Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Being Canadian Means to Butterfly Collection


The long weekend is looming and Canada has a chance to celebrate all the great things about Canada and being Canadian. For those of you who don’t know, I moved to Vancouver from the UK and fell in love with the ocean, the food and the people and decided to stay. I purposefully started Butterfly Collection as a dot ca company because I really believe that busty Canadian women looking for large cup bras deserve the lingerie choices readily available in the US and UK without all the border duty fees and hassle.

As I’m not a native Canadian I am handing you over this week to Mr Butterfly to talk about what being Canadian means to him and why he’s proud to have a Canadian lingerie company!

Me as Canada Won Hockey Gold!
“The Winter Olympics in Vancouver was a unique experience to see our nation’s pride condensed into one event. The atmosphere was infectious. Everywhere you turned there was the Maple Leaf and everyone was dressed in red and white. We were all excited to support our athletes and we were so proud to be Canadian. Those two weeks really brought home to me what an amazing country we live in.

Growing up in Alberta I didn’t imagine that I would end up owning an online lingerie company but that’s the beauty of being Canadian, our opportunities and diversity are endless. I grew up around a lot of European families so from an early age I understood that Canada is a melting pot of cultures. In fact this is our greatest strength. We are a compassionate nation who learn from each other and become stronger because of our willingness to learn and our open-mindedness.

Shooting bras for the website
I grew up with two sisters, one older one younger, and this was a baptism of fire into the world of women! My sisters are very different from one another and from this I knew that Butterfly Collection would always treat our customers as individuals because no two women’s needs are alike.

Being surrounded by strong women in my family then meeting a head-strong Brit on a mission for Canadian boobs, it has been a natural progression for me to dedicate my professional life to strengthening the self-esteem of busty Canadian women. I have always been inspired by Canadian companies like Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lululemon and wanted Butterfly Collection to be a Canadian company for Canadians. Canadian women deserve a brand that is just for them and I personally couldn’t be happier that we get to help improve their health and well-being.

It doesn’t hurt that being male I am able to remind women how truly beautiful the female form is. I personally and professionally celebrate curves and together Claire and I hope to bring this confidence and celebration to women across Canada! Happy Canada Day everyone!”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fitness and Boobs: Buoyant Boobs!


I was a member of my very first gym for about 18 months and it cost me approximately $300 per visit for the THREE times I went during that time. One of the biggest barriers was that I didn't have a good enough sports bra at the time. These days there are amazing sports bra for women with larger breasts (Enell and the Panache Sports bra) that make a huge difference to gym workouts. Since then I have joined various fitness groups and tried at home fitness videos but I never really got into a fitness groove until a new YMCA opened in Vancouver last year.

The Robert Lee YMCA is in the heart of my neighbourhood and before it opened their advertising made it clear that not only were they opening an incredible health facility they were also offering services to bring the community together. So me and Mr Butterfly signed up and after my first session I was sold. The building is designed to be full of light, which can be in short supply in Vancouver so every little helps. There are programs for every age and capability from the uber-buff to members rehabilitating mobility. Somehow this eclectic mix of families, die-hard gym dudes and older members not only works but makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger – a community.

It turns out that this kind of environment totally works for me, there’s no pressure, no parading your six-pack in front of the mirrors; it’s actually pleasant to be there. All I had to figure out now was what I was going to do because no matter how nice it is at the YMCA I still hate working out in the gym. I don’t hate the treadmill because of the boob-factor; I eliminated the big-boob-bounce a few years ago when I had to tame the girls so I could play basketball; it’s the monotony of the gym that zaps my enthusiasm. So I started hunting around the programs at the Robert Lee YMCA and went to my first Aquafit session. I started with a few shallow aquafit sessions then migrated to the deep-aquafit group and I knew I had found my big-boob-workout-heaven!

This is what has inspired me to create a series of videos about Boobs and Fitness because I know a lot of you still feel uncomfortable working out when you have a big chest. We’re starting with an interview with my Aquafit instructor, Nik Slomba, about why aquafit is a busty girl’s dream!


It’s fair to say that I am a HUGE fan of aquafit (not least because I get to work out to 80s dance tunes!) Since I started doing two 50 minute sessions a week I have noticed a huge change in my lung capacity and flexibility. Aquafit is the first exercise I’ve found that really gets my blood pumping but doesn’t cause me any boob stress; and that has changed my life!

If you have found an exercise, group or activity that totally fits your life and curves I would love to hear about it. I’m a fan of anything that keeps your curves looking toned and fabulous! xx

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear Sears - Canada Deserves Better Bra Fitting Advice


In the world of big boobs there is one topic that reigns supreme – BRA FIT. The push to stop outdated bra fitting methods being used for women with larger breasts was pioneered by Busts 4 Justice who holds UK companies delivering bad fitting advice to account. Fit so important because the wrong fit can cause pain and distort the look of your boobs (quadraboob and monoboob being the most common results.

One of the biggest enemies of proper fit, especially for big boobs, is a piece of fitting advice used by many major stores and brands across the globe that is outdated and JUST PLAIN WRONG! Chances are you've been fitted using this advice:

“Measure under your boobs then add 4 or 5 inches to that measurement”. This bra fitting technique is almost 80 years old and not relevant to today's bra designs or materials. It comes from 1935 when Warner Bras brought out the first measuring techniques designed for bras that had no give in them and indeed some still had whale bones in them. Adding 4 or 5 inches to your band measurement renders the bra almost useless as over 80% of your bra’s support comes from the band. If you’ve ever had saggy boobs, painful shoulders, back ache, wires digging in or just been plain uncomfortable, chances are you were in a bra that was too big around the band.

One of the scary reasons why big named companies are still using this advice is because of something called Sister Sizing stores can fit more women into fewer sizes. This is much more cost effective but not in the best interests of women's breast health. American and Canadian women have endured an epidemic of bad and downright wrong bra fitting advice that had led many in pain and unhappy with their figures.

Sears has a long association with lingerie and with decades of fitting experience you would expect them to be a leaders in fitting advice. Not so. Their advice is so out of date it’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so detrimental. Not only does their website promote the 1935 fitting advice of adding 4-5 inches to your measurements, their “common bra problems” section suggests everything except BEING IN THE WRONG SIZE to solve the problem. 


Canada deserves better which is a HUGE reason why Butterfly Collection exists, to offer women with big boobs accurate fitting advice and supportive beautiful bras that make them feel good about themselves.  You will feel and look so much better when you’re in the right bra, so let’s demand a better service and product for women of all sizes in Canada. Your boobs deserve it! xx

Friday, June 17, 2011

Maxi Dresses for women Busty Women

I’m on the hunt at the moment for another summer maxi dress (well, OK, two actually). One for everyday and one for a friend’s wedding later in the summer. I am a dress FANATIC because I have to put half the effort into deciding what to wear!
The Ocean Breeze Dress from Canadian company Dress 911 would be a great everyday dress. I like my belts a little thicker than this one but I can find one I like. They also do free shipping in Canada (like us!) so it makes it easy to choose from their huge selection. 

I cheat a little with strapless dresses. If it's chilly I wear a short cardigan with my dress then I can wear a bra with straps.
The Macaw Maxi dress from UK company Monsoon is fabulous! Monsoon can fit a little small in the bust so other dresses I've had from them (and I'm had a few!) have been altered by letting out the lining and adding a dart. The quality is so worth it I don't mind having minor alterations done to well made dresses. 

I've only recently come to love the Maxi dress when I picked up a fab roman-esque dress from Monsoon in February. Unfortunately Monsoon doesn't ship to Canada so I can only shop this brand when I'm back in the UK or wait for them to go on sale on eBay.
For the extra curvy lady, Canadian company Voluptuous has the most gorgeous Maxi dress available. I don’t see it in their online store but if you live in Scarborough, Ajax, Vaughn, Mississauga or Toronto you can check out one of their stores.

Don't let anyone tell you that curvy girls can't wear stripes or bold patterns. The visual effect is actually slimming. xx

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Beauty of Aboriginal Day

*Photo courtesy of www.petejones.ca
 
June 21st is National Aboriginal Day in Canada and events will be taking place across the country to celebrate the diversity of the Aboriginal culture, the importance of Aboriginal people to the foundations and progress of Canada as well as a celebration of the music, traditions and food.
I feel incredibly fortunate that one of Butterfly Collection Lingerie's beautiful models is Aboriginal. Not only is she a great role model for curvy women she also illuminates how our diversity is beautiful. On her return from the 28th annual Miss Indian World pageant (check out her pre-pageant article here) I interviewed Vina Brown about what it’s like to be an Aboriginal model in Canada. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do. xx


What is your Aboriginal name? My Heiltsuk name is Glwaxx which means ocean- going canoe. My adult name is going to translate into Silver-tip Grizzly bear. There are different stages in one's life and my people believe that you need to change your name to suit you as you complete each stage in your life. It recognizes, supports and honors these important transitions.

Where did you grow up? I grew up on a small First Nations fishing village on the central North-West coast called Bella Bella.

Do you speak a native language? I don't speak it fluently no, I wish I did and that is something I hope to accomplish before I leave this earth.

What is the most important thing to you about being aboriginal? Wow very good question. The most important thing would have to be the connection to the environment and the land. I was raised to live with nature and to take my place within the natural laws not to be above mother earth and all her other living beings she supports. I find these teachings have kept me grounded and sane when sometimes mainstream society is out of balance.

How does the definition of beauty differ in your two cultures? In mainstream society I find that beauty is based solely on the external, there isn’t a great emphasis on women’s minds, spirits and hearts. Traditionally in most Indigenous cultures women were the law makers and teachers and valued for their emotional strength and compassion.  Being beautiful in your actions and spirit are valued extremely highly amongst Aboriginal people. Beauty has to exist within before it can shine through in its purest form.

What is the hardest thing about being an Aboriginal model?
Indigenous women are often portrayed in the media as victims of violence and addiction and this perpetuates the idea that we’re all "unhealthy and unstable". This is really dangerous to young Aboriginal girls who can feel hopeless and devalued within western society. I have been told my whole life that I am "pretty for a Native girl" a rather back-handed compliment. I am an Aboriginal woman and hearing comments like “Aboriginal women are ugly” not only offends me but I’m hurt on behalf of the beautiful women I come from, my grandmothers, mother, aunts and cousins all look like what Westerners think Aboriginal people look like, and they are all beautiful. Being an Aboriginal model I have to lead the way in changing people’s perceptions of Aboriginal women through education.

When I look at my people I see nothing but strength, power and the will to survive despite the many attempts to wipe out our very existence and this dignity to me is true beauty.

What do you think western women could learn from aboriginal perception of self esteem and beauty?
Vyna was one of our very first models
That it is our differences that make us beautiful. That our mother earth has blessed us with gifts and it is up to you to accept those gifts and nurture them for good. So much value is put on our external physical gifts and this makes women very vulnerable because our body is only temporary but our spirit continues on once our body returns to mother earth.  If your spirit is strong and your mind clear it makes you stronger to deal with ups and downs in life and it will naturally reflect on the outside as beauty.

Changing our mind-sets about what constitutes beauty and recognizing that there is no one perfect exterior will empower women. Beauty is within us all.

Who are your favourite aboriginal designers?
I love Denise Williams, Mia Hunt, Dorthy Grant, Pam Baker and the list goes on. I think there are some really awesome up and coming designers as well!

What do you want people to know about aboriginal models like yourself?
Well I can only speak for myself but I do want people to know that I am very proud to credit my unique look and different features to my Aboriginal side. My high cheek bones, my round face and my oval eyes are all gifts from my ancestors.  I will always be proud of where I come from, no matter what anyone else’s perception is because it has made me who I am; a strong, thriving, beautiful and loving Indigenous Woman. Kleco Kleco

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Social Media is Good for Busty Women


I love the Star in a Bra competition run by UK brand Curvy Kate (they specialize in big cup bras).  It's a huge feat in social media awareness for busty women. Through their social media campaign I got to chat with the 2011 winner, Lizzie Haines on Twitter and was introduced to a fantastic blog Fuller Figure Fuller Bust written by one of the runner ups Georgina Horne. Both women have continued to support Butterfly Collection in our efforts to celebrate curvaceous women which is fantastic. This is when I love social media, when it creates a genuine, albeit virtual, bond.
I get messages every day via our Facebook Page and on Twitter from women who have had such problems finding large cup bras that they’ve come to believe that their bodies are the problem when in fact they need better fitting information and more options from the lingerie industry. This is when social media comes into its own for me and it's the reason I started Butterfly Collection so that busty women have a place they can feel completely accepted and genuinely understood exactly as they are. It doesn’t hurt that I’m huge fan of boobs and talking so if you want to chat about your boobs, I’m your girl!

When social media is used at its best it brings together people who might otherwise think they are the only one and alone. Social media has helped us let many busty women know they don't have to suffer and they are not alone. xx

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How To Wash Your Lingerie

Little acts of lingerie brutality are happening on a daily basis, it's commonly referred to as ‘the tumble dryer’. If I had my way every woman would be entitled to a free personal laundry service, but as it is, all I can offer you is a guide to making your lingerie live longer through good care. First here are some lingerie washing facts:

  • Washing machines and tumble dryers are bad for bras because heat destroys elastic and it's the elastic in your bra that gives you support.
  • Wash your bras after every two or three wears, this will revive the elastic when washed correctly.
  • Don't hang bras by one strap when they're drying, it will stretch out the strap. Hang them from the gore (the center part between the cups)
Lingerie Saints
The absolute best way to wash your lingerie is to hand wash. For those of you who have the time and patience to wash your smalls this way you will be rewarded with lingerie that looks beautiful for longer and lives much longer (making your investment in beautiful big bras worth it!) Using a gentle detergent and cool water are the key to keeping your delicates fresh. We love Canadian company SOAK who make this no-rinse lingerie detergent. It's fast, earth-friendly and comes in different scents.

Soak two or three bras in the sink or a bowl for about 25-30 minutes. Drain and refill with clean water and soak an additional 10 minutes. If you have a stubborn mark rub your thumb gently over the mark until it yields, don't scrub the fabric.
Lingerie Mortals
If you know you simply don't have the time or disposition to hand wash your bras and underwear there is a happy medium.

1) Pop your bras and knickers in a lingerie laundry bag, this is a mesh bag that stops your bras getting caught on other clothing which can stretch them out and damage them.

2) Wash on the coolest setting on your washing machine so that the elastic doesn't get too hot.

3) Once they come out of the machine hang your lingerie out to air dry instead of putting it into the dryer. Never wring out lingerie, it will damage the shape. Simply lay it flat on a towel to dry or hang it over a bath rail or washing line by the gore (the center part between the cups).

Lingerie Demons
If you know that you are will just forget to air dry then you can minimize the damage to your lingerie even when using a washing machine and dryer.

1) Wash and dry on the coolest temperatures available. This will stop the elastic in your bra breaking down so quickly. The violent motion of your machines will take a toll on your lingerie, but very high heat will do even more damage.

2) Make sure you use a lingerie bag to give your smalls some protection.

Bras for busty women are more expensive than high street 34B styles because the design and construction is more complicated so that it can support more weight. However, a well made bra that costs more will live longer through your laundry cycle (whichever method you use) than a cheap bra. Washing your bras thoughtfully will make your investment last longer. xx

Friday, June 3, 2011

Robin Lawley Vogue Front Cover

The huge news for curvy women this week was the announcement that not one but THREE curvy beauties (every man and his dog has called them plus size, but in which world are these girls plus size?!) grace the cover of Vogue Italia. One of my favourite models, Robin Lawley the Australian stunner, is joined by models Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine. The photo is taken by Vogue Italia’s resident front cover photographer Steven Meisel.
I was thrilled to see one of the Godfathers of Fashion using curvaceously proportioned women on the front cover and excitedly went onto my favourite forums to read the reaction. I knew there would be some controversy over the fact that the women are sat at a table of food and that they are in their lingerie but I was shocked to discover how many people were ready to tear the photo to shreds.

At best there were some raised eyebrows over the ‘akimbo’ nature of Robin’s legs at worst there were WOMEN saying how freakish these women looked and shouldn’t be included in a fashion magazine. Having followed Robyn’s progress I know that she has to endure spiteful and derogatory comments from people within the fashion industry so it’s no wonder that some women have been brainwashed into believing the only way to feel good about yourself is to tear everyone else down. How sad.
Robyn's inside pages
Of course not everyone is going to love the shot and a healthy amount of debate is a great thing, but I think fundamentally both Vogue and these models should be applauded for attempting to push the boundaries of fashion. This isn’t a casual nod from Vogue; their Vogue Curvy website is one of my absolute favourite sites and fills me with inspiration every day.

Remember that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and perhaps instead of dismissing this photo as a gimmick we should be celebrating another step towards diversity in high fashion. xx

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

7 Tips to Check if Your Bra Fits


Once you know your bra size range you can start to focus on which style of bra you like. This is often determined by which shape you want your bras to give you and which kind of bras you need for you own personal style (rocking a 50s v-neck dress - you might want a good plunge bra). No matter which style you choose it's important to know how to check if your bra fits you. Here is my checklist of things to tick off when wearing a bra:

1.    ALL of your breast tissue must be inside the cup. This means the wires mustn't press against your breast tissue and your boobs shouldn't spilling out over the top of your cup.

2.    Your bra band should lie flat against your skin with room for 2 fingers to run smoothly beneath it. It’s a fallacy to think you’ll never feel your bra (it’s holding up several pounds of weight) your band should be firmly supportive without cutting into you.

3.    The band of your bra should be at the same height at the back as it is at the front – both parallel with the floor. You shouldn’t be able to pull the band very far from your body at the back. If you can pull it away more than 1-2 inches then your bra band is too big.

4.    The front centre part of your bra (the gore) should lie flat against your body between your breasts. If it is gaping and pulling away from your body then you’re in too small a cup size or too large a band.


6.    Adjust your bra straps so that your boobs are level. Your nipples should be at equal height and lie half way between your elbow and your shoulder.  Your straps are there for evening out; they’re not there to take a huge amount of weight. If you have your straps on their tightest position then you’re in the wrong bra (probably too big a band size and too small a cup but it could also be that you need a bra with a fully adjustable strap).

7. When you lift your arms straight up in the air your bra band shouldn't move. The cups should still encase your boobs completely.

If you can tick all these off your fitting list then you’re in the right bra, If even one of these things isn't right with your bra then you need to remeasure yourself and get your girls into a bra they will love. Our bra size calculator is a great place to start. It’s a Bra Fact that when you’re in a properly fitting bra you feel much better both physically and emotionally. xx