By HOLLY JACKSON
Bralettes are still a dominating market force, but there are many women who are looking for a different kind of wireless bra. Beyond new mothers, we don’t talk about them much! There can be lots of reasons that women develop a dedication to wireless bras. Some women have health conditions that make wearing underwires deeply uncomfortable. Some women have skin sensitivities. Some women dislike the sense of restriction that comes with wearing a properly fitted underwire bra. Traditionally, there have been few options for women who prefer wireless bras and are curvier.
Royce Lingerie doesn’t make bralettes and hasn’t jumped on that trend, but they are experts in creating wireless bras that really work. They were established in 1991 and describe themselves as “the world’s only dedicated wirefree bra specialist”. While they make several popular nursing and maternity bra styles, much of their catalogue is devoted to full-bust and plus-size friendly pieces that are completely wirefree.
What sets Royce apart is their quality and their dedication to a customer base that is often overlooked. I know women who live in wirefree sports bras because they can’t find a compatible underwire, but also yearn for a regular t-shirt bra that doesn’t hurt them. The Royce Comfort Bra line straddles the line between the two. Several of their models go up to a UK L cup, which means they fit even exceptionally curvy women. Both the Luna and the Charlotte are supportive and comfortable and they come in a wonderfully wide size range.
Royce’s Impact Free sports bra goes up to a UK K cup and manages to generate serious support without any use of wires. Curvy customers who are fans of compression sports bras will like this one, even for higher impact sports. The breathable cotton base fabric means that it’s also great for hot weather.
My favorite of all of the bras I tried from Royce was a surprise: The Blossom Nursing Bra. I’m not pregnant, but the super soft fabric and adjustable neckline made me fall in love. I’ve been using it as a crop top to sleep in for several weeks now and adore it. If they made a version without nursing clips I’d buy three.
Royce Lingerie’s long term devotion and dedication to wirefree bra styles shows in their superior construction and design details. It’s a great line to convert underwire loving customers to the wirefree life and to help serve curvy customers who don’t feel comfortable with underwire bras.
By HOLLY JACKSON
Ellen is in family wedding mode this week, so I’m taking the reins in this column space to reveal a big secret recently shared with me. She’s cheating on her tried and true sports bra and having a love affair with Curvy Couture’s Ultimate Fit Sports Bra! She’s written a lot of articles about her devotion to another style and claims she never intends to discard it. But she can’t stop talking about the Curvy Couture Ultimate Fit and its incredible support, particularly while she canters in the desert.
I personally think of horses as terrifyingly large creatures with the ability to kick you, but Ellen is fearless. She rides almost every day when she is in Cabo. I also know from a personal friend who works at a horse stable that riding requires a serious sports bra. It’s on par with the dynamics of running as well as other hi-impact sports and can lead to nasty back and shoulder aches if you aren’t wearing the right thing. This is amplified when a woman is large breasted. It’s imperative that everything remains still. Eliminating bounce is critical. This award winning style, fitting 34-44, C-H cups, scored the highest marks on Invista’s Sports Bra wear test. The fact that Ellen is wearing this bra consistently and raving about it all the time during our editorial meetings means that it must be truly special!
I think sometimes that Ellen and my fellow column editors are a little hesitant to talk about our favorite styles because product objectivity is our constant focus! But I do think that when bras become indispensable parts of our lives and daily activities that they deserve some sort of honorable mention. In the meantime, I hope to find a sports bra that I feel as passionately about as Ellen does about the Ultimate Fit Sports Bra!
By HOLLY JACKSON
One of the first things you figure out as a plus-size women is that you’re supposed to take up as little space as possible. On planes, public transportation, and in restaurants you sit there and think about how to fold yourself into as small a space as possible. You worry if spaces are made to fit you. You worry what people will think of you if you can’t manage to fit in that day. Space becomes the unknown and potentially the enemy, an issue that can prejudice people against you and expose you to public censure.
There’s a lot of discussion about taking back the right to take up space in the plus-size community, so I love when a brand seems to embrace and embody that idea. URTUMUCH makes pieces that are big, bright, and loud. They also make pieces that are luxurious, offering an alternative when much of the market is still pursuing budget options in larger size ranges. The fact that their shop has a specific section for sparkle speaks volumes.
The current collection is based on astrological signs and features glitzy sparkly pieces along with themed prints for each star sign. Almost every piece is a trendy caftan of sorts, from sheer pieces meant to be worn over lingerie or swimwear to sequined and feathered pieces that would look at home with heels in a fancy restaurant. These are pieces that are ready to take up space and attract major attention.
All of these pieces are also able to serve multiple functions. The Juno Cardi is perfectly ready for festival season, while the Taurus Mini would make a great date night look over a base layer or a lingerie set. Other pieces showcase dramatic feathers and frills in ways that are dramatic and eye-catching. As the brand name seems to be arguing, there’s no such thing as “too much” no matter what people say.
Each piece is made in Los Angeles and sourced locally and sustainably. The company is currently doing small-run productions only and focusing on designs that will stand the test of time. It’s a lovely attitude, especially as clothing becomes more disposable and fast fashion dominates the market.
I’d love to see more brands display the attention to quality and attitude towards the plus-size community that URTUMUCH does. Many plus-size customers have money to spend and want to spend it on quality pieces that will last – and maybe add some sparkle to their lingerie drawer while they are at it.
By HOLLY JACKSON
One of my favorite things about social media is the way it has allowed completely new designers to open up the conversation about what both lingerie and lingerie marketing can look like. While the larger North American market frequently stays focused on things like continuity colors and t-shirt bras, young designers are creating away on Instagram and posting it all so customers can find them. These brands understand both the power of images and the power of representing a diverse set of customers, as they have to appeal directly to consumers to make sales.
All of this is to say that I found Solstice Intimates through Instagram and was immediately entranced by their offerings. Their pieces always feel like someone found a really great trunk full of vintage fabrics and went to town on them, in the best possible way. Solstice Intimates likes unexpected things like combing crazy circus colors of velvets with ruffles and embroidery or or creating sweet floral pieces and then decking them out with fringe that would make Dolly Parton proud.
What strikes me as equally important as the designs is the way they are displayed — most importantly, who they are displayed on. Solstice Intimates has gone out of their way to embrace a diverse customer base in almost every area they can. While I’m obviously partial to their curvy model shots and pieces, they also feature models of all sizes and racial backgrounds. Many of their pieces are modeled by men, which encourages customers to see lingerie as something that is truly accessible to all. Every piece is available in a wide range of pre-selected sizes and custom sizing, ensuring that no one is left out by the brand.
Impressively, Solstice Intimates seems to be stuck in an envious state of constant creativity. Recent Instagram previews for Spring/Summer 2019 showcased a velvet bodysuit with embroidered flowers and mushrooms on it in 70’s throwback shades along with a set in a floral print that seems like something Van Gogh would have appreciated. It’s hard to constantly build on what a brand is doing and stay fresh and fun, but Solstice Intimates seems to have worked it all out.
By HOLLY JACKSON
I know it’s still cold and snowy other places, but here in New Orleans it’s been spring for at least two weeks.The camellia bushes in my courtyard are blooming and the sweet olive trees are bursting with blossoms that smell like peach candy. It’s been so lovely that I’ve spent most days turning my front porch into a makeshift office, so I can work outside while my puppy plays in the garden.
All of this is to say that I’ve had flowers on the brain, which may explain part of the reason I’ve been obsessed with the latest Oh La La Cheri releases.Their designers clearly had flowers in their head for this season as well! While I associate Oh La La Cheri and their plus-size line mostly with lace pieces, this season has brought some prints as well as some truly stunning floral lace variations on their classic looks.
The floral print Ariana Romper is sexy enough to qualify as lingerie but also doubles as a real loungewear piece.The print is bright and dynamic in person, while the fabric is light enough to keep you cool even in the hottest weather. I think it would make great sleepwear as well once the weather warms up for everyone else!
The Lana Teddy and Babydoll incorporates bright pink flowers into the design through the use of a striking metallic lace, which dresses up an otherwise classic set of designs. It’s nice to see floral options in plus-sizes that look modern and sexy rather than stodgy. It can be a hard line to walk, given that floral prints have been used to disguise the perceived “flaws” of larger women for so many years. It’s great to see a design that shows off curves so well and still keeps the sheerness and sex appeal that Oh La La Cheri is known for.
It may still be cold other places, but it’s clear that customers are already in the mood for florals. These pieces have been bestsellers already, so I’m suspecting that lots of lingerie fans are getting in the mood for spring as well