Monday, June 25, 2012

Tips for the perfect Busty Summer Wardrobe

Technically summer started last week (my heating bill and long socks beg to differ!) For busty women summer can be a wardrobe nightmare. Many busty girls dread the prospect of barely-there summer clothing which leaves them feeling exposed and unsupported. The reality is that not everybody suits every style of clothing but this is a reason to celebrate rather than despair. We busty beauties can look sleek, cool and gorgeous in summer clothing that flatters and fits our own unique figures.

Bra vs Tank Top
When your bra straps are 10 times wider than the oh-so-cute spaghetti straps on your tank top it's safe to say it's not a good look.

Tip: Go for tank tops with wider straps, this won't make you look bulkier, it will make your outfit look more polished and keep you just as cool.
I love the lace up detail on this $12 tank from Joe Fresh. It comes in loads of colours too!

I love how soft this tank cami is from Banana Republic. The lace makes the whole thing look lighter. $35
Available in tonnes of colours, this J Crew tank is strap friendly with a beautiful swooping neckline. Very flattering. $24
J Crew Coupon Codes Here
The Seduction of Silk
I read The Lingerie Addict's review of camisoles this week and had my usual surge of envy at the effortless, seductive beauty of these silk creations. As a busty woman you know how quickly you can wreck the look of a dainty camisole when you have a 'sizeable' bra underneath. This doesn't mean you can't luxuriate in the joy of silk though.

Tip: A great strapless bra will give you the support you need under a camisole without spoiling the delicate look. Opt for a camisole with lace overlay (i.e. not see-through) this will give you great detail with more coverage so that your bra isn't visible. There are also some gorgeous silk tank tops too that will give you your silk fix with wider straps so you can wear a full bra.

This pretty silk camisole has great detailing and cuts slightly higher so your strapless bra is covered. $99.95 in 5 colours

I adore this silk tank top because it gives you the best of both worlds. Love it! $62.99
Bold Straps
Lots of summer tops and dresses have straps that are cut narrower on the shoulder (the straps sit closer to you neck than your shoulder - it's a style thing) so revealing some bra strap is inevitable. If this is the case then it's a time to BE BOLD! Nothing ruins the look of your outfit faster than a tired, nude bra strap peeking out from behind a rather beautiful top.

Tip: If your bra is visible then choose a bold colour that becomes a statement part of your outfit rather than an embarrassment!
Clockwise from top left: Tango Tutti Frutti, Guilty Pleasures, Naomi, Lucy in Yellow
The shape of your neckline can affect how large or small your chest looks. A V-neck shape is very bust friendly but this isn't your only choice. If you are wearing shorts or a shorter skirt then you may want a more covered up neckline to balance out your look.

Tip: A boat-neck shape is a surprisingly flattering look on big boobs. The wider cut at the neck is as broad as your boobs so it gives you balance up top.
I love this nautical feel boat-neck top. These stripes are thin enough not to make you look wider! $16 Joe Fresh
I think this would look amazing on a elegant, mature, busty lady. $85 at Banana Republic.
Dressed to Impress
Many of you will know that I am a dress-fiend. I love the ease and versatility of dresses and in the summer you can find some fantastic bust-friendly creations that go easily from day to night.

Tip: Look for wider straps, dresses you can put a belt on to give it different looks and cinch in your waist.

Available in lots of colours this J Crew dress has great straps and neckline for busty ladies. Dress up or down. $290

Prints are very bust-friendly and I'm a fan of wrap dresses because you can slip a camisole underneath for more cover. $124 from Banana Republic

Monday, June 18, 2012

Would North American Benefit From a Bit of Topless Sunbathing?

Mr Butterfly and I got back last week from our honeymoon in Spain. I am always struck by how vivid and social life feels in parts of Europe. Eating amazing, fresh food in the sunshine goes a long way to making life feel really good. While enjoying a sunny afternoon on the beach with a drink and an Agatha Christie novel I realized that I was surrounded by topless sunbathers aged 21 to 80+ and it made me wonder whether North American could do with a bit of public nudity.

As I have talked about before one of the most common barriers I encounter with busty North American women is that they are ashamed of being busty. This shame stems from social stereotypes and ignorance (and by this I mean the perpetual myth that D cups are huge and boobs have anything to do with your intelligence or morals). In countries where breasts, or all shapes and sizes, are celebrated for their beauty and life giving qualities, there is far less body commentary and criticism. Topless sunbathing is entrenched in the lifestyle of many sunny countries and I feel sure that it must have an effect on the collective perspective on women, breasts and body diversity.

As a family we regularly camped in the south of France when I was a child and the beaches were always full of topless sunbathers, volleyball players and swimmers. I didn't really question it because women of all different ages wandered around quite happily soaking up the sunshine. If you've never experienced a topless beach then it's hard to imagine that's it's actually a very happy, social and relaxed environment. There is no gratuitous ogling or voyeurism. There is a palpable sense of freedom where these women are at ease. 
There was a spirited debate about this pic over on our Facebook page. I think these women 'protected' the rights of breastfeeding Mums and that's just as valuable as securing borders in my opinion.
While we were on honeymoon I posted a picture of two American Air Force Mums who had participated in a pro-breastfeeding campaign. There was a distinct military backlash to the photo because military personnel are not supposed to express their personal opinions whilst in uniform. Aside from that though there was the usual outrage at the image of a woman breastfeeding in public. The anti public breastfeeding sentiment in North America is a mystery to many Europeans because breastfeeding (public or not) is considered a beautiful and praise-worthy activity.

The African proverb 'It takes a village to raise a child' is borne out by public breastfeeding in my opinion. A mother who is confined to her home until the child has mastered enough hand-eye co-ordination not to starve will herself be lonely and her child, less socialized. This kind of isolation is ludicrous simply to save the blushes of people who can't distinguish the biological and honourable act of breastfeeding from a 'Girls-Gone-Wild-Esque' breast exposure.

Whilst walking down one of the pedestrianized streets in Barcelona we passed a breastfeeding mother sat on a bench who was chatting to a much older couple while her eldest child chased a bird nearby. This scene was casual, happy, relaxed and quite frankly, healthy. Perhaps if North America introduced some healthy public nudity on their beaches the trickle-down effect would be that breastfeeding mothers could feed in public and feel like part of a community that valued her for raising healthy future generations rather than a shameful outcast.

I wonder whether in countries where the media is so prolific, breasts have been so completely sexualized that we've forgotten what they're for. Their primary function (whether you use them for this or not) is to breastfeed. If our ancestors had got a bit squeamish about a public nipple or two then we would have died out very quickly!

I'm more than happy to get the topless-sunbathing-ball rolling here in Vancouver but I draw the line at whipping my top off in the pouring rain and wind (so that leaves precisely two weeks in August to get the girls out!) I'd love your thoughts on topless sunbathing in general and whether you think there is a link between sociable, warm, outdoor communities and public breastfeeding. xx

Monday, June 11, 2012

Are Women Taught to Criticize Other Women?

The Internet can be a fabulous place for women to find other like-minded and like-shaped women with whom they can share their thoughts and experiences. It can also be a place where women tear each other to shreds because of their weight/shape/style etc. This woman-to-woman criticism is nothing new but that doesn't mean it's something we should tolerate.
The Lingerie Addict Has Implemented a Body Snark Free Policy that encourages people to be constructive not destructive in their comments.
Lots of my fellow lingerie bloggers have experienced someone leaving catty, unkind or downright hurtful comments about another woman's shape/style/weight. Many, like me, operate a zero tolerance policy where if you make a vile comment about someone else, you're banned. I don't see this as censorship, I see it as good manners (but then again I'm English so it's all about the manners). I think there is a big difference between stating an opinion and being derogatory. For example, a recent debate about breast enhancement garnered the opinion from one reader "breast enlargement would never be right for me" that's quite different from the brainless (and frankly pointless) comment "all women with implants are bimbos" from one massively unhelpful woman.

In context these images are legitimate responses to excessive Photoshop, Pro-Ana sites and over sexualization of large breasts.
Does Social Media Pit Women Against One-Another?
I think there is an inherent flaw in social media that reduces life to black and white statements with little or no context. For example, there was a flurry of images with the slogan "Real Women Have Curves" which was initially a backlash to the disproportionate number of 'heroin-chic' images that were prolific in the late 90s (a look that was compounded for its dangerous implications when Kate Moss neglectfully said "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"). Very quickly there was a backlash to the 'Real Women' images saying 'All Women Are Real'.
This Vera Wang bridesmaid dress model has been severely photoshopped on the left. I don't consider this a 'Real Woman' this is a 'thinspirational' marketing tactic.
I don't think either of these statements can be taken without context. The Real Women have Curves wasn't originally a stab at thin women it was a response to curvy women being entirely ignored by the media. In recent times it has appeared again in response to the very unnaturally over-Photoshopped women we are exposed to in magazines. You don't get either of these contexts when you reduce the sentiment to one line. Women become isolated images or statements without complexity and context. It's up to the viewer to apply some commonsense and balance, something not everyone is capable of evidently so you end up with people who think it's perfectly OK to judge and slam someone based on their appearance.
This is as close as Social Media gets to dividing men!
I find it really interesting that we don't see endless montages full of muscle-bound men reading "Real Men Have Muscles" followed by another wave of montages full of skinny guys that say "All Men Are Real". It makes you wonder whether there's a divide and conquer attitude that keeps women in a permanent state of insecurity, chasing an impossible perfection.

Women are regularly pitted against each other in the media, almost for sport. Just think about 'The Real Housewives of...' series and you know what I mean. We aren't exposed to a whole lot of women supporting women regardless of their shape and size but we regularly see women trying to outdo each other in beauty or getting the man or winning the argument. If we're too busy slagging off someone else about their shape then we won't rise up and demand that the media portrays us with more dignity and diversity.

As busty women we are all too familiar with people stereotyping us based on the size of our breasts but we have a choice; either we can allow ourselves to be defined and feel bad about our bodies based on the ignorant and insecure comments of others, or we can choose to define ourselves and pity the people who have nothing better to do. xx

Monday, June 4, 2012

Solutions for Uneven Boobs, Disguising Nipples and Hard to Find Band Sizes

As women we are bombarded with images of perfectly symmetrical boobs that defy gravity and sit in their oh-so-cute bras like bouncy boiled eggs. In reality MOST women have one breast larger than the other and struggle to figure out which bra to wear. Add to that nipples with a mind of their own that pop up to take a look around whenever they feel like it and a bra band that never quite fits right and you've got yourself some real life boobs! Today we're looking at the solutions for these common problems.

Solutions for Uneven Breast Sizes
Most women have one breast larger than the other. For some it's almost imperceptible and for others the difference is a whole cup size or more. Nursing mothers know precisely how much difference two boobs can muster in a single day which is why nursing bras are super stretchy to accommodate the different cup sizes you experience on a daily basis. We're bringing in a line of amazing nursing bras that can be adjusted over 3 cup sizes to deal with this daily fluctuation. For everyone else, there are a few things you can do to support your smaller breast.

1) You must ALWAYS fit your bra to your largest breast. This is because you can add support to a small breast in a big cup but you can't undo the spillage of a large breast in a small cup.

2) Shorten your strap on the side of your smallest breast. This will close down some of the gaping between your breast and the cup. This works best with non-molded bras.

3) You can use foams cups inside your bra to even out your appearance. These are different from gel inserts that add cup sizes for smaller breasts because they are thinner and can be stacked to give you complete control over the extra padding you need.
Porcelain Viva is a great example of a lightweight bra that gives you modesty coverage.
Solutions for Over-Eager Nipples
Some women's nipples can be seen through their clothing regardless of the temperature or time of day. This is understandably not the look that you want all the time. You mustn't let you nipples trap you in a cycle of wearing thick, padded bras, there are other solutions.

1) Every woman should enjoy the diversity of lingerie so don't banish yourself from a fine lace bra for the fear of nipple distraction. You can solve the issue from within the bra with nipple petals. If like me your skin doesn't react well to adhesives then reusable silicone petals are ideal. You place one over each nipple then put on your bra. At the end of the day you can wash them, let them air dry then wear them again.

2) Busty women worry that wearing a molded bra will add too much bulk but materials have come a long way in the last few years to be lighter and more comfortable. A lightweight molded bra will give you the modesty you're after without the bulk.

Solutions for Women with In-Between Band Sizes
Band sizes come in even numbers, 30, 32, 34 etc. If your ribcage measures an odd number you can find that bras are either too tight or too loose. This problem is easily solved and can actually save you money!

1) Buy the band size smaller than your ribcage then invest in a pack of bra extenders (these are reusable and last ages). The bra extender links onto your bra closure and give you some extra band size. As your bra naturally stretches over time you will no longer need your bra extender. This method will extend the life of your bra too which saves you money.

Once you know which accessories you need to keep your breasts supported and comfortable it can free you up to enjoy a much wider range of bras. If you have a specific bra problem you would like help with you can email and one of our fit specialists will get back to you xx