Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pretty (and Powerful) in Pink: Panache Sport Bra Review

FussyBusty started the theme "Fit and Active September" earlier this month, and several other bloggers have joined in. I'm a little late to the party as I hurt my shoulder and haven't been able to focus on my exercise goals as much as I'd like this month, but I wanted to contribute!

Last month, Large Cup Lingerie kindly offered to send me a Panache Sport Bra to try out, and I felt that a sports bra review would fit in well with the theme (see blog policy). Sports bras are a vital part of every bra-wardrobe; my workouts are so much more effective and comfortable when I have the right support.

The Panache Sport is a moulded underwire bra and comes in a variety of colors, including some seasonal ones. Since I'd heard that the cups of the Panache Sport tended to run roomy, I decided to go for the 28GG (rather than my usual 28H) in the Pink colorway. The pink I chose is a nice bright shade - honestly, it makes working out more fun.


The band of my 28GG stretches to 28", so I found it to be true to size. As a "small 28 band", I prefer to wear it on the loosest or middle hook. I've read that the Pink colorway tends to run a little looser in the band than other colorways, so those preferring a very firm band may want to check into other colors. I'm guessing I'd find some other colorways slightly more supportive.

The cups of the 28GG seemed like a good fit for me, confirming that the bra tends to run roomy in the cups. "Forgiving" may be a better word, as I think that the bra could work well for someone in a small variety of sizes (for example, I probably could also make both a 28H and a 28G work). Because of this, I wouldn't rule out trying this bra even if you wear above the H-cup size limit.


In the above picture, you can see where the wires end in the center channel; they only go a little over halfway up, a fact that I appreciated. No high, pokey, strangling underwires! The top edge of the bra also doesn't go super high up on the chest, so you don't have to worry about wearing a shirt with a high neckline in order to cover it. Honestly, though, this bra is so cute that I wouldn't mind if it showed under a tank top while working out.


I'm really happy with the shape and look of this bra. It doesn't create a "monoboob" look, and I actually feel comfortable wearing it on its own without an additional top when working out. Also, it's a lot easier to put on than a "pullover" sports bra (not practical for me) or a compression "vest-bra" like the Enell. I also found it surprisingly comfortable - so much so that I've worn it the rest of the day after a workout. It could certainly double as an everyday bra, especially since it doesn't really give the typical "I'm a Sports Bra!" look underneath shirts.

Side view, showing the wire width (a little further back than the seam) and how the top edge isn't meant to"tack"

In terms of shape, I think that those who have shallow-shaped or top-heavy breasts will have some difficulty finding a good fit in this bra due to the moulded cups and more closed top edge. I found the wires about average, not particularly narrow or wide.


One of the only caveats I have with this bra is that I have experienced some shoulder pain from the straps at times, particularly when I tried the J-hook feature. In fact, I only lasted a few minutes into a workout before having to switch the straps from racerback back to regular. I know that some other reviewers really prefer to wear the straps racerback, but for me, it just didn't work - you can see that I had to have the straps lengthened all the way to do this, and I couldn't fasten the J-hook without help.

Straps J-hook'd
Another thing of note is that the Panache Sport is an encapsulation bra rather than a compression bra (like the Enell). That is, it has cups that separate and support the breasts rather than simply "squishing" them down. I think that encapsulation bras as a rule will tend to feel slightly less supportive than compression bras simply because the breasts are able to move a bit on their own rather than being completely strapped down. Encapsulation bras are said to be better for the breast tissue, though, so I'm willing to deal with a little bit less support overall.

I feel that the Panache Sport, for me, is at its best when used for lesser-impact sports. I generally wear it while playing Just Dance at home [edit: I've since used it during yoga and found it very effective], and while I definitely feel supported in the Panache Sport, I think that it may not be quite as super-supportive as I might prefer with a very strenuous workout or activity (like horseback riding, distance running, high-impact sports). Still, I was quite pleased with the amount of support I got in general, and I'd certainly recommend the Panache Sport as a very solid choice. I'll definitely be getting a lot of use out of it, and I'm already casting a longing eye on other colorways!

Have you tried out the Panache Sport bra? What do you look for in a sports bra?

Other Panache Sport Reviews:
Brastop - compare and contrast post with various sizes featured
Bras I Hate & Love (30H in violet/fuchsia)
Bra Nightmares (40GG in pink)
Bravolution (28H in grey/purple, with comparison to Freya Moulded)
By Baby's Rules (28GG in black, 28H in pink)
Fuller Figure Fuller Bust (32FF in grey/purple, guest review)
Full Figured Chest (34H)
Obsessed With Breasts (30H in black)
Petite & Plentiful (28E in grey/purple)
Pretty and Petite (28F in pink)
Sophisticated Pair (32E and 30H, both in white)
Stack DD+ (30H in violet/fuchsia)
Undercover Lingerista (28FF in violet/fuchsia, with comparison to Freya Active, Shock Absorber, and Pure Lime)
UndieGamer (28FF in grey/purple)
Venusian Glow (28DD in grey/purple & 28E in violet/fuchsia)
Voluptuously Thin (32GG in grey/purple)

The Panache Sport Bra is available in sizes 28 DD-H, 30 D-H, 32 C-H, 34-38 B-H, and 40 D-GG. You can find it for sale at Large Cup Lingerie (which always offers free shipping!) in several colors.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Really Just Want a Batgirl Bra: Underthings for the Geeks and Nerds

The words "geek" and "nerd" have become nearly interchangeable in some circles. To avoid some confusion, I present to you a brief "official" definition of each:
A nerd tends to be "a person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept"- i.e. a "book smart", socially awkward person.
A geek tends to refer more to a person who is not necessarily socially awkward, but who is "generally very knowledgeable—even to the point of obsession—about a topic" - i.e. someone who's very into a certain TV show or comic book series or game. 
Based on these definitions, the underwear in this roundup pretty much fits into the "geeky" category. However, since even some of the companies and sellers themselves describe their products as "nerdy underwear" or "underwear for nerds", I'm going to basically use the terms somewhat interchangeably in this post.
Also, there are so many things to be geeky about that I can't possibly try to find underwear that represents everything. Thus, I'm just going to focus on some of the more "mainstream" geekiness. If you have other resources to add, by all means leave a comment! 


Today, I wanted to talk about the combination of two subjects close to my heart - lingerie and nerdiness.

If you've ever tried looking, you know it's very difficult to find "nerdy" or "geeky" lingerie, especially outside of the very limited range of mainstream sizes. And the geeky underthings I do come across are disproportionally marketed for (and towards) males. Selection in terms of subject and type of lingerie is also limited; I don't know of any nerdy-patterned bras (outside of a very small size range, at least). In a way, it's understandable; there's really not a huge market for Batgirl bra-and-panty sets in 28H (much to my chagrin). Brands are already taking somewhat of a risk by making non-mainstream sizes; unusual prints have a definite risk of not selling well (although there were many who were enchanted by Freya's quirky Hello Dolly set, and Ewa Michalak's upcoming "Newsprint" set has generated a lot of buzz).

I definitely wish we'd see more fun/unusual/nerdy prints on bras specifically. I like to wear fun and quirky things as well as pretty and frilly things or practical things. That said, there are a number of other geeky lingerie-related items - knickers/panties, garter belts, garters, babydolls, etc. - out there if you know where to look. Here are some of the sources I've come across. Happy hunting!

ThinkGeek
Along with its underwear offerings for guys, ThinkGeek does have several options for the ladies - Batgirl, various Superheroine packs, Big Bang Theory, Adventure Time, and Portal panties. Most options come in sizes Small (waist 26") to XL (waist 35").

Wonder Woman boyshorts. Image from ThinkGeek.com.

Since I was in need of sleep shorts, I decided to snag a pack of Star Trek Boxer Briefs during my last ThinkGeek order. I chose a size Small since the size chart indicated it was for "28-30 inch waists" (my waist is in the 26-27" range).

Captain Kirk approved.
However, they ended up being snug for me, and I realized that I had foolishly neglected to take into account that the measurements given assume a small waist/hip difference (i.e. a typical male body). While my waist is around 27", my lower waist/upper hip where I would wear the waistband of the boxers is 34". My husband, who wears Medium boxers (typically for waist sizes 30-32"), has a 31" waist and a 35" lower waist/upper hip. Basically, I figured out that menswear assumes up to around a 4 inch difference between waist/hip, and since I have a 7-8" difference, I should've stuck with a Medium (which assumes an upper hip size of about 34-38"), especially since I wanted them a little loose. At least I learned something!

All that said, the boxer briefs are definitely fun and comfortable, and they're stretchy enough for me to probably just wear.



BunnyJump
Based out of the UK with its beginnings on Etsy, BunnyJump stocks a bunch of cute and amazingly awesome handmade underwear encompassing a wide variety of geeky interests. BunnyJump has definitely made my "must try out" list. Seriously want!

Star Trek Panties - image from BunnyJump
Portal panties (the cake is a lie). Image from BunnyJump
Pride and Prejudice print panties, where have you been all my life?
Image from BunnyJump

SuperheroStuff
This store has (you guessed it) a number of superhero-related undies, camis/bodysuits, PJ's, and stockings. Mostly casual stuff, and some of it's found on ThinkGeek, but it's nice to see a good variety on a specific "subject" all in one place.
Batgirl Boyshorts. Image from Superherostuff.com

YellowIbis
Mostly a science t-shirt site, but for the science/math geeks among us, there are a few underwear options, such as Pi symbol boyshorts and Estrogen panties.

Pi Symbol Boyshorts. Image from YellowIbis.com.

J!nx
Amongst its other geeky clothing offerings, Jinx has a couple of  cute panty options.

Username & Password Boy-briefs. Image from Jinx.com
Fashionably Geek
The site isn't a store, but posts feature various geeky underwear pieces with a link on where to purchase at the end. A good source for discovering new things and places to check out!


If you're looking for more variety of options for geeky underthings and/or more size options, Etsy is a good place to check. A few shops I've come across*:

SheFeltGeeky - mostly pasties, but also some pretty Harry Potter and comic-book related panties.

DanyellaMichella - a variety of more basic-looking panties, mostly with quotes. Good variety, including Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and more.

NerdsWithVaginas - on the racier side of things. Basic panties with a mix of naughty quotes from and referencing Harry Potter, LOTR, The Princess Bride, Star Trek, and more. Also, lots of hair bows/bowties (bowties are cool).

LicoriceandCream - some really pretty, lacy knicker and garter belt options, including Batman, Starwars, DC comics fabrics

UniquelyYoursBridal - lots of pretty custom nerdy garters, including superhero and Doctor Who themed.

EvangelinasCloset - a wide variety of geeky things, including babywear and jewelry, but also some basic panties (mostly Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Supernatural)

BulletsandBees - pricier but pretty and frilly panties and bra-and-panty sets, including Star Wars prints

ConnieMunster - a few nerdy garter belts and high-waisted panties.

Voluscious  - a few comic book garter belts and some panties with fun prints

DisturbinglyAdorable - a few Zelda panties can be found here!

*please note that I personally have not purchased from any of these sellers

In addition to the above sites, you can check out stores with "novelty" items like Hot Topic; occasionally you can also find basic superhero panties at places like Target or department stores.
(Edit: I just came across Scarlet'sLetter's "The Geeky Fan Girl's Guide to Lingerie" series - check out her roundup for more geeky stuff!)

What do you think of "nerdy" or "geeky" underthings? Do you think there's a market for them? Would you wear them?

What kinds of things would you want to see sold? Do you feel your tastes are well represented in the lingerie market?

A bit of a news addendum:
This post also seems like a good time to mention that I decided to make my Amazon Wishlist public a little while back. If you feel so led, you can now contribute to blog content by picking out something from it for me to potentially review! This will allow me to review things I otherwise may not be able to afford due to limited funds. In conjunction to the wishlist, it's possible I may also introduce a "tip jar" in the near future for anyone who feels like contributing towards a specific item for review purposes (especially for things that can't be purchased directly through Amazon).
I also wanted to make it clear that my making these options available is for the purpose of helping support the blog and creating more content for readers - there's absolutely no pressure to contribute anything, and I'll keep any links low-profile (the Amazon Wishlist link is currently only on the About page). In the end, I'm blogging because I love all the aspects of it - writing, sharing my thoughts, helping others, being involved in the lingerie world. I hope this blog has been and continues to be a useful resource for readers, because I love you guys, seriously. *bra hugs*

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

G+ Babydolls? Yes, Please!

If you've been keeping up with various brand overviews, you might be aware that several brands are just coming out with babydolls for the G+ cup size range. This is super exciting news - I've always been rather jealous of all the cute babydoll options that mainstream stores stocked that I could never wear. Now, finally, there are options coming available for a much wider size range.

The upcoming babydolls are all generally based off of a popular bra cut that the various companies already have, and nearly all of them are available in just black - both of which are probably "safe" moves by the brands to "test out the waters" and see how babydolls do in terms of sales. Still, this is a really great start, and hopefully more colors and other variations will follow in the future!


Cleo Marcie Babydoll


Sizes: 28-38 D-J
Available: September 2013

Cleo's offering is a cute, fun take (I'm totally digging the polka dots). Other brands may have more "sophisticated" or elegant looking pieces, but I think the Marcie looks like it will appeal especially to a younger crowd. I don't know if the Marcie bra works for my shape, but I can't wait to see reviews on this one!
You can currently find the Marcie Babydoll for sale on Figleaves.

Parfait by Affinitas Alexis Babydoll
Sizes: 30-40 D-K (also available in Ivory)
Available: September 2013
Find now on Beautyfull Bras

I was able to see this lovely little number in person at Curve, and I'm jealous that the expanded range doesn't include my size! Check out a review of the Alexis Babydoll in 30K on Bras and Body Image, and in 34HH from The Full Figured Chest.

Elomi Izzy Humming Bird Babydoll



Sizes: 34 G-H, 36-42 E-H
Available: November 2013

Izzy is set to join Elomi's previous black Betty Babydoll (sold here and here) as a lovely, fun addition to the collection. Also, keep an eye out in the beginning of 2014 for the upcoming Maria Babydoll (shown in The Lingerie Lesbian's Curve roundup)!


Curvy Kate Lola Babydoll



Sizes: 28-40 D-K
Available: October 2013

The Lola looks like it'll be based off the Daily Boost bra in terms of sizing. The non-sheer, moulded, patterned cups on this babydoll make it stand out from some of the other offerings. Curvy Kate also has another babydoll, the Ritzy, set for January 2014 release, as well as the Lola in Ivory.
See CurvyWordy's review of the Lola in 32K for more detail!

And this just in!
Ewa Michalak Babydoll

Not yet sure of the availability or size range on this one yet (although I'm guessing it'll be available up to a K cup and 28 band at least by custom order), but isn't it gorgeous? Keep an eye out on the Ewa Michalak Facebook page for updates! (See another photo of it here)


What do you think of these new pieces - or of babydolls in general? Do you - or would you - ever wear them?