Merry Christmas + Biu Biu Helen Review

Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate the holiday (sssh...I'm a Jew, but I love Christmas trees and gift giving and holiday cheer)! 

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Today, I thought I'd write do a festive post featuring a warm and cozy wrap top from Biu Biu. The Helen top is another item I received from Biu Biu to review on my blog a few months ago and though this exact version isn't offered on the site anymore, Helen also comes in a short sleeve top version and as a long sleeved and short sleeved dress, which are equally cute.

The Helen is a heathered burgundy long sleeved wrap top made of a soft blend of polyester, cotton, and viscose. It feels like a thin sweater material, so it's extremely cozy but not too hot for California weather. When closed, the gathering on the chest is very flattering and can be adjusted to show a little more cleavage or be quite modest. 

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There is a hole in one side of the top that allows you to string the sash through and create a snug fit. I prefer this construction to tops and dresses that only wrap around the outside of the garment because you can play around with different configurations if you're feeling fun!

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I paired the Helen top with my favorite Ann Taylor ponte cotton & faux leather leggings and BP ankle booties. For a dressier look, I've also worn this with black trousers and patent pumps.

I received the top in size 34B/BB and although according to the measurements the 34 is a little too big for my frame, it is still a nice, relaxed fit to wear with leggings and ankle booties for chillier weather. Although the length is longer on me than on the model, the tulip hem is very flattering and doesn't cut my legs off in an unflattering way.

Just like the Cusco top that I reviewed last month, the Helen top has a more complicated hem that couldn't be shortened. I asked for the sleeves to be shortened, but I think I measured incorrectly because they still ended up being a little bit too long. I've been meaning to go to a tailor to get professional measurements because I also had this problem with doing custom orders from Eshakti. 

I'm really pleased with the design and construction of this top. I've worn it to work a few times and always get compliments on how well the burgundy color suits my skin and how nicely the top drapes.

While I do wish that Biu Biu made clothes in size 32 and offered petite options, I realize they are a small company and I am quite happy with the garments I've tried so far.

Review: Cervin Tentation Stockings & Vintage Garter

Hosiery has been a largely unexplored area of lingerie for me until very recently. My drawers are filled with more bras, panties, chemises and slips than I can count, but my experimentation with different kinds of stockings only dates back a couple of years and I'm still learning a lot about what's out there and where to shop. My hosiery wardrobe was limited to plain pantyhose with professional outfits or solid colored tights to stay warm in the winter. Then, one day I discovered a cheap pair of sheer lace-top stay-ups at a department store and haven't looked back!

Lucky for me, Cervin contacted me a few weeks ago and offered to send me a garter and a pair of stockings of my choice to review on my blog. I wasn't familiar with the brand before, but I learned that Cervin is a Parisian hosiery company that has been creating all sorts of beautiful tights, stockings, garters and accessories at varying price ranges since 1953. I'm really impressed by how long Cervin has been around to perfect this craft because most of the lingerie companies I usually work with are much younger and more experimental.

The more stockings I own, the more I find myself liking vintage-inspired looks and fabrics. I had never tried French heel stockings and have always loved the look, so I chose the Tentation stockings in black and paired them with the vintage suspender belt. I wasn't familiar with stockings sizes in the past, but in talking with a very helpful representative from Cervin, we decided to try size 1 in the Tentation nylons, which accommodate heights of 4'11-5'2 and an inseam measurement of 27". In the suspender belt, I chose size S.

The Tentation stockings are a very sheer denier 15 and are made of a soft and sturdy nylon that feels lovely on my skin. The detailing on the stockings is just beautiful and the color is just opaque enough to create a smooth look on my legs but still allow my natural skin color to show through. The stockings themselves don't have any stretch to them, so it's important to choose the right size for your height and inseam. In my case, the size 1 was perfect for my 5'0 frame and 28" inseam

The top of the Tentation stockings is reinforced and has additional seaming and detailing that adds a lot of visual interest and also serves as a nice barrier between the garter straps and my skin. 

This pair of stockings really feels special and makes an entire outfit look and feel that much more polished.

The vintage garter is also one of the best belts that I've owned to date. It's got a sexy but somewhat industrial look to it - both function and form, which is generally what I look for in lingerie. This garter is a higher rise than most garter belts I've tried, so it has an added benefit of smoothing out my midsection since it's made of a taught, supportive fabric. I appreciate the double clips on each of the six straps, which do an excellent job of making sure my stockings don't budge all day.

I also have to say I love the adjusters on this garter belt. Most of the garter belts I own have bra strap type adjusters which might look sleeker but slide down all day long and require re-tightening every few minutes if I'm walking around. Since I'm petite, I almost always have to wear my garters on the shortest setting and the metal clasp adjusters stay put all day without any need for readjusting. Bravo!

I would definitely encourage you to read the size chart on the product page and not choose your usual garter size by default, which is what I almost did. With a 24" (61 cm) waist and 33" (84 cm) hips, the S was a snug fit but comfortable fit on the loosest hook, so if you're in between sizes, I'd suggest sizing up.

I'm really starting to see the appeal of well made stockings in my lingerie drawer. These stockings look fantastic with a pencil skirt for work or a form fitting dress for going out. I get tons of compliments on them every time I wear them out.

Cervin, you've created a monster! Now I want all of the pretty stockings. I think my next purchase will be a pair of sheer beige stockings with an accent color on top, like these bicolor nylons in peach and blue.

What's your favorite style of stockings and what's your favorite place to buy them?

Disclaimer: The items in this post were provided to me free of charge for review purposes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank You

Dear Readers,

I'm happy to announce that I've won the Esty Lingerie award for best DD+ lingerie blog of 2015! I completely did not expect this given how many other amazing blogs were listed in this category, but I'm so flattered and really pleased that my awesome readers voted for me and wanted me to win :).

It makes me want to work that much harder at writing the most thorough reviews, taking the best pictures, and bringing comprehensive knowledge about international lingerie brands to my audience. It's a great impetus to get back to blogging weekly and take this blog more seriously.

I also want to congratulate all of my other wonderful blogger friends for winning in their categories - great job Morning Madonna (Small Busts), The Lingerie Addict (Luxury Lingerie), The Daily Knicker (Reviews), and Sweet Nothings NYC (Best Overall Blog). These ladies are awesome and you should make sure to check out their blogs if you don't already read them.

-Florence