I’d been following Lilly and Lime for a while on Instagram before they contacted me about a review opportunity. I’m always excited to see more brands that cater to the G+ market, and I’d actually already been eyeing up a few of their bikinis!
Lilly and Lime was started by two friends, Emma-Jane and Ash who had both struggled to find nice swimwear being a D cup or above. I love that they decided to take things into their own hands after a few drinks at a hen party! Don’t all good ideas start that way?
The brand currently offers three bikini styles: full cup, balconette and halterneck, in 28-38 D-HH. The three brief options are full brief, basic brief and hipster tie side briefs, in sizes 8-18. I chose the green Chevron halterneck, as green is my favourite colour and I don’t own a halterneck bikini so I thought it would make a nice change. I also chose the deep briefs, in a size 10. The colour is a perfect, bright, apple green, and the fabric is very soft and of good quality.
When I first tried it on, my heart sank because I thought I hated it! The shape is completely different from what I’m used to. The cups are more padded than I thought they would be, and I’m not sure this really works for me because of how soft my breasts are. Padding tends to push my soft skin up and out, which is not exactly the look I want to go for. Due to being a hardcore Cleo girl, I’m very used to the upfront shape, and being very neat at the sides. I hate looking like my boobs are spread out sideways. This bikini top does spread me out a little bit more than I would like. I actually texted my sister in a panic because, although I only want to give honest reviews, I didn’t want to give anyone a bad review! I sent her a few photos and she reassured me that I looked good. I do have to admit that I’ve put on quite a bit of weight lately, so in general I don’t immediately like everything I try on because first I have to get used to my new shape. (Apologies that the photos in this review aren’t the best quality!)
I wore the bikini for a couple of hours in the sunshine (which seems to have retired once again), and it was really comfortable to move around in. I meet a lot of big busted women who think halternecks are the work of Satan, but I always say if you’re wearing the right size and the band is firm enough, it shouldn’t matter. Also, the straps on this halterneck are very soft and quite broad, so they shouldn’t put too much pressure on your neck.
The pants do fit well, and again are very comfortable. However, as usual I wish they were high waisted, rather than full briefs. I find this in-between shape tends to cut me in the wrong place, and isn’t as flattering on me personally as a high waisted brief.
All in all, I would say this bikini is definitely true to size if you ignore my weight gain! It is very comfortable to wear, and I just love the colour. The shape definitely grew on me the longer I wore it. I think my next bikini might be the floral full cup…
I recently asked my fellow big-boobed Instagram followers if there was anything in particular they’d like to see from me, or anything they needed help with. A couple of people came back asking about how to wear vintage lingerie when you have big boobs. Some asked why there are no bullet bras in big cup sizes. I’m sorry to say, that after some research and asking my mum and older boob-havers, these bras don’t exist in sizes above a DD, maybe and E at a push because they just weren’t being made in any other sizes. Cup sizes only really started expanding into the choices we have now in the past 25-30 years, maximum. Even when they first launched, brands like Panache and Fantasie took a while to add the sizes they are now well-known, loved and respected for stocking.
So what did women wear before this? Well, like many of us, they were put into the biggest band size available and a D or DD cup. My granny still wears a D because that’s all she was ever offered (even though she’s most definitely at LEAST a GG, but I don’t fancy starting that conversation with her). When my mum was pregnant with me, she said she went up to a 46 back (granted, she did suffer from preeclampsia, but from the few photos that exist of her from that time I can tell she wasn’t that broad). I fit my mother myself and she’s never been broader than a 38. But that’s all women were offered. To go up and up and up in the back, and to be made to feel more and more freakish. How fun. And most of us with big boobs today know that a lot of places still do this because they refuse to move away from old fitting methods and into the fricking 21st century. BUT THAT’S WHY I’M HERE!
The last decade or so, maybe more, has seen a massive revival in vintage inspired fashions and a move back to pin-up girl style. Hardcore pin-up girls dress head to to in true vintage or vintage-inspired items, and that includes their lingerie. And anyone should be able to dress like this if they desire, so I’ve compiled a little list of places where you can find vintage-inspired lingerie. While true vintage bras may not be possible to find in most sizes, there are many brands making styles that mimic the bullet bras of the past. I’ve also included some bras I think take a little inspiration from this era, and if worn with a sexy girdle or suspender belt and stockings will look fit for Bettie Page herself!
Personally, I’m not massively into dressing completely vintage-inspired, but it is hard to resist some pieces. I recently bought this girdle from Kiss Me Deadly, a brand which is heavily vintage-inspired. It’s so comfy and creates a beautiful smooth shape under clothes. I can see it working with a lot of my sets.
I’m wearing this with my Satine bra from Bravissimo, which in both the black and the nude definitely invokes a little vintage glamour. This would also work perfectly with the Clara bra from Panache (photo below), or the Andorra also from Panache. The Andorra in the Pearl colourway definitely makes me think of some gorgeous pin up girl lounging around on her chaise-longue.
Another great brand to check out for vintage-inspired pieces is What Katie Did. This is a well-known brand used by many of today’s pin-up girls. They offer bras up to an F cup, some styles go to a G (although obviously I can’t speak for the fit, they do all look extremely cute!) I have one of their six strap suspender belts, which can be found here. Below, you can see I’ve styled it with the Clara bra and a pair of basic shapewear pants and hold-ups from Marks and Spencer. These are actually my favourite pants for matching with different sets. They’re meant to be functional and shaping, but they actually look quite sexy.
Finally, from my own collection of vintage-inspired lingerie, my absolutely favourite new thing(s)… The Joan babydoll and french knickers from My Retro Closet. This is a brand run completely by one woman, who makes all the pieces by hand herself, and to top it off she is a DELIGHT to deal with. While I never thought loungewear would ever become my thing, her cheery attitude always shines through on her Instagram posts and I think that’s what really sold me. I bought the knickers on discount from her Depop shop first, to see what I thought. When they arrived and I tried them on, I knew I had to complete the set with the babydoll. I know this kind of thing isn’t for public wear (maybe), but pin-up girls have to look good relaxing at home too! It is honestly such a comfortable and fun set to wear. Also, I wore the knickers over my own under a floaty dress on a really windy day to cover my butt in case I happened to flash anyone. What a cute sight! Also, the powder blue and pink combo works so well with my Isla set from Bravissimo. I really do adore this brand. She does custom orders, and there are other vintage lingerie essentials available, such as suspender belts, high waisted pants and stockings. I definitely have my eye on a few other things. Please check it out!
If you really want to achieve the pointy Madonna look the bullet bras can give, but fall into the DD+ category, there are some bras which can still give you this silhouette. For the heavier, G+ gals there are a few options that I know of. Firstly, the Melrose bra from Bravissimo can sometimes look quite pointy under clothes. Also, Bravissimo sometimes do this in a colourful polka dot colourway which definitely looks like a cute vintage-inspired set.
Another pointy one from Bravissimo is the Dotty Spot bra. They haven’t done this style in a couple of years and I’m not sure if they will again, but if you can find it in your size you will have so much fun attacking people with your pointy boobs!
The next bra is not the most attractive (but to be honest, I don’t think real bullet bras are that great looking either). Some of you might know this as it was the only option a lot of fuller busted women had for a long time. It actually used to be a best-seller in the fuller bust market for years, before there was more to choose from. The oh-so-sexy Doreen by Triumph. It also comes in a longline version which does actually look quite vintage. You may want to size down in the back with the bra for a decent lift – although it only starts at a 32 so narrower backs should avoid this one as you will not get a decent lift even with your sister size. Believe me, I’ve talked so many women out of this bra. But pointy it is!
Work those torpedo boobs, gurl!
Own those points!
Of course, I can’t really talk about vintage-inspired lingerie without mentioning the queen of pin-up herself, Dita Von Teese. We’ve all wanted to be her a little bit at some point in our lives. While a lot of her lingerie line is much more modern, it definitely harks back to that old Hollywood glamour which Dita totally embodies. Her most vintage looking piece, aside from her amazing gowns, in my opinion is the Madame X non-wired bra. Although pair any of her suspender belts with a black bra and some fully fashioned stockings and you’ll look every bit the vintage vixen.
The Gossard Retrolution range is another great option for that pin-up girl look. The range offers a slip, a waist cincher, corset, plunge bra, thong and brief. Sadly, it only goes up to an E cup, but some of the pieces may be suitable to mix and match with your existing collection.
If you want to go a couple of decades further back in time, into the 1920s and 30s, check out Effie Butterworth. This brand offers “historically accurate and vintage inspired undergarments”, such as bloomers and tap knickers. They are definitely worth a look!
For more girdles and shapewear, have a look at Rago Shapewear. Their bras and bodies only go to a DD cup, but anything else as usual can be mix and matched. Their girdles in particular have a truly vintage feel:
I need to share one more thing. This is something which has been on my wishlist for a while, and would truly top off any vintage look. It’s so ridiculously decadent but I know my life will not be complete until I own one. A Catherine D’Lish gown. LOOK AT THIS!!
When I grow up and live in a mansion with all my dogs, I’m going to strut around in this with a glass of whiskey and one of those cigarettes on a long stick. I’ll have a grand piano, not for playing but for lying on top of. And every so often I’ll get pissed off about something and throw my whiskey glass into my huge fireplace. Sometimes I won’t even be pissed off. I’ll just do because I’m really rich and can afford to throw all my whiskey glasses in the fire, and because it looks really cool. And I’ll always be in one of these gowns.
I think mostly wearing vintage inspired lingerie just takes creativity and imagination. Even just try buying one piece you really like to start with, and then figure out how to work it with the lingerie you already have. And if anybody has any other suggestions, please let me know!