Ever feel like a complete dummy when it comes to bras? Well, don't worry you're not alone.
There's comes a time for most of us, with so many sizes, shapes and styles, all promising different things and using language that seems purposefully obtuse, and it soon becomes hard to care.
But take heart, I'm going to share my top tips with you so that you'll soon be feeling like a bra expert.
1. You are a specific bra size. Truth or Myth?
If you already had a sneaky feeling that there was something strange going on in the world of bra sizing, you'd be right. The truth is there is no universal calibration of bra sizes, and even the same bra size will differ in proportions even across the same brand.
Don't let fierce assistants with tape measures make you believe any differently, usually the only way to guarantee a great fit is by trying on at least a couple of sizes.
Here's how that works - firstly band size.
Generally, this *is* a thing you can do with a tape measure. Wrap the measure around your underbust and read off the measurement. In the UK and US, you then add on 4" to get the actual band size. This piece of confusion comes from way back when bras were not made of stretchy fabric and you need to cut the bra large enough to accommodate your rib cage as you breathe. So, girls with a 32" underbust are generally in a 36" bra, but it's worth trying a 34 occasionally.
I've noticed though that girls with larger band sizes, 40+ are often more comfortable with much tighter bands, so sometimes a 40" measurement will equal a 40" bra. Remember - there are no real hard and fast rules here, we're after support, comfort and confidence.
Then we need to add cup size into the mix, and this is where things generally get complex.
First thing to remember, we're trying to estimate volume with a tape measure, so chances are you won't be one fixed cup size. But as a guide you subtract your underbust measurement from your fullest boob. The difference between the two numbers determines your cup size:
Cup size is proportional to band size, you always need the two together. 32D is much smaller than 38D.
As a rough guide a 32D = 34C = 36B, in other words for a specific volume, if you go up a band size, you can go down a cup size to get a very similar fit, so if you find a bra that's close to a perfect fit but not quite there, try a different size. It might provide just enough variation to correct the slight differences between manufacturers.
*You are a specific bra size* MYTH BUSTED! You can be two or three different sizes at the same time.
3. Certain bra shapes only fit certain boob shapes. Truth or Myth?
Wow. There's now a whole system of boob classification going on out there, with boobs divided into four, six, and even eight different categories. I'm undecided on this one, over my 15 years of bra fitting, I've seen lots of different size boobs in the same style bra, and really, boobs that may look very different au natural, will usually look pretty similar in the same style bra. So be confident and try whatever style takes your fancy. Bear in mind that the more structure in the bra, underwire, padding, contouring etc. the more support your boobs will get, the more they will change shape. Whereas bras with very little structure like a teeny triangle bikini bra have less effect on shape, but who cares! We are the shape we are, there is no one right or wrong shape, so it follows there can be no right or wrong style to suit you.
*Certain bra shapes only fit certain boob shapes* MYTH BUSTED! Wear what you fancy.
3. So what do these different bra terms all mean?
Underwired and non wired. Self explanatory really, underwires give a tremendous amount of shape support to your boobs.
Here are two unpadded leather bras, Lisa with an underwire, Raphaela without. Same 36C boobs in each, but they look completely different in these styles. You can see clearly how the underwire scoops the boob into the cup.
Balcony and Balconette: Similar but not quite the same. Both sit on a band that goes right around the body, and both styles cup the boob from underneath giving you two round orbs of delight. Balconette styles go more or less straight across at the top with wide set straps, whilst balcony dips down in the middle and up at the sides. They can be unpadded like the Lisa we've just looked at, padded like our best selling Miranda balconette, or two cup sizes larger like our Super Boost Miranda Balcony.
Lastly the Plunge Push Ups.
Plunge bras don't sit on a supporting band like the balconies, instead they have two wings which join at the back and a tiny bridge at the front. Very low cut at the front with wide set straps. They have different wire shape to the balconies and push your boobs together at the centre as well as up, giving defined cleavage. Usually padded, like our Kiss Kiss plunge, but can also be superboosted like our Kiss Kiss Superboost.
Hopefully you're now fully armed with knowledge, but if there's anything you're still unclear about, drop me a line - I never get bored of talking about bras, I'm passionate about them and love to share.
The Nightporter remembered: Exploring the dark side. Lux Tenebrae Luxury leather in collaboration with Benedict Campbell and Miss Miranda, shots from our exploration of the controversial 1974 art film by Italian director Liliana Cavani, starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling featuring elements of Nazisploitation. Here at Lux we despise all forms of racism, sexism and fascism.
I took our Lux Wedding Dress off the site a couple of months back as I had fallen out of love with the lambskin we were using to make it, and I'm not sure if we could do a really successful version in glove leather because of the amount of seams needed.
However, not having it on the site never really stops people from ordering (In fact, as soon as I take anything off the site, people want to order it!) and we've sold several in the interim that have been working their way through the fitting process.
So, I've just sourced our new nappa lambskin for the wedding dress, colour chart here:
Same supplier has some wonderful deer nappa.... which I'm hoping I can replace the calfskin jeans with, - I'll keep you updated
And also a new source for the silk satin lining that makes the wedding dress so utterly luxurious.
Over the next few months I'll be re-shooting the wedding dress as our current pictures just don't do it justice. (They were taken in our old studio on a rickety old camera with no lighting to speak of.) And hopefully adding a couple of new dresses in.
I love making these statement dresses, it's just so exciting to be able to really let go and design something grand.
We're completely over-excited with our first ever batch of 0.45mm gloving leather, the usual thickness is 0.55mm. Look how thin it is! It's like working with silk. Complete sublime luxury. We've also tweaked all of the patterns, following your feedback, so they are now nice and snug but without tight elastic. Thet should now be true to size, and should give very slightly to fit you perfectly. Pic is Ultralux briefs and matching thong, on their way to Australia.
I've been with Paypal since 2003, during which time they have frozen my account multiple times, withheld money, reversed transactions that had already gone into my bank, and generally treated me like I'm the new pirate in town.
'This money is being temporarily held in your pending balance. It will be held for up to 21 days. While it’s being held, it won’t be available for withdrawal.'
I've phoned them and occasionally got through, and they have assured me they love me, and then turned around and withheld my money, yet again for another *review*.
'We’ll move the money to your available balance after 21 days as long as your buyer hasn’t reported a problem. It may be available sooner if we can confirm that the item was delivered or, if this is an eBay item, your buyer leaves positive feedback.'
It's like being trapped in an abusive marriage where the bad things keep happening over and over, and then there's an apology and good behaviour for a couple of weeks or months, and then BAM!, some new bad behaviour. Could a bank do this to me? No. And what completely defeats me is why Paypal would behave like this towards us when it's *our* money they rely on. Biting the hand that feeds them etc.
'We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we appreciate your business.'
So, I've finally had enough. I'm leaving Paypal. I'm out. Lux is joining the mass exodus of sellers, before Paypal can wreak anymore havoc upon us.
I have a perfectly good merchant banking system in place, I merely thought I'd keep Paypal on as a courtesy for my customers. And they do use it, but I'm not sure they would if they knew that their money wasn't always reaching me in good time, and without hidden surprise fees.
So, if you buy anything from Lux from today going forward, your payment will be processed by Iridium and will be displayed as such on your bank or card statement. And hopefully, this marks the beginning of a new hassle free era.
Further reading about the countless Woes of Paypal here:
The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that our original Catsuit is missing from the menu at the moment. Partly, because of my move away from lambskin, but also because I wasn't 100% happy with the old design.
As with everything, the moment I took it off the options, the orders rolled in and I'm working closely with each of you to finalise each and every little detail.
For example, how do you want your collar?
2" stand collar with black zip undone?
Or 2" stand zipped up tight?
Turtle neck with invisible back zip?
Or ornamented biker style?
How about a more traditional Avengers style with open collar?
Or buckle fastening?
Not to mention shoulder pads
Full on Armour...
Or a more natural classic line....
So, I'm using all these super images of strong women rocking catsuits as inspiration for our next design, penciled in for very early 2015 to be modeled by Miss Miranda.
In the meantime, you can still order one of our lovely made to measure Catsuits that start at £945, either in glove leather, or finest nappa (design dependent on size of the leather)
And there's lots more source Catsuits over on our Lux Pinterest Catsuit mood board .
Your thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think - please email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've decided I want to really concentrate my time on my lovely glove leather designs, and to discontinue my lambskin and calf skin ranges from now - 25.9.14.
Lambskin just doesn't make my heart sing like the glove leather.
We have a couple of outstanding orders to finish, but are not accepting any new orders in lambskin or calfskin. Any left over skins will be converted into skirts and popped on the Clearance page - I'll email when this happens.
I'm so excited about this!
To get notified of promotion start dates and other info, please join our Lux email group. We don't email too often, you can opt out at any time and we'll never spam you or pass on your details to anyone else.
Just when we thought we'd laid size zero to sleep, along comes size triple zero!
"American shoppers," wrote Metro, "are now able to buy size triple zero clothes, with very small 23-inch waists, the same size waistband in fact as 6-8 year-old girls would typically wear."
The newspaper was writing off the back of a report from Grazia magazine, which highlighted the trend emerging in the US.
Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Alex B, a model and writer (and soon to be LUX model) who also represents older models, says: "Hollywood is constantly infantilising women and this trend is yet another instance of this unacceptable, ultimately coercive treatment of women. Women embracing such extreme thinness are bound to make themselves ill in the shorter and longer term. We should try to stop it."
Dr BJ Epstein, lecturer at the University of East Anglia and HuffPost UK blogger agrees. "What is wrong with our society that women feel they need to look like little children? This is incredibly disempowering, and it means that by focusing on women's looks, we're missing out on what women actually can contribute to the world."
Why would women do this to themselves? While we don't agree with the Mail Online saying it's a 'badge of honour', we do think that in such a highly competitive industry, this has - worryingly - become a new standard to work to.
Rivkie Baum, editor of Slink magazine and plus size campaigner says: "The fact that it exists is pretty frightening. While we can't assume that all women with a 23-inch waist are on a starvation diet,- any more than we can say size 16+ women eat all the time, it is a huge concern that we seem to have come full circle in terms of measuring our self worth by measuring our waists.
"The fact that this trend seems to be trickling down from celebrities and high street brands is hugely concerning as they need to consider their social responsibility to young and impressionable girls. Many professional models have a 24-inch waist (and are on average are still in their teens) - the fact that a triple zero is smaller than their average measurements, suggests that even those we hold as the most slender in our society no longer cut the mustard."
"There isn't anything wrong with having "pencil thin legs" or "sharp collar bones," as many may suggest. Bodies rest at different weights naturally; some of us are small and some are large.
"It's simply a fact of life. Seeing tiny bodies in our media isn't the problem; the permeation of the thought that smaller bodies are worth more is. Not only because it's simply not true, but because it affects all women whether we know it or not."
There may be some good to come out of this. Whereas size zero may have been attainable, because size triple zero is so extreme, it may actually unite women against the quest for super skinny.
"The fact that the triple zero body is so unattainable actually offers a positive opportunity though: to band all women together to reject the impossible body standards we see," says Jes.
"Until now, we have seen a separation of shapes, "straight sizes" vs. "plus sizes." Women occasionally choose to shoot the other down to build themselves up- thin women calling larger women "lazy" and large women calling thin women "sellouts." Neither of these are true, and maybe it takes a standard that no one can truly reach to help us realise that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER."
On Twitter, #triplezero is being discussed:
Dr Epstein adds: "Women come in a variety of sizes, and we should celebrate that. Likewise, we should celebrate women's different looks, skills, abilities, and contributions to society. A 23-inch waist is nothing to celebrate; it's shocking and depressing. When will we ever learn that women are more than objects, more than bodies?"
But, how can we stop the size zero pressure? As a first step I've taken size 6 off my options with immediate effect - I don't really want it to be seen as normal, when clearly for LUX customers it isn't. We need to stop the photoshoots that serve only the propagation and glorification of the starvation of hundreds of young women, and offer alternatives.
And I just wanted to balance all the negativity, by saying, in the world of handmade luxury leather lingerie, my best selling sizes remain 10 and 16, 12 running a close third. Very occasionally a size 8 or 14.
Happily, I've never been asked to make anything smaller than a size 6, and even size 6 is a rarity - twice since 2003.
Hopefully this means that Lux women, men and those in between love their bodies just the way they are.
This is the message we need to be spreading.
This summer, 2014 Lux will be fifteen years old. That's a lot of beautiful hand made pants.
And it means that we are the UK's first and oldest handmade luxury leather lingerie brand.
And just like our gorgeous leather, we are getting better with age.
Lux models stand in front of the Lux stall during the 2012 BBB fashion show.
After much consideration we've decided to retire from showing at BBB, Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar. We always have such a blast working there and meeting you guys, but increasingly over the past quarter, as the new website has taken off with such force, we found we simply can't do both. There are not enough hours in the week to prepare new displays for BBB and fulfill our International web orders. Standing down from BBB will let us catch our breath, and consolidate the new website, the new UltraLuxe range, and think about how to be physically more accessible to you, our lovely clients.
I want to thank all of you that made our time at BBB so memorable, and especially to the organisers Barbara and Dave, for their continuous encouragement and support, for without both of them and BBB, I'm quite sure we wouldn't be where we are now.
And I'm certain that BBB is the best of the fetish events on offer in the UK, and long may that stand.
We have an event penciled in for late summer in London and we'll post details as soon as we have them. Also in the pipework are a High Street Pop Up shop, and a larger studio showroom.
This is such an exciting period of growth for Lux and I'm really looking forward to the next 18 months or so.
Looking forward to seeing you soon in a whole new way!