Intimate Innovations


J Is For Joy ~ Curvy Kate’s New J-Cup Bra

June 25, 2012

By Ali Cudby

The first Contour J Cup Bra previews for Fall 2012

At June’s Full Figured Fashion Week, panel participants and audience members alike got into a rollicking discussion about bras.  While many of these women were unaware of the options that existed in the market, some also lamented that the brands focusing on fashion-forward, full-figured options were limited in their sizes.

In fact, a Facebook poll revealed that only 14% of busty women have found a molded cup bra that fits them well, with size range and shape being the two main contributors of their dissatisfaction.

Now, the range of options for both full-figured and full-busted women is growing, with the introduction of the world’s first contoured J-cup bra, by Curvy Kate.  The bra, aptly named Smoothie,  will be available as part of the AW12 collection beginning in September.

“For fuller cup sizes, it is incredibly difficult to create a shape and support that truly lifts and contours such a heavy bust. The challenge is creating a mold that will suit many women’s shape and size, and it’s so much more than just stretching out or enlarging the same shape of a 32DD. After years of development, extensive research, fit tests and a turnover of countless samples that weren’t quite right, Curvy Kate finally found the perfect formula to cater to the needs of their fuller figured customers,” says the company.

The tone-on-tone leopard print provides a sense of fun without affecting the smooth silhouette, and is paired with brief and thong options on the bottom.



A Knock Out Win!

June 10, 2012

By Ali Cudby

Get a bunch of MBA’s in a room and you might expect them to focus on the next big technology play or Wall Street bull, but in the 2012 Harvard Business School competition for Alumni Entrepreneurs, Knock Out!® panties KO’d the other 130 new companies in the field to take home the championship belt.

Knock Out!®, owned by Harvard MBA Angela Newnam, is the first woman-owned venture to win the competition.  The company had to impress 18 judges (of which 17 were men) to take home the prize for her high-performance undergarments.  Knock Out!’s® edge comes from an odor and moisture control fabric that uses a patented NoTrace® technology.

NoTrace® gives the cotton performance properties, in two ways:  1) The cotton wicks moisture away to keep clothes and the wearer dry while also eliminating odor.  2) Odor technology is built into the natural cotton fabric using “specialized glucose (sugar) molecules which act like tiny ‘pockets’ that encapsulate odor,” according to Newnam.  The pockets store the odor until the garment is washed.  After washing, the pockets are once again “empty” and ready to be used again.  The safe, natural odor absorbing properties of the garments will not wash out or rub off – they last as long as the product.

“We are asking consumers to think differently about undergarments and about cotton – to think of them as the ‘softwear that protects your hardware’, says Newnam.   “Outerwear and athletic wear have long been associated with higher tech fabrics, but NoTrace® technology is raising the performance bar for intimates.”

Knock Out!’s® line of products includes women’s panties in a variety of chic styles and colors – in standard, plus and maternity sizes.  Other offerings include men’s underwear, yoga pants, and t-shirts for both men and women.  All products are Made in America using premium Supima® cotton.



Shapewear Innovations from Body Wrap®

May 28, 2012

By Ali Cudby

That’s A Wrap!

There’s no question that women are increasingly turning to shapewear in their wardrobes, but not all shapewear is created equal.  Differences often come down to the technology that goes into manufacturing the various brands.  In an effort to help shed the light on some of the leading innovations, I spoke with the manufacturers of Body Wrap® to learn more about the technology that goes into their product.  Here’s what they had to say.

AC: How, specifically, does the seamless Body Wrap® technology work?

BW:  Body Wrap® shapewear involves seamless engineering of garments using advanced circular knit technology. This technology allows different knitting constructions, from high compression to high breathability zones, to be knit seamlessly within one garment, eliminating side seams and chafing points. Through seamless engineering, we can determine the level of volume, control, compression, support and comfort that is needed in targeted zones.

AC:  Can you explain how the garment is made to incorporate the panels without seams?  

BW:  Machines allow each of these seamless “panels” to be incorporated within one garment through knitting. This provides a customized fit that takes years of expertise both in circular knitting as well as in the shapewear market to determine how the perfect shapewear is constructed. This expertise in knitting and shapewear ensures products are built to slim in some areas, lift in others, and provide comfort throughout. Seamless panels involve technology that allows different yarns, knitting constructions and tensions for targeted shaping and slimming.

AC:  So the knit pattern changes up over the course of the garment?

BW:  Yes – it is achieved through knitting. Seamlessly, we are able to provide the same benefits ranging from light slimming to firm control shaping.

AC:  What makes the machines unique from other shapewear machines? 

BW:  Shapewear is built on many different machine types and not all is using seamless technology. One of the things that makes Body Wrap® unique is the fact that we have a heritage of designing and developing our own products, within our own seamless facility located in Montreal, Quebec. Being a global brand we now have shapewear being produced in different parts of the world, but all of our seamless originated from our facility, our designers and knitting engineers to build the best product possible.

AC:  Is there anything else about that manufacturing process that makes Body Wrap®’s technology superior/unique?

BW:  Our seamless engineers and knitting technicians have decades of experience and have worked in product development of intimates as well as high performance activewear, which lends them in edge in delivering innovation in Body Wrap® shape wear.



A Full-Busted Swimwear Smorgasbord

May 13, 2012

The Full-Busted Swimwear market has exploded in the past several years, and many companies take different approaches to supporting the girls.  Here are just a few of the styles of construction out there for swim.

First of all, a note: I have never understood the tankini.  It’s a bathing suit for women who want the sass of a bikini but with a little more coverage.  A woman who wants that modest two-piece is likely to feel that way for a reason.  And yet…the tankini exposes the one area that most women are self-conscious about, the belly roll.  I’m sure there are toned, athletic women out there who love a tankini but personally, I don’t get it.  Given my bias, I am not reviewing any.



This one-piece from Aerin Rose features an underwire built into the front of the bodice, with an elastic band that continues to the back, for support.



The Sophia one-piece offers a built-in strapless bra, complete with interior backwings, adjustable band with hook and eye closures, and underwire cups.  The suit effectively sits on top of the strapless bra. The one-shoulder detail can be detached.



The swim top is constructed like an underwire, cut-and-sewn bra.  It shares many features with undergarments, including adjustable straps.



The Sienne two-piece style features construction very much like a plunge underwire bra.  What sets it apart is a firm, contoured cup.

From a virtual swimwear desert not so many years ago, options for full-busted swim have exploded, and offer women opportunities for Fab Fit up to a K-cup.  While we can enjoy the bounty, our cups no longer have to runneth over.



Dial N for N-spired ~ Natori

April 29, 2012

By Ali Cudby

It is always exciting to see established lingerie brands expand their range.  When they grow into full-busted sizes, it’s a decision made only after careful consideration.  Full-busted bras are a tricky business because asking a small strip of fabric to do the job of supporting and shaping larger breasts means more engineering, new fit models, possibly even different manufacturing techniques.  In other words – it takes real work and dedication to excellence to get it right.

N Natori, the new full-busted line from Natori, delivers a stylish package with superior fit, and all at a surprisingly attainable price point.

The line has been built on a foundation of a few styles, intelligently conceived.  The current collection has been designed for cup sizes D-H, and band sizes ranging from 32 to 40.  From this strong platform, the company plans expansion in coming seasons.

The N line offers the basics of a lingerie wardrobe – contour cup, cut and sewn unlined underwire, and a soon-to-be-released plunge style.  The bras feature elements to highlight fit and comfort, such as power mesh backs and gel straps.  Many of the styles feature fabrics that lie flat, but are enhanced with visual appeal designed to be invisible under clothes, so women get the benefit of a smooth cup look without the plain Jane blahs.

N Natori encourages women to, “celebrate your curves, never sacrifice style for comfort and always look your best from the inside out.  It’s all about the perfect fit and that boost of confidence to get you where you want to go.”

That’s N-spiring, at any size.

READ more about the Natori Feathers Bra on Lingerie Briefs “Courting Beauty”

READ more about the Natori Bliss Panties on Lingerie Briefs “Natori Underwear”



The Uplifting Tango Plus ~ Panache

April 15, 2012

By Ali Cudby

Panache’s Tango has been celebrating its 10th birthday this year by introducing Tango Luxe, a fancier sister to the balconette and plunge styles.  Having experienced the amazing lift and shape of Luxe, I was inspired to learn more.

Samantha Smith, Senior Designer at Panache was kind enough to answer a few questions, which have also whetted my appetite for the future of Tango Luxe.

1)  Panache could have done lots of things to commemorate 10 years of Tango – what was the inspiration for creating Luxe?

We decided to create Tango Luxe to mark the occasion and celebration of 10 years of the best-selling style from Panache. With this, we wanted retain the original fit of the Tango balconette, which is extremely popular and well-known, but add touches of indulgence and luxurious details to make it even more special.

2)  What are the new and exciting differences between Tango and Luxe?

We wanted to keep the same design and fit features, which are loved from the original Tango design, but give it a few special, modern touches such as satin trim and a diamante gore embellishment.


3)  Did anything change from the construction standpoint?

By retaining the fine rigid mesh with the iconic leaf design, we kept the exceptional fit of Tango and simply added touches of luxury. The built up satin front straps, in particular, add to the comfort of the piece and the satin cradle sits softly against the body.  With this, we knew that the core Tango customers would be pleased with the fit, lift and support – as it’s built on their favorite style!

4)  I’m excited for the new colorway in AW12 – any other plans for the future of Luxe?

Yes, we are looking at several exciting options for the future of Tango, including potentially removing the embroidery to offer an even smoother appearance under clothes. We are also experimenting with new embroideries, prints and patterns… and of course colors!


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