Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Sacha Kimmes Review

***Disclaimer: This lingerie set was sent to me free of charge. This in no way affects my opinions and/or views expressed in this blogpost.

Sacha Kimmes is an indie designer based in Belgium who creates soft, effeminate lingerie designs completely by herself. I've been a big fan of her aesthetic ever since I became submerged in the wonderful world of underwear, so when she offered to send me a set to review I was over the moon. We decided the Daphne crop top, with matching Camellia open back brief, would be best suited for my bust. I then sent Sacha my measurements and she deduced that a medium size crop top with a smaller band would be best along with my usual size small pants. One of my favourite things about indie designers is that they are often willing to customise the fit for you on their designs. If you have a body type like mine that often falls outside of the size chart then it's always worth enquiring whether they can do custom sizes.

When the pieces arrived I was overjoyed. Just taking them out of the package was exciting as I could feel the softness of the lace and the silky satin bows. Every edge is finished with a velvet soft elastic which is so nice against my skin and allows for a comfortable fit. The lace also has just the tiniest amount of stretch to it so the pieces hug my body and I don't feel like my curves are straining against the fabric. In the centre of the crop top and at the back of the pants are two satin bows. Each of them is stitched in place which is great news if, like me, you're terrible at tying bows and can never get them quite even.

The fit of the Camellia brief is just as I would expect from a size small. I will admit that I was a bit worried at first about taking pictures in these after looking at the pert bum of the model on Sacha Kimmes' site. While I love these type of pants (I think at least a third of mine are open back) they're often not the most complimenting on my rather lacking backside. However I was not to worry because something about the cut of the Camellia is so flattering. For once I don't hate looking at pictures of my behind, rather I actually had a hard time choosing between them all for this post!


The Daphne crop top is also an excellent fit but I would caution that I think this is a lot to do with my new breast type. A year of nursing my baby has led to a severe loss of density in my breasts, and they weren't all too firm to begin with. This means I can squish them into pretty much anything because they don't hold much of a shape by themselves any more. If you have firm and large breasts I would suggest checking if the crop top can be lengthened as I found it sits really high on my chest, unlike the usual positioning of my breasts. But because I am able to scoop mine up into the top it gives me some pretty impressive cleavage. Along with that, the full coverage aspect of it means that I am not constantly spilling out of it in the same way I am with so many of my bras nowadays. All in all Daphne has proven really supportive which is not something I often find in bralettes or designs like this. I usually opt for them in search of comfort and a bit more coverage, but with this I can have that plus a bit of lift.

So... I love these. There isn't really much more to be said. The delicate lace and bows make the set seem more pretty and innocent than you would expect from black lace lingerie with backless pants. I feel feminine while not being overtly sexual. Instead I feel like this is a set designed just for me to enjoy, which I do very much! Sacha has a number of designs in the same black lace in her store which you could mix and match with either of these; just in case you prefer your pants with a bit less exposure, or slightly less coverage on your upper half. For me it's the Adama collection that I have my sights set on next.

Thanks for reading, and thank you Sacha for sending me such wonderful pieces. x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

One Year As A Mother

A lot of the posts you find on my blog will not strictly be related to the fact that I am a nursing mother. Lingerie is an outlet for me to express a side of me that doesn't feel "mumsy", something that I believe is important for any new mother; to retain a sense of yourself amidst the sea of parenthood. However, tomorrow my baby turns one and we celebrate a magical yet slightly nightmarish year of parenting our little munchkin. I've had a rather intense last few years between moving out, starting two different university courses, moving country and getting married. But none of these have changed me in any way near the amount that becoming a mother has and I've been thinking a lot about these changes recently and how they relate to my love of lingerie.

Probably the most obvious way pregnancy and the then aftermath has had an affect on me is physically. Writing about body image, whether positively or negatively, feels quite uncomfortable to me as I am fully aware of my own privilege. I am young, I have always been slender, and to top it all off I am also white. I have also been blessed with good genes (because, seriously, everyone underestimates how much they control) which meant that I didn't put on too much weight during pregnancy, I slimmed down very fast after giving birth, and one year later most of my stretch marks have faded a great deal. In fact, I actually lost weight during pregnancy due to extreme morning sickness during my first trimester which resulted in losing fat stores on my legs and behind (and this would be the year of the ass, thanks Nicki...). These instead migrated to my stomach to protect my ever expanding bump, which meant that 2 weeks after giving birth I was left staring at myself in the mirror, not recognising this body with its uncomfortably large breasts, protruding stomach, and gangly legs.

This complete disassociation lasted many months until I gradually began to get used to my new shape. Projects like Take Back Postpartum and 4th Trimester Bodies slowly helped me learn to love my body for what it had done in creating my son and nourishing him. Also, and I hate to say this I really do, exercise has helped a lot. I started doing Blogilates at home a few months ago and that has made such a huge difference. Not necessarily to my physical shape (though I swear my bum looks a little perkier, wishful thinking?) but to my strength and awareness of what this amazing body of mine is further capable of. On top of all of these aids, lingerie has been essential to me in reclaiming this flesh and these layers of fat as something of my own. I feel beautiful in lingerie and this wonderful community of fellow lingeristas constantly reaffirms that to me every time I post a new picture on instagram. So thank you ladies, you have no idea what you all mean to me.

Moving on to the less physical ways that motherhood has affected me and my lingerie drawer, I am so much more aware of the ethics behind my purchases now. Somewhere between the hormones making me constantly cry over the world's injustices and having far too much time to spend browsing the internet while nursing, I realised that I needed to try my best to not support companies who did not uphold ethical standards. I'm just taking baby steps (get it?) for now, doing things like unsubscribing from emails sent from the likes of Topshop and H&M, but I do aim to start buying from a lot more indie designers in the future.

Another thing which has contributed to my decision to "go indie" is this sudden awareness of how hard it is in the real world. Before pregnancy I was a university student who had only ever worked one part time job in her life and was living pretty comfortably off of a hefty loans package.* Now, as a full time student balancing studies with looking after my baby, I realise that real life is very difficult. For this reason I am left in awe at designers like Ally of Blue Reign, Sarah of Ohhh Lulu, Danielle of Ava Corsetry, and the many other women like them who balance their business alongside motherhood. Independent business owners like these amazing women need support and I for one plan to give it to them as much as possible.

Finally, one of the most important things that motherhood has taught me is that it's really important to treat yourself. Sometimes, that may mean leaving the baby with a family member for a couple of hours while I go out and get some me time. Other times, it involves spending a significant amount on some lingerie that I've been pining over. Recognising that what I do is hard and that it is therefore necessary for me to find ways to make myself happy has taken a while. But now that I'm here, I feel much less guilt about buying myself some luxury lingerie with the aforementioned loans package. I also am so much more appreciative of the level of detail and work that goes into those luxury pieces now that I can recognise just how significantly a beautiful creation can impact my life. Because at the end of the day if I'm happy, my baby's happy. And all I ever want and ever will want is for him to be happy.

Thanks for reading. x

*Here's a tip: get married while studying because they will then assess your income rather than your parents and you will get all the money. Kidding! Kind of...