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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.