Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photoshop Disappears MP's Cleavage!

One of our fabulous fans reminded me that Canadian chain Jacob Clothing is no longer using Photoshop to slim down their models. This brave step is a huge commitment to portraying women in a realistic way rather than trimming impossible inches off thighs and waists.

We are already exposed to a huge number of extremely thin images, add to that a trigger happy Photoshop artist and you are left with completely unrealistic images that are at best irritating and at worse can seriously affect self-esteem and body image.

In the lingerie industry one of the worst offenders is Victoria's Secret. They are renowned for their over zealous Photoshopping. The one armed Victoria's Secret model is still my favourite example of Photoshop gone wild.

We're all fully aware that Photoshop is used in marketing. We use Photoshop for our own shots at Butterfly Collection to even out light and to remove things like the gigantic bruise one model turned up with on her hip having fallen off her horse the day before! We never take inches off hips or thin out arms to make our models 'better' I think their natural curves are compelling.


You probably know by now that my hips have their own gravitational pull and I have to work hard to keep them under control. Images like the one above make me realize how normal my hips are compared to the doctored hips on the right! Have a look at these two examples and ask yourself why the images would need to be altered.
The stunning Frieda Pinto appears to be virtually white in this add for L'Oreal's 'Colours Take Flight' make-up. Now sure, gigantic lights will make anyone paler but does this image really speak to gorgeous young Indian women and say "your skin is perfect just as it is?"

This one cracked me up. Canadian NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan had her cleavage disappeared by a puritanical press officer who believed that cleavage is a woman's game and politics is a man's arena! Good lord.

The interesting thing about this is that I couldn't find an example of a male model or actor or NDP politician who had been Photoshopped to make their stomach flatter, or arms more muscular. Why aren't women's bodies good enough, exactly as they are? Perhaps supporting companies like Jacob will show that as women we want to truly represented for our diversity and curves. xx

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saudi Women Deserve Basic Bra Rights

I know that lots of women don't like the idea of going for a bra fitting for fear that it will be embarrassing or uncomfortable. In reality most bra fitters in North America are friendly women with a great deal of bra knowledge who can make you feel physically and emotionally better. Imagine if going to buy lingerie didn't include a fitting option, didn't include be able to try on a bra and didn't include being served by a woman. Imagine that and you've got buying bras in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi women are not allowed to work in service jobs where they may come into contact with a man. One scholar explained the reasoning for this is "Women are entrusted to us, we should not involve them in matters far from their nature." How women's bodies are far from their nature is beyond me but it means that ALL lingerie stores have male assistants. Because you cannot expose your body to men there is no fitting service, no changing rooms and there is no returns policy so you just have to buy bras and hope that they're right for you.

In June 2011 Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud decreed that lingerie companies should be allowed to employ female sales people to serve women. Canadian brands La Senza and La Vie en Rose are both making the switch to female assistants, however, this is a complicated business. Plans include having a guard outside each store to ensure that no men enter (which of course means an end to Saudi men buying lingerie for their partners - or themselves for that matter) the stores will either need curtains across all windows to prevent men looking in or else have to be situated in a building with no windows.

These are the provisions set out by the labour minister for employing female staff:
-hired women must be Saudi
-security must be provided
-stores can be family section or women only
-appropriate dress in either traditional abaya or uniforms that conform to hijab
-employer must provide health coverage for female employee and all dependents
-separate toilets must be provided
-sectioning off female-only areas for department stores

The sheer scale of the logistics to allow women to sell women's apparel to women is mind-boggling, but at least it's movement in the right direction. A more direct and let's say in your face, defiance of laws that suppress women in Arab countries comes in the form of Arabian Magazine, Lilac, using the first ever bikini-clad front cover of an Arab magazine. On top of that the model is an Arab Israeli, Huda Naccache. Frontier pushing all round. 

Editor in Chief Yara Mashour has worked for over a decade to push the rights of women in Arab countries. While she knows that this issue may never see the light of day in many parts of the country, she sees it as a huge step forward in liberalizing Arab perceptions and says "it was about time someone did this." The social media response has been enormous and on the whole positive "I have been getting tons of Facebook requests from people who loved the cover" says Mashour.

While we have our own issues regarding size, availability and choice in North America, I don't think we can in all good conscience really complain about our rights when it comes to choosing our lingerie. This vital garment is an intensely personal choice and a human right for all women. xx

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Fun and Bras

The weather is definitely changing here in Vancouver and although I’m determined to squeeze in a couple more BBQs I’m rather looking forward to fall in BC.  There is so much to do in Vancouver during the autumn, here are some of my favourite events: 
The Apple Fest at UBC http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/apple-festival is an opportunity to find out how much hot apple pie you can wash down with cider. There are heaps of local apple growers showing off their fruit.

Vancouver International Film Festival has events all over the city and I love seeing something completely out of my comfort zone (comfort zone = anything with Ryan Gosling or Bruce Willis) http://www.viff.org/festival/ I particularly like the look of this film about Flamenco!

There are lots of events taking place for Oktoberfest in Vancouver but the essentials are munching on a Bratwurst and drinking German beer! http://www.ticketweb.ca/snl/VenueListings.action?venueId=31535

The change of season and events bring a change of wardrobe. Darker colours and thicker fabrics mean your bras can be really bright and bold. Here’s a closer look at some of our key pieces in the Fall/Winter Collection:

Faye from Freya is based on their best-selling Pollyanna style. This is a great basic for the cooler months. I love the pattern on the stretch cup. F-K cups $95CAD.

Bella from Alegro is one of my favourites in the new collection. The contrast of the electric blue lace against the black satin is super sexy. E-G cups $55CAD.

Emily is one of Curvy Kate's best selling styles and in this colour we think it is a total winner! The colour, pattern and deep satin trim combine to make a sumptuous bra.

Fall and winter are a great time to wear colourful lingerie - it's not only good because it's invisible under warmer fabrics, it also helps to lift your spirits during grey days and frosty nights! xx

Friday, September 16, 2011

That Ain't Cleavage!

New York Fashion Week ends and London begins. We've seen everything from the abundantly romantic creations of Oscar De La Renta to the 'Sesame Street meets Powdered Wig' meets colour explosion of Nicki Minaj.

It was certainly a big surprise to see Kirsty Alley walking down the catwalk for designer Zang Toi (in what appeared to be a giant blue wizard cloak) but the fact that Kirsty is 60 and curvy was great to see.

My feeds get bombarded with fashion week stuff, but when I saw "Cleavage makes a comeback at London Fashion Week" I was elated. Finally we were going to see a buxom 28G perhaps or a curvy 34J. I eagerly opened the article to be greeted by these images.....

Now don't get me wrong, I'm very pro body diversity, I don't think you need a whacking great pair of knockers to be a feminine woman. But please, don't dilute the English language by suggesting that any of these images has anything to do with cleavage. Cleavage is caused by the breasts coming together. Not one of these photos demonstrates that and it just ticked me off. xx

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why it's a Privilege to Be a Bra Fitter

I’m all about demystifying bras and sizing so that women can get back in touch with their boobs. Bra Fitting is a complex practice but I believe that you can and should have the tools you need to understand your fit. You don't need to know every nuance of bra fitting but your bra fitter should explain to you why your bras fit your body and breast shape.

Besides the mechanics of bra fitting I have a privileged position as a bra fitter because it is an emotionally responsible role that women rely on as part of their body confidence. Too many women are turned away by stores who don’t carry their size or shoved into an ill-fitting bra just to make a sale. This maltreatment is internalized as having a ‘wrong body’ which leads to many women feeling like their bust is an unsolvable problem.

This is so common it’s heartbreaking and I spend a considerable amount of my time speaking to women about the emotional journey they have been on in the quest for a bra that simply fit. The biggest reason so many busty women hate their bust (and quite often subsequently hate their figures) is because too few places offer a wide enough range of sizes and professional, empathetic fitting services. No woman’s body is wrong, she simply hasn’t found the bras and boutique that are right for her.

Remember that bust volume is relative to band size - big cup doesn't necessary mean HUGE boobs :)
Because Butterfly Collection specializes in D-K cup bras I meet ladies who have experienced being told they’re too big to fit. This can be CRUSHING for your self-esteem. It is the single biggest joy of my job when I get to fit a woman into her first correctly fitting bra. To see a woman look into the mirror and smile at herself is such a privilege.

Lucy is a supportive bra for small backs and larger cup letters
Every single fitting is a story in its own right because every woman’s experience is unique. There are similar themes for sure, but you need to be fitted in a way that is understanding of you, your life and your history. I am so honoured to be part of my clients' bra journeys and to hear their personal and varied storiess. I’m so thrilled that Butterfly Collection can give your boobs the support and shape you deserve, but I’m even more fulfilled that I get to be part of your improving posture, happiness, and confidence. Thank you for making my job as a bra fitter such a privilege. xx

Friday, September 9, 2011

Illusion Dresses

Mr Butterfly is a huge Kate Winslet fan and I have to admit that I have a huge soft spot for Kate because she's tried very hard to promote that Beauty is Diverse and that's the beauty of it (plus she rescues old ladies Moms from burning buildings!) This week Kate's been all over my fashion feeds in her Illusion Dress and she's not the only one.

It's lovely to see that accentuated curves are being celebrated in fashion. Whether you come by your distinct curves naturally or love the look of the illusion dress it's great that curves are making their way back into fashion in a big way xx

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Apple and Hourglass Shapes and Bras

A lot of our customers are Apple or Hourglass shapes. Like knowing which styles of clothing suit you it’s important to know which styles of bra suit you. Here are some tips on supporting and flattering Apple and Hourglass figures.

The Apple Girl's Traits:
Larger Bust
Broader Shoulders
Narrower Hips
Less Defined Waist
Apple girls have lots going on up top so the important thing is balance. Your bra needs to be as firm as possible to keep your boobs high. If you wear a bra with a band that is too big your boobs will sag and your waist will be even less defined.  Being an Apple can mean that you have a short torso so it’s important to wear bras with shallow wings (the part that attaches the cups to the clasps). If the wings are too tall it can chafe under your armpits. 

Choose a bra with full coverage, like Bella.
Apple girls can suffer greatly with back ache so it’s important to wear a full cup bra that keeps your breasts proportionally weighted across your chest. Avoid plunge bras. You can afford to pad out your lower half so that it balances your ample chest. Avoid wearing lower half shape wear, instead flaunt your curves in a full brief or short under A-line skirts. The number one accessory essential for an Apple girl is BELTS! Check out my friend Georgina’s belt obsession!

The Hourglass Girl's Traits:
Bust and hips nearly the same size
Well defined waist - 9" or more smaller than bust
Full Bust
Shapely Legs

You may not always feel like you’ve been blessed when your blouse pops open and your hips wont fit into jeans – but believe me, you’ve got one fabulous figure! The most common tendency of an hourglass girl is to cover up her chest, probably the result of having her boobs talked to more than her face. The worst thing you can do is try and squeeze your boobs into a bra that is too small. It’s a misconception that wearing a bigger bra will make your boobs look bigger, it will in fact do the opposite and keep your breasts completely in place making them appear smaller and more contained. 

My favourite control panties for hourglass figures
Your waist is your balancing asset as it draws attention away from your bust and hips. It’s important to wear underwear that flatters your waist. Control panties will flatten your tummy and taper towards your waist (one of my favourites is the Vintage brief from Grenier). For thongs and briefs be sure to wear delicate fabrics like lace and satin that do not create unsightly lumps in your hips. The most important thing is to be confident and proud of your beautiful figure!

Friday, September 2, 2011

AW 2011 Photo Shoot Behind the Scenes

Lottie from Curvy Kate

Our gorgeous Fall/Winter Collection goes on sale next week. We're immersed in sumptuous blues and pinks and striking monochromes. You can sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don't miss a one-off new season special (only available to subscribers!) Before these beautiful bras go up I wanted to give you a sneak peak behind the scenes of our photoshoot. Our wonderful team makes Butterfly Collection photoshoots fabulously fun days. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by kind and talented people xx

We're super excited to have added our first Bridal Range to our Collection. These stunning art-deco pieces from Panache had me drooling! Available in D-H cups.

Our tireless model Victoria can multitask lingerie shoot with acting bookings - talented girl! This is our best-selling Easfit Bra in Blue. This is limited stock and seasonal only, so first come first served. D-F cups.

Shoot days are always very serious affairs with not time for messing about, as demonstrated by our Production Manager, Christine.

Paul, Lien and Christine keep an eye on every single shot - showcasing lingerie for big busted women is our passion!

The Innocent Lily bra from Alegro will be available in D-G cups (YES! We're stocking D cups now too!) At under $60 this is a must have winter essential!

Huge thanks again to Paul, Victoria, Lien, Christine, Jen and Raimey for making the photoshoot so much fun and successful! xx