Friday, March 30, 2012

What can I do as an individual?

I'm passionate about proper bra fitting.  It's a major health concerned as I discussed here.  50% of women report having breast related discomfort when it comes to exercise.  Considering that worldwide people are struggling to get in enough physical activity, that should really make a stop and think.  How many women aren't exercising because they can't find a good sports bra?  How many aren't exercising because they get a rash from their bra or are too uncomfortable/embarrassed by the bounce? 

Bra fitting goes beyond physical activity and into proper posture/back health too.  It can also affect the body image of young teens, which affect them well into adulthood too.  I absolutely think this is a health issue that needs to be addressed.

I don't expect everyone to get up and write a blog like I do, so if you're at home reading this and wondering what you can do here are some suggestions:

1. Join the Bra Band Project.  Even if you don't wear a 30 band or under spread the word!
2. Take my Underbust Survey if you haven't already.  I plan on updating the statistics after a year. 
3. Contact your local lingerie boutiques.  Encourage them to expand their size range, buy locally in your correct size if possible BUT don't be talked into buying a size that doesn't fit! That just messes up the store's statistics on what sizes are needed.  Instead, if they don't have your size ask them to order it. 
4. Contact your local schools.  Ask them to include  proper bra fitting knowledge in health classes.  If you need help explaining why cite the studies I list here
5. Bother companies! Send emails to companies like Playtex, Victoria's Secret, etc that are promoting adding inches as a starting point.  Ask them to change their fitting advice.  Send them the studies, write letters, complain at the stores.  Everything helps!
6. Put your money where your mouth is.  Companies aren't going to change unless they see a financial need to do so.  If you're a 28F who buys 32D's locally, stop it.  Start ordering online and get your correct size.  On my resource page I list a number of places where you can find your bra size online.  There is no motivation for a company to change if they're still bringing in a nice profit. 
7.  Spread the word to your friends! Get your mother, your sister, your daughter, your friends fitted.  If you don't want to bug them too much send them a link to my blog or any of the other blogs out there talking about proper fitting.  If they want to see a video Georgina has a great one here
8. Be creative!  On my post about Victoria's Secret one of the commenters joked about wearing her bras upside down.  Someone could organize a bunch of ladies taking pictures with their bras on upside and send it to Victoria's Secret.  Brastop has been posting photos of women wearing their plus-four size vs. their actual size.  Come up with your own ideas to help with proper fit. :)
9. Write guest posts! If you find a company that is dolling out awful fit advice and are so inspired to write a guest post for me, I'll be happy to post it! Just send me at email with the post at . 
10.  Donate bras!  Darlene has been talking a lot about Support 1000 and is trying to generate ideas too.  Helper her out or simply donate directly to Support 1000. 
11. If you live in a bra-desert (especially a country like mine) start the movement! Start a blog or a forum that opens discussions about proper bra fitting. 

Have any other ideas that I'm missing here?  Add them in the comments and I'll be happy to include them in this post. :) 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hating what bad fitters do to teens

Recently, I saw this post over on and it just killed me hearing about the 14 year old who hated her breasts.  I hurt because I used to be that 14 year old.  I couldn't understand why my bras fit so badly, I couldn't understand why shirts never fit correctly.  I couldn't understand why the backs in sports bras were so freaking big and I never felt supported while I ran.

It didn't help when I wanted to find nice button down t-shirts and I was constantly told to size up, which would dwarf my thin teenage waist.  When I would complain, I was told that the shirt "fit" and just to get over it.  Apparently, I didn't deserve well-fitting clothes like all my friends?

Overall, I was a pretty confident teen.  Oh, I had the usual teenage angst and self-doubt but I knew I was good at school, I had lots of friends, and I knew I was attractive.  BUT I hated what clothes did for me.  I was constantly in super baggy clothes not out of choice but because that was what was available.  I had no clue how to dress my body and nobody helped me.

And you want to know where I place the blame?  Not on my parents, because, honestly? My mom had all the same issues just in the adult form probably for the very same reasons I did.  Not on my classmates, it's not their fault that genetics decided to give me a hard to dress figure.  Nope, none of them.


I'm looking at YOU Victoria's Secret.  Look at how awful your fitting advice is on your website:

Look at this! Why the HELL would you measure over your bust??? Why??? Bra bands don't sit underneath your armpits??? Who came up with this stupid idea?

Shoot, by that measurement I should be a  34 back when in reality if I wear more than a 28 band I get A LOT of back pain.  Thank you Victoria's Secret for messing up my back! Do you have some deal with all the chiropractors of the world to ensure that women mess up their backs nice and young?

You promote yourself as THE brand in the US for sexy, stylish lingerie.  Young girls want to be your models.  Gisele Bundchen is practically worshiped here in Brazil as is Adriana Lima who then does extreme diets before shows.  Don't you get that you're perpetuating horrible body image issues with your fit suggestions?

Here's the thing.  I GET that lingerie companies can't include every size in the world.  I GET that.  I DO think it's stupid that they're missing out on the vast, vast majority of women when they only have 32+ bands (we're talking about 66% of women here that need 30 bands and below) AND when they only include up to DDD cups (when in reality the average woman should be wearing something like a F-GG).  If you're concerned about sample bias, look here.

Then, when women actually go in for a fitting they either get:

a. pushed to wear a bra that is way too big in the band and too small in the cups just so they can make a sale
b. told to shop at Lane Bryant because they are too fat to shop at Victoria's Secret (true story... ask me how I know!). Oh, and at that time I needed a 36 band and a larger cup size, so Lane Bryant didn't have my size either. 

Now, here's how they should respond:
I'm sorry that we don't carry your size.  We can either try to order a larger cup size for you OR there is this nice bra boutique XYZ that might carry your size. 
I want you to look for proper signs of a well-fitting bra.  Check that only two fingers fit underneath the band, check that the center gore is flat against their sternum, check that the breast tissue is completely enclosed by the cups and there is no quadraboob present.  Make sure everyone knows that they need to lean over and scoop all their breast tissue into the cups.  IF you want to be the biggest lingerie company in the states, YOU need to promote proper fitting!

I'm sorry but it is unethical to force a young girl into a horrible fitting bra!  Some might say I'm off my rocker for this, but I'm serious.  Boosaurus just wrote a great blog on the reasons to wear a well-fitting bra.  But the ones I want to stress the most are:

Oh, and I don't want to hear that women are too stupid to find well-fitting bras either.  When armed with the proper information their bra fitting knowledge improves AND they start to buy better fitting bras over time.

So, it's time to get over this ridiculousness.  It's time to spread the word about proper fit.  I have a daughter and I want her to grow up in a world where she can be confident about her chest.  Where she can exercise regardless of her bra size, where she can shop locally for her size and not be treated like a freak of nature, where she doesn't receive any derogatory comments about her body.  I don't just want this for my daughter.  I want this for ALL of our daughters, for those with both small and large chests, for curvy and straight girls, for petite and tall girls, for thin and plus-sized girls..  We can STOP all this body hate by giving our daughters the information they need.

ETA: I also wanted to include a link to another great post about the issue of Victoria's Secret

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Staples for my Goal Wardrobe: Work Clothes

I decided to break up my list into a few different categories because it was getting really, really long (man, I need to start saving up some serious $$ to buy all of this, building a wardrobe from scratch is NOT cheap!).

First off, I need at least a semi-decent work wardrobe.  While I can wear fairly casual clothes for work too, I also have to give talks, travel for business, have interviews etc so I do need some essential business items too.  

Pencil Skirt

My first choice for a pencil skirt was the Laura Byrnes Black Label High Waisted Pencil Skirt (listed on Pinup Girl Clothing for $80 and on Deadly is the Female for 70 GBP).

However, it looks like it's sold out everywhere! Plus, I have to admit the price was pretty daunting for me.

What I love about the skirt, though, is that it's high waisted but doesn't have too much of a nipped in waist or a tight looking waist band around the waist.  No matter how much I hit the gym, I'll still have loose skin and the after effects of major weight loss/pregnancy so I have to be pretty careful about waist bands, how tight they are and where they sit on my mid-section. 

Because the Laura Byrnes' skirt is sold out, I really do need something in the meantime.    I've heard good things about this H&M skirt

and ended up buying it for 14.99 GBP.  I have to say I love that price! I still want to buy the Laura Byrnes once it's stocked again, but it won't be an immediate purchase because of the price.

The H&M skirt does have a waist band, which I wonder how it'll look on my body but it's curved and looks rather forgiving.  The model has a more straight torso so I'm hoping that it'll work well with my body. 

Business Suit

I'm still undecided when it comes to a nice business suit. 

Pepperberry has a pinstriped suit that looks ok (27.60 GBP for the jacket and and 11.50 GBP for the pants):

But I have to admit that I'm not in love with it and am nervous trying it because I've never worn Pepperberry clothes before (and I've heard so many mixed reviews).  It's currently on sale so I'm not sure if it'll be around either by the time I could afford it.

H&M also has a matching   jacket (29.99 GBP) that goes with the pencil skirt above.  I had actually planned on ordering this with the skirt but because the jacket wasn't set to be released until next month I decided to go ahead with just buying the skirt. 
I have to admit, I prefer the solid color over the pinstrip so my preference is probably for the H&M combined with the skirt.  Plus, the H&M jacket has pockets, which is another big plus for me.  My hope would be that because of the low button that it would work well for my bust.  Also, I've owned jackets from H&M before and found them to work well for a large bust.  If I do this I'll shoot for a one size up and then take it in, in the waist. 

Basic White Shirt

It's always good to have a classy white shirt to wear underneath your business suit and from what I hear Campbell and Kate leads the field in that department for busty women
and you can even try 3 out and return the two that don't fit for the price of one (listed at $160 ).  There's a decent chance that I'll be going to NYC for a business trip this next year so if that's the case then I'll get the chance to try one on in person.  :)

Shift Dress

I really love BiuBiu's Pasadena (161 PLN)
enough said. :) However, this is definitely one to wait until I hit goal before buying because I want it to be well-fitted to my body. It's really a gorgeous dress, looks incerdibly professional and also appears to be a good length.  What I love about this too is that often I need to dress up in warm weather so the short sleeves would be a good match.

Another great thing about a shift is that there's no waistband for me to worry about.  It would give a flattering look around my midsection but nothing to dig into my waist. 


I have flat feet and bad knees so I have to be extremely careful when it comes to picking out shoots.  Super high-heeled stilettos would wreak absolute havoc on my feet and knees.  One brand that I've found in the past year that works well for me are Danskos and I've found two great options that would work well in a professional environment:

Bett Black Nappa the more formal of the two.  It has a low-heel, which still is probably higher than what I should be wearing but as long as I don't turn it into an every-day shoe it would be a great option for when I need to dress more formally.

Reeny Black Full Grain   the more casual of the two and something that would also look great with jeans and a T-shirt. It also comes in brown but it would be a fun shoe if it came in red or some other colors too.:)

 I'm not sure of their actual prices because they vary so much by retailer.  Sometimes I've seen Dansko shoes listed around $150 but on outlet websites they can be significantly cheaper at around $70 (or even much less once you add in discount codes).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guest Post from La Talla Perfecta!!!!

 I'm so excited to bring you the following guest post from La Talla Perfecta!  La Tall Perfecta is a Mexican lingerie company that was the first to introduce cup sizes above D cups in Mexico!!!  As you know I feel strongly about changing the bra landscape here in Brazil so I imagine anyone wanting to introduce larger cup sizes here in Brazil would undergo a similar experience.   You can find out more about  their bras on their website here.

They say that Necessity is the mother of invention
And that´s my case. My name is Alejandra Montemayor, and I´m a mexican entrepreneur. I created  “La Talla Perfecta” (Spanish for “The Perfect Size”)  a lingerie Brand specialized in D+ sizes.

I started it because I got fed up of dealing with the lack of lingerie for my body. Finding undergarments in my size was almost impossible. No bra seemed to fit  properly, and choosing a cute design was absolutely out of question. Not only did I have to buy something uncomfortable and ugly, but I also had to deal with brainless saleswomen, looking at me as a freak for asking for a D cup:
“We do not carry that here. Why don´t you try the plus-size department?”
But I´m not fat!
So  after years of mistreatment and disappointment in Mexican stores, I ended up buying lingerie in the US. Victoria´s Secret would be my salvation! The carried 34D! Wohoo!
So for a couple of years, I survived using semi-uncomfortable bras, with minimal design but they were better than nothing.
I had to travel EVERY year to the US just to buy undergarments!
In 2009 I went to NYC. Thanks to the Tim Gunn TV show, I became aware of Linda The Bra Lady shop. While my companions  were at a museum I had to go shopping for bras. I had to miss a museum to shop for a bra. Freaking unbelievable! However, that shopping experience was life changing. Not only did I find out that I had been wearing the wrong bra size (surprise surprise!) for almost 18 years, but they gave me the best, warmest, friendliest customer service ever. That was heaven! Good news, finally I´d found a bra that didn´t hurt me. Bad news, I was a 32F. If getting a 34D was hard, 32F was near to impossible.

Now I had to fly every year to the US AND I had to spend a great amount of my budget (bras in my size don’t  come cheaper at about 70-80 USD each) AND I had to spend my  time AND put forth a lot of effort carrying bras by hand through airports to avoid them being battered. (and having X-ray security people grin at my packages) argh! -. All of those bloody inconveniences for not being able to shop in a regular store like an average size woman!!
Bloody hell!!!!!!! (I forgot to mention that I had to carry bras for my sister as well, so just double the fuss).

In August 2010, with my partner, we began exploring new business ideas. We were tired of starting each Project by scratch, so we wanted a product to sell instead of a service.
“Let´s sell something you can´t find in Mexico” – he said.
“Brasieres!” – I yelled jumping on my chair.
-¿?????- “Whaaat? You have to be kidding! You can find those even in Wallmart –
- Not every kind of…
So with very little money and absolutely no previous knowledge or experience in the industry, we started “La Talla Perfecta”. Come on, how hard can it be to make a bra? Well, it turned out it was not difficult. Difficult is a nice word. Instead it was like climbing Mt. Everest.

I had one single goal on mind: To produce D+ Lingerie that made women feel sexy, confident, comfortable… not miserable.To give them the possibility to access it as any average woman would.
Girlie Polka Dots from La Talla Perfecta.

I wanted to combine two aspects of lingerie that were previously completely absent in my country: availability of non-standard sizes + sexy design.  The process was scary, nerve wracking and quite challenging. We faced all kind of problems, unforeseen possibilities, mistakes, and disrespect from providers. No one wanted to sell us foam cups because we were asking for different sizes than A,B,C. Besides,  the volume was too small (less than 1000 pairs among different sizes).  Fabric vendors didn´t bother in answering our calls or emails.
Manufacturers laughed at us, saying that it was insane producing bras in those sizes. (One even said in my face: “D-G cups? Small back? Those women simply don´t exist”)  We had to buy everything on retail, paying twice the Price, and getting half the quantity.  We ended carrying up to 30kgs of fabric rolls on our backs for many blocks, taking back and forth supplies, cutting threads, packing garments…

All of course, besides our full time job.

10 months after, we finally launched our first collection. 10 models and 16 sizes available. (32-38, cups C, D, DD, F & G). And it seemed I wasn´t that special after all. Response from women was quite familiar. “I just can´t get a bra that fits” “I have to shop in the US”. “I just resigned to wear ugly clothes”, and so on. Without much knowledge, no capital, no expertise, we began to sell. 

Needless to say, our bras are not perfect. They are quite good for making them without a clue, but far from perfect. (We are still working on that.) But surpassing the technical stuff, our bras are way better than anything else offered locally. They make women feel like they needs are being met. They are sexy.

Size awareness was zero.

100% of customers I´ve served used the wrong bra size. (They all say they are 36C because that´s all they can get) I´ve seen girls going from "38B" to 32F. They didn´t even know cups beyond C existed. They don´t even know how to tell if a bra fits properly! They only knew they have red marks on their shoulders, their underwires were stabbing their torsos, their straps were falling off, and most of all, they felt miserable because they were constantly reminded that they were wearing a bra. 

Nowadays we are selling through 2 different boutiques, myself at home, and an independent saleswomen in some states of the country. We don´t have to convince girls to buy from us. They were already craving a solution. That´s why price is not a decision maker. Actually, price is something they don´t even consider. We solve such a great need, that our customers pay gladly, because it´s worth it. It´s amazing to see the transformation that takes place. They stand taller, prouder, happier.  Their silhouette looks leaner.  But most of all, you can see them smile. You can see how they feel to have an undergarment that doesn´t hurt them, and doesn´t look like a Robocop costume either.

Girlie Negra A Rayas Blacas from La Tall Perfecta

We´ve built a Facebook Community with over 4,000 fans. We created a space for women to share problems, insights and even jokes about having big breasts. We have listened to their needs. **

What´s next for us? To Grow. We will be launching our second collection in three months time.
We added 10 sizes more, (including 32G, 40,42,44 C, D & DD) because of high costumer demand. Our aim is to launch 2 collections a year. In a midterm, we will widen our range of products, adding bras for different needs: sport, maternity, bridal, etc. We won´t stop at lingerie. We are also considering swimwear and even exterior clothing.

The possibilities are endless.

It has been a bumpy ride, but it´s totally worth it. I feel I can make a difference… one pair at a time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Que sutias horriveis no Brasil!

A situacao dos sutias aqui no Brasil estah muito ruim!  Tem so um tamanho, o que eh isso?  Porque nao tem dois tamanhos: um para as tacas e um para a faixa traseira?

As tacas aqui sao bem pequenas.  Por favor nao use tacas pequenas porque pode machucar a pele dos seios.
A faixa tem que ficar muito mais embaixo. 80-90% do suporte vem da faixa traseira e portanto usar uma banda assim tao alta pode causar muita dor. Neste caso, voce deveria diminuir dois tamanhos (ou mais) na parte de tras e dois tamanhos da taca ou mais.

Vejam, Brasileiras, nos precisamos de sutias que cabem certinho.  Do jeito que estah nao pode ficar! Os sutias que cabem certinho ficam assim:

Ewa Michalak sutia
Olha como os seios ficam nas tacas completas.  A faixa estah ficando em baixo. Eh necessario ter pelo menos DOIS tamanhos diferentes.  A maioria absoluta das mulheres tem tamanhos para as costas e seios diferentes (veja os statisticos aqui).  Por causa disso nos precisamos de dois tamanhos (e pode ser mais ainda!).

Para achar seu tamanho:

1. Meca a circunferĂȘncia embaixo do Busto
2. Meca a circunferĂȘncia do Busto
3. Usar esta calculador. Veja em baixo para a traducao em Portugues:
Butterfly Collection

Para comprar sutias em portugues (de Portugal), olhem aqui

Outra companhias que enviam produtos para o Brasil (mais os websites sao soh em ingles):

Mais informacaoes em Portugues.

In English: Me ranting about the bra situation in Brasil and attempting to give fit advice in Portuguese. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

30 and under Bra Band Project!

Recently at the Curve Expos in both New York and Las Vegas, brands that cater to large-busted women suggested that 30 bands and under were either for juniors, or that there was no market for them.  However, that is simply not the case, there are many women out there who need 30 bands and under and we are not all juniors.  While we come in all different shapes and sizes, we all have a small back size in common. 

To prove that we are not all juniors and that we exist as a market we have decided to create the Bra Band Project where we are looking for photos of women who wear 30 bands or under. We will make a flickr album and eventually a collage with our photos to show that we are not just juniors but women of all shapes and sizes that need small bands.  We'd love your help so please submit your own photo and band size using the form below or email it to  Note we need both your bra size and your photo. We cannot include a submission without both of those. If you are a blogger who would like to help out with this project email us at

Joining me in this project are Boosaurus, BrasIHate, ByBabysRules, and StackDD. I wear about a 28J and am still 5lbs in to the overweight range. I entered into the 30 band range when I was still at the upper end of the overweight range so these comments just see odd to me. Adding to that my under bust survey found that 66% of respondents had an underbust of 31" or below.  Now, some say that these women should be adding inches to their band but a recent study found that the method of adding inches to band size leads to ill-fitting bras in the vast majority of the cases (especially in larger-breasted women). So truly most of these 31" or under underbust women need 30 bands or under!  I've also heard criticism that my study had a sample bias towards women with unusual band sizes but as discussed here the Marine's data backs up my study. 

So, small-backed women, let's prove that we are a demographic that needs well-fitting bras too!  I'm someone who purchases bras on a regular basis, doesn't anybody want my money? ;)  I'm not super thin, as I said before, I'm still slightly into the overweight category and I plan on losing another 20lbs, where is that going to put me? Probably in the 26 band territory!  I'd love some bras then too. :D

Our lives shouldn't just be filled with alterations, bands that ride up our backs, and zero support.  We want well-supported breasts in beautiful bras too.  But companies won't cater to us unless we let our voices be heard.  Women won't believe that they also need small band sizes unless they see other women who look like them and realize "hey she's my size, maybe a 26, 28, or 30 band really could fit me!".  Part of the reason so few 28's and 30's are sold is that there definitely is a tag shock.  Women have to increase their cup size to get there and it can be hard to wrap your mind around if you've been told all your life that "DD's are huge".  It's time we got past that.  It's time we got past the fear of smaller bands.

A recent study found that teens who were given pamphlets on proper bra fitting actually found more well-supporting bras after a 4 month period.  Change IS possible but we need to spread the word.  By submitting your picture, you're doing just that.  :)

For references to the comments at the Curve Expos see here and here.  Also if you're looking for a community to discuss your bra woes thirty-two D can help. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brayola: finding more bras for me to lust after...

Awhile back the creator of Brayola contacted me via email and introduced me to her new website.  I was quite impressed but was quick to point out that she needed to add Ewa Michalak bras (which she did immediately!).  Since then I've been having fun playing around with the website and adding more bras to my drawers. 

You start off by adding in your bras to your drawers.  You can even separate the bras that you don't like into a separate drawer.  If your chosen bras match those of other users in terms of size and style they'll make suggestions.  It's also handy because clicking on the bras will show where you can buy them with a direct link to the website.

I did notice a small bug, though. When clicking on the CH Onyx it said it was sold on Bravissimo's website.  However, if you click Buy then it does send you directly to Ewa Michalak's website.  I'm sure it will be fixed soon. :)

If you're on twitter Brayola is fun to follow because there are always links to beautiful new bras that are out and fun bra facts. :)

Oh, and something that I love?  I would never, ever trust my husband to enter a bra store on his own and manage to pick out a style/size that would remotely fit me.  However, Brayola is planning on coming out with a men's version of the website, which I have a feeling that it will make holiday shopping a lot easier!

As I am sure you are aware, brayola is for women who are looking to discover their next favorite bra! As the site is all about women’s bras, it means there isn’t much that you, as a man, can do on the site. Fear not, soon enough we will be releasing a brayola for MEN (no, not so you can discover your next favorite bra!) but a site that has you in mind, (so definitely less pink, and more blue!) You will be able to make that special woman in your life happy, by buying her a bra that actually fits and that she is going to love. So be patient, as your time will come!

I'm not the owner of this company but I could see a million different directions that it could go in (and am looking forward to seeing it grow).  I'd love to see some sort of joint venture between Brayola and Bratabase.  I imagine that would take an enormous amount of effort but Bratabase certainly has the statistical data that can help women find bras and I find Brayola's user interface extremely attractive and user friendly.  :) 

Another thing (going along the same vein) is that it would be nice to have an option to describe fit with the bras.  I have some bras that are the wrong size that are still wonderful bras.  However, if someone was looking in my drawer they might think that bra fit me when it didn't.  Additionally, it would be nice to have an option of separating bras into "wants" and "already haves".  That would be especially helpful once they include the men's version of the website.  Actually, maybe it would be easier just to make the name of the drawers user defined?  So a women could separate her bras into "every day bras", "date bras", "eh bras", and "evil spawn of Satan bras".  ;) 

Overall, I had a lot of fun on the site and can't wait to see where they're going to go with it! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Staples for my Goal Wardrobe: The Rules

At this point I'm thinking pretty seriously about what I want to wear when I reach goal.  I desperately need some basics in my wardrobe being that pretty much all my clothes are seriously baggy on me at the moment.  Venusian Glow has been discussing lately creating wardrobe rules so here's what I want to go by:

- Undergarments always come first.  No matter how beautiful a dress it just isn't going to fit well without a supportive bra and well-fitting underwear. 

- Quality over quantity.  I'm an adult now, not a college student and I'm past the time of only buying a bazilliion super cheap T-shirts from H&M's sales items where none of them really fit and they all go bad after a couple of months.

- Buying brands that I believe in.  At the moment I'm looking for brands that are made locally in their own country (if possible) and ones that promote a healthy body image and diversity in their models. Realistically, I'm on a budget so a few cheaper items might squeeze in there but I'd like to focus primarily on brands that I love.

- Buying brands that fit my body type.  I don't have a problem paying for alterations but I also want to put my money where my mouth is.  I know alterations are not as cheap for every other woman around the world so I want to spend my money on clothes that fit me and other women like me..

- Buying brands that listen to the consumer.  I've discussed this before on my blog but I'm much more likely to buy from brands that  listen to their customer's feedback.

- Buying the correct size, not just what's on sale.  I've been pretty poor all my life so my natural instinct is to buy clothes for as cheap as price as possible.  While that was my only choice when I was younger, it's NOT the cheapest option in the long run because cheap, ill-fitting clothes don't get worn as much and/or get worn out sooner.

- Keeping  in mind my positives and problem areas.  There's a lot that I love about my new body but realistically major weight loss and pregnancy changes a women's body so my needs have changed in clothes.  Pants seem to hit my waist line funny and I almost always have a problem with a muffin top.  I've found that skirts and dresses are quite flattering on me, though, and it might be wise to go more in that direction.

- As much as I love funky, trendy pieces basics are what I need first before I add to my wardrobe so that should be the focus for the time being.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Curvy Clothes would YOU like to see?

Recently, BiuBiu asked on their Facebook page:

Question time! What kind of shirts would you like BiuBiu to sell? Sleeves long, short, 3/4 length? What colours or patterns? Smart or casual? We'd love to hear your views.
This company really gets it!  I love that they're asking this and so I wanted to put out there what I would like to see that comes made for curvy women.  So often my style is dictated by what I can find, not by what I want to wear!  Of course, I'd still love to see my ideal shirt put into production. ;)

So here's what I want to wear:

Modcloth: I love patterns but not throughout the piece.  I also love that this is fitted around the underbust but doesn't look like a maternity dress.  This would look amazing on a bust gal.
Modcloth:  It's actually very similar to the new Infinity shirts from BiuBiu (great design, by the way!) but in a slightly fancier dress form

Modcloth: Again, I love the slight patterns and the yellow makes me swoon.
Modcloth: Again, I love the pattern at the bottom.  The reason I included this is that I'd like a nice casual dress with thin straps that's very lightweight for the summer.  This really looks perfect.
Modcloth.  I love the pattern/color but I'd change the fit.  I'd include sleeves and either an empire waist or a nipped in waist that flared out.  The current fit probably wouldn't be very flattering on a busty gal.

Modcloth. Lace! Wouldn't it be great to have a nice lacy number?  But please not in white because my 3 year old would destroy that in a second!!! an
Ann Taylor: Sorry for the tiny pic, look here.  What I love about this shift is the cream lining that compliments the blue so well.  BiuBiu has some amazing shifts already but I'd love some of these extra details that really spice up a dress to be added.
Modcloth:  What stood out to me with this tunic was not only the cute pattern on it but also the tie around the waist, which I think would be quite flattering.

Modcloth: Tops that I liked were few and far between because it seems like flowing peasant tops are the trend at the moment and they so do NOT work for a busty gal like myself.  However, this one really demonstrates how you can pull off a peasant top while still accentuating your waist, I love it!

Ann Taylor.  Again, see here. I'd LOVE a perfectly tailored suit jacket.  I know Pepperberry sells some suits, which I might try eventually but BiuBiu already has a lot of great work appropriate shift and button down shirt options, so it would be great to see some of those paired with an amazingly well-fitting jacket!
North Face Jacket listed on Zappos: I love hoodies, they're so soft and comfy but it's annoying that they always come too small in the bust and too large in the waist.  I'd love to have one that actually fits!

Many of these are sleeveless, but not really by intention  (I'd be just as happy if they had sleeves) instead it just seemed that the fit/design I was looking for happened to be sleeveless. However, almost all of the dresses above would still look amazing with sleeves added.

What would YOU like to see?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Last chance for Curvy Kate's Star in a Bra Competition!

Taking a brief break from my Underbust Survey here (the last part is still coming!)... I haven't talked much about Curvy Kate on here... yet.  Mostly, because I still haven't figured out my correct bra size with them (although I have a few 28J's coming soon!) so I wanted to wait to do any bra reviews until I got myself in the correct size.

However, there's a lot that I love about their company and their Star in the Bra competition is one of them!  If you're female, over the age of 18 (no upper age limit!), and have natural breasts in a D cup or higher (understand that a D cup is when using band size=underbust) you can enter! You can see all the details here. The competition is open to women in USA, Australia, UK, and Ireland.  The competition closes on Friday, so start taking pictures!!!!

One really great thing about this competition is that it promotes bra fitting awareness and celebrates a wider range of body shapes compared to what you'd normally see on the modeling circuits.  You've got to love that! 

So, Curvy Kate, here's my question to you! 

When are you coming to Brazil?????

Seriously, I think the women of Brazil would love this competition.  It's the 6th biggest economy and there are NO bras available here.  Almost all bras come with the assumption that the woman is a B cup and they just increase the band size.  Two brands (Hope and Liz) have started to create bras with cup sizes but they only have a very, very limited selection (mostly A-D and I believe I saw one F cup once...). 

So why haven't you started learning Portuguese yet? ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Underbust Survey - Part 5: Clothing Sizes

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

I've always wondered how clothing sizes were determined because human bodies (especially female bodies!) vary so much that it has to be nearly impossible to pick Bust/Underbust/Waist measurements to base shirts off of.  That's not even thinking about adding in High Hip and Hip measurements into the equation (so we're not going to be discussing dresses here).

In this part I wanted to answer the following questions:

  • How closely related are Waist and Underbust measurements?
  • Using Waist size as a base, are there any clear winners for Waist and Underbust measurement that clothing sizes could be based on?
  • How do my results compare to an average size chart?
In all of the following I only used responses that included a Waist, Standing Bust, and Underbust measurement.  In total I had 178 usable responses. 

So now on to tackling these questions:

Relationship between Waist and Underbust

In my blog I've often assumed that Waist=Underbust within a variation of about 1-2 inches either way.  I wanted to test this assumption (my gut feeling was that for smaller women Waist<Underbust and for larger women Underbust<Waist but that was something else that I wanted to test).

First, taking out the weight factor, I found that as suspected using Waist=Underbust isn't a horrible assumption
However, it does appear that Underbust tends to be larger than one's waist.  Granted, as I discussed in Part 1, I have just over 50% of respondents who are within the healthy BMI range so we are looking at a somewhat higher than average number of "healthy" respondents than what you'd see in the US, for instance. 

If we break down the variance by BMI we then find
As you can see the variance between Underbust and Waist is all over the place!  As I thought in the very high end of BMI it looks like it's more common to have a larger Waist than Underbust but even at the lower end it's all over the place.  I think it rules out the idea that every woman at a healthy BMI has a flat stomach too.  Interesting!  However, it does look like women with BMI's under 20 have Underbust>=Waist.

Size predictions

In this section I separated all the responses by their waist measurement and then looked at the average occurrence of their corresponding bust and underbust measurements.  I used waist measurements between 24"-33" because I had at least 10+ responses for each waist size (with the exception of 32" where I had only 8 respondents with a 32" waist).  For waist measurements 34" and above I always had 5 or less respondents so I didn't include the results because the statistics were not very good.  Granted, that is typically considered the plus-sized region and plus-size clothes tend to cover more like a 2 inch waist range or more for each clothing size so I may go back again and try to redo the results for a wider waist range in the 34"+ region. 

Without further ado here are the results:

In terms of the number of respondents for each waist size I had:
  • 17 with 24" waists or under
  • 14 with 25" waists
  • 21 with 26" waists
  • 10 with 27" waists
  • 22 with 28" waists
  • 23 with 29" waists
  • 14 with 30" waists
  • 13 with 31" waists
  • 8 with 32" waists
  • 10 with 33" waists
  • 26 with 34" waists or above (although always 5 or under for each respective waist)
So what exactly do all these results mean?  Well, one thing is obvious, depending on the waist size we see there there is quite a bit of variation still for the underbust and bust size. I really wish I had had more responses in each specific waist size range because it's hard to draw any definite conclusions from this.

Comparing to Size Charts

I had the most respondents who had a 29" waist so I wanted to compare that graph specifically with various size charts.  For women with 29" waists, 43.5% had an underbust in the 29-30" range and 91.3% had an underbust in the 27-33" range, that's quite a wide distribution!  In terms of bust size 47.8% has a bust size in the 38-39" range, 70% had a bust size in the 36-39" range and 91.3% had a bust size in the 36-42" range.  Point is, it's very hard to peg down corresponding measurements just based on the waist size alone.  If you wanted to get in about 90% of women with a 29" waist you'd need to have a top that fit a bust over a 6" range and an underbust over a 6" range also!  Basically, you'd have a tent.

Now, there are some work arounds here.  For instance, empire waist tops only have two measurements that are relevant (underbust and bust measurement) whereas flowing peasant tops really only rely on bust measurements when it comes to finding a good fit because they are not meant to be fitted around the waist/underbust.

I think looking at these measurements it becomes quite clear why manufacturers turn so often to Spandex because you're going to reach a larger percentage of women.

Now the question remains... what about stores like BiuBiu, Aj Rumina, Carissa Rose, Campbell and Kate, and Pepperberry who go by both a waist and bust size?  Can they get a better fit?

In the case of women with a 29" waist, just using the percentages it seems like it would make sense to divide the bust sizes in the following three categories:

  • 34-36" covers 21.7%
  • 37-39" covers 56.5%
  • 40-42" covers 21.8%
So let's see how that lines up to some of the brands listed above.  For BiuBiu a 29" waist corresponds to a size 38.  And the size cover
  • 38B 35.8-37.4
  • 38BB 37.8-39.4
  • 38BBB 39.8-41.3
Ok, wow, those numbers match up extraordinarily well!  I'm curious, though, if BiuBiu sees a higher percentage of their 38BB shirts sold compared to their 38B and 38BBB? It would be interesting for comparison.  Now, the bust measurements from my survey do fall slightly below what BiuBiu sells but then again, BiuBiu caters to large breasted women and I specifically asked women of all sizes to respond. 

Let's check the same with Pepperberry.  According to Pepperberry's size chart a 29" waist corresponds to a size 10 and the curve sizes are as follows:
  • 10C 33.9-35.4
  • 10RC 35.8-37.4
  • 10SC 37.8-39.4
so it looks like the measurements from Pepperberry run exactly a size smaller than BiuBiu and miss out on roughly 20% of the population on the larger bust end.  Granted, I'm sure some of the top 20% can still fit into their range if the material is stretchy and depending on the cut but it does appear that the Super Duper Curvy could be needed.

However, at least according to my survey, it would be useful for manfacturers to list the corresponding underbust measurement.  I found quite a wide range in underbusts for women with a 29" waist and that will make a large difference in the bust size.  If you have a women with a 29" waist, 27" underbust and 40" bust (let's call her woman A) she is going to have very different fit needs when it comes to tops as compared to a women with a 33" underbust and a 40" bust (let's call her woman B).  Actually, if they were looking at tops like the BiuBiu Fuego
Woman A might very well prefer to size down to a 36BBB whereas women B might want to size up to a 42B.  Granted, woman B might also need to take in the waist on the 42B but it might give her the best fit in terms of the underbust/bust combination.

So what's the solution here?  Well, my personal preference would be for manufacturers to simply list the measurements that a shirt is made to fit.  For instance, on the Fuego top listing the Underbust and the Bust measurement are much more useful than listing the Waist and Bust measurements (by the way, this is not me trying to pick on BiuBiu here- it just happens to be one of the companies that I've drooled over the most so I'm also more familiar with the clothes they offer). 

Now, clothes that are fitted throughout the waist and underbust are certainly trickier.  For instance, the Deadly Dames Courtesan Wiggle Dress found in Pinup Girl Clothing

It's a gorgeous dress but it certainly must provide a lot of challenges when it comes to fit. 

Let's take the 3 size divisions that I chose above and call them 29small, 29medium and 29large.  If we compare this to the underbust reported we really don't see any clear division
I chose not to convert this into percentages because I wanted to demonstrate that we do have a relatively small sample size here.  Despite that, the point is that a dress that is fitted around both the underbust and waist is going to be a difficult fit for many women because there is such a high level of variation in his region.  I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to fit the bust and underbust, while leaving the waist somewhat larger and then offer in store alterations for a small fee?  This could easily be done on a website too if the woman provided her waist measurement.

I'd love to hear some feedback from clothing manufacturers, how do you deal with these issues?