Recently, very interesting narratives have been shared on Twitter. The one that has picked up momentum is the topic of transparency. I actually wrote about my finances a year ago, but I’d like to revisit it in light of our most recent discussions. Please note: this isn’t a call out post or anything of that sort, but rather, a post to be more honest about what’s going on in real life versus what is portrayed on the ‘gram or internet.

I reread my previous post, and it’s pretty accurate. I’m thrifty by nature, picky, and have been buying lingerie for almost 10 years. I’ve worked shitty jobs, dealt with shitty people, but in the end, had things come together. I’m also older than most people who are active on social media and have become more established in my career. Still no kids and still dislike going out. :P

Looking back on my post, one thing stands out to me: my budget was being treated more like an expense account, and I was not being entirely aware of just how much I was spending. I was paying all of my bills on time, had no credit card debt, but somehow, I just never seemed to have that much liquid cash. It wasn’t until October 2015 did I seriously sit down and reassess my habits and literally began to track every. single. penny. that I spent. On top of it, I created a proactive budget with distinct categories that itemized every single monthly expense. Back then, I was using Mint.com. Now, I would not recommend it. Instead, I would use a spreadsheet or any budgeting software that has you manually entering all of your expenses – no import. I currently use YNAB4.

If you asked me now, I can tell you exactly how much I spent on groceries in April: $171.59. Or I could tell you how much I’ve spent on cat food since January: $114.31. Or something perhaps more relevant, on lingerie (adjusted), $433.12.

One of the gorgeous bras I purchased this year from La Lilouche!

One of the gorgeous bras I purchased this year from La Lilouche!

Unlike most people, I’m going to actually give some real numbers. This is an excerpt of a portion of my budget from April. Note: some “expenses” like property taxes, home maintenance, car repairs, vehicle registration, vet care, etc. have not been included in the monthly expense category but are in long term savings (not shown):
April 2016 Budget Excerpt

As you can see, I’m not perfect (nor is Comcast, and I’m still waiting for my damned internet bill to be adjusted). There are times where I do overspend, but I usually adjust my budgets for next month or give myself more money in a category by removing it from another. Since I started proactively managing my money, I’ve seen a remarked improvement in my overall spending as well as my net worth:
May 2016 Net Worth

No Y axis because although I believe in transparency, I’m still not comfortable with telling strangers on the internet how much liquid cash I have. (Just to clarify, the red are my debts where I have promotional financing with 0% interest. My philosophy: if you can’t afford it, don’t finance it. I could pay these debts off immediately, but I prefer to invest my money elsewhere.)

All of this brings me to today. It’s difficult to say and talk about publicly, but since we’re being transparent, I was laid off early this month due to the energy industry taking a huge hit. (Rejoice, haters!) I know for a fact if I didn’t have my hands around my finances, I would’ve probably had a heart attack. I have a little bit of unemployment coming in, surprise severance pay, leftover vacation bank, and some liquid cash for emergencies, but my goal is to find a job ASAP before I have to touch that emergency fund. I’m not sad, and I’m not worried… yet.

Frankly, I have enough lingerie to wear and write about that I never did, so there probably won’t be a huge lapse in content. Then again, I’m not super consistent with updating, soooo… ;)

For more perspective, please visit these lovely ladies who have waxed poetic on this subject:
Morning Madonna – Life: Buying Transparency
Lingerie Detective: Money Talk (series)
Holy Brail – Let’s talk about money, honey: lingerie retail therapy
Of Lambs and Lace – Lingerie Blogging & Financial Transparency
The Lingerista – Lingerie and Full Frontal Finance

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In the forever struggle of dealing with the fact that my 30+ year old body is simply not the same as my 20 year old body has been a challenge. Recently, at work, we had a health screening, and it was disheartening. Comparing my stats from 5 years ago to now, I’ve gained 26 pounds. My waist went up 3 inches! Although my other numbers are still in the healthy range, they’re nowhere near what they were back then. At the end of the day, I want to be in good health and also equally strong. I’ve finally got some of my problematic eating habits under control, and I’ve been able to go back to the gym consistently. I’ve been pretty happy with my progress, but boy, can selfies be an absolute soul destroyer.

This is the only photo that I found remotely likeable. Props to filters for making my skin look so smooth and perfect!

This is the only photo that I found remotely likeable. Props to filters for making my skin look so smooth and perfect!

I like lingerie body shots, so I try to incorporate them with my reviews. Since I have been battling these mental monsters for most of 2015, updates have been sporadic. I’ve also had some super important stuff on the side to take care of, but hopefully come end of April/May, things will be back to normal (with monsters slayed!). ;) Are people okay with just flat-lays? I always love pictures because they help sooooo much. Because I prefer body shots, I feel like that’s what people want to see.

What brought on these thoughts were pictures I took for this review. I think I look like a troll with no shape. I somehow managed to take a literal thousand or so selfies (I got my friend’s old iPhone 5c, and apparently I held the trigger on the selfie stick too long??), and going through them was like this draining, depressing chore. Despite these bouts of “I hate how I look on film,” I’m actually 80% of the time (at least) happy with my body. As a sweet friend wrote, “Death by selfie!” Seriously, no joke.

Recently, I’ve been on a huge bodysuit kick. I just can’t get enough of them!! As I previously mentioned, I’m all about form and functionality, so poppers/snaps are a must. I guess some people move the bodysuit to the side when they pee, but seriously, do they not poop? You can’t move the bodysuit to the side when you’re doing that… The thought of getting naked to use the toilet isn’t fun for me either, especially if you’re going out and trying not to touch anything in the stall.

Moving right along…

I purchased this gorgeous Lola Haze bodysuit, A Perfect Package, from a stockist.

Lola Haze Perfect Package Teddy (but actually a bodysuit according to Wikipedia definitions :p) (c) Lola Haze.

Lola Haze Perfect Package Teddy (but actually a bodysuit according to Wikipedia definitions :p) (c) Lola Haze.

Here’s the item description:

Please note: Lace pattern may vary slightly from photo. A Perfect Package…of you! This gorgeous teddy will flatter any figure and perfect all your assets. Gold mesh draped front leaves a peek of lace to tantalize, while minimizing your waist and keeping your goodies mysterious.

What an appropriate name for this bodysuit! I’m huge fan of the gold mesh draping, which is like a big hug around your body, and I also love how it provides additional coverage. The lace pattern on my bodysuit is actually a rose-print. The snaps are smooth and and don’t require weird body contortions in order to snap together or snap apart. (I really HATE bodysuits that have the snaps set directly into the fabric because it can cause the fabric to tear if you aren’t un/snapping at the snap.)

Rose Lace Close-up; lace pattern may vary!

Rose Lace Close-up; lace pattern may vary!

When I purchase bodysuits, it gets tricky. For one, I have a long torso with short appendages – think Captain Seamus from Family Guy hah. Most dresses don’t fall at my waistline but rather, at the base of my rib cage. When I’m buying bodysuits, I look for the following:

1. Adjustable straps – this allows for more length in the torso
2. …preferably spaghetti strap-like for more flexibility
3. If the bodysuit is like a fitted top with sleeves or a halter neck, I tend to size up.
*Just to be clear, this isn’t foolproof due to garment proportions.

I purchased this bodysuit in a size medium. Fit is wonderful despite my actual measurements being a few inches larger. The lace and gold mesh are very, very soft and stretchy. This bodysuit is also nicely made. Laura, the owner and designer, designs and creates all of her samples, but the finished product is produced by a factory in NYC.

However, I’m honestly torn about how I look wearing this. Worn alone, I think this bodysuit makes me look super stumpy, and I don’t think this bodysuit “flatters” me. I think part of the problem is how high the leg cuts are on my person, and I loathe that 90s high-cut look. It’s literally the one trend that I hope stays dead. High cuts don’t make my legs look longer; they make my body look incredibly distorted and emphasize any skin or fat I have around my hips.

Avec Monsieur Cat Butt. :3 Leg cuts are high on my body. PS - where did my waist go??

Avec Monsieur Cat Butt. :3 Leg cuts are high on my body. PS – where did my waist go??

That said, none of that is a huge deal breaker because realistically, I’d pair this with a bottom and go along my merry way. :) Truth be told, I’m not ogling myself when I’m wearing lingerie, but the narrative is different when you’re putting your body out there on the internet and are deleting hundreds of pictures from a selfie stick misadventure.

Lola Haze has been around since 2008, and they’ve received all sorts of press coverage from big shots like Vogue, WWD, and Elle. I haven’t seen much about the brand in blogs, which I think is a shame! The price point is comfortable and fair, and your purchase directly supports a designer with ethical production in the US. The bodysuit I purchased retails for $69, which is on par with numerous higher-end brands and is attainable for those with some disposable income.

I received confirmation from Laura that the website is up and running and attended, so if you’re someone who gets a bit anxious about no dated updates (I can’t be the only one, right??) and quiet social media accounts (which are usually not a good sign in the lingerie world), rest assured! Laura responded to my questions promptly and within a few hours, and I have no doubt that your order will be handled with the utmost attention and care!

Last but not least, here’s another wishlist item – I really should get that second part written – that has totally stolen my heart. It would’ve been perfect for Marc Jacob’s rollerina disco-chic NYFW 2015 party… :)

Lola Haze Golden Goddess  Teddy. (c) Lola Haze

Lola Haze Golden Goddess Teddy. (c) Lola Haze

All items in this post were purchased by me. Lola Haze did not ask for this review, nor was I compensated for it. 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.

katastrophicdesignblueroseshopflat-2

(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! ;)

Happy August! Lingerie reviews are hard for me to churn out in the summer because it’s so damned hot. Think 110 degree days with heat index. Also: too many bugs. Most of the time, I just lounge around in a pair of cotton brief undies. Hoping some rain (and autumn!) will come soon.

I usually write long ass reviews, but given how I’m melting, have no energy, and a raging headache, I’m going to make this pretty quick:

1. Amoralle is the stuff that dreams are made of.

2. The garments are handmade & handsewn in Latvia. Fabrics are usually almost always produced there, too. Paired with lower manufacturing expenses + cost of labor, prices for their gorgeous pieces are priced well. That doesn’t mean the prices are inexpensive, especially for a luxury brand.

3. The designs are decadent and indulgent. Billowing sleeves, endless yards of fabric, rows of velvet covered buttons, crystal finishes… Look no further.

I purchased the Breezy Hyacinth bodysuit during their last flash sale. I’ve wanted this piece for many months, and when I saw it was available during the sale, it was a no brainer. (I also picked up a pair of leggings.) My order shipped very quickly, too – in only a couple of days, yay! But it took about two weeks for it to arrive in the US.

Amoralle Breezy Hyacinth Body, (c) Amoralle.

Amoralle Breezy Hyacinth Body, (c) Amoralle.

Ladies + gents, there aren’t enough words to describe how beautiful this garment is; this bodysuit did not disappoint. I’ve bought a lot of lingerie over the course of my lifetime, but this piece has made me excited about lingerie again.

Everything is perfect: from the buttons, to the fabric, to the velvet trims… PERFECT. My one “complaint” is that fabric content is not listed on a tag in the garment. The top half of the body feels like a heavyweight silk charmeuse (with lycra or elastane). If it’s indeed synthetic, it’s damned good convincing. The bottom half of the body is comprised of a super soft and silky jersey + lace panel. The suspender straps have a large, ~1″ pyramid jet black crystal sewn to the center of each bow.

Close-up view of the body. (c) Amoralle.

Close-up view of the body. (c) Amoralle.

Sizing is limited, but based on comments I’ve read, most of Amoralle’s customers fit into their S/M/L. Hopefully they’ll consider expanding their size range in the future. Since I have broad shoulders, I usually size up in garments with set sleeves. In this case, I purchased a L, and it fits my long torso and shoulders perfectly. The bodysuit also has eye and hook closures at the crotch – hooooray! And just as a point of reference, I typically take an 8/10 in US dress size.

I wish I could’ve purchased the stockings that matched this body, but alas, it’s been out of stock for awhile. :(

tl;dr (seriously, this is one of the shortest posts I’ve ever written): Amoralle is life, and I am in love with lingerie all over again.

Amoralle Breezy Hyacinth worn with Leg Avenue back seam stockings. (I literally rolled out of bed and smeared on some lipstick to take pictures for some lovelies on IG who wanted to see a full body shot of the body.)

Amoralle Breezy Hyacinth worn with Leg Avenue back seam stockings. (I literally rolled out of bed and smeared on some lipstick to take pictures for some lovelies on IG who wanted to see a full body shot of the body. :P)

All items in this post were purchased by me. Amoralle did not ask for a review. No affiliate links were used.