Posts from October, 2012

Our Columnists’ Lingerie Picks of the Month: October

Kristina: Lucky me! I am officially the proud owner of this beautiful Chantelle bra set from their Paris Paris collection. This exquisite group features an intricate jacquard pattern which creates a convincing tromp l’oeil effect of delicate leavers lace. The effect is so remarkable that you can’t help but to touch and examine it in person just to believe your eyes. And since it is as comfortable as it is stylish, I predict this set will soon become a trusty staple in my lingerie wardrobe.

Karolina: Sockbox’s website sends me into a frenzy of lingerie lust that the world has never seen before.  There’s literally too many gorgeous garments there to behold – and I seriously struggled to pick out this bodysuit from the rest of their offerings (just look at some of those robes – utterly stunning, and perfect for swishing around the house… Or maybe even somewhere a little more glamorous!).  The Gentle Orchid Bodysuit stood out to me in particular as it’s so fantastically luxurious and versatile.  The details are just perfect: the flowing lace, oversized chiffon bows and those adorable suspender clips.  Irresistible!

Laura: Another vote for Chantelle’s Paris-Paris collection! This looks like a lace overlay, but it’s actually a lace pattern stitched onto the bra cup.  Not only is this cool and beautiful illusion, but it also makes for a smoother fit under clingy tops.

Marianne: With Halloween (my favorite holiday) here, it’s no wonder I’m feeling a little… vampy.  Hopeless Lingerie’s ‘Ellen’ Elastic Body Harness suits that mood eerily well.  Despite its bold look, I can see lots of styling possibilites, as it could be worn not just with any bra or bodysuit, but even over, say, a fitted turtleneck dress to add a little spice to your fall look.  Hopeless Lingerie is handmade to order, so the only downside is you can’t incorporate it into your spooky costume, but its arrival would surely give you something to be thankful for in November.  The harness is available in 6 sizes, with adjustable straps all around for a perfected fit, and retails for $60.

Holly: The Lola Luxe Basque has been a hit for Bravissimo in several different colorways, and was recently released in this luscious blackberry version. While this basque is pretty, it’s also one of the most unique pieces on the market. The cups are designed to be truly supportive, and sizing goes up to a K cup in 30 through 38 bands. This is a basque that is ready for the bedroom or a long day at work. Previous versions of this have sold out rapidly, so make sure to grab your size as soon as you can! I’m not sure lots of size choice will be around for the holidays.
Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Lost in Wonderland: Berlin’s Newest Luxury Lingerie Label

‘Pitaya’

‘Vegan’ doesn’t equal ‘boring,’ and in case you didn’t know that, Lost in Wonderland is here to prove it. Combining luxurious laces, vegan fabrics, classic styles, and a playful sensibility, Lost in Wonderland honestly has me smitten. With nocturnal flowers as the inspiration, these sets are pretty, yes, but they’re also wearable. And everything is purchased from and manufactured in Europe. Have you fallen in love yet? Lost in Wonderland’s first collection will be available worldwide this December…just in time for Christmas. You can view a complete gallery of all the looks at the bottom of this article.

‘Moonflower’

‘Love Lace’

‘Nightshade’

‘Midnight Hibiscus’

‘Pink Hibiscus’

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Luxury Lingerie for a Cause: Lingerie London and The Seven Bar Foundation

Atsuko Kudo

Last week, one of the most spectacular events in all of lingerie happened…and no, I’m not talking about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The event was Lingerie London and it brought together two powerhouses in the lingerie industry – Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo, for a good cause – the microfinance non-profit The Seven Bar Foundation. I had the opportunity to interview Renata Black, chairwoman of Seven Bar, the day after the show and I’m so excited to share what she has to say on The Lingerie Addict. I’ve always believed lingerie can be more than just bras and panties, and here’s a wonderful example of how lingerie can do good for women all over the world. All photos are courtesy of Seven Bar. You can also view video highlights of the show here.

Atsuko Kudo

1) First of all, congratulations on another successful fashion show! Lingerie London happened just last night, and people have not stopped talking about it. I even think the #LingerieLondon hashtag was trending for a little while on Twitter. Second of all, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for TLA readers! I’m sure you must be exhausted, so let’s get right to it. I know that the last show was Lingerie New York 2010. What made you choose London for 2012?

Thank you very much! We were so excited with the event. The first thing we did was look at all the luxury lingerie designers in Europe as we wanted to make sure we worked with the strongest designer for our next Lingerie event.  After careful consideration we realized that both of them resided in London—Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo—so it was a natural move for us to have our first European Lingerie event in London.

Atsuko Kudo

2) The production value of your fashion shows is incredible…from what I’ve seen, they’re truly an experience. How long does one take to put together from start to finish?

We started working on this show over a year ago, as we wanted to make sure it was a quality event. We partnered with Total Management UK, who helped tremendously with putting the show together and making it a success.

Atsuko Kudo

3) Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo are two of the most well-known and well-respected names in high-end lingerie. How did they come to be involved? Did they approach you? Did you approach them? And why these two specific brands?

Both Agent Provocateur and Atsuko Kudo are brands that we have a long-standing relationship with and have shown in the past. When we were curating the show and looking at all the best couture and luxury lingerie brands we felt that Atsuko Kudo and Agent Provocateur were truly the best in their class. Additionally, we decided to work with AP and AK because they are both completely different and we could reach two different audiences with the message of the empowerment of women.

Agent Provocateur

4) There’s a ton of press being given to all the gorgeous lingerie, but what a lot of people may not know is that this fashion show is actually charity event benefiting The Seven Bar Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Can you tell us more about The Seven Bar Foundation? What’s its mission and what does it do?

The Seven Bar Foundation is the cause brand for the empowerment of women, with the pink ‘ladder’ icon as its logo. The Foundation generates funds for microfinance, enabling women to climb out of poverty and into business. We want to empower women and enable self-sufficiency—it is about giving them a hand-up, not a hand-out.

We generate funds through our Lingerie Shows as well as through cause-marketing campaigns, allowing consumers to empower women by purchasing products with the ladder icon. We also have our very own panty line called Empowered By You, of which 20% of the profits go to the Foundation.  All these partnerships provide Seven Bar with consistent revenue streams, so that we do not have to rely on donations to fuel our empowerment fund.

Agent Provocateur

5) There are so many causes worth funding…what made you choose microfinance as a way to make a difference?

I truly believe that microfinance is one of the strongest poverty alleviation tools today. Microfinance fosters self-sufficiency and allows women to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their children. With a small loan, a woman can start a successful business and send her children to school, which in turn creates more opportunities for families and inspires girls to follow in their mother’s footsteps.

Agent Provocateur

6) I love that! How did you come up with the idea of combining lingerie and activism? Did you ever think the shows would be come the kind of internationally recognized events they are today?

The idea came to me shortly after I returned from India, where I had started a grassroots microfinance program for 800 women. I was watching the Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show, and saw how much attention this show received for no benefit. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of this attention was redirected back to the empowerment of women?

It seemed natural to me to position lingerie as inner armor for outer empowerment, and align myself with top lingerie designers who already had this idea in their DNA and had already been making women feel empowered through their clothing. Through our shows, we have been able to redirect the attention of the fashion and luxury lingerie industries to microfinance and the empowerment of women. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with our message, so we are thrilled about the response our shows have received.

Agent Provocateur

7) Many of my readers (myself included) will probably never be able to attend one of your luxury lingerie fashion shows. How else can we get involved and help your mission to eliminate poverty?

That is where the Empowered By You panty comes in. As I was doing these lingerie shows I was thinking, “How can I have more people help us empower women into business?” I saw need for a perfect everyday panty that could make the transition from yoga to cocktail party, and decided to design a panty with the help of my great friend Hun Kim (former head designer of Ralph Lauren Blue Label) – Empowered By You. As previously mentioned, this panty retails at $20 and 20% of the proceeds goes to the Foundation. Anyone who purchases a panty helps us further our goal and empower more women—whatever empowers you, empowers women everywhere. Our goal is to empower 250,000 women into business by 2020. The panty is available for purchase at www.empoweredbyyou.com.

Empowered by You

8) Can you share with us one story of someone The Seven Bar Foundation has helped?

Yes! One of the organizations we’ve worked with is Genesis Empresarial, a microfinance bank in Guatemala. $100,000 was lent to them, and 250 women have been impacted with an average loan size of $400. Here’s the story of one of those women – Carmen.

Carmen started her artisan work to help create extra income for her family. She worked for her neighbor, creating beautiful woven textiles that were sold in the market place. Carmen received little of the profits from the final textiles but was able to slowly save extra funds to hopefully send her son to school.

When Carmen’s husband died, she had to take sole responsibility for providing for her family. With a fund from the Seven Bar Foundation, Carmen was able to buy thread and fabric supplies to open her own textile business. As the owner of her own business, Carmen was able to make a bigger income from selling her artisan work directly in the marketplace. When Carmen speaks of her loan you can see how her back straightens out as she says, “I am able to take care of my family on my own. I can send my oldest son and daughter to school, and also use my profits to fix up our house. Now I have the resources to provide for my family.”

Renata

9) How inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing. Last question…where and when will the next Seven Bar lingerie show be?

Our phones have not stopped ringing since the final bow at Lingerie London and we are very humbled to say that we are in high demand so another show in London is looking very possible. However, we do need to get back to our roots in the US, as we have built quite the following that has yet to experience Empowered By You, so Los Angeles is also an option.

Thank you again for taking the time out of your very busy schedule for TLA’s readers, Renata! You’re doing wonderful work, and I can’t wait to hear about the next show.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Naughty Bits: Lingerie News for 10/28/12

  • Victoria’s Secret vs Agent Provocateur: how two brands compare in today’s version of sexy. British women are incredibly loyal to their personal choices of lingerie brands and it shows. Over the past 4 years, clothing sales have been flat but lingerie sales have risen slightly to 0.6%. Taking advantage of a pretty impressive market in the face of recession are Agent Provocateur and Victoria’s Secret and each’s approach is different. Agent Provocateur maintains that its lingerie isn’t for display but should create confidence in the woman who wears it and it is this confidence that creates sex appeal. Victoria’s Secret, however, stays in a different lane. In contrasts to the daring tone that Agent Provocateur takes, Victoria’s Secret maintains an upbeat and vibrant atmosphere (this can be seen in the difference between the two firms’ fashion shows) and attracts all types of consumers while Agent Provocateur is more of a niche firm. Do you agree or disagree with their approaches?
  • The opportunity to “do” gender differences comes at Halloween. F&%K No Sexist Halloween Costumes has started a collection of images that compares Halloween costumes for men and women that have the same theme. With costumes ranging from farmers and leprechauns to pool tables and bacon, the site shows how the Halloween costume industry enforces the gender “binary”.
  • The Fantasy Bra over the years Since 1996, the fantasy bra has been a spectacular piece of lingerie. What started out as a $1 million bra that could only be found in a catalog has turned into a spectacle in itself during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Take a look at its 16 year history since Claudia Schiffer first slipped it on and tell us what you think.
  • What happens when you let a website pick out the perfect bra for you. Most women think they know what bra size they wear. However, many have come to notice that all bras of the same size may not be the same size. However, True & Co may have the answer. Instead of measuring tapes and fitting rooms, the lingerie firm figures out the perfect fit through a simple test. The questions are not simply based on numbers but ask about support, band tightness, cup spillage and others and show a collection of bras that they think would be perfect. Customers can select three from the list,True & Co adds two additional options and for $45, they ship the bras. Customers try them on in the comfort of their own home, keep what they like, and send back what they don’t. Refinery29 tried the service and found that it was quick, easy, and a very good bra shopping experience. How do you feel about bra fitting services like True & Co’s?
  • Stella’s self portrait and why she took it. The negative self images of some teenage girls and the criticisms that come with them can stay with women well into their adult years and leave lasting effects. What happens when one gets over it though? She posts a self portrait and tells others that her body is hers and to deal with it. What’s your reaction to her self portrait?
  • Doutzen Kroes on why Photoshop is still essential. A few weeks ago, Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes had unretouched pictures of a photo shoot leaked. With tons of before and after comparisons floating on the internet afterwards, Doutzen Kroes says it simply comes with the territory. “There’s always paparazzi and stuff on the beach when we’re shooting, and it’s just part of the job.” However, Kroes makes the point that retouching images is essential to the fashion industry because people want a sense of fantasy and retouching images maintains that fantasy. What are your thoughts?
  • Agent Provocateur and Monica and Penelope Cruz team up to launch lingerie line Agent Provocateur has announced the creation of L’Agent, its new diffusion line, in partnership with sisters Monica and Penelope Cruz. The line will be a standalone standalone collection, and will be priced significantly lower than Agent Provocateur’s. The brand has always been associated with decadence, but this is its bid at younger and more cost conscious consumers.
  • Bullies in Burlesque  In this week’s “Stripper Talk”, Sydni Deveraux confronts the issues of weight in burlesque. A reader tells of a burlesque show’s producer telling her to lose some weight because people only come to burlesque shows when they are attracted to the performers. Her response was that when she joined the troupe, it was a collaboration of gypsies not a showgirl strip club.  She believes that this is taking away from the art form of burlesque and is concerned that it may mirror the future of burlesque. Sydni gives her many insights to the issue ranging from the history of burlesque and its homogenization to  how the direction of burlesque as an art form is totally in the hands of the performers. Do you have any thoughts on the resurgence of burlesque and its direction?
Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Weekly Lingerie Sales: 10/27/12

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Dotty Balcony Bra at Fleur of England

  • 15% Off Claudette’s New Leopard Print Bra at Butterfly Collection
  • 20% off Simone Perele at HerRoom (regular priced items only)
  • 25% off sleepwear for women and men at Bare Necessities
  • 30% off treats at Fleur of England. See link for details on how to receive discount (Ends 11/1/12)
  • 50% off entire purchase (excluding Fall 2012 items) at Lola Haze w/ the code LolaSpookySexy50 (ends 10/30/12)
  • Up to 75% off new sale additions at MyTights (while supplies last)
  • Free shipping all weekend at PEEK Brooklyn w/ code TrickTreat
  • New ‘Buy One, Get One’ offers at Dollhouse Bettie (while supplies last)
  • New sale lingerie additions at Nordstrom
  • New sale lingerie additions at The Outnet
Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

More Posts - Website

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Lingerie & Photography: Introducing A Reflection of Light

Our final guest post for this week features the work of Israel Freeland, who photographs under the name of A Reflection of Light. I confess that I’m no artist, much less a photographer, but I really love Israel’s work and I have ever since I first saw it many, many months ago. His work feels intimate, yet approachable, and just a little bit imperfect in a way that makes it so can’t look away. You can find A Reflection of Light on Facebook as well. I’d love to hear what you think about his work in the comments.

1) Thanks so much for featuring your work on The Lingerie Addict! I first ran across your photography on Facebook, and ever since then I’ve been a fan. How long have you been taking pictures, and what first sparked your interest in photography?

You’re very welcome, and it’s I that should be thanking you as I have been a fan of yours for sometime as well.

I have been shooting off and on for a few years so its hard to say I’ve been photographing for “X” amount…but I can say that I became more focused around ’99 as I shot a lot of film. I also had access to a great wet lab,  though I took a break due to my enlisting in the Army. As for what sparked my interest, I would say that its a three fold answer.

First, I am lucky to have a family that retained a lot of images of past generations, and as long as I can remember I have been drawn to them with curiosity because it froze them in time. Second, my mother shot weddings semi-professionally for a few years, and to see the joy it brought her as well her clients had its impact on me. Lastly, when I was about 14 or so, I was in a junk shop, and one of the dealer spaces had a large box with images from all sorts of eras and in all sorts of formats labeled “Instant Relatives.” That’s always haunted me in some way given my family experience. Long story short, photography stops a moment in time for us that we can all share in…be it art, commercial, etc, etc.

2) Are you a photographer by trade or do you have a different career?

No, but I wish it was. I am trying to move more in that direction bit by bit, but its hard for me to balance being more art driven to the commercial side of it all. Asides, one always seems to compare their worst with someone else’s best. As for right now, what pays the bills is that I’m still working for our Uncle Sam as a soldier.

3) Would you ever like to do photography as your career? Or do you prefer keeping it more as a hobby?

If that were a possible, I would love to. My only fear would be that it becomes the “job”.

4) What goes through your mind when you’re capturing an image? What inspires and motivates you?

Wow, that is kinda hard to say. Since I mainly shoot in black & white, a lot goes into thinking about shades of gray. As for inspiration and motivation, I would have to say that I love the curiosity of it all. I shoot close and often with shallow depths of field to help that curiosity. I want you to be drawn to the obvious, but also see past it into the image’s flaws to make it more real. I’m also motivated, in part, to just document what I see and, in part, for the model herself to see a beauty she possesses…beauty that may have otherwise been lost in a more traditional framed image.

5) Do you have any suggestions for other photographers reading this?

For me, I would say draw from what moves you. Aside from the image being in B&W, I never edit – what you see is what you get. I just use my camera, the subject, and available light for me…everything else is pomp and circumstance. And that serves a purpose as well, but it’s just not my vision. So I say follow your own vision and keep in mind that all the worlds strongest and most famous images were shot with less sophisticated equipment and under less than ideal settings. Point…and shoot.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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A Bra Editorial: Start with the (Real) Woman in the Mirror

Chai is the owner of Magaluna, an online lingerie store that curates pieces reflecting the sensibilities of the modern woman and places a special emphasis on discovering new talent.  Magaluna is also a community of empowered women celebrating femininity and all the trials and tribulations that make us who we are.  Magaluna launches in Spring 2013 but the community is active on Facebook.

Chai

I remember the first time I got intimate with my ex-husband, then a young man I had been flirting with for a couple weeks.  I was wearing a pair of gray yoga pants and a tight-fitted pink tank top.  Boosting my cleavage was a purple Victoria’s Secret push-up balconette bra that gave me an extra cup size…plus a set of gel pads that added even greater volume.

I’ll never forget his face after he unhooked my bra.  I never asked him what went through his head as an expression of deep confusion took over.  It’s the face you’d see on a little boy opening a box with a photo of a toy truck on it to find that the box only contained a half-eaten hot dog.  I managed to distract him quickly but how I felt in that moment sums up my troubled relationship with my boobs.  Was I guilty of ‘false advertising?’

Fast forward nine years and after more than a decade of purchasing push-up bras (almost exclusively from Vicky’s), dissatisfaction from poor fit finally forced me to consider alternatives.  But leading up to that point, almost as if by compulsion – and mostly ignorance – I kept buying them as a staple because I had gotten addicted to adding at least a cup size.

Every night when I peeled off my bra, my face changed much like my ex’s did.  No doubt, there’s a time and place for push-up bras and shape enhancements but owning nothing but push-ups really disconnected me from my own body.  I couldn’t recognize myself without a well-padded bra.

Bravely (by my standards!), I started to wear contour and unlined bras.  I reacquainted myself with my figure.  I’ll be honest.  I didn’t like it.  My inner critic was mean and deprecating.  But it felt so right and so empowering.  And I felt, just maybe, I was able to love myself the way I am.

Not long after I became comfortable with my new habit, I went shopping at Panty Raid on Hillhurst in Los Feliz.  “What size are you?” asked the owner.  “32B.”  “Oh then you can pick any bra!”  It was a magnificent feeling to be told I wasn’t inadequate.  In fact, quite the contrary!

I don’t know what life is like to be on the other end of the cup size spectrum.  From what I’ve read, fuller busted ladies face their own set of challenges.  We seem to be socialized to believe the grass is always greener on the other side and if someone different than you is considered beautiful, that automatically means you are not.  Garbage!

Let’s be clear, even though I’ve learned to stop wishing I had larger breasts, I’m still a boob lover.  I can love myself in a 32B while admiring ladies who rock a 36F.

If we can learn to appreciate the bodies we’ve been given, lingerie’s role will be to simply adorn what was beautiful to begin with.  Self-love and self-acceptance – not a piece of garment – will always be the only true path to salvation.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Goldilocks & the Five Bras: A True & Co. Experiment

Today’s guest post is by Amanda, a Lingerie Addict reader who lives in Staten Island, NY with two cats and her husband. She writes about books, Doctor Who, and other things she likes at TheKeyLime.tumblr.com. She also enjoys beautiful lingerie and is (slowly) expanding her collection. You can reach Amanda at TheKeyLime1@gmail.com.

True & Co.

I don’t remember where I first heard of True & Co., but I was definitely intrigued by their concept. By answering a few questions on their website, they claim to be able to match you with perfectly fitting bras. You pick three, they pick two, and a few days later, there are five new bras on your doorstep. Keep what fits, send back what doesn’t. You’re only charged for the bras you keep (which are mostly around $45 each).

Sounds good, right?

I have been in the market for new bras for a while. Well, rather, I should say I’ve been in the market for a different bra for a while. I have a lot of bras, but they are all pretty much the same. Every single bra that I own has a molded “T-shirt” demi cup. Six of them (the four on the left and two not pictured) are the same style and size bra from Victoria’s Secret.

Current Bras

When I find something I like, I tend to get multiple of it because what if I can’t replace it? For instance, that red bra on the right is the last of a brigade. I once had five of that style bra in various colors. One day I went to replace my dying black one and alas, I could not find that style. I’ve worn them to shreds. Old Red is all that remains. The Victoria’s Secret bras are an OK replacement, but they’re just not the same.

But as my birthday approached I kept thinking more and more about True & Co., which would force me to bust out of my molded cup. On Tuesday, September 25th, I took the plunge and put in an order.

I picked three bras: Juna by Panache in black (normal band size, one cup up), Cool Cotton by Claudette in white (normal band and cup size), and the pretty floral Enchanted Bloom by Blush (normal band and cup size). True & Co. picked two more, but I wouldn’t know which ones until they arrived. Three days later, it’s Friday and there’s a box from True & Co. on my doorstep. Yipee! Let the games begin!

Inside the Box

Hello, Ladies!

True & Co picked out the Christelle (a band size down, cup size up) and Marielle (normal band & cup size), both by Felina. I tried everything on. I adjusted straps. I pushed and pulled. I put on shirts. And I’m keeping…

One bra.

What happened?

Juna

Juna from Panache (which you can see got a little squished in the box) was the only molded cup bra. It fit well enough, except the gore was DIGGING into my sternum. I’m pretty sure bras aren’t supposed to make you go “ouch”.

Enchanted Bloom

Enchanted Bloom from Blush looked pretty, but it didn’t really shape me in any way and was kinda itchy.

Marielle

This is the Marielle from Felina and one of True & Co.’s picks. Meh. It fit alright but not great. And at $45, I want something I really love.

Cool Cotton

Cool Cotton from Claudette fit fine, and I thought about keeping it but, again, it just doesn’t really wow me. It kind of reminds me of a sports bra – it feels very functional.

Christelle

And here is Christelle from Felina. Fits great, feels great, and looks super duper sexy! This is definitely not something I would normally pick out for myself (and I didn’t – it’s one of True & Co.’s picks), and it’s a band size smaller/cup size larger than my normal bras.

The four other bras are back in the box and ready to go. There is a return shipping label so no worries there. I rated the bras on their website and have been charged for the Christelle.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this experience. However, I cannot really attest to their magical fitting matrix. I’ve been measured before and am fairly confident that I am in the correct bra size. And True & Co. must have agreed because three of the five bras were the size I normally wear.

But for me, True & Co. wasn’t about solving the mystery of “Am I wearing the wrong size bra?” It was to answer the question “Are there other style bras out there I should be wearing?”

And the answer is yes – I now own a beautiful bra that is totally unlike anything I have owned before. Thus concludes the True & Co. experiment.

Has anyone else shopped with True & Co.? How was your experience?

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Breast Cancer’s Pink Ribbons: Are We Overselling Awareness?

Today’s guest post is by Elisabeth Dale, one of my close friends as well as a breast expert and founder of The Breast Life, a website that’s all about breast health and well-being. Elisabeth is also the author of bOObs: A Guide to Your Girls, one of my favorite books because it talks about a woman’s breasts at every stage of her life. If you’re interested in keeping up with Elisabeth, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Elisabeth Dale

I have mixed feelings about breast cancer awareness month. Some of my ambivalence has to do with my family’s medical history. My mother was diagnosed in the late 1960s, when women stayed silent about the disease and had no say in their treatment. So I understand the importance of talking about and sharing information on the subject.

But over the years, my concerns have shifted. I’m less anxious about finding breast cancer in my own body than I am about finding a cure. I know that one in 8 women are at risk during their lifetime, up from 1 in 11 back when pink ribbons first came on the scene. Despite advances in detection and treatment and millions of charitable dollars raised, it turns out that aren’t much closer to finding out what causes breast cancer.

Sure, we can talk about being aware, wear a “save the boobies” bracelet or a “cop a feel” t-shirt, but has all the focus on being aware of our breasts reduced our chances of getting the disease in the first place?

Not really. Medical experts now advise against teaching women to conduct formal monthly breast self-exams. Breast Self Exams don’t save lives or find breast cancers earlier than mammograms. I’ve been getting mammograms for some 25 years now. Turns out that all those visits to a breast-imaging center weren’t necessary. Such screenings are no longer recommended for women under age 40, with the latest guidelines suggesting women wait until age 50 (unless there is a specific family history or exposure to radiation). Still charitable breast cancer organizations continue to tout and even overstate the benefits of BSE’s and mammograms, while neglecting to mention the risks.

Younger and younger women are cautioned to be “aware,” while the median age of breast cancer patients is 61 years old and over 50% of those diagnosed are older than 62. It’s more common to see pink promotions displaying perky, uplifted cleavage, rather than photos of mature, at-risk bosoms. Breast cancer may be deadlier in younger populations but it is still less common. Today’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month appears focused on saving an image of girlish breasts, not an aging woman’s life.

This over-emphasis on early detection once made me assume that if I were only diligent enough to find a lump in its earliest stages, I could count on being cured. But the truth is that scientists don’t know which of the many breast cancers are slower growing or more deadly. Researchers have only figured out a causal link in about 15% of all cases.

According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, “The incidence of women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer has not changed. Rates of diagnosis of truly lethal disease have remained stable since 1975.” I’m left with the knowledge that my two biggest risk factors of being female and aging aren’t ones I can change. I have learned to remind myself that it is heart disease, and not breast cancer, that takes more women’s lives each year in the US. I’ve learned to focus on what I can do to keep myself in the best of heart health, knowing that regular exercise and a reasonably nutritious diet will benefit the whole of me, including my boobs.

I’ve also found new ways to support breast cancer research, education, and advocacy programs. The following initiatives are all focused on measuring greater progress:

  1. Before purchasing or participating in any Breast Cancer Awareness promotions, Think Before You Pink. Visit the Breast Cancer Action’s informative and consumer friendly website, where you’ll find a list of questions you can ask before buying pink products.
  2. Consider joining Dr. Susan Love’s Health of Women Study. This important international on-line medical questionnaire provides researchers with information they need to learn more about the causes of breast cancer.
  3. Check out the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s 2012 Breast Cancer Progress Report and read about their campaign to coordinate research efforts and private funding. Learn about the myths and truths surrounding Breast Cancer.

Women have always been the leaders and active participants in campaigns to raise “awareness.” We are also the biggest consumers of pink merchandise. My fear is that if we keep wrapping the problem in the same pretty pink ribbons, we’ll continue to get the same results.

What do you think about the campaigns to raise awareness and pink ribbons? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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Linda the Bra Lady: On Bra Sizes, Bra Fitting, and ‘Vanity Sizing’

A couple of weeks ago, Linda Becker (a.k.a. “Linda the Bra Lady) had an interview on Good Morning America where she said, among other things, said bra brands were guilty of using ‘vanity sizing’ to make their customers feel like they had smaller backs and larger chests. Unsurprisingly, this point of view caused a lot of ripples in the lingerie community, most of them negative.

I reached out to Linda almost immediately after the piece aired and asked if she’d be willing to do a follow-up interview on The Lingerie Addict. Not only did she strike a nerve worth exploring, I also know how hard it can be to explain any point in a 2 minute soundbite or 140 character tweet.

Though I briefly considered not publishing our interview ( after all, this is ‘old news’ by internet standards now), I decided to keep it because I believe it pulls together several different conversations that have been happening a lot in lingerie blogosphere lately, especially among full-bust bloggers. Namely, it brings up the stigma attached to large breasts, bra sizing information/misinformation, the war on plus four, inconsistent sizing between brands, vanity sizing, and who gets to call themselves a bra expert. The vanity sizing issue in particular stuck out to me because it illuminated how much emotion is attached to those numbers inside the tag. I was also very interested on what some of my readers (especially readers who’ve been wearing bras for longer than I have) had to say regarding their personal experiences with any changes in bra sizing.

As for me, my position on bras and bra sizing hasn’t changed. I don’t believe every woman has to wear a bra; no matter your size, it’s an individual choice. I don’t subscribe to any one, true method of bra fitting because every woman’s body is different and there is no formula that will work for 100% of women, 100% of the time. And I don’t unreservedly recommend visiting a bra boutique, department store, or lingerie retailer to get fitted. Aside from the fact that it’s not a realistic option for every woman, I also know from personal experience that professional bra fitters don’t get it right all of the time.

Instead, my perspective is the same as it’s ever been. Learn the 3 ways to tell if your bra is fitting correctly. Calculators, bra fitters, trial-and-error…whatever you choose, the most important thing is to get familiar with how a properly fitting bra feels on your body. Because once you know that, it doesn’t matter what the number on the tag reads, what bra calculator you use, what boutique you visit, or what an expert says…you will always know what fits.

Just in case you’re new to this story, here’s a timeline of everything that’s happened so far:

Original Linda the Bra Lady Interview:
Video
Text

Response from the Media:
SheFinds

Responses from Lingerie Bloggers:
Hourglassy
Sweet Nothings NYC
Fussy Busty
Butterfly Collection

Linda’s Follow-up Reply:
Linda’s Blog (Note: There are a number of similarities between her response here and on my blog. Both pieces were completed at the same time, however mine is being published later.)

Responses to Linda’s Follow-up Reply:
Butterfly Collection

Excellent articles on Vanity Sizing in the Fashion Industry from Fashion Incubator:
The Myth of Vanity Sizing (scroll to the bottom of the article to see all her posts on the subject)

And now on to my interview with Linda. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

1) Hi Linda! Thanks so much for agreeing to do a follow-up interview here on The Lingerie Addict. I appreciate you sparing some time for me and my readers. I know you’re a busy lady, so let’s jump right into it. After your interview on Good Morning America last week, several bloggers took offense to your use of the phrase “vanity sizing.” I know how hard it is to convey a point in a 2 minute news clip (or a 140 character soundbite), so why don’t you tell us more about what you meant by that – both for people who are familiar with the news piece and who haven’t seen it.

About 10 years ago, as I was fitting women day in and day out, I started noticing that a few bras were fitting looser in the back than before. As time went on, I continued to see the trend. A woman who would fit perfectly into a 36 band bra suddenly needed a 32 to get the same fit. In fact, this happened to me! When I moved to New York about eight years ago, I fit into a 36D perfectly. But since bra sizes have changed, I now fit into a 32G in the same brand… and (I’m not afraid to say it) I weigh about ten pounds more now! I’m using the same “good fit criteria” and brands as before. Bra sizes just changed. I think companies did it so that women could feel like they suddenly have a smaller back. It’s the same with clothing!

Vanity sizing or not, bra sizes changed. But let’s be real. I think it’s naive to think that vanity sizing only exists in clothing and not in bras. I’m also not the first to mention this, as this NY Times article pointed out: ‘Women Are Shocked by Their New Bra Size.’

2) I know for a fact that several people were bothered by the headline, “Bra Sizes are a Scam!” I didn’t watch the live newsclip, but did you ever actually say scam? If so, why that particular word? And, if not, how do you feel about that word being used to describe your view on vanity sizing?

Scam was not my word. Sorry to disappoint! I think the media chose that word to amp up the “gasp” factor. It’s a bit negative, but I don’t really mind it. It makes women take notice. And what I really want to do is help these women out. Those that have been wearing bras for more than 10 years now deserve to know that sizes have changed, that it’s not just their imagination. I don’t think that announcing that bras sizes have changed is terrible, a “scam”, or “calling out” vendors. Industry standards change. It happens. I just think women deserve to know about it. What’s most important to me is helping women find the best fitting bra – that’s what I’ve been doing since I started more than 25 years ago!

3) Now I haven’t worn a bra for the last 10 years, so I can’t personally speak to if my size has changed lately, but how did you arrive at the conclusion that bras are vanity sized now? Did you compare any bras from the past to bras today? Did you reach out to any lingerie companies? Or is this based on your experience as a bra fitter? And if it based on your personal experience, how would you respond to claims that that’s not a valid way of measuring changes in size?

Thank you for admitting that you haven’t been wearing a bra for more than 10 years. I think a lot of the people trying to stir the pot do not have the same years of experience that I have. I have been fitting bras for over 25 years. I’m not just the namesake of my company. I actually fit women all day long. I have fit literally thousands and thousands of women in bras. Again, my “good fit” criteria is pretty strict, and has not changed over the years – including the importance of a snug bra band. After fitting women every single day for 25 years in the same brands… it was impossible not to notice the difference in sizing.

My response to the claims from other fitters saying that experience is not a valid way of measuring changing sizes: really?! I would love to sit down and measure every bra from every company dated from every year for the past ten years… but there’s no need. I’ve been fitting the same bras, the same way, on thousands of women. They’ve changed.

I have been working closely with lingerie and bra manufacturers for years, and they didn’t actually come out and say that their sizes changed to boost sales and egos. It’s my educated guess that bra companies saw the tiny women with full busts on TV and adjusted their bra sizes to help reflect this. Don’t tell me women aren’t vain about their band size. I have women jump for joy when they find out that a 30 or 32 bra fits them better than a 36 or 38. Who doesn’t want to have a slimmer, smaller back?! We’re only human, after all.

4) Have you heard from any bra brands in reply to your interview on Good Morning America? If so, can you share what they had to say?

No. They know I’m right. Bra companies call me up frequently to discuss the way their new styles are fitting, get feedback etc. They know what’s going on. In the end, it’s my job as a bra fitter to adjust to what’s going on in the industry. Also, I never called out anyone in particular. This was an industry change.

5) There have been a lot of new lingerie companies on the scene lately. Do you think the vanity sizing issue applies to all brands and all sizes or is concentrated in certain areas like full bust sizing or European bras or high-end brands or something different? Are there any companies in particular that you believe are now using vanity sizes?

Please remember that I can only comment on brands that I’ve been carrying at my stores. Here’s a list. The brands that have been around for many years are the brands I’m talking about. Although a very few have not changed, the vast majority have. New brands just followed the new standard in the industry, which is a bigger band.

Every brand fits differently, and so does every style within a brand. And no, I won’t start naming “vanity” brands. HA! I don’t intend to place blame on any bra companies here. I just want to enlighten women to the adjustments that the bra world has made to bra sizes.

6) On a related note, one of the things that comes up a lot around bra sizing is the lack of standardization across brands. And several people have used the GMA piece as an opportunity to reiterate their issues with the plus four size method. Do you think vanity sizing is at all related to either of those things?

Oh, believe me, I wish there was a standardization of bra sizes across the globe, but that’s unlikely to happen. Even if there was a strict set standard that every company followed, different fabrics would fit differently, and each woman’s unique shape would still require a slightly different bra. Until there’s a standard in the shape and size of a woman, I don’t think we can every truly have standard sizing. This is why only a trained fitter is really qualified to fit someone for a bra. But, since not everyone can make it in to a shop, these DIY measuring methods are meant to help them find a place to start and enlighten them to the possibility that they could be a whole new size.

That being said, I’ve supported the War On Plus Four in theory (you and I have tweeted much about this), and I’m glad that women are updating their measuring methods, but there’s also not one standard for measuring either.

For example, my bra fitters go through months of Bra School before they are certified to fit. I used to teach a “plus 5″ method (adding about 5 inches to the underbust measurement) more than ten years ago as a general starting point. When my NYC shop opened about 8 years ago, I started teaching a “plus 3-5″ method. I did this to accommodate some of the changes that bra companies were making to their bra bands. Now, eight years later, I’ve migrated to a “plus 0 to 3″ for certain women. And, my goodness, sometimes my fitters and I even have to subtract inches for women with certain shapes! Some people think that adding four inches to an underbust measurement is never OK for a good bra fit. For most of my customers, this is true. But that’s because I help a lot of very full busted women. Let’s be clear: every bra band needs to be snug to fit properly. But the bigger the bust, the snugger the band needs to be. It’s working harder! A bra size is dependent on the way the bra runs, the material, the brand, and the woman’s size, age and comfort. And there ARE women who need to add more than zero inches to get a good fit.

Good fitters know, and I know, that measuring the underbust and adding inches (or not) is just basic a guideline for a bra size starting point, and that there is no one-method-fits-all way to do it. As fitters, we take into account a million more factors than just this one measurement.

7) Another conversation that’s coming up a lot now is how bra sizes are getting bigger. Several newspapers in the UK just published a piece saying the average British woman’s bra size has gone up from a 34B to a 34DD. Do you think that’s because of vanity sizing or are women’s breasts actually getting larger? Or are the two things even related at all?

I think both things could be happening. For one (and remember, I live in the USA where the average dress size has also gone up), breasts are getting bigger, and girls are getting breasts at a younger age. I’m not a doctor, so I won’t even try to tell you why (though I have several opinions on the matter), but it is happening. Also, I think larger cup sizes are more popular because back sizes fit larger. For a woman who could fit perfectly into a 36D ten years ago, she would now need a 32DDD/F just to get the same cup size in the new back size. I think the vanity sizing was really based more on the notion of a slimmer back and the fuller cup size is a result of that.

I don’t think bra companies thought about what this would do to women who already had small bands and full busts. Suddenly, someone who was a 34DD 10 years ago would now need about a 30G or H. I’m very happy that these D+ sizes exist – women really needed them before, and they especially need them now. But most women are not used to such high letters. In fact, it’s been a real mission of mine to help women understand that a G cup or up is totally common, now! It’s taken years of “braducation”, instruction, and care to help women get over the stigma of D+ bras and just wear what fits and supports them best. These letters and numbers mean something to women and their ego, so they are reluctant to pick out a new size themselves. It takes going to a bra shop like mine and being professionally fit to finally get it. But besides great fit, I want these women to understand that bra sizes are different now, and not to feel strange picking out a brand new size.

8) Now that you’ve had a little time since the interview, how are you feeling about it? Anything you wish you could have said differently? Would you say the same thing again? Have you had a spike in visitors to the store? Tell us the fall-out…good and bad!

No regrets!

Of course I wish there was more time in the interview to explain all of the factors that go in to a good fit, or what criteria would cause a woman to have to add inches or not to her underbust measurement, etc. But, I’m aware that a short spot on TV is not the place to try to squeeze in all of the Bra School training. They hit some good points about changing sizes, proper care, etc. I do wish they had shown the before and after fittings and the braducation I taught those young women. Phew! One woman went from a 40DD to a 30K!

Sure we’ve had a few more visits to our online shop and store, but I’m happier to help spread the word about the benefits of a good bra. It’s always nice to have a new outlet to get the word out.

I was a bit surprised about the backlash and misunderstanding from others in the field. I think some people thought that I was saying modern bra sizes aren’t necessary. Not so! I carry those sizes! I think most just don’t have the right frame of reference since they haven’t even been in business for 10 years, which is when things really started changing. Regardless, my stance on proper bra fitting and my passion for helping women has always been very clear, and they should have known that. Regardless of what these other experts think, it’s more important to me that women realize that bra sizes have changed, rather than why.

I think bra sizes have changed. And I think vanity sizing played a part in why it happened. I said it and I’m not taking it back! Vanity sizing or not, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s more important to me that women wear the bra that fits and supports them best, regardless of the size. And it’s extremely important to me to help women navigate the tricky world of bra fitting.

Thanks again for taking the time to talk with TLA readers, Linda! You’ve given us all a lot to think about.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube