Posts Tagged ‘m&s’

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What to do with that ever expanding bust?

January 25, 2013

Being big busted, or even just an awkward bra size can be a nightmare. We all know this, we have all dealt with the trial and error of finding that perfectly well-fitting bra, but what do you do when your bust hasn’t stopped growing yet?

There are many reasons why breasts continue to grow, or start growing all over again. These reasons are numerous and include things such as; pregnancy, weight fluctuations, age (both younger or older), hormones, diet, or even just that time-of-the-month.
The fastest growing of these is usually pregnancy – it can be quite an overwhelming situation, and you may end up living in the biggest bra you own, afraid to buy anything new because it won’t fit you a few months down the line.

So, what can you do to deal with this constant growth? Well, I’ve put together a few solutions that may be of some use. Sure you’ve gotta ride out these hormones, but you shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable whilst doing it.

Before we get on to the bras, let’s talk about nightwear and around-the-house wear. You may remember a post I wrote a few years ago about Hot Weather and Big Bras, and in this I very briefly mentioned some of the M&S Secret Support tops. Well I’m pleased to say they are still around and still as useful as ever. While they are generally ‘inside’ tops, perhaps a little too free flowing to be worn in public, they are certainly good enough for the home. Having said that, they have now produced a version which has a bra clasp underneath, which actually is good enough to wear in public! They are fairly similar to Bravissimo’s supported cami tops, but an awful lot more affordable.

The M&S tops are listed as size DD-G; I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound very big. True, it’s not huge, but it will also depend on the clothing size you pair it with. A size 10 DD-G is going to be at the smaller end, the equivalent of a 30-band perhaps, but if you’re concerned about comfort more than looks, a looser top in a 12, 14, 16 or whatever size you choose, will give you a much more adequate bosom space. Of course if you do happen to be pregnant, then this is a wonderful solution for you, as you will need to be buying a bigger clothing size to make space for that bump anyway!

So, here are the M&S tops:

Secret Support DD-G V-Neck Stretch Camisole

M&S Secret Support Stretch Camisole

M&S Secret Support Stretch Camisole

I can say from experience that this is a lovely and very comfortable top. It keeps you supported and in place, and it’s great to sleep in. Unfortunately it only comes in white, which is slightly boring and also makes it a little see-through. But as I mentioned before, this is more of an around-the-house top in any case.

Secret Support Cotton Rich DD-G Bra Vest

M&S Secret Support Bra Vest

M&S Secret Support Bra Vest

This is the top with the bra clasp at the back, which makes it fully usable to wear in public, but not so comfortable for sleeping. Fortunately it also comes in black as well as white this time. I found that a size 14 DD-G was very comfortable, not too loose, and fits my currently 32H chest. In fact, there is even a fair bit of room to grow in there!

And lastly..

Limited Collection Secret Support Modal Rich Floral Lace DD-G Vest

M&S Secret Support Lace Vest

M&S Secret Support Lace Vest

Well, this one is fairly indecent for the bigger bust, but nice to look at. I have this also in a 14 DD-G, and it is particularly low cut. By far my least favourite of the three, but it is still comfortable, and still great for sleeping in.

So, on to the bras. What exactly do you do when you don’t even know your size anymore?

The first thing to do is to try and re-establish your bra size. Ok, they may not stay that size for long, but you need to have a starting point. If you are comfortable being professionally fitted, try Bravissimo or Leia Lingerie, as they are some of the few shops likely to fit you into your correct size. If you’re not comfortable with that, here’s how to work it out yourself.

Image from All Sports

Image from All Sports

Measure under your bust, this is your band size. If you are inbetween sizes, say 33 underbust, try both a 32 and a 34 band and see which fits you best. Next, measure your overbust (around the middle of your breasts) – the easiest way to do this is to lean over forwards. This is the more difficult measurement to take, what with breasts flopping about all over the place, so don’t assume it will be 100% accurate.
For example, if your underbust measures 32 and your overbust measures 42, that is a difference of 10. So, count 10 bra size letters. 1: A, 2: B, 3: C, 4: D, 5: DD, 6: E, 7: F, 8: FF, 9: G, 10: GG and so on. Match that with your underbust measurement.

You would then have a starting point size of 32GG – this does not necessarily mean that is your exact bra size, but you can be sure that if it isn’t, your size will be very close by. The next step is trial and error with different brands and styles of bras, not much fun but worth it once you find one that fits the best.
There are of course lots of criticisms of using the tape measure, mainly because measurements do not set your bra size in stone – breast shape and comfort play important roles too. However, the quickly and constantly growing breast often has to be measured – it’s the one time when you may struggle to keep up with your body.

One of the must-have bras for growing breasts, is a sports bra. Usually they are very boring and no fun, but perhaps you will change your mind when you see this one.

The Panache sports bra:

Panache Sports Bra

Panache Sports Bra

I have this in the purple-blue-grey combination, but I’m very excited to purchase the pink version. Plus, if you buy the pink sports bra, Panache donates 10% of the profit to the charity Coppafeel, who try to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Panache Sports Bra - Pink

Panache Sports Bra – Pink

I found the band true to size, and the cups fortunately run a little big. It is an underwired bra, but weirdly (to me) it does not really ‘feel’ underwired. If you are actually using it for sport, it has that brilliant racerback clasp option, which makes the bra even more firm and supportive if that’s what you’re after. When I used it for sports I much preferred it in the racerback style, but now that I’m using it to keep my growing breasts under control, it’s useful to have the standard option too. It is without a doubt, the most comfortable sports bra I have ever owned – just wonderful. I recommend it for everyone.

Image from Threads Magazine

Image from Threads Magazine

If you happen to be a whiz with a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you may be able to get some good bargains on bras, both in stores or on places like ebay. Looking for a 32HH, but can only find a 36G? Then grab one for cheap and turn it into the 32HH you need. Having the skill to alter a band can be a lifesaver, but remember you can also pop to a local seamstress (sometimes a dry cleaner’s as well) and ask them to alter it for you. This can become especially necessary if you get to JJ/K/KK and so on, when bras your size become increasingly difficult to get hold of, not to mention expensive.

If you are still eager to buy the same bras you’ve always loved, and not let breast growth or pregnancy get in the way of those pesky sizes or wires, you may want to think about the purchases you make. So you’re a 34J and you want to buy a bra that will fit you right now? Good idea, but while you’re there, why not buy a 34JJ as well to save you some time? With my breast growth I have been doubling up on my purchases. I buy bras less often, but when I do, I grab an extra bra one cup size up to make sure I have something to wear for next month.

One last thing would be to head on over to Ewa Michalak’s website. If you don’t see your bra size listed, sometimes they can custom make one in your size, so it’s always worth asking. This becomes especially useful when you are out-sizing most other brands.

Bust increase doesn’t have to turn into an ‘attack of the giant breast’ horror movie, even though it may feel that way. Just try and put your comfort first, and make sure to have a few fall back staple items to get you through each month. Remember to keep an eye out for any bra swap/sell groups online, and always keep one eye on ebay in case any great bargains pop up. If you are going through pregnancy breast growth, and perhaps have friends that have been through it too, make sure to ask them what sort of ideas they came up with, they may surprise you with some great growth solutions!

Love

Sophia xxx

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The Pink Bra Challenge

October 31, 2011

As you may remember from my previous blog posts, I have been wearing a pink bra everyday throughout October 2011 (Breast Cancer Awareness month), to help raise money for Breast Cancer Care.
Today, Halloween, is the last day of the pink bra challenge, and I will shortly reveal which bra I chose as my favourite for the final day – which was actually a very tough choice.
But first, as promised, I will give a review of every bra I wore. The total number of bras amounted to 15, which excluding today, equates to each bra being worn twice during the month. I only owned two pink bras beforehand, and through scouring the internet, and from the help of some very generous companies solidly supporting the cause, (thank you Panache and Lembrassa!) I now have a much wider selection to review for you all. If you haven’t already shopped with Lembrassa, you should definitely go and check out their store; fabulous bargains to be had.

I have already reviewed the Curvy Kate Princess and the Panache Cleo Lucy in a previous post, but I will add the reviews on here amongst the others anyway. The reviews are posted in no particular order, and go from left to right.

First up we have:

Think Pink!

Curvy Kate Princess 32G – I found the Princess slightly tighter than some of their other unpadded styles (such as the Emily) so the 32 I have is just about right for me. I’ve always loved the pretty details on the cup, Curvy Kate certainly do a great job of making their underwear beautiful to look at; the embroidery is stunning. I’d give it a comfort level of 7/10.

Panache Tango Plunge 30GG – This is a very comfortable everyday bra. The 30 band is a bit too tight on me, but I’m sure after a bit of wear it will loosen up – it’s definitely tighter than Panache’s Cleo range. The Tango is undoubtedly a staple bra in many a busty girls’ wardrobe, it’s a well-loved favourite. Comfort I’d give it 7/10 (probably 8/10 once the band loosens up).

and

Panache Cleo Lucy 32G/30GG – The Cleo Lucy was a bra I already owned in a 32G, however, I got the chance to try out a 30GG which was a much more comfortable fit. Panache’s Cleo range does tend to be slightly looser in the band than their Superbra range, which is nice for me as it means a 30 is the perfect fit. It is a beautiful style and very comfortable. 8/10 for comfort.

Next up, we have:

Think Pink!

Freya Deco Lupin 30G – The Deco is one of my all time favourites of course. I do love the padded plunge style for a night out, but it’s probably not an everyday bra for me, even though it is for some. As I may have mentioned before, they run loose in the band and big in the cup. I bought this Lupin version in a 30G, and it was a perfect fit, although loosens quickly. The Lupin is an older style of the deco that I had never managed to get my hands on before, but luckily I found one in my size on ebay. Comfort level, 8/10.

Fantasie Evie Balcony 30GG – I love love LOVE this bra. It’s just SO comfortable. It’s made of a sort of mesh-like material, and the fit of this 30GG is just perfect. It very slightly gapes on my smaller breast, but not enough to cause any problems. Fantasie, like Freya often run slightly looser in the bands. I had a lovely fantasie bra a while back which I sadly had to give away because the 32 band was just way too loose after a month, however, I wasn’t so familiar with the brand sizes at that point in time. Comfort I’d give 9/10, verging on 10/10!

and

Keia Annette 30GG – This is both a bra and a brand I have never tried before, so sadly my size was a guess for this, and unfortunately I got it wrong. The 30 band was so tight I had to use a bra extender just to get it on. The cups would’ve been fine, but the straps were only partially adjustable (more like only 1/4 actually), which is usually fine for me, but it just didn’t work at all with this bra. I needed far more lift for it to fit properly. The one redeeming feature, is that is is very pretty; lovely embroidery. Comfort 3/10, with the correct back size probably only 5/10 because of the strap issue.

Following on from those bras, we have:

Think Pink!

Curvy Kate Thrill Me 28HH – This is an older version of the immensely popular Curvy Kate Thrill Me, which I managed to pick up in an odd size. As the Thrill Me is a little loose in the band and small in the cup, I usually wear it in a 30H, but this was the only pink one I could find, and it was a 28HH – amazingly it fits very well, tighter in the band than I’m used to, but lovely all the same. I usually don’t like pink and orange mixed together, but this bra does look very beautiful, as their Showgirl range often does. As much as I love them, even in the 30H I have never found them very comfortable, but definitely wearable. I’d give it a 6/10 for comfort as it’s more of a bedroom set.

Caprice Primavera Plunge 32G – Veering off my regular track, I decided that it would be nice to delve a bit further into the bra world, further than just my tried and tested favourite brands. This is a bra by Caprice. Now, despite her appallingly amateur and badly photoshopped pictures that she uses to advertise them with, I decided that as a larger chested woman perhaps she could make a decent bra. Wrong. The one good thing I have to say about this bra is that is looks beautiful. The pretty pinks and satiny bits look lovely which gave me high hopes…until I put it on. It has padding in the lining, non-removable padding that is sewn in meaning it’s part of the cup. That made this G far too small, and I got the dreaded ‘four-boob’ syndrome with the cups. The back was 32 which was tight and felt like a 30, so that was fine. Generally not for me, but I’m glad I’ve tried it – it may work well for a smaller size. Comfort, 5/10.

and

M&S Per Una 32G – A surprisingly comfortable and nicely cut bra; the cups are cut quite low and wide, which is unusual but not in a bad way. It fits well in a 32G, which makes sense as I have heard M&S styles tend to be on the tight side. Although the bra is quite plain to look at, I think it’s value is in being an everyday bra. I would possibly consider buying some of their ‘per una’ range again, but so far this is my first experience with it. Comfort 7/10.

The next three:

Think Pink!

Panache Melody Balconette 30GG – Strangely even though the Melody is part of their Superbra range, I found the 30 to be as comfortable as the Cleo range. I really loved this bra; it’s very soft and silky and feels very nice on. After this photo was taken I adjusted the straps when I got to work and it fit even better. Definitely a favourite, comfort level 9/10.

Ann Summers Lamora 32G – While this is a very nice looking bra, I didn’t find it particularly comfortable. Ann Summers don’t seem to go below a 32 band, and this 32 was sadly too loose. Not only that, but the cups felt small, and the centre gore of the bra wasn’t sitting flat – G however is the largest cup size they make. A good idea in theory, but I think we all know Ann Summers really need to expand their sizes, vastly. Comfort 5/10.

and

Panache Cleo Bonnie 30GG – The first thing I noticed about the Bonnie bra, was the lovely pattern. It is very beautifully embroidered with lots of different coloured detail. I was really sad when this bra didn’t quite work for my shape. As with all the Panache Cleo styles, it fit just right for me in a 30GG. However, a mixture between where the seam lies between the top and bottom of the cup, and the type of material used, meant that the seam was too tight across the breast, causing a line in the middle under clothes. It’s important to remember this is probably more to do with my shape than the bra, because it really is a very lovely bra, and I was very sad that it didn’t quite work for me. Comfort 7/10.

Last but not least, the final three:

Think Pink!

Gossard Candy Camouflage 32G – Unfortunately I always ALWAYS fail with Gossard bras. It doesn’t stop me trying again on occasion, but so far, never any luck. This is a 32G; the band is far too loose, the cup is far too big, or actually ‘long’ (that’s how it feels) but yet the centre gore doesn’t lie flat (usually an indication of a small cup). In my opinion this style is really badly designed, and I don’t really know who it would work for – I would try it in a 30GG, but I’m not really convinced that would be any better. Comfort 4/10.

Freya Jolie 28H – As is very common with Freya bras, this band runs loose, so I got this in a 28H as it runs (in my opinion) even looser than the majority of their bra bands. That being said, I LOVE the Jolie bra. The cup is very comfy in this size, but as I’m fuller on the bottom than top there is a slight dimpling in the top of the cup, but not enough to cause discomfort. In fact, it’s so comfortable I can wear it all day long without any problems. Also, while I love the split cup pattern that most DD+ bras have, it has become increasingly hard to find an unpadded bra with the same pretty pattern over the entire cup, like the Jolie. Comfort level 9/10.

and

Freya Eloise 30GG – The Eloise reminds me of the Jolie bra, nice shape, comfortable, but again as I’m fuller on the bottom than top, I still get that slight dimpling in the top of the cup. This is a 30GG and it fits very well, although the band is still a tad loose, although not as loose as the 30 band Jolie was! I really love the pattern, it’s cute and girly, and really made me want to wear it. It’s also feels very nice on, comfort level 8/10.

So there you have it, 15 pink bras with 15 reviews…but which was my favourite? Well, to be honest I had 3 favourites, but I picked one in particular to wear for my last pink day, on Halloween.

The Panache Melody was my first choice for today, closely followed by my second; the Fantasie Evie, and my third; the Freya Jolie.
I would recommend Panache as a brand very highly, they really care about their customers and make some really fabulous lingerie as you can see.

I have loved doing this and being able to support Breast Cancer Care. I do hope more people will still donate to the cause; my Just Giving page can be found here: Donations Welcome.
Just because Breast Cancer Awareness month has come to an end, doesn’t mean they don’t still need your support. Think Pink, and don’t forget to Coppafeel every month. Here is my Coppafeel t-shirt, which as well as reminding me to check, I also love for lounging around in!

Coppafeel T-Shirt

Love

Sophia xxx

P.S I’m looking forward to a change of bra colour tomorrow! 🙂

All the pink bras that were given/donated to be used in the Pink Bra Challenge were donated to Breast Cancer charities.

All images used: © Sophia Jenner

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Hot Weather and Big Bras – Not a Match Made in Heaven…

July 4, 2011

So we all know that bras can be a pain, even at the best of times, but what do you do when the thermometer suddenly rises into new uncharted realms of heat? You start to resent all those pretty new bras you just splashed out on, and consider leaving them behind in the drawer.

For the bigger busted girl, this is less of an option. A lack of support can lead to some serious breast swinging action, usually taking someone’s eye out in the process…often your own.

I thought I’d tell you how I have partially managed to deal with this issue. It’s not something that can ever really go away completely, but there are definitely ways to make your life a little more bearable.
If the weather has suddenly taken a very warm turn, and perhaps it’s a work day and an M&S Secret Support top just won’t do, here are a few tips that have helped me.

First of all, if you can, pick some bras with a high cotton content. I find that gives my skin a little more room to breathe and cool down in the heat. The wonderfully sexy Showgirl  Range by Curvy Kate has a 100% cotton lining, so they are a great padded bra option for a hot summer day. As for unpaddeds, Fantasie Lingerie do some lovely cotton mix bras; their Anna and Gabrielle ranges are especially popular.

 

A good idea is to put on some light moisturiser before you get dressed in the morning. Nothing thick and heavy, just something thin and cooling. My personal favourite at the moment is Garnier Body Tonic Hydrating Firming lotion. It’s fairly inexpensive, easy to get hold of from any Boots or Superdrug, and smells wonderfully fresh and lemony.

Garnier Body Tonic Hydrating Firming Lotion

Putting this light layer of moisturiser on eases your warm skin, and makes putting on your bra that little bit easier. It also means your bra shouldn’t rub or irritate you quite as much throughout the day.
I would also recommend making sure your bra band is nice and tight – this may sound odd when it’s hot and you want loose clothing, but being more supportive it won’t get the chance to wiggle around too much or cause you unnecessary irritation.

Another option, is to wear a strapless bra. A badly fitting strapless can be really uncomfortable – before I was fitted, I avoided them like the plague, but nowadays I have a lovely Freya Deco strapless, that works really well for me in the heat. I wouldn’t say that the deco bras are actually best type of material to wear during hot weather, but for me it does the job, and I do find that my chest feels a lot cooler in a strapless. Another strapless I have been recommended numerous times (but haven’t had the chance to try it yet) is Ewa Michalak’s Czarny.

Freya Deco Strapless and Ewa Michalak Czarny Strapless

Ewa Michalak is a great Polish lingerie company that I was recently introduced to. Their bras are so soft and light, and a lot of them are made using cotton in the lining, and thin soft materials (even in their padded bras) so I barely ever notice I am even wearing anything with them. I currently only own two, but I will definitely be ordering more in the future.

Ewa Michalak CH Toffik and PL Black

Above on the left is the CH Toffik bra; a padded balcony half cup, with a very vintage look which I love. It’s really comfortable, and the band is really supportive (slightly on the tight side, but not in a bad way for me personally).
On the right, is Ewa’s PL Black. A really lovely plunge bra. I was again surprised at how soft the cups were, and almost thought it wouldn’t be supportive enough. Another tight band, but as I measure 30-31 underbust and this is a 32 back band, it seems to work for me.

Cheryl over at Invest in your Chest has written a great review of lots more of their bras, including the aforementioned very popular Czarny strapless bra, so you may find some more useful information there.
Also, Brittany from Thin and Curvy has finally found, in Ewa Michalak, a company that can make her the 26 bands she’s been looking for; her review is definitely worth a read.

If you do decide to order from Ewa, don’t be put off by the site being in a foreign language. There is a UK flag at the top, which if you click, will translate the majority of the site for you, and each bra costs between £20-£30. You can check the conversion of ZLs into £s on google if you are unsure. The check out is with paypal, so again, it’s pretty secure.

A Bravissimo Racer Back top and Cami Top

Last but not least, if you have more of a choice in what clothing you can wear each day, I would really recommend the Bravissimo cami tops and racer back tops. They have built in supportive bras, and a set of hooks underneath so you can adjust it the same way you would with a regular bra. Because the bra is built into the top, the feeling of wearing one mostly disappears – I personally feel a lot more free in them, and consequentially have no concerns about my bra showing or irritating me while I’m at work. They come in all sorts of sizes and styles, but the cups do run large.

Bravissimo Grey Cami Top with Built-in Bra

This Bravissimo cami (above) is a size 32FF which is actually a size smaller than my regular, but it still feels like a 32G or even 32GG. If you can’t afford to buy one directly from Bravissimo, they do crop up quite often on ebay, so it’s worth having a browse every now and then, just in case.

A few last minute slightly more obvious tips are: drink lots of water to keep you cool, wear unpadded bras when you can (as they are generally much lighter/thinner), and wear clothes made of cotton and linen as often as you can, as this lets your skin breathe and deal with the heat more effectively.


I hope this helps, and if you have any keep-cool tips of your own, feel free to comment below!

Love

Sophia xxx