Category Archives: fit issues

Weight loss/weight gain or why I like demi-cup bras so much and some tips about oversized coats

I recently lost about 5 pounds* and then gained them back. This is not a lot, but when you are close to the low limit of your healthy weight even small fluctuations are noticeable. I lost about an inch in the hips and a little bit less than an inch in the chest, but I my body changed a bit: I had noticeably less thighs and my breast shape changed. Despite that my general body shape stayed the same: slim hourglass. And this is one of the main things about weight gain/weight loss: body shape rarely changes.

Hourglass body shape means that you are loosing or putting weight proportionally on top and on bottom of your body, but your waist is less affected by the weight gain/loss than chest and hips/thighs. Although some details about your body shape could be very different and this affects how clothes look and how your bras fit. And it’s better to be aware of such effects.

Skinny jeans and loose tops are usually on top of “X, what not to wear” lists, but for my height (~5’7”) and weight they are in fact quite flattering and create more relaxed look. I still look better in a pencil skirt and a top fitted in the waist, but sometimes I just want that relaxed vibe. And without 5 pounds it looked even better on me because thinner legs made viewer to guess that I should be slimmer allover, despite that there was still a lot of volume on top.

I could look really good in an oversized coat, too, but I’m not a fan. But if your shape is similar to mine and you want oversized coat, here is the know how: look for soft fabrics, not heavy, and not all that dark grey, dark blue solids which look heavy to an eye, it should be seriously and obviously oversized, but sleeves should be not longer than 7/8, because you want to show how slim and graceful your wrists are; the coat shouldn’t be long and it should be either very broad or very narrow near the hem, it should be worn with slim pants or jeans or leggings or short skirt (knee length is the maximum) and shoes because you need to show your legs.

What also changed was that my breasts had less upper fullness, until I ate my 5 pounds back. The decrease in my underbust was almost the same as decrease of chest circumference, so I technically should have been the same cup size, but (and this is a big but!) shape of my breasts changed, weight loss made me more bottom heavy (and I had been bottom heavy before I lost weight). That affected how my bras fit. Of cause they all were less tight in the band, but that’s not all: both my Tiffanies (which are plunges)  and Revelation 3D (molded demi with cups closed inwards a little bit) looked horrible on me,  I was unable to fill properly the upper part of the cup. I didn’t have the problem Freya Ashlee and Parfait by Affinitas Jeanie, because they were heavily padded, so they held their shape, but there was some space I didn’t fill (the problem was bigger with Jeanie, while it was minuscule with Ashlee). But all my Mimi Holliday Super Plunges (which are actually very open demi-cups with horizontal seams) and Masquerade Rhea (which is open demi-cup with vertical seams) fit me just fine. What makes it possible? Open and very open, not tall cups. Bras with vertical seams lift better, so they manage to improve the shape to more rounded look, but open demi-cups are forgiving, no matter what seams direction are . And this is why I think that such bras are genius for girls like me, who are not large, quite firm and loose and gain mostly upper fullness.

For girls who need more support the good solution could be stretch lace on top of the cups. Panache Andorra and Panache Jasmine bras are very popular because of good support and ability to accommodate to changes in shape and to certain extent size.

*If you want a recipe: catch a stomach flue and after 3-4 days of eating almost nothing you will be in the same place. But I strictly unadvise you to use it )

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Breast height?

I was thinking about this for quite some time for now. This is factor of fit which usually hasn’t a lot of attention.  The thing is that two women with the same depth and width of the breasts can have very different sizes due to third dimension. Sometimes it called length, sometimes tallness, sometimes height – it’s projection of the base of the breast on the ribcage. And the fact that there is even no common word for that saying a lot about how often we speak about this: almost never!

But this parameter is actually quite important when we are talking about fit, it can make your go to size to be one or even two cups bigger or smaller, it defines how bras look on you, length of wires you need, models you most likely fit into etc

Recently I came across this post Exceptions to the “Starting Point” Size by This Bra Does Not Fit Her (excellent fitting guide BTW, exactly one of the ten reasonsfitting guides, which written way better than I ever be able to write why I’m not going to write my own, at least in English). And what brought my attention is that in my case this starting point correction for shallow profile and broad base should be done in the opposite direction. You know why? Because there is more than one type of shallow breasts: they could be half of the upper torso in height or they can be quite compact in the any other direction except width. In the first case 1-2 cupsizes up could be a great idea, in the second case not so much. I wear two cup sized down from what my measurements suggest, actually, because vertical distance between my breast root and apex, measured at center gore to ignore projection, is just a little bit more than 2″ and I don’t need a lot of a bra up there too! Much lesser breast tissue than with the same measurements, but taller breasts. My ideal bra would be a half cup with 2″ center gore and very wide wires (like at least 6″ wide, while most bras in my size are from five to five and a half). But the first woman, whose breasts are taller, wouldn’t benefit from such bra at all, because what she really need is tall and shallow cups, not short and shallow (it could be tallish balconette or plunge with wide wires like Panache Porcelain, e. g., but bras like Fauve Lucia or Masquerade Tiffany would be disaster on her).

WordPress doesn’t allow me even miniscule onClick (cruel people! no fun at all!), so I have to add this as links, instead of proper spoiler HTML.

My oh, so not academic drawings: (attention, naked breasts!)

Short breasts

vs

Tall breasts

The same of cause is fully applicable to narrow and deep breasts. They could be tall or they could be not. Further more breasts could be more like proportional on width and depth, but rather tall or short. In any case there are very different bra choices.

And what I also wanted to mention is that sometimes girls and women with less breast “height” can technically fit into tallish cups. But lets be frank: it could be comfortable, but it looks like hell a lot of a bra and often it’s pretty much obvious that it didn’t meant to be like that.

So, what do you think about all this?

PS My blog is not exactly top five lingerie blogs in the lingerie blogging community and I’m very interesting in the topic, so feel free to take this discussion anywhere if you are interested in the subject.

Why I don’t like to shop for bras locally

“Don’t like” is actually underestimation. I actually hate this. Here is my reasons:

  • when shopping for bras I always should go through “you can’t be that size”, I definitely know my size range and how bra should fit, but explaining, demonstrating fit and size tag of the bra I walk in and sometimes demonstrating tremendous fit problems with the size they think should fit me is time-consuming (I do know that I look much smaller than I really am, but hey! I’m grown up woman and if I ask for the certain size this means I know what I’m asking for). And this is unavoidable, because with bras you can’t just silently pick you size and go to the fitting room in the vast majority of stores, you need sales people cooperatively looking for sizes in all that drawers;
  • it’s usually very limited choice in my size, and having a tricky shape leaves me sometimes completely out of options;
  • mark up is insane, I wouldn’t mind paying extra 30% on top of LCL or BraStop price for being able to try bra on first, but 200%?! Are you kidding me?
  • they always try to sell sister-size, if they can’t find anything in my size. Well, it could work when we are talking about one band size, but this is it. I’ve learned it long time ago with a cheap 38C bra (you can alter the band!) It felt like it should fit in the cups when it was a 38, but when it became 32 it became obvious that cups are too small. And because it is a push up, my breasts, which don’t like to be pushed, push the cups down, so I can wear this freak of alteration only with a very tight top. And needless to say that straps are too far apart.

So of all the reasons only the second one is really something objective. Break and mortar store should optimize its inventory, so it can’t afford to carry as much sizes and styles as online retailers. But if it was only that I would be hitting the stores time to time to find what’s new. With all four and would rather buy online, despite that it’s a hit or miss.

Custom made clothes. Perils of

The best thing about custom made clothes is that they are custom made. 😀

That means that in theory you are getting a perfect fit in any cut you want and any fabric you want. But in reality there are some pitfalls as:

  • fabrics choice, it’s limited and it’s especially limited in good quality cotton, wool and silk with small percentage of elastane and poly to make them wrinkle free and a bit stretchy, furthermore: each cut has its limitations in terms of fabric;
  • qualification of the tailor/seamstress; you need a pattern maker, not just person who can sew, because if you are very busty/very curvy then you need patterns made from scratch, not standard patterns with inches subtracted/added here and there (it’s much easier to do, and many prefer to that, but results often unsatisfactory); I have two cases of garment ruined and unwearable because seamstress tried to use standard pattern from Burda magazine;
  • not any cut is meant for a curvy body and seamstress/tailor should know that;
  • you need to know exactly what you want and have a very good skill in scaling cut to your proportions in your imagination (because what looks good on a model from some fancy fashion show can look like crap on you even if it technically fits);
  • you should be able to be adamant about what you want, and even that sometimes doesn’t help (I have some really beautiful, but not work appropriate items in my wardrobe thanks to the seamstress who wanted me to look my best);
  • you normally have four appointments before garment is ready, the first one in a store (or two, or three stores) to choose fabric, the second one to take measurements and then two fitting sessions), it’s time consuming and tiring; it gets better though if you are returning customer and you shape doesn’t change over time;
  • it’s expensive even in third world (a lot less expensive than in EU or US, but still), price will be from $30 (something as simple as flared skirt) to $500 (wedding dress, winter coat or business suit) per item in the third world and from $100 up to $5000 in EU or US.

I think that it’s definitely worth it if you can afford it and there are some good professionals in the area. But I also think that it’s better to buy ready-to-wear and alter it where ever you can (it’s usually much cheaper and less time consuming).

There are also some businesses that propose made-by-measures clothes. I’ve never used them, but I know from experience that fitting sessions improve fit a lot, so I think that in this case some alterations may be necessary and there should be cases when it’s ruined and nothing could be done about it.

What about you? Do you have some positive or negative experience with custom made clothes?

Alterations. Flaws that can be cured by seamstress and flaws that can’t be helped

Flaws which can be cured easily:

  • absent buttons (you can do it yourself!);
  • broken zippers, snap fasteners too loose or too hard/impossible to snap (there are usually extras and you can change one or two of them, it’s quite cheap);
  • too long hem and sleeves if garment lines are simple and there is no problems with pattern, no lining, alteration isn’t big;
  • two big waist if alteration is not bigger then two inches and there is nothing to complicate things;
  • lining is too long.

Flaws which can be cured, but require a really good seamstress/tailor:

  • too long hem and sleeves if garment lines are not that simple, garment has lining, too long sleeves have cuffs etc
  • too big waist if it’s more that an two inches to be taken in (beware of pockets! and button holes! sometimes they are reason why waist can’t be taken in more then couple of inches)
  • horizontal folds under buttocks (trousers and jeans); it occurs if buttocks more flat then garment was made for;
  • too broad shoulders;
  • small horizontal folds where sleeves are attached.

Flaws that normally can’t be cured:

  • it’s too small (beware that shirt or jacket can be too small in the front and too large in the back, so when you fix the back you won’t be able to button it, or you will be getting ugly folds and flattened breasts);
  • button holes are not in a line;
  • major asymmetry of garment or lining, lining is too small for the garment;
  • it’s way too big (well, it can be cured, but it costs as much as make it from scratch or even more);
  • details have different colour (can occur on velvet because details have different direction of pile e. g.);
  • you put your hand up and garment moves up, movements are strained;
    wrong sleeve
  • small horizontal folds under the crotch.

One of the problems of busty women is that most tops from high street have such flaws as “too small (in the bust)” and “way too big everywhere except bust”. It’s not that bad if you have broad shoulders and long arms (because waist can be taken in quite easily and you can elongate back darts to make back more narrow). But if you have narrow shoulders and shorter arms, then sizing up 3-5 sizes and then taking in isn’t going to work for most of garments. Exception: garment has no seams on shoulders (kimono sleeves, bat sleeves, raglan) and there are no cuffs.

Small pleats (large pleats usually don’t look good on us and elastane/jersey are also good things because you can get away with significantly smaller alterations then.

So I think that for woven fabrics (if there are no additional factors mentioned above) it’s better to stick to speciality shops and for jersey and garments without shoulder seams and cuffs it depends on how expensive are alterations where you live. If it’s cheap or you are any good with sewing machine then you have a nice option of buying from high street and altering.

Nothing ever fits. But why?

The basic thing about ready-to-wear is that it’s ready to wear, so it was constructed based on average person measurements and there is not much room for adjustments. It’s ok if your measurements are close, but if you are any good at pattern making you take about 10 different measurements to make a dress, it’s not only bust – waist – hips from size charts. It’s also arm length, width of the back (yep! it could be different for different people with the same bust circumference), width of the shoulder, height of the bust, distance between nipples and so on. Most manufacturers offer sizes based only on bust or hips, and if you think that manufacturers use statistics for all the other measurements except bust/hips for the each size you are wrong. They just scale patterns adding or subtracting inches everywhere for many sizes, that’s why large and small sizes tend to fit worse. So almost any woman, even if her bust and waist measurements are exactly the same as size chart specifies, inevitably will find some fit imperfections if she looks in the mirror wearing any ready-to-made item. Small fit issues are normal, they are price you have to pay for wearing not customized garment. I think that jersey and loose fit become so popular because they mask these small issues quite well.

But if your shape is very different from the average, then small fit issues become huge. There is a point where no amount of stretch that can mask it. And if you are curvy then loose fit is your worst enemy, because it makes you frumpy and can even create illusion of five month pregnancy.

Solution? Well, tailoring. Either from scratch or alterations of ready-to-wear clothes. Both options have their pros and cons, but results are definitely better then trying to find something that fits of the rack.

The only exception: you are incredibly lucky and fit model (woman who was chosen because her measurements are very close to average customer from company statistics) of some brand is your body twin. But if you are far from average it will never happen to you.

There are also speciality shops (mostly in online) which offer clothes for curvy, plus-size, petite or tall customers, but what if you curvy and tall? or curvy and petite? But even if you are lucky enough not to be combination then small fit issues will hunt you even there. Many women are so tired of horrible fit that they gladly welcome kind of ok fit, I understand them completely, but I still search for better fit!

So my next post will be about tailoring.