Review: Gossard VIP Iris Set

As fall has finally rolled into the Bay Area, ending a long summer of sunshine and unusually warm weather, all I want to do is wear dark sultry colors and autumnal prints under my clothing. Gossard's AW15 collection has been one of my favorites for this season. The pieces are interesting, seductive and offer a fantastic array of colors, fabrics and patterns. To me, it seems very grown up and lacks the unsavory girly bubblegum prints that usually turn me off from other UK brands.  My first encounter with Gossard started with the VIP Retrolution line, which I adored, and since then I've also tried pieces from the Phoebe and Egoboost collections. I was really excited when a brand representative named Laura contacted me back in September to offer me a set of my choice to review.

I was torn on which set to choose because many of my favorite bras from the fall collection only went up to an E cup in a 30 band, but Laura suggested the VIP Iris in a 30E and matching coordinates in XS. Since sometimes Gossard cups run large and the bands run small, I figured I had a good chance of success with Iris.

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The Iris plunge is a padded 3-part cup with a sheer mesh top section. The print is a lovely black satin with a delicate white and rose pink floral print. The back of the bra is a strappy triangle-shaped band with a single row of hooks and eyes, a Gossard signature style. The matching waspie and panties are just as lovely, made of matching printed satin and mesh. The fabric does not stretch much and holds its shape very well.

When I first put on the set, I noticed that the bra gives me fantastic cleavage. The 30E fit me really well. The cups are shallow but because the top edge is made of a stretchy mesh, I was able to get a close-together pushed up look without any unflattering lines or fabric cutting in. The 30 band only stretched to about 29 inches so if you are in between band sizes, I would suggest sizing up. For me, the bra fits well on the tightest hook as I'm a true 26 band and normally wear 28s. 

The waspie fit me on the tightest row of hooks as well, but I suspect it sits much lower on me than it's supposed to. If I could size down, I think it would sit higher on my waist and not cover so much of my lower body. Because the waspie is a little big on me in the XS, I did not get much waist cinching or smoothing from it, but that's not through any fault of the garment. It's a sturdy piece and would definitely offer some gentle shaping the correct size. Additionally, because I'm very petite, the suspender straps hang down lower than I'd like and don't keep my stockings up as high, but on a woman of average height, this shoudln't be a problem. I paired the Iris waspie with my Secrets in Lace Dana sheer heel nylons.

The only item from the Iris set that did not fit me at all was the panties. The XS bottoms fit simialrly to a M or large S in other brands. They were about 2 inches larger in the waist than my Cleo or Freya panties in XS (UK 6-8). I'd say these would probably fit a UK 10 woman, but they are fairly low rise so they might reveal more than desired. I did not wear them in the pictures but I've laid them out to show you how pretty they are! The Iris panties feature the satin material in the front and a sheer mesh back with a bit of gathering near the top.

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The Iris set feels high quality to the touch and looks beautiful on the body. At about £106 (or $160) for the set, it's certainly not cheap but the craftsmanship is impressive for the price range. The fit of the bra was excellent and Gossard 30 bands are great options for women who usually need 28 bands in other brands. However, I would recommend the waspie to women of average or tall height and for everyone else to size down in the panties if possible. 

I'm dying to try a few other pieces from Gossard's current collection. Desire and Graphic Floral are my other favorites from AW15. 

By the way, I asked my new roommate to take photos of me today and I think she did a spectacular job! I'm pretty excited to work with her and hopefully we will both learn something new from this experience.

Review: Biu Biu Cusco Top

While I rarely photograph myself in actual clothing on the blog, fashion is a huge part of my life. I adore dressing up no matter where I go and I'm always looking for a perfect fit in my clothing. However, being very petite with an hourglass shape, it's often hard for me to find items that flatter my body. While petite clothing from stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Nordstrom usually suits my proportions, petite sizes are usually cut for an even smaller bust than regular sizes. For reference, a size 00P at most of my favorite retailers usually equates to a 31-32" bust, a 25" waist, and a 33" hip, which results in a too-small bust and too-large waist. Even before my breast augmentation, at a 28DD, I had the same problem of items fitting far too large in the torso and tight in the bust.

On the flip side, of the full-bust clothing options that have emerged from Poland and Britain, none make petite sizes and generally start with the equivalent of a US size 2 or 4. That leaves women with my body type with few options, none of which are ideal. The general rule is to fit the largest part of the body and tailor everything else, which can get expensive and tedious. 

When I contacted Biu Biu, a Polish company that makes full-bust clothing, I was thrilled to find out that they offer free hemming on their garments, which is the best of both worlds! Biu Biu was happy to send me a few items to review on my blog, and I'm excited to finally talk about the items I received after my long hiauts. Biu Biu kindly gifted me the Cusco top, the City dress, the Helen long-sleeved sweater, all of which I will review separately.

According to the size chart, with a 35" bust, a 24" waist and 33" hip, 34BB was the closet size for structured items and 34B/BB for stretchy clothes. I expected the items to be a little bit large in the waist and hip, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. I was sent the Cusco Lily top in 34B/BB and because of the gathered fabric of the top, it could not be shortened as it does not have a simple hem. However, I figured that since I wear these types of tops tucked into skirts or with casual pants, the length wouldn't bother me.

When my package first arrived, I couldn't get over how nice the Cusco top felt to the touch! It's made of a soft viscose material that's thin and breathable, but it doesn't cling to the body too much or show every bump and curve. The top is structured with a seam in the back, rouching in the bodice under the bust, and a draped neckline. I find it to be really flattering on the bust and super comfortable. The sleeves are short and loose-fitting, so this top would look great with a cardigan over it or just by itself.

The 34B/BB fit reasonably well in the torso and bust. If a 32B/BB existed, that would have been perfect for me, but the 34 is not a bad fit at all and definitely wearable. I wore a Freya Deco underneath the top for a smooth silhouette and the top draped nicely over my chest. As expected, I would have preferred the top to be a few inches shorter, but I still like the look and proportions. 

Here, I styled the top with my favorite Joe's Jeans bootcut jeans and Clarks leather loafers for a casual look. For a dressier outfit, I can wear the Cusco top with a beige or navy pencil skirt, a long necklace, and pumps. The lilac color is versatile for wearing with both dark and light neutrals, as well as more playful colors like dark purple. 

Overall, I was really pleased with the Cusco top and can't wait to tell you about the rest of my Biu Biu order.

Have you tried full bust clothing companies before? Which is your favorite? 

Where I've Been the Last Month

I'll be honest - I have had quite the rough adjustment to life in San Francisco. While this is an amazing city, the stresses of a new job, trying to make new friends, the processes of fading away from my loved ones back in Boston, and the desire to just fit in and find my place here has really weighed on me. However, I was managing.

After a rocky few months, three weeks ago, my partner of two and a half years and I decided to split up. While this was the right thing to do for both of us and I realize that this was a necessary step for us both to find happiness, it's been a difficult time in my life. A couple of days ago, he moved out and I found myself in a half empty apartment, sleeping on the couch in my living room. I feel both relief and melancholy. I know that being in a new city virtually alone is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

My partner was the photographer for Science and Silicone. I started out taking my pictures by myself with a tripod and timer, but over the last couple of years, I've taught him to take photos for me and it became our weekend ritual. I would put several sets of lingerie and he would admire them, then painstakingly work on capturing me and the garments in the best light. Now that he's gone, I feel lost about where to go from here.

So here's what's going to happen next. I'm going to get back to writing for this blog because it's something that makes ME happy and I'm going to separate it from him. This blog was always about cataloging my own thoughts, exploring new lingerie brands, and sharing what I've learned with other women. But it warped into some kind of emotional shared experience with my partner and I don't like that. I'll post reviews of items from the last few months that have sat neglected on my hard drive after he took the last batch of photos for me. After that, I'm going to relearn how to photograph myself, or maybe I'll recruit a friend to help out. Whatever it is, I'm going to keep going.

This is a time in my life when I start to focus on myself and my interests, and while all of these changes have been going on, Science and Silicone has fallen by the wayside. I'm going to take it back and it's going to be better than ever. 

Thank you for listening and understanding.

-Florence