Prints and optical illusions. Animal prints and camouflage

This is continuation of the series. You can find previous posts by tag Prints and optical illusions.

Background and foreground colors, level of contrast play the same role for animal prints as for any other print: darker colors are more slimming, contrast is widening.  But animal prints also have one very different and very distinct characteristic they inherited from animal coloring they were copied from. They are blurring and flattening. And more close to the classic design from mother nature more blurring and flattening the print is. The reason for that is that most animals have protective coloration. Pray tries to be not seen by predators, predators try to be invisible for their pray until it’s too late. Bottom line: hiding themselves helps animals survive. And even if zebra stripes or leopard spots look very distinct and contrasting when we are looking right at them, they still have the same quality: they distort, blur and hide, but this effect shows itself only from some distance.

Leopard is here

Leopard is here

giraffe

Say hello to big guy )

Camouflage prints have the same quality because that’s why they were designed in the first place (zoologists and entomologists did a great work during WW2 and after to help the military to create classic camouflages).  So when we are wearing fashion versions we are prone to the camouflage effects – distorting, flattening and blurring. If a fashion version has a lot of grays in urban environment the effect could be quite noticeable especially when the light is poor.

Impressive, isn't it?

Impressive, isn’t it? (it’s one of new US camouflages)

So in my opinion animal prints are your worst enemies when you want to highlight shape, because they add a little blur, flatten. This can also can be used to erase some lamps and bumps, but it usually needs some “frame” to avoid shapelessness. Animal print tunic or dress plus dark jacket or coat could be very efficient in hiding pregnancy.

Leopard dress from Asos. Totally shapeless, you can't even tell where is body and where are sleeves

Leopard dress from Asos. Totally shapeless, you can’t even tell where is body and where are sleeves

Same dress from Asos in black, no you can see some shape

Same dress from Asos in black, no you can see some shape and tell where is what

One more thing about such prints worth mentioning: in semitransparent tights animal prints can look like some sort of skin disease.

Emm... not the best look

Emm… not the best look

But very bright and contrasting print can look good if styled right.

Photo from HK leggings blog, I think she looks seriously cool

Photo from HK leggings blog, I think she looks seriously cool

It’s usually safer to use animal prints  in small items (accessories and shoes).

Camouflage is always about fashion statement or some quirk, some sarcasm.* So I think this is the case when print illusions are less important than its sartorial message. But I would say that in tops, especially if jersey is involved it looks not so good.

My personal preference for animal and camouflage (I don’t take it serious): silk and very loose fit with dark belt and only top or skirt, not dress. And not classical coloring (except zebra), because I have neutral-to-cool coloring, so most classic colorways are too warm for me. I’m not the biggest fan of animal prints to tell the truth, because they are very demanding and it’s very easy to look bad or vulgar in them, but if you manage to master them, they could be gorgeous. I would say they usually look their best paired with bright casual or very neutral classical clothes and a lot of bare skin is great no-no. Another option: very classic and upscale item (like super-conservative coat).

Fabulous example how to wear leopard print from Sartorialist blog

This classical coat doesn't look boring because of the print, but print doesn't make it tacky, because it's so classic. Perfect!

This classical coat doesn’t look boring because of the print, but the print doesn’t make it tacky, because it’s so classic. Perfect!

Camouflage could be also worn seriously as a sign of non-conformism or like a social statement, but I’m too far from all such movements to give advise about how to wear it that way. **

*There are of cause cases when such items are bought from army or specialty stores because they  are relatively cheap, quite comfortable and durable, but I think vast majority of people (all that hunters, strike ball players, agricultural workers, campers and many others) who buy and use camouflage like this don’t really care how they look when they are wearing it.

** Although I’m pretty positive that shirt and pants from the same set and army boots in the city are totally uncool unless you are tall, super fit and serving your country 🙂

Advertisements

Review. Mimi Holliday Bisou-Bisou Rose Super Plunge bra

If you following my blog you might noticed that I’m a big fan of Mimi Holliday Super Plunges, which are (in my opinion) the best demi cups for my breast shape and creatures of exceptional beauty and grace.

Mimi Holliday Bisou-bisou Rose Super Plunge (photo from Damaris site)

Mimi Holliday Bisou-bisou Rose Super Plunge (photo from Damaris site)

In 32E it looks a little bit different of cause.

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Front view

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Front view

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Side view

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Side view

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Close Up on lace

Mimi Holliday Bisou Bisou Rose Super Plunge. Close Up on lace

So it’s the fourth Mimi Holliday Super Plunge in my collection (I also have Nymphina, Angelique Jet and Berry Fest). For general points about fit please read Nymphina review, and here I’m going to concentrate on what’s different about Bisou-Bisou Rose.

There were some changes in design since models of previous years:

  • straps are a little bit wider (there are still quite thin, but there were used to be extra-thin);
Bisou Bisou Rose and Nymphina straps

Bisou Bisou Rose and Nymphina straps

  • cups are a little bit higher;
Bisou Bisou Rose vs Angelique Jet cups (Nymphina cups are somewhere in the middle btw)

Bisou Bisou Rose vs Angelique Jet cups (Nymphina cups are somewhere in the middle btw)

  • cup edge designed so it provides more smooth lines under clothes.

I bought this bra hoping that it would be my “nude’ bra (I very rarely wear clingy jersey without upper layer, so lace is not a problem for me), but to my disappointment Rose color was what it called – Rose, not light beige as on some photos. Don’t get me wrong: it’s absolutely beautiful light and warm rosy pink. It’s just very visible under white and ivory.

White shirt test. Failed.

White shirt test. Failed.

So I’m not going to give up on it: I can wear it under bright colors and lace is exquisite, I love it. But I still need an alternative to my Simone Perele Andora for cases when I need nude bra two days in a row.

And btw, when I was writing it I looked at the Damaris official site and saw that it’s on sale (it’s still pricey, but £39.90 is better than £57.00).

I might be back

I haven’t updated this blog for quite long time, first it was shock about what was going on in my country, so I wasn’t able to write, then I just forgot about it until I got a comment approval request in my mail couple of days ago. And I thought that now is the time to return. It’s not like situation in Ukraine is back to normal (war is in about 110 miles from my city), but I think that trying to live my life normally is a good idea. Small normal things (like lunches with friends or nice haircut or small scale shopping therapy) really help to coop with stress. So I’m going to add some blog posts about nice small things I bought and about theory of creating harmonyalmost anything is healthier than checking news every ten minutes.

So if our situation don’t worsen dramatically I’m going to be back with new reviews (3 bras, couple of interesting clothes items) and I think I have some ideas about how to wear fashion jewelry if you are curvy.

Ukraine’s glory has not yet died, nor her freedom…

I created this blog as a form of participation in the lingerie blogging community, but this post is not about lingerie or clothes or style. It’s about events in my home country, events, that left me almost speechless and incredibly sad, events that now make me worried, pessimistic and angry.

I was never interested in politics. I never believed in our political system, so I just ignored it. I lived in my nice little world, filled with job I loved, warmness of my friends and family, travels, nice clothes and pretty bra collection. So when #Euromaidan started I thought that our government behaved irresponsible by just ignoring it, but didn’t pay much attention. I had a tough  deadline to meet and winter sales to reward myself for meeting it with good results.

And then it hit me when I clicked the link and read that while I was sipping my coffee, chatting with friends, writing code and playing with my cat government of Ukraine was killing dozens of people. It felt like a complete nightmare, I had never thought that such a bloodbath had been possible in my country. It was crystal clear that there was no way back. After that choice was a dictatorship or a real revolution. My nice little world was falling apart.

It was practically a miracle, but people of maidan won.

Maidan organizational structure is based on hundreds (many self-defense hundreds, cyber-hundred, medical hundred etc), after events of 18th-21st of February a new hundred were added: Heaven hundred.

Heavens hundred Photo: debaterage.livejournal.com

Heavens hundred. Heroes do not die!… but they die
Photo: debaterage.livejournal.com

Most of them were killed by snipers. Many of them were terribly young, the youngest was 17 year old. But there were people of all ages, different ethnicity and occupation. Students. Farmers, teachers, workers, actor, computer developer, musician… Ukrainian, Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Jewish origin… Ukraine still mourns them.

Flowers, it's only a small part of them Photo: Egor Lukanin

Flowers, it’s only a small part of them
Photo: Egor Lukanin

After the revolution there were hopes and there was fear. Fear that politicians do their usual thing and all these deaths will become waist. Fear that corruption and kleptocracy find a way back. And fear that with this level of corruption when we remove it there will be nothing left, no law and no order. So maidan doesn’t go anywhere, they stay as a reminder to our parliament. Reminder that they don’t have a right to become a new dragon.

And then when it looked like everything starts to calm down and there is hope after all, Crimea was occupied by green men. Our dear Russian brothers deny that they are their soldiers, so we call them green men.

-How do we get here? - Putin bought us in Voentorg*. *Voentorg is army shop, where you can by boots and clothes, but nothing like automatic weapon or RPG

– How did we get here?
– Putin bought us in Voentorg*.
*Voentorg is a chain of army shops, where you can buy boots and clothes, but nothing like automatic weapon or RPG, Putin claimed that green men bought everything there and are not regular Russian troops.

And that was a shock too. Because “Russian brothers” are our brothers not just in political rhetorics, we are brothers quite literally. A lot of people have family living at both side of the border and I’m no exception, my uncle and my cousin live in Moscow. So a war with Russia in a way feels like a civil war to me.

I have relatives in Crimea, which now is occupied. Right now they are ok, but situation there is very volatile and if I lived somewhere on the West I would invite them to us, but it has no sense as Russians can invade here any moment.

Russians often mention Russian speaking people of Ukraine as just “Russians living in Ukraine”, but that’s not how vast majority of us identifies ourselves. We are Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Just like English speaking Americans are not English.

Ukrainians have different mentality, vast majority of us don’t have imperial complex, being part of the most great and scary means nothing to us, for us it’s more about hard work and reward for it, about freedom, and main role of the state in opinion of many Ukrainians is do not hinder. So while ethnically South and East of Ukraine is more close to Russia and we speak Russian, mentally South and East are more close to the rest of Ukraine than to Russia. We don’t want to fight with Russia, but we will if we have to.

And thought that we can start to kill each other every minute because of Putin’s ambitions makes me sick. Thought that I live in about 30 miles from Russian border makes me fear for my life. Right now diplomats are still trying to talk and Russians are trying to pretend that their actions are not plain and simple aggression toward peaceful country. But if Russians cross the border elsewhere, then there will be nothing to talk about anymore and the war will be as ugly as it gets.

There is not much hope left, but contra spem spero*.

Pray for us!

* This is not just Latin phrase, it’s a name of famous poem of Lesya Ukrainka (translation doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a best translation I was able to find).

My style personality and what identifying it meant for my wardrobe

This post is my personal experience about implementation of style personalities theory described in …but style is forever post, so if you didn’t read it, some things may be a little bit cryptic.

When I figured out what my style personality was it meant that half of my wardrobe should go.

But that wasn’t really a loss, it was more like a revelation. I don’t miss a baggy shirt which was kind of cute, but made me feel sad about myself, a frilly sundress which made me frumpy and kind of rough (oh, great power of contrast, ultrafeminine and delicate clothes could make any strong line in your face or body look masculine and rough instead of making you look more feminine), tracking sandals which were comfortable and kind of good for rainy weather, but totally out of place for my wardrobe. I can go on and on, but I think you got the idea 🙂 .

And when clothes which wasn’t about me, clothes, which were bought because they were functionally closing some gap in my wardrobe or because one of my friends liked them began to go away, I was able to built something new, something more about me and something that was much more easy to mix and match. I’m still in the process right now and I haven’t get rid of all the clothes which are not not my style, there are several items I haven’t replaced yet, because great transitions are not that easy (not only financially, but also in terms of time spent and it’s just difficult to throw away that much). But now I’m in a much better place than when I started my journey.

When I first read about classification from …but style is forever post I was curious, but totally unable to identify myself. Dramatic was very obvious, but what was also very clear for me, that it’s not the only part of the equation, I’m bold and sometimes extravagant, I like when simple things are developed to the level when they can be called art, but in the same time my approach to life is much more practical, it’s also more calm and not that much of an attention seeker. I value comfort and effortlessness of everyday life. But I was unable to identify myself with Classic style personality until I stopped concentrating on stereotypes. Two styles are usually described as comfy: Natural and Town&Country. So I tried to apply myself to one of these styles (because I value comfort very much) and failed miserably (I was even unable to differentiate them sometimes in the beginning and options proposed for them never looked right for me to wear). That time I thought that it should be some problem with the system or with my analytic abilities, or most likely I just don’t have enough background. So I stopped my attempts to identify myself, but didn’t stop reading about the system, because it was fascinating how harmonious capsules created by stylists looked and after awhile my sartorial satori just hit me: every style personality could value comfort, we just understand it differently, so I shouldn’t be blinded by word ‘comfort’, I should think about how I understand it.

It is actually laughable: my understanding of comfort is cashmere and silk for clothes, regular dinnerware and table for a picnic (lets make it in the yard, instead of going out of the city), spinner bag instead of rucksack, every item on its place and outsourcing cleaning. Sounds snobbish and outdated, maybe? That’s ok, we, Classics, often accused of that. I don’t wear my only power suit, because I don’t have environment with business formal dress-code in my life, I don’t own a pearl necklace and a mink coat, either. I have an allergy for yellow gold (and I’m not sure if I want to experiment with white), so I wear stainless steel fashion jewelry in my ears, not half-carat diamonds and not pearls. But aforementioned facts don’t make me less Classic. Because it’s in my approach to life: effort-effective, practical, weighed, but with great accent on aesthetics. It’s in a habit to think twice and to do some research before trying something new (even if it’s something small like material for kitchen spatulas I never used before). I definitely prefer quality over quantity. And if this quality is timeless then I’m happy.

So my personal style could be described as Classic+Dramatic. Dramatic adds spice and Classic balances boldness and extremes of Drama.

How does it look in real life?

Most of this I own, some are very close analogs

Most of this I own, some are very close analogs

It’s quite large fashion jewelry and bold colors (mostly as accents, but I’m one of that people who can wear large blocks of bright or shiny and look good, but then I need such items to have simple cut and impeccable fit and I wear them with something very neutral). But most of the time I tend to wear bright colors in accessories (bags, gloves, scarves). I’m not afraid of patent leather shoes. I often wear headscarf with large sunglasses. It’s associated with Jackie Kennedy and Old Hollywood in my mind, it have some vibe of keeping distance and luxury of walking slowly. I wear a lot of blacks. Actually I always did, but now I stopped fighting it. I also wear a lot of light grey, navy and darker shades of purple. I think these colors are great alternatives to black as neutrals.

Being hourglass I prefer to accentuate my waist and this means that my clothes are usually quite close fitting in this area. They can be very fitted all over, but I never combine this with clingy and open. Actually they rarely are very open (and if I wear one item like this, it should be balanced with something providing a lot of coverage. I avoid thin clinging fabrics. I always combine softness with something structured. I’m a big fan of very fitted button down shirts, an item which is ideal for X-shaped Classic+Dramatic, because it accentuates the best features, but looks very put together. There is a problem, though, they are impossible to buy from high street for true hourglass, especially if larger bust comes to play (in this case proportions between front and back should be different). The most close to good fit ready-to-wear item I have is Campbell & Kate shirt reviewed here, so if you have similar needs, check them out (and they do custom alterations now!). The rest of my shirts are bespoke.  

I think that leather pants are great item for windy and cold weather if you don’t need to sit in the office in them. And I’m definitely prefer leather jackets and coats for spring and autumn. I’m in love with cashmere and I mostly wear silk with matte finish in summer (I think that it feels more cool to the skin than cotton). Once I read that cashmere sweaters provide much better fit through the bust for those of us who are D+ and I tend to agree. It’s more relaxed and form-hugging in the same time. I like their luxurious touch, I like luxury in general. Guilty as charged. But I don’t like luxury which makes me ‘stand on tiptoes’, so I usually mix cashmere with leather and keep it very simple.

As you can see all accessory, fabric and cut choices are in the limits of that Classic+Dramatic combo.

Sometimes I wear denim and cotton T-s (mostly when I’m on vacation or have such plans for the day as to play with my aunt’s dog /hyperactive German shepherd/), But somehow I don’t feel like myself in them.

My wardrobe preferences are not very good for my budget, but in my defense I can say that I don’t have a lot of clothes. My wardrobe is actually pretty small. It’s one rack which is 1 1/2 yard long and I have each garment on a separate hanger (and they are not super-slim hangers which deform clothes) and a shelves unit which is about 1 yard in width. And I need clothes for 3 distinct seasons. So I have rather small amount of sometimes expensive clothes (and sometimes I find things like $60 Italian leather bag or $29 silk blouse) without spending money on clothes I don’t wear at all. So when you will be reading all the further reviews you will know that this is an opinion of a little bit  snobbish and boring girl in her mid thirties who’s trying to minimize quantity and maximize quality. Not everyone’s cup of tee )

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 )