06/02/2016

Brands for Small Busts: Bluebella in 2016

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending The Lingerie Edit AW16 show down in London and it was magical. Much love to Becky (of Invest in your chest) and Vicky of The Lingeristas for dragging me down and making my weekend extra special. One of my great loves, Bluebella, had a booth there. We did spend an unreasonable amount of time browsing through their SS16, AW16 and new "More" DD+ range. Our coos could probably be heard from space and we waxed lyrical about how much we loved and respected Bluebella so much that i think the girls operating the booth were like "get lost already" by the end. Haha whoops. But it goes to show that, as consumers,  we feel Bluebella is consistently putting out designs that fulfill almost all of our needs and continuously impress us (and lingerie bloggers are notoriously hard to impress because we're the most lingerie fatigued of all). We were particularly impressed with the quality and price points of all their pieces and of course, them expanding to a DD+ range (with some show stopping pieces) on top of already catering to 30 bands in small cup sizes (always a winner for me).

Anyway i digress, if you're a fan of lingerie or a fan of Bluebella then you will be so so pleased with what AW16 has to offer and i cannot wait for it to be released. But a couple of weeks ago Bluebella got in touch with me to ask if i'd like to receive a piece from their equally stunning SS16 collection. From the email i didn't get the impression that they knew i was one of the girls bugging them with compliments at TLE and they genuinely had remembered working with my blog last year and wanted to do so again. Honestly this is so nice. In 2015 Bluebella took off big style and they have fans in, and collaborations with, so many large fashion blogs because of their innovative and pleasing designs. So it's exceptionally lovely to have them considering Lingerie Bloggers, who obviously are more niche, to still work with them too. It's that kind of brand loyalty that will keep them in the favours of many and do them well.

Rambling again, but i was offered my pick of the SS16 collection and naturally i sent back a long list because i couldn't decide (it's a damn good collection, go see for yourself) and asked for them to surprise me. The keen eyed of you will have clocked by now however that this post is a bit of a two for one. My dear dear (oh my gosh) dear friend Becky drew my name in our girl gang secret santa and we exchanged gifts last week. Knowing me ridiculously well she opted for a Bluebella set but customised it in the most incredible way. I figured i'd include it here to review the quality of the Bluebella set underneath and also as a big thank you to someone who i have so much love for and possibly the only someone in my life who would realise i needed lingerie with "Piss Flaps" embroidered on it somewhere.

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Let's start with the Blake bra and brief from SS16. I was sent the bra in a 30B and the brief in a UK8.
After the success of their Nova bra, quite rightly Bluebella are staying true to themselves and experimenting with more ouvert and cut-out styles. I love this because these styles always come available in small band/small cup sizes and we so rarely get people thinking about us when designing architectural lingerie. The Blake bra is definitely exciting. The really chunky mesh panels (and band) mixed with the micro mesh completely do it for me in the fabric department. I maybe would have opted for a more matte finish, instead of the satin finish, on all the piping and underbust as i feel it's a little too out of place with the overall edgy style of the bra but believe me, i'll survive. The geometric design of the cups is wild. I love how it's not symmetrical within the cups, of course each cup is a mirror image of the other but the actual panels of the cups don't have a distinct pattern. They just are how the are, organically (and also yay for micro mesh over your nipples and not chunky mesh to get caught in your piercings...). If i were the designer i'd have been tempted to make it symmetrical with the second micro mesh panel made of chunky mesh instead but that's why i'm not a designer. It's too safe, to obvious. This is better. The little gold hardware of the strap sliders and the tag engraved with the brand name are a really nice touch too.
On top of all the exciting panelling, fabric changes and cutout details you also have an adjustable halter neck detail (with a hook fastening for convenience). I love a good halterneck as i always feel it naturally pulls and lifts my small bust in the ways that flatter it the most. Because i'm not carrying much weight in my bust, i can also find it comfortable for long term wear. Unfortunately those who are bustier may feel that this reduces the amount of time they can comfortably wear the bra for, so something to think about if you're not small busted. 
The briefs are a little safer, with the mesh panelling being symmetrical and a cute little cut-out detail over the arse. They're also not quite full bum which appeases me because i prefer having half my arse hanging out of everything, i'm weird like that.

The fit of the bra is spot on, everything sits flush against me and stays in place. As a set with no padding and only one set of supportive straps, i don't get some massive lift nor shaping effect but that is mostly due to my small bust. People with larger busts than mine would probably get a lifted, separated shape from this bra, which coincidentally might be why the bra works so well for me in fit, it's suitable for wide set breasts too.
The briefs run a little small for a UK8, i would say they're more like a UK6. If i weren't so soft around the hips (seriously i'm doing everything to shift the fat deposits here and work on my muscle tone but damn, obliques are stubborn) these would look in like they really do fit in real life. Because they do. They're comfortable and don't dig in too much but the low angle of the camera and my soft hips really do make it look like i'm squishing myself in... As with most knickers who have a firm waistband (this one is satin covered fyi), either you size up and have a saggy bum or deal with a little muffin top. Sorry guys, it's just another way the universe makes us practice our decision making skills.

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Now onto the Selena set in a size small (sorry guys the amazing patches don't come as standard, you need to have amazing friends, or your own needle and thread, to make these bad boys happen) and you're in luck it's on sale now too!
Can i just preface by saying this set feels like i'm wearing silk or water or nothing at all but with a little more support than nothing at all... I've had this set a week and i've hand washed it about 3 times (necessary to stop the patches coming off) because i keep wearing it to lounge about my apartment or sleep in. I cannot get enough of it.  The whole set is made of micro mesh with all the seams lined in a soft almost jersey material. Everything has like 4 way stretch and just feels so damn comfortable.
The bra fits nicely although there's enough stretch and space for a much larger set of breasts. It's not firm around the band but it stays in place for me. The knickers fit perfectly, and no muffin top. As far as comfortable, flattering lingerie goes, Selena is my new go to set. And she also comes in a cream/beige version (please Bluebella rename this anything but "nude").

Clearly i'm impressed with Bluebella still and i'm so looking forward to seeing what 2017 and beyond brings for them too. Keep your eyes peeled for their AW16 collection because it's stunning and go peruse their SS16 and More collections as well. Bluebella is about as affordable a brand can be without sacrificing their ethics and garment quality, so there's no excuses to not support them if you do love their designs. 

*These items were gifted to me free of charge from Bluebella and Becky respectively. All opinions are my own.

01/02/2016

Edge O' Beyond

I really don't want to have to write this post, in fact it's eating away at me. I know lingerie bloggers have this secret code of conduct where nothing is ever negative and nothing hurts, etc but i've always been 100% honest in my reviews. And so i know i'm going to face endless shit for being 100% honest in this instance but really, i just want to make sure that if you do spend your hard earned money, you are satisfied with the fit and quality of the garment you receive and you don't end up making the same mistakes as me. This is going to be a long one, but i hope you persevere if you are considering purchasing from Edge O' Beyond at any point.

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For christmas my beau got me this lingerie set, the Edge O' Beyond Louisa bra and High Waist Brief. It was at the top of my wishlist and i had noted what sizes i would take. He spent the entire of November and December working overtime in his minimum wage, retail job to buy me this set. As a result he spent January (retail workers don't get paid for a 6 week period because of early holiday pay) completely skint, i know this because i was supporting him and feeding him all month. I was so over the moon that he'd got me the set i wanted, that i'd also be able to share Edge O' Beyond as a brand for small busts with you guys and that he'd picked it out himself (from my very extensive wishlist) because he thought it would look great on me. I tried it on, over knickers, the first time. Spending a solid 5 minutes trying to take a mirror selfie in which i didn't look terrible to send to Vicky to confirm that yes, i really did love the set (just not on me). A week later, whilst visiting my family homes, i decided to take some photographs for a review of my new set. I put the lingerie on, not over knickers because the man i loved had bought me this set, of course i wasn't sending it back. I took maybe 6 photos, before bursting into tears and removing the lingerie. The episode of Adventure Time i had put on as background noise hadn't finished so this all took around 10 minutes (an Adventure Time episode usually works out around 12 minutes just incase you weren't a fan).
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eob-1-1I immediately downloaded the photos (completely in the buff, thank god no one else was home) and sent them to my lingerie bloggers group chat. Something was off about this set, it sat about 2 inches lower on me than the model. On me it sat on my hips, stretching the cage detail and buckling the mesh. This was not a "high waist brief". We all agreed on this. Not only that but the cage detail on the bra, wouldn't sit flat... even when it was laid flat, in fact it was sewn in such a way that it was never going to sit flat. And on top of that, the cherub applique on one of the cups was coming away. There was about a 2cm gap that wasn't sewn on and a large loose thread. I checked the size chart on the website, I was within 0.5" for all of the measurements for an XS and i knew i fluctuated approx 0.5" during the month anyway and was at my largest right then (if you'd like to confirm yourselves, then the the time my waist was 24", my hips were 32.5" and my arse was 35.5", they're now 0.5" smaller a month on). I contacted another blogger who had recently reviewed the same set and had similar measurements to me, she confirmed that the brief didn't sit on her waist either, the cage detail on her bra wouldn't lie flat and the cherub applique wasn't sewn on all the way around the edge, but no loose threads. I then went to instagram to look at other customer photos, no one but the models in Edge O' Beyonds own product shots had the briefs hitting the right part of their waist.
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 I consulted my lingerie blogging friends and we decided the best course of action was to email my feedback to Edge O' Beyond directly, explain my situation and offer constructive criticism. I'd much rather post a review where i could say that the brand had offered solutions or taken it on board so that there was a positive spin than just outright review something as having a bad fit. 
In my initial email i stated (emphasis mine),
"I've had the set for a week now, tried it on twice for no longer than 10 minutes each time and honestly, i'm genuinely disappointed. Unfortunately the fit of the briefs seems to be very different from the ones in the professional shots on the product page (with these being a major selling point for me), they seem to come up a lot higher on the model, hitting her waist whereas on myself they fall on my hips and unfortunately this causes the tulle to wrinkle and is really unflattering. I also find the gusset to be quite thin. With the bra, one of the cherub appliques is coming away with a large loose thread and the cage detail seems a lot smaller and does not sit flat at all, it's almost as if maybe in the smaller sizes the straps are just too short for this or the design has been altered since the product shots were taken.  
I always want to support the brands i write about 100% with positive reviews and whilst the fit in the band and cups is spot on (a big positive in my books) i'm torn on how to share Edge O' Beyond with my readers without also being 100% truthful about the issues i've had with the construction and fit in other regards. I have a lot of respect for smaller indie brands and i'd honestly rather come to you first to explain the issues i've had than outright publish them to my readers.It's really paining me that not only do i have to explain to my partner why i don't feel comfortable in my body wearing the lingerie he bought me, but also the thought of writing a less than positive review about a brand that i genuinely love for their designs, campaigns and size inclusivity, but a brand that i unfortunately had a less than positive first experience with.  
I hope you can appreciate where i'm coming from and understand that i'd rather support an indie label and voice my concerns directly as opposed to going straight to a blog post. I'm not entirely sure what i expect to get out of this, but would like to hear back from you as i would always rather work with brands as opposed to causing unnecessary grief."
 Edge O' Beyond responded to this and asked for my measurements; underbust, overbust, waist, top of hip, fullest part of bottom, underbust to waist, waist to gusset, height. I remeasured and sent all of these back. My measurements were still either spot on or only 0.5" out for an XS according to the Edge O' Beyond size chart. I received this response (emphasis mine):
"After comparing these to our fit model who we have used across all of our ranges, you would be a size Small in the Louisa high waist brief. We would be happy to exchange this for you and this would also sit higher on your waistline. The model in the photo shoot is 5'7" and is wearing a Small HW brief... 
The cradle on the bra has only be changed minimally since the photo shoot, which is an in-house sample, and this has been to resolve issues with construction when it came to production. For the bunching on the elastic we have reviewed our production and noticed that the diagonal cage strapping has been inserted at slightly the wrong angle...  
Thank you so much for getting back to us with these issues you have encountered and I would like to apologise. We are always happy to receive feedback on our designs and the fit of our garments. "

 In this email Edge O' Beyond offered to exchange my Louisa Brief and restitch parts of my Louisa bra. I sent the garments back to the Edge O' Beyond offices, tracked. It cost me around £7 of my own money. When they had arrived i received this email:
"Unfortunately, the brief is stained and is not in a resale able condition, therefore we are unable to make an exchange. "
Which not only is mildly humiliating that the damp cloth i took to the gusset of the brief has either left a stain or not removed something i myself didn't pick up on but also at no point was i told in any of my email exchanges that the briefs needed to be in resalable condition or that they would be resold. I would NEVER ever send something back to be resold that had touched my genitals. I'm a clean person but i'm damn considerate and I wore those knickers for at least 10 minutes without any buffer between my bits and that gusset and no one else should ever have to come into contact with that. I responded like so:
 "I checked the briefs over before I sent them and saw no staining myself but they have been tried on once over knickers and worn (for about 10 minutes) without knickers. As I stated in my original email, I was not trying to return the item, I knew it was no longer in resalable condition due to my wearing it (and since I was not the original purchaser of the item anyway) but making you aware of the fit issues I was experiencing, and which according to the size charts on your website, I should not be. 
Your offer of exchanging the garment for a size up was not given under the condition that the garments were in resalable condition and I certainly would not ever send something back that I had worn if this was the case. I was under the impression that your gesture of goodwill was in response to my fit issues and not just being treated as a straight exchange. I would not have spent £7 sending the items back tracked if I had been informed they needed to still be in resalable condition beforehand." 
I was then contacted by the Director and Designer of Edge O' Beyond who told me that there had been some "confusion", they had been "under the impression that you had tried the garments on with your own bottoms underneath" and that " We can offer you a new pair of high waist's in a size Small at wholesale price." So i responded urging that i had mentioned the briefs had been worn twice, and gave no impression that this was over knickers and that really should have been clarified on their end. I asked to be reimbursed for my shipping charges since i had sent back a pair of knickers unnecessarily and considering the bra was faulty. I concluded by saying:
"If you are unwilling to take this any further then I'd like my briefs to be returned to me and I do hope you make a note on the product page that customers who are average height or taller must size up. In the meantime I will be posting a review of the Louisa set as is, in the hopes that at least I can relay the message to any potential customers as to what sizes they should be purchasing in this style."
and this came back (emphasis is mine):
"When you previously spoke about wearing the briefs before (tried it on twice for no longer than 10 minutes each time) we assumed that they had been tried on with briefs underneath, which is different to being worn. If we were aware of this we would have notified you of our terms, which can be found on our site, as it is a general store policy that we cannot accept returns that are not in their original condition. When we offered an exchange you could have told us the garments were not in a returnable condition.
The high waist brief you have previously spoken about with our team would have sat higher on your waist in a size small which matches the measurements we were given. 

As stated you previously only wore the garments for a few minutes at each time, which I assume is not long enough to photograph the garments in a manner which will match the standard seen throughout your blog."
So here we are. Honestly i was not expecting such a snippy, rude response blaming me for not understanding their gesture and clarifying the garments couldn't be resold and also questioning how long it takes me to photograph my blog posts (either accusing me of wearing the garments for longer than i stated or somehow acting like i'd rather put my blog aesthetic over making sure my readers know what size to order in a particular set...). As you can probably tell i am not happy with the photos in this blog post, they make me cry but that's not what is important to me. As i replied to the director and designer of Edge O' Beyond:
"I certainly feel it is my responsibility to share any fit issues and apparently customer service issues I have with the people who are thinking of purchasing from your company so they don't end up in this situation and are happy with their purchases, if that means putting out photos in not 100% happy with then I will, my integrity comes before aesthetics, always. As a paying customer (or rather my poor boyfriend), I feel I have been misled in a number of instances, sold a faulty product and now I'm being treated rather rudely by the director and designer of said company over a misunderstanding that I am certainly not at fault for."
Overall i'm pretty shocked and upset over this whole thing and i'm dreading office hours tomorrow when i'm sure another unpleasant response will be thrown my way. If they'd have turned around after my first email and said they'd taken it all on board but could do nothing for me, i'd have walked away far happier than i am now. Instead i'm out of pocket and wondering how on earth i tell my Beau that the lingerie he bought me, even though it was the right size according to the size chart, doesn't fit the way it should and as a result wearing it makes me cry. He's a lot more out of pocket than i am and now knowing how the director of the company acts towards customers, i'm not sure i'll ever look at their lingerie the same way.


So to summarise;- Even though my measurements match up with those on the size chart, the XS briefs did not fit correctly and the bra was faulty on two accounts. I originally told Edge O' Beyond this and explained i had worn the knickers on two occasions, for no more than ten minutes each time. I was offered an exchange for a size up without being told that the briefs needed to be unworn as they were to be resold. I spent my own money on postage to send the items back. They are now refusing to reimburse me for my postage and blaming me for all accounts: the wrong size, the "confusion" when it came to the conditions of the exchange (which you can clearly see weren't even mentioned by them). Edge O' Beyond have fixed my bra and up until today, correspondence with them was lovely, but their misleading images of their high waisted knickers paired with the inaccurate size guide means it's hard to know where to begin when buying from them and it seems like they will take no blame for this, with my minimum wage earning arse being poorer because of it.

The Louisa set is a hot topic right now, it's definitely high on a lot of people's wishlists so i urge you to size up or email the company directly and ask before purchasing if you want to make sure your brief fits properly. I'm sure if you send them your measurements, and include your height they will be able to advise you correctly. I hope this helps at least one person get the right fit and feel wonderful in their hard earned lingerie. Truly i do.

Updates to this post/situation:
My Louisa set arrived back today. As discussed, EOB had fixed the two faults on the bra (the cage detail does sit flat now and the cherub has been properly sewn on to the high standard i would expect from the price of the bra) but are still disputing any responsibility for the brief and thus (as confirmed in the note in the package) still believe they are under no duress to exchange the brief as this falls outside of their exchange policy.
Before this however, i got to thinking that surely this is some kind of violation of trading standards, since they are knowingly misleading customers into buying an expensive garment that runs a whole lot smaller. After contacting EOB about the fit of the Louisa briefs, they told me i should have bought a size Small with my 32" hips, the size guide on EOB say that 32" hips should buy a size XS, the XS Louisa briefs only just stretch to 30" around the hips. This is selling a product under misleading circumstances right?

So i contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau (COB) seeking some guidance and they confirmed that EOB are in breach of The Consumer Rights Act 2015 wherein all tangible and moveable goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must match the description that was provided by the trader before the purchase. By selling the Louisa Briefs a size smaller than those listed on the website and not notifying consumers before purchase, they are in breach of contract and consumers are entitled to request a suitable form of redress, such as a full refund or a replacement, irregardless of the resalable condition of the goods. So by refusing me an exchange they are actually in violation of the law. Go figure.

I contacted EOB yesterday evening with this information, making a formal written request for an exchange for goods that do match the description (i.e. the sizing) that the Louisa briefs were sold under. So far this has been ignored and honestly i'm not expecting a response because of the terribly unprofessional way they've acted thus far, it doesn't surprise me they don't seem to give two shits about this.

ALSO since i posted this review, a few people have come forward and mentioned issues with the quality and fit of their EOB garments and issues with customer service too. One person described their customer service as, "very poor" and stated that the fit of her suspender belt was a lot shorter than the one in the product shots and that the back straps of the suspender belt and bra were of a different colour (not what you expect for a matching set). Another person mentioned that the fit of her bra was so off she couldn't wear it without her boobs popping out and that EOB only addressed this by telling her to "pull the strap tighter" ignoring the fact that the bra is also sold as one you can wear without the strap (something this customer cannot do).

Oh and considering they're ignoring my emails, this also means they're not reimbursing me for my postage costs of sending back an obviously faulty bra for them to repair. Something they cannot dispute is under their jurisdiction to incur the costs of fixing.

Thank you all for your overwhelming support on this matter. It looks like i'll probably be left with £175 of unwearable lingerie and an upset beau but luckily the CAB are happy to escalate my case to the right authorities so at least, hopefully, EOB will be warned, educated or monitored over their criminal activity (which apparently violating The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is, according to them).

At the time of this post they have not made any updates to the product page or the size guide to advise any customers buying the Louisa about the size inconsistencies (jeez even AP notes when items run exceptionally small) and so are still misleading customers into buying the wrong size.

Really, at this point i can only conclude that Edge O' Beyond don't care about their product quality, don't care about their customers and don't care about complying with UK trading laws.

23/01/2016

Urban Bird Clothing

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So i guess there's a reason why i have a lingerie wishlist (much like this one) that i circulate between my two closest friends and my beau, and it's because they're amazing people who pick up on my not so subtle hints and spoil me rotten. E from Thigh Highs and Glitter started my Christmas off right by getting me the much coveted, limited edition Gold set from Urban Bird Clothing. I've wanted this set ever since it was released mostly because of how cute it is but also because i've wanted to feature Urban Bird Clothing on Of Lambs and Lace for a while. They're such a cute indie brand with a great ethos and really sweet customer relations.
In my household, this set has earned the title of "un-shootable." The amount of times i've attempted to photograph it? Four. The amount of photos i've liked? Zero. In fact, times have gotten so desperate that beau cowers when I put it on. He knows there's going to be frustrated tears, tantrums, hours wasted. But it's time to just suck it up, accept that no matter how hard i try, i'm just not going to feel like i can do this set any justice in photos. And I honestly did try. So take my word for it, this set is gorgeous in person.

UBC.2-5UBC.2-8The Longline Bralette was bought for me in my sister size (and the size i wear most often anyway), a 30B and the matching Tanga Knickers in a size 6 ( i think). This set is now sold out, as with almost all of Urban Bird's designs the amount of fabric she has is finite and ergo her lingerie is limited edition. I so wanted to get this post up whilst the gold set was still available but i was late to the party in owning it and even later to the party in reviewing it. But there are always sets of the same cut in different fabrics available, like thisthis and this.
Firstly i want to start on a very positive note, the construction is epic for an indie. A lot of the seams are on show due to the nature of the design and they're all sewn in perfectly straight zigzag stitches. If you've ever used a sewing machine then you'll also be impressed with how absolutely perfect and symmetrical all the seams are. Not a wobble in sight. The pieces are constructed from different panels all sewn together, this acts as a natural dart and gives shape to the cups on the bralette and to the backside of the tanga (mucho flattering). The straps of the bralette are attached to large gold o-rings and are a very decent quality elastic. This particular bronze gold fabric is not only a sight to behold but also has two way stretch so comfort levels are sky high. I can wear this to bed, on a long-haul flight, trekking miles up a mountain, etc and feel like i'm wearing nothing at all, Ned Flanders style. 
Alas the fit however, it just does nothing for me. Due to the size of the cups, the bralette is basically a top for me. I could wear a bra under it, or two bras, or have a party in the cups and invite all the shite I carry around with me on a night out (i have just tested this though and iphone 6 sticks out a bit but my passport is nestled nicely). I could wear no bra under it and go out and still feel overly modest. The longline band is thick and sturdy and covers a large part of my midriff, pretty much down to my waist. Unfortunately, this style just does not strike me as one for small busts unless you're wanting an extra cute top to wear. However on the plus side, i am completely getting the impression that fuller busts would love this. Because of how sturdy the band is, and the full coverage of the cups, i reckon it's the perfect bralette for a sizeable bust. I feel like it would give a decent amount of support for something without underwire and it would do a nice job of shaping too. I love this style, i do. I will wear it as a top with a bra underneath there's no doubt about it, so whilst i am a little disappointed that i'll have to rely on another piece of lingerie to shape and flatter my bust, i'm not at a total loss. 
The Tanga Knickers are bum flatterers to be sure, not so flattering for the extra weight i carry on my hips but i'll do anything for my arse to look good. The sizing feels pretty spot on, for reference my hips are like 32" on a good day and there's no loss of blood circulation to my legs nor are my knickers pooling around my ankles so these babies will 100% be getting regular wear.

I'm still cheerleading for Urban Bird Clothing. I love them, I love their designs, it's simple. Not every style in the world is flattering or suitable for an extra small bust. If it were then i'd have a lot more lingerie. It's the harsh reality i've grown to accept and it should not reflect badly on a brand if the fit expectations of someone so at an extreme of bra sizes, are not met. Maybe smaller cups that were a little further apart and didn't come up so high would have been more flattering for me but this style works wonderfully for others with more common bust sizes and shapes. And hey, i'm cool with being a part of a bra size minority and adding a new going out top to my wardrobe.




16/01/2016

Agashi by Christina O

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Agashi by Christina O and i have been meaning to collaborate on a blog review for almost a year now (!) back when i was lusting over almost all of her cage bra designs but life got in the way and our plans fell by the wayside. And then the Seifukus arrived and i melted into a giant puddle of need. Christina O heard my puddle pleas and decided to decimate my brain completely by releasing a line of Sailor Senshi inspired Seifukus, the Ayumi Moon collection. I was raised on Sailor Moon, it had me desperately changing the channel whenever my older brother left the room, so i've got a soft spot for anything the franchise inspires. I don't think i slept properly for a week after the release. I gushed all over the place, in ways only a puddle of goo can gush, and started saving all my money (because clearly i needed Mars, Mercury, Moon, Pluto AND Venus). And then there was a promotion on the sets and in contacting Christina O to enquire about sizing, we re-animated our collaboration conversation and long story short, Ayumi Pluto happened!
Pluto had to be my first foray into the Ayumi Moon collection.  My teen-come-adult angst always identified with the destined to be alone and silent Sailor Pluto, who eventually reneges on her post unifying space and time to study physics. Couple that with my eternal sour feelings from having an ugly, non-classically British school uniform and my lazy two colour, black and white, wardrobe and you've got Christina O speaking to me on so many levels.

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I was sent the Ayumi Pluto in an XXS which is billed to be suitable for a 30" bust and a 23" waist. My Seifuku arrived in a black mesh bag wrapped in tissue paper. The mesh fabric doesn't wrinkle or crease so this lingerie bag is perfect for storage.
The top measures 22" around the band and stretches up to 33.5". It fits my 27" underbust snugly and surprisingly it also fits nicely on my 30.5" overbust. There's certainly room in the top for a larger overbust and i imagine for those significantly larger there would be some kind of push up effect but the presence of the darts and the front closure makes it really work for the smallest of small busts like mine. The top is so beautifully finished with all the visible seams perfect and a sturdy piece of elastic keeping the shape of the band. The Ayumi top fastens in the front with two hook and eye closures and the bow is free style so you can leave it untied or practice your bow tying skills (and then teach me please). The seams on the cuffs are hidden by black and white detailing that matches the edge of the sailor collar (which is flipped up on one of the cuffs in these photos, my apologies).
The Micro skirt is the right length for me at 12" (it's actually a bit longer than some of my everyday skirts...whoops) although Agashi do offer a longer version at 15" too. The waist on the skirt measures 22" and stretches up to 35", which means it's a nice snug fit on my 24" waist. The finishing on the hem of the skirt is also perfect which is no mean feat with sheer mesh material. One minor niggle is that the elastic of the waistband is not sewed to the gathered mesh (they're free moving) so when you're putting the skirt on, it tends to twist and buckle. It's not an issue if you have the time to adjust it back to lying flat and equally space the gathering but alas, if you're fighting the dying light on a saturday afternoon like me, then it's going to look a bit messy. So i do take part responsibility of this one. If you adjust accordingly the waistband lies flat, looks even and the gathers are spaced nicely.

This hasn't sated my need for almost all of the Ayumi Moon Seifukus, it's just reinforced it by proving that not only is Christina O designing on such a level that she may be my soulmate, but she's also executing her incredible designs to a really high standard of quality. I'm sure by the end of the year i'll have a couple more of these (especially if she releases a Chibi Moon). And hey(!) because Christina O is the greatest, she's offering Of Lambs and Lace readers a 15% discount on her entire store with the code:

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So there's absolutely no excuse not to indulge your Seifuku needs (and it doesn't expire so how lucky are you?). Or any other needs you have that can only be satisfied by Agashi by Christina O garments. I personally can't live without the Belle Choker, Ayumi Blue Pastel Seifuku or the Ayumi Noir Seifuku for much longer (is it bad taste to use your own discount code to spend your entire paycheck or...?)

*This set was provided free of charge for the purposes of a review. All opinions are mine. The fangirling is mine too

02/01/2016

Sonata Rapalyte

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Sonata Rapalyte have been the queens of bodysuits for years now. Founded in 2008 and cropping up on an Of Lambs and Lace wishlist in the very early days of this blog, Sonata have always been my ultimate for bodysuits and i refuse to hear otherwise. I've seen countless copies of their designs crop up in the years i've been stalking them and the similarities present in bodysuits from high street to designer totally cement how crowd pleasing these designs are. 
I've had my eyes on them for so long but i don't tend to buy bodysuits as often as other pieces since to me they're more of a frivolous purchase (i know, i know, personal perception of what makes lingerie even more frivolous is a magical thing that doesn't translate to everyone). Also that and they're kind of my adult Pokemon cards, you can't really just own one colour. You do have to have them all, right? 
Anyway, i digress. Remember Secret Sales? That outlet site that has endless lingerie sales from Mimi Holliday, to La Perla, to Kiss Me Deadly, to Huit, to Playful Promises, to Lascivious and beyond. Well the deities heard my prayers and Sonata announced that they were having an up to 70% off sale there. I immediately set myself a budget (two bodysuits max, which was hard because there were at least five in my shopping cart at any given time) and spread the word to my close sweethearts because this was a big deal to me. Unfortunately these sales last like 48 hours and so at the time of writing this review, the sale is long gone. However there is still the odd piece hanging about in their outlet but no bodysuits unfortunately. With the advent of January sales i'm sure if your budget doesn't stretch to the £151 full price then you'll be able to find something more palatable (or just watch Secret Sales because they often repeat brand sales!).
I don't often indulge in Secret Sales mostly because it's rare they have my size in stock but also because of the extra wait times added and their subpar packaging but sometimes i can't resist. And although my bodysuits arrived a week later than estimated (making my wait time around 3 weeks) and not wrapped nicely, with a couple of pulled threads on the Ivory bodysuit, it was worth it for allowing me to own a couple of my dream pieces at a time when i definitely could not afford full price. But if you are a luxury lingerie connoisseur then expect a slightly different service than you are used to.   
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I indulged in the Aida Ribbon Bodysuit in Ivory and the Sonatine Ribbon Bodysuit in Black because the struggle is real when you're deciding between white and black. Both bodysuits were purchased in an XS and are identical in style, shape and fit so i've only photographed the white one for this review, you can see my personal photographs of the black one here. Both bodysuits will be discussed as one, because the colour doesn't make any difference.

Okay firstly, let me preface this by saying the lace and the buttons and the scalloped edges, i die a little. They're perfect, i can't fault the aesthetics of this piece. Maybe not for everyone but definitely for me!
The lace itself is polyester and so has more of a starchy mesh base with delicate looking floral detailing and no elasticity, so what you see in the shape is what you get. All the trimmings; the seams, the large bow, the buttons, are silk satin. This lace pulls quite easily so watch any piercings or jewellry on it. The gusset is lined with an opaque fabric for a little modesty and most importantly to catch any fluids before they make their way onto the lace (grim but daily bodily fluids happen and are much harder to handwash out of delicate lace than a fabric gusset).  There's a set of three sturdy poppers at the bottom so going for a wee or putting this on over your head if you have too big an arse and hips like me, is possible. 
The construction is really great (the pre-existing pulls on the side of the bodysuit could have been caused by Sonata or Secret Sales so it's hard to say if it's a quality control flaw or a packaging failure) all the seams are very neat which is important with such sheer pieces where hiding them is impossible and the buttons are firmly sewn on. You cant see in this photo, as it's on the left side of the bodysuit, but a spare button is sewn into one of the inside seams just in case one needs replacing. If you choose to put this bodysuit on by undoing the buttons then i'd imagine with regular wear this may be necessary since pulling on any buttons is guaranteed to make one loose.
And now the fit, the big question when dealing with standard sizing and small busts. I find that the cups on this bodysuit are sewn in such a way that there is extra space for a larger bust however the excess fabric and room falls lower and to the side. Visually and physically it feels like a snug fit around my bust. I would say that anything larger than a 30D might have a problem fitting into the XS and would have to size up although Sonata actually offer custom sizes so if in doubt, get one made specially for you. The length of this bodysuit is slightly too small for me (i'm still not sure what constitutes a long torso and a short one, or what i actually have so i can't say for sure whether this is going to be a common problem for people). It's not enough for it to be uncomfortable in any way but it does take a feat of acrobatics for me to fasten the poppers at the bottom. From looking at the size chart on the Sonata website, these pieces do run true to that guide. I think on the whole though, any fit issues are a moot point when a brand offers custom fit as if you are really keen then you don't have to go for standard sizing. Although if you can't quite stretch to full price like me right now, you have to settle for a non perfect fit. It's only fair.

Owning two of these bodysuits has not quelled my need to own all the colours (Diva and Opaline are my next victims) and knowing that all these pieces are ethically made makes me feel even more justified in dreaming about them for such a long time. I'm just sorry that it's taken me so long to add them to my collection.

*All my Secret Sales links contain an invite code that means if you make a purchase we both gain £10 vouchers. I don't make any money off you signing up but i do get a little reward if you purchase (and so do you!) so just so you know.

Psst, Sonata are back up on secret sales, take a look here and happy buying!

30/12/2015

Kayleigh Peddie

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There's a lot of emphasis on architectural or innovative lingerie at the moment, and i myself am guilty of overlooking the basics that shape my everyday comfort. Kayleigh Peddie kind of smashes these two types together by making comfortable, simplistic and very wearable lingerie with little design twists to keep them visually interesting too. 

Something i love about owning pieces from indie brands is how acquainted i can become with the designers and seamstresses behind the brand. That personal touch lends itself to customer loyalty and makes their pieces extra special. I feel a somewhat friendly alliance with Kayleigh Peddie since we've chatted a few times and mutually followed each other on social media and i've been saving up to nab myself something from her for a long time. Unfortunately, as with many international indie brands, it got shunted to the bottom of my list for a whole host of reasons (think customs fees, fit worries, conversion rates not being in my favour, etc).  I was beyond thrilled when Kayleigh contacted me and asked if i'd like to feature one of her sets on Of Lambs and Lace. Real life got in the way for both of us for a while but finally, i can share this amazing little indie brand with you guys (and now i have the confidence to put in a cheeky order myself come payday).

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I was sent the Estelle bra, suspender belt and double strap knickers all in a size XS. 
This set boasts a minimalistic white mesh design with a subtle strappy silhouette. I mean first and foremost, i adore white lingerie no matter how impractical it may be. I often have to make the difficult decision between a set in white or black with black winning far too often, so i'm thrilled to add some more white to my collection. I also love mesh so it's a win win in my books. The construction on these pieces is pretty flawless too, without a single seam or thread out of place.

The bra design is unusual for me as i don't think i've had the pleasure of ever trying on a soft bra with such wide straps. When i first saw this i was immediately struck by how the design mirrored that of many full bust bras i'd come across. Thankfully the width of the straps and the relatively high apex of the bra don't affect it's suitability for small busts. The band fits comfortably although not snug unless i fasten it on the 3rd row of hooks, and the cups actually give me a really nice lift and shape. Overall i'd say this bra fits my 28C bust fairly well with only a small amount of fabric buckling at the bottom of the cup occupied by my smallest breast. Which is something i am all to used to so is not an issue for me. 
The suspender belt fits snugly around my 32" hips although i find the circumference is a little too large and the suspender straps are a little too short for me to wear this on my waist, my preferred place for suspender belts due to the strange pear shape of my torso. I can forgive this and my personal resulting perception of unflattery because it has six suspender straps. Six or more straps on a suspender belt should be compulsory, anything less is just highly impractical!
The knickers are exceptionally comfortable and flattering, with the adjustable two strap detailing on the side meaning they can accommodate my sizely arse and soft hips without digging in uncomfortably. Another positive is these being lined with a breathable fabric something that non indie brands can often forget, something that is very important.

I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Kayleigh Peddie has probably just surpassed all others to become my go to brand for comfortable basics that aren't uninspired or dull. I've worn this set complete and the pieces individually quite a few times since it arrived and i've never had any trouble or discomfort. I knew i would be impressed with these pieces but i'm glad my high expectations were met in every way. I now have my eyes set on a couple of other great designs to add to my everyday lingerie arsenal, particularly the Mena and Ollie designs so watch this space.

These items were sent to me free of charge for the purposes of a review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. 

28/12/2015

Now We Are Three

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The December the 27th marks the birthday of Of Lambs and Lace and now we are three. Unfortunately my home town was hit badly by the floods and i've spent the past three days either in a state of anxiety or shovelling mud and raw sewage out of people's houses and businesses. Hardly glamorous and completely contrary to the lavish values Of Lambs and Lace was originally founded upon.

I didn't mark the occasion of our second birthday together, it didn't feel necessary to reflect on the existence of Of Lambs and Lace in 2014 but this year has been a challenging one, tumultuous to say the least and i'm sure other lingerie bloggers have felt the shift in reader attitudes over these 12 months. I've done a lot of soul searching with regards to maintaining a brick and mortar lingerie blog as with the rise of instagrammers it seems that the value of a photo is now held higher than the written word accompanying a review or article. Many have joined the lingerie blogging community seemingly to flaunt their wealth and their bodies and as a result it has warped, accelerating in popularity and over saturating with strangers who at times can be less than kind to individuals they don't agree with. Having opinions that are anything less than positive in this new community are cause for public dragging and personal criticism. The lingerie blogging community has always been a divided place, with natural rifts forming between people who respectfully don't force faux friendships but aside from one odd altercation, it has never sunk to taking enjoyment out of the mockery of others. It is because of this that i have stepped back from the entire community. Aside from a handful of close friends, i no longer interact within the community in a personal capacity and it's changed the meaning behind this blog. 
I founded Of Lambs and Lace from the idea of having a place to share my passion with lingerie and as a means to meet likeminded people. And recently i've had to battle with myself over how self indulgent i've felt my presence is when i had to detach my personality and emotions from something that was built on my marmite personality and emotions. I've oscillated from insistent my blog wouldn't suffer to resigned to retiring it once and for all for weeks. I've pushed through my anxieties only to be met with sources of more anxiety and it's driven my uncertainty. But i'm resolved to keep going, in part due to the overwhelming support i've received from readers both in the comments section and from personal emails sent to me. One reader wrote:
"I feel compelled to tell you that your blogging has really helped me like my body...reading your blog gives me hope"
Sounds a bit like an extreme humble brag on my behalf but it reminded me that somewhere during these three years i shunned the self indulgence side of my blog, not wanting to flaunt my wealth and subsequent collection nor to be another privileged, slender white girl in world with too many visible privileged, slender white girls. I changed my doctrine to one that was about educating people on small busts, supporting indie brands and fighting against the unnecessary sexualisation of lingerie. I can do all of these things without putting myself out to be judged.
But i don't want to preach. I am never too far away to offer any advice or have a chat (although my new years resolution is to get better at replying to emails before i forget they were sent to me in the first place...my apologies if you've ever felt ignored by me. This year has been so busy in so many other respects too what with me getting my masters degree, being rocketed into the adult world, working many jobs, etc.) and my personality will still sneak into my blog posts, it's also all over my twitter (i'm sorry) but for now i'm focusing on my real friendships instead of trying to find shallow ones based on one faction of my interests online at the expense of my mental stability. 
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And just so this post feels useful to me, i'm going to take the time to thank the following people, brands and designers for supporting Of Lambs and Lace through their friendship or collaborations that helped me stay afloat during this teething period (in no particular order):