Thursday, 28 July 2011

La Senza: Can the highstreet 'do' DD+ swimwear?

When I was a smaller bra size, bikini shopping was easy on the highstreet. I could walk into almost any shop and buy swimwear - from H&M to Topshop to La Senza or even Primark! When I found out that I was a 28FF, I began to buy swimwear online from brands such as Freya, who cater specifically for larger busts. Although I continue to love the quality and fit that these larger bust brands offer, I began to wonder if it was possible for a DD+ girl to buy a good bikini on the cheap from a highstreet retailer!

Years ago, La Senza was my number one bikini shopping destination, so I decided to put to the test their DD+ bikini range. The advantage of La Senza swimwear is that their bikinis come in bra sizes, so it is easier to pick a bikini that fits, rather than mixing and matching with your clothing sizes. With high hopes and my mind buzzing with excitement for my fast-approaching summer get-away, I set off for my local La Senza.

On entering, I was impressed to see racks of colourful bikinis, arranged in size order. The problem is that La Senza (like most other highstreet retailers) do not stock 28 backs, so I avidly looked around for a 30, to no avail! I decided that my only option was to go for a 32E, which is the size equivalent to my real bra size (28FF-30F-32E are the same cup volume).

The first two bikinis that I tried were the butterfly print halterneck bikini  (£22) and 'Sailor girl' bikini (£22), which both gave great uplifted cleavage, but felt a little too small in the cups.

 The next bikini that I tried was the stunning 'Monochrome dots' bikini (£22), which I fell in love with. Sadly there was no 32F available, but the 32E was a pretty good fit in this balconette style.

Part of the allure of the 'Monochrome dots' bikini is its classic look and sophisticated polka dot pattern. It is ruched at the centre, creating subtle pleats on the cups, whilst the adorning white and black detailed buttons prevent it from looking plain. The shape of the cups is very flattering, drawing emphasis to an amazing rounded and uplifted cleavage that the balconette style enhances. It feels comfortable and secure to wear, due to the clip clasp at the back and I love the way that the bikini looks on! Obviously the 32E sizing is not spot on for me (being slightly too big in the back and a bit too small in the cups), but I am willing to be slightly more lenient, as it is not something I will wear very often or for any long length of time! I ended up buying this set, along with the briefs (£12), which have matching polka dots and button detailing. This set is perfect for any pin-up girl that loves to look classic yet sexy on the beach!

Next, I tried the 'Hula Girl Hibiscus' bikini (£18), which has a stunning tropical flower print design. Again, there was no 32F available, so I settled for the 32E. 

Much to my surprise, the bikini actually fit perfectly in the cups - probably due to being more of a triangle style, rather than a moulded cup (like the 'Monochrome dots' bikini). The 'Hula Girl Hibiscus' is a more sophisticated and cup-specific take on the standard triangle bikini. Pretty ruffles run all the way along the edges of the cups and up the halterneck straps, which tie at the neck as tight or loose as you wish. The back fastens with a clip, so there is no worry that it will undo itself whilst you swim! The bikini is very slightly padded, enhancing your bust, without giving cleavage overkill. I fell head over heels in love with this bikini, due to its bright and eye-catching hibiscus print, girly ruffles and the great cleavage that it gives. I also bought the matching ruffle briefs (£14). One thing is for sure..this bikini is sure to turn heads on the beach!

With two highstreet bikini purchases, I called my DD+ bikini search to a close..or so I thought! I was so keen on the designs of the bikinis that I had bought, that I decided to have a quick look on ebay, to see if I could grab a La Senza bikini for cheap. To my delight, I managed to buy a brand new and tagged La Senza silver buckle navy bikini in a 32E - A 32F would have been better, but for £10.50 instead of £28, I wasn't going to complain! (The picture below is the white version of the blue bikini that I bought..)

The bikini I have is navy blue in colour, with a silver glitter design that will sparkle when it catches the sun-light. The bikini has a knotted tie and silver buckle at the centre of the cups and the plunge style is very flattering. One gripe that I have is that I would prefer for it not to have any graduated padding on the inner cups. The style alone lends itself to great cleavage for DD+ girls, without the aid of any extra 'help'! The shorts also have the same glitter design and boast a sexy belt and buckle design, giving the bikini a 'bond girl' finish! Although I love the design of the bikini, I feel that the colour and sparkles are a little bit garish for my liking. Nevertheless, for such a cheap price, I am willing to overlook its shortcomings and enjoy the va-va voom!

All in all, I am surprised and delighted by my La Senza bikini success. The 'Monochrome dots' and 'Hula Girl Hibiscus' are really gorgeous bikinis that lend themselves to great support and cleavage..even if you are DD+! The main disadvantage that I can see, in comparison to a brand like Freya, is that La Senza falls short in terms of the 'perfect fit' and its sizing range. Although many of the La Senza bikinis go up to cup sizes G and GG, sadly 28 backs are not stocked and there were not enough 30s readily available. I am, however, very impressed with their attention to design and detailing. Every piece in their swimwear collection is very fashion-conscious, with up-to-date patterns and appealing prints for a wide range of tastes. La Senza's swimwear is perfect for any girl who wants to look good on the beach and by the pool, so grab your beach towel and big sunnies and melt some ice creams!

Kitty xo

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Vintage beauty: The Freya 'Loretta'

  Although bold prints and vivid colours are big news this summer, the 'Loretta' bra from Freya's Spring/Summer 2011 collection offers a great alternative to summer brights. The 'Loretta' takes on a much more girly trend of subdued pastel hues and floral and paisley patterning, giving off an air of lady-like glamour and an elegance that is sure to capture any girl's heart...

  The 'Loretta' is a gorgeous vintage blue colour, complimented by delicate flower-embroidered cream mesh panels. The blue of the cups is nicely set off by pale pink and green floral accents, whilst the paisley print gives the bra a very vintage feel. The bra also features little blue bows on the straps and the hanging gem charm at the centre gives the bra a more glamorous feel!

  Aside from the obvious visual beauty of this bra, Freya never compromises on fit. The 'Loretta' is a full cup, underwired plunge - ideal for bigger busted girls who want good coverage, as well as a bra that looks good! The band is firm without being uncomfortable and the cups give great shape and support.

  I found the fit and shape of this bra similar to the Freya 'Arabella' (Click here for my review). The main difference between the 'Loretta' and 'Arabella' is that the 'Loretta' has the advantage of being made from a softer and silkier fabric, which adds to its comfort and wearability.

(Freya 'Loretta' bra, £30)

  The best thing about the 'Loretta' is its size-inclusivity - boasting 28-38 bands and cup sizes from a B right up to an H! To complete the set, you can pick either shorts (£12.50), thong (£14.50) or briefs (£15.50), which boast matching lace and paisley patterning.

  The Freya 'Loretta' is a true 'must-have' for this summer and would be perfect under a floaty tea dress. Additionally, the 'Loretta' will be the perfect transitional lingerie piece to lead you into fall's more muted tones. This bra is so beautifully designed that it seems almost a shame to cover it up! If you're looking for summer romance, the 'Loretta' is sure to set hearts a-fluttering!

Kitty xo

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Style file: The curvy girl's guide to a night out

Your night out is planned and all of your friends have confirmed, but the big question remains..what to wear?

  Every girl has experienced that ‘I have nothing to wear’ moment prior to a big night out and for the curvy girls out there, there are just so many things to think about aside from whether you can walk in your new sky-scraper heels! Dressing curves is never an easy task – the balance must be addressed between showing off your assets and looking like you’ve tried too hard or have dressed to get the wrong kid of attention!

  Another issue is finding clothes that accommodate for curves and a bigger bust. Going up a size to give enough room to your bust can be disastrous, resulting in too much material around the waist, or clothes that just ‘hang’ off your frame. No-one wants to get lost in too much fabric, but not everyone has the confidence to pour themselves into a fitted dress…

  The solution to dressing curves is firstly to work out the kind of occasion that you are dressing for and secondly, to decide which areas of your body you want to highlight or conceal. Although there are specialist fashion stores (like Pepperberry) that cater for curves, I want to show girls that they can pick up curve-friendly clothes on the cheap! 


LOOK 1: Trendy but understated

(Necklace, top and black skinny jeans from Topshop. Studded heeled boots from Love label.)

Skinny jeans are a great night-out alternative to a dress. They can be worn to more casual events, dinner with friends or the cocktail bar.

Black skinny jeans are very slimming and flattering to curves and also elongate your frame.

Wrap-over tops or ‘V’-shaped plunging necklines draw attention to your bust, whilst not revealing too much flesh.

Gold accents and embellishment add a little bit of glitz for the evening. Whoever said you can’t stand out in a pair of black jeans?

LOOK 2: Flirty summer prom dress

(Dress, belt and heels – all Primark)

With the onset of summer, what better way to celebrate, than with a
pretty prom-style dress?

This dress from Primark is perfect for curvy girls, due to the fitted bodice and sweetheart neckline, which flatter a bigger bust. The A-line skirt and cinched-in waist give the impression of an hour-glass figure, whilst skimming over the stomach and thighs.

Nude heels finish off the outfit by elongating the legs.

LOOK 3: Chiffon and leggings

(Tunic dress and heels from Primark. Leggings – H&M)

This rust-coloured tunic dress is very girly and great for an evening out with the girls. The bust is roomy and the buttons can be undone to reveal a stretchy under-slip.

The plaited belt adds shape to the dress and draws attention to your waist. Leggings keep the look casual, but the embellished heels add a bit of nighttime glamour!

LOOK 4: Elegant in summer brights


(Dress, belt and heels from Dorothy Perkins. Necklace – Primark.)

Take on the summer brights trend with a vibrant purple dress like this one from Dorothy Perkins! The dress is made from a stretchy material and will accommodate for larger busts.

The fabric falls from under the bust and skims your curves. The accompanying belt can also be worn under the bust, enhancing your chest whilst giving you a cinched-in shape!

LOOK 5: Daring panelling

(Bodycon ‘Emma’ dress from Motel)

For the more daring of curvy girls, body-con can be a knockout way to show off curves and an hourglass figure!

This dress by Motel is very glam and perfect for a night out on the tiles. Look out for strategic panelling, which emphasises curvy figures. The panels of the Motel ‘Emma’ dress give the illusion of a smaller waist!

Don’t forget to wear seam-free underwear and a supportive strapless bra. Here, I am wearing the Freya ‘Deco’ strapless bra in black.

LOOK 6: The little black dress

(Dress by Geitzy London – found in a vintage shop. Heels from Dorothy Perkins)

Look out for the perfect little black dress that you can wear over and over again. This ‘Geitzy’ dress is made from very stretchy material and is slightly ruched at the bust. Stretchy dresses, like this one, are great as they cling to the curves that you want to show off (your bust), but aren’t too clingy on the rest of your body!

Team with a gorgeous pair of platform heels and rock those curves!

  I hope you have enjoyed my going-out style file for curvy girls, which should hopefully provide some ‘food for thought’ and show that you don’t need to spend a lot to look good!

  When shopping for clothes, remember to look out for clothes that streamline your figure, enhance your best points and skim over any parts of your body that you dislike. Don’t be afraid to customise – tacking, sewing and altering can really transform an outfit that is not ‘quite’ right when you buy it. Adding a waist belt to a dress is also a great way of giving shape to clothes that otherwise fit too loosely and do not pay enough homage to your gorgeous figure!

  One last thing to keep in mind is underwear. The first step to looking great starts with the basics…and that means a well-fitting, supportive bra! I am wearing the Freya nude ‘Deco’ bra in looks 1-4 and the Freya black strapless ‘Deco’ in looks 5-6. These are the staple lingerie pieces that I reach for again and again. Due to being completely seamless and providing fantastic uplift and support, these bras are a must-have for all curvy girls!

  Although fashion is very subjective, the most important thing is to dress for your figure, as ultimately, only you know what you feel most comfortable and confident in. A beautiful girl is a confident girl; so don’t forget to finish off any outfit with a dazzling smile!

Kitty xo