Review: Viva by Pour Moi

I’ve been wanting to do a few more “helpful” reviews – for example of brands I don’t already talk on and on about, and ones that I’ve actually wanted to try myself but couldn’t find many other reviews about. So it was pretty good timing when Brastop reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in trying something from their new season stock. I asked about a few things I hadn’t tried and Grace from Brastop very generously sent me the Viva set from Pour Moi in grey.

I’d had my eye on this colour for a while because grey is just so classy for lingerie (and I love grey, it’s very key). However I’d never had the chance to try any Pour Moi lingerie. I was familiar with their swimwear from working in Bravissimo – and I’m actually really obsessed with the Crazy Daisy bikini, which will be mine one day. So I was pretty excited about the chance to try this and review it for you all!

I received the bra in a 30H and the deep briefs in a 12. I originally asked for a 10 but Grace said the pants come up very small, and she was right. The 12 fits comfortably but they do look small for that size. I definitely don’t think I would’ve felt good in a 10, so if you are ordering pants, keep that in mind! I know “deep brief” and “high waisted” are not the same, but I wish they just would be. I love that these briefs come to my actual waist and not hit me awkwardly in the middle of my hips, but if they could just come up the tiniest bit higher. Just to completely cover my belly button. But I like them! They are still very comfortable and although they’re very plain, the colour and the mesh panelling makes them a little bit more special than a bland, everyday set.


The fit of the bra is pretty much perfect! I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve put on a bit of weight recently and have been back and forth between a H and HH, so I was kinda nervous this would be too small. I think I’ve evened out back to my “normal” weight again though as my boobs aren’t as sore and heavy and I can wear most of my 30H bras again without yucky double boob. Thank goodness!


The Viva is described as a full cup, which I would have to disagree with because to me, a full cup comes up higher and shows very minimal or no cleavage. The wires also don’t come up as high in the middle as other, true full cup bras I own do. This is fine for me though, as full cup wires are generally too high for me and hit me in the wrong place, which can be pretty uncomfortable. The straps are set slightly wider like you would expect of a balconnet style. I love the ruching detail on the straps too, it’s another little touch that makes this bra slightly more dressy.

I know I always do it, but I just can’t help it – I compare the shape of everything to my Cleo bras. It’s just my preferred shape, and obviously has become my standard that I hold all other bras to! The wires are slightly wider on the Viva, so of course I’m not going to get the same projection, but I’m still pretty happy with the shape. It’s ever so slightly more east to west than I would prefer, but the cups also give a lovely round, natural shape. The sheer upper layer also gives it a little bit of racy-ness you wouldn’t get from many other of your everyday sets. I did find that I had to tighten the straps quite high to get the lift I wanted – but this is again something I find from most other brands bar Cleo. I think my shallowness on top and my short shoulders mean I find most straps too long anyway. It’s not uncomfortable to wear them as tight as I have them currently, however. And I definitely think this style would be great for other full on bottom breasts. The band felt true to size and was firm enough for my liking.

Overall, I am really happy I asked for this style. I love the colour so much, and this has already become a go-to bra. It’s really comfy to wear and I do like the shape under clothes. The Viva full cup comes in a range of other colours, and the collection also offers a longline up to a G cup, as well as a padded plunge up to an F cup, and a suspender belt in selected colours. I can see this becoming a firm favourite, and I’m definitely interested in adding some of the other colours and suspender belts to my collection!

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Bra Fitting Part Two: The Truth is Out There (now…thanks to me)

I wanted to do a quick follow up to my first bra fitting post, as there are a few things I should have mentioned. And splitting it in to two blog posts makes me feel like I’m being super productive! Do you like the title? I wanted the whimsy you’d expect of a 90s sci-fi/fantasy TV show nerd, with a side of loveable bigheadedness. I recently saw an Instagram bio which stated “humble with a hint of Yoncé”, and I think that’s how I’m going to live my life from now on.

MOVING ON. One of the main important points I missed in my previous posts is that boobs are uneven. ALL BOOBS ARE UNEVEN. They are asymmetrical, just like most things about our bodies. It is TOTALLY normal. As a bra fitter, it is one of the many things you repeat twenty million times on the daily. Some women seem to think it’s a huge deal, and that their lives are ruined and they’ll never find a bra that works for them (I’m not making fun of these women, society (and poorly trained ‘fitters’) has induced this state of panic in them). All ya gots ta do is figure out which boob is bigger and fit to that side. Yeah, if it’s quite a sizeable difference, you may notice it, but it’s just another one of those bra compromises you have to make. Of course, if you’d rather have a lil double boob on one side so the smaller boob isn’t swimming in a cup slightly too big, you do your thang, boo. Some bras will disguise the difference quite well, and some will emphasise it. I’ve found that heavily moulded/padded bras make it more noticeable as the stiffness of the cups won’t mould to your shape. The stretch lace styles from Panache however, seem to work well as the stretchiness moves with you instead of catching like a normal non-stretchy bra cup.

While we’re on the subject of uneven boobs, I want to share a horrible story about a young woman I fitted WAY BACK in the early days of my fitting career. I’d got over the nerves of my first couple of weeks fitting when I wanted to be really technically perfect every single time, and was still getting my head around the fact that not every fit will be perfect or life-changing. I was realising my passion and wanted to give 100000% to every single woman I fitted (WHICH IS HOW IT SHOULD BE). But I was still sort of in this mindset that as a fitter, I should also be a “fixer”, and felt like it was up to me personally to be a body coach, life coach, motivator, therapist, best friend etc to all my customers, and it was exhausting, but also meant I usually spent way longer than I needed to which meant other customers had to wait. I wish I could just be a freelance lingerie consultant (this is honestly something I’m thinking about seriously and in the very SMALL BABY SEEDLING stages of STARTING to THINK about PLANNING) so I could give each customer as long as they want of my time (within reason). BUT ANYWAY OKAY. This gal came in and she was in tears because she’d just been “fitted” in Ann Summer’s. Normally, I would not name and shame places cuz nothing bad has really happened to me personally (except all those times I was fitted incorrectly in my formative, tender, teenage years and had to suffer the judge-y eyes doing a quick up-down over my body, BUT WHATEVS) (SO MANY TANGENTS), but this just really took me to the fair (hey, Fiona xo). This young woman, who was also the exact same age as me so I think that’s partly why I got so involved, was devastated because the assistant at  Ann Summer’s told her they “couldn’t fit her” because of her uneven boobs and that the only way to “fix it” would be to GET PLASTIC SURGERY. It’s been over two years since this happened and it still makes me shake with anger to this day. I took her into the fitting room and she immediately whipped off her top AND bra and pointed at her chest crying and saying “look at them, they’re awful”. And I was like, sweet baby girl there is nothing wrong with you. To be honest, I was expecting her to have a noticeable difference, because some women do have a difference of a couple of cup sizes so it can make fitting a little but more difficult, but this girl was practically perfectly symmetrical. I couldn’t understand how the person who fitted her at Ann Summer’s could have said something so disgustingly, dangerously unprofessional. Even if she did have a big difference between her boobs, HOW VERY DARE YOU??? It is so not the place of someone like that to comment, it’s not anybody’s business to point something like that out and then to suggest something as drastic as plastic surgery. Especially when somebody has gone to you because they trust that you’re going to be able to give them the right advice. They’ve chosen to take their top off and be very vulnerable in front of you, a stranger, and all you can say is “can’t help, soz, get plastic surgery”?? I never have and never will shop at Ann Summer’s because of this (and other reasons like they don’t do my size and it’s just not my jam), and also because when I got home from work still in a rage, I phoned their customer services to complain and the person I spoke to said “oh no, I’ll put it on file” but basically said they couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t the customer, but that she’d certainly make a note of it. NAH, RETRAIN YOUR STAFF TO FIT PROPERLY AND HAVE A LITTLE EMPATHY. Long story short, I fitted the woman perfectly with the first bra I put on her (I still remember exactly what it was, size, colour, everything), but she had such bad body image and probably dysmorphia that she just couldn’t see that there was nothing wrong with her and had decided that she was already going to get plastic surgery. Which is fine, I don’t judge anyone who wants to do that. But there are so many factors which contributed to this beautiful young woman reaching this point, mainly society and it’s massively fucked up beauty standards. I still think about her a lot and hope she’s okay and that she’s found some sort of peace with herself. Man, just DON’T TALK ABOUT PEOPLE’S BODIES.

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Niamh says NO to bodyshaming (wearing Andorra from Panahce, an example of one of the stretch lace styles mentioned below!) So smooth, so balanced.
SECONDLY. And sort of related and I can’t believe I skipped this one out too -BOOB SHAPE. Finding the correct size is sometimes the easiest part for the fitter. Just because you figure out the correct size though doesn’t always mean you’ve immediately found the perfect bra. The shape of your boobs plays a big part in what style of bras will work for you. For example, I’m shallow on top due to my “drastic” weight loss (I say drastic because it was quite a lot, I guess, and it happened relatively quickly). This means that I no longer have a fullness on top which is generally expected of boobs (again, those dratted beauty standards). This is why I love Cleo bras so much. The shape of their wires does something magical to me and lifts everything in just the right way so it looks like I have full, round boobers again. I therefore tend to find it hard to stray from these styles, as I never like the shape just as much. I do own some Freya and Bravissimo styles, because they’re pretty and I’m a fool with money, but I never wear them as often as I don’t love the shape. The wires are wider so they give a more east-west look which just doesn’t do it for me, and because the lift isn’t as good, I just sort of “sit” in the cups and don’t have the same round shape on top. It’s just personal preference, yo. There’s no reason for me not to wear other styles if they’re comfortable. I just prefer certain shapes over others. Figuring out your boob shape can be more awkward, but I’ve found through trying on loads of different brands and styles, it becomes more obvious after really analysing the shape they give me and how my breast tissue sits in the cups and is lifted and such.

 

Thirdly, I think it’s important to briefly point out that the way you put on your bra can help significantly with making sure all dat boob is in the right place, but also with prolonging the life of your bras. I am fully aware that for some people, there is no way to change the way you put on your bras. Issues such as arthritis, frozen shoulders, and mobility problems associated with different disabilities mean that it makes it more difficult to put your bra on a certain way. But, if you are able, do try and put it on front ways. Put your arms through the straps and lift them up to your shoulders, lean forwards as far as you can holding the bottom of the cups so your boobs fall into them, stand up and hook up the clasps, then make any other adjustments you need to. Yeah, it looks weird and it may be awkward if you’re not used to reaching back to do up the clasps, but this is the best way to protect the elastic and wires in your bras. Clasping a bra at the front and swivelling it around can actually twist and distort the wires. I may make a really awkward video of me doing it if you really, really need to see it. How else am I going to get famous?

 

Finally, and very quickly, please please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease handwash your bras and airdry them away from direct heat aka NO RADIATORS OR TUMBLE DRYERS. Hot hot heat is a bra’s worst enemy, as it can wear out the elastic and distort the wires. Do you ever have a brand new bra which gets destroyed after the first wash and dry? Yeah, it’s cuz you shoved it in the washing machine EVEN THOUGH THE LABEL EXPLICITLY SAYS HAND WASH ONLY. Those labels aren’t there just for the craic. It’s very easy to handwash bras too. Just use whichever detergent you would normally use, swish it around in some water, give a lil extra love and scrubbing to the bits that might get more gross aka armpit area, and either hang it up on the washing line or dry it flat on a towel. Mmmmmmkay?

 

You know you love me,

XOXO Bra Girl

 

 

Bra Fitting: The Truth Exposed

I want to talk about bra fitting and what your body will look like when you actually wear the correct size. When I first started this blog, I toyed with the idea of having a bra fit guide included, but there are already so many good resources from plenty of bloggers and I didn’t want the sole focus of my blog to be THIS IS HOW A BRA SHOULD FIT AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.

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I recently left my job as a bra fitter of over 2 years, and even in that job sometimes the focus would move from the perfect fit and onto what each customer really wanted. I’ll admit, as a trained and experienced lingerie fitting consultant, it can be really difficult to stop focussing on the most absolute, perfect fit. Obviously, it is extremely important, especially for fuller busted women as the correct fit can literally change your life. However, sometimes certain aspects have to be overlooked. Sometimes you need to compromise things like the wires in the centre not lying completely flush, or women who don’t want to wear a smaller band but insist on wearing the bigger band size on the tightest hook (why tho?? It’s going to stretch out so quickly and if you’d just gone for the correct band size it would last so much better AND give you more support! But I digress).

SO. If you want to get the correct bra size, but don’t think anyone is measuring you properly or you feel uncomfortable/unsupported/in pain, I’m going to tell you how to find it. The best way to get fitted is by fitters who do it by sight, not with a measuring tape. One of the reasons so many women are in the incorrect size is due to the fact that they are measured with tape, and places which use this process tend to follow the old +4 method. What this means is that they are literally adding inches onto your underbust measurement that are NOT THERE. For example, I wear a 30 band. My underbust measurement is 31 inches, so technically I could wear a 32, but any that I try always feel much too loose and I feel the need to go to the tightest hook straight away. I recently went to get measured in a well-known department store trusted by most (British) women for the last couple of decades. I was interested to see how it would end up, knowing what I know now. They still use the measuring tape/+ 4 method. The lady ended up measuring me as a 36 (31+4, rounded up is 36. I DESPAIR). She also said she would keep the cup size the same… From a 30H to a 36H??? How did she not realise how massive the cups would be? For some reason though she ended up bringing me a 36F, which was ridiculous, looked and felt awful, but was probably not far off what I would have been wearing before I was fitted correctly, and it was not uncommon for me to fit women measured as this size but who ended up being more like a 32G!

ANYWAY. If you can’t make it to a reputable lingerie store for a fitting, measuring your underbust as a starting point is okay. Make sure you keep the tape in a straight line all the way around your body and have it RIGHT UNDERNEATH YOUR BUST. Not around your waist, and not with the tape riding up towards your shoulder blades. This is not where your bra should be so it’s not where the tape should be.  Whatever you measure around here pretty much dictates what band size you should be wearing. Measuring as 34 inches? Wear a 34 band. Are you in between? Try both sizes, and go with whichever one feels more comfortable and supportive. The band should sit in a straight line across your back, not riding up or having to be pulled down low to fit. You should be able to wear it comfortably on the loosest set of hooks at first, then move into the tighter ones as it stretches out over time. You should also be able to fit two fingers under the band comfortably, with about an inch to two inches stretch, BUT NO MORE. Sometimes when women find their correct band size, it can be too much of a jump to handle straight away. For example, if you need to go down two band sizes but it feels too strange at first, try wearing just the next one down for a while, and gradually work your way down to the correct size to give your body time to get used to the firmer feeling.

And while we’re on the subject of the correct band size and how firmer is better…if you have fat on your body, especially on your back or under your bra line, a well fitting bra WILL highlight this. Being able to see rolls of fat doesn’t mean the bra doesn’t fit. It just means there is fat on your body, WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE. Also, the heavier your bust, the more pressure it will put on the surrounding area. But the correct size is doing SO MUCH WORK and literally taking the weight off your shoulders and back, and ends up correcting a lot of pain issues for a lot of women (myself included). A lot of women struggle with this when trying on bras in the correct size, because suddenly the insecurities and “flaws” they’ve been trying to ignore for so long are suddenly much more obvious. It’s not that you suddenly have more “imperfections”, it’s just that a correctly fitting bra makes your body look different to what you’ve been used to seeing in the wrong size! And that’s okay! And I’m going to share a lot of photos showing you how a bra should fit and you’ll see my rolls n bumps in all their glory! Also, would you rather the band is nice and firm, lifting your boobs up and giving you great cleavage, or have them hanging around your waist because the band is too loose? As a fellow bra fitter once said, “it’s either back fat or saggy tits, mate!” I know what I’d prefer.

For the sake of comparison, I will also share the photos I took from when I was “measured” as a 36 so you can see what a difference the correct size really does make!

Now that you have the band size, you need to figure out the cup size. This seems to be where people struggle a lot more. Most people aren’t taught how the band size relates to the cup, and how moving up or down in one part affects what size you need to take in the other. Boobs are a volume measurement, which is why it can be so difficult to get the right size and why using a tape just isn’t the best way to do it. As my old boss said, “it’s like trying to measure a pint of milk with a ruler.” IT AIN’T GONNA WORK! The band size and cup size are relative to each other. Without going into too much confusing detail, you just need to know that as you change one, you also need to change the other to balance them out. So if you go down in the band but don’t need to change the cup size, you still need to take a bigger cup size to balance it out. There is a term we lingerie gals sometimes use which is “sister sizes”. This refers to how you can SORT OF get away with a bra that isn’t your true size, because it is roughly equivalent to what you should wear. Par exemple, if your correct size is a 32DD, but you can’t get it, you could get away with either a 34D (up in the band = down in the cup) OR a 30E (down in the band = up in the cup). TRY not to think about it too much, just remember that you do need to adjust these things if you’re playing around with different sizes. This is also what freaks a lot of women out when the find their true size. Because most stores only stock the “matrix” or core sizes (eg in and around 32A-38DD) most women who are heavier busted tend to be put into the biggest band size/cup size combo available.

This is also why there is a misconception that a DD cup is THE BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD. Sorry, but it just isn’t. In fact, women who are actually around a D cup would actually be considered to have very small boobs. And honestly, in my 2+ years of fitting, I can genuinely count on one hand the women I fitted who were smaller than a D cup. And yet DD+ women are the ones made to feel abnormal. BUT WHATEVER. The times they are a-changin and all that. Onto how the cup should fit. The wires in the middle should ideally lie flush against your chest, separating your boobers and not squishing them together. If you find the wires sit forward, it means the cup is too small. Try bigger cup sizes until the wires are sitting all flat and cosy. The wires at the side should also be sitting away from the breast tissue, not on top of it or cutting into it, with nothing spilling out under your armpits. Everybody’s boobs are different shapes, so you need to make sure you check the fit by lifting your arms and checking the sides. Some people have overflow at the front, some have it at the sides. And again, if you are spilling out of the cup at all, it’s time to size dat cup up! It tends to be more obvious to most people when the cup is too big. If your boobs aren’t completely filling the cups, go down a size.

Oh, and just to make it all the more complicated, like clothes, not all bras fit the same. You do need to try them all on, even when you think you’re 100000000% positive. Different brands are cut slightly differently, different cup shapes will fit differently, and even the colour of the fabric can affect the fit. Just, try everything on. Always.

I hope this very eloquently written guide is of use to some of you. If you ever have any questions, please don’t feel like you can’t contact me! My email address is on the contact page, but I also reply to messages through my Facebook page and DMs on my Instagram (just search H Cup Chronicles on both!)

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When you wear the right bra size, you can jump up and down to your heart’s content without having to worry about boob mishaps!

 

The Beginning of my Chronicles

I used to hate my boobs. I used to hate my body. I was your typical, slightly overweight, big boobed teen. I was embarrassed, I hated seeing photos of myself, and I often sat with my back hunched over to disguise my boobs and stomach which just made me look worse. To add to this, I was definitely not wearing the correct bra size. I’m not sure what size I would have been back then as I was heavier, but I’m pretty sure I was usually made to wear a 36-38G, as that’s all that was offered to me. I know now that I was not an unmanageable size, but as I was limited to two high street retailers who offered a supposedly good range of bigger cup sizes but who never fitted me properly, it seemed to me that I was just doomed to endure the pain of underwires sticking into me and the weight of my unsupported bust causing strain on my shoulders, neck and back. What also bothered me, being young and wanting to wear fun, colourful bras like my smaller-busted friends, was that I only ever seemed to have the choice between black, white or nude. Plain bras are okay for certain outfits, but for as long as I can remember my clothes and outward presentation have been a way to capture and project my personality, which for the most part is fun, witty, slightly weird. Not having everything match up with that just annoyed me deep down.

Jump forward six or seven years to my first proper bra fitting in a Bravissimo store in Edinburgh. I still can’t remember how I discovered Bravissimo, but I know it changed my life. Within minutes I was wearing the correct size and couldn’t believe the difference it made to not just my boobs, but the rest of my figure, my posture, my back, everything. I was instantly hooked (lol).

This is not an unusual journey. Unfortunately many women have and will continue to struggle with their bodies, their boobs and bra size. I just hope by sharing my story I can show other women that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve since started working as a bra fitter myself, and my passion for lingerie continues to intensify. I love the knowledge I now have. I love knowing that something as simple as changing someone’s bra size can change everything. I love the fact that my own self confidence has grown vastly, all because of that one fitting. I love knowing that my body isn’t perfect, but that it’s still beautiful because it’s unique and it’s mine. And finally, after years of hating them, I love my boobs!IMG_9830.jpg

Pictured: me at my happiest – wearing an adorable bra by Cleo by Panache, rolling around with a few of my faves (this could be you too!)