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By HOLLY JACKSON

Tulip Embroidered bra from Elila on Lingerie Briefs

I’ve been going through a phase over the past few years where I’m fascinated by textures. Whether it’s a great piece of embroidered lingerie or just petting an antique piano shawl in a local store, I love the look and feel of textured fabrics with elements that put them over the top. While that trend has taken off in other sections of the lingerie industry, it hasn’t really hit the plus size market in a big way yet.

One of the earliest adopters of this trend was the new Tulip Embroidered Underwire bra by Elila, which was shown at Curve over several shows and has finally been released. I wanted it from the first moment I saw it, but I was also interested in how it reflected a change in the look and feel of Elila’s brand. Elila has also focused on maintaining a wide side range with superior support options. Their focus has been fit and construction, which sometimes meant their bras felt plain or retro compared to fashion forward brands like Elomi who were always chasing the latest trends. The release of their Glamour collection felt like a step in a different direction: a combination of their seriously supportive bras with some classic fashion trends.

When I asked Elila about their design inspirations, they cited Grace Kelly and other glamorous black and white movie stars. While the delicately embroidered material makes an impression, there are other changes too. Elila bras are traditionally exceptionally full coverage, so the recent releases of the Glamour and Tulip sets have been designed to be able to be worn with lower cut clothing. This is evident in their new strapless longline bra release as well, which has been designed with moulded cups and a much lower gore than previous pieces.

The Tulip Embroidered Underwire bra features the same supportive materials and three part cup design from other Elila classics, so customers don’t have to sacrifice support for fashion. Available 34 – 46, DD/E to K cups, this is the perfect holiday set for curvy lingerie boutiques and consumers who want to branch out beyond the heavy hitting brands in the industry. In fact, I suspect this will be a great way for new and younger consumers to discover how great Elila bras are.


By HOLLY JACKSON

Elila Bras for Curvy Girls on Lingerie Briefs

My grandfather was a last minute shopper. He wasn’t much of a gift guy – in fact, my mother has lots of memories of sale gifts hastily wrapped in newspaper for many special occasions. But not when it came to my grandmother’s birthday.. He would walk into the fanciest lingerie store in town and buy a full matching set for his wife, instructing them to wrap it beautifully and make it look special. My grandparents weren’t rich by any means, but this Birthday treat was an important part of their lives. Having a pretty lingerie set that matched made my grandmother feel special for the rest of the year, even when she was managing a classroom of full of kids as a substitute teacher.

Elila glamour embroidery underwire bra to a K cup on Lingerie Briefs

All of this came to mind while I talked to Elila about their latest line, aimed at making fashion bras that also functioned as basic bras for an incredibly wide range of women. “We’re just trying to create pieces that women will be able to use again and again in different settings. We always want our consumer to feel happy, comfortable and supported – but maybe they have a big date or a big meeting or too many stay-at-home days with their kids and they just need something to make them feel good. Underwear is not always meant to be seen.”

Elila jacquard bras on Lingerie Briefs

Elila makes bras for women like my grandmother, but they also make bras for women like me. Plus-size lingerie is full of bras made from giant floral prints or ditzy geometrics that pick splash over substance. Elila’s sophisticated use of textures and embroidery in their new line make their bras feel like pieces that could be worn at 25 or at 70 or anywhere in between. They’re classic, elegant and still practical for tackling the events of every day life.

Elila smooth long line strapless bra to an I cup on Lingerie Briefs

Elila’s forward momentum is about more than design. They’re using a diverse set of models for both trade shows and brand imagery that is quietly revolutionary. They’re expanding their band size range up 54 and their cup size up to N – a feat many companies tout as simply impossible. All of their recent moves have been about expanding access to beautiful lingerie rather than restricting it, as well as about reflecting a wider variety of customers in their imagery and branding. After all, everyone deserves to feel special in beautiful lingerie.

Elila jacquard bras on Lingerie Briefs

We wish to introduce Holly Jackson, Lingerie Briefs’ new feature writer for Curvy Briefs. Holly is the owner of The Full Figured Chest Copywriting, a content marketing and consulting company that services the lingerie industry. Her clients range from indie lingerie designers to larger lingerie corporations.


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When we were children, my grandmother would travel east from Ohio to visit us in NY staying several weeks in my brother’s bedroom. He moved in with me next door and both of us shared the bathroom with Sylvia. One of our favorite pastimes was to peak into the shower where her lingerie was hanging to dry.  We would count the rows of hooks on her bra; 16 if I recall.  This was very funny to us at the time; perhaps because we were under the age of 10.  Her “bra” was huge, a “corset” that functioned like an ace bandage. Perhaps had I known I would inherit some of her genes, I would have been more forgiving.  A selection of fit choices for women sized outside the fashion mold was not an option in her day.

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Thankfully the Lingerie industry has come a long way, but only in recent years have they recognized that very large breasted women have a right to feel completely supported in their bras.  One company that takes this mission to a whole new level is Elila. I first recognized this brand last spring, fascinated by the bra design pedigree of its founder, Ellen Jacobson. Flying under the radar for the past 10 years, Ellen’s expertise in fit for a fuller woman has placed Elila front and center of this critical category. Dedicated to the brand niche, styles range in sizes 34-54 bands and B-N cups. This time it’s the new no wire Leopard Lace Jacquard soft cup style (1203) that caught my attention. No wire construction for 34-50, DD-K cups? How? It is engineered with every requisite technical detail and yet, it is not my grandmother’s bra. It only has 3 rows of hooks.

“Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out” ~Dr. Seuss


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Last week, when I finally had the opportunity to review the Elila collection, I was first and foremost impressed with the architecture of these bras.  Like a building built to sustain any untoward event, the styles offered by this 10 year young brand have been carefully crafted with technical expertise. Meeting with founder and designer Ellen Jacobson, I learned that she had been well-schooled in her trade by her grandmother, the original author of the 63 year old Goddess brand. Ellen’s mission is to provide firm, full cup intimates at a moderate price point to a woman who wears 34-54, D-N cups.  I was originally introduced to her at Curve by Kim Caldwell, our Hurray for Lingerie blogger who created Elila’s branding video. Read Kim’s interview with Ellen here

I was surprised at myself for not being more aware of Elila because they are certainly embedded in many better specialty stores and have been featured on TV shows like Rachel Rae and Livi Rae’s Double Divas.  Classically designed for maximum support, comfort and durability, these bras are engineered to function at 110%  for the plus size woman. Construction details, such as full under cup slings and reduced stretch straps enable  substantial fit.  Ellen likes to say they are not fluff, but rather “brain lingerie”. Certainly there is a modicum of fashion infused into these styles; color, trims etc. do matter. The one thing I know for sure is that there is a very loyal following behind these seams.

“Form And Function Should Be One, Joined In As Spiritual Union”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

 


By Kim Caldwell

Hurray for Elila

Women often ask me “What is the most popular cup size that you fit?” and I inform them that it really ranges. In one day of bra fitting, I can help a 32A, a 40C and 34G, with the majority of my clients fitting into F, G and H cups. All day long. And while many women think that’s “really big”, I braducate them on what an F, G or H cup really looks like (look around you, it’s more popular than you think). And then, I let them know that I also help M and N cup sizes. You see, while the F and G cups of the world have a hard time finding great bras that fit, they are finally gaining more options with great bra brands. The M and the N cups, however, have an even harder time. So what bras do I fit those women with? Elila.

Elila is one of those brands that I call “foundational”. They have some style and a few awesome color options, and they are expanding their offerings, but at the heart of it all, Elila undergarments fit a full figure and support a full bust. Instead of worrying about what the next trend will be, or what embellishment to use this season, they focus on structure, form and functionality. You could argue that the styles are a bit old fashioned (something I actually like), but their support is timeless.

I am proud to share a behind the scenes video that I shot during the recent 2014 Elila photo shoot. It’s one of my very first projects with my brand new company, Hurray Media. The Elila team members are amazing to work with and are huge supporters of my new business, and this shoot opened my eyes to a side of Elila I had never seen: fun, funky and fabulous! Take a sneak peek “Behind the Seams” with the Elila crew!


I sat down with Ellen Jacobson, owner and designer for Elila to clue you in to this full figured brand:

Kim: OK so for the record, is it Ee-lee-la or Eh-lie-la?

Ellen: EE-LEE-LA

Kim: Where does the name come from? What does it mean?

Ellen: The name comes from the hebrew “Goddess”…like confidence and presence.

Kim: I’ve always thought of Elila as a more “traditional” brand for older women, but this photo shoot is so much more fun and vivacious. Who is Elila for?

Ellen: Elila has one main objective: to help full figured women feel better by providing garments that are super well constructed and that can provide the coverage and support that full figured women need.

Kim: What’s your most popular seller? Why do you think it’s #1?

0006737_elila-1305-bra-20-offEllen: Our number one best seller is Style 1305, our Jacquard Softcup. It comes in 7 different colors (including hot colors like cobalt blue and lilac) and goes up to an N cup. There are few garments in the market that have this level of firm support, with a full-cup sling, buckle strap adjustments (so you can adjust from the front, rather than the back) and that are built for comfort.

Kim: What’s next for Elila? How do you envision the brand evolving?

Ellen: Elila has established its basic lines of garments, our everyday hits that consumers repeat buy. But after 10 years, we are ready to start playing a bit more…without foregoing our brand pillars which are firm support and full coverage. This year, we launched the Leopard collection, some fun prints in both softcup and underwire styles for a sassier consumer that go hand in hand with a shapewear bottom. Coming soon, we will be launching our first three-piece collection which will surprise the Elila consumer (for the positive) as we have upped the ante on “sexy” for the full-figured woman who likes pretty but needs the support that our brand delivers. As our consumer is our number one advisor, we are also constantly working on new garments that they ask for and that the market is not delivering. We will also likely continue exploring the specialty branch of the market, with pieces that our consumers will fall in love with.

Kim: What about Elila makes you say “hurray”?

Ellen: We’re brain lingerie, not fluff lingerie…we get it done and women everywhere love that.

Find out more at elilausa.com.

Have you worn Elila before? What’s your favorite style? Have questions about the line? Not sure what size you should wear? Shoot me a tweet @hurraykimmay and visit hurraykimmay.com for more people, places, products and projects that make you say “hurray!”


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