This past weekend, I attended CURVExpo and it was great to see all of the beautiful lingerie on display. The most significant thing that I came away with is that the British really know how to do big bust lingerie and make it palatable to the young and young at heart. My colleague and I sat down with London-based Curvy Kate, which specializes in D-K cup lingerie and swimwear. Now I know what you are thinking...that Curvy Kate is for plus size busty women, but it turns out that in the UK, "curvy" can also mean slender with a big bust. What I liked most about Curvy Kate is that they are not lazy with details. For example, we were shown the berry colored Ritzy Babydoll and the Bardot Babydoll (in black) chemises. The former has the same pattern detail going down the front of the body as the bra while the latter has a satin ribbon detail around the bottom perimeter of the body. Usually, babydolls for large busted and plus size women have the same plain sheer fabric with no details in the typical colors of solid white or black. This general lack of effort is definitely not part of Curvy Kate's design ethos.
Curvy Kate brought a 30G model to CURVExpo in order to show how the lingerie will look on a real woman (see top left and right photos). The bras seem very supportive and I love how much detail and function goes into their lingerie. Curvy Kate seems to know their stuff and noted that molded bras aren't good for super heavy breasts, and instead seams are necessary to maintain shape. They got really scientific with the explanation. Now I can definitely see the difference between a lingerie brand that caters to full busts and a lingerie brand that offers larger cups as an extension of their A-C sizes. One just can't take a C cup bra with a 34 band, scale up and expect it to fit correctly. I also want to mention that Curvy Kate has a "naughtier friend" called Scantilly (right photo).
I picked up a look book from Leicester-based (England) Tutti Rouge, which specializes in D-HH cups, and one of the photos (left) in the look book sums up the brand precisely: fun, playful, and colorful with a splash of vintage. The green with white polka dot bra that I mentioned in my last blog entry is from Tutti Rouge. While I was chatting with the creative director, I pointed to that bra and mentioned that I liked it and had tried it on in a 32GG. She asked how it fit and I explained to her why it didn't work out for me. She responded that my bust shape is best suited for balconette bras and she had a number of them that were so cute! I wanted to buy them right then and there. My favorite is The Betty and, unlike Curvy Kate, you can buy Tutti Rouge lingerie directly on their website. I really like Tutti Rouge because their designers make good use of patterns and colors, and brings youth into big bust lingerie. This is not your grandma's lingerie company!
During my time at CURVExpo, I was partial to the big bust brands but I liked the styles at The Little Bra Company and Hanky Panky. Also, it seems like the founder of The Little Bra Company and I are kindred spirits. We founded our companies for similar reasons, but on opposite ends of the bust size spectrum.
I stopped by the the Nubian Skin booth, which sells hosiery and lingerie in different nude tones for darker complexions. I was so excited when I first heard about them because, as an African-American woman, traditional "nude" undergarments certainly don't blend into my skin color. So I am glad that a company makes nude products for women like myself. Unfortunately, Nubian Skin bras only go up to a DD, but I spoke with their model and she showed me a prototype of a G cup bra in the works. Yes!
I also spoke with a rep from Girly Go Garter, which is a garter belt that can discretely store items like a phone, credit cards, etc. It sounds like a great idea, especially for women who frequent clubs or are exploring travel destinations with high instances of purse snatchings and muggings.
CURVExpo was a wonderful experience and now I have two new big bust lingerie companies that I'm dying to try!