25/04/2016

NightProwl London

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Recently NightProwl London got in touch with me with some sweet words about my blog and a request for a collaboration. I'm always blown away when brands take the time to check out what i do and make their emails to me personal, it makes me feel like i'm not talking to myself and shows when a brand really cares about what they have to offer! 
Currently NightProwl offer two of their ranges in bra sizes that go down to a 30B and i'm a sucker for a brand offering my sister size (28Cs are gold dust but 30Bs are equally as rare nowadays). They offered me a choice between Elixir and Elysium and although it was a tough one, i opted for Elixir because i thought the shape would be more complimentary to my shallow, wide set bust. 
When the package arrived however, i'd been sent Elysium in ivory which would have been a disappointment if i weren't immediately super impressed with how stunning it was. Sometimes surprises can be so much better than you'd imagined ♡  

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So in my beautiful box of goodies (no seriously, pink AP boxes move over because NightProwl have my aesthetic taste in a storage solution) i received the Elysium Bra in a 30B and the Elysium Brief in an XS. 
The ivory range is billed as bridal (you all know my thoughts on things being labelled as bridal...) and the ivory silk definitely fits the typical wedding vibe but to me it's just a very luxe addition to my collection. I love all shades of white and i love extremely soft silk so it's a winner for me irregardless of my disinterest in marriage and everything that comes with it. Although the fabric is a fine silk, it's pretty sturdy and only delicate in looks. The construction really matches the beauty of the fabric too. All the seams have their place in the design and the subtle structure to the cups and briefs are reminiscent of a very floral rendition of the art deco movement. Also the Guipure lace trimming the cups, detachable, decorative arm straps and brief cutout is divine and something i haven't come across before. The gusset on the briefs is fully lined with a fabric less prone to fluid damage and the bra has little pockets inside for any extra padding you may want to add (although none for me because then my nipples would officially be making the great escape).

The fit of the brief is snug and flattering. Their size guide pegs an XS as a size 6-8 but i'd say they run more towards a size 6, with them sitting flush against my currently 32.5" hips. Unfortunately the fit of the bra is not quite as ideal for me. The band runs true to size and i find it most comfortable on the tightest fastening which is consistent with my band measurement being 3" smaller. The cups are constructed in such a way that they push your bust up giving a nice rounded shape on top but also pushing your nipples up out of the cups and sitting them behind the Guipure lace trimming. I'm not entirely sure if this peak-a-boo effect is intended or if my nipples are supposed to sit in the main body of the cup. But i find if i push them back down and try to re-adjust then i get some gape. It could very well be because i am not so suited to balcony styles and i don't have much breast mass on top to push my nipples a bit further south so, much like the Duke of York, when my boobs are up, they're up! (i.e. my entire breast is up including my nipple, instead of some of the top mass just shifting to a more raised position). This definitely makes this set less of an everyday one for me since my piercings (and ridiculous angel wing jewellry) are guaranteed to get all bunched up in that lace, and thus will be relegated to my special occasions and layering pieces arsenal.

Overall i'm exceptionally impressed with the construction and size range of NightProwl. I love that they're trying to offer some of their more interesting styles in smaller sizes. One upon a time i'd have never thought that i'd own such a lush, mature, stunning set like this so i'm very happy NightProwl has given me opportunity to. I'm super excited to see what they come up with next and hopefully get my hands on Elixir to show some support for their smaller sizes (and get another one of their ugh so perfect boxes). 

19/03/2016

Layering 101 (i guess)

I've had many ~many~ requests to write a blog post on my layering "skills" or "techniques" over the past couple of years. I've never actually done it because honestly there's no great thought process behind my lingerie layering. I throw some stuff on and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I've always thought that if i wrote up a blog post, it would fall in 'well duh' territory and no one would find it helpful. I was also beyond reluctant to even bother because i've seen people piece for piece copy my layering styles, and get blasted when i dared point out that there's something very uncreative and stifling about spending your money to dress exactly like someone else and then allowing people to praise you for it. But i digress, as i'm drawing further and further away from lingerie communities in favour of friendships that are built on something more than just body and wealth worship, i've come to care a lot less about these things. I now keep most of my collection and my 'outfits' to myself (or rather to my real life) anyway and since the blog is a bit quiet recently, it is probably a good time to share my very basic thought processes and maybe someone will find it helpful in getting their creativity flowing to utilise their own collections to the fullest.


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Agent Provocateur Annoushka over Whitney
As with any 'well-structured' essay, after the introduction comes the history; I've been layering bras since i was a young teen. I wore two, occasionally three bras at a time because none of them fit me. The ultimate pleasure of being small busted in a world where being small busted is dismissed as being flat chested, i wanted to have the appearance of larger boobs and i wanted my bras to stop gaping badly at the top. There's nothing quite like spending years avoiding the low cut tops you oh so want to wear because you know anyone taller than you will have a great view of your nipples, down the front of your bra. And i had a lot of friends who were taller than me. Eventually i stopped and one day i was fitted (incorrectly but much closer to my true size) and i now have a select few basic bras that don't gape. But a LOT of exciting lingerie just does not come in my size, nor my sister size, nor my other sister size. It's always too large and for a while it used to really get me down that i'd never be able to own the pieces i really wanted. 
A couple of summers ago, i came off the contraceptive pill and my tits swelled ever so slightly. On a trip to Paris, i tried on the newly released Agent Provocateur Annoushka and a combination of the temporary hormonal imbalance and the terribly low lighting in every AP boutique (someone needs to tell AP, diffused side lighting is so much better than low, overhead) made it look like it was a flush fit. Actually when i got it home, it was clear the fabric wrinkled at the bottom and didn't sit flush. It was also exceedingly impractical for me as it didn't give me a great shape under clothes. Inspiration struck when i was musing on how i used to try and force bras to fit me as a teen and i layered it over my recently tailored (thanks mum) Whitney bra and everything kind of came together, not only did it make the fit miles better but it was also more suitable for everyday wear.  And ever since then it's been my go to for all occasions, both bras have been worn to death (but are still hanging in there) as outerwear and it opened my eyes up to how i could recycle lingerie i was bored of or didn't fit great into something wearable and exciting for me.

So i guess here are my four (five?) starting points for layering lingerie and incorporating it into outfits. I'm aware that these aren't rocket science, that my examples and outfits may not appeal to you, that you may find this wholly unhelpful, etc. That doesn't concern me so cease fire on your lengthy hate emails (stop hate stalking man, go volunteer for a charity or something), i just hope these tips can help people who are here for advice.
I also know that layering is a pastime of the privileged, something that you need a decent sized lingerie arsenal to produce many combinations. But if your goal is to layer then guaranteed you already own pieces that would compliment each other.


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Lascivious Basque under Sonata Bodysuit
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The most obvious layering tip of all time, is to layer up your sheer stuff. It basically takes anything from underwear to outerwear if you stick something you can't see your nipples/genitals through under something you can. If i'm treating my sheer garment as the showstopper then i pick something opaque that compliments the shape and colour of it. Likewise if you have a particular combination of lingerie you want more people to see, then sheer garments can be used to make them more 'public-friendly'. This example is one i wore fairly recently to The Lingerie Edit. I actually wore my black bodysuit over my black basque (but thought the white would be easier to photograph for this post) and threw a tennis skirt on the bottom. 
There doesn't have to be just two layers either. If you have a sheer bra you want to show off, layer it over an opaque bra and under a sheer top. When i'm feeling particularly uninspired, i drag out all my sheer outerwear and my sheer underwear and see if i can somehow make them work together in a way that is fit for public.


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Agent Provocateur Jena bra layered over Hopeless Bralette and Knickers
Matching Colours
Taking the prize for being the second most obvious tip is to match up pieces that have similar colour palettes. Obviously endless black is the easiest to layer as most lingerie is produced in the same shade of black, but other colours such as pinks and reds tend to go well no matter the subtle differences in shade. I always feel layering looks more impressive when it's colour matched and i'm pretty well stocked up on red lingerie that all happens to nicely go together (pure fluke). There's not really much to say about this point. Just pull out all your lingerie of one colour and try and wear it all at once. Then when that fails take off pieces until you find something that works together. I'm terrible at giving advice but clearly i also have the strangest methods.


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Made by Niki String bra layered over Ludique Lustful bra paired with Made by Niki knickers
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AP Annoushka and Whitney

Juxtapose Your Shapes
Got lingerie that leaves a patch of skin bare? Fill it with something else. I personally like to take the main feature of a piece, be it lace up detailing, or harness detailing, or a cutout detail and draw attention to it by layering it under a piece of lingerie that doesn't cover it. Sounds complicated in words but you'd be surprised how many pieces work well together when your goal is to just fill blank spaces with architectural designs. A good friend Toots is the queen of filling the blank space left by low cut tops, cardigans, etc with her Ludique Lustful bra but any piece that has a detailing with a high apex is going to layer wonderfully over a piece with a low apex too. Same goes for cutouts. If your lingerie has a large cutout feature, layer it over lingerie that encroaches on that space with something equally as exciting. 
Anyone who went to uni with me will recognise my go-to lazy outfit above too. If i had to be up for 9am lectures, and stay up until pub at 4pm and beyond, then throwing on an oversized shirt or cardigan and leaving enough blank space for my Whitney and Annoushka bra to add some detail was my favourite option. Same goes for conservative work shirts, leave a few buttons undone (less than shown here if you're actually at work) and wear a bra with a high apex to peek out of the top. I also like to wear dresses with plunging necklines and make my lingerie a feature in this way too. I'm basically very lazy and this is how i incorporate lingerie into 99% of my outfits. 


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Topshop bralette under Ann Summers Bra
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Missguided bralette under H&M crop top under Creepyyeha Ravish Me bra worn with Topshop hotpants under Creepyyeha Ravish Me garter

Get Creative
If i'm bored on an evening or i have time to kill then i play dress up. And that's basically how i find my favourite combinations. Sometimes what works in your head doesn't execute well and sometimes it executes so much better than imagined. For me it's a trial and error process and so it's important to just get creative. Throw on stuff with reckless abandon and see what sticks. Experiment with textures, shapes, fabrics and colours and most importantly, a mixture of underwear and outerwear. One of the examples above is something similar to the items i nervously threw on for my first date with Beau, almost a year ago, matched it with a tennis skirt (seeing a pattern here?) and totally got laid for an entire year (success!). 

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Agent Provocateur Robyn bra and knickers worn under Sandra bra and knickers with Raive waspie layered under Sandra suspender belt.
Failing that, Straps. Lots of Fucking Straps
Yeah, it's mind-numbingly obvious how i pick most of my lingerie combinations. Does it have strap detailing? Can i wear this strap detailing with other pieces with strap detailing? How many pieces of lingerie can i wear in one go? You get the picture.
I know some people hate lingerie with strap/harness detailing. Some people hate when people wear lots of this kind at once. But clearly i am not one of those people and i am so down to endlessly buy and layer my black strappy lingerie. I'll give up my straps when i'm dead. And it's kind of fool-proof. Just make sure all your straps can lie flat with some space in between them and you're good to go. I like to throw in a bit of texture with a few kinds of lace to break everything up a little but honestly, if you have say three sets of lingerie with strap detailing, or two sets and a harness, then you can have so many different combinations just by how you layer them. Take the example above. I could have worn the Sandra underneath Robyn and gotten a completely different shape. If i hadn't already spent 3 hours taking photos for this blog post (and yes, even after all of that i still have to recycle my xmas post photo because sometimes photos turn out shite) then i'd have illustrated this point further but you'll just have to take my word for it. You can't go wrong with straps, no matter what your size. And yes, you will spend a lot of time re-adjusting them. And yes, they may dig in and give you little muffin tops all over your body. But who cares? 

And that's really all i think about when putting together my layering combinations. Is there a sheer part i want to be opaque? Are there exciting features i want to show off that compliment each other? Is it a colour i have other pieces in to match? Are there straps? 
Really basic but it seems to work for me. I'm sure there are great layerers out there with much more sophisticated methods to their madness but as with everything i do, i'm just more wing it until it works. 

As a final little disclaimer, i can only speak from my own experiences and offer tips that work for me personally. I am a slim, very small busted, pear shaped human being who lives in a particularly micro-cultured city. I have spent time working on my collections to get combinations to suit my body type (or at least feel like they do) and i know i haven't offered any tips specifically for people who aren't small busted or have different body types. So if you feel you have a layering tip that i haven't touched upon, for any body type, then feel free to leave a comment with it in. 

06/03/2016

CASSANDRA The Label

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I don't really use Instagram in a personal capacity anymore (read why here). I follow a few close friends in the community, a bunch of lingerie accounts, a french bulldog that wears hats, onesies and booties, a domesticated raccoon and a whole lot of illustrators and artists. I double tap the photos i enjoy that appear on my feed when i check it once a day, I comment on friend's accounts if i feel the need, sometimes I reply to comments that aren't questions and i try to regularly veto all my followers, mostly to weed out any vile porn accounts, accounts who post any images degrading women, drug/gun accounts, etc. I do this wholly because i do not want them discovering anyone else in the lingerie community through being allowed to follow me and i don't want to be viewed as anything other than a human being who has the right to her own bodily integrity. But that means that i do try to check as many accounts who follow me as possible and sometimes, this leads me to discover a whole new indie lingerie brand that i hadn't previously been made aware of. And that is exactly how i discovered CASSANDRA the label.
CASSANDRA the label have their aesthetic down pat. Everything is ethereal and all their models look happy, relaxed, comfortable. There's nothing pretentious or over-posed about their imagery and that is reflected in their designs too. Each design looks wearable, durable and comfortable. I love all my highly strung, overly complex lingerie as much as the next person but sometimes i just want to see something that feels more real, something more suited to sleepily eating dinner and watching cartoons without making me feel like a total frump. Something i know i look good in but is effortless and chic.
Immediately upon viewing their instagram account back in January, i clocked the Dinah Bodysuit (now sold out but hopefully restocked?) and from thereon in it was heart over head. This may be the most impractical piece of lingerie i've bought in a long time. And i'm sure you're now baffled as to how all my other lingerie purchases aren't considered impractical to me but sheer, lace bodysuits that i'm not sure i have anything i can layer it with are definitely not going to get everyday wear unfortunately. But i could not resist this piece. The colour (a light turquoise), the cut (one that would flatter my pear shape) and the ribbon lace up back were just too much for me to pass up on. Also factoring in the fact that i bought this on my brother's birthday and through some weird, unconscious younger sibling thing, i actually can't seem to get through his birthday without buying myself a big treat (and no, i don't do it on purpose). Anyway, it probably took me less than 5 minutes from discovering CASSANDRA the label on instagram to buying this bodysuit. I was that lustful.
It took just over a month for the bodysuit to be made and shipped from Australia to the UK and it arrived wrapped nicely in (purple, eeep) tissue paper with an adorable hand written note. I love little touches like that, it always makes you feel a lot more connected to the person making your lingerie.
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The bodysuit is constructed from four "panels" of stunning turquoise lace; the bra panel, the two torso panels and the knickers panel. The decorative lace hem on all these panels overlaps to hide the seams but unfortunately it does mean they don't lie flat and fold over occasionally. The lace itself is soft and insanely comfortable, as well as beautiful. The bodysuit has an elastic halterneck with a secure hook so it's easy to fasten behind your neck. The back of the bodysuit is a beautiful low scoop cut which dips down to meet the decorative edge of the lace on the knickers panel. This cut does look slightly different to the apparent v-shaped one in the product pictures but it may just be that the model has hers laced tighter at the bottom or just a much smaller waist than i. My bodysuit was nice and snug laced as is in these photos. The long ribbon is laced through 16, 8 on each side, elastic eyelets and fastens at the bottom. The ribbon itself is a little coarse for lingerie in my opinion, i think a velvet or satin ribbon would be slightly better suited for the job but it doesn't pose any irritation and it's durable enough to take any strain on the bodysuit. Which is important because the lace used has very little stretch so there'll be no little elastic fibres sticking out over time but you will have to unlace a bit to get into the bodysuit! 
When purchasing from CASSANDRA the label she requests you send her your exact measurements so there's no worries about the standard XXS to XL being a good fit for you. I love the cut of this piece, the way the entire back and shoulders are exposed with that stunning lace-up detailing and how nicely it follows the curves of the body (no mean feat for lace with little stretch). I love how flattering the knickers panel is, the vintage feel of the little shorts and the cheeky cut on the arse.  My bodysuit fits perfectly snugly around my hips, bust and bum but unfortunately is too short in the torso. I think the halterneck straps or the cups are too short on me and as a result the under cups seam sits straight across my nipples and the gusset is permanently wedged up my goodies. Which is a big shame because i'm not sure how long i can wear this piece for before my vagina goes numb. 
Another little disappointment is there are two rips in my bodysuit, both on the knickers panel. I noticed a small rip where the lace had come away from the seam in the front before i put the bodysuit on but it's very small and thus barely noticeable so i just made sure i was extra careful (i unlaced all the way and then awkwardly laced back up when putting the bodysuit on, which was unnecessary but i didn't want to put any extra strain on the rip). It was only after reviewing these photos that i saw the very large rip in the behind of the bodysuit (i'm sure you can see it in these photos too) and was sad to see that about 2 inches of the lace has ripped away from the seam and split in a y-shape. Overall the lace does seem durable and can withstand a decent amount of strain but i suppose seams are always going to weaken the structure of any fabric and seams that lie on my arse are always going to be load bearing! Lace pieces are always delicate and it's very possible my arse created the second rip, it does like to bust out of things (it's a terror and i always size up on my measurements too). 

CASSANDRA the label has been operating since mid 2015 and so i can firmly say that i'm not surprised i've experienced a few minor faults. It takes time, and time brings the experience, to iron out any potential issues with designs and fabrics. So overall i am pleased with this bodysuit. I will have to lengthen the halterneck so it works for my torso (i'm starting to believe i might just have a slightly abnormally long torso...or shoulders i reckon) and wear it very carefully/patch up the rip in the arse somehow. But i will be wearing it and i'm somewhat excited to layer it over something, switch out the ribbon to lots of different colour combinations and wear it as outerwear this summer (weather permitting of course!). 

I'll definitely be keeping CASSANDRA the label on my instagram feed (a high honour if i do say so myself) and checking in once in a while to see what new designs they're imagining up. I've got my eye on the Lolita set next (love the design, dislike the name) because to me it looks like the perfect combo of comfortable and exciting and y'know, it comes in red (but i'm praying for a white version one day too). I can totally envision myself lazing around, eating sandwiches in bed and feeling extra fine in that set (because when i'm not at work, that's basically what i'm doing 96% of the time and i definitely need more lingerie that looks amazing but also feels amazing for this).

06/02/2016

Brands for Small Busts: Bluebella in 2016

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending The Lingerie Edit AW16 show down in London and it was magical. Much love to Becky (of Invest in your chest) and Vicky of The Lingeristas for dragging me down and making my weekend extra special. One of my great loves, Bluebella, had a booth there. We did spend an unreasonable amount of time browsing through their SS16, AW16 and new "More" DD+ range. Our coos could probably be heard from space and we waxed lyrical about how much we loved and respected Bluebella so much that i think the girls operating the booth were like "get lost already" by the end. Haha whoops. But it goes to show that, as consumers,  we feel Bluebella is consistently putting out designs that fulfill almost all of our needs and continuously impress us (and lingerie bloggers are notoriously hard to impress because we're the most lingerie fatigued of all). We were particularly impressed with the quality and price points of all their pieces and of course, them expanding to a DD+ range (with some show stopping pieces) on top of already catering to 30 bands in small cup sizes (always a winner for me).

Anyway i digress, if you're a fan of lingerie or a fan of Bluebella then you will be so so pleased with what AW16 has to offer and i cannot wait for it to be released. But a couple of weeks ago Bluebella got in touch with me to ask if i'd like to receive a piece from their equally stunning SS16 collection. From the email i didn't get the impression that they knew i was one of the girls bugging them with compliments at TLE and they genuinely had remembered working with my blog last year and wanted to do so again. Honestly this is so nice. In 2015 Bluebella took off big style and they have fans in, and collaborations with, so many large fashion blogs because of their innovative and pleasing designs. So it's exceptionally lovely to have them considering Lingerie Bloggers, who obviously are more niche, to still work with them too. It's that kind of brand loyalty that will keep them in the favours of many and do them well.

Rambling again, but i was offered my pick of the SS16 collection and naturally i sent back a long list because i couldn't decide (it's a damn good collection, go see for yourself) and asked for them to surprise me. The keen eyed of you will have clocked by now however that this post is a bit of a two for one. My dear dear (oh my gosh) dear friend Becky drew my name in our girl gang secret santa and we exchanged gifts last week. Knowing me ridiculously well she opted for a Bluebella set but customised it in the most incredible way. I figured i'd include it here to review the quality of the Bluebella set underneath and also as a big thank you to someone who i have so much love for and possibly the only someone in my life who would realise i needed lingerie with "Piss Flaps" embroidered on it somewhere.

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Let's start with the Blake bra and brief from SS16. I was sent the bra in a 30B and the brief in a UK8.
After the success of their Nova bra, quite rightly Bluebella are staying true to themselves and experimenting with more ouvert and cut-out styles. I love this because these styles always come available in small band/small cup sizes and we so rarely get people thinking about us when designing architectural lingerie. The Blake bra is definitely exciting. The really chunky mesh panels (and band) mixed with the micro mesh completely do it for me in the fabric department. I maybe would have opted for a more matte finish, instead of the satin finish, on all the piping and underbust as i feel it's a little too out of place with the overall edgy style of the bra but believe me, i'll survive. The geometric design of the cups is wild. I love how it's not symmetrical within the cups, of course each cup is a mirror image of the other but the actual panels of the cups don't have a distinct pattern. They just are how the are, organically (and also yay for micro mesh over your nipples and not chunky mesh to get caught in your piercings...). If i were the designer i'd have been tempted to make it symmetrical with the second micro mesh panel made of chunky mesh instead but that's why i'm not a designer. It's too safe, to obvious. This is better. The little gold hardware of the strap sliders and the tag engraved with the brand name are a really nice touch too.
On top of all the exciting panelling, fabric changes and cutout details you also have an adjustable halter neck detail (with a hook fastening for convenience). I love a good halterneck as i always feel it naturally pulls and lifts my small bust in the ways that flatter it the most. Because i'm not carrying much weight in my bust, i can also find it comfortable for long term wear. Unfortunately those who are bustier may feel that this reduces the amount of time they can comfortably wear the bra for, so something to think about if you're not small busted. 
The briefs are a little safer, with the mesh panelling being symmetrical and a cute little cut-out detail over the arse. They're also not quite full bum which appeases me because i prefer having half my arse hanging out of everything, i'm weird like that.

The fit of the bra is spot on, everything sits flush against me and stays in place. As a set with no padding and only one set of supportive straps, i don't get some massive lift nor shaping effect but that is mostly due to my small bust. People with larger busts than mine would probably get a lifted, separated shape from this bra, which coincidentally might be why the bra works so well for me in fit, it's suitable for wide set breasts too.
The briefs run a little small for a UK8, i would say they're more like a UK6. If i weren't so soft around the hips (seriously i'm doing everything to shift the fat deposits here and work on my muscle tone but damn, obliques are stubborn) these would look in like they really do fit in real life. Because they do. They're comfortable and don't dig in too much but the low angle of the camera and my soft hips really do make it look like i'm squishing myself in... As with most knickers who have a firm waistband (this one is satin covered fyi), either you size up and have a saggy bum or deal with a little muffin top. Sorry guys, it's just another way the universe makes us practice our decision making skills.

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Now onto the Selena set in a size small (sorry guys the amazing patches don't come as standard, you need to have amazing friends, or your own needle and thread, to make these bad boys happen) and you're in luck it's on sale now too!
Can i just preface by saying this set feels like i'm wearing silk or water or nothing at all but with a little more support than nothing at all... I've had this set a week and i've hand washed it about 3 times (necessary to stop the patches coming off) because i keep wearing it to lounge about my apartment or sleep in. I cannot get enough of it.  The whole set is made of micro mesh with all the seams lined in a soft almost jersey material. Everything has like 4 way stretch and just feels so damn comfortable.
The bra fits nicely although there's enough stretch and space for a much larger set of breasts. It's not firm around the band but it stays in place for me. The knickers fit perfectly, and no muffin top. As far as comfortable, flattering lingerie goes, Selena is my new go to set. And she also comes in a cream/beige version (please Bluebella rename this anything but "nude").

Clearly i'm impressed with Bluebella still and i'm so looking forward to seeing what 2017 and beyond brings for them too. Keep your eyes peeled for their AW16 collection because it's stunning and go peruse their SS16 and More collections as well. Bluebella is about as affordable a brand can be without sacrificing their ethics and garment quality, so there's no excuses to not support them if you do love their designs. 

*These items were gifted to me free of charge from Bluebella and Becky respectively. All opinions are my own.

01/02/2016

Edge O' Beyond

I really don't want to have to write this post, in fact it's eating away at me. I know lingerie bloggers have this secret code of conduct where nothing is ever negative and nothing hurts, etc but i've always been 100% honest in my reviews. And so i know i'm going to face endless shit for being 100% honest in this instance but really, i just want to make sure that if you do spend your hard earned money, you are satisfied with the fit and quality of the garment you receive and you don't end up making the same mistakes as me. This is going to be a long one, but i hope you persevere if you are considering purchasing from Edge O' Beyond at any point.

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For christmas my beau got me this lingerie set, the Edge O' Beyond Louisa bra and High Waist Brief. It was at the top of my wishlist and i had noted what sizes i would take. He spent the entire of November and December working overtime in his minimum wage, retail job to buy me this set. As a result he spent January (retail workers don't get paid for a 6 week period because of early holiday pay) completely skint, i know this because i was supporting him and feeding him all month. I was so over the moon that he'd got me the set i wanted, that i'd also be able to share Edge O' Beyond as a brand for small busts with you guys and that he'd picked it out himself (from my very extensive wishlist) because he thought it would look great on me. I tried it on, over knickers, the first time. Spending a solid 5 minutes trying to take a mirror selfie in which i didn't look terrible to send to Vicky to confirm that yes, i really did love the set (just not on me). A week later, whilst visiting my family homes, i decided to take some photographs for a review of my new set. I put the lingerie on, not over knickers because the man i loved had bought me this set, of course i wasn't sending it back. I took maybe 6 photos, before bursting into tears and removing the lingerie. The episode of Adventure Time i had put on as background noise hadn't finished so this all took around 10 minutes (an Adventure Time episode usually works out around 12 minutes just incase you weren't a fan).
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eob-1-1I immediately downloaded the photos (completely in the buff, thank god no one else was home) and sent them to my lingerie bloggers group chat. Something was off about this set, it sat about 2 inches lower on me than the model. On me it sat on my hips, stretching the cage detail and buckling the mesh. This was not a "high waist brief". We all agreed on this. Not only that but the cage detail on the bra, wouldn't sit flat... even when it was laid flat, in fact it was sewn in such a way that it was never going to sit flat. And on top of that, the cherub applique on one of the cups was coming away. There was about a 2cm gap that wasn't sewn on and a large loose thread. I checked the size chart on the website, I was within 0.5" for all of the measurements for an XS and i knew i fluctuated approx 0.5" during the month anyway and was at my largest right then (if you'd like to confirm yourselves, then the the time my waist was 24", my hips were 32.5" and my arse was 35.5", they're now 0.5" smaller a month on). I contacted another blogger who had recently reviewed the same set and had similar measurements to me, she confirmed that the brief didn't sit on her waist either, the cage detail on her bra wouldn't lie flat and the cherub applique wasn't sewn on all the way around the edge, but no loose threads. I then went to instagram to look at other customer photos, no one but the models in Edge O' Beyonds own product shots had the briefs hitting the right part of their waist.
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 I consulted my lingerie blogging friends and we decided the best course of action was to email my feedback to Edge O' Beyond directly, explain my situation and offer constructive criticism. I'd much rather post a review where i could say that the brand had offered solutions or taken it on board so that there was a positive spin than just outright review something as having a bad fit. 
In my initial email i stated (emphasis mine),
"I've had the set for a week now, tried it on twice for no longer than 10 minutes each time and honestly, i'm genuinely disappointed. Unfortunately the fit of the briefs seems to be very different from the ones in the professional shots on the product page (with these being a major selling point for me), they seem to come up a lot higher on the model, hitting her waist whereas on myself they fall on my hips and unfortunately this causes the tulle to wrinkle and is really unflattering. I also find the gusset to be quite thin. With the bra, one of the cherub appliques is coming away with a large loose thread and the cage detail seems a lot smaller and does not sit flat at all, it's almost as if maybe in the smaller sizes the straps are just too short for this or the design has been altered since the product shots were taken.  
I always want to support the brands i write about 100% with positive reviews and whilst the fit in the band and cups is spot on (a big positive in my books) i'm torn on how to share Edge O' Beyond with my readers without also being 100% truthful about the issues i've had with the construction and fit in other regards. I have a lot of respect for smaller indie brands and i'd honestly rather come to you first to explain the issues i've had than outright publish them to my readers.It's really paining me that not only do i have to explain to my partner why i don't feel comfortable in my body wearing the lingerie he bought me, but also the thought of writing a less than positive review about a brand that i genuinely love for their designs, campaigns and size inclusivity, but a brand that i unfortunately had a less than positive first experience with.  
I hope you can appreciate where i'm coming from and understand that i'd rather support an indie label and voice my concerns directly as opposed to going straight to a blog post. I'm not entirely sure what i expect to get out of this, but would like to hear back from you as i would always rather work with brands as opposed to causing unnecessary grief."
 Edge O' Beyond responded to this and asked for my measurements; underbust, overbust, waist, top of hip, fullest part of bottom, underbust to waist, waist to gusset, height. I remeasured and sent all of these back. My measurements were still either spot on or only 0.5" out for an XS according to the Edge O' Beyond size chart. I received this response (emphasis mine):
"After comparing these to our fit model who we have used across all of our ranges, you would be a size Small in the Louisa high waist brief. We would be happy to exchange this for you and this would also sit higher on your waistline. The model in the photo shoot is 5'7" and is wearing a Small HW brief... 
The cradle on the bra has only be changed minimally since the photo shoot, which is an in-house sample, and this has been to resolve issues with construction when it came to production. For the bunching on the elastic we have reviewed our production and noticed that the diagonal cage strapping has been inserted at slightly the wrong angle...  
Thank you so much for getting back to us with these issues you have encountered and I would like to apologise. We are always happy to receive feedback on our designs and the fit of our garments. "

 In this email Edge O' Beyond offered to exchange my Louisa Brief and restitch parts of my Louisa bra. I sent the garments back to the Edge O' Beyond offices, tracked. It cost me around £7 of my own money. When they had arrived i received this email:
"Unfortunately, the brief is stained and is not in a resale able condition, therefore we are unable to make an exchange. "
Which not only is mildly humiliating that the damp cloth i took to the gusset of the brief has either left a stain or not removed something i myself didn't pick up on but also at no point was i told in any of my email exchanges that the briefs needed to be in resalable condition or that they would be resold. I would NEVER ever send something back to be resold that had touched my genitals. I'm a clean person but i'm damn considerate and I wore those knickers for at least 10 minutes without any buffer between my bits and that gusset and no one else should ever have to come into contact with that. I responded like so:
 "I checked the briefs over before I sent them and saw no staining myself but they have been tried on once over knickers and worn (for about 10 minutes) without knickers. As I stated in my original email, I was not trying to return the item, I knew it was no longer in resalable condition due to my wearing it (and since I was not the original purchaser of the item anyway) but making you aware of the fit issues I was experiencing, and which according to the size charts on your website, I should not be. 
Your offer of exchanging the garment for a size up was not given under the condition that the garments were in resalable condition and I certainly would not ever send something back that I had worn if this was the case. I was under the impression that your gesture of goodwill was in response to my fit issues and not just being treated as a straight exchange. I would not have spent £7 sending the items back tracked if I had been informed they needed to still be in resalable condition beforehand." 
I was then contacted by the Director and Designer of Edge O' Beyond who told me that there had been some "confusion", they had been "under the impression that you had tried the garments on with your own bottoms underneath" and that " We can offer you a new pair of high waist's in a size Small at wholesale price." So i responded urging that i had mentioned the briefs had been worn twice, and gave no impression that this was over knickers and that really should have been clarified on their end. I asked to be reimbursed for my shipping charges since i had sent back a pair of knickers unnecessarily and considering the bra was faulty. I concluded by saying:
"If you are unwilling to take this any further then I'd like my briefs to be returned to me and I do hope you make a note on the product page that customers who are average height or taller must size up. In the meantime I will be posting a review of the Louisa set as is, in the hopes that at least I can relay the message to any potential customers as to what sizes they should be purchasing in this style."
and this came back (emphasis is mine):
"When you previously spoke about wearing the briefs before (tried it on twice for no longer than 10 minutes each time) we assumed that they had been tried on with briefs underneath, which is different to being worn. If we were aware of this we would have notified you of our terms, which can be found on our site, as it is a general store policy that we cannot accept returns that are not in their original condition. When we offered an exchange you could have told us the garments were not in a returnable condition.
The high waist brief you have previously spoken about with our team would have sat higher on your waist in a size small which matches the measurements we were given. 

As stated you previously only wore the garments for a few minutes at each time, which I assume is not long enough to photograph the garments in a manner which will match the standard seen throughout your blog."
So here we are. Honestly i was not expecting such a snippy, rude response blaming me for not understanding their gesture and clarifying the garments couldn't be resold and also questioning how long it takes me to photograph my blog posts (either accusing me of wearing the garments for longer than i stated or somehow acting like i'd rather put my blog aesthetic over making sure my readers know what size to order in a particular set...). As you can probably tell i am not happy with the photos in this blog post, they make me cry but that's not what is important to me. As i replied to the director and designer of Edge O' Beyond:
"I certainly feel it is my responsibility to share any fit issues and apparently customer service issues I have with the people who are thinking of purchasing from your company so they don't end up in this situation and are happy with their purchases, if that means putting out photos in not 100% happy with then I will, my integrity comes before aesthetics, always. As a paying customer (or rather my poor boyfriend), I feel I have been misled in a number of instances, sold a faulty product and now I'm being treated rather rudely by the director and designer of said company over a misunderstanding that I am certainly not at fault for."
Overall i'm pretty shocked and upset over this whole thing and i'm dreading office hours tomorrow when i'm sure another unpleasant response will be thrown my way. If they'd have turned around after my first email and said they'd taken it all on board but could do nothing for me, i'd have walked away far happier than i am now. Instead i'm out of pocket and wondering how on earth i tell my Beau that the lingerie he bought me, even though it was the right size according to the size chart, doesn't fit the way it should and as a result wearing it makes me cry. He's a lot more out of pocket than i am and now knowing how the director of the company acts towards customers, i'm not sure i'll ever look at their lingerie the same way.


So to summarise;- Even though my measurements match up with those on the size chart, the XS briefs did not fit correctly and the bra was faulty on two accounts. I originally told Edge O' Beyond this and explained i had worn the knickers on two occasions, for no more than ten minutes each time. I was offered an exchange for a size up without being told that the briefs needed to be unworn as they were to be resold. I spent my own money on postage to send the items back. They are now refusing to reimburse me for my postage and blaming me for all accounts: the wrong size, the "confusion" when it came to the conditions of the exchange (which you can clearly see weren't even mentioned by them). Edge O' Beyond have fixed my bra and up until today, correspondence with them was lovely, but their misleading images of their high waisted knickers paired with the inaccurate size guide means it's hard to know where to begin when buying from them and it seems like they will take no blame for this, with my minimum wage earning arse being poorer because of it.

The Louisa set is a hot topic right now, it's definitely high on a lot of people's wishlists so i urge you to size up or email the company directly and ask before purchasing if you want to make sure your brief fits properly. I'm sure if you send them your measurements, and include your height they will be able to advise you correctly. I hope this helps at least one person get the right fit and feel wonderful in their hard earned lingerie. Truly i do.

Updates to this post/situation:
My Louisa set arrived back today. As discussed, EOB had fixed the two faults on the bra (the cage detail does sit flat now and the cherub has been properly sewn on to the high standard i would expect from the price of the bra) but are still disputing any responsibility for the brief and thus (as confirmed in the note in the package) still believe they are under no duress to exchange the brief as this falls outside of their exchange policy.
Before this however, i got to thinking that surely this is some kind of violation of trading standards, since they are knowingly misleading customers into buying an expensive garment that runs a whole lot smaller. After contacting EOB about the fit of the Louisa briefs, they told me i should have bought a size Small with my 32" hips, the size guide on EOB say that 32" hips should buy a size XS, the XS Louisa briefs only just stretch to 30" around the hips. This is selling a product under misleading circumstances right?

So i contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau (COB) seeking some guidance and they confirmed that EOB are in breach of The Consumer Rights Act 2015 wherein all tangible and moveable goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must match the description that was provided by the trader before the purchase. By selling the Louisa Briefs a size smaller than those listed on the website and not notifying consumers before purchase, they are in breach of contract and consumers are entitled to request a suitable form of redress, such as a full refund or a replacement, irregardless of the resalable condition of the goods. So by refusing me an exchange they are actually in violation of the law. Go figure.

I contacted EOB yesterday evening with this information, making a formal written request for an exchange for goods that do match the description (i.e. the sizing) that the Louisa briefs were sold under. So far this has been ignored and honestly i'm not expecting a response because of the terribly unprofessional way they've acted thus far, it doesn't surprise me they don't seem to give two shits about this.

ALSO since i posted this review, a few people have come forward and mentioned issues with the quality and fit of their EOB garments and issues with customer service too. One person described their customer service as, "very poor" and stated that the fit of her suspender belt was a lot shorter than the one in the product shots and that the back straps of the suspender belt and bra were of a different colour (not what you expect for a matching set). Another person mentioned that the fit of her bra was so off she couldn't wear it without her boobs popping out and that EOB only addressed this by telling her to "pull the strap tighter" ignoring the fact that the bra is also sold as one you can wear without the strap (something this customer cannot do).

Oh and considering they're ignoring my emails, this also means they're not reimbursing me for my postage costs of sending back an obviously faulty bra for them to repair. Something they cannot dispute is under their jurisdiction to incur the costs of fixing.

Thank you all for your overwhelming support on this matter. It looks like i'll probably be left with £175 of unwearable lingerie and an upset beau but luckily the CAB are happy to escalate my case to the right authorities so at least, hopefully, EOB will be warned, educated or monitored over their criminal activity (which apparently violating The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is, according to them).

At the time of this post they have not made any updates to the product page or the size guide to advise any customers buying the Louisa about the size inconsistencies (jeez even AP notes when items run exceptionally small) and so are still misleading customers into buying the wrong size.

Really, at this point i can only conclude that Edge O' Beyond don't care about their product quality, don't care about their customers and don't care about complying with UK trading laws.

23/01/2016

Urban Bird Clothing

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So i guess there's a reason why i have a lingerie wishlist (much like this one) that i circulate between my two closest friends and my beau, and it's because they're amazing people who pick up on my not so subtle hints and spoil me rotten. E from Thigh Highs and Glitter started my Christmas off right by getting me the much coveted, limited edition Gold set from Urban Bird Clothing. I've wanted this set ever since it was released mostly because of how cute it is but also because i've wanted to feature Urban Bird Clothing on Of Lambs and Lace for a while. They're such a cute indie brand with a great ethos and really sweet customer relations.
In my household, this set has earned the title of "un-shootable." The amount of times i've attempted to photograph it? Four. The amount of photos i've liked? Zero. In fact, times have gotten so desperate that beau cowers when I put it on. He knows there's going to be frustrated tears, tantrums, hours wasted. But it's time to just suck it up, accept that no matter how hard i try, i'm just not going to feel like i can do this set any justice in photos. And I honestly did try. So take my word for it, this set is gorgeous in person.

UBC.2-5UBC.2-8The Longline Bralette was bought for me in my sister size (and the size i wear most often anyway), a 30B and the matching Tanga Knickers in a size 6 ( i think). This set is now sold out, as with almost all of Urban Bird's designs the amount of fabric she has is finite and ergo her lingerie is limited edition. I so wanted to get this post up whilst the gold set was still available but i was late to the party in owning it and even later to the party in reviewing it. But there are always sets of the same cut in different fabrics available, like thisthis and this.
Firstly i want to start on a very positive note, the construction is epic for an indie. A lot of the seams are on show due to the nature of the design and they're all sewn in perfectly straight zigzag stitches. If you've ever used a sewing machine then you'll also be impressed with how absolutely perfect and symmetrical all the seams are. Not a wobble in sight. The pieces are constructed from different panels all sewn together, this acts as a natural dart and gives shape to the cups on the bralette and to the backside of the tanga (mucho flattering). The straps of the bralette are attached to large gold o-rings and are a very decent quality elastic. This particular bronze gold fabric is not only a sight to behold but also has two way stretch so comfort levels are sky high. I can wear this to bed, on a long-haul flight, trekking miles up a mountain, etc and feel like i'm wearing nothing at all, Ned Flanders style. 
Alas the fit however, it just does nothing for me. Due to the size of the cups, the bralette is basically a top for me. I could wear a bra under it, or two bras, or have a party in the cups and invite all the shite I carry around with me on a night out (i have just tested this though and iphone 6 sticks out a bit but my passport is nestled nicely). I could wear no bra under it and go out and still feel overly modest. The longline band is thick and sturdy and covers a large part of my midriff, pretty much down to my waist. Unfortunately, this style just does not strike me as one for small busts unless you're wanting an extra cute top to wear. However on the plus side, i am completely getting the impression that fuller busts would love this. Because of how sturdy the band is, and the full coverage of the cups, i reckon it's the perfect bralette for a sizeable bust. I feel like it would give a decent amount of support for something without underwire and it would do a nice job of shaping too. I love this style, i do. I will wear it as a top with a bra underneath there's no doubt about it, so whilst i am a little disappointed that i'll have to rely on another piece of lingerie to shape and flatter my bust, i'm not at a total loss. 
The Tanga Knickers are bum flatterers to be sure, not so flattering for the extra weight i carry on my hips but i'll do anything for my arse to look good. The sizing feels pretty spot on, for reference my hips are like 32" on a good day and there's no loss of blood circulation to my legs nor are my knickers pooling around my ankles so these babies will 100% be getting regular wear.

I'm still cheerleading for Urban Bird Clothing. I love them, I love their designs, it's simple. Not every style in the world is flattering or suitable for an extra small bust. If it were then i'd have a lot more lingerie. It's the harsh reality i've grown to accept and it should not reflect badly on a brand if the fit expectations of someone so at an extreme of bra sizes, are not met. Maybe smaller cups that were a little further apart and didn't come up so high would have been more flattering for me but this style works wonderfully for others with more common bust sizes and shapes. And hey, i'm cool with being a part of a bra size minority and adding a new going out top to my wardrobe.




16/01/2016

Agashi by Christina O

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Agashi by Christina O and i have been meaning to collaborate on a blog review for almost a year now (!) back when i was lusting over almost all of her cage bra designs but life got in the way and our plans fell by the wayside. And then the Seifukus arrived and i melted into a giant puddle of need. Christina O heard my puddle pleas and decided to decimate my brain completely by releasing a line of Sailor Senshi inspired Seifukus, the Ayumi Moon collection. I was raised on Sailor Moon, it had me desperately changing the channel whenever my older brother left the room, so i've got a soft spot for anything the franchise inspires. I don't think i slept properly for a week after the release. I gushed all over the place, in ways only a puddle of goo can gush, and started saving all my money (because clearly i needed Mars, Mercury, Moon, Pluto AND Venus). And then there was a promotion on the sets and in contacting Christina O to enquire about sizing, we re-animated our collaboration conversation and long story short, Ayumi Pluto happened!
Pluto had to be my first foray into the Ayumi Moon collection.  My teen-come-adult angst always identified with the destined to be alone and silent Sailor Pluto, who eventually reneges on her post unifying space and time to study physics. Couple that with my eternal sour feelings from having an ugly, non-classically British school uniform and my lazy two colour, black and white, wardrobe and you've got Christina O speaking to me on so many levels.

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I was sent the Ayumi Pluto in an XXS which is billed to be suitable for a 30" bust and a 23" waist. My Seifuku arrived in a black mesh bag wrapped in tissue paper. The mesh fabric doesn't wrinkle or crease so this lingerie bag is perfect for storage.
The top measures 22" around the band and stretches up to 33.5". It fits my 27" underbust snugly and surprisingly it also fits nicely on my 30.5" overbust. There's certainly room in the top for a larger overbust and i imagine for those significantly larger there would be some kind of push up effect but the presence of the darts and the front closure makes it really work for the smallest of small busts like mine. The top is so beautifully finished with all the visible seams perfect and a sturdy piece of elastic keeping the shape of the band. The Ayumi top fastens in the front with two hook and eye closures and the bow is free style so you can leave it untied or practice your bow tying skills (and then teach me please). The seams on the cuffs are hidden by black and white detailing that matches the edge of the sailor collar (which is flipped up on one of the cuffs in these photos, my apologies).
The Micro skirt is the right length for me at 12" (it's actually a bit longer than some of my everyday skirts...whoops) although Agashi do offer a longer version at 15" too. The waist on the skirt measures 22" and stretches up to 35", which means it's a nice snug fit on my 24" waist. The finishing on the hem of the skirt is also perfect which is no mean feat with sheer mesh material. One minor niggle is that the elastic of the waistband is not sewed to the gathered mesh (they're free moving) so when you're putting the skirt on, it tends to twist and buckle. It's not an issue if you have the time to adjust it back to lying flat and equally space the gathering but alas, if you're fighting the dying light on a saturday afternoon like me, then it's going to look a bit messy. So i do take part responsibility of this one. If you adjust accordingly the waistband lies flat, looks even and the gathers are spaced nicely.

This hasn't sated my need for almost all of the Ayumi Moon Seifukus, it's just reinforced it by proving that not only is Christina O designing on such a level that she may be my soulmate, but she's also executing her incredible designs to a really high standard of quality. I'm sure by the end of the year i'll have a couple more of these (especially if she releases a Chibi Moon). And hey(!) because Christina O is the greatest, she's offering Of Lambs and Lace readers a 15% discount on her entire store with the code:

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So there's absolutely no excuse not to indulge your Seifuku needs (and it doesn't expire so how lucky are you?). Or any other needs you have that can only be satisfied by Agashi by Christina O garments. I personally can't live without the Belle Choker, Ayumi Blue Pastel Seifuku or the Ayumi Noir Seifuku for much longer (is it bad taste to use your own discount code to spend your entire paycheck or...?)

*This set was provided free of charge for the purposes of a review. All opinions are mine. The fangirling is mine too