Monday, May 28, 2012

Mr and Mrs Butterfly Got Married

In a 19th century chapel in North Yorkshire at 3:30 yesterday Paul and I got married and officially became Mr and Mrs Butterfly!!! Thank you to everyone who sent us their love and best wishes before we headed back to the UK to get hitched, we have felt incredibly special.

I'm feeling a bit loved up today so I wanted to tell you how Paul and I came together and created Butterfly Collection. If you don't already know, Paul is responsible for every image, boob truth, Facebook profile and video that you see on Butterfly Collection. He is the only man in Canada staring at images of boobs all day to see if there are any odd shadows or fit issues!
I write the words then Paul puts them into beautiful pictures - a perfect partnership
We met at a media agency where we sat next to each other for two years before we realized that we were actually meant to spend our lives together (we're both blonde so we're slow on the uptake!) After just a few months of dating I told Paul that my ultimate dream was to have an online lingerie store that gave full bust women the choice, understanding and knowledge they need to feel great about themselves. Without a moment of hesitation he said "Let's do it now then we'll never regret not trying." I knew then I was the luckiest woman in the world.

We have worked night and day to make Butterfly Collection a reality (and managed to get engaged in the middle of it all as well!) Butterfly Collection is so much more than a bra store to me, it's a place for busty women to feel celebrated, respected and loved... all the things Paul makes me feel.
I wanted our photography to be sexy but also beautiful and realistic. Our models always love working with Paul.
We always say that I am the words and Paul is the pictures. I tell him what kind of photography appeals to me and the things that make me laugh or mad about boobs and he brings them to life. Because he has two sisters Paul has a huge respect for women and I think you can see that from the way he shoots our beautiful models. He lets their smiles shine, their curves sing and never, ever objectifies them.

Today we feel so incredibly blessed that besides finding each other we also found what we were meant to do with our lives. Our skills have come together to create a company that we are both immensely proud of and we feel we have made a difference to some full bust women.

As we are celebrating our marriage and love for one another I also want to send huge love to everyone who has supported us and Butterfly Collection. We will continue to grow a haven for full bust women with your love and support so thank you. Next stop... Barcelona for some honeymooning Butterflies... xx

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bra School: Not all D cups are the same size

From Left to Right 30D, 32D, 34D, 36D, 38D. Five different band lengths, five different cup volumes. All D Cups.
I know that bras can be confusing little minxes. When I try and explain to someone that besides their 34G bra they could also wear a 32GG they look at me with bewilderment. This post aims to give you an easy-to-understand guide to how cup sizes work.

Most people think that all D cups hold exactly the same volume of boob and then that cup size is just sewn onto different lengths of band to make the 30D, 32D, 34D etc. This is not true. 

In my world of D-K bras* you may think there are only 11 cup sizes (D, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K) However, there are actually SIXTEEN different cup sizes, or more accurately, cup volumes (volume refers to the amount of breast tissue a cup can hold).

In this table below I have colour co-ordinated all the D-K BRA SIZES THAT HAVE CUPS WITH THE SAME VOLUME.

The volume of each cup increases as the 'Cup Volume Number' increases. E.g. #1 is the smallest cup volume and #16 is the biggest cup volume.
You'll notice that there are six band sizes for each cup letter and as the band size increases on each cup letter the cup volume also changes. So for example, a 28D has a #1 cup volume, a 30D has a #2 cup volume, 32D has a #3 cup volume and so on.

Real Life Example
Imagine you wear a 36D; your cups fit well because they encase your breasts but your band keeps riding up. Instead of thinking of your boobs as a D cup you can think of them as being a cup volume #5. When you realize your band keeps riding up because you actually need a 32 band not a 36 then you can see that a #5 cup volume on a 32 band is actually an F cup.

What is Sister Sizing?
When people talk about sister sizing what they're referring to is all the bras with the same cup volume but on different length bands. In our chart all the bra sizes with the same cup volume number are sister sizes. For example, 28JJ, 30J, 32HH, 34H, 36GG and 38G are all sister sizes to each other because they're all cup volume #10.
This is the basic logic behind how cup sizes work but as always you should learn how each bra style and brand fits (we have a How This Bra Fits tab on each of our product pages). When you put on your bra be sure to look for the Five Fit Signs to make sure you're in the right size for you.

I hope this has helped (I expect I've confused a few people too). If you have any questions leave a comment below and I'll get back to you xx

*A footnote for anyone wondering why I don't use UK DD cups; it's because they are the same equivalent as US D cups so to avoid confusion I don't use the DD size.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ARCHIVE - Is Your Professional Fitter Giving You The Right Bra?

From time to time I'll re-post an old blog that struck a chord with readers. If you're a regular reader you'll know that I don't like the stat "80% of women are wearing the wrong bra" because it suggests that this is the fault of women when in fact I firmly believe that it's mostly down to the amount of dreadful fitting advice that is given out by manufacturers and boutiques alike. You should know how to measure yourself so that you can tell whether your fitter is giving you the bra that's right for you or just right for their commission. This blog from last year talks about how fitters can let you down if you don't know what you're looking for.
One of my smaller busted girlfriends told me she hasn’t been for a professional fitting in years because in her words “fittings don’t make a difference, bras just hurt”. I rummaged through her exhausted looking bras and they all read 34A. Just by looking at her I knew she wasn’t a 34 band so I showed her how to take her measurements and she quickly discovered that she is actually a 30C.

My friend went through the usual process of disbelief and laughter at the idea of being 2 cup sizes bigger then she looked at me and said “do they make bras in that size?” She didn’t know it but she hit the nail on the head as to why she’s always hated bra shopping – not enough stores carry her size so they put her in a size they carry regardless of the fact that it will be ill-fitting and painful.

Without boring you with the science, the cup on a 34A is the same volume as the cup on a 30C because cups are relative to the band size. How these two bras differ is that a 34 inch band gave no support to my friend so her straps were taking all the weight of her bust and the band was riding up her back. She was generally uncomfortable and in pain.
The bust volume is the same on all three women but their band sizes are different - cup size is proportional to band size.
Lots of stores only buy the most ‘common’ bra sizes (32-38 A-D) because it’s most cost effective. This may make retail sense but it doesn’t make you more comfortable in your bra! This is why I encourage every woman to measure herself before she goes for a professional bra fitting. It’s even more important for big busted women to know their band size because a loose band can wreck your posture, health and silhouette.

Almost 40% of the women who call me because they are unhappy in their bras, are wearing a DD cup. This is because a DD cup is the biggest they can find on the high street. To get a DD cup big enough they are wearing band sizes that are WAY too big so they end up dreadfully uncomfortable and very undefined. You can see from this chart that the volume on a 38DD bra is the same as the volume on a 34G bra but the support and shape are totally different.
Wearing a bigger band to accommodate your bust volume leaves you very uncomfortable (remember a Canadian DD=E).
When you measure yourself at home take particular note of your under bust measurement. If your bra fitter starts to put you into bras that are more than 2 inches bigger than this measurement your alarm bells should start ringing. A lot of stores use a fitting method that adds Four or Five inches to your band size. This method is out of date (and in my opinion dangerous!) and only serves to get women into readily available bras rather than correctly fitting bras. Check out the wonderful Thin and Curvy blog to see what a difference it makes being in the right band size.

There is a lot of bra information out there that is confusing and designed to keep you baffled about your boobs (so you don't know when you're getting bad service!). Knowing your size is incredibly empowering and can put an end to poor quality fitting services and painful bras. So grab yourself a tape measure and take back control of your boobs!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

12 MORE Must-Read Boobilicious Blogs

We had a fantastic response to our original 12 Must-Read Boobilicious Blogs post. It's so exciting to see that people want to know more about their bra size and options as well as breast health and fashion for busty women. In the last six months since the original 12 post there have been even more new blogs talking about the quest for great bra fit and fashion.
This is one of my new favourites written by a North American blogger (we need more of these please!) On the search for small back, larger cup bras as well as the fashion to flatter her shape, this blog is easy to read, uplifting (in more ways than one) and gives you some good ideas.
This blog only came on my radar earlier this year and has already made a big impact. Christine, the author, is passionate about good bra fit, easy to relate to and a bit of a geek - which I love!! I highly recommend checking out her blog.
A new-ish UK blogger, Curvy Wordy has a great writing style and covers a lot more than just the bras. She's eloquent about her struggles without being a Moaning Minnie (sorry, but some bloggers just vent and that gets dull fast - Curvy Wordy is definitely not that!) This blog is always chock-full of good pics too!
Considered by many to be the Godmother of Lingerie, The Lingerie Addict is a mecca of lingerie knowledge and passion. Headed by Treacle, the original addict, this blog has information for buyers, sellers and designers alike. A must-have in your lingerie list.
This blog is almost brand-spanking new but I have to include it because it shows such promise and made me super excited that young American women are getting involved in the bra conversation. Izzy is just 17 and yet she already knows that she's been short changed in the bra department. As a 32HH she wants to spread the word to other young women and improve bra knowledge in the US - HALLELUIAH!!!!!
This is the blog for Presenza, the brand behind a line of bust-friendly wrap blouses. The brainchild of Jill Homiak this blog has fashion and style tips for busty women of all proportions.
Written by the lovely Maggie (here in Canada no less!) you are always guaranteed to learn, giggle and empathize when reading her blog. Maggie is also a tireless supporter of lingerie bloggers, retweeting them whenever humanly possible.
Busts 4 Justice is the home of one of my bra heroines, Beckie, who single-handedly brought Marks and Spencer's to their knees on national TV and admit that big busts need to be treated more fairly. She is a fantastic advocate for good bra advice, sizing and offerings. I was lucky to be interviewed by Beckie last year about my mission for Butterfly Collection and large breasted Canadians! In my head she wears a cape all the time!
Hourglassy is the blog for Campbell and Kate, designers and makers of classic white button-down shirts for larger breasted women. Darlene is a passionate writer who understands the life and wants of a busty woman. Her journey as both business owner and busty clothing magician is absolutely worth the read.
Three things to know about this lady - She has fantastic style, amazing hair and a killer personality - if that doesn't make you want to read her blog then you're like stone! A UK blogger, this young and vibrant blogger has heaps of fashion picks for busty women and lots of knowledge about what constitutes good fit. Check her out!

They say a good blog is defined by a unique voice and I think an ex-military, bra loving, dog owner counts as a unique voice! You'll find small band and big cup reviews as well as general bra questions and a passion for great fit!
Guilty pleasure is a compendium of great lingerie articles and blogs from the unique and lovely Miss Tique as well as designers and other lingerie experts. Whether you're looking for some sports bras advice or reviews of the most exquisite luxury French designers, Guilty Pleasures will have something for you.

Well that's my 12 extra blogs for you - I hope you see some faves and some new ones in there. Let me know if I've missed your favourite xx

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day: New Moms and their New Boobs

In honour of Mother's Day I'm handing you over this week to two wonderful women in my life, my sister Rebecca who I adore and my fabulous friend Jess. They both had baby girls last year so I asked them to answer a few questions about life with their new boobs xx

My sister lives in York in the north of England and last August she gave birth to her first child (and my first niece!) This is her story of new Mummy boobs...   

1) Did you switch to non-wired bras before your daughter was born?
I did. About 4 months into my pregnancy I started to feel uncomfortable as my rib cage expanded.

2) When did you start wearing a nursing bra?
I bought 3 nursing bras after the baby was born. I think full term Mums would be advised to buy some in the last few weeks of pregnancy but my baby was very early. There was little choice so I bought what fit well enough. My sister then sent me a Butterfly Collection nursing bra from Royce and it's comfortable and gorgeous!!! 

Heather from Royce gave my sister the support she needed

3) Was it complicated at first to figure out how to use your nursing bra?
The design with clips is very easy to work out...although there are many moments during each day when I forget to clip myself back up and end up swinging low!

4) Is there something that has happened to your boobs that no one told you to expect?
I didn't know that there would be such a massive difference in the size of my breasts when my baby only nurses from one side. For good breast health your baby should always drain both sides, but if she falls asleep during a feed I end up with one grape and one watermelon!!! The Royce bra is great here as the cup seems to hug me no matter what size I am.

5) Do you feel very differently about your breasts since nursing?
Each and every day I feel in awe of my breasts for providing my little girl with a life source. Mother Nature deserves a Nobel prize for this design. I feel that they are precious and need to be cared for (they can feel very tender after nursing). Having your breasts out half the day makes them less 'intimate' so I certainly feel the sex appeal of cleavage may have dwindled during the nursing period. But life ebbs and flows and I'm sure once nursing is done I can hoik them back into action in a red lacy push up!!!

6) What kind of outfits worked well for you while you've been nursing?
Almost everything I own now is either v necked or a loose T shirt which I can easily pull up.

My lovely Canadian friend, Jess, gave birth to her first baby last September. Here is her new Mom boob journey... 

1) Did you switch to non-wired bras before baby was born?
I did. I was around 6 months pregnant and was much more comfortable - partly because they were non-wired and because Claire fitted me into the right size of bra for the first time ever!

2) When did you start wearing a nursing bra?
Right after the baby was born although because she was early I had my mom pick up a couple for me. She couldn't find any in my size (34E) and so my first bras didn't fit right. I ended up living in the sleep style nursing bras for a long time because they fit and I found them easier overall while I was figuring out nursing! Then Claire fitted me properly (my size hadn’t changed since late pregnancy) and gave me a Royce nursing bra which is still my most comfortable and prettiest nursing bra.

Lauren from Royce was my pick for Jess

3) Was it complicated at first to figure out how to use your nursing bra?
The clips were easy enough but to be honest I still found them to be a pain while I was learning how to nurse, I often forgot to do them back up and would discover them undone the next time I went to nurse. I found the sleep-style of bra super simple and more comfortable for me and baby.

4) Is there something that has happened to your boobs that no one told you to expect?
I was lucky and didn’t really have any problems getting breastfeeding started.What I didn’t expect was how much milk you produce at first while the system is sorting itself out! I spent the first two months constantly damp because I was literally pouring milk. She ate less but more often so there were a lot of times where my breasts were just so full they were dripping!

5) Do you feel very differently about your breasts since nursing?
I feel completely different about my breasts since I’ve started nursing. Breasts are part of our sexual identity but that has totally changed for me since are doing what they are designed to do. One thing that is obvious to me now is how far we have to go in Canada in terms of respecting nursing moms. I never really had any issue with seeing moms nurse in public. Now that I am a mom, it makes me sad how much of an issue it is here. I bought a nursing cover so I can nurse discretely in public; at first this is how I was most comfortable but the baby doesn’t really like nursing under the cover. Now I would be comfortable nursing her without the cover but I know it would make some people uncomfortable so I still use the cover.

6) What kind of outfits worked well for you while you've been nursing?
My daily outfits are now always soft cotton, dark shirts often with a cardigan or some type of open shirt over top – they have to be easy to hike up and out of the way, dark colours hide dampness, soft shirts are best for snuggles and comfort and the cardigan or other sweater help me nurse discretely!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Holly Jackson: How to Deal with Cup Size Shock

I've recently managed to convince several people to get measured through Twitter and the power of friendship, and some of them have come back to me feeling very unsettled after finding out their new bra size. I can sympathize since I recently lost some weight and changed sizes to…a 32J (and by the way Internet, I have not yet collapsed due to the weight of my own breasts!)

Several of my friends used a good bra calculator and had similar revelations. A good friend of mine found out more about her bra size; she previously thought her bra size was 38G and she turned out to be a 36L. The calculator also gave her the American size translation which made her a 36R in US sizes, this seemed even more of a shock! She was understandably freaked out. Suddenly, her whole life was different. She asked lots of questions that I think about too. If she got pregnant, how would she find nursing bras? If she lost weight would her breast size go down or up? Where in the world did a person buy L cup bras anyway? She was truly upset. Her body, as she understood it, was different than it was before the calculator, and she was now in a category of cup size that can make life difficult.

I tried to be practical and soothe her, but honestly, I feel the same way sometimes. Life was much easier when I was a G cup (even if my bras didn't fit as well). I could wear all kinds of bras and felt like I had tons of choice. As we learn more and cup sizes increase worldwide, G is starting to be more accepted in terms of being a normal cup size. Unfortunately, if you're above that the market hasn't caught up as fast. I find myself staring at websites and wondering where I fit in now that I've found my new size.

If you're struggling with the acceptance phase of finding out you're on the larger end of full bust sizing, here are some quick tips to help you along.

1. You're not alone.
Many women are in the same boat, whether you know it or not. Happily, many women are also blogging openly about their experiences, and lots of wonderful communities have formed around these blogs. Find one you like, and join in. You'll learn things, and even make some like-boobed friends in the process.

2. Tell retailers that you exist.
If we want the market to change, this is what we have to do. In the age of the internet, people are easier to contact than ever. Use that to your advantage and contact retailers and ask why they don't carry your bra size. Small boutiques like Butterfly tend to be more responsive to things like this, but even big retailers have made changes based on widespread internet campaigns.

3. Speak with your wallet.
If someone carries your size, make sure you buy from them. Sometimes this means paying a little bit extra, but that extra is exactly like voting with your wallet. One of the issues that brands face when they want to make larger cup sizes is finding an audience, so make sure you're showing them they have one.

4. Don't be afraid to talk about it.
I once convinced someone to get measured and into a bra that fit on a train trip from New York to Philadelphia. It all started with her awkwardly asking me what my bra size was, and the fact that I was willing to reveal it helped her accept her own full bust figure. I'm not suggesting that you start walking around with a name tag with your bra size on it, but if we don't tell people that larger cup sizes exist people won't realize that they do. Most people don't know that J, K, or L cups exist! By getting measured and 'owning' your size we can change the mental image of full bust women and make bra manufacturers take notice of us.