Weirdly Shaped and Well Photographed

… a blog about clothing for curves, bras for giant boobs (and tiny backs!), and escaping the scourge of the dreaded BoobLoaf and ButtChest.

Comexim Ingrid: A Love Story

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…wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world…
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers…
–e. e. cummings

Gentle Readers, this entry is too long in coming.  As some of you know, I absolutely adore the lingerie company Comexim, which not only is one of very few companies that makes my size, but is also pretty much the only company I’ve found that makes bras in my size with underwires graded enough that I’m not being stabbed in the ribs when I wear them.  In addition to all that, their bras come in a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns, and I am constantly lusting after this one or that.  My most coveted bra last season was the Ingrid, a creamy floral little number that seemed to me to be oh-so-feminine and hinting at days long past.  I had to have it.  When it finally arrived, I was instantly besotted.  I think I may have giggled out loud, even.  It was so, so lovely.  “I must review this immediately to show the world how beautiful it is,” I thought.  “There is no time to waste!  I shall ensnare one of my photographers forthwith!”  And I did.  In fact, I did several times, not that it did me much good.  This was last fall, you see, and try as I might, I kept failing to get the photoshoot started before the sun began to set, taking with it the light we needed for our intended shoot, of a woman writing a love letter.  It was tremendously frustrating.

The third time this happened, I was SURE we were going to make it in time.  Sure of it.  I had picked out music to try to embed at the top of the entry for those who wanted some auditory ambiance (if anyone knows a good way to do this, please let me know), had a backstory written in my mind… I was all set.  But no.  While we were doing test shots, the light began changing again, and rapidly.  Every time David got things as he liked, it would all shift again.  This involved a lot of me standing there in my underwear trying to stay warm and keep myself entertained.  At one point, I just started dancing around like an idiot:

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Or maybe I was reciting Shakespeare? I really can’t tell at this point.

And as David clicked away and worked his magic and cursed wildly at malfunctioning equipment, I sort of got sillier and sillier…

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(In case you are wondering, at some point I put the dress on because I had been standing there in my skivvies for ages while camera gear was fussed with and I got all cold.)

Aaaaaand sillier… Continue Reading →

August 8, 2014
by MissShapen
14 Comments

Dirty Flirty Thirty

Hello, Gentle Readers!  How have you all been?  I have been away oh so long.  It has been an eventful few months.  Almost too much to ramble on about in a blog post, really, but I’ll try to give a quick rundown…

Since I last posted, I have:

1) Turned 30!  *throws confetti in the air*

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I am sooooo psyched about this.
Oh wait no.

2) Lost my job!  *throws more confetti*

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This is thrilling! Just thrilling I tell you!

3) In different ways, lost both men I was dating! 

*THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI AND THEN PUTS ON MOST INSANE SMILE BEFORE COLLAPSING IN A HEAP OF WHYYYY ON THE FLOOR*

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Ta-da.

Actually, that was all in the last few weeks.  Yeah.  Tell me about it.

Not gonna lie, I was a mess for a bit.  I actually took a picture of myself mid-sob-fest because even while experiencing it, the level of WOE IS ME misery I had achieved kind of cracked me up.  I was going to post it here, but it is seriously the ugliest picture that has ever been taken and I don’t want you all to run away and never read again.  Blorgh.  Instead, here is a picture of Milo, who is the cutest dog in existence.

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Odds that this will be the most popular picture in the post: 100%.

Continue Reading →

August 6, 2014
by MissShapen
14 Comments

KIESKA: EVOLUTION -or- Urkye Doesn’t Irk Me, Part 2: Kieska Long

Ahoy there, Gentle Readers! In honor of my blowing through The Brog’s One Year Anniversary with nary a how-do-you-do, I’d like to begin my return to the world of blogging with a review that harkens back to those new and innocent times…

*cue wavery flashback music*

April 2nd of 2013. A delicate flower of a tough broad of a woman tentatively puts forth the first review in her new fashion blog, although she isn’t calling it a fashion blog and doesn’t actually expect anyone to read it. She’s thought a lot about what she wants to start out with, and in the end she’s picked something simple and homey. Something that always feels comfortable and is well-suited for fun, as she wants the blog to be like a hug and a laugh with a good friend for those who read it. Luckily she has just the thing, a dress from a much-beloved company in Poland that had been her introduction to clothing made especially for busty gals. The review of Urkye’s Kieska dress was a modest affair, just a few pictures taken by the window one afternoon on a sunny day, but people seemed to like it, and it spurred her on. Review after review, goofy lingerie Christmas post after manifesto on modesty, sports-bra-review-turned-body-positive-take-on-fitspo-memes after Huffingon Post feature (couldn’t resist, sorry) always inspired by the kindness and interest of her Gentle Readers,whom she adored…In this way, The Brog was born. And one long, interesting, and fashion-filled year later…

*cue return of the flashback music, perhaps in retrograde motion*

So here we are. April of 2014. 20-frickin’-14 people! My, where does the time go? In any case, thank you for being here, whether you are a longtime reader or a new friend. I’d like to bring things back to the beginning now with a review of something familiar but new: Urkye’s Kieska Long.

KieskaStandingDuoA (long) while ago, Urkye contacted me and offered to let me preview and review a new offering they were coming out with: a long-sleeved version of the Kieska dress I already knew and loved so well. Obviously I jumped at the chance, and not too long afterwards it appeared on my doorstep. I was going to be the first blogger to review it! My first premier! It was so exciting! I decided to review it as I had the first – in a comfortable setting, in my apartment (which I love). I wanted to spice it up a bit, so I planned a dinner party theme. Pasta, merriment, and well-fitting clothing… What could be better, I thought? Well, Gentle Readers, it turns out that it is really surprisingly difficult to just get some people to come over for dinner these days. Who knew? Two weeks or so and two failed dinner party attempts later, Holly over at The Full-Figured Chest put out her lovely review, and the premier was lost. I could have wept, lovelies. And then there were all sorts of photography issues, and, and, and… And now it’s some-undisclosed-amount-of-months later, and I’m finally putting this up. With apologies to Urkye for my egregious timing, I must admit that there is a part of me that is happy to be doing this now. It feels like I’ve come full circle, and it’s a happy start to the brog’s second year. So without further ado (THANK YOU, say the readers), here is my review of the wine-colored Kieska Long.

This dress is definitely a casual one, but there’s something about it that makes me feel like it works for low-key special occasions as well. A stay-at-home date, for example, might be just the right sort of thing for which to slip on this form-fitting but comfortable little number. I love to cook, so I planned a quiet evening (well, as quiet as an evening involving me can be), wiggled into the dress, and got to work. Continue Reading →

May 6, 2014
by MissShapen
11 Comments

The Bravengers Assemble

photo 20Quick top-of-the-post-note: while this post talks about body snark in the context of bra fitting, I believe it is applicable to many more situations in which peoples choices about their clothing and bodies are discussed, and I’d love it if you’d read through it whether or not you care about bra fitting, even if you have to TLDR the background stuff.  This is really important to me, and is at the heart of the Brog’s philosophy.  Thanks!  And now onwards to the actual post.

Even quicker top-of-the-post-note: keep an eye out for the appearance of Bras and Body Image, who contributed some stunning pictures to help out with this theme!  Deets at the end of the post.

My dear Gentle Readers, it’s time to Get Personal With Miss Shapen.  As you know, I believe in body positivity for people of all shapes and sizes, and while the focus here on the brog is on clothing for people who are shaped like me, I appreciate every body type for its loveliness and hope all readers embrace their shapes with love and enthusiasm.  I don’t believe that body positivity means you can’t want to change things about your own body, and in my case, right now I think that gaining some strength and muscle tone would be really good for me, especially in my core.  I struggle with intermittent back pain of varying severity; while this has been vastly improved by finding well-fitting bras last year, there is probably some residual grumbliness on the part of my long-suffering back, and it’s almost certainly exacerbated by my having to haul a lot of equipment and a large instrument all over the place constantly.

I’m lucky that my current body type is one that is accepted within the narrow range that exempts me from being bullied most of the time, but as I reflect on the changes I am wanting to make and what health and wellness look like for me, it’s brought to mind general issues of body image, weight, and health, and with those, further thoughts about body snark, shaming, and sizeism, all of which I am vehemently against.  Please read my post on Fitspo memes for more on this topic, as well as my post about modesty.  :)

Meanwhile, I’d like to talk about another corner of the internet where shaming can lurk under the cloak of “being helpful” or “fostering healthy discussion” – this one quite unexpected by me – the bra fitting community.

A while back, a member of an online community of bra fitting bloggers to which I belong discovered that several of us were being discussed on a Polish bra fitting forum under a thread entitled “Internet Monsters.”  I want to say right at the start of this – and very, very clearly at that – that the upsetting statements I’m about to bring up are not representative of any community, be it the specific website on which they were found, or the Polish bra fitting community, or Polish people in general (ESPECIALLY not that).  I don’t want this post to cause any divisiveness or stereotyping, and if that is what you get from it, please re-read.  Okay, so that being said: this was a pretty awful discovery.  We here in the US and UK who are doing bra reviews and such are doing so in an attempt to help people (as are bra bloggers everywhere!), and it can be really scary putting ourselves out there.  While I was very lucky to have had nothing mean said about me (and in fact would consider the discussion about me to be a great example of how such discourse can be undertaken respectfully), some of my colleagues had really nasty things said about them, and they were quite hurt by it.  Here are a few examples of statements made about other bra fitting bloggers , as translated directly and graciously by a Polish friend of mine:

“Easy or not… If a “plus size” girl squeezes herself in 30 (and EM 65) bands, it’s obvious she’ll never get a bra that will “fit her very well”. I don’t know, but I don’t really believe that [incredible, lovely blogger] has such a narrow underbust…”

and worse:

“O mother of God, she tied herself like a ham… [url redacted for being totally unnecessary] Why do people do such harm to themselves… just to feel slimmer and more busty? Is that so much better? The horror…”

“Jesus Christ!! Give me a gun! [url redacted],” followed by, “[username], it still amazes me how horribly wrong fitted bras she wears, nota bene, being a bra fitter…”

WHAT?  HULK HEAR BODY SNARK ABOUT FRIENDS?

WHAT? HULK HEAR BODY SNARK ABOUT FRIENDS?

Continue Reading →

March 4, 2014
by MissShapen
67 Comments

Getting Down With the Panache Sports Bra

Trigger Warning!  While the theme of the post is body positivity, I used some very negative Thinspo and Fitspo pics as examples of what I think we should be fighting against, and they could definitely be triggering to some people.  For the most part, these have an image that I found that seemed problematic to me in one way or another accompanied by an alternative that I find to be more positive.  For the most part, the originals are in smaller boxes attached to the larger pictures that I took as alternatives.  Apologies again to anyone who might have been triggered before I posted this.  Love yourselves!

TastesBetterThanSkinnyQuick note upfront: this post originally was interspersed within a review of the sports bra I am wearing in almost all of these pictures, which is the utterly fabulous comfortable-as-all-get-out Panache Sport Sports Bra, of which I currently have three and have two more on the way.  Ultimately, the two aspects of the post didn’t come together and the memes I posted were getting all the focus, and the review wasn’t really as in depth as I would have liked in the first place.  With that in mind, I took the review info out and am planning an upcoming rather extravagant and detailed review that will be entirely on the bra itself.  In the meantime, I highly, highly recommend it to any larger-cupped lasses that want incredible comfort and support.  Note the picture further down in the post in which I am upside down! No boobs hitting me in the face!  In my size, this runs large (which is great, as it only goes up to an H cup), so I am wearing a 30H in all of these photos.  Thanks, and please keep an eye out for the full review!

thighgapSo recently I was given the opportunity to participate in Panache Lingerie’s campaign Support Every Move, and while I wasn’t able to be as active as I would have liked (I have been sick, as has MY WHOLE CITY OH GOD IT’S THE SICKPOCALYPSE), I followed along with the activities with interest.  You can check out their Pinterest board for the campaign here or do a search for #supporteverymove to see what everyone has been up to.  I was browsing the Pinterest board and some other places when I started to notice that not everyone was pinning such supportive material.  Since individual users were allowed to pin to the boards, this wasn’t a reflection of Panache at all, and they took down the most snark-tastic pins when alerted to them.  Still, it made me sad to see that when people were looking for motivation to get to a more healthy lifestyle, they were just as likely to come across images that shamed them and pressured them to go to extreme measures with diet and exercise as they were to find posts cheering them on.  The sadness I was feeling (and the memories of having relied on just such imagery myself once upon a time, along with the self-loathing that they caused me to feel) inspired me to do what many others have done before me: create an alternative.  I don’t think we could ever have too many alternatives to Thinspo and Pro-Ana memes that shame people into starving themselves to try to attain an unrealistic and unhealthy beauty aesthetic.  I will happily post any reader submissions along these lines to the Facebrog and Tumbrog, and if I get enough, I’ll make a whole post about them here on The Brog.  Let’s work towards body positivity and physical, mental, and emotional wellness together, Gentle Readers!

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Only you can know what is the healthiest way for you to get to your fitness, weight, or wellness goals. Don’t let anyone bully you out of enjoying your life at the same time. How about some exercise AND a cookie? Or if cookies aren’t your thing, some other little treat? No single cookie is going to put you on the path to hell. Ignore the haters.

Continue Reading →

January 30, 2014
by MissShapen
126 Comments