Gentle readers, I confess: it was always my plan to do a mix of reviews and Other Informative Things (OITs from here on out) in the ol’ brog, but life got a bit in the way. Other than my post for The Modesty Panel, the OITs have been pretty much non-existent. I think it’s time to remedy that, and I’d like to start it off on a cheerful foot with a celebration of the ten-year anniversary of a great resource for busty ladies: Brastop.com. I’m mainly sized out now, but until recently, I bought almost all of my bras there. They have great prices, frequent sales, and excellent customer service, including the handling of returns from overseas. I am lucky enough to have made the acquaintance through the blogosphere of a lovely lady named Chloe who works with Brastop on their blog (read her latest post, a review of the Curvy Kate Emily Balconette Bra in Nude, here!), and she agreed to do an interview with me to commemorate ten years of bra goodness and to talk about what is in store (*snickers* get it?). I’ve also interspersed some of my favorite current offerings, but wait to buy till you see the surprise at the end of the post…
Without further ado:
Miss Shapen: Let’s get a bit of an introduction before we start, shall we? When and how did you start working with Brastop, and what do you do there?
Chloe: I’ve been working with Brastop in a freelance capacity since around 2008. I tend to work as a freelance copywriter, and I spotted an opportunity to take on their blog and help promote the brand via social media. At the time, there were very few (if any) lingerie blogs out there (I can think of almost none except for one about knickers and possibly one or two others), so in a lot of respects, Brastop was quite far ahead of the field. We started by doing reviews, general lingerie news, quirky stories and updates about the company. After a few months, we did a redesign of the blog and recruited some more girls to help with the blogging – most notably Becky Mount, who has become one of the most important members of the team – and Carrie Hunter, who was one of our first “photo model review” girls, and really set the tone for a lot of photo-bra-blogging websites that subsequently came along. It really brought about a massive surge in popularity for the blog, and we’ve built up a big following. Obviously, it’s important for us to promote Brastop offers, but we also find space to do interviews, feature articles and we often ask our readers a question to help stimulate debate. We held a competition last year to recruit another blogger, and we’ve since renamed the blog Fuller Focus, to align it with Brastop’s quarterly magazine, which has taken off in a really big way. So, all in all, it’s been really brilliant experience for me – it’s without a doubt the most fun I have writing, and they’re a special bunch of people to work with. I enjoy having a platform to discuss issues that matter and should be more in the open – health, advice, style and, of course – boobs. I do other writing for a living, but Brastop is where I have the best fun, and of course – I get to try out lots of new bras too!
MS: I had quite the collection of Kris Line bras that I’d bought on Brastop before I sadly grew out of them. It was the only place I was ever able to find them at affordable prices, and I was so grateful for that. What have been a few of your favorite bras from Brastop over the years?
Chloe: I’d have to say the Curvy Kate range are among my favourites. Before Brastop came along, the only place you could get decent-fitting bras in my size was from Bravissimo. Ever since my early 20s, I had been wearing a 36D (sometimes a 36DD) and I never found much wrong with it and I got used to it. Around 10 years or so ago, I had a personal shopping experience that I was given as a birthday gift, and I found to my horror that my real size was somewhere around 32G, 34E or 34FF. I was mortified – I couldn’t believe that my boobs were so big. I tried a lot of new bras in these size ranges during the shopping trip and bought new bras in what eventually came to be my size – 32G. I’ve since had two children (my bra size ballooned up to 34GG during pregnancy), then finally settled down in the last few years to 30FF (sometimes 32FF, depending on the manufacturer). My bras now actually fit me; they’re comfortable and they last longer. I’ve never taken to the Curvy Kate showgirl range aimed at younger women, but the Princess bra was and still is top of my list. For far too many years, I went with large, unfashionable, featureless bras that did very little for my self-esteem, but when Curvy Kate came along, all of a sudden there was an explosion of colour on the market, with pretty, comfortable bras that look modern – and actually fit women who happen to go above a D cup on the measurement scale. Other bras come and go – Fantasie, Freya, Panache – but I always find myself going back to whatever new bras Curvy Kate have released and they rarely disappoint. They’re a perfect mixture of comfort, style, fit, and cheeky sexiness.
MS: Very cool. I actually really love the Showgirl line and wish they came in my size. But that’s why they have so many designs, right? So that each woman can choose something that really speaks to her? (At this point I don’t actually wait for Chloe to answer, because sometimes when I am talking about bras I get too excited and just roll on like a tank through the conversation.) I love Brastop’s approach to their customers – great customer service and appreciation, including features like the awesome “Model of the Month” competition on the blog, which gives customers a chance to show off their lovely selves and possibly win prizes like vouchers and photoshoots (note to readers: check out the details here). What would you say is the philosophy of Brastop as a whole?
Chloe: The whole philosophy of Brastop is to provide the best D+ brands at discounted prices – sometimes up to 70% off the normal retail prices, which is especially helpful for women with a fuller figure who normally have to pay a small fortune for a lingerie set. At Brastop, we believe that good, well-fitting lingerie should be affordable, and we always try to beat prices on offer elsewhere, when we can. We do offers every week – sometimes twice per week – and we have excellent delivery rates, a fantastic returns policy – and we have an expert team of customer services girls on hand to help out with advice, problems or any other issues you may have when purchasing.
MS: If you don’t mind, just for fun, I’d like to throw in a related but less informative question: do you have a favorite bra nightmare story?
How about a knicker nightmare story? Several years ago, I was traveling on the train into work in the morning, and met a guy I was at school with. We got chatting about what we had both been up to for the last 20 years and after a few minutes, I noticed he was staring at my feet with a look of incredulity on his face. I was totally puzzled at what he was looking at – until I looked down at my foot, and there was my knickers dangling from my shoe. The elastic had completely snapped, and I hadn’t even noticed. You have never seen a pair of hands move more swiftly than when I whipped them off my foot and into my bag. I was mortified. Needless to say, I sat on a different carriage the next day, as I was so embarrassed to speak to him! I also had a situation in work one day when my bra strap broke and I couldn’t fix it, and had to put on my sweaty, soaking gym bra that had been in my bag from an early morning jog – or wander around all day in a shirt with no bra on under it. It was fairly obvious to anyone who looked at me that I was wearing a sports bra underneath, but it was better than the sight that I would have had to endure otherwise.
Chloe had bras to review and other things to attend to, so I decided to leave off the questioning and get to one final thing… A little special for the brog’s gentle readers! Yep, here just for you, my darlings, is a code for 10% off your order from Brastop.com. Just enter the code “WEIRDLY10” at checkout any time between now and August 4th! Yay! Given that they already have great sales going on, this just sweetens the deal, so now would be an excellent time to order a new swimsuit (ladies – if you have not ordered a bra-sized swimsuit before, this is a run-don’t-walk situation) or a pretty lingerie set you’ve been eyeing. Here’s one last favorite of mine – I wish it came in my size!
What say you, Gentle Readers?
Have you shopped at Brastop.com before?
What are your favorite sets or pieces right now?
And will you be using the exclusive Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed discount? (I hope so.)
*Quick note: I was not compensated in any way for this piece. I just really like Brastop, and am grateful that for several years they were my main source of bras that actually fit.