Bolero Beachwear DD+ Hanky Dress Review (and a special discount for you!)

For ladies with larger busts, finding a proper fit in a dress can be a difficult task.  Its frustrating to see a pretty dress on a store rack but, if you are like me, you quickly assess it for stretch and usually then just walk away.  Clothing designed especially to accommodate larger breasts can be daunting to source out and so I am pleased today to bring you a new dress review from Bolero Beachwear!

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A few months ago, we interviewed Bolero’s owner Patricia McCaw and that interview was featured in our Retailer Spotlight which you can read HERE.

Bolero offers a fun and fashionable line of unique, high quality DD+  dresses and tops which are manufactured ethically in the United States, where the Company is based.  Supporting a woman-owned business and ethical manufacturing is something we can all get behind, isn’t it?!   I was kindly sent the Style #12 Hanky Dress in size X-Small in the DD+ line, in the blue peacock colourway (this dress can also be ordered in black & white, purple or turquoise peacock prints).   The Bolero website picture below shows the black and white version.

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To give you a little bit of background info, I asked Bolero’s owner Patricia what her inspiration was in designing this dress:

This style was inspired by a hanky dress that I made for myself years ago and every time I wore it, I got so many compliments and people asking me where can they get it?

I  realized that was just the perfect dress for events and parties and so I designed a hanky dress especially for our line.  Since so many women prefer sleeves, I added the sexy peekaboo sleeves thinking that would  be perfect for any season.

When I received the peacock print material, it was like the fabric was talking to me and telling me it wanted to be a hanky dress 🙂  The movement of the dress, the fit, the sheer trim at the bottom, the lined top, all was technically designed to fit and flatter our busty and curvy customers with love<3

Close Up of Fabric (at hem of skirt):

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I love the ‘cold shoulder’ trend but one thing I typically have trouble with is that my bra straps always seem to end up exposed and I really detest that look.  This dress thankfully was thoughtfully designed and the fabric lays perfectly over my bra straps (for reference, in my pictures I am wearing my Ewa Michalak S Kleks bra under my Bolero hanky dress).

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I also adore the asymmetrical handkerchief hem on the skirt.  This cut gives a very flattering drape over the hips.  The flared skirt is perfect for a twirl on the dance floor, or just a sexy swish as you walk!

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The fabric content on this dress is 90% polyester and 10% spandex, making it easy care –  completely wrinkle free and quick drying.

 This dress will make a great travel-friendly holiday dress but alas, I am currently in cold Canada, in the dead of winter, in a deep freeze 😦  Still, I thought to myself – I bet this pretty little piece could easily be styled into something perfectly suitable for a day in the Great White North, no? Yes!

I decided to play up the black in the dress pattern for my winter look, and to play up the white and silvery sequins in the dress fabric for my summer look.

Winter Styling:

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I’ve easily given the dress a completely different look by covering the top with a simple black sweater and tall black boots.  The sweater is from Canadian company Rickis (no longer available) but I’ve found a very similar one HERE.   A black cardigan or blazer would be great options too.   My black suede Cole Haan boots are from a past season but I’ve found a similar pair HERE.  In keeping with playing up the black, I’ve accessorized with my beautiful black pearl  choker (similar one HERE).

Now lets take a look at how I’d wear the dress if I was somewhere with better weather than Canada has right now . . . say for example the Caribbean!  Fingers crossed for a holiday soon!!!

Summer Styling:

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For this look, I’ve simply added a pair of strappy silver wedges (similar style HERE), a white gold multi-strand necklace (similar style HERE), and my Raymond Wiel Jasmine watch.   A white or silver/grey shawl or cardigan would be a nice addition for cooler evenings.

Its worth noting that Bolero will happily customize their dresses.  By emailing with instructions / questions,  skirts can be made shorter or longer and tops can be adjusted for proportion.  You will find that they really love to hear from potential customers and get as much information as they can before they ship orders out.

As far as sizing goes, I would say this runs true to size for an Extra Small, and would fit well for those in  the approximate size 2 to 4 range.  I’ m currently wearing a 30GG UK bra and there wouldn’t be too much more bust room in the XS size.   I’ve packed on some extra pounds (blame a combination of menopause / Christmas indulging / laziness) and am currently around 130 lbs and I’m 5’4″.   I think the length of this dress is perfect for me but next time I order, I will choose a Small as the Extra Small is slightly snug at this weight.  Either that or go back to the gym and quit eating junk food! 😛

Be sure to check out the DD+ line on Bolero’s website.  I bet you’ll find something you like!  And, especially for our AEE readers, Bolero has kindly provided a discount code!  Use code ENHANCED15 when you place an order and enjoy 15% off!   Bolero Beachwear dresses can be purchased online through the Bolero website HERE or at select retailers.  Don’t forget to like Bolero’s Facebook page as well so you can keep abreast 🙂 of new styles and info!

 

 

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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!

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!

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

 

Feeling Fab in Lilly & Lime!

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Something I didn’t realize when deciding to get larger implants was how it would affect swim suit shopping.  It’s truly a pain!!  I was already wearing my proper fitting bras but when wearing swimwear you are very exposed and there’s always a chance of something showing that you would rather keep covered.  Showing off copious amounts of cleavage can be a bit awkward in public, especially when I’m with my 2 youngest kiddos and they are boys!  Suffice to say it’s been a struggle trying to find a cute and modest swim top as I prefer bikinis and triangle tops are much too revealing unless I’m staying in my own pool and not allowing visitors.  I have also struggled with very, very close set breasts so I was doubtful that anything other than a low plunge would work.  In fact, at first I told my fellow bloggers that I shouldn’t even try the suit for fear of it not working for my shape but boy am I glad I did after all (hint…I love it!).   I was kindly gifted the Stripe Balconette and the matching Stripe Hipster Tie Bottom by Lilly and Lime, a new Australian based swimwear company specializing in swimwear for D cup and up.  I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my package to find a very cute tote with my bikini inside, a special touch by the company that stood out to me.  I was even happier once I tried on my suit and my doubts soon faded as I finally found a modest and super cute bikini top that I can proudly wear in public.

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I was sent the Stripe Balconette style in a 30GG which is my UK size and it’s the size I usually wear in Ewa Michalak unlined styles as well (this might help my fellow Polish bra junkies out there..wink…wink!).  The Balconette is the only style that has the option to be worn with or without straps which are fully adjustable.  For fun you could even cross the straps in the back!  As for fit…The band has a plastic clasp closure and is rather loose so I would definitely prefer a 28H so I could safely and securely wear it as the strapless option to avoid those extra tan lines.  The cups fit almost perfectly with nice projection and I would say they are comparable to my other 30GG bras but I would prefer the wires to be just a bit narrower.  The cups are lined with foam and there are no removable pads making it a stiff fit at first but the longer I had the top on the more it molded to my breasts and I must add that when the top is wet it kept it’s shape nicely.  I’m  also happy to report that my breasts were nicely separated  and the gore was actually comfortable!  This really shocked me as I have a very difficult time with high gores and this one is pretty wide too …good thing I didn’t judge it until I tried it 🙂  The wires are on the softer side so that probably contributes to the comfort, a huge bonus since that’s just as important as being cute for me.  As for support, I can’t accurately comment since the band is too loose for me to properly judge.  The bottoms are very cheeky for me;  I received a size 12 in the Stripe Hipster Tie bottom,  I usually wear a large or size 8 in US sizes.

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I am an older mom of four and I nervously told my fellow bloggers that I didn’t think there was any way on Earth I could wear these cheeky bottoms after seeing pictures of other,  much younger girls in them.  Guess what …shocked again,  they look pretty decent and the ties are just the right fun touch.  I would still prefer more coverage in public and definitely in the waves but for floating in my pool they are perfect.  The fabric is very high quality, nicely lined and there’s a very cute Lilly and Lime signature metal tag detail that I love!  The stripes are a vibrant purple/blue shade and white…very hip and fun and for a twist this pattern would look super cute interchanged with either the Nectarine top or bottom.

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Overall I am ecstatic about this new suit,  I feel young and confident in it…nothing could be better then that right?!  I look forward to more from Lilly and Lime!  There aren’t many larger cup options in swimwear so I am thrilled to find this new choice…super cute vibrant prints and high quality!  A huge Thanks to Lilly and Lime for this beautiful bikini!  My Stripe Bikini was graciously provided for review by Lilly and Lime.  All opinions are my own. Peace! 🙂

Retailer Spotlight – Lilly & Lime Swimwear

A couple of months ago my fellow bloggers and I were approached by  new Australia-based swimwear company Lilly & Lime to see if we would like to try out their suits and review them for our readers.  After doing some initial research on the company and finding out that they cater to fuller busted women (D cup and above), we were intrigued and excited to give their suits a try.  Since this company is very new, we thought that it would be beneficial to both review their swimwear as well as dedicate a Retailer Spotlight to them so that our readers can learn not only about the brand, but the two women behind it.

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When you first visit the Lilly & Lime website, you will notice how fun and youthful their swimsuits are.  They use bright solids and patterns that are easily mix-and-matchable and offer three of styles of tops, all meant to support larger busts.  I was quite impressed with their range of sizes as well with tops offered from a 28D all the way to a 38HH (U.K.).  They also offer three styles of bottoms with sizes ranging from 8 – 18, also in U.K. sizing.

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Over the next couple of months each of the bloggers at AEE will be posting our individual reviews and thoughts about the Lilly & Lime swimsuits that have been gifted to us, but before that here is your opportunity to learn more about the company and it’s owners Emma and Ash via my interview with Emma.

What influenced you to get into the retail lingerie/swimsuit business?

My business partner, Ash and I have both struggled our whole lives to find bikinis that we liked and that fitted us. So lack of choice was really the great motivator for us.

How did Lilly & Lime come to be?

We were at a Hens night a few years ago and discussing, over a few glasses of bubbly, how hard it was to find bikinis and so we decided to look into it a little bit more and start our own brand. Needless to say we had no idea what we were getting into and how hard it is to build a good bikini/bra in bigger sizes. It has taken us over three years to perfect the styles and fit. Luckily we have worked with some great technical people along the way who have guided us and become part of the L&L team. 

How long has Lilly & Lime been open?

We have officially be open for two months. Yay happy dance. 

Do you have a storefront, or are you strictly online?

We only sell online at www.lillyandlime.com .

How do you find the majority of your customers?

Currently our customers are finding us through Google, social media and word of mouth which is fantastic. We are launching some marketing campaigns in the next few weeks to broaden our customer base.

What is the best way for potential new customers to find or contact you?

Our site www.lillyandlime.com or lillyandlimeswimwear on Facebook and Instagram.

What makes you stand out from other swimsuit retailers?

We have a youthful, fun feeling about our prints but we take the fit of our bikinis very seriously. We are a new brand so we are constantly working with feedback we get from customers on what we can do to improve the fit and shopping experience. We really do want to make the best fitting bikinis for bigger busts in the world!

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Hands down it has to be happy customers. We recently had a customer who had been battling to find a bikini top that fitted her for years, she bought ours and sent us a message saying it was the best fitting bikini she has ever owned. That was an amazing feeling.

What is your favorite thing about the swimsuit industry?

We love bikinis, Summer, the beach and swimming so it doesn’t feel like hard work. The industry is fun and I don’t think people take themselves too seriously. At the end of the day we are selling a product that most people take on holiday with them or associate with Summer and good times and that in itself is a really nice thing.

What is the most common question that your customers ask regarding fitting?

“I am not sure what size to buy.” And our answer is always to be professionally fitted. We can give many tips on how the bikini should fit but there is no substitute for that one on one service.

Do you have your own personal favorite suit?

For me (Emma), I love to mix and match our colours and prints.  I love the Balconette stripe top with the Hipster Tie bottoms in nectarine.  Ash – I love the underwire halter and also the hipster ties – stripe and floral are my favs!!!  Also a big fan of mix and match!

Do you have any hot, up and coming tips or advice for our readers?

The range is great for mixing and matching styles and colours so when you are looking to buy a bikini buy colours that work well together. Essentially you can buy two bikinis but end up with 4 different options for wearing them.

What would you like our readers to know about you and your company?

We have FREE shipping worldwide, we also accept returns and will do exchanges so you can find the size that’s best for you.  Our prices are in AUD$ on the site so for most other currencies that works in your favour and the bikinis are a lot more affordable than you think.  We are happy to help customers with any fit advice, questions and any feedback that you have for is is always welcome.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Lilly & Lime and please stay tuned for our blogger reviews!

Retailer Spotlight – Karlee Smith Post-Op and Sports Bras

While browsing on-line for products that might be of interest to both my fellow bloggers and our readers, I recently stumbled upon the Karlee Smith company.  I was intrigued to see that this company specializes in medical grade post-operative and sports bras for women who have undergone surgical procedures for breast augmentation, reduction, lift, mastectomy / lumpectomy etc.

Now when you hear the words ‘medical grade’ you probably don’t  think ‘attractive and sexy’ but that is exactly what Karlee Smith has been able to do – deliver a unique and superior quality product which not only assists in post-operative healing, but at the same time allows the wearer to look and feel sexy.

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Furthermore, the Karlee Smith bras can be used long after the healing period is over, but we will get into that in our upcoming reviews because Karlee Smith was kind enough to send four of the AEE bloggers (including myself) our choice of one of their bras each to test out and review for our readers!

Before we get to those reviews, I would like to give our readers an opportunity to get to know more about the Karlee Smith brand and its products via the following interview.

What influenced Karlee to get into the post op and sports bra industry?

Visionary Designer and Brand Owner Karlee Smith started the brand after a personal experience when her surgeon sent her home in a bra that fell apart after one wash and made her feel ugly while wearing it.  At the time she was working for Victoria’s Secret and could not imagine why there were not better and more stylish bra options for women to wear “post-surgery.”

How did the Karlee Smith brand come to be?

Karlee started the brand after she had a personal breast surgery experience that influenced her passion for women to feel sexier after surgery.  She started her own line after leaving Victoria’s Secret because they didn’t see how “post-op” bras could be sexy.  So she developed the brand and made a “new niche” in the market that has dramatically changed the way women feel in their most intimate moments after breast surgery.

From the brand’s original ideas and design concepts through to actually creating apparel garments that are both surgeon and patient approved must have involved a tremendous amount of research.  Tell us about that process?

According to the Karlee Smith design team, there is a lot of research when selecting the fabrics to ensure the best medical properties and the best quality to match our brand expectations for our customers as well as FDA standards.  We spend a lot of time doing fit testing, product research, patient surveys, QA testing, and working with surgeons to improve our bras as well as design new innovations.

What makes Karlee Smith bras stand out from other post op bras and sports bras?

Our sport bras and post op bras are all front closure which as you can probably tell it is difficult to find many front close bras that fit well.  Not to mention, the majority of front close sport bras usually have wires or padding or something making them not so comfortable for all day wear or use after you just had a breast procedure.  Our bras are always tested on women who have had breast surgery.  This process plus our fit models keep our standards high when it comes to making the best bras.  Karlee Smith bras are most loved by women with or without implants.

How long has Karlee been designing post op and sports bras?

Our company is only a few years old, but Karlee, our designer & owner, has been in the fashion industry since she was 16.  She has a lot of experience.  She has worked with some great bra designers at brands like VF Corp., Fruit of the Loom and Victoria’s Secret just to name a few.

Where does Karlee find inspiration for the brand’s designs?

As a company, we attend many fashion shows, trade events (both fashion & medical), travel, and use customer feedback to influence our ideas for the next season or new concepts.

What makes Karlee stand out from other designers?

Our designer, Karlee, is incredibly talented when it comes to picking the perfect styles, silhouettes, and accents on the bras.  It is medical and athletic wear which she reminds us how most people do not consider sexy but we must!  This is what makes her so different.  She knows the importance of making women feel and look sexy all day long even if it is in their workout or lounge wear!  We also have the most innovative designs, fabric, style, comfort, and support in a bra for the medical market who cater to women recovering after surgery.

How often does your company come out with new designs?

We are always improving the quality of our existing bras and generally launch new concepts as we see fit.

Do you have any plans to introduce any other designs in the future?

Yes, the company has plans to expand our product line and launch updates to existing bras.

What is special about the company and the Karlee Smith brand?

The Karlee Smith brand is always fun, exciting, innovative and evolving.  There are so many days that new ideas and things spring up that keep the job a surprise.  Outside of medical and our sport bras, we have other fashion design collaboration projects we get to work on which are always super involved and entertaining.  We are also working on some cool things for retail spaces (both medical and fashion) which is interesting.  Every day there is something new and we love to keep our customers happy.  It is always refreshing getting emails or reading reviews from all the women that support us and love our bras!

What is the best thing about the post op and sports bra industry?

We strive to design bras that women LOVE to wear all day not just post-op or in the gym.  We design bras that make them feel supported and sexy all day long while lounging or even while at work.  The athletic and medical markets are unique and both offer us the ability to be innovative when bringing something new to the market.

Where can our readers purchase your bras?

Our bras can be found online at karleesmith.com or through the patient’s plastic surgeon.  If their surgeon does not provide them with a Karlee Smith bra after their surgery then they can ask their surgeon for a coupon code unique to their surgeon provided by us and if their surgeon is registered with us they will be able to purchase their first bra at  karleesmith.com using this discount from their surgeon.

What is the best way for potential new customers to find or contact you with any questions they may have regarding Karlee Smith bras?

For questions regarding our bras, the fit, or ordering, they can visit us online, call us at 888-640-0942 or email customercare@karleesmith.com.  We would be delighted to hear from you!

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Be sure to stay tuned for our Karlee Smith reviews coming soon on the AEE blog.   You won’t want to miss them!

 

 

Bra Obsessed’s Exclusive Summer 2016 Comexim Bikinis – Harbour and Port

The weather man is calling for a long, hot summer where I live and so I needed no justification in ordering myself another new bikini.

This is the Comexim Harbour set.  It is available exclusively through Bra Obsessed.  I’m a sucker for anything nautical themed and so it, like so many other things, called my name.

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I purchased the top in  30G and the bottoms in Medium.  I requested that the bottoms have the waist line raised one inch higher than is the standard for Comexim bikini bottoms.  I did this because I felt that my two other Comexim bikinis (Jamaica and Pin Up Girl) were a tad low cut.  Actually, that isn’t really the whole truth.  What happened was this.  This past March I was strolling along a gorgeous white sand beach in the Caribbean with my teen daughter when she asked if we could go for a ride on one of those fun-looking little sail boats that resort workers will take guests out on.  “Sure!”  I said, although frankly it was a bit windy that day, the surf was kicking up pretty good and I thought we might possibly even die.  Anyway, off we went and sure enough a big wave came up, soaked me right down and just about dragged my pants out to sea too.  So now I’m nervous of losing my pants and feel a little safer with them up a bit higher.

My bikini top is in the classic plunge style, with no modifications.

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This bikini top features all silver-toned hardware and a jaunty little knotted bow at the gore which brings to mind a sailor’s rope.

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In designing this set, special attention has been paid to what Jaimie’s customers have been looking for in a bikini. The bikini bottoms are fully lined.  The band of the bikini top is extra firm and strong, due to the addition of a supportive fabric liner built into the backside of the bikini’s band.

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The shoulder straps are double layered and have reinforced zigzag stitching so that, for women with heavier busts, they will offer extra support, will not fold and will be much more comfortable.     There is a firm locking clip at the back.  I did note that the shoulder straps are only partially adjustable due to the extra silver ring on the back of the shoulder straps.  If you require the straps to be fully adjustable, you should request to have your bikini top made without that additional ring.  Personally, I have no need to adjust the straps that high and I feel  that the extra bit of hardware adds to the whole nautical / bikini vibe.

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While I was at the Bra Obsessed shop a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a look at and try on Jaimie’s other exclusive bikini for 2016, the Comexim Port.  This is a sophisticated and sleek little black number with gold hardware made of high quality Lycra.   I noticed this bikini top showed quite a lot of cleavage.  The Port model actually owes its extra sexy appearance to having reduced cups and gore, which also helps it to have a less bra-like appearance.

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This suit features the same special details as the Harbour, with the extra fabric liner in the band and the re-engineered shoulder straps.  The band definitely felt snug and secure and the gold locking clip felt strong enough that you wouldn’t have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions on the beach.

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Both the Port and Harbour bikinis can be ordered in your choice of regular cup style, half cup style, etc. (and you can even have the bottoms made higher if you are worried about losing them at sea!).