebirth of burlesque, but for whatever reason, the lingerie landscape has become increasingly diverse. I feel like I used to see push-up bras, t-shirt bras, minimizer bras, thongs, and briefs as wardrobe staples, and now I see women building lingerie wardrobes that are strongly aligned with the rest of their personal style. Over the last few years “retro” lingerie has focused heavily on a sweet, pin-up aesthetic, and I’m starting to see brands maintain the new-old shapes while updating the fabrics, colors, and prints.

Much like high-waist briefs (more later), tap pants are really starting to return. Designed to hit at the waist or slightly lower, and often made of fine materials like silk or silk chiffon, cut on the bias, tap pants offer a little more coverage and a more relaxed feel. They’re a good bridge between loungewear and lingerie looks, and I’ve heard tell that they’re a lifesaver under fuller skirts on windy days. I saw some from Secrets in Lace and Dottie’s Delights, which are obviously retro/vintage inspired, and I also saw them from Nevaeh, Uye Surana, and Mimi Holliday. Coordinating pieces like camisoles and half-slips are also starting to come back.

Tap Pants for Spring Summer 2014

Clockwise from top left: Secrets in Lace, Nevaeh, Uye Surana, Uye Surana

Updated Retro for Spring/Summer 2014

Clockwise from top left: Rococo Dessous, Mimi Holliday, Mimi Holliday.

I’m relieved to see that higher-waisted knickers are also here to stay! I don’t know why it took me so long to try them, but sweet goodness they are comfortable. I’m adamantly anti-thong (I know lots of women adore them, but they aren’t for me personally), and I don’t love the feeling of super low-cut bikinis, so shorts and briefs with a higher rise that won’t wriggle around and require adjusting are AMAZING. My first few pairs were boring giant cotton ones, but I was thrilled to see such a fun assortment of styles and colors, both from lingerie lines and from swim collections!

High waists for Spring/Summer 2014

Clockwise from top left: Parfait, Sculptresse (getting in on the orange trend we noticed earlier), Dottie’s Delights, Huit (love), Sunday Intimates

Longline bras have really become the darlings of lingerie fans. Some like them for the pin-up effect, others for the fantastic support the deeper band offers, others for the smoothing coverage. Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled they’ve stuck around long enough to start showing up in full-bust and full-figure brands. I’m relieved to see Elomi is bringing the style back: the current season’s “Roxy” bra itself is fantastic, but I don’t love the print. 2014’s version is … well, I like it a little better, but why does it have to be so girly and safe? More sophistication please! Freya’s longlines show no signs of stopping (though they also show no signs of moving away from the padded half cup shape), Claudette is getting in on the action, and even bikinis are feeling the longline love! Cleo’s swim collection really impressed, and I was delighted to see a great expansion of their size ranges for swim.

Longline bras for Spring/Summer 2014

Clockwise from top left: Elomi, Angela Friedman, Fauve, Noe Undergarments, Cleo Swim, Fortnight Lingerie, Cleo Swim, Freya. Center: Claudette.

Finally, I saw lots of prints and designs that harken back to vintage styles, particularly in swim. From kitschy prints to color blocking, there are little nods to nearly every decade of the 20th century.

Updated Retro for Spring/Summer 2014

Clockwise from top left: nautical stripes from Cleo Swim, “Aztec” print from Cleo Swim, colorblocking from Panache Swim, pinstripes from Fantasie, nautical pindots from Panache Swim (including a swim dress), flirty ruched swimdress from Cleo Swim, high-waist brief and 80s print from Panache Swim, sweet blue floral from Panache. Center: cutesy striped bandeau tankini from Freya Swim.

In terms of sizes

Moving past a G-cup has made me hyper-aware of when brands stop some styles at a G but continue others. Obviously, there are some bras that just won’t fit as well or feel as good in fuller cup sizes, primarily molded cup and seamless bras, but I do like to pay attention to when a brand really knocks it out of the park, in terms of marrying design and support.

There was a little bit of mixed news. Freya, for example, seems to be scaling back some of their offerings: only one padded half-cup style will be available past a G-cup (Patsy), and many styles are stopping at an H-cup. While they’re introducing more B and C-cups, which I think is really wonderful, I noticed that the Active range now stops at an H-cup in both sports bras and swimwear. Panache Sport also stops at an H-cup, much to my surprise. That bra has taken the field by storm; surely that warrants looking into HH-J cups, at the very least. What a disappointment! What about the HH-K-cup women who want supportive athletic wear?

Masquerade remains primarily a D-G line, with a few styles going up to an H-cup. They’ve introduced a new bridal line up to an H-cup to replace Deity, which I’ll be interested to try, as well as maybe taking their lovely teal/black satin Utopia strapless bra up to an H (although the catalogue says “up to G” immediately above where it says “28-38 D-H”, so who knows?). I know padded/molded bras with lots of lift are Masquerade’s signature, but need the only two non-padded styles, Persia and Orla, be so boring?

After a successful but slightly timid 2013 launch, Cleo Swim’s second season really shines. There are more styles and bolder prints, and there are lots of different shapes that go past a G-cup. In general, it often feels like the only G+ swim option is a basic bikini, while the D-G options are more varied, but I was happy to see tankinis, one-piece suits, swim dresses, and the like available in wider size ranges, from Cleo Swim and other brands. One tankini, one longline bikini, and the  cute gathered swimdress have all moved up to H or J-cups (I’m not 100% crazy about the new print for the dress, but I’ll reserve judgment until I try it), and lots of the different ranges are designed to mix and match. G+ women may need to do a little research to figure out which pieces come in their sizes, but overall I’m really looking forward to (maybe, finally) taking a little beach vacation next year!

And that’s a wrap on Curve and LingerieFW! Do you like seeing these pieces way in advance, or is it frustrating? I kind of like seeing what’s to come, because it helps curb impulse shopping. Are there any brands you’d like more information about or more pictures? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do! Don’t forget to check out Miss Underpinnings, Hourglassy, The Full-Figured Chest, The Lingerie Lesbian, The Breast Life, and The Lingerie Addict for more coverage of the Spring/Summer 2014 collections.

17 Comments on CurveNY Spring/Summer 2014 Trend Report: Shapes, Styles, and Sizes

    • Sweets
      August 14, 2013 at 9:49 am (9 years ago)

      Haha, thank you! I feel like as soon as I hit publish I remember all sorts of things I forgot, but what can you do? 🙂

  1. WideCurves
    August 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m developing a serious crush on Mimi Holliday.

    I’m thrilled to see camisoles coming back.

    Not too thrilled with this Aztec themed print trend. We’re already making fun of the trend in AZ, btw. It’s going to get ugly before it’s over.

    • Sweets
      August 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm (9 years ago)

      Mimi Holliday is so, so pretty. Just . . . so pretty.

  2. nk161
    August 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm (9 years ago)

    Thank you for this post. I’m a bit disappointed with the change in size. I’ve advanced past H cups. I hope I can still find nice bras out there

    • Sweets
      August 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm (9 years ago)

      It’s a shame that the sports bra ranges have been cut back, but never fear! We saw some very pretty HH+ options from Freya, Cleo, Panache, and Elomi, not all of which I was able to include in these roundups. Panache and Cleo in particular have a great Spring season in store, so hopefully you’ll find something you love!

  3. Jessica
    August 16, 2013 at 9:36 am (9 years ago)

    agreed, I too feel just plain discouraged by the lack of beautiful choices for my size (jj cup). While I enjoy reading the posts and seeing the creativity for smaller sizes, mainly my thoughts are, “ok, another year of Panache Tango for me”. Seems like designers are staying in the been there done that range of up to H cup. Makes me wonder what ladies with larger cups than even I have do for lingerie!!!

    As for sports bras, I am loooooving Freya’s recent newer sports bra, which goes up to a K cup and is SO supportive!

    • Sweets
      August 16, 2013 at 10:09 am (9 years ago)

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for sharing how well Freya’s sports bras work for you– I will definitely recommend them to other ladies! I know that lots of the styles we love disappear after an H or a J-cup, but let me recommend Parfait, which has just expanded to K-cups for its Charlotte, Sophia, and Alexis styles, Panache’s Jasmine and Envy styles (Jasmine is one of my absolute favorite bras– the shape and support are incredible), Curvy Kate’s Princess, Portia, and Romance, and Bravissimo’s non-padded styles like Cherry Fling, Boudoir Beau, and Dotty Spot. I’ve heard from J, JJ, K and KK-cup wearers that these styles have all worked really well for them and look cute too! If you’ve tried these and they haven’t worked for you, or if you want recommendations for where to purchase them, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll do some more investigating– you deserve cute undies too!

  4. firelizard19
    August 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm (9 years ago)

    I love that the longlines are still surging, though it’s funny- some brands don’t seem to get that they need to be sized the same as other bras if there’s an underwire. I’ve seen longlines in various stores that are unlined, but have an underwire, but are sized S,M,L,XL, and they inevitably won’t work for full-busted women like me (band too big, cups too small). I saw this at Nordstrom, and at Forever 21, and a few other places. It’s odd- like the brands aren’t sure if they are just a bralette variation or a shirt or a real bra.

    Also, I can’t wait to see if Freya has fixed the problem you noted before (and I get as well) with the bottom front of the bra flipping up or scrunching up. I hope they’ve fixed that with the new season, but who knows? It drives me nuts, but I wear my beautiful longline from them anyway because it’s pretty, and I’m stubborn.

    • Sweets
      August 19, 2013 at 11:40 am (9 years ago)

      If I remember correctly, the longlines from Freya still have the silly flippy bands, while Elomi’s is lovely and boned and sensible. I’m still baffled that this hasn’t been fixed, but I guess they’re selling well enough that Freya doesn’t want to fix what ain’t broke, you know? It’s a shame!

  5. flirtylingerie2008
    August 20, 2013 at 1:23 am (9 years ago)

    It’s wonderful that what is old is new again but so much prettier! Tap pants are so
    comfortable too!

  6. M
    August 21, 2013 at 6:29 am (9 years ago)

    I am so in love with longline styles and high waisted underpants to match! So many of the nice ones don’t go down to a 28 though :/ hopefully enough of these will next season, really smitten with the purple and yellow combination in the Mimi Holliday number

  7. Bizzy
    August 22, 2013 at 10:57 am (9 years ago)

    “Obviously, there are some bras that just won’t fit as well or feel as good in fuller cup sizes, primarily molded cup and seamless bras,”

    Why is it that molded cups won’t work for larger breasts? I think its possible, just no one has figured it out. I am a UK H cup and I would kill for a decent molded cup. I find it odd that in the riskier large cup market they are coming out with more experimental styles like longlines and retro inspired bras. These are great too but why have basics been overlooked. I mostly just wear my Jasmines now but if I could find a good molded cup I’d buy a bunch. I’ve tried Elomi smoothing but there 34 band is just too big and the cups splay my boobs to the side. Curvy Kate Smoothie goes in my armpits and in truth I need a bigger cup which they don’t make. Dominique now goes to an I cup on their Maxine seamless (4500) bra. It was fabulous but sadly I need one or two cups higher. I just order the Parfait Charlotte in the new sizes. Even if it works it still is not the plain smooth cup I’m looking for. Also I ordered Fit Fully Yours Maxine molded which goes to a J cup (US). That might be a little small but its worth a shot. I hope that company expands because they are making some great basics. I would love a smooth molded bra that I could buy in many colors and patterns, similar to the selection VS customers get. Why can’t anyone make this happen?

    • Sweets
      August 22, 2013 at 11:38 am (9 years ago)

      Bizzy, it’s a really, really good question, and one that I know is common. There are lots of reasons why it’s harder for brands to offer molded cups in fuller cup sizes, but one of the main reasons is that, while it’s absolutely possible to offer the correct cup volume, the bra will not “work” as well as a seamed bra will. What I mean by that is that the shape, feel, and support will differ dramatically from a seamed bra. It’s easier to show than to describe, but I’ll give it a whirl: think about cupping one hand to hold water. You can start small and slowly add more and more water, but at a certain point you’ll max out the volume of water that particular shape and size will be able to hold. If you want to hold more water in one hand, you’d have to magically make your hand bigger, but even then the depth of the curve won’t really change, and you’d be spreading the water out over a greater area. Now join your two cupped hands. You’ll be able to hold a deeper pool of water, but you’ve acheived that by adding a “seam”, the join between your two curved hands. If you’re just using one curved piece of material, you can theoretically make it bigger and bigger, but you’ll be spreading the curve out over a greater surface area. This is happening to you a little bit in the Elomi bra: that side splay you noticed occurs because there aren’t enough curved panels and seams in the bra to help shape and hold the breast tissue, and its also the reason the CK Smoothie feels like it’s going into your armpits. The more seams and curved pieces of fabric you add, the more projection and depth you can offer without spreading the cup out wider and wider.

      The other piece of the puzzle is the fact that seams add strength and lift to a cup. You could, of course, with enough heat and enough technological know-how, mold a piece of fabric to achieve a super-projected shape with narrow wires. It would droop horribly though and kind of flop over on itself. A vertical seam coming out from the bottom of the cup on your Jasmine bra helps stabilize and lift breast tissue and tell it to go up, as does the outer-most panel of a balcony bra, which usually attaches to the bra strap. Seams are stiffer and stronger than the fabric around them, and they act like pillars to help the cup keep its shape and direct breast tissue.

      Unfortunately, for those of us who wear GG+ sizes, there will always be a bit of a choice between a perfectly smooth cup or a perfectly projected shape. You might try Elomi’s “Hermione” style, which goes up to an HH cup, just to see if the shape it offers you feels and looks better than the “Smoothing” did. In terms of seamed bras, Jasmine is the lowest-profile I’ve found. I’ve worn mine under jersey dresses and tops without only the barest hint of seams showing, and Panache’s “Envy” range will offer the same shape and construction as Jasmine in basic colors for even more invisibility.

      Does this help? If not, let me point you towards two ladies who really helped me understand the issue, Erica of A Sophisticated Pair and Claire of Butterfly Collection. Erica has great posts here: and, and Claire has a delightful video here as well as a blog post here: . I’m always on the lookout for both low-profile seamed bras and well-shaped molded bras, so if I discover anything more I will be sure to share it!

      • Bizzy
        August 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm (9 years ago)

        Thanks for the great descriptive reply. I’m a seam convert for sure since I’ve entered the realm of GG+. I definitely have my eye on the Envy. The Jasmine has been a life saver for me. I guess I’m just an optimist and will never give up hope that I will one day be able to wear a molded cup again. Love your blog btw and thanks for the references.

        • Sweets
          August 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm (9 years ago)

          You’re very welcome, and thank YOU for reading!


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