Monday, March 4, 2013

This Is Like Six Posts In One, But You Should Read It Anyway

Yesterday was one of those utterly excellent days, including: caffeine, booze, dessert, friends, lingerie and shopping. That's like 6 of the top 10 great things in the world. :-)

N and I started our day of "bra rejuvenation" at the Holt's Cafe, eschewing actual food for treats and wine.  This was ostensibly to purchase lingerie for her, not me, but fret not - of course I bought stuff. I am, after all, me.

(Side note: I am over the edge with the food and drink these days. Partly, it's a component of my spiral of "life affirmation". Partly, I'm freakin' depressed by this winter and these substances are effective mood improvers. Partly, I really just like food and alcohol, under any circumstances. After this fall, I will never begrudge my feisty appetite again, but I will have to live with its impacts. Fucking consequences.)

OK, having experienced the food-service luxury of the wealthy-lady set, we moved onto the lingerie department which, frankly, was not as good as usual. 

(Other side note: N is a very easy person when it comes to bra-shopping. You might even say she was blessed by the lingerie goddess at birth. She has a straight frame with "balanced", small breasts, neither full at the top nor at the bottom, which are very symmetrical and impervious to gravity. Obvs, not everything we tried worked. But, in truth, she had MUCH choice.)

Can't tell you how much I love bra-fitting. It's so enjoyable, so brain-taxing. Who doesn't thrill at improved wardrobe and enhanced self-esteem? 

I realize how much I've learned, in the last two years, about bra fitting for women with all types of bust shapes and sizes. Some ways in which I approached this differently than I would have a couple of years ago:
  • I now know that women with less body fat on their torsos often need slightly looser bra bands than the same size as rib cage, give or take +1 (or else they're apt to be in pain, rather than slight discomfort, when stretching in that new band).
  • I recognize that the need for a longer band is also related to the relative ratio of band vs cup in a woman with small breasts. Think about it. When your breasts are smaller, they sit more centred (in general) on your chest. The span of band this shape of woman needs, to go from the under wire edge to the bra clasp at the centre back, is apt to be longer than that of a woman whose breast tissue is more voluminous, requiring wider wires which end closer to the side of the torso. 
  • I've learned that wire width is especially important on women with small breasts as they often have a wider breast root.
  • I've learned about how top fullness and bottom fullness impact the fit of a given style of bra on a given wearer.
Allow me digress and tell you a whole other story. BTW, if you like photos and you can't wait, scroll to see my loot but please do come back to hear the tale.

Of course I bought things. How am I expected to spend 4 hours around silky smalls without caving?

(And, sort of on that topic, I have a lovely English friend who has saved my butt on the shipping charge front on a couple of occasions recently. To wit: I have another Lola set in Confetti colour, winging its way to me. It was purchased for less than half the outrageous price that the set would have cost me here. You'll recall that Empreinte does not allow EU online vendors to ship to North America so my friend has really done me a great favour.) 

The upshot is that, in the last month I've spent a fuck of a lot of money on new lingerie, but my body has gone through change this year (encroaching middle age, weight fluctuation due to illness) and I need some new product. OK, there is actually no planet on which I can't manage with what I currently own, but life is short and I get so much pleasure from undergarments that I don't see why I should deny myself. Except for the need to preserve some economic common sense. Which has never been my strong suit. Let's move on...)

I thoroughly recommend the Bra Bar in Yorkville for an elegant and potentially affordable experience. It sells many of the same bras for somewhat less that the place I won't name, but the brands it sells are not inexpensive. Luba, our SA, was wonderful to recognize that I would be playing the role of fitter-du-jour and, once she realized I know my shit, she kept the gorgeous bras and undies coming. Let me say, she's not warm and fuzzy. She's old-school European. But she was friendly, increasingly so as our visit wore on, and I suspect she knows what she's doing on the fitting front.

So here's where it gets interesting... 

I asked her what she had in Freya and it appears this place doesn't go through that brand quickly. (Bra Bar appeals to a more "french, sexy and rich" aesthetic vs. Freya's "young, adventuresome and sassy" one. Yorkville's market is most definitely geared towards the former.) I was able to find a few "old Freya styles" in my "old Freya size" and, man, the fit was spot on. The lift was incomparable. The wires firm. The fabric architecturally sound. It was just like the old days. So I simply couldn't leave empty handed. Rule one of bra shopping: When the bra goddess smiles upon you, buy it all. You never know when a trough is coming. 

Sensing I've just emerged from a trough, I purchased the 2010 Summer Fiesta and matching thong - an exuberant floral, perfect for spring:

Photo from here...
I also purchased some very excellent merch from Gap Body, of all places. Really, for black and beige undies, you can't beat them. I actually think the quality of lace that Gap's used lately is the best ever. Where else can you get good-quality lace for 10 bucks a pair (once you get the deal and the discount, as there's always one to choose from)? I also got 2 body suits which will work perfectly as smoothing slips under dresses and tops but which act primarily as simply, slender, slip-weight camisoles made in a silky fabric over which everything will skim. What I love about these (and N kindly bought me one in black, so now I have one in both neutral shades) is how simple, well-made and retro-styled they are. The bottoms are cut to sit under one's derriere and the front leg is straight across (vs. high at the hip). There's a centre back seam and a little button (for show) at the top of that back seam. It's vaguely like a girdle, but in the skimmiest fabric. Not industrial by any stretch, but not frilly.

Here are some gratuitous pics:


I can't begin to tell you about the great things we bought for N, though I can say - having purchased quite a bit of basic lingerie (seam free, in some instances, but not firm-molded) from the Gap lately, given that the line works well for my daughter too - if you're truly within the range of a 32 - 34 A - D, the offerings are very sweet, structurally sound and very nicely fitting. Plus, they're affordable. Please note, however, if you're simultaneously above a 36 band and a B cup, I suspect you're going to walk out in a bra that doesn't provide adequate support unless you get lucky or you're very young. What I mean is, this brand's 38DD bras are almost certainly not a good choice. (Note: I can only say this from looking at the construction and touching them. I haven't seen one on.)

Here are a couple of the fab things for ladies in the 32 C range:

Gap Body Flocked Dot Wireless Bra
Simone Perele Pompadour in Lilac
So, today's questions:
  • What do you think of Simone Perele and Gap Body, if you happen to be in the 30-34 A-D?
  • What do you think of the Freya situation? Weird, huh?
  • Do you buy Gap undies and, if yes, do you think the materials have improved lately? 
Let's talk!   


  1. as one who knows nothing about lingerie brands, i do love the gap body products. being in the lower range of bra sizes, i can see how they might not stand up to a more ample bust, but it's perfect for me and relatively inexpensive!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Lisa! I do think it's great for a small bust that isn't dealing with too much density. And such cute designs.

  2. As much as I love to make my own, I love lingerie shopping. It's definitely one of those life-affirming experiences. Would be so fun to have someone like you to do it with!

    1. Seconded! In fact, I think I need someone like you to really have this kind of experience. It's always so fun to live vicariously through your posts.

    2. Amy, any time! Come visit and we'll have some fun :-)

    3. Oh, and other Amy :-), it's so fun to do that shopping so I'm very happy that it comes through in my posts. Come on over and we'll shop!

  3. What a fun post...I too do a lot of thinking about bras, being (usually) a 30dd or e. I remember going to the bra bar in yorkville with my mum when I was about 19, when the saleslady predicted that I wouldn't stay a 32C forever...well, she was right, but in fact I probably wasn't even a 32C then, but there were many fewer choices 20+ years ago! My current favourite brand, by a longshot, is KrisLine (from Poland), purchased from Brastop. KrisLine sizing is all over the place (sometimes a 30E is insanely huge in the band, sometimes I can wear their 32DD perfectly), but when they fit they're AMAZING -- really structured (in the best retro glam kind of way) and way classier than they appear in the company's photos :P xx

    1. Thanks for this info! I've wondered about that brand. It doesn't market itself optimally, as you've suggested, but some bloggers I've read do swear by the brand. I should give it a go because I love retro glam and good structure...

  4. The thing that comes through on this post the most is joie de vivre! You are is short and we need to embrace the things that give us pleasure. It's something we often forget. Thanks for the reminder.
    And sticking one to the shipping 'man' is always good fun! The protectionism and price manipulation that some companies enjoy really sticks in my throat.

    1. Well, you know how I feel about shipping. And my English friend did help me to save almost 200 dollars - which makes an entirely unaffordable purchase occasionally affordable.

    2. Hell's teeth as we say in these parts. That's a lot of dollars! Thieving b*****ds!

  5. Most of my bras are either a 32D or 34D (depending on brand) and when Gap introduced gapbody they definitely did not have enough support for my taste. But I'm going to have to check them out, at least for their undies. I have two Simone Perele bras - one that I love and fits perfectly and one that I like and fits pretty well. The one I love is more supportive. I tend to see the brand as "since I can't afford La Perla". I also put Chantelle in this category, although I like them better than SP.

    1. Support really does win the day. I say to women all the time, the bra that gives you the most lift, the best fit, is the one you're going to reach for every time. This is the thing. Now that I've experienced Empreinte (which is flawless), I don't know how I'll ever go to anything else. Nothing compares.