Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Underwear as Outerwear - Back-olletage

There are many things we can learn from Regina George from Mean Girls: Swedish food is delicious, lacrosse and other sports can help you vent your frustration through physical exercise, and if you have the confidence, you can style a bra however you please.

It's been 11 years since Mean Girls came out, and I can vouch that all of those things are true. I can't help you with Swedish dining or lacrosse, but I can definitely throw out an idea or two of how to style your bra and make it a key feature of your wardrobe.* And my method won't include going Queen Bee on your friends, family and colleagues (sorry, not sorry, Regina).

*This post was inspired by the FreshPair's "Underwear as Outerwear" campaign. I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. However, because FreshPair approached me with the idea, I'm more than happy to link to some of their items for inspiration. Also, check out their bra page for some great deals.


Grey Cotton Jersey Backless Nightgown
Backless shirts are in. Backless dresses are in. And goodness, so are backless pajamas (not to be confused with THIS nightgown). Personally, I'm against paying full-price for half of a shirt (think: crop top), but with a backless shirt you're paying for the part that matters while leaving the possibilities open.

A back-less shirt or dress can be dressed up much more easily than a cropped shirt. Perhaps the easiest way to incorporate your underwear as your outerwear is to find a bra with a cute and/or sexy back and rock it with your backless shirt. Not lingerie-related but you can even put on some of that stick-on jewelry. Possibilities!

Hopeless' Suzy Bralette $115
Lets keep things simple and start with color. If you like to wear plain, black shirts, then mix things up with a bit of color. Hopeless' Suzy Bralette has a bright pop of red and the creative shape and links help draw the eye down the back. Red is a great choice, but if you want a more economic choice with THIRTEEN colors, then try Aerie's Lace Cross-Back Bralette.

Calvin Klein Y-Back - FreshPair
Keep things even more simple and effective with something black and slightly unusual. The black lines of this Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit Y-Back Push-Up Bra provides the straight lines and band support to keep your mildly business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back wardrobe. I mean, let's not go TOO crazy.

This bra also comes in "nude", but you can also find something similar in the OnGossamer Lace Back Convertible Push-Up Bra at FreshPair, which also comes in black, nude and LAPIS!

Hopeless' Eva Harness $90


In March of this year Bustle writer Freyia Lilian Porteous wrote an article on why she preferred her backless dress to a bustier option. Freyia described her dress as having a "large shape, draping over my shoulders, feels cozy and close. It is both sexy and subtle." So what if you have a dress you want to sex-up but want to leave it simple in the front? Cute bra!

Back to Hopeless! This harness isn't necessarily a bra, but it would work if you have a backless shirt or if you have a crop top. Anything with sateen, buckles or even lace can sexy-up the back of a simple dress or shirt.

Freya Minx $66 - FreshPair

Compared to the Suzy Bralette, the Freya Minx is much simpler and offers substantially more support. This would be a great choice for a bustier lady who still needs the band support but also wants color and some zing.

Once you get above a D-cup the possibilities start to wain. Cacique carries the Geo Lace Cami Bra that can hook in back (Sizes: 36D - 36DDD; 38C - 46DDD, 38F-44H) AND their High Neck Half Cup Plunge Bra is delightful in the back.

I'm just going to throw some winners out here for those of you who love pretty things! I found all of these from EricaM Legwear, so... go get them! Why even wear a shirt at all?

EricaM Legwear - Hanako
EricaM Legwear -Mani
For other blogs/sites with some great bras for backless clothes, please check out:

The Breast Life - 15 Bras With Pretty Backs by Laurie Shapiro
WhoWhatWear - 12 Bras With Ridiculously Pretty Backs by Kat Collins

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ariel Winter: Role Model for All Ages

Photo from Ariel's Glamour shoot 2015
Perhaps one of the greatest side effects of advanced medicine has been breast augmentation and breast reduction. For a society that puts a lot of emphasis on what we look like, it has been a boon to allow people to change their appearance and in a way, help with mental/physical stress and body image issues. And one lucky lady has undergone a breast reduction and, in order to preemptively stop the haters, has given an interview with Glamour magazine. That lovely young lady is Ariel Winter, star of Modern Family.

I highly suggest you read the original interview here before proceeding.

So why am I talking about breast reductions on a lingerie blog. Well, I have been surrounded by busty ladies my entire life and quite a few have undergone the procedure or have thought about it.

Don't just jump on the augmentation-hater bandwagon. "But that's the body God gave you!" "Why would you want to get rid of your boobs?" If someone wants to change their body, then let them!* Surgery isn't something you just jump into! It takes time, money and a lot of confidence to alter your body. Many women choose a reduction to alleviate shoulder/back pain, a lack of clothing options or because of the negative attention they have received from others. And some women (and even some men) need breast tissue removed due to cancer and then get implants after. It's difficult as a woman to be told that society loves a big bust to waist ratio but then have the same society throw shade at women who naturally have large breasts or those that choose to augment them.
Photo from Getty Images

I have mad respect and empathy for the girls and women who grow up with shame about their breasts, whether they think they're too large or too small. Dirty comments and creepy glares (I'm sure most, if not all women, have experienced these) can add up and it can really get you down. For some (like me), getting properly sized for a bra can do wonders. A firm band can help hold breast tissue where it can rest comfortably. A cup that holds all of the tissue will cut down on stabbing and movement. A properly-fitted bra is a first strike against body shame!

Here is to Ariel Winter, you wonderful lass!

* Many surgeons have the right to refuse services and procedures to those they don't feel are mentally prepared for the procedure. Please discuss any changes with a physician (or multiple physicians) before taking the plunge.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Product Review: Fresh Breasts

I sometimes make impulsive buys. Rarely is it for a bra (that is an investment!) but I will buy a product that is meant for the busty lady and is also relevant for my day-to-day life. For those of you in the Pacific Northwest you know that it has been HOT! Like melt the Starbucks cup in your car HOT. So I decided to invest in this product called Fresh Breasts, brought to you by the same company as Fresh Balls (yes, you read that correctly).

Let's be clear: I am not paid to review anything (although that would be cool!) so this is just my honest opinion: it works. If you are a busty lady or you get chafing legs (because you can use it there, too!) then you should seriously consider Fresh Breasts. The name is terrible but oh so accurate, too. The tube (which is pretty substantial) holds a lotion that dries into a powder. It costs $11.99 for 5oz.

The powder DOES get on fabric, which is unfortunate, but you can put this on before a bra or just if you want to lounge around your house, the supermarket, etc. braless (I won't judge you). For ladies who don't want to use aluminum, parabens or talc, this is a great alternative. I have NOT substituted my normal deodorant for this, although you could always try. The scent is vaguely powdery but it's not meant to be powerful (which is great unless you wanted that bra perfume from last week).

There are a few other products out there that are similar such as the Lady Anti-Monkey Butt Powder, which again is TOTALLY a real thing, so if this doesn't work for you then there are alternatives.

P.S. If your guy friend feels left out (I mean, who wouldn't?) then they can stock up on some Fresh Balls for... you know what... And Fresh Feet works, too! I bought Feet and Breasts because why not?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bras and... Perfume

Sometimes I lay awake at night and ponder my life, the Universe, and whatever crazy thing someone invented for bras. Today is about perfumed bras. Yes, they're a thing. And some people have gotten creative in an effort to perfume their bras, outside of the normal spritz and dab. Below are examples that I would LOVE to get my hands on.

OMG, OMG, OMG! It's bling for your bra and it can smell divine! Honestly, this isn't practical at all but why not!? The Braza Perfume Brooch works by spraying your favorite perfume onto a small sponge, inserting it into the brooch and then pinning it to your bra. Now, this probably won't make waves under a turtleneck layer BUT if you're into easy breezy summer-style tank tops, then this isn't a terrible idea. Now, most perfume works best when it is heated from your body but I'm sure if you are blessed up top there should be enough heat to make this work effectively. Also, the sale price of $3.95 isn't that bad, either. They also carry a variety of other shapes, colors, sizes, etc.

I'm not sure how effective this will be after a single wash, but the Adira Perfumed bra is super basic and is a cute color. A regular price of $6.60 is also not half-bad. The bra comes in three different scents (rose, lavender and jasmine). The company claims the scent will last for 20 washes (huh...) and is tested by International Testing Body (which technically I could not find on the internet). If anyone owns this or is willing to throw $5 my way, I might be willing to see how it all works. Yandy has a slightly more expensive bandeau version that only lasts 5-7 washes.

Yesterday's Perfume posted this good one from an old Vogue magazine. You put perfume on the "Scent-Petal" (don't ask me) and slip it into your bra. Not nearly as pretty as the Braza bling and maybe that's why it didn't catch on.

Lets be clear: this section is just a play on words. Dans tes Bras is French for "In your arms" but I couldn't help adding this into the section. Maybe you could spritz it on your Braza brooch? Or on your Adira bra and panty set?! The choices are limitless!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lingerie Crimes of 2015

I've missed you, my readers! Sorry for the absence. I wanted to get the second half of 2015 rolling with Lingerie Crimes! These are crimes that have happened in the past six months that may shock, interest, or, in general, just bewilder you. Lingerie Crimes aren't to be confused with how criminal the fit is for some lingerie brands (I'll let myself out), but just plain, old criminal stories.

Georgia Woman Accused Of Stealing 131 Pairs Of Underwear

In June, the Huffington Post reported on a woman trying to stuff 131 pairs of underwear in "her purse, a handbag and grocery bags." Criminals* don't usually post on Facebook about their (alleged) crimes but Ms. Julia Jones did, stating that "there may be a reason behind" her actions that are unknown to her friends, family and the public.

Why so many pairs, Jones? I don't understand!

*This fact is made up. Please don't destroy my small hope for humanity.

Looking For Answers About Underwear Thefts

Over the past six months, a Wyoming Victoria's Secret has been hit by thieves stealing $10,000 worth of lingerie. $10,000! I agree with one person's comments of "Why do you need to steal that many panties? What are you doing? Are they selling them on a black market or something?" This story raises some questions, though. Is there a lingerie ring of thieves or just an individual looking to cash in on cute PINK panties? Is someone trying to take down the "Man" and fight the patriarchy? But perhaps the greatest question is... IS there a black market for lingerie and is it called Silk (Panty) Road?

Also, in case you thought stealing vast quantities of VS merch was a rarity, then you would be incorrect.

Sirens: Mannequin Wearing Lingerie Missing After Burglary,...

This short police beat from The Chronicle deserves a small shout-out for this crime. Did they want the lingerie or the mannequin? Who knoooooows?

Frederick's of Hollywood closes all stores, strips down to Web

But the biggest criminal story of all is the closing of Frederick's of Hollywood brick-and-mortar stores! Who committed these crimes? We did!

Like Hollywood Video, Frederick's of Hollywood shuttered its doors due to the decline in actual humans going to actual stores. Instead, everyone was going to... Victoria's Secret. Now, Frederick's isn't perfect, but they make some gorgeous lingerie, like this Josefina set to the right (which you can buy online).

Keep in mind, Frederick's is a large corporation. And it's even easier for smaller, boutique stores to go belly-up, too. So don't be a criminal and go buy your lingerie at a local store. For the Oregon crowd, I suggest The Pencil Test. Don't become a criminal: buy local.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Strapped for Solutions: Bra Straps

Have you ever decided not to buy a bra because of the wide straps? Nothing screams sexy like a bra strap that is wider than your belt.

Often times there IS a reason for a wide strap: if the band supports 80% of your bust, then your straps have to hold up the other 20! That means that each strap gets to support 10% of your bust weight (I'm sure you never thought you'd use physics with regards to bras)! If you're particularly busty, the weight can add up and thin straps just won't cut it.

And if you are not super muscular or don't have firm skin, those bra straps can cut in to your shoulder. If the band size is correct and the weight of your breasts pulls the straps, then that can be OK. Bra companies have added wide straps to bras to disperse all of the weight to a wider surface area (so much physics today!). And some have even added cushioned straps to really help make the experience less miserable.

So what about if your straps keep falling off? Or what if they just slide around a lot and chafe a bit? Or what if they are cutting in a LOT!

Here are the steps you need to do before making a drastic change:
Cacique's cotton molded no-wire bra

  1. Tighten the straps but not enough to drag up your bra band. If the band pulls up while you're tightening your straps, then go down in your band size. You'll be in a never ending loop if you tighten your straps to pull up your band that pulls on the straps which pulls on the band, etc.
  2. Consider shortening the straps. If your band is sitting parallel to the floor, your breasts fit the cups, and the gore sits flat then maybe you have a short torso. It might be time to get crafty by following Crafting a Green World's tutorial on How to Shorten Bra Straps. If you bought your bra at Nordstrom they may also be able to provide an alteration service as might other tailoring services. A bra strap that is even a little bit too long can chafe and cause red marks.
  3. If neither of those methods work, then consider buying cushions OR buy a bra with a wider strap. Don't be afraid to try some of those wider strapped bras. Cacique carries a wide range of wide-strapped bras. Or Lululemon carries a cute long-lined, wide-strapped number at a reasonable price.
The Takeaway
Bra straps should be wide enough to support the weight of your breasts and only long enough to lift up slightly away from the shoulders (two fingers should fit under the strap). If they are too long they can chafe or fall off OR they could indicate your bra size is incorrect.

**If you have a particularly long torso and the straps are at their longest, then I will have to come up with a different solution for you! I'll have to investigate.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Lingerie Libra's Lazy Girl Guide to Bra Cleaning

I have made mention of cleaning your bras by hand in the past (Cup Shapes - Molded), so I figured I could go a bit further in depth for the subject. I'm also cleaning a TON of my bras now after moving, so this blog post is real time!

Hand washing one bra usually requires a sink or a bucket. Reminder: clean sink!

Why does hand-laundering your bras matter? There are a few perks to hand washing your bra:

1) Delicate details (lace, bows, etc.) won't be destroyed with high friction.
2) Moulded cups can be damaged irreparably by machine-washing.
3) You can spot clean more easily by hand vs. a machine.
4) You use more water using the "delicate spin" portion of your washer so thus... more $$.

I'm going to guess that you will look at the list, think about the perks and then discard it as too much effort! That's what bra laundry bags are for, right? So how did I get over machine washing and jump into hand washing? Because my money matters!

There are currently six bras in this tub. Bulk cleaning!
According to Redbook, the average woman owns 9 bras! You should be refitted about twice a year (the usual time women are told to be re-fitted). Now imagine you buy 9 new bras each time you go in (humor me, please). I tend to see my size of bra priced around $68, so that's... $1224 (damn!) a year JUST on bras. You should wash your bra every 4 to 5 wearings or if you sweat/live in a muggy environment, more often! In that six month period of owning 9 bras, I will wear each of them 20 times (9 bras/182 days = 20.22 wears), washing them every 4 to 5 wearings means... A lot of washing. But that also means the longer I can keep my bras intact, the less money I'll spend over the course of a year (oh gawd, I've spent so much money on bras!!).


Think about how crazy that is!

$3.35 FOR A DAY! (Sales tax not included)

And that doesn't include the money I use to clean them!

So how do I wash my bras? In bulk! I hear some women clean their bras while they're in the shower, but that seems incredibly wasteful of water (roughly 2 gallons of water a minute). So I either fill a sink (such as at the top of this post) or a tub (above). My cleaners of choice? OxyClean or Tide Free & Gentle. I use the unscented version because fragrances can irritate the skin and, if powerful enough, can mask perfume.
Free your bras of grime and stink!
I always clean bras with similar colors. Dye can bleed into other material! Even bras I have owned and washed repeatedly still leach color (especially black).

After using a gloop (technical term) of Tide or a TINY amount of OxyClean, I let my bras soak for 15 minutes in lukewarm water (not hot or cold), pour the water out, and then refill with clean water (no cleaner) unless I'm washing sports bras that REALLY need it. After they soak for 15 more minutes (and no longer smell like detergent/cleaner or... body), I will hang them to dry.
Clothing lines and 90 degree weather are perfect for my lifestyle.
There are other bra drying tips (lying flat, hanging, etc.) so do whatever works best for your space. For me, I have a handy line to dry mine on. NEVER dry your bras in the dryer. The heat can damage moulded bras, possibly shrink material, or just damage fabric.

Now you know how I do it. I don't tend to buy SUPER expensive bras or ones with a lot of delicate details (lace, especially) so what works for me might not work for you. But keep in mind: bras are an investment and should be treated with care!

On to the next load...
No bras were harmed in the making of this post.