Ukraine to US, my wardrobe adjastments

It has been already seven months since I moved to US, and I think I’m starting to figure it out.

I’m still myself, so I tend to be little bit overdressed on a daily basis due to my taste for simple clothes made from very pricey materials. But I think that I can live with that. I better be whispered about than uncomfortable. Being really challenged in the area of thermoregulation and having dry and sensitive skin makes me really picky. I can’t withstand cheap poly, any sheep or lamb wool or alpaca, and linen. I don’t like viscose and acetate. And cotton (except see-through batiste) IMO is too heavyweight for hot summer days (if I wear jeans when it’s 85F I will be wishing not have been born). All that said no wander I wear silks on a daily basis in summer and I often wear skirts* and this hasn’t been changed because I moved.

So my normal office day wardrobe for super hot weather is something like this

My summer wardrobe choices

My summer wardrobe choices

As you can see it’s pretty conservative and there are couple of almost exact duplicates (I really have three Michael Kors crossbody bags and two pairs of exactly the same aviator sunglasses in silver and in gold). J. Crew dress replaces my actual dress which is custom made from silk and has very similar design. Pants are also custom made from 4ply silk crepe and have a drawstring in hems (they cut for heels, but can be adjusted to flats). I haven’t included heels here, because I never wear them to office. There are more tops in real life, but their character depicted by what I have in the picture. I’m going to add couple of midi skirts here, but I can’t say that I want much more diversity.

As for the days when it’s not that hot I think I found the solution how to make my wardrobe more diverse. First of all I invested** in some shorter knits which won’t be harmed that much by my beloved cross body bags. I also got full midi skirt for the days I’m really tired of wearing jeans. I bought more jeans, but not in blue: one are taupe and one are black. I’m going to wear two more crossbodies I added this summer: gray and hot pink. So I won’t have a feeling that I’m wearing a uniform in autumn. I’m going to wear classic shirts and blue jeans as well of cause as I was wearing them in spring, but not five days a week. Not anymore.

The only problem (and it’s а huge problem for me) is that I haven’t bought enough shoes for autumn. I was literally in every store nearby and I bought and sent back several pairs online. No luck so far (and for some of them price tag went as far as $400 on sale, yes, I’m that desperate!). And I need at least two pairs : high boots and something like fashion sneakers of loafers.

Here is a concept for this autumn and winter

Here is a concept for this autumn and winter***

Other than that life was and is really good. I love Silicone Valley. It always makes me fascinated and happy to see how mountains turn peach when I’m driving back home on sunset and blue when it’s raining (not too often) or fog comes. I really like people I’m working with. And I feel much safer.

* Yeah, if you don’t have chaffing problem you very likely feel more cool in a full or A-line skirt and full and A-line skirts don’t restrain your moves at all, very short skirts can make you conscious about where your hem is and it’s especially true for short full skirts, but I stopped wearing them when I was a teen

** Actually I spent too much money not invested, you can’t invest in clothes no matter what Vogue says. If it doesn’t bring you money it’s just an expense ))

*** There are more shirts than one (in fact it’s five), but they all are almost the same and the only difference is color, dark green sweater is actually black and skirt is a little bit longer, there are also more pashminas, but it would be too cluttered if I add them all.


Mimi Holliday Sticky Toffee Pudding Superplunge shoulder bra

What girl needs the most after moving from Ukraine to Bay Area – a new bra of cause ))

Meet my first shoulder bra from Mimi )

Meet my first shoulder bra from Mimi )

May be this isn’t really the case, but after I discovered that I forgot to pack my favorite bra into the unaccompanied luggage (it was supposed to go there, because I loved it, but bright red with black is not the most practical combo, so I decided that I could survive couple of weeks without it), I just needed to buy a new Mimi Holliday bra to fill in for Nymphina,

Actually current selection was a real disappointment for me. Where are all the bright and deep mono-colors? Magenta? Indigo blue? Canary yellow? Aquamarine? Well, “Strawberry split” is bright and it’s not some funky color combo, but I don’t like this particular shade of red on my skin, and that’s pretty much it ((. So I decided to go with “safe” color (old quest for perfect bra to wear under white shirt).


It’s on larger side of Mimi cups (like Bisou-Bisou Rose), so 32E is closer to real E, It’s not super small like Berry Fest. Actually the fit very much the same as Bisou Bisou Rose I reviewed here. May be band is a tiny bit more snug, but it’s new and I was wearing Rose time to time for months now. Conclusion: kudos for consistency!

The only difference shoulder design makes for me: straps doesn’t slip that much (it is the only issue with other Mimi bras I have), but of cause they create some limitations on necklines.

Created to give an immediate volume

Created to give an immediate volume

I also have a feeling that for some strange reason this bra gives more pointy shape, but not terribly pointy.

Fit under thin turtleneck

Fit under thin turtleneck


Consistent with other bras I have, Mimi quality is good (silk, elastic and cotton for padding inside cups – all materials feel really good). What I don’t like is that they obviously decided to go with what they already had in stash from other bras and used despite it wasn’t really good choice.


You can’t see it on promo photos, but mesh and elastic they used for back of the bra has slightly different shade than everything else (more rosy) and it doesn’t make bra to look more pretty, it actually looks a little bit sloppy. Given the price tag: shame on you. Damaris!

Sticky Toffee bra photo taken from Asos online shop

Sticky Toffee bra photo taken from Asos online shop

Compare to real life colors:

As you can see there is a quite noticeable difference in colors

As you can see there is a quite noticeable difference in colors

Bisou-Bisou Rose vs Sticky Toffee, material re-usage?

Bisou-Bisou Rose vs Sticky Toffee, clever material re-usage?

Main color in is a little bit darker and very close to light peachy beige. So it works as nude for fair skin tones quite well.

The brightest point of this review is: this bra can go under white shirt! (and for me it’s more comfortable than any other bra I currently have).

Photo-proof: it's invisible under white shirt on me

Photo-proof: it’s invisible under white shirt on me

For that I can forgive that some sloppiness in colors, so I didn’t sent the bra back.

Moving the house and adjusting the wardrobe

I must admit that moving to US brought more changes than I thought.

I changed lifestyle (from working from home remotely to office full time), climate (Ukraine has crazy dark humid cold winters, hot summers with thunderstorms and short spring and autumn and where I live in US it’s warm winter, hot summer, very long spring and autumn with almost no rains all over the year), and culture is different.

I knew that changes would be inevitable when I moved here, and some of them were very obvious (you don’t really need fur lined high boots and seriously warm gloves in California e. g.). But some of them were very unexpected: for example I’m not able to wear many of my jerseys which are perfectly work appropriate and in a good condition, because now I wear small cross-body all the time (it’s really practical in very large open space office for a person who hates pockets, but piling becomes horrible for longer cardigans and sweaters).

Not even 5% of my wardrobe, but you can get the feeling of it

Not even 5% of my wardrobe, but you can get the feeling of it

So my wardrobe and I are still in the process of transition. The main trick is to make some changes to the wardrobe without changing overall impression. For some people to change overall impression is a main goal of buying new wardrobe, but I was quite happy with what my clothes say about me (I like to think that it was ‘creative professional woman at her 30s who likes comfort and cares about aesthetic”). But right now my clothes would say completely different things if I were wearing them the way I was wearing them at home.

Today staples of my wardrobe are button down shirts, jeans (slim, but not really skinny), tough looking boots on medium thick heels and leather jackets (black mid-thigh long and dark plum short biker jacket). I often add scarf. Nice, but I really need some more ideas for business casual.

So, what is my problem? My problem is that I’m bored to death and I wear the same boots 90% of time.

At home I had very long winter and quite long summer (well they were equally long in days, but anybody who lived in a cold climate with almost no sun November to March can easily guess what felt longer), so I have a lot of nice summer sandals, and I have several pairs of fur lined boots (totally don’t need them in CA).  Other than that it’s sad: Diesel sneakers which almost died after a month of wearing them really often, old Nike sneakers which shouldn’t be worn to office, purple patent pumps and high heel booties (too dressed up obviously). Then I after many really desperate hours I bought Steve Madden boots and have at least something to wear. Actually I have a feeling that I’m living in a shoe desert. There are tons of shoes everywhere, but they are all wrong! Too narrow, not a good quality, there is no my size (8, sometimes 7.5, sometimes 8.5, nothing exotic!), cost like a Boeing wing, wrong color, colorway is not available in shops that ship to US etc etc. I almost feel like I’m going to accept ‘cost like a Boeing wing’ option. No budget friendly small Italian brands I loved so much, so I almost ready for Prada and Marni.

Problem is that here I have more casual environment and being creative about my looks wouldn’t be punished, but it wouldn’t be supported either. There is nobody who can appreciate such things as playing with textures in total black or nice combination of purple and cobalt of the same brightness  and lightness in accessories. And this is just discouraging. Don’t get me wrong: I love California with all my heart: it still amazes me how beautiful it is. I love how warm winter months are and how much sun we have. I really like people: they are all different and they created really great atmosphere here. So I’m happier person now, but I’m not really sure if I can be useful as a source of style and sartorial advice anymore.Well, at least I can do bra reviews time to time ))

Some news about me

I have been silent for some time: first I was too scared and nervous because of events in Ukraine, then just tired. After a while an opportunity which was promising me professional growth and life change presented itself and I needed to work hard to make it happen. And now I can say that it all worked out. I moved to Silicone Valley. I can’t promise to resume the blog in the nearest future, as now I have 100500 things to do (my ‘to do’ list is now not as long as it was on the day one, but it is still very long). But after I settle down I hope I will be writing again (now as I have totally new perspective I think I have a lot to share), but I can’t give any promises )).

Hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle, inverted triangle – what body type tells you and what not

This post is going to be more of sartorial philosophy than about detailed recommendations. If you need instructions how to determine your body type you can find it here.

I want to share my thought about what body type means for us and how knowing it or trying to determine it can be not only beneficial, but sometimes also harmful.

First of all it’s a way to identify yourself. When you are saying: I am hourglass (or pear, or whatever), it’s not just a label, there are some associations which almost everybody has, because they are translated by media, incorporated in the culture, you can have it even if you don’t know any body type classification! Several examples of myths which are attached body types: hourglass is considered to be perfect, but a little bit outdated, but when on extreme she must be a porn star, pear is the most feminine of them all, all models are slim rectangles, etc.

Then, second, when you know your body type you can easily found a ton of advise how to dress.  You have detailed descriptions what necklines are the best, what width should be your pants, where top hem should end etc etc… (inverted triangles shouldn’t wear tops which are embellished on shoulders, hourglass should avoid dropped waist, pear shouldn’t wear skinny jeans…)

But I think that there is a trap. When you happily (or not so happily) identified your body type there is always a danger to think about yourself as a body type instead of the real person. Being hourglass does not define who I am, it even does not define how I look. It just gives some idea about that. But it tells nothing about my facial features, my charisma, not even about my legs and arms, my neck, my posture, about the way I move. It doesn’t tell a thing about my personality and how I prefer to express it. It tells nothing about what I love about myself, what I would like to accentuate and what I would be happy to downplay. And all this is very important to choose clothes wisely.

Another trap is that body type stereotypes and associations are loaded. And some of them are loaded negatively. Apples could be seen as shapeless, inverted triangles as not feminine etc. So many women don’t want to be shapeless, or not feminine  and to archive that they deny reality, they find well defined waist with 3″ difference between  waist and hips, long legs with body to legs proportion 5 : 3 and so on. Then they start to dress the body they want instead of the body they have and hate mirrors.

Or it can be not just right for your personality. Hourglass should be all feminine and ladylike, they say? But what if you one of that girls who like hiking, baseball, beer and work in a fire department? I would bet that you would feel uncomfortable like hell in all that pencil skirts and heels suggested for your body type. Triangles are sporty and even masculine? What if it’s not what you are? And you are indeed delicate, kind, soft, hate everything that makes you sweat and strongly prefer cashmere to neoprene?

So, what’s the solution?

Identify goals: what you want to archive with your clothes (find a husband, get some extra points for your carrier, express your personality)

Identify what you have, what your physical characteristics are and what expression they create (broad shoulders translate strength, tan is about being active, tiny soft hands about being delicate an so on, so on, it might have nothing in common with how things really are and the same features mean different things to different people, but there are some constants here and associations are always almost unavoidable).

Identify how your proportions are different from the standard proportions artists have for ‘how to draw a proportional person’*. And ask yourself a question: “do I want to correct them?”.

Identify how you want to appear (I want to look put together and reliable|creative and energetic and intelligent for my carrier e. g.). And what you want to correct or emphasize for this look. But be realistic: you can’t appear delicate if you are 6 foot tall, naturally muscular and have broad shoulders. You can’t rock tomboy if you have very large difference between waist and hips and/or large breasts or large overall . If you try you just make a fool of yourself.  So self acceptance and common sense are important here.

How it works: let’s say you have inverted triangle body type and your shoulders are wider than your hips. Overall expression: strong, often athletic. if you want to look strong and intelligent – perfect! your shoulders say “physical strength”, so you don’t want to hide them, you want to highlight them! But if you want to look or feel feminine then you want to downplay and balance them.

Or. I feel that tomboy is the most close to my heart, but in reality I look like impersonation of Mother Earth. OK, let’s be realistic: what can be expressed? You can express funny and active in any body type, age and size. And downplay gender. So: no to very form hugging and accents on breasts, waist and hips, yes to bright colors, flat soles, funny prints on T-shirts, short hair, visually slimming clothes. But also no to very boyish clothes and accessories and too strait lines, acceptance of the fact that this is a body of a grown up woman. Note that this is mostly NOT about body type.

And now comes very important part: you need to understand optical illusions (I have some posts about Prints and optical illusions, but subject is much wider than that, I know some good sources in Russian explaining how lines created by clothes and textures are changing the perceived shape, but not in English, sorry, that I can’t provide good links here, may be I will write some posts later, but meanwhile you can google optical illusions and apply to clothes illusions which are about lines, angles and perceived size).

Most of advise about dressing body types is based on using optical illusions and trying  to create an illusion of more slim, tall and proportional body which is somewhere in between rectangle and hourglass more close to the last**. So if you know optical illusions you can create not that standard ideal body, but you can to a certain point control the impression your body creates and make it more close to what you want, and not to what is considered beautiful by mass media right now.

But overall shape of your body is only a part of the impression you create, colors have at least the same importance. And personal style is more important than lines and color combined.


* Those are considered to be universal harmony and AFAIK can be traced back to Leonardo da Vinci drawings

**If it’s what you want then you can save a lot of time using Google to get instructions how to get closer, but you will be missing a lot of fun.

Living through the war

It’s not very close for me, but it’s in my country. It’s in helicopters over my parents house and much more often ambulance sirens in the night: they transport wounded to the city hospitals. It’s in the Red Cross billboards and a small and very dynamic crowd near regional filial of Red Cross, people come to donate clothes and food and and more people come to get them. It’s in the need to check news feed every 15 minutes. It’s in the eyes of our military and refugees from Donetsk and Lugansk. It’s in the air.

Couple hundred miles from the combat theater life seems almost the same, almost normal. You have the number of Red Cross in your phone and you know what to do in case of shelling and what to take with you in case of evacuation, you have untouchable amount of water and food that can survive without a fridge, but you still work, still go shopping every week, still visit relatives and eat out with friends and try to enjoy small things. And this keeps you sane.

We, like a nation,  were shocked by Heaven Hundred deaths. We never thought that something like that can happen in Ukraine. Now thousands are dead and hundreds of thousands lost their homes. But shock passed long ago. This is our new reality and we learn how to live in it.

Ceasefire was declared recently. There are almost no doubts that not for long and it will be broken exactly like it happened in June. In fact it was already broken dozens of times, it’s just neither side hasn’t declared it broken to start a major offensive. What Russians have in their hands now is not what they really want, and they want us on our knees. It’s just unbearable for them, that country that was a part of Russian Empire for so long doesn’t want to be a satellite of Russia anymore.

So I’m living through the war and I try to imitate normal life. Sometimes I comment, sometimes I try to write something, but it’s not going to be like before for a long, long time. Winter is coming and it’s not going to be about Merry Christmas and Happy New Year anymore. Not in Ukraine.

Review. Fauve Brianna and Chloe vertical seam bras

I decided to combine this reviews, because both bras have basically the same cut (although Brianna is more low and open, so it’s more like plunge and Chloe IMO is more like demi-cup). I found Brianna pretty cheap on ebay in what might be sistersize and fit was rather well, so I bought Chloe.

Brianna is black with light grey accent, very nice lace, but it’s discontinued, Chloe is newer and she can be found at numerous sellers in different colors. I bought beige aka mink.

Fauve Chloe demi-cup (sometimes called vertical seam/plunge) in Mink

Fauve Chloe demi-cup (sometimes called vertical seam/plunge) in Mink

Fauve Brianna front view (image from

Fauve Brianna front view (image from

Fauve bras run much larger in the cup then Mimi and Masquerade, I’m usually 32E (and with some colors in Mimi I think I should have bought 32F), but with Fauve unpadded demi-cup bras I’m 32D (so I went down not one, but two cupsizes). Luckily I’ve tried Fauve before in a brick and mortar store, so I knew that I should go down in cupsize. I never tried unpadded, Fauve bras, but Brianna looked very promising, so I took the risk and bought it in 34C. I feels a little bit loose on the tightest hook, but shortening bra band is very easy and cheap fix. Being in the search of the perfect summer nude bra I bought beige Chloe, but alas it’s too dark for me to be a nude bra (this was bad news for me, but very good news for those who have darker skin tone, as darker nudes are not plenty). But if you have problems searching for powder light enough for your skin skip it and may be skip anything called mink if you want nude!

Fauve Chloe. White shirt test. Failed

Fauve Chloe. White shirt test. Failed

I must say that despite being sister sizes and same cut, cups of 34C Brianna are different from 32D Chloe:

  • Brianna has wider wires (difference is about 3/8″ – Chloe about 5 1/8 and Brianna 5 1/2″);
  • Chloe cups and central gore are higher (about 1/2″ or so), but neither of them comes really high, so I’m ok with that.
Fauve Brianna over Chloe, as you can see Chloe comes up higher

Fauve Brianna over Chloe, as you can see Chloe comes up higher

Difference in the wires width made Chloe super uncomfortable for me, so I altered them (actually not by myself, they are too strong for my hands), so they became the same width as Brianna wires. I was a little bit worried that it might have cause cup edge to become more “closed” which could create quadraboob, but I decided to take the risk, for $30 it wasn’t worth a hassle to return or sell, and luckily the bra still fits, but now is much more comfortable.

So right now my only regret about Chloe is that I bought it in a color which neither pretty nor practical for me, it’s just off, but I might consider buying it in fashion colors or black in future.

 Good things about Chloe and Brianna demi-cup bras

  • Overall it’s a good quality (not a surprise taking into account that Eveden group is positioning Fauve as upscale brand);
  • There are some nice detailing;
Fauve Chloe central gore  detail

Fauve Chloe central gore detail

Fauve Brianna central gore detail

Fauve Brianna central gore detail

Fauve Brianna closure detail

Fauve Brianna closure detail

Fauve Brianna wing detail

Fauve Brianna wing detail

  • Straps are not ugly, their texture prevents sliding and in Brianna case they are fully adjustable (I think if you are precise enough you can remove the lace from the beginning of strap on Chloe without damaging anything, but I haven’t tested this assumption);

Fauve Chloe strap

Fauve Brianna Strap

Fauve Brianna Strap

  • Strong wires and quite strong bands (more so for Chloe, which has fabric for the band, Brianna is lace + powermesh);
  • I haven’t worn any of these bras and haven’t washed them, but lace doesn’t feel scratchy when I was trying them.

Things about these bras, that definitely good for me, but can be showstopper if you have different breast/body shape:

  • They are low cut and cups are opened on top (downsizing in a cup can be a reason why cups are so low on me, but I really love how it looks);
  • Brianna has really wide wires (I need them to be wide);
  • Straps are not as wide set as you might expect from demi-cup (again, a great thing for me because wide set straps are always falling from my shoulders);
  • Wires doesn’t go high on the sides and central gores are quite low (especially in my Brianna);
  • Rather narrow central gore;
  • These bras give immediate depth near wires.
It's kind of difficult to catch of the profile of en empty cup made from lace, so I tried to get gravity on my side )), Thus not traditional composition

It’s kind of difficult to catch of the profile of en empty cup made from lace, so I tried to get gravity on my side )), Thus not traditional composition

And Chloe

Fauve Chloe gives a lot of immediate depth. too

Fauve Chloe gives a lot of immediate depth. too

Not so good

Lace used for Chloe is not super flat, so it will be visible under thin and clingy tops (not a real problem for me, because for summer I definitely hate thin and clingy clothes), Brianna is more discreet.

Fauve Chloe on me under thin and clingy top (keep it for trying bras!)

Fauve Chloe on me under thin and clingy top (keep it for trying bras!) Lace and seams are super visible of cause

So overall conclusion: good summer bras for a somebody like me, who has breasts with wide , but not high base, shallow profile and not prone to spillage. And Chloe might be good for you if you are not so wide and shallow and their beige could be perfect for those with darker skin tones (otherwise buy something else! electric blue or emerald are fun and black is practical)