Bras / Bralettes

It’s been a long time.
Suffice it to say, my life kind of fell apart around 4th quarter. And subsequently, so did America.

My beloved pet got very sick, and after numerous tears, meltdowns, and a lofty four-figured bill, it seems that the worst is behind us. I also started working 10-14 hour days since my team of 3 became a team of 1; thankfully, since January, we are back to 3. As for America… W E L P. To say the least.

The end of 2016 was bleak, and I simply had no will to write or talk about lingerie. Not all of 2016 was a raging dumpster fire, though: I purchased from numerous independent brands. There were so many beautiful things handmade by so many wonderful artisans, and this post is to talk about my lingerie prized possessions:

Pillowbook order wrapped in Chinese calligraphy paper, tied with a crimson cord.

Pillowbook order wrapped in Chinese calligraphy paper, tied with a crimson cord.

Elegant Pillowbook silk packaging.

Elegant Pillowbook silk packaging.

Pillowbook lingerie by Irene Lu and her phenomenal team. The set I purchased is Aime in the Mondrian colorway - a perfect homage to the artist himself!

Pillowbook lingerie by Irene Lu and her phenomenal team. The set I purchased is Aime in the Mondrian colorway – a perfect homage to the artist himself!

There’s so much that I love about Pillowbook:
– Atelier that offers true couture; none of that mess where “couture” is used interchangeably as ready-to-wear
– Vintage Chinese silhouettes with a modern interpretation
– Gorgeous silk fabrics (not the cheapy lightweight stuff) with branded, customized hardware
– But most importantly, a brand owner and brand who just fucking gets me.

Let’s first get this out of the way:

Upon first look, Pillowbook is considered expensive; however, it isn’t astronomically priced or cost prohibitive for what you get: a 100% handmade item made to your measurements out of luxe silks. I would even venture to say that it is ridiculously well-priced for what you get. Before people insist how they can make it or buy something similar at the mall for $20 (no, the average person does not encompass these skills, and no, you literally cannot buy something like this for under $100), I’m honestly sick and tired of people complaining how things are overpriced because they can’t afford them immediately. It is so disrespectful to scream “overpriced!!!” to a small business who pays an ethical wage to their employees for their labor and skill set instead of paying $2 to the seamstress and $80 to a marketing budget.

For example, the Aime bra that I purchased cost $187; however, the Demelza bra from Agent Provocateur, as reviewed by Karolina Laskowska on TLA costs a mind bogglingly $250 for a bra embellished with a glued applique.

Just let that sink in for a bit: glued applique. On what is supposed to be designer lingerie.

The horror.

The horror.

Pillowbook’s pricing is comparable to other luxe brands such as Loveday London and Harlow and Fox; however, Pillowbook offers custom sizing, custom color selection, and essentially, custom whatever-you-want.

Speaking of custom-whatever-you-want, for the Aime bottoms, I asked Irene if I could get it made into a brief because I despise thongs. I also requested that the gusset be cut from yellow silk instead of snow white because white, especially white gussets, are a total bitch to keep clean. (Bodily fluids aren’t crystal clear like the finest Czech crystal, y’know, and it shouldn’t embarrass people.)

And of course, Irene was more than happy to customize my order. She actually suggested lining the gusset in a pale yellow (versus the yellow on the Mondrian set), so that it wouldn’t be so obvious through the white silk. I appreciate all of her input and suggestions during the order process; it really made the experience quite special!

Now, onto the heart of the post: construction! Not all lingerie is made the same, and Pillowbook’s sewing is just exquisite. This is literally the most beautifully sewn lingerie set that I have ever own. There are so many couture finishes and construction techniques utilized in their work. While I think “heirloom lingerie” sounds ridiculous, when I see this set, I get it. I believe it.

The white silk in this set is snow white. It was hard to capture with this overcast weather, so please forgive the cream tint in the pictures.

Aime Mondrian Bra


Isn’t it beautiful? The Aime Mondrian Bra (bralette) has bra straps that are made from black, woven silk (no elastic, no stretch) with adjustable sliders. The bra band has elastic in its woven silk casing, and the band is adjustable! I was initially mistaken thinking that it couldn’t be adjusted; I didn’t even realize it. :O How ingenious! Irene sent me a photo for illustrative purposes:

You would remove the clasp and insert it into the next channel.  This is a lot easier to see on fabric that isn't black -- that's for sure!  Photograph (c) Pillowbook.

You would remove the clasp and insert it into the next channel. This is a lot easier to see on fabric that isn’t black — that’s for sure! Photograph (c)Pillowbook.

This style isn’t overly supportive, but it provides light support and is very comfortable and luxurious to wear. This bra offers full coverage in the cups, and it feels so decadent because there seems to be so much of it!

Aime Mondrian Bra - Reverse

Look at the inside of the bra. LOOK AT IT. So much care and thoughtfulness has been put into the construction of this bralette that it could be reversible. I also love how the white lining is so neatly gathered at the band. This stuff makes me happy. You can also see a better view of the bra straps.

Aime Mondrian Bra - Hardware

The hardware on my lingerie is a shiny, gunmetal grey. Here’s a closeup of the branded clasp. It slides into a sewn loop on each side; it functions similarly as the clasp on Damaris bras. As previously mentioned, the bra is not adjustable in the band, but there is some give and flexibility in the band due to the elastic. I personally feel that the clasp is a bit too fiddly: I’ve somehow managed to remove it completely from the bra and drop it on the floor while getting dressed… It’s rather aesthetically pleasing, though, isn’t it?

The knickers are equally gorgeous.

Aime Mondrian Brief - Detail 1

I had the thong converted into a brief style; the pricing for this did go up due to the additional silk pieces (french knicker price of $146). There is elastic along the front and back, but there is none at the sides or in the leg openings. Instead, the adjustable slides on the side of the briefs are made from woven black silk. When I first received the briefs, I almost laughed at how comically huge they looked – and they do look rather big since they’re made of non-stretch silk! But they are comfortable, fit well, if not a bit loose in the rear.

Again, look at the beautiful stitching and piecing. (I’m going to sound like a broken record, thank you very much.) I love the contrast of the black and white threads, and you can see that it’s all carefully sewn. As you can see, the leg openings are binded with black silk, so there aren’t any exposed seams.


Here is the direct backside of the afore-pictured brief. The white stitching on the black binding for the leg opening is shown on the reverse (curved edge which goes over the blue silk). Look at the neat, discreet black top stitching on the black lines. Just ~love~.

Aime Mondrian Brief - Topstitching
And here’s how the black topstitching looks like on the other side/inside of the brief. Ahhh, so precise, and it looks damned good. If there’s one thing that I really noticed about my Pillowbook pieces, the insides of the garment are just as beautiful as the outside. Couture seam finishes all around; no overlocked stitch in sight.

I wanted to mention that if you compare the bra and brief, there is a difference in texture if you look at the white silk. I actually handwashed the briefs, as per the direction and care of the garment tags, but haven’t handwashed the bra yet. I’m not too sure if there was much sizing (chemical preservatives used in fabrics) in it, or if it was a result of handwashing silk, or the fact that the white silk hasn’t been treated with dyes, or a combination of all three. Either way, the resulting finish in the handwashed briefs resembles raw silk with less sheen and luminosity than I received them. I don’t think that this is a bad thing. I’m also not going to be taking my lingerie to get dry cleaned either, so handwashing it is! The colored bits of silk still look brand new, though, and the colors didn’t run. (Yes!!!)

The Aime suspender is also a work of art in and of itself. To me, it seems like the most complicated piece to create, due to all of the bits of silk piecing, top stitching, and silk channels. It is superbly sewn and exquisitely crafted, and the price reflects it. I didn’t photograph this piece since it was harder to do it justice, but take my word on it! The suspender held up my stockings even though it felt a bit large/roomy and sat closer to my hips, perhaps due to the silk elastic channels. Like the bra, you can adjust it by removing the clasp and inserting it into the loop that is smaller.

Here's the Aime Mondrian set worn.

Here’s the Aime Mondrian set worn. I feel like a queen!!

Waiting time/shipping:
My order took a long time to get to me. After I placed it, communication tapered off. This disappointed me since I was so excited to support a Chinese brand and really put a lot of thought into this purchase. I can wait for orders and am more than willing to work with indies, but if there are delays, I just want to be informed about them. The turnaround time was supposed to be 15-20 business days. I placed my order on 05/23/16, and it shipped on 07/20/16.

I want to be honest about all aspects of my order, so I’m mentioning it in my review. That said, it appears that the delays I encountered were a result of a perfect storm: a problem with the samples and Irene managing her business, teaching, while getting ready to have her first child (I wasn’t aware of the latter until after the fact). I don’t think that this will be a problem for people moving forward, though. Irene is back, and she has some exciting things planned!

Because my order was delayed, Irene sent me a gift with my purchase, which was the Aime Mondrian Dudou. (I am wearing it in the photo with my back to the front of the camera.) My jaw dropped when I saw it in my parcel; it was completely unnecessary, and I couldn’t believe that she sent this to me. I still can’t… It was beyond generous and breathtaking in construction, and I am very thankful for such a wonderful, thoughtful present.

When my order was posted, it was shipped via DHL Express. It arrived to me quickly and promptly, but please be aware that the shipping cost for this service is priced accordingly. I paid $55 for shipping.

So after talking about the actual lingerie and ordering, I really wanted to chat about why Pillowbook resonates so much with me.

As an Asian women living in the US, who identifies more with nationality than ethnicity, I truly find it so hard to fit in. I remember my first ever visit to Taipei as an adolescent/semi-adult: my relatives kind of shunned me because my Chinese wasn’t perfect, and my mannerisms/thoughts/beliefs were distinctly American. And it was clear that my extended family didn’t accept me for who I was.

In the US, you do have a patriarchal society, but in most east Asian countries, it is the patriarchal society. By Asian standards, a lot of my worth is attached to my looks and age. I’m honestly too fat, too muscular, and probably too ugly to fit in unless I get some surgery. I’m also simply too old for anyone to want to marry me and have kids. I’ve had opportunities to go to China to see family, but I’m not going to lie: I’m terrified to go back because I don’t want to deal with criticisms about my personality or looks. I like myself quite a bit, but that isn’t good enough.

Likewise, in the US, I’ve had people assume that I don’t speak English well or that I want a green card (joke’s on you, assholes; I am a US citizen!). Or I have people telling me that I’m the “whitest” Asian person that they know or that I’m essentially “a white person.” Or that I’m part of the “model minority.” Asian people are good, only up until “Chinese made crap” or stealing jobs from (white) Americans. And I won’t even mention how many creeps have an Asian fetish, yellow fever, and/or watch way too much anime thinking of all the perks that they can reap with an Asian partner.

I’ve also been told that since my perpetual struggle with identity (sprinkled with some self-hatred) isn’t as important as others’ struggles, I’m overreacting or thinking too much. Socially, I feel lost almost all the time. I realize that personally, I’ve never had many Asian friends while growing up because most of the Asian kids in my school had either a more traditional upbringing or were friends primarily/exclusively with other Asians.

When I had reached out to Irene about my order, we started talking about these things, and it was so nice to have someone understand how I felt and had actually experienced similar and/or had similar feelings. (Irene was born in Taipei, like me, and she put down her roots in the US.) I was also so impressed that she moved to Beijing to open up her atelier in an industry that oftentimes has a stigma attached to it.

From her press releases and thoughts that she’s shared on social media (International Women’s Day, Asian American Month, etc.), she is a huge advocate for women and for sexuality – with a clear nod to Asian women embracing and accepting all aspects of who they are. Seriously, I can’t even think of any Asian companies who would offer to embroider your lingerie with a delightfully naughty secret while donating the profits to Love146, an organization that helps out survivors of child trafficking/exploitation?

Oftentimes, you read how being sexy or exhibiting your sexuality makes you incapable of having anything worthwhile to say; however, you can be sexy and still give a shit about other causes, neither of which are mutually exclusive. Here is an unapologetic Asian women who is smashing down the misconceptions of how Asian women should be, who believes that all bodies are good bodies, and is shining a bright light that Chinese-made products can be artisanal, expertly crafted, and command a high price.

I, too, dearly hold onto these views close to my heart, and so do the other Chinese women who comprise of Pillowbook’s customer base (single, white collar women in their 20-30s).

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of an Asian designer that gets a lot of coverage in the media, and I can’t think of another Asian-owned lingerie brand. (If I forgotten you or don’t know about you, please leave a comment!)* And to have similar beliefs and values with the brand owner with products that are true works of art, I really want people to see just how fabulous Pillowbook is, and I want them to succeed!

*Edit: O M G, I am such a dodo! Thanks to Irene and Cora, my sabbatical brain has totally forgot so many brands. YIKES!!! Please forgive me! Here’s a shortlist:
1. Josie Natori
2. Samantha Chang – link currently not working (too many redirects)
3. Meng
4. Creepyyeha
5. Agashi
6. Atsuko Kudo

Pillowbook did not ask me to write this. I was not compensated for my time to put this together (and god, did it take forever). I purchased the products I wrote about with my own money. No affiliate links were used.

After seeing Irene post again on social media, she has a surprise planned on March 8 for subscribers to her newsletter. You can email her to be added, or you can sign up for her newsletter on the Pillowbook website. I really don’t know what the surprise is, but I am looking forward to finding out! In light of her announcement, I wanted to talk about this brand on my blog in case any of you were interested in partaking of her event:

Additionally, if you’re interested in reading other reviews, Karolina is a huge fan as well and has raved about Pillowbook on her website Knickerbocker Stories.

That’s it for now; hope 2017 is treating you all better!


Ahhh, where to begin? Agent Provocateur – a brand that’s as ubiquitous as Victoria’s Secret in the lingerie world – but markets itself as the epitome of luxury lingerie. Suffice it to say, I have extremely mixed feelings about the brand. In the beginning, I was a huge fan when Joseph Corre and Serena Rees were at the helm, but over time, I felt like the brand has significantly deviated away from its rebellious, punk rock roots. I feel that their marketing is snobby and alienating, and as a minority woman with a distinctly non-mainstream body type (not tall, thin, or white), I’m simply not welcome. Furthermore, I just can’t deal with despicable [shaming comments] from their employees, with no acknowledgement from the brand, that behavior like this is not acceptable.

Honestly, for the prices they charge, the quality should be better, but frankly, it isn’t. People love to slag on Victoria’s Secret, but in my opinion – god, I’m fanning the fire! – regular AP is very much like VS but with silk and better laces that come at a dearer price. Sizing is equally limited if not more restrictive, construction is comparable, the models all look the same, and it’s also produced in China. I’m really failing to see how AP is superior once you peel away all of that marketing.

I’m sure some people would say that I’m just being butt hurt by all of this, but I’m really not! My big ol’ Asian ass can think of 10 brands off the top of my head that would appreciate my money. There is a lot of choice, so I’m not hurting when it comes to options. Like VS, they’ve made their lasting mark on the lingerie industry, and every now and then, they release something that I want to buy.


Rudy bra with Sophie Hallette Leavers lace over purple silk.

Rudy bra with Sophie Hallette Leavers lace over purple silk.

I purchased Rudy during their spring sale in 2014. I’m a bit surprised that I bought this set because 1) I don’t usually purchase black lingerie and 2) I’m not a huge fan of purple, but somehow, Rudy just spoke to me! I think the strappy details and the lace overlay sealed the deal for me.

Unlike most AP bras, this one actually fit me in the British size that I usually take, 36A. It’s also very comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, the strap detail at the top is not adjustable, so in order for the straps to lay properly on top of my boobs, I have to constantly readjust. For normal wear, I wouldn’t bother, but for pictures, that’s another story.

Beautiful lacing.

Beautiful lacing. Black is so hard for me to photograph, but hopefully you can see some of the details!

I really love the lace on this bra, which is also used in the knickers and the suspender. It’s relatively sturdy, but it’s also stretchy with great stretch recovery. However, you have to be careful or you can put your finger through the more delicate parts… as I found out. :| (Black mesh backings 4 lyfe!)


Rudy brief - front view.

Rudy brief – front view.

In my older age, I’m anti-thong. Thankfully, AP makes some of the prettiest briefs! I purchased the Rudy knickers in a size 3. As previously mentioned, since the lace is so stretchy, the size 4 – the size I usually take – was too large. Although these look like a high cut leg, they’re not (and if they were, I wouldn’t have bought them); they fit me like a regular brief with a higher waist. There’s also an adorable black and purple bow in the center.

Rudy brief - back. Look at that gorgeous, electrifying purple silk!

Rudy brief – back. Look at that gorgeous, electrifying purple silk!


Rudy suspender - detail.

Rudy suspender – detail.

Last but not least, here’s the suspender! Do you ever feel that a lot of suspenders that comes with sets are just kind of half-assed? Oh my god, me, too! The Rudy suspender did not disappoint. It’s very nice to see the lacing motif continued on the sides of the suspender along with the floral lace and hint of purple silk. There’s also a sweet little bow in the center like what you see embellished on the briefs.

Agent Provocateur Rudy bra, brief, and suspender; Leg Avenue (I think) faux seamed stockings.

Agent Provocateur Rudy bra, brief, and suspender; Leg Avenue (I think) faux seamed stockings.

Do I think that this is a luxury set? Not at all but don’t get me wrong: it’s quite nice, and I really like it, but when I think of luxury, I don’t think of regular AP. Quality is on par with a lot of brands I own like Myla, Mimi Holliday, some Bordelle, and dare I say it: VS.

Rudy has long been sold out, but rogue pieces can be found on eBay. Hopefully this review can at least be a point of reference for those who wish to purchase AP in the future. I’m not sure how helpful it actually is since their sizing is all over the place, but at least in my obituary, it can say “at least this basic bitch reviewed AP before she died.”

Apologies in advance for the image quality. I keep losing the quality in resolution, but I also did take these photos when the sun was setting… Also, black is really hard to photograph. Well, I tried. :)

All items in this post were purchased by me. Agent Provocateur did not ask for this review, nor was I compensated for this post. No affiliate links were used.

I am incredibly overdue on this post, so let’s get into it!

Almost a year ago, I purchased the Cassia set from Toru and Naoko. Unfortunately, I had some serious fit issues that left me scratching my head. After my review was published, Camila reached out to me and offered me another set since she had no more Cassia fabric. By then, Toru and Naoko had started tweaking their patterns and had released a second wave of designs. Since Toru and Naoko’s aesthetic really appeals to me and I wanted a set that I could wear, I was incredibly grateful and accepted.

It was a tough decision, but I eventually decided on the Daisy bra and the matching Daisy briefs. Since I was nervous about the set being too small for me, I sized up in both the bra and the bottoms to a large. When the set arrived to me in the mail, I was so excited! Toru and Naoko’s packaging is lovely; the pieces came in PVC pouches with a silver snap and some stickers.

God, I can’t get over how cute this set is. I LOVE patterns, but throw some sequins on it (embroidered nonetheless), and I’m helpless. As with Cassia, the stitching on the Daisy pieces was perfect – no skipped stitches, no wonky sewing – just perfection.

Toru and Naoko Daisy  - embroidered sequins.

Toru and Naoko Daisy – embroidered sequins.

As for fit… Well, let’s just say I overcompensated on the fit for the bra. Sigh. It was much too big in both the band and the cups. I felt my heart sink and just felt awful for all of the hassle. I actually was just going to keep the large, but after contacting Camila, she confirmed that the bra was too big on me, and offered to ship me a medium. I mailed the large bra back to her, and she immediately sent me the medium (even before receiving my parcel!).

Toru and Naoko Daisy Bra - bralette style!

Toru and Naoko Daisy Bra – bralette style!

When I received it, the fit was honestly just right. Hooray! The bra was firm in the band and gave me good support. One thing worth mentioning about this particular cut: I personally feel that this bra style is best suited for someone who has breasts that are fuller on the bottom that splay outwards. On me, the inside edge of the triangle bra just covers my nips. If you have very narrow breasts, you may find yourself slipping out of it! I feel that Toru and Naoko’s bra size chart is true to size based off my experience with the Daisy set, and in the future, I will purchase their bras in a medium.

As for the bottoms, the large fit perfectly!

Toru and Naoko Daisy Brief

Toru and Naoko Daisy Brief

I absolutely love the silver hardware that is used in this set, and I adore how the front panel is attached to the mesh back panel with lingerie sliders. It’s such a lovely small detail.
Toru and Naoko Daisy Slider

That said, I do think their knickers generally tend to run small; however, I truly feel that the sizing with the Daisy knickers is much more accurate than it was with Cassia. Certain brands run smaller on the bottom (old Bordelle and Maison Close come to mind), so knowing how you fit in the brand – as well as the amount of coverage you prefer – are factors to be taken into consideration. For me, my butt is happy and comfortable in the large, so in the future, I will continue to purchase a large in bottoms!

Toru and Naoko Daisy Set - Worn.

Toru and Naoko Daisy Set – Worn. I literally have no idea why my right foot looks mangled in this pic, so don’t look too closely. ;) AHHH, YOU LOOKED.

I’m very, very happy with my Daisy set, and I love wearing it! I think it’s adorable and fun and would look great at spring/summer festivals. Truth be told, I was unsure if I would ever purchase from Toru and Naoko again, but after how everything played out, I can honestly say that I will and that it would be a pleasure. I also now feel confident about purchasing the appropriate size in the future. Camila’s customer service left such a positive impression on me, and I want to support businesses who offer great products but also provide equally great service.

Because seriously… I’m having heart palpitations over their limited Lempicka Collection. Pale pink and black? YES, PLZ.

(c) Toru and Naoko. Lempicka collection featuring the Juana bra and Sharon knickers.

(c) Toru and Naoko. Lempicka collection featuring the Juana bra and Sharon knickers.

Toru and Naoko generously provided the Daisy set to me at no additional cost. Toru and Naoko did not ask for an updated review, nor did they offer monetary compensation, nor did they read this review before publication. No affiliate links were used.

Do you have a lingerie wishlist? Like, a real wishlist instead of a shopping list? For me, I’ve never really had one until last year when I literally started writing down what I wanted in a paper journal. I’ve gotten a lot better with the impulsive/sale lingerie and have reached the point where I’m willing to pay full price for something that I like or want. (It has taken me about 8 years to finally reach that point – no joke.) A lot of it has to do with not wanting to hoard lingerie and/or be surrounded by things I’m not really fond of or of things I don’t wear. I’d rather have the money instead and put it towards visiting all my lingerie honeys. ❤︎

Anyway, back to the wishlist. I like having a wishlist! It really makes me think long and hard about whether or not this is something I love vs. a passing fancy. (A good test is, “would I pay full price for it?”) I tend to have super obsessive tendencies that are temporary, but thus far, everything on this list has captured my heart. I would eventually love to buy everything on my list (and the intention of this list is to hopefully make that happen), so here’s to sticking to the path. ;)

Alexandrea Anissa

Alexandrea Anissa Kitten Bralette, (c) Hana Haley.

Alexandrea Anissa Kitten Bralette, (c) Hana Haley.

My dear friend Charging Sky is a huge fan of Alexandrea Anissa, and that’s how I was introduced to Vanessa’s brand! (Seriously, if there was a patron of AA, it’d be her.) She looked amazing in all of her pieces, but my absolute favorite on her was the Kitten bralette, which she has worn also as outerwear. This puppy has been on wishlist forever, and remember those obsessive tendencies? Yeah, I wouldn’t shut up about it. My cries were heeded by my other dear friend Technicolor Lover, who gave me a gift card to AA to make my kitten dreams come true. My bralette was sent to work, and I’ll be receiving her on Monday. This is literally the *only* situation where I wish Monday would come sooner. Wishlist: CHECK!

Dottie’s Delights

Dottie's Delights Bow Playsuit, (c) Kimberly Capriotti.

Dottie’s Delights Bow Playsuit, (c) Kimberly Capriotti.

Ever since I saw the perpetually adorable Thigh Highs and Glitter review the Dottie’s Delights Mosh Bow Bodysuit I wanted it. Soooooo bad. I love how the mesh is stretchy, so I really could wear this while eating tacos and not resort to cutting myself out of it after. I really love how the bow applique provides coverage for the nips, but I’m even more in love with the coverage for the bottoms. Seriously, not everyone takes it all off, and I hate it when styles seems targeted towards women who shave/wax all of their pubes.

Caveat: I don’t think this comes with crotch snaps, which are almost a requirement for every bodysuit I purchase, but I’ll plead/beg/pay an upcharge before purchasing to see if this can happen because a girl’s gotta pee without getting naked in a dirty-ass bathroom stall with no TP, without toppling over in heels. (Sorry, this entire “move it to one side” isn’t going to cut it anymore, especially when you’re fumbling in your purse for napkins.)

Hopeless Lingerie

Hopeless Dana Top & Knickers, (c) Hopeless Lingerie.

Hopeless Dana Top & Knickers, (c) Hopeless Lingerie.

Although a lot of lingerie silhouettes are far from original, Hopeless has some of the cleverest and distinct lingerie “cut outs” that I have ever seen. Gaby’s recent collection Ghosts has me so very, very excited. My eyeballs almost fell out of their eye sockets! I hadn’t been this excited since Phases, specifically about the Valentina bodysuit and neoprene pieces. (I wish this collection would be remade; I didn’t have the funds or time to acquire anything from Phases because I bought my damned house, waaaaah.)

The Dana top and Dana knickers is so well-designed; I love how it has the feel of the bodysuit and looks just as good from the back as it does from the front.

I actually don’t know if this set would look good on my body type because my broad shoulders may be further emphasized by the cutouts, but I don’t care. The Dana top is just so perfect in every single way, and paired with the matching knickers, I’m in love!

Part 2 to come, but tell me, if you’d like to share, what’s on your wishlist? Word of mouth can be a dangerous thing, but suffice it to say, thanks to the internet and social media, I’ve seen so many wonderful things that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise!

Happy New Year!

My posting was a bit regular towards the end of the year, kind of like a deflating balloon. :B But I’m alive and hope to write more, but real life always seems to get in the way. I tend to avoid my lingerie blog when I’m feeling down and rough on my body, which unfortunately, was predominantly the 2nd half of 2015. I also took a break on my certification, but I’m throwing myself headfirst into that this year. It may be quiet for a bit longer, but I’m still around! (I’m somewhat active on Instagram, so if you want to keep up with me there, please shoot me a request. Unfortunately, due to the amount of IG spam and creepers, I put my account on private. I’m not super picky about who follows me, but if you look like a spam account or are a s3x account, I won’t approve.)

I haven’t bought much lingerie these past few months, but I’m okay with that! I’ve been working on a true budget in the sense that I account for every single dollar I spend vs. “I have a budget” where I treat my checking account like an expense account. I’ve actually saved about $1000 last quarter by significantly slashing all of my expenses and accounting for every single dollar in my pockets. Progress!! I’m pretty sure that most of the stuff I will be talking about will be covering brands and lingerie I’ve owned for awhile. I actually wear “boring basics” somewhat regularly by choice (don’t want to sweat buckets into fancy laces or silks, don’t want to tear anything while working out, etc.), so a lot of what I own always feels like new to me. :)

Onto more lingerie-specific things, one of the biggest highlights in 2015 for me was getting to know Melissa Taylor of Katastrophic Design. Melissa has this cool girl vibe about her, you know, that girl in school who you wanted to be! I love her look (she’s a chameleon!!), and I also love her work.


(c) Katastrophic Design – Seafoam Rose Bralette Set, shop photograph.

Melissa got in touch with me to offer one of her awesome sets to me, but I couldn’t take it gratis, so we decided to trade. :D I sent her a set of handmade pizza felt badges and some other gifts while she sent and surprised me with her signature pastel seafoam rose lace organic cotton bralette and undies set. Total hearts in eyes moment, all.

I’ll get around to taking better pictures of myself wearing this set, but for now, here are some filtered to death pictures and my cat. :D

As worn by my little model. :)

As worn by my little model. :)

I’ve raved about this set on Instagram, but let me consolidate this information here…

The main reason behind my adoration of Katastrophic Design is the fact that Melissa is a true craftswoman! I really appreciate how hands-on she is with her business. In addition to drafting a pattern, cutting out the pieces, and sewing up each piece with her hands, she also hand dyes her fabric and laces. She also supports other niche markets by sourcing US grown organic cotton jersey for her base fabric and European organic cotton laces. I read on her Instagram that most laces are constructed with a backing that is dissolved in a chemical bath, but her laces do not undergo this process. For people with sensitivities, I feel that Katastrophic Design would be a wonderful consideration and option.

(c) Katastrophic Design.

(c) Katastrophic Design.

I sent Melissa my measurements, so I’m not super sure what size I received. It’s either a medium or a large or a medium-large. ;) If you have any questions or concerns about fit, drop her a line! She will get you quickly squared away.

Unlike most cotton jersey fabrics, Melissa’s fabric has a really, really good weight to it. It definitely lean towards a heavyweight and is much thicker than average t-shirt material. There’s also a good amount of firm stretch to the jersey and a certain plushness to it. The color is beautiful, similar to the crystalline blue-green waters you see in those perfect beach pictures. The fabric is comfortable on the skin and totally breathable, which is a MUST for hot humid summers! Fun fact: Melissa currently resides in Texas, so she totally understands the absolute misery, my pain, of Gulf Coast Texas summers.

The Seafoam Rose set that I received (pardon the incredibly yellow/overexposed picture - forever battling the night...)

The Seafoam Rose set that I received (pardon the incredibly yellow/overexposed picture – forever battling the night…)

The fit is spot-on. Due to the stretch of the material, I feel like my set fits me like a glove! Also, to my shock and surprise, this bandeau bra gives me some really great cleavage. I’m actually surprised at how much lift and support I’m getting from a bandeau bra (keep in mind, your mileage may vary!). Ahhh, I may never go back to underwires!

Natural lift!

Natural lift!

The cotton lace applique is sewn onto the jersey with a zigzag stitch, and the seams are neatly finished with an overlocker. The straps on this bralette are on the thinner side (I personally prefer thicker straps), but on the plus side, I haven’t had the straps twist on my shoulders excessively. I do get a bit of twisting every now and then, though.

Although I received my set from her via swap, you’ll be hard pressed to find a set of this quality, with this amount of attention, for $66, which is honestly a steal; however, if $66 is still a bit out of your reach, this is your lucky week! Melissa is currently raising funds for her trip to Portland for the Unmentionable Lingerie Show, so this week, through Saturday, enjoy 20% off your order at her Etsy shop with code PDXORBUST!

No affiliate links were used. Katastrophic Design did not ask for this review, nor was I compensated for it. The seafoam rose set was received in exchange for my own handmade goods. :)

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s snobbery, especially from the most basic bitches on a private Instagram.  Just because you’ve bought a few pieces of underwear from Agent Provocateur doesn’t mean you know shit.  Like wine and coffee, it all really depends on your taste.  I’ve always been a huge advocate of buying what you like, and no one should ever shame you because of your choices.

Case in point:

Apparently Victoria Secret’s halter bra offended phee_25’s delicate Agent Provocateur sensibilities.

Seriously, you don’t want to be an awful, elitist human being by slut shaming something you don’t like.  Kindly fuck off, Phee_25. Also, as a professional tip, engaging in dickish behavior while representing your company, Agent Provocateur, is in absolute poor taste. AP employees probably have more to worry about than whether or not a competitor’s bra is “slutty.” Because AP stuff is ~never~ perceived as “slutty.” Got it.

I literally don’t care what people say or think, but I do know that some people are more sensitive to some of the feedback that they receive which is intended to cut down and demean. There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. If anything, rude people need a nice cup of STFU instead of telling people to grown a spine because of their snotfaced comments.

I understand that not everyone can afford lingerie and that even if they saved “forever,” they still couldn’t afford it. Honestly, you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone, and if anything, today’s post is for those who are looking for an attractive, affordable option. Buying AP doesn’t mean you’ve made it; it just means that you can spend hundreds of dollars on a bra or a pair of panties. Although I have an extensive lingerie wardrobe, I buy what I like; whether it’s designer or high street/mall fashions, I buy what appeals to me! No shame, no apologies.

Which brings me to my newest acquisition that I ADORE!

Mesh upon mesh upon mesh!

Mesh upon mesh upon mesh!

The top is made in the US, but the bra and knickers are “imported.” I paid about $15 for the top, and about $15 for both the bra and knickers. Some people have already asked where I got them from, and I’m probably going to get some shit for this, but whatevs. I purchased them online at Forever 21.

I’m not going to write an essay about the ethics of shopping at Forever 21 because there are enough articles/posts online address this topic, but I’m also not going to pretend that I don’t ever shop there. What I AM going to say that I’m completely against grotesque hauls regardless of where you shop or what you buy. Personally speaking, everything I buy, I buy with the intention to keep until it literally falls apart on me. That said, some of the F21 stuff I’ve bought in the past has lasted just as long as my designer stuff with similar care.

Now, onto the actual lingerie!

Forever 21 Mesh Set - Flat

Forever 21 Mesh Set – Flat

I purchased the bra in a 34D.  I’ve tried on a few of their bras, and on my body and on my breasts, I find that the cups run small to most unlined styles. I usually wear a 34C but find the 34D to fit the best.  The bra is made of a stretchy black mesh with a thicker “sporty” mesh overlay.  While the “top” overlay portion doesn’t line up flush against the curve of my breast, it really doesn’t bother me, nor does it detract from my overall perception of the bra.  Not all breast shapes will work with each style, and I feel that this is the case with this style.  I feel that this bra is well-made and no different in quality from all mid-tier brands. Also, at this price point, I have zero complaints.  This is available in core sizes, 32A-36D, for $8.90.

Closeup of the mesh overlay on the cups.

Closeup of the mesh overlay on the cups.

As for the knickers, I purchased them in a size large.  I typically wear a medium in bottoms, but for strappy styles, I tend to size up, so that I don’t have too much of a bulging effect.  I am very happy with the fit.  Unfortunately, sizing on the bottoms is a bit more limited, but it goes hand in hand with F21’s demographic and business model.  Like the bra top, I find that the bottoms are very nicely made with the same two types of mesh.  The knickers can be a bit confusing to put on, but it’s easy to figure out where the proper openings are if you work your way from the crotch.  (I know that this sounds super Captain Obvious, but it left me bewildered a couple of times!)  For $5.90, this is a great buy!  Right now, it’s currently on sale for $3.80, final sale.

For those who are interested in the top, this is an online exclusive.  (That said, I actually would recommend purchasing what you like online because stores may carry a different selection.  I went to two shops, and none of them carried this lingerie.) I purchased this in a large for a loose fit – and also because of my broad shoulders. ;)  This is well-made, too, from a four way stretch mesh.  Unlike the bra and knickers, this is made in the US, and the price reflects it.  However, at $14.90, it’s still extremely well-priced!

Without a doubt and with proper care, I see these garments lasting me for awhile and for multiple wears.  I’m very happy with my purchase, and hope this can help some folks who are looking for some more budget-friendly options. :)

To purchase:
Sheer Mesh Top: $14.90
Sheer Mesh Underwire Bra: $8.90
Mesh Crisscross Bikini Panty: $5.90

F21 Mesh Set Stock Photo

All items in this post were purchased by me. Forever21 did not ask for a review. No affiliate links were used. Stockings are Pretty Polly purchased from Target. PS – I also have nothing against AP, but for some weird reason, many of their employees and customers on IG exude some really poor behavior towards others.

My blog has and never will be about bra fitting.  Numerous blogs and the Reddit subforum cover this topic extensively with much more enthusiasm than I could ever muster.  However, after seeing a slew of misinformation and obnoxious judgement, I wanted to dust off all these half-written drafts and talk about sizing.

Now, I’m just going to come out and say it: just because you’ve read “A Bra That Fits,” it doesn’t make you an expert in bra fitting.  Nor does this mean that you have the magical skills to look at a picture of someone, tell them that they are 100% wrong about their size, and a bra in [this size] will fix all of their problems.  Nope. Nope. Nope.

Let me be clear: I think A Bra That Fits is a GREAT resource.  It offers excellent information to people who have never really understood how bras should fit, but it is not the end-all be-all guide to bra fit.  Your measurements may not correspond correctly with how brands are sizing their bras, or you may prefer a particular type of fit.

When it comes to bras, there is no standard across the industry.  Yes, this is totally frustrating, so in my opinion, contacting a brand for their input on sizing is critical.  I always prefer to purchase based off of a brand’s detailed size chart and adjusting from there. I know that this can be expensive and a huge pain in the ass especially if stores do not stock your size or preferred brands, but until the lingerie market gains some traction and people don’t freak out at paying more than $50 for a bra, that’s just the world we live in. And believe me, I hate dealing with international returns as much as the next person.  Ideally, once you figure out your size, it should hold constant, but unfortunately, don’t hold your breath.  Brands can and do adjust their fit over time.  (I’m crying in a corner weeping over Bordelle’s latest fit.)

Embroidered Chantelle unlined bra in 32D.

Embroidered Chantelle unlined bra in 32D.

My underbust measurement is 32″/81.28cm.  My full bust measurement is 36″/91.44cm.  Most resources would have me at a 32D.

When I was looking to place an order with La Lilouche, I got into a discussion with Liya about what size I should take.  At the time, I had purchased quite a few bras in the US tagged with 32D, so I was convinced that this would be the correct size.  However, after we started talking, this was clearly turning out to be the wrong size for me in her brand.  According to her measurement chart, I would be wearing a 36 band since my underbust measurement fell between 78-82cm.  Using my calculated band size, I would find out my cup size by looking at the chart and finding my corresponding full bust measurement. Instead of the 32D that I had thought about purchasing, I was sized into a 36A.

Liya has worked for many designers including those on the high street before she launched her own gorgeous line.  She informed me that the bra underbust/full bust measurements was typical, if not standard, for UK sized lingerie. Moreover, the band size did not correspond directly to the tape measurement.

Courtesy of La Lilouche.

Courtesy of La Lilouche.

This method of sizing is commonly referred to as the band + 4″ method, but IMO, it’s a lot more complicated than that (and honestly, gets more convoluted to the nth degree, especially if you have larger breasts). What actually IS the band size?  Is it solely the underbust measurement?  Or is it underbust +2″? No?  +4″ or +5″? Or is band size determined using another method or a corresponding chart? For instance, what makes my underbust equivalent to a EU 75 band? Or a French 95? Google will bring up the most varied responses.  If anything, there is no set definition, which you already knew. ;)

For this very reason, I ALWAYS recommend inquiring with the designer or brand for more information.  For what it’s worth, I am convinced that most UK brands size their lingerie similarly to La Lilouche (or vice versa), which is why some British 32Ds appear extremely tiny: it’s because they are; they’re meant to fit an underbust of 26-28″, not 32″. For US or French brands, I’ve noticed that the band measurement usually corresponds more closely to the underbust measurement, but again, nothing is standard, so your mileage will vary! (womp womp)

La Lilouche Britt bra - she turned out beautifully and fits like an absolute dream. ♥

La Lilouche Britt bra – she turned out beautifully and fits like an absolute dream in 36A. ♥

So back to my 32D bras.  This size was working for me in brands such as Chantelle, Victoria’s Secret, and Le Mystere, but I’ll be frank: I really, really, really dislike having a new bra that feels excruciatingly uncomfortable until I “break it in.” While a bra’s band should be firm (since it supports your breasts), it shouldn’t make you utterly miserable.  I don’t like when my bra leaves deep imprints on my body, and there is no chance in hell that I will ever wear a bra that does that to me again.

General bra fitting guidelines recommend being able to stick no more than 1 finger under your band, but for me, this isn’t remotely enough.  (That said, you shouldn’t be able to pull the bra band 10″ off your back.) I also dislike with the passion of a thousand suns a band that has been stretched out, especially on more delicate fabrics like silk and lace.  Once you hit the point where your band is so strained that the fabrics can no longer recover or “bounce back,” you end up with a stretched out, misshapen band.

If you prefer a looser fit, go for it – you can always have the bra altered if the band is too big as you wear your bra over time.  If you like a tighter fit, great!  You know your body the best: wear what feels good on you and what makes you feel good.

Remember those 32D bras I purchased?  They work, but I honestly find myself a lot more comfortable in a 34C.  This is usually always the size I take in US/French brands.  If the 34C fits a bit odd on me because of the bra style (plunge, balconette, etc.), I play with the sizing by sizing up or down in band/cup.  Please don’t ever feel that there’s something wrong with your breasts – they are perfectly fine and awesome! Like jeans, not all styles work on every single body.  Brands who can afford to do this usually offer multiple bra styles in one collection: long line, plunge, unlined, molded, etc.  The same goes for things like knickers: tanga, thong, brief, high cut.

Agent Provocateur Cassia in 36C. (AP's inconsistency in sizing is notorious across styles.) I tried this style on in order to assess the proper fit, and even then, I will still wear it with an extender.

Agent Provocateur Cassia in 36C. (AP’s inconsistency in sizing is notorious across styles.) I tried this style on in order to assess the proper fit, and even then, I will still wear it with an extender because the band is just a hair too tight.

Hi, my name is Marionette Mew, and I wear a 32D, 34C, 34D, 36A, and 36C. Sizing is not constant, nor is it rigid. Try on bras, look for things that makes a bra supportive, and find out what works best for you. Also, please let the “80% of women wear the incorrect bra size” phrase die already. Thanks! ;)