Lilly & Lime – A DD+ Bikini Dream

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Anyone who knows me, knows I do NOT wear bikinis.  After my first baby turned my stomach into a soggy roadmap 12 years ago, it was one pieces; or for a short stint, the dreaded “Mom Tankini” from then on out.  I even blogged about my penchant for sexy one piece suits here.  So when Aussie bikini makers Lilly & Lime contacted us about reviewing their suits, my first reaction was “You girls can take this one, I’ll pass.”  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are many women out there that don’t love they way they look in a bikini, and maybe they might want to see what these suits look like on a soggy road map!  Ok, probably not, but they might want to know how it works on someone with a few flaws.  With that in mind, I give you a review of this beautiful and functional bikini designed with the D+ cup size woman in mind.

As stated earlier, Lilly & Lime is based in Australia but they ship worldwide.  The bikinis come in 3 different cup sizes:  Full cup, Halter and Balconette.  The bottoms come in Full Brief, Basic Brief and Hipster tie.  The set that was chosen for me included a Balconette top and Full Brief bottom in black.

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These suits are very well constructed out of high quality fabric.  They are not cheap, but in my opinion, the price reflects the quality very well.  This is a suit I can imagine I will be able to wear year after year.  The styles are classic and the construction certainly seems like it will hold up well.  They are sent in an adorable fabric tote bag that my daughter loves to use, and I have to chuckle at her carrying around a bag that proudly states “Swimwear for D-Cup and Up.” 1

For size comparison, I wear an 80GG in Ewa Michalak, and a 36FF in Freya.  I was originally sent a 36G and it was very small in the cup, so they very generously exchanged it for a 36GG, which fit great.

I will say I think the band runs a bit big, and after wearing it all day, I thought I probably should’ve gotten a 34, especially since I prefer to wear the balconette top strapless. I typically wear a US pant size 14, so they sent me the bottoms in a AU 18 (gotta love that size conversion😦 )  The bottoms fit perfect and the Full Brief style has a waistband that can be folded down.  The waistband is great, because it doesn’t dig into my bread dough…I mean stomach.  and I like having the flexibility in ways to wear it.  I also think the little LL emblems on the suit are a really cute accent.

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For some less “plus sized” reviews of other Lilly & Lime styles, check out my beautiful fellow AEE bloggers MsDizz, Jelz and Yoomee’s reviews.

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All in all, I have to say Lilly & Lime knocked it out of the park.  These suits are beautiful and functional and I would purchase one without hesitation.

 

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Retailer Spotlight: Bolero Beachwear

I recently had the opportunity to be in contact with Patricia McCaw, the owner of Bolero Beachwear, a bust-friendly U.S. based clothing company located in Florida.  Although the company’s name would suggest that they only offer beachwear, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they specialize in not just beach cover ups, but also a wide variety of clothing especially designed for women with large busts (DD and up).

When I asked Patricia if she would be interested in speaking with me and allowing our blog to spotlight her company, she graciously agreed to not only allow us to spotlight Bolero, but to also send a few of her most popular dresses to our bloggers so that we could give our own thoughts on her clothing (reviews coming soon)!  After speaking with her over the phone, a few of the things that jumped out and really impressed me was her absolute passion for what she does, the fact that all of her clothing is made here in the U.S.A., and how open she is to feedback by her customers🙂  It was a delight speaking with Patricia and getting to know her and her company, and I am so excited to share this with our readers!

How did Bolero Beachwear come to be?

I was a designer for a company manufacturing beach cover-ups when the economy took a turn for the worse and it closed. As one door closed, another opened when I decided to start manufacturing my own line of beach beachwear dresses and cover-ups. I started selling in the retail market because after all, my designs were selling successfully in department stores, mail orders and small boutiques all over the country while working in the previous company which I worked for several years.

Can you tell us about how you came to focus on designing clothing to fit a fuller bust?

When asking one of my customers, a boutique owner who really knows and understands about proper bra fit, what was her favorite Bolero style, I was puzzled by her response! She said, there are some dresses that she loved, but unfortunately, she could not wear them because of her large breast size! She said she would wear a larger size just to accommodate her bust, but the excess material everywhere, especially in the armholes, resulted in a non-flattering look, sometimes even looking like a tent or a boxy silhouette. She is a fit woman with nice body and would love to show off her waistband and her curves. That is when I got the idea that I could manufacture dresses for women with fuller busts.

What type of research went into creating clothing that would fit a variety of full bust sizes while still providing a flattering fit through the rest of the body?

First, let me tell you that I love being a Fashion Designer. I went to fashion school in Fort Lauderdale and one of my favorite’s subjects (areas) was Pattern-making. Most of the other students were intimidated in Pattern-making class, but not me, I loved it! Just to think in rulers, inches, math when a quarter of an inch is important to make a good pattern. Some of my classmates where terrified while is I was fascinated in understanding how the standard for the industry works; sizing, and what is takes to make a final garment with great fit! So when I started brainstorming my busty-friendly styles, I visited lingerie stores, asked questions, bought many size bras, but also, researching on the internet, getting books about bras, constructions, everything! And one very important source of inspiration and learning was reading blogs like yours, who caters to full-busted women. And, because I was working with stretch materials, vibrant colors, making clothes for vacation, I decided to combine the best from both worlds, technically developing comfortable clothes with great fit on your chest area so you feel like you are on vacation on any day you wear Bolero!

What makes your products stand out from other full bust brands?

We use wrinkle resistant and stretchable fabrics that fit and flatter beautifully. Our pieces really are easy care and travel-friendly. We do not mass produce which means paying more attention to the construction, most of your dresses and tops are lined in the bust area to smooth out any lines. We are small enough to customize orders such as adding length to dresses for taller women or visa-versa for more petite women without charging extra.

How long has Bolero Beachwear been in business?

Bolero Beachwear has been in business now for 6 years.

Where are your products manufactured?

In Florida USA by a wonderful team.

What are the pros and cons of manufacturing in the USA?

Pros:

 Providing jobs for everyone involved in the process of making our clothes: fabric and trim suppliers, sewers, office assistant, the hang- and labels maker, the photographer, the models, the web designer, etc.

 Being able to have close control over the production, quality and quantities. You have more control over the quality, if anything happen, and there is always something, I am able to correct it right away.

 Providing work for American women working under ethical conditions.

CONS:

 It is more expensive to manufacture, for example having to order minimum quantities for supplies increases the price.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I find inspiration all the time and everywhere! I love clothes design and am always looking for ideas. Walking in town on the street, driving, talking to someone, watching a movie, listening a song, reading and many times while I’m dancing! I can picture elements to make a beautiful dress to wear every day and to dance too.

How often does your company come out with new designs?

Very often but not as often as I would like. As a creative person, I love to make new things all the time but the logical and practical part of me, or the business side, force me to narrow down what can go to production. There is a lot of work involved before a garment is available on the website. The silhouette is part of it, but it’s just one of the components. The fabric selection, the photos, the editing, making sure the suppliers will deliver the materials so we don’t offer something that is not going to be ready is so important.

Are there plans to add any new products and if so, what and when?

I try to have new styles of dresses available every three months or so. And now, we are starting to produce busty friendly tops and matching/contrasting bottoms. I am always looking for ways to transition our existing styles with the time and season by providing accessories such as belts and scarves.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy the process of creating new things, the selection of materials, the construction and interacting with people who share that feeling. When I see the final product and a flattering fit it is an amazing feeling! But I think one of the most incredible and rewarding feelings comes from receiving a Thank you email, a note and sometimes receiving a card in the mail is WOW feeling! But I will say, knowing that guys, husbands or boyfriends, love to see their women in Bolero clothes is one the best compliments.

Where can our readers purchase your products?

Online at http://www.bolerobeachwear.com. Our website and our email are always open to receive not only orders but to any questions. Because our Bust-friendly styles are for a specific body type they do not always look as nice on the hanger as they look on a real person.

As you can see from our interview with Patricia, she truly loves what she does and it clearly shows in the beauty and quality of her clothing.  Over the next few months several of our bloggers will be posting their reviews of the dresses they received from Bolero so we hope you stay tuned!

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Lovin’ my Lilly & Lime!)

Several months back An Enhanced Experience was approached by an Australia-based swimwear company, Lilly & Lime who cater to those of us women with fuller busts, asking if we would be interested in trying out and reviewing their suits .  After checking out their website as well as learning more about their company (read their company Spotlight HERE),  several of us decided to jump on the opportunity!  My fellow bloggers MsDizz and Jelz have already posted their reviews (HERE and HERE) and now it’s my opportunity to let you all know my thoughts🙂

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First off, the packaging when I received my suit was absolutely adorable!  It came in a cute (and functional) tote, which I thought was a very nice touch.  The suit that they picked out for me was their Floral Full Cup top in size 30GG and Floral Basic Brief in size 8 (which is a US size 4).  The design is beautiful with bright blues, corals, and oranges, and looks almost like the pattern was painted on in watercolors.  The material is sturdy and feels very well made, not at all flimsy and cheap, and the top comes with removable pads as well.  As far as quality goes, I am very impressed!

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To be honest, when I first examined the top I was a bit concerned that the wires were very wide.  As any of our loyal readers know, we love our narrow wires!  And when I tried the top on for the first time, as I suspected, the wires are quite wide in comparison to the bras that I am used to wearing.  However, since this is a swimsuit and not something I would be wearing under clothes all day, the wide wires really don’t bother me at all.  Plus, they are not super firm so I don’t feel any digging in my armpits.  I also love the clasp in the back.  When you close it, you can feel it snap into place so there is no fear of it coming undone!   I do however think that I will get a size 28 band next time, since once suits get wet they tend to stretch just a little and a 30 band is already on the looser side for me.

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The bottoms are just as they are called, basic briefs which I love!  They cover just enough, but aren’t too full coverage with the waist band sitting a little below the navel. I ordered these in a size 8 (US size 4) but after trying them on I felt like they were a bit on the small side for me so I ended up ordering a size 10.  However, the 10 didn’t arrive before I left for my honeymoon, and I couldn’t imagine not taking this suit with me to Mexico so I ended up taking the 8s, which actually ended up fitting pretty well!  I really do love these bottoms, and don’t have anything but great things to say about them.

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As I had mentioned, I took this suit with me on my honeymoon to Mexico and I loved wearing it!  The bright colors are gorgeous, and I never had to worry about my boobs popping out either😉.  My husband loves it as well and complemented it often!  It wore well in the water and unlike some suits made with thinner material, even when wet it stayed in place and didn’t start “sagging” at all.   Overall, I am very impressed with this suit and it is one of the first ones I grab out of my suit drawer!  If you have struggled with finding a bikini that will accommodate a larger bust, or are just looking for one that is sexy and fun (not always easy to do in the big bust market), I would highly suggest checking out Lilly & Lime!

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Caring for your Delicates / Soak Wash Lingerie Wash Review

Here at AEE we certainly don’t mind spending a small fortune on beautiful bras and panties.  Because we’re worth it!  Our lingerie is an investment which protects our investments!  But what about when it comes to taking care of our beautiful underpinnings?  Do you know how to properly launder your delicate bras and panties?

I have to admit that until recently, more often than not I had been machine washing mine, and with regular detergent😦 Granted, I was using the Delicate cycle and washing only my bras in that load.  However, that was not the best way to care for my coveted collection of lingerie; regular laundry detergent is  harsh on delicate fabrics, using the machine  is not energy efficient at all, and frankly, it wasn’t very convenient as I needed to wait until I had a reasonable amount of dirty sets to warrant starting a load.

When Soak kindly offered to send me some of their products  I was excited to try a better way than what I had been doing.

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Images courtesy of Soak

 

Soak has a fabulous website with so much great information!  I read with interest the section entitled Soak School where you can learn all sorts of uses for your Soak Wash as well as laundering tips.

I am very pleased to tell you that Soak is a Canadian company and its products are made right here in Canada.   Don’t fear if you are not in Canada, as they are very widely available at retailers worldwide (check for availability near you HERE), and you can also order on-line.  If you are in Canada, Soak is widely available at Sears.  I checked.  Its there.  ;-)

To hand wash your lingerie using Soak Wash, you simply add about a capful of Soak into your wash basin, swish it around a bit and let it soak for 15 minutes or so.  The detergent particles will grab onto the dirt particles in your lingerie, pull them out, attach them to the water and remove them from your lingerie. Although Soak is a no rinse product, they do recommend that you rinse your lingerie and this is simply because your lingerie sits right against your most sensitive bits.  Disclosure:  lazy me tried both rinsing and not rinsing and had no adverse reaction to not rinsing (your experience may vary).  The no rinse feature is very helpful when washing bulkier items for example a favourite hand knit blanket so that there is much less wear and tear on the item you are washing since you have avoided all of that plunging and squeezing from trying to get rids of the excess suds with traditional detergents.  If you are really anti-hand washing, you can also use Soak in your machine.

I’ve been using my kitchen sink and washing several bras at a time using a capful of Soak each time.

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This is has been such an incredibly hot summer that I have been using only my unlined bras in an effort to dress as lightly as possibly.  However, I ‘only’ own 7 or so of this style and so I run out fairly quickly.  I don’t wear my bras more than once between washes even in the winter and certainly not in this hot, sweaty weather we’ve been having .  I have found that by quickly hand washing a few bras every couple of nights, I’ve been able to keep a fresh, clean supply at all times.  Its been really nice, and not a lot of work at all! Honestly! I’ve also been hand washing my sport bra rotation and having less excuses not to hit the gym😉

After I wash my bras, I’ve actually been putting them in my salad spinner to spin out the majority of the water and this has been working really well for me.  I then hang them by their gores on my wooden drying rack and the next morning, they are dry, fresh and ready to wear again.

Soak generously sent me a bottle of Soak Wash to test in each of their five scents, well four scents really because unscented isn’t really a scent.  There is definitely a scent for everyone (or unscented obviously if you don’t care for scent or have sensitivities).  Here are the scents, starting with my personal favourite:  Lacey (combines spring blossoms with sweet bergamot), Yuzu  (a citrus / eucalyptus blend), Celebration (my daughter’s favourite) (sweet smelling and  inspired by the essence of Red Tea), Fig (described as being ripened with sweet fig and lychee and crowned by dandelions), and of course Scentless, which naturally smells . . . scentless.   The scents all smelled light and pretty in my opinion.  I thought that Celebration and Yuzu were the strongest smelling of the lot but each one, on my dried bras, left only a very, very light smell after they had dried.  These scents are more to be enjoyed as you are doing your hand washing, and then are designed to fade away so that they don’t overpower, or compete with your own perfume.

Since all Soak products are made in a stringently regulated Health Canada Skincare certified facility and are very gentle, I have even tested my Soak Wash on my poodle!

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 She was lovely and soft and sweet after I was done with her.  My daughter had amassed a few very special autographed t-shirts this Summer and so I’ve been hand washing those for her in Soak also.  I’ve also used Soak Wash to wash my makeup brushes.

In addition to the Soak Wash, I also received a bottle of their Handmaid Hand Cream in the scent Fig (all scents outlined above are also available in the Handmaid hand cream).

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 I use hand cream fairly obsessively, even in Summer so I was very pleased to receive this item.  I could instantly feel that there was shea butter in the hand cream.  It was moisturizing, not sticky (a pet peeve of mine) and what I really appreciated was that it dried quickly and left no slippery feel on my hands so that I could get back to my exciting (I’m kidding) office job without delay.

I was also lucky enough to be sent a bottle of Flatter Smoothing Spray in the scent Yuzu.

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Flatter works as an ironing aid to relax wrinkles.  Ironing, frankly isn’t exactly my favourite chore so anything that helps is appreciated.  It did indeed work very well to relax wrinkles and I loved the light scent it left. Flatter also leaves fabric static free so this will be fantastic to have on hand during the winter months.

I was very surprised at the variety of products that Soak sells.  You seriously must check out their ‘Soak Box’ gift sets for some really great and unique gift ideas!

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Isn’t that pretty?  That set sells for $59 CAD and includes a bottle of the Soak Wash, the Handmaid hand cream, a lacy thong and a bottle of Essie nail polish.  Love it!

The full size Soak Wash (375 mL) retails for $16 CAD and lasts for up to 75 loads so it will last you a good, long time.  90mL travel size bottles retail for  $10 CAD each and last for 18+ washes.  The travel bottles are a great way to try a few different scents and see which one you like best.

After trying my Soak products for the last few weeks, I can whole-heartedly recommend them.  If you don’t already use Soak, I hope you’ll give it a try!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beach days and Holidays Styling with MsDizz, featuring the Comexim / Bra Obsessed Harbour Bikini!

Summer is drawing to a close in my part of the world and soon I will be packing away my swimwear and having it on standby for its next appearance:  winter vacation!  Or should I say vacation from winter!  Is there anything better than miles of white sand, blue water and sunshine when you’ve just left the North Pole behind?  No!  There isn’t!    Of course it is important to look good while you’re heading off to the beach, to the buffet, bellying up to the bar, or whatever your day brings, and that is why today our lovely blogger MsDizz has kindly volunteered to show us her own stylish solution for covering up and coordinating with the Comexim / Bra Obsessed exclusive Harbour bikini (reviewed previously HERE) .  If you picked this one up already, then you already know its a great suit and if you didn’t, it is still available through Bra Obsessed.

In the picture below, MsDizz is wearing a Gottex Blush Sail Away Jersey over her Harbour bikini, for a beautifully coordinated look.

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This romper is sold out at many locations but I did manage to scour a few sources that still have it available (and at steeply discounted prices!) so that you might snag one up for yourself:

Poshmark.com link

Sweetcouch link

eBay link

No outfit is complete without a great bag.  MsDizz is carrying the Michael Kors Jet Set Saffiano Leather Stripe Tote.  This bag is sold out but I did find it on Poshmark HERE.  There were also several listed on eBay such as THIS ONE.  Another, similar choice would be the  Tommy Hilfiger Adrianna Ribbon tote which I found  on Amazon HERE and one on eBay HERE.

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You could complete this outfit with a pair of classic and comfy white birkenstocks:

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And of course a great pair of sunnies.  This pair of Rayban wayfarers would be perfect.

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Seems like we’ve done your beach wardrobe planning for you.  Now all you have to do is choose your destination!  ;-)

Happy Holidays from MsDizz and I!

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P.S. – if you own this suit, what do you pair it with? Or if you are considering picking it up, what would you add to complete the outfit?  Let us know!

 

 

 

 

Karlee Smith- Body Love Snap Bra 

When I heard that I had the opportunity to review a Karlee Smith bra I was really excited. I was even more excited that I got to decide which bra I wanted to review. I immediately began browsing through the website to decide. You see, I had a specific set of things I wanted this bra to be able to do for me, some pretty high expectations. I didn’t expect the choice to be so hard! I did not expect to have color options that included patterned fabric. Zippered front closures but also velcro or snap adjusting straps? In the end I went with the Body Love Snap Bra in grey. I have so many reasons for this, all of which I will get to, I promise!

20 weeks pregnant

The biggest reason that I selected a post op bra was because I wanted something that would stretch to accommodate expanding boobs. I was looking for something to be super supportive but flexible.  You see, I wanted this bra to act as a maternity bra. I am happy to report that this bra has seen me from the first trimester of sore pregnancy boobs to a slowly expanding belly and breasts at 20 weeks.

Bra on initial try on

The Karlee Smith website advertises this bra as a full support option for breast augmentation, reduction, mastectomy, or lift patients. It has a 1.5″ wide band below the breasts which is an ideal feature for me. The fabric content is listed on the website as a nylon/lyrca with “all-over, 4 way stretch, body-wicking moisture control fiber blend”. Trust me when I say I have put the stretch and moisture wicking to the test! 

Here is a list of tests that I have put the Body Love Snap Bra through:

Several 48 hour wear tests.

2+ miles of walking in 90 degree heat.

Low impact stretching and weight lifting.

Nightly use as a sleep bra.

Overall grade has been an A for all of these activities!

Initial try on

I’m not sure if you can see the differences in fit between the initial try on and 20 weeks pregnant, but I can. When I first received the bra I was worried that it would not stretch well around what should be growing boobs. Honestly, I was skeptical that it would fit at all since I have large implants.  When I looked at the fit guide I was surprised to see that it is based on your underbust measurement and the standard matrix sizing (like 32DD).  I was skeptical, very skeptical.  So I went to the “Sexy Fit Calculator Bra Guide” to see what it had to say. Again, the band size was listed as 28-32″ for a small (I am between 26-27″ usually) and up to a 32DD.  Well if a DD is a 5 inch difference, 32 plus 5 is 37, which is what my fullest bust measurement is. So I figured the bra should stretch to fit around a 37″ chest. I decided to take my chances and go for it in a size small.

I’ll be honest here, having larger implants (700cc) I wasn’t expecting it to fit. I have not found a single post op bra that fit me both in the band and around the bust. The one provided from both of my surgeries was sized by band size and always much too large under the bust to fit. I came home from my second surgery in a 36 band bra that just wasn’t going to work. I ended up wearing this weird stacked bra contraption with my post op bra under another bra that was small enough to fit in the band and I just left the top hooks open. It was hot and horrible. Not to mention how often the snaps buckled under pressure and burst open. So when this bra fit, was supportive under my breasts, and stayed zipped all night long I was pretty stinking happy.

Bra Details

Here you have the size tag with washing instructions and fabric content. I bit the bullet for you guys and tossed mine in washing machine and line dried it. I figured it would come out all pilly and a mess. No pilling, some color transfer over to the white. I’m satisfied with that!

The snaps allow me to give some different levels of compression as well as allow for growing room. I do have to have the straps snapped when I put it on, it is easier for comfort.  My favorite feature on this bra is the hook and eye at the bottom. I love the fact that I can quickly hook it and then go about zipping. When you are talking about a bra that is designed with some compression that means you’ll have pressure on the zipper as it goes up. The hook and eye allows me to focus on the zipper (using both hands if I need to) and not hold the bottom closed. Post op bra genius right there!

My old sleep bra😦

Here you have a visual comparison with what I was wearing for a sleep bra previously. This is just a mass produced, superstore available Hanes bralette. There just isn’t much out there for use as a sleep bra.  You can see the huge differences here. More coverage with out being dowdy, thicker straps, back support, side support, wider underband. I’ll be dropping all of these suckers in the rag pile. No need for these anymore!

Initial try on

On to my only complaint, but it is a small one. Nipple coverage. If you were anything like me, early post op you had majorly sensitive nipples that were on GO all the time. The fabric layers are too thin to hide nipples, as is the case with every other post op or sleep bra I have tried. The difference is definitely in the fabric. Even super sensitive pregnancy nipples are happy in this fabric, so while the headlights may be on, they are at least comfortable.

I also want to use this picture to point out the nice even band placement around my ribcage. Also the front is not super high coverage. The adjustable snap straps can be seen through a super thin t-shirt, but the edge seams are invisible. Which brings me to my final point about this bra as a post op bra, seams and digging. There are two seams on the side of the bra under your arms, nothing on the breast. When you have breast swelling you will not have a digging seam on super sensitive breasts. No irritation from seams is a huge plus in my book.

Like I said above, I put this bra through the wringer. I was skeptical and had low expectations with high hopes. I was not disappointed by anything other than the fact that I had my surgery before I was introduced to the Karlee Smith brand and I put up with horrible post op bra solutions. I will continue to wear this bra through pregnancy and either come back and update this post or write a follow up to let you know how it continues to function as a maternity bra. It is by far better than what I used through my first pregnancy, so I have high hopes!

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Review – Karlee Smith Body Love Front Close Sport Bra “Get Fit” with new boobs

Karlee Smith is a company specializing in post operative bras and sports bras especially for women who have had breast surgeries, including augmentation surgery.  If you missed my Retailer Spotlight on  Karlee Smith, you can check that out HERE.  The company graciously offered to send me and three of my co-bloggers a bra of our choice to review.  You can check out my co-blogger Yoomee’s  review of the Karlee Smith  Sexy Lady Snap Me Twice Bra HERE.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog so that you won’t miss the remainder of the reviews to come!

In addition to their line of sports bras, Karlee Smith also offers a line of surgical recovery bras which contain some very  impressive features which you can read about HERE.    Either of the lines would make a fabulous recovery bra and either could be continued to be used long after recovery is complete. I wish I had known about this company back when I had my own surgery.

After some consideration, I chose the Body Love Front Close Sport Bra in pink pin stripe “pink love exclusive”.  This bra features an anti-microbial finish which is an exclusive finish, formulated to absorb moisture and odour.  The fabric is wickable, formulated to adapt to the wearer’s personal body temperature, assuring 24-hour comfort.

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This particular bra is available in just three sizes, Small, Medium and Large which gave me cause for concern as I typically wear a 30G UK which is obviously small in the band, but comparatively large in the cup.  After reading the Section on How to Measure and Find Your Perfect Bra Size it became apparent that you only need to know your under bust measurement.  My under bust measures 27 inches and so I went with the smallest size, being the Small (28 – 32 inch band size) and crossed my fingers.

I didn’t have long to keep my fingers crossed because my bra arrived at my doorstep incredibly quickly, especially as Karlee Smith is an American company and I am in Canada.

The fabric of this bra is very soft and lightweight. The fabric composition is 88% nylon, 12% spandex.    It is completely seamless and wire-free and features a 1.5″ soft bottom elastic band which keeps the bra firmly in place.

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The comfort level of this bra is unsurpassed.  It feels really good!  I feel so free and breezy in it!  The band feels good and doesn’t move around.  I found the zip front closure easy to do up and undo.  I found it easiest to do up when I leaned over.  This put my boobs in a nice forward position.  I could feel light compression in the boob area of the bra and this helped to keep me in position throughout the day.  Butt crack style boob cleavage was present and you could absolutely wear this as a super light and comfy cleavage bra.

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In the interests of disclosure,  prior to my implant surgery I was not flat chested – rather I had sad old deflated flapjack style boobs with plenty of natural hang.  Any upper fullness I once had, had long  left me, probably around the same time that my sanity left me and the first of what would ultimately be four offspring began to arrive.  I am a blend of natural tissue and fantastic plastic.  My implants are 370g Inspira SRF and we will never know really what size I was pre-op because I never knew how to measure properly.  Although I had a crescent lift done with my implants, I still have significant hang.  You know when you see articles asking if you can pass ‘the pencil test’?  Never mind that.  I can jam a stapler under there and it’ll stay put.

I suspect that because of the above, I still experienced fairly significant bounce on significant impact (jogging, zumba etc.) while wearing this bra.  Possibly if it was offered in size XS then there might have been enough compression to better control my bounce.  It does work well for me for lower impact workouts, weight room days, as a lounge bra, a casual wear bra and a sleep bra (yes I wear a sleep bra every night).  On low impact gym days this bra  feels  comfy, cool and amazing compared to my armour-like, sweaty, heavy-duty sport bra collection.   In addition to the uses outlined herein, this bra could also be an excellent choice for women who suffer from hormonal sensitivity, costochondritis, chronic pain and a myriad of other issues.

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The Karlee Smith Body Love Front Close Sport Bra retails for $90 USD and can be ordered through their web page.  Some surgeons provide a Karlee Smith recovery bra to their breast augmentation patients.  If you have a surgery booked, you should ask your PS if he or she carries  KS recovery bras.

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Feeling Fine in Lilly & Lime!

 

Lilly & Lime is a new swimwear company specializing in D cup and up.  The company is owned by two women who had struggled themselves to find attractive bikinis to fit their own D+ busts, and the idea to design their own line was borne.  You can read all about them in our Spotlight story HERE.

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When the owners of Lilly & Lime contacted our blog group and asked if we would be interested in reviewing their swimwear, I headed over to their website and was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.  Lilly & Lime offers three different styles of swim tops sized from  UK 28D up to 38HH as well as three different cuts of swim bottoms, sized from UK 8 up to 18.  A very impressive and difficult size range for sure!

I decided to ask for my swim top to be sent in size 30G.  For reference, I wear a 30GG in Ewa Michalak S styles and I have a Panache 5021 sports bra in 30G.   I chose the 30G because I felt reasonably sure that it would be a snug fit in the cups.  When it comes to swimwear tops, I’d rather err on the side of possibly choosing slightly too small as opposed to slightly too large.  I asked for the bottoms to be sent in UK  size 8, which is a US size 4.  You can view their size chart HERE.  Lilly & Lime made the style choices as to what they sent to each of us, although we had made suggestions to them.

My package arrived quickly and I have to say that when it comes to making a great first impression, Lilly & Lime hit it out of the ballpark.   My suit was prettily wrapped in lime tissue, an adorable tote bag was also included, along with a lovely hand written card.  I was delighted to see that I had been sent the Nectarine halter and matching full briefs, which had been my top choice, although I do like all of the other styles and colours as well, and I absolutely love how the entire collection can be mixed and matched.

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In person, I think this suit is even nicer than it appears on the web site.  The colour is vivid and bright, the fabric feels high quality, everything is fully lined and the stitch work is impeccable. I adore the little metal suit tags with the LL logo.  Both the wires and the gore are slightly wide but as this is a swim top and not a bra I have no problem with that.  The projection is excellent and the cup depth accommodates my high profile implants well.  This 30″  band measures approximately 24.5″  unstretched and approximately 31″ stretched.   I found it a comfortable fit on my 27″ rib cage.

The suit fits me just as I had hoped it would.    This is my first decent fitting halter style suit and I’m pretty excited about that.  I love that this is a halter because it looks totally like a swimsuit and nothing like a bra, yet I still get great shape and support.  My boobs are not self-supporting and the cups do a good job on providing shape and structure.

 The top provides me with the perfect amount of coverage.  There isn’t oodles of butt-crack cleavage on display but I still get a very feminine, attractive shape, along with having zero fear of any type of dreaded bikini wardrobe malfunction.   No nervous checks or adjustments required!  The height of the full brief bottoms is perfect for me, as is the coverage.  I’ll be 49 in a couple of weeks and each to their own but I just don’t feel comfortable in skimpy bottoms anymore.   I feel completely secure in this suit, but still sexy, for an old girl.😉

My 14 year old daughter agreed to be my photographer in exchange for a cold bottle of root beer and a pack of sugar-free gum and we headed off to the beach for a quick photo session.  The backdrop is picturesque Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes, and these pictures show why I’m so in love with this suit.  The cut, colour and fit are flattering and fabulous.

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In order to provide you with a thorough review I have taken this suit through the paces.  It has been to the beach, to the pool, through the wash and worn with the pads in and the pads out.

Each time I’ve worn it, I I’ve felt no discomfort to my neck from the halter straps.  It holds up great while in the water and I didn’t notice any stretching, shifting or any other issue.  It washes well and there has been no colour bleeding or fading.  The clasp locks and unlocks properly.

Now lets take a peek at the inside of the swim top:

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Removable foam pads:

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I prefer the top with the pads in.  The pads gave me a more slightly more structured shape.  I would rather that the cups had a sewn in foam lining instead of the removable pads because if you look close enough, you can see the pad edges through the cups.  I don’t think anyone would notice this though, unless they were up close and staring perhaps.

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This swim top can certainly be worn with the pads out if you prefer.

With the pads out and sopping wet from swimming as shown below, even in a slightly chilly pool you can’t see any evidence of chill due to that full lining😉

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Lilly & Lime is based in Australia, but in these days of global marketing where on-line buying is the norm, international buying is no longer difficult or unusual by any stretch.  My suit retails for $80.00 AUD for the top and $30.00 AUD  for the bottoms and I felt that this was a fair price for a good fitting, quality and cute swimsuit.  You can use the currency converter on the site or if your country’s conversion isn’t shown, use an on-line currency converter such as  THIS one at xe.com to convert the cost into your own currency (for my fellow Canucks, AUS money is generally similar in value to ours). Free international shipping is offered for all purchases over $100 AUD, so if you buy a full suit, you don’t pay shipping.

Congratulations to Lilly & Lime on nailing it with an excellent first collection.  I can’t wait to see what you do next!

 

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Ewa Michalak’s S, SM and SF Styles – Battle of the Bras

With the recent debut of the new SF style (review HERE) from Ewa Michalak, we thought it would be helpful to our readers if we did a comparison of the S, SM and SF styles for you. Although all three styles are similar, they have distinct differences that I will point out that make each one unique and might have you favoring one over the others.

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S Kwaity

 I’d like to first do a short recap the three styles for you, starting with the classic S style. The S is a lightly padded balconette with a higher gore and comes with removable push-up pads to give you that extra oomph and/or help with asymmetry correction.

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SM Amorek

Next is the SM, which is an unlined balconette with a higher gore and cups made of a stable (non-stretchy) material, typically lace or mesh. This style does not come with removable push-up pads.

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SF Gladzioch bez

Lastly we will recap the SF, or Semi-soFt style which the most recent style debuted in the EM line. The SF is a good compromise between the S and SM, being a semi-padded bra with the same high gore as the other two. Like the SM, this style doesn’t come with removable push-up pads. The bottom of the cups are made of a stable (non-stretchy) material while the top of the cups is made of a double layer of elastic tulle, allowing for more stretch and forgiveness up top.

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Now that you know the basics of each style, I’d like to get into comparing the three for you.  Let’s start with their similarities. All three styles come with three or four rows of two or three hook and eyes (depending on size of the bra) as well as fully adjustable straps. They also all are designed in a way that pulls your breasts forward to create maximum cleavage. Due to the medium-to-high gore on these styles (3″ tall on my 65GGs), they are well suited for softer breasts that tend to fall in the center when wearing a bra with a low gore such as the PL style, or if you have wide cleavage and want to pull your breasts closer. The down-side to the higher gore is that these styles can be difficult for women with very close-set breasts, as the gore can tend to sit on the tissue (or implant). Lastly, the cup height is mid-level which makes this an ideal bra to wear with a medium neckline, but may be difficult with a lower cut top.

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Since we have covered the general style and similarities of these three bras lets move on to what makes them so different, and that really is their cups.  Aside from the classic S style being the only one of the three that comes with pockets for removable pads or “cookies”, it also has light padding sewn into the cup.  The positives: it gives you a little extra oomph without feeling like you are wearing a really padded bra; it covers your nips for modesty (no nipping out in this bra); and the lining is very soft against your skin.  The negatives: in warmer weather this bra can be a little hot, creating the dreaded boob sweat we all hate; and if you already feel like your breasts are big enough, the padding on this bra may not be something you are looking for.  The cups of the SM style are pretty much the exact opposite of the S.  This style does not come with removable pads and is constructed of very thin and shear material.  The positives: this bra is a godsend in warm weather, as the cup material is light and airy; and although it pulls your breasts front-and-center, with no padding it doesn’t add any extra bulk to your boobs.  The negatives: if you are more modest (or your office seems to always be frigidly cold like mine is), this bra is going to have you nipping out a bit; and since this bra has no padding or cookies, the sizing is not very forgiving so you will need to have your size down and may not work well if you have a lot of asymmetry.  Last is the SF, which really seems to marry the S and SM together.  Like the SM, this style does not come with removable pads, however the cup is made with a slightly thicker material so it is not sheer.  Also, if you love the shape that the S style gives you but you find that the top of the cups are too closed off, the SF is a great alternative since the tulle at the top allows for more FoT breasts without creating that “muffin top” look that the S style can sometimes make.  The positives: if you like the modesty of the S style but don’t want a padded bra, this is a great compromise; and if you need more room at the top of your cup, this is a great style.  The negatives: like with the SM, since there is no padding, you really need to know your sizing.  NOTE: Another difference I noticed with the SF is that the cups are more full coverage on this bra than on the S or SM styles.

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As far as which is the best style?  I really don’t think any of them are the “best”, as I think that they all serve a purpose, and in my opinion all deserve a spot in your wardrobe🙂  Personally, I prefer the S style and wear that the majority of the time.  However, on super hot days I will chose between the SM and the SF, and which one I choose is 100% dependent on if I am going to work or not.  As I mentioned earlier, my office building is always freezing and I hate worrying about if my nips are showing, so if I’m going to work then I will wear the SF.  But if it is hot out and I am going to be outside, I almost always reach for my SM.  A small little side note about the SM style for those of you who are also enhanced like me: since I have very little natural tissue and no hang, my breasts do not fill out the very bottom of my cups (a very common thing among implanted ladies).  Though this happens in all my bras, since the SM is sheer it is the only bra where I actually see that gap.  It’s not a big deal, but it did worry me the first time I tried the SM, until I found out this is normal.

If you haven’t tried any of these styles before, my suggestion is always to start with the classic S style first and really get your sizing down.  Once you know what size you are in Ewa Michalak, then branch out to the other styles.  As a quick tip, the SM and the SF do seem to typically run a little big in the cups (or seem that way since there isn’t any padding to fill the cup out a bit), so I might suggest getting a cup size smaller in these styles😉  I hope you have enjoyed this review and please let us know if you have any questions!

Ewa Michalak BM Tajemniczy Ogród – Romance in the ‘Secret Garden’

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Photo from the Ewa Michalak website.
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Photo from the Ewa Michalak website.

My love affair with Ewa Michalak began as soon as I was cleared to wear wired bras after my surgery and it was  the stuff of well fitting bra dreams!  As a true Polish bra junkie, I don’t just check her site, but also follow her Instagram.  When I saw teaser pictures of her new collection that included this floral beauty, I quickly alerted the rest of the AEE team and we all started plotting our future orders.  The BM style was one I hadn’t tried and to be honest, it didn’t tempt me as much as the other styles.  The BM Tajemniczy Ogród however, is a whole different story.

Translated to mean ‘Secret Garden,’ this style is a beautiful floral print accented with soft pink lace and tulle.  It has such a fairytale romance feel to it, reminding me of the classic novel by the same name.  I always loved that whimsical story and I knew this was the one BM style I needed in my life.  The unlined cups are constructed of a satiny floral fabric printed with flowers in dusty pinks and purples.  The tops of the cups feature a soft pink stretch tulle that is forgiving to asymmetrical breasts. IMG_7788

A note on fit:  The BM style is known to run on the bigger side, and although I ordered this one in an 80GG, a full cup size smaller than my usual 80H, it’s sadly still too big in the cups.  So, I would order this in at least 1 cup down, depending on how you run in Ewa bra sizes.  I am what I would consider an 80GG1/2.  In the Padded styles, the H is best, but even my 80H SM styles are a tad roomy.  Personally, I’d rather have that bit of roominess instead of potentially having the wires digging in, so I will stick with them, but If I order another BM I will probably size down 2 cups.  I imagine the stretch fabric at the top of all BM bras will accommodate that nicely.  For another opinion on the BM style, check out my fellow blogger Yoomee’s review of the BM Naomi hereIMG_7787

 

As always, I ordered the matching thong in a size 42 and it is just exquisite.  The sides and back are made of a double layer of that pink stretch tulle with cute pink bows accenting the front and back.  As with all of my Ewa Michalak thongs, it is so well constructed and comfortable.

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At the moment, this beautiful romantic bra is on sale for 30 PLN off the original price.  I don’t know how long that will last, so I’d suggest you snag yours fast!