Monday, 29 October 2012

Halloween Style File: Corsets, lace and vampire fangs!

   Halloween is nearly upon us; a night synonymous with ghoulish goings on, trick or treating and scary movies! If, like me, you enjoy Halloween as a good excuse to 'paint the town red', then you will undoubtedly be excited to get costume planning!

   People tend to go to varying lengths for a Halloween fancy dress party.. witches, zombies, skeletons, cat women, devils, vampires and ghosts are quite common, but you also come across some very original outfits that are more kooky than blood-curdling..

('Barbie and Ken', 'Shark Attack', 'Sexy Corn' (what!?) and 'Rubix Cube')

(Couples costume via Tumblr)

   Whilst the above costumes are a great laugh, I decided to take a more 'traditional' Halloween approach to my outfit this year, choosing to be a vampire for the 'Lost Souls II' Halloween party at the London Aquarium! Whilst there's the temptation to buy a 'pre-made' Halloween costume from a shop or online, I decided that I was going to fashion a spooky costume from my existing wardrobe, incorporating my love of lingerie.

   One of the difficulties with Halloween outfits is striking a balance between looking scary and sexy at the same time.. particularly when lingerie is involved! I wanted to channel 'underwear as outerwear', rather than 'gone out in my underwear', so keeping things classy was a 'must' for my outfit choice.

   I started with my 'base' piece which was the black 'Vintage Stitch Corset' (size medium) that I bought from Playful Promises. This overbust corset is plastic boned with metal front fastenings and it boasts glamorous Art Deco style stitching at the hip. It features a traditional lace up back, which can be tightened as much as desired to draw in your waist, accentuating your curves.

   This Playful Promises corset gives a great hourglass shape and it is surprisingly comfortable to wear on a night out (I didn't need to adjust it at all)! As you can also see from the picture, there is a pop of red and black lace peeking out from underneath the corset and Curvy Kate aficionados may recognise this bra as the 'Tempt Me' (Scarlet and Black) from the 'Showgirl Range':

   Although it's not 100% necessary to wear a bra underneath a corset, I felt like I would feel slightly more secure and supported in a bra as well..especially for a night out that involved running through a 'scare maze' and busting some vamp-tacular moves on the dance floor! 

   I chose to wear the Curvy Kate 'Tempt Me' for a few reasons, namely that it is a great plunge style that lends itself to a lovely cleavage, but also because the seductive red colour and black lace detailing just screamed to be worn by a vampire on Halloween! The flash of red underneath the corset also gave a bit of contrast to the predominantly black outfit that I chose and also complimented my red 'Dorothy's friend' court shoes from Office, red lipstick and fake blood!

   I also wore a figure-hugging black 'fishtail' skirt from ASOS which has a slightly gothic looking lace overlay. I  accessorised with black earrings, a statement necklace from Topshop, some black satin gloves from Claire's Accessories and, of course, some Vampire-esque makeup and fangs!

(Black, blue, bronze and white smokey eye makeup with black liquid eyeliner and purple under eye liner)

(Scarlet red lips, vampire fangs and a little trickle of fake blood!)

I finished off the outfit with a long floaty cardigan/shawl to keep the chills at bay:

   I certainly had fun with this lingerie-inspired Halloween look, but what do you think of incorporating lingerie into your Halloween costume? 

Whatever you're planning, have a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN, LINGERISTAS!

Kitty xo

Monday, 15 October 2012

Reviewed: Mimi Holliday by Damaris 'Bisou Bisou' non-padded bra for larger cup sizes

Avant-garde lingerie should be full of surprises. It must push design boundaries. Through lingerie a woman shows her true style. It is integral that my designs are luxurious, fun, interesting, intricate and essentially, functional." - Damaris Evans

   If you are in search of luxurious lingerie with high fashion impact, Damaris is certain to have any lingerista weak at the knees! With a background in Fashion Print design and a strong creative flair, Damaris Evans created Damaris lingerie in September 2001 after noticing a gap in the commercial lingerie market for a high end lingerie brand. 

   The Damaris brand was an instant hit and soon Press and celebrity clientele were clammering to snap up the gorgeous designs. Evans went on to win several awards (including the Elle Style Award for 'Young Enterprise of the Year' and the 'Inspire and Mentor' Marie Claire campaign award). Her stunning avant-garde designs continue to be received with great acclaim from both fashion and lingerie fields alike.

   As you can see, the attention to detail, luxury fabrics, high quality finish, swarovski embellishments and edgy designs are quite simply put..stunning! I am particularly enamoured with the Damaris 'Tutti Frutti' 'bum cleavage' knickers (below)..

   Of course, such craftmanship comes at a high price and Damaris lingerie retails at around £100+ for a pair of knickers and lingerie can go up to and exceed £3000 per piece! The good news for couture-lovers is that Damaris' diffusion line, Mimi Holliday (launched in early 2003), offers similar lingerie luxuries, but at more affordable price points! Mimi Holliday knickers come in at around £35-£40 and bras at around £50-£60, meaning that you can pick up some gorgeous luxury pieces for less! 

   Mimi Holliday differentiates itself from mainline, Damaris, in that the lingerie tends to be very playful, colourful and fun, whilst remaining sexy and boudoir in feel. I personally fell in love with Mimi Holliday lingerie due to the unique and edgy designs coupled with the fearless colour/print clashes and zingy colour cocktails of neon yellows and pinks. 

   I also applaud the design variations; customers can choose from padded plunge bras, shoulder bras, balcony bras, unpadded 'comfort' bras and matching coordinates including classic knickers, thongs, hipster briefs, boyshorts and high waisted there are some gorgeous slips, suspender belts, camisoles, bodies and babydolls for those in search of some boudoir sex appeal!

   Better still, Mimi Holliday's sizing range goes from 28-40 AA-GG, meaning that many women can enjoy the beautiful lingerie collections! It is fantastic to see such decadent and good quality lingerie that starts at an often-missed-off 28 back and which goes up to a GG cup! 

   A few months back, I went along to a lingerie sample sale that included Damaris and Mimi Holliday and I was thrilled to come across the Mimi Holliday 'Bisou Bisou' blush non padded bra for larger cup sizes in a 28G (which I snapped up for about £25!).

   I was particularly excited to try a 28G in this bra as I had previously been into Selfridges and had tried on several Mimi Holliday bras in a 30FF, which were all too large in the back for me, whilst correct in cup volume. The 'Bisou Bisou' also boasts other bra style options (including a padded plunge, shoulder bra, triangle bra etc.) but the particular bra that I bought is a non-padded plunge style, which is ideal for women with larger busts who prefer a more natural/unboosted shape...

   The 'Bisou Bisou' bra in blush is nothing short of beautiful and it oozes old Hollywood glamour! Its stunning pearly-champagne silk satin is offset by a glorious black cabaret eyelash lace overlay and the bow adornments and soft satin straps are further testimony to this bra's timeless appeal.

   The 'Bisou Bisou' boasts mesh back wings and two hook and eye fastenings. It also features a three piece cup construction, with a sheer top layer of scalloped eyelash lace over a very thin layer of mesh, allowing a subtle but seductive hint of skin to peek through.

   The 28G 'Bisou Bisou' fits nicely in the band and cup and I would say that if you are between sizes like me (I tend to vary between a 28FF and 28G nowadays), it may be worth sizing up in the cup. The shape that it gives is very natural and possibly a bit minimising. Although I tend to favour slightly padded bras over unpadded, I do appreciate a non padded bra if it is as chic and decadent as this lacey delight!

    The bra feels comfortable against the skin thanks to the soft materials used, which is always a bonus. I am really pleased that the top lace panels on the cups are slightly stretchy due to a thin mesh underlay, which allows for the cups to mould nicely to the breast shape. Similarly, care has been taken to make the top edging on the cups elasticated, which is a great design feature as it is comfortable and less likely to cut into the breast tissue.

(Even the shape of this bra on my mannequin is quite 'natural', following the contours of the 'breasts'!)

   I am a little wary of the straps, however, as although they are soft and satin-y, they are also quite thin. They feel very delicate and less reinforced than the straps on other bras that I own and after a whole day of wearing this bra, they do dig in a bit under the strain of a larger cup size. I also wish that the straps were fully adjustable rather than just partially, as it would give a longer lifespan to the straps as they loosen with wear.

   The 'Bisou Bisou' is such a stunning bra (demure and sexy in equal measure) and it is certainly perfect as a special occasion bra, but I'd hesitate to wear it as an everyday bra as it just feels too delicate - I'd probably worry about bouncing or that I'd snag the ornate eyelash lace on my clothing! 

   I love the attention to detail and the 'hand tailored' quality of Mimi Holliday bras, but I feel that the 'Bisou Bisou' bra could perhaps benefit from a little more reinforcement in its construction as it doesn't give a huge amount of support to a larger bust. That said, Mimi Holliday's decadent lingerie is definitely the sort of underwear that you can just slip on and feel a million dollars in and I'd really love to try more from this brand in future!

   The Autumn/ Winter collection looks set to melt hearts and for those of you that are interested in trying the 'Bisou Bisou', fear not, because it returns for the coming season in delectable 'BrulĂ©e' and 'Berry':

(The Mimi Holliday 'Elferine' lace comfort bra, £54 also looks to be a similar design to the 'Bisou Bisou'..and how pretty and unique is the green and pink colour combination?)

What do you think of Mimi Holliday? Have you tried their lingerie before?

Kitty xo

Monday, 1 October 2012

Parfait by Affinitas 'Jeanie' bra review - a contender for the 'Deco'?

   As regular Undercover Lingerista readers may know, I am a huge fan of moulded bras and I often find myself reaching for a moulded plunge/ t-shirt bra on a daily basis. One bra that I particularly sing the praises of is the Freya Deco bra, which I continue to buy again and again in as many colours and prints as my bank balance will allow! Thanks to the 'Deco's simple but well-constructed design and the great support and cleavage that it gives, it has been hard for me to find a moulded bra that holds a candle to it. For quite some time, I have longed to find another bra that gives me a cleavage to rival the 'Deco' (without being very padded) and it seems that the day has finally come..

   When 'Parfait' by Affinitas came on to my radar, I unsurprisingly fell in love with the gorgeous designs (who can resist the array of pretty colours and beautiful lace, ruffle, bow and charm details?) As a result, I almost bypassed their lingerie 'basics' . Fortunately, one day I spotted 'Jeanie' in her simple but effortlessly wearable glory and found myself longing for just one more t-shirt bra.. 

   As Affinitas Intimates is still a relatively new brand in the UK and it is not yet stocked in major department stores, I decided to search for a UK stockist of the 'Jeanie' no avail! Just when I thought that it was a futile search, the delightful Cha from Large Cup Lingerie said that she could source it for me and send it on! Given that in my review of the Parfait 'Fiona' camisole, the 30F was a tad too small in the cups, I wasn't sure whether I would need a 30F or 30FF in the 'Jeanie', so Cha kindly ordered both sizes for me to try.

   Firstly, I cannot recommend Large Cup Lingerie enough - it is a brilliant site for busty ladies, offering some amazing bargains, great customer service and FREE international delivery! What's not to love? True to form, the 'Jeanie' was ordered and posted out quickly to me.

   The Parfait 'Jeanie' is a moulded bra made from smooth microfibre with powernet back wings for support. Given that Affinitas do not stock 28 backs in their ranges, it was good that the 30 back 'Jeanie' fitted me fine. Interestingly enough, when I compared the widths of my (albeit worn) Freya 'Deco' bra in a 28FF with the Parfait 'Jeanie', the 'Jeanie' was quite a bit smaller in the band. This seems to reinforce that Parfait 30 backs do come up more snug than many 30 backs in other brands.

   With regard to sizing, I am surprised to say that I got on slightly better with the 30F 'Jeanie' than the 30FF. There was not a huge amount of difference between the sizes, but I did notice a bit of gaping at the top of the cups in the 30FF, so sizing down to the 30F eliminated this problem. 

   It is interesting to note that the construction of the 'Jeanie' does alter slightly between F and FF cups. The 30F fastens with two hook and eye closures, whereas the 30FF has 3 hook and eye closures for added support and anchorage. I also noticed that the straps on the 30FF are the same width as those on my 'Deco' bra, being 0.5cm wider than the straps of the 30F 'Jeanie':

   The actual fit of the 'Jeanie' is rather 'jeanie'-ous, if you'll forgive the pun! The fabric is incredibly soft against the skin and very comfortable to wear. It is completely seamless, making it ideal for giving a streamlined shape even when worn under the tightest of clothing. I love that the straps on the 30F 'Jeanie' are that bit thinner than the straps on most of my other bras. It is so hard to come across fuller bust bras that have thin straps that will work under strappy tops, but this bra delivers (up to an F cup at least!) - no more bra straps stealing the show! 

   The 'Jeanie' does bear quite a striking resemblance to the Freya 'Deco', but that said, there are a few subtle differences between the two bras..

1. The 'Jeanie' boasts a dainty black bow and silver heart charm at the centre of the cups, adding elegance to an otherwise basic bra: 

2. There are thinner straps on the 'Jeanie' up to an F cup
3. The 'Jeanie' has mesh back wings rather than the same material all the way around on the 'Deco'
4. Softer elastic straps on the 'Jeanie'
5. Marginally wider/thicker back band on the 'Jeanie'
6. The cups of the 'Jeanie' also appear to be a bit wider and more shallow than those on the 'Deco'
7. Centre gore wires are slightly further apart on the 'Jeanie' (See below):

   There is not a vast amount of difference in the fit of the 'Jeanie' and 'Deco' and both bras give a lovely rounded and uplifted shape with a cracking cleavage to boot! One thing that does frustrate me a little about the 'Jeanie', however, is that the central wires do not sit completely flush against my chest (this was not rectified when I sized up to a 30FF, so I think that this issue could be eliminated if the 'Jeanie' came in a 28 back!)

  In my opinion, the 'Jeanie' is a 'must-have' for any underwear drawer. It is perfect for low-cut tops, V neck shirts and tight fitting dresses and it would also make for a comfy t-shirt bra. Iyou're looking for a plunge bra that will give you fabulous cleavage, whilst feeling so soft that you won't want to take it off, then this bra is for you! 

   Although I still love my 'Deco' bras, the 'Jeanie' is a great alternative and it costs a purse-friendly £26! (The 'Deco' is £30) 'Jeanie' will also be available in Nude and 'European Nude'. Keep your eyes peeled on Large Cup Lingerie as 'Jeanie' will be coming soon to the site. 

   I can't wait to review more from Parfait by Affinitas and will be looking forward to the new collection launches. It's easy to get lost in the beauty of the satin and lace Parfait sets, but there's also something to be said for always having the bra 'basics' - 'Jeanie' looks set to be a well-loved addition to my bra-dobe!

Kitty xo