Tuesday, 4 November 2008
The new Bravissimo catalogue is out and I thought, since I was singularly uninspired by all the bras in my size, I'd have a look at the new party frocks.
For those not familiar with Bravissimo, they specialise in dressing the girl with big boobs and small backs, and they are lovely, lovely people (while, I am sure making a fortune...). Anyway, around 2000, if my memory served, they branched into clothing - making 'secret support' style vest tops that actually had full bra support, unlike high street versions. Later they brought out a blouse which actually did up properly and didn't strain at the buttons or swamp mannishly. A suit jacket followed that and now they have a whole range of clothing very cleverly cut for girls who have bigger boobs, but aren't actually big all over - most ranges go up to a UK dress size 16, although some now go as far as an 18.
Normally wearing a 20, I trepidatiously bought a couple of their frocks for work a month or so back, when my Dad got ill and I felt like cheering myself up; £50 each is a lot to spend on a work frock when you're not sure it'll fit, and although crossover style frocks are usually fairly forgiving, I was worried about the arms. Turns out they were fine, and in a sad twist I wore the black one for the first time to my Dad's funeral - still, nice dress and I was glad to have it.
Where was I? There are three proper party frocks in the collection: my favourite (above) is a sophiticated and flattering take on the prom dress (an absolutely reasonable £75). Most prom dresses are dreadful for girls with big boobs as they have a straight horizontal neckline and only thin, or worse, no straps to balance it out. The layering of the black silk chiffon over the silver satin is a more tasteful way to show layering than black lace over a coloured under-layer, and the pin tucks over the bodice and from the waist are very fifties Hollywood. So too is the wide V back (below) - which is a gorgeous design feature but you would have to ensure your bra fitted well and low on the ribcage.
Sadly this one's not for me, because it only goes up to a size 16 - so I console myself with the fact that the silver is a bit plain - Imagine an undercurrent of chocolate, or scarlet, or emerald green.
The next dress is almost the same shape but much more plain - it's a truly gorgeous colour though, and one that suits most caucasian skintones, except possibly the fairest blondes. This dress is much more versatile and would make a fabulous wedding-guest outfit, solving the daytime/evening quandry. It's not exclusively a winter frock either, whereas the black and silver of the first one feels very festive. I think you'd get a fair bit of wear out of this, and since it's available in an 18, and a reasonable £69 for what could be justified as an investment, I might go for this myself. It might even go with the mui mui shoes below... And I do have a couple of weddings coming up, now I come to think...
The last frock is a rather glamorous spin on a 40s tea dress, or so it seems. Unlike the others, this has little sleeves - though since they finish at the widest part of the arm, you'll want a bolero or cardigan if that's an 'eek' zone.
I'm not normally a fan of dark blue - but in velvet or silk, as here, It has a sophisticated midnight gorgeousness of the kind we could all do with more of in our lives and our wardrobes. This frock is better for the less hourglassy types - the first two are really going to be sold on a smallish waist - but the empire line here is forgiving and the skirt is bias cut to skim hips, thighs and tummies. Beware empire lines, while I'm on the subject - most make big boobs look very wide (as all horizontal lines will widen as an optical illusion) - the chevron shape here, however, mirrored by the wide V neck gives an effect of diminishing the 'bulk' of the boobs, while drawing your eye to the cleavage - very clever indeed!
On the down side, again this one only goes up to a 16. The arbitary 16/18 thing Bravissimo is a bit of a pip, to be honest; I can't believe I'm the only size 20 who needs a 34 back bra, but I've found their frocks well cut and they have excellent customer service so I'll cut them some slack.