Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Rock Tights Day and Night: Pretty Polly AW2014

Ever since being at school I've loved tights. We had to wear uniform but there was some wiggle room when it came to tights. They had to be opaque (so 40+ denier) but I could wear diamond patterns, pinstripe, dots and squares. Adding this bit of pattern to my outfit has stayed with me ever since and it still makes me happy to have fun and stylish legs!

This season's Pretty Polly tights have such a wide range of styles from sparkly party legs to sub-zero Calgary legs! Here are some ideas for dressing your legs up day and night.

Daytime Legs
I love that Pretty Polly thinks about real life as well as fashion. Most of North America is very cold in the winter so tights that help keep you warm is a genius idea! Pretty Polly Heat Sense Tights actively trap your body heat to keep your pins warm.

Pretty Polly has also thought of women who are on their feet a lot during the day. The Pretty Polly Legs on the Go Tights have a light compression woven into the nylon which eases aching and reduces swelling. The health benefits to compression are reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.
Left: Heatsense, Top Right: Legs on the Go 60D, Bottom Right: Legs on the Go Neutral 10D

Faux Stockings and Socks
Whether you like your hemlines short or long you can play around with the illusion of socks and stockings. I love wearing the Secret Socks collection with a denim skirt and long boots because I find the socks really comfortable in boots and you're not pulling up your socks every 10 minutes!

The faux suspender tights have been a long time favourite from Pretty Polly and I love the new Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights that have a medium control tummy panel for a smooth look under dresses and skirts.

Left: Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights, Top Right: Patterned Secret Socks, Bottom Right: Over the Knee Secret Socks

Day to Night Legs
During the party season there are occasions when you need to transition your day look to a night look without time to get changed. A bold pattern pair of tights can work in a professional environment and become a feature of a nighttime outfit with just a change of shoes.

This season I'm particularly in love with the Silk Cashmere Pointelle tights by Alice and Olivia.  They are so soft and work equally well with a simple LBD or a flamboyant skirt. The Retro Diamond tights and the Bow Backseam plus size tights are comfortable for everyday and more than stylish enough for a party or restaurant.

Left: Silk Cashmere Pointelle by Alice and Olivia, Top Right: Retro Diamond, Bottom Right: Bow Backseam
Party Legs
Plain and simple I adore the Pretty Polly Precious Jewel Backseam tights. They are comfortable and warm enough to keep out the night air but the sparkly backseam is a fabulous party touch! The Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights are so delicate and beautiful and particularly fabulous with a thigh split dress. The Darkly Floral opaque tights are warm and comfortable and the calf-high tattoo design at the back is an easy way to add a touch of flare to a simple black party dress.

Left: Precious Jewel Backseam, Top Right: Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights, Bottom Right: Darkly Floral
If you've never explored dressing up your daytime or nighttime looks with a pair of fabulous tights then this is a great season to try them out. See our Pretty Polly collection here xx

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Times To Use A Bra Liner


Let's not beat around the bush, bra liners are not the prettiest things you'll ever see but they can give huge relief and comfort and that's why we cherish them. In case you don't know what a bra liner is, it's a cotton strip that's shaped to sit between your skin and the band and gore of your bra. If you have a well-fitting bra that's comfortable then chances are that you've never needed a bra liner but there are times in your life when they can be incredibly useful.

1) Rashes
Your breasts generate heat and moisture and this is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Your bra band lie on the crease between your breasts and your torso (your breast root) and if moisture gets trapped here it can causes skin irritations and rashes, most commonly a yeast rash. Some women are particularly prone to rashes underneath their bra band and in the worst cases their skin becomes broken and can bleed. A bra liner absorbs the excess moisture so that bacteria can't grow. Daily use of a clean bra liner can prevent or clear up a rash under your bra band.

2) Heat and Menopause
If you are someone who gets very hot then you'll know how awful it can be to sweat from your boobs. This is particularly a problem for women going through the menopause, in fact it was a menopausal client that prompted us to stock the Wick'em Bra Liners. The bra liner draws the moisture away from the body and absorbs it to the core so that you don't sweat through your clothing.

3) Skinny Torsos
I've written before about how the fat around your torso can affect your bra fit. The more fat your have around your torso the more cushioning you have between your ribs and the elastic/wires of your bra and you can often wear a smaller band. If you have a skinny torso then wearing a band that is tight enough to keep your bra in place can be very painful because you have very little cushioning. Wearing a slightly bigger band works for lots of people but some women find that a bra liner allows them to wear a snug band in total comfort so they don't have to compromise on support.

4) Nursing
I know from personal experience that wire free bras can put more strain on your band. The wires in full bust bras provide vertical structure for your breasts which lifts some of the weight away from your band. Nursing bras tend to be wire free and when you have heavy breasts the added pressure around your band can be very uncomfortable. A bra liner adds a layer of comfort that is so appreciated when your body is already tired and sore.

5) Post Surgery and Illness
Your skin is the largest organ and can be very sensitive and sore after surgery or during an illness. If you have to wear a bra then the pressure around your band can be agonizing. We have clients with arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain who all report a more comfortable bra fit with the bra liners.

Bra accessories are vital for some women to tailor their bra fit to be more stable or comfortable. Bra liners bring much needed comfort and relief for lots of women xx

Monday, October 20, 2014

Style Focus: Sports Bras

Our clients buy sports bras for everything from triathlons to post-surgery recovery. The design of sports bras is different from everyday bras because they have to support you during more intense movements. Here's our guide to the features you'll find in sports bras so you can work out what's best for you:

Wicking Fabric
You'll probably work up a sweat in a sports bra and you don't want that sweat to get trapped against your skin because it causes friction which rubs and irritates the skin. Wicking material is usually made up of multiple layers that pulls moisture away from the skin towards the outer layer where it can evaporate. Working out in a bra that doesn't have wicking material can cause you to get sores under your breasts and at the armpits and this leaves you open to infection so DON'T DO IT! 

Compression or Encapsulation
These words refer to the cups on a sports bra. Compression cups aren't sized like regular bras (e.g. 32FF, 34G, 36GG etc). Instead they have sizes like small, medium, large. The cups support by keeping the breast tissue compressed close to the chest, thus minimizing bounce. This works well for high impact sports. If you prefer your breasts to be separated then you need an encapsulation style sports bra which houses each breast in a separate cup.
Enell is a compression bra that supports by keeping the breasts close to the chest.
Wide Straps
While your band is still the most critical part of your support in a sports bra (if your band is too big for you in any bra then it can't support you enough and the pressure rests on your straps) you also want wider straps to disperse the impact of vertical movements like jumping and running.

Tapered Armpits
When you're working out you have a greater range of arm movements. If your cups come up too high towards your armpits the fabric can rub against you and chafe the skin. Lots of sports bras now have tapered armpits so that the edge of the cup doesn't rub. Panache Sports Bra is particularly good for this because they have also adjusted the position of the straps so that they don't slip on narrow or sloping shoulders.
The tapered armpit on Panache Sports Bra means you can move your arms through full rotation without chafing
Racerback
Some sports bras have a J hook on the straps at the back so that you can create a racerback shape. This is a cross shape that reduces the movement of the bra even more.

Both Panache Sports Bra and Cake's Orange Zest Sports Bra have racerback options

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bras For Narrow Shoulders


Women of every size and shape can have large breasts and if you're someone with narrow or sloping shoulders then bras can be a strap slipping headache. Lots of bras have straps that are wide apart partly because of style and partly because not every manufacturer has figured out that just because someone has a large cup volume doesn't mean they're taller and wider than someone with a smaller cup volume. It can be so frustrating to find a cup shape and size that works for you only to have the straps slipping off your shoulders every 5 minutes.

A quick note about slipping straps. The most common cause of straps slipping is your band being too big. When your band is too big it can ride up your back and this slackens the tension of your straps and they gradually slip off your shoulders. If you know that your band and cup sizes are right and your straps keep slipping then it's most likely that you need a style with straps set closer together.

There are some full bust bras that are ideal for narrow and sloping shoulders. Here are some of our favourites:

Eva by Elomi  (34-40 E-JJ) - The outside panel of this bra has been extended so that it swoops up past the armpit and the straps sit about half an inch closer in on the shoulder than a regular strap position.
Eva by Elomi at Butterfly Collection

Etta by Elomi (34-40 E-JJ)- Etta is built on the same short torso friendly frame as Eva (by the way Eva has just been inexplicably renamed Yolande by Elomi - just to confuse everyone!). Not only do the straps sit closer in on the shoulders there's also a J hook in the back so that you can wear the straps as a racer back for the ultimate zero slipping straps!

Etta by Elomi at Butterfly Collection

Basic Beauty by Wacoal (32-38 E-GG)- This smooth cup bra has Wacoal's V back straps which means the straps are angled in a V shape at the back where they join the band. These straps sit about 1.5 inches closer in on the shoulder than a regular strap position and they really don't move no matter what you're doing. This style is very popular with our clients who have physically demanding jobs.

Basic Beauty at Butterfly Collection

Versailles by Lunaire
(32-38 E-G)
- Another smooth cup bra, the cups are a teardrop shape which means the straps are positioned at the top of the cups rather than to the outside edges. The straps sit about an inch closer in than an average strap position.

Versailles by Lunaire

Deco Vibe (28-38 E-GG) - This is the newest Deco basic by Freya and it comes as standard with a J hook in the back so that you can make your straps immovable. Without the J hook the straps are in a pretty standard position but I think it's great that more and more styles are becoming available with the J hook for those people who really need to adapt the straps.
Deco Vibe Blush at Butterfly Collection

Not every size is covered in these suggestions but there is an accessory that can stop straps slipping on any bra. A strap holder is a piece of elastic that you loop over your straps and it keeps them in place. What I like about the strap holder is that it stretches as you move so it's flexible. It's not a solution that everyone wants so as we get more close set straps styles for small bands in the H+ ranges we'll let you know xx

Monday, September 22, 2014

Why Bras Slip Down


Sometimes a client asks me why her bra slips down her body during the day. She puts it on in the morning so that the wires are flush with the root of her breast but it still manages to wiggle its way down her body. There are 3 main causes for bras that slip down the body:

Wire Shape
If you have a wide breast root and you're wearing a bra that has narrow cups (like Gem in the picture above) then it's like trying to keep a tennis ball in an egg cup. You might be able to squeeze the tennis ball into the egg cup but the pressure is going to build and the tennis ball will pop up.

Your wide breast roots force their way out of the narrow wire shapes and your bra slips down. To resolve this problem look for bras with a wide wire - Panache is particularly good for wide wires.

For more information on breast root shapes click here.

Torso Shape
I've written a lot about torso shape because for some women this is the biggest shape factor that affects their bra fit. If you have a flared torso that is wider at the top of your band than it is at the bottom then you can often find that your bras slip down.


Lots of my clients with flared ribcages wear their bands on the loosest hook at the top of their band and the tightest hooks at the bottom to offset the size difference. There's no easy fit fix for a significantly flared torso but bra extenders can help you create a wide fit at the top of your band and a tight fit at the bottom.

For more information on how torso shape affects bra fit click here.

Cup Size
Similar to the tennis ball in an egg cup scenario, cups that are too small for you cause a pressure build up and eventually your breast tissue wiggles out of the cups and forces the bra down. Your bra wire should go all the way around the outside edge of your breasts without spilling over the front, sides, armpits or beneath the band.

Have you experienced your bra slipping down your body? Was there a reason not mentioned here, we'd love to read your experience xx