Let's broach a hot-button topic today, shall we? Bras. Much of the world's adult population wears them every single day, and yet for a garment so ubiquitous, shopping for one can be kind of elusive.
Just head to a lingerie store or online to your favorite innerwear e-commerce site and take it in. Lacey little things, demis, t-shirt bras, sports styles as far as the eye can see—and we haven't even scratched the surface. It's totally overwhelming, a fashion Everest even. And somehow every season, there are new styles thrown at us pushed as "must-haves". Hey, we like a robust lingerie drawer as much as the next girl, but for us busy women who work, work out, have kids, dogs, cats, and yes,lives, we need cute, functional, and easy options. And so, we introduce the official Glamour bra wardrobe. These five pretty, sexy, and functional bosom boosters are the only bras you'll ever need.
1. A Flesh Colored Bra You Can Wear Under...Well, Anything
Chantelle Parisian Demi T-Shirt bra, Journelle, $74
A nude bra is the bread and butter of your bra wardrobe. But hello bra-makers, "nude" is pretty much a different color for everyone! Thankfully, they heard us loud and clear, and now many brands offer a range of flesh-tone shades, so you can find one that suits your skin's hue best. This is the bra that you'll wear with every light-colored t-shirt, blouse, and dress. Chantelle has terrific options, as does Nubian Skin, a new brand we're crazy about.
2. A Hot Damn! I'm Fiiiine Bra
L'agent plunge bra, $68, Journelle
You know those go-to jeans you have that make your butt look awesome—and you feel like a total goddess in? Well, you need a bra that makes you feel the same way. Opt for lace, sheer, even red, and wear whenever you want to feel like the bombshell you are. (No one at work needs to know what's under your turtleneck, right? Right.)
3. A Bra With Cups that Make Your Cleavage Overfloweth
Fleur de Mal, crochet lace balconette bra, $128
Like the aforementioned bra, a bra that gives good cleavage is also something to keep in your arsenal. For smaller breasted women, it may mean a push-up bra; for medium or larger endowed women who just want a touch more lift, choose a balconette or demi style to give you that pretty, healthy perk at the neckline.
5. An Inspector Gadget-Level Smart Bra
Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Multi-Way Bra, $62
Go go Gadget boobs! Wearing something backless, strapless, low-cut, or just plain complicated? You need a convertible bra. But we're not talking about the clunky "smart bras" of yesteryear, the updated styles are as almost chic as your outfit.
4. A Supportive Bra for Timid Tatas
Heidi Klum Brooklyn Ambition Contour Plunge Bra, $50
Sadly, cleavage is not always appropriate. Enter the built-up plunge bra, which offers full coverage with moderate lift. Boardroom and mommy-and-me appropriate. (Unless of course, you're wearing a turtleneck. In that case see Number 2 above.)
Jessica Alba presenting her Jessica Alba x DL1961 collaboration in New York City on Tuesday.
Jessica Alba is a champion of the environment, female entrepreneurship, and all around kick-assery—but her latest cause is something especially close to our hearts: Butts.
Yes, the Dark Angel herself (who arguably has one of Hollywood's best posteriors), has partnered with denim brand DL1961 on a line of jeans with the sole aim of boosting your booty. Why, you might ask? It is, after all, a bit of a specific category.
"Because boobs come and go, but butts are always in," declared an enthusiastic Alba, as she presented her line to Glamour on Tuesday in New York City. "They're always important...and these jeans will give you that perfect apple—or peach!"
It's not surprising that Alba chose jeans as her first foray in to fashion design—after all, she's pretty much always photographed wearing some form of denim. Her goal was to create high-waisted jeans that actually flatter—and don't venture into "mom jeans" territory. "I wanted to have high-waisted jeans that look really good on all different kinds of bodies," she said. "I wanted it to be kind of tighter in the thigh, but I didn't want the booty to be pressed down. I also wanted it to be nipped in at the waist, and the pockets in the back to be tilted in a V-shape, to give you that great round, curved butt." In turn, the jeans have a contour affect, giving the illusion of height and a smaller waist and thighs.
In addition to several straight-leg styles, Alba also presented a drop-crotch chino style, an all-in-one flight suit, boyfriend jeans, and flares. What's great about the line, besides its unique derriere-enhancing properties, is that it's designed to wear from work to play, and most styles don't feature holes, whiskers, or other denim details that make the jeans look more casual. "Everything is designed to wear to work...or to the airport," she half-joked.
But let's get back to the juicy stuff (get it?) and hear Alba's truly awesome opinions on all things booty: "The butt's always been celebrated," she mused. "I don't know one man that isn't into booty. And I feel like women, more often than not, women like their butts and it's more accepted [to have a big butt]."
And eeks, what if you have a flat tush? "If you don't necessarily have a booty, these jeans will make you look like you have a bigger one," she says. "Which is nice."
Oh, and will someone text Sir-Mix-A-Lot and let him know that all his dreams came true? Thanks.
Check out the our favorite looks from the 10-piece fall 2016 line here and all the booty boosting goodness. The line will retail from $188 to $898 (the highest price point is for leather, but most styles are priced closer to $188) at DL1961.com, as well as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Shopbop, and Bloomingdales beginning in August.
Style-wise, last year was a major one for plus-size fashion, due in part to the strides Target took to address a need in the market. Along with responding to shopper critiques about designer collaborations that didn't offer extended sizing, they went all in, revealing Ava & Viv, a fashion-forward brand that relied on the expertise and intel from some major bloggers. While it's designed by a team at Target, the influencers tapped to advise have been important; spring 2016 marks the third time they've worked together.
"The [Target] team has made investing in the brand and their plus-size customers a true priority. They have an earnest desire to listen to feedback and incorporate the asks of their customers and our readers into the growth of the brand," blogger Nicolette Mason told us. "Readers give amazing feedback, both on the design and the in-store experience." All the ladies (Gabi Gregg and Chastity Garner plus Mason) said that it was very important to them that the brand went beyond offering basics, including exciting, trend-based pieces in the mix. "My biggest goal was to push Target in a more fashion-forward direction for their plus-size customers," Gregg said, sentiments echoed by Mason. "At the end of the day, the trends plus-size women want to shop aren't different than her size 0 to 12 peers."
The outfits you see here—shared with us first—have been styled by the women using new Ava & Viv pieces and accessories from other Target brands
Gregg and Mason
Along with bringing a devoted readership, the trio offered style expertise that's been honed through years of working in the fashion industry—and dressing themselves. "Forget all the old school rules about dressing for your shape. Experiment until you find something you like," Gregg said when asked about the best advice she's ever received. "Embrace your body type. Don't hide it," Garner added.
As for how to make any outfit instantly more flattering, all three had stellar advice. Gregg's found a motorcycle jacket adds structure and an edgy feel that works with any outfit, while Garner said she's learned that tailoring is invaluable. "There's nothing worse than seeing someone tugging at their clothes all day because they don't fit correctly," she explained. "When clothing fits you like a glove, it looks more expensive and you're more confident in the way you move. I've heard, 'This would be perfect if...' too many times. Perfection is a seamstress away."
Mason, meanwhile, has a tip that requires no extra shopping or visits to the tailor. Making the pieces you already own look even chicer is all about your attitude. "Confidence!" she answered readily when quizzed about what makes a look more flattering. "There's no style you can't pull off or piece that won't look amazing on you if you wear it with a confident sense of self."
The idea of loving your body is a fashion trend we're way into. Come check out the feel-good conversation we had with a buzzy new model who's all about the body-positive movement.
Ever wished your breasts were just a little bit bigger (or at least wondered what it would be like)? Obsessing over boobs is a pretty universal thing, but before you start bemoaning your ladies, listen to model Lindsey Pelas share some of the not-so-fun situations that come along with having a 30H chest. Her list of problems is meant to be a little funny, but you can't deny it's eye-opening too. "Food always gets stuck in my boobs," she explained, also revealing that she applies deodorant between her breasts to help with sweating. Searching for everyday bras and sports bras is still a challenge, and cross-body bags? Hard to wear.
The issue that affects Pelas most on a daily basis has to be what her cup size does to whatever outfit she wears. "You always look vulgar in regular clothing. It can be a t-shirt, a floral dress, a wedding dress, a nightgown, whatever," she said in the video. "When you're busty, you just kind of look like a porn star on accident." Anything that encroaches on our ability to freely express ourselves with fashion—boobs included—isn't okay, but rest assured that the Playboy poser doesn't struggle too much with her girls. Scroll through her Instagram (currently at 3.4 million followers), and you'll see that she's definitely not afraid of a little cleavage.
While we're talking breasts, did you know there are seven different types? See which you have, then find out which bra you should be shopping.
If you're anything like me, you have your go-to brands down pat. You know that if you pop into the store, you'll leave with a handful of great pieces; if you order anything online, it will always fit well; and since a ton of your closet is made up of those brands, new items mix well with your existing line-up. Shopping is a breeze at these stores, but such habitual purchasing may be causing some serious fashion fatigue. The best solution: look to the lesser-known brands for a fresh offering. First, there was Melissa McCarthy's Seven7 line, which launched last summer. Then, Beth Ditto's announced her eponymous collection at the end of last year. This spring, Ashley Graham got into the game with her first line for DressBar. And now, I've taken it upon myself to dig up some more lines to share with you. Here, I try on 17 Sundays, Rachel Rachel Roy Curvy, Hackwith, Junarose, Universal Standard, and PLY.
1. 17 Sundays, available at Mei Smith
17 Sundays is an Australian brand that launched in 2010 (and is now making a name for itself stateside!). Their specialty? Denim. Think: athleisure-inspired joggers, jean jackets, and the bomb boiler suit below.
2. Rachel Rachel Roy Curvy, available at Macy's
This month, Rachel Roy is launching a Curvy collection after being asked for one by customers for a literal decade. The best part: it includes the stylish pieces we've been craving! “When I interviewed fit models, I kept hearing that they didn’t want me to shy away from things like off-the-shoulder pieces," says Roy. "So I didn’t.”
If you fancy yourself a minimalist, Hackwith is for you. The brand makes Basics, Swim, Bridal, Plus lines, and new limited-edition designs every single Monday. We're fast fans of this long-sleeve jumpsuit because it's equal parts stylish and comfy.
4. Junarose, available at ASOS
Junarose is a chic Danish brand that releases 8 collections a year (ie. plenty to keep going back for!). Fans already include model Marquita Pring and blogger Beck Delude.
5. Universal Standard
This New York based brand was started by a power woman duo out to change the way we see plus-size fashion. The result? A collection of chic, sharp, boss-lady-worthy pieces like tailored blazers, leather skirts, sweater dresses, and lacquer jeans.
If you saw our April Issue's plus-size piece, you may recognize that top. Yes, it's the same one that model Candice Huffine wore while strutting her stuff in TriBeCa. Clearly, we're fast fans of PLY, who are taking the kinds of fashion risks we've been waiting for. Bring on the ruffles!
Now, watch model Precious Lee try 3 surprisingly flattering spring trends for curvy women.
Iskra Lawrence on set with Glamour.
Brit bombshell Iskra Lawrence is all about breaking the rules. The plus-size model is taking the fashion world by storm with her unique beauty and girl power attitude. So when it comes to pulling off tricky spring fashion trends-girl has got it in the bag. Here, Lawrence shows you how to tackle the most challenging looks out there this season from a white ruffled midi dress to a killer jumpsuit. And yes, you’re going to want it all. Watch and learn:
“I call it tutu torture,” says fashion stylist Meaghan O’Connor, 31, a size 20. “I want chic tailored trousers for work and gorgeous feel-good dresses for date night, but because of my size I end up with dowdy polyester pants and juvenile tutus. It makes me want to scream, ‘Put the grommet gun down, remove the rhinestones, and step away from the tulle!’ ” On a more serious note, she adds, “it’s alarming that plus-size clothing is so limited, given that the majority of American women are plus-size. Why are we ignored at designer shops, shoved into a corner at department stores, and forced online to buy our favorite brands?”
O’Connor’s frustrations are familiar to any woman north of a size 12 (which happens to be the size I wear): When it comes to plus fashion, good options do not abound. Many reasonably priced brands, like Topshop, offer only sizes 12 and below; high-end designer fashion on average comes in sizes up to 14, though those 14s are not always easy to find; and offerings from many plus-size retailers have in the past been disappointing. When I took to Twitter to ask plus-size shoppers their peeves, they named “tacky jeans with sequins and embellishments” and “tops that look like tents.” They also noted that plus-size collections from straight-size brands often aren’t as fashionable as the main lines’. “I wish they’d stop with the flowy tops and the frumpy patterns,” said one. But mostly, the women I heard from just wanted more. “While everyone at my office looks sharp and established, I feel like I’m taken less seriously because of my clothing,” says Jodie Paine, a 26-year-old, size-14 Web designer. “I wish I could find stylish pieces like leather skirts, but a lot of plus size workwear is cheap and dated, with unflattering suits and button-downs.”
Models Precious Lee, left, and Candice Huffine, right, show off two of the season's buzziest trends: pajama dressing and Latin-inspired ruffles.
All of which means something is seriously wrong. More than half the women in this country are a size 14 or above, but they account for only 17 percent of apparel sales, according to a 2014 report by the NPD Group. It’s not that we’re not interested in fashion; 88 percent of us would spend more money on trendy clothing if it were available. No, it’s that fashion, historically, hasn’t been that interested in us. Need a particularly startling example? In the course of reporting this story, I called the New York City flagship of a famous French fashion house to inquire about finding a suit jacket from its spring collection in a size 20. After informing me that the jacket's in-store sizing stops at a six, the salesman paused, then offered a suggestion: that I buy two and sew them together.
Sew two jackets—two expensive jackets—together? How on earth did we get here, and why wouldn’t any sane label want to please a woman with money to spend? “That’s the million-dollar question,” says Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue cover model Ashley Graham, a size 16, who debuted a clothing collection with Dressbarn this spring. “Brands think that expanding their size range will dilute their image.” Actress Melissa McCarthy, who also recently launched her own line, agrees—and points out that creating larger versions of straight-size designs can be challenging, since doing so requires more than just making everything bigger. “Needing a little more room on your hips and bust does not mean that your wrist is the size of a stop sign!” she told me.
But the good news—and there is good news—is that things are starting to change. Existing plus-size brands are learning that their customers crave fashionable clothing, and some straight-size lines are extending their offerings into plus territory. Consider this your cheat sheet for getting the best out of 12-and-above fashion now.
The author takes seventies style for a spin with a bow-neck blouse layered under a suede dress.
First, Know Which Plus-Size Brands Have the Best Fashion
There are lines that get it. Lane Bryant’s designer collections—created by talent like Lela Rose, Christian Siriano, Sophie Theallet, and Isabel Toledo—are continuously expanding, with Glamour launching its own capsule in the brand’s stores this fall. “The opportunity in fashion is in inclusivity, not exclusivity,” says Lane Bryant CEO Linda Heasley. “The desire to find well-de- signed pieces doesn’t differentiate by size.”
For on-trend collections, also look to:
Simply Be and Carmakoma for cool, of-the-moment pieces;
Eloquii for fast, trendy styles—now up to size 28;lines like Elvi, Persona, and Marina Rinaldi for elevated workwear; emerging American brands including Mei Smith and Universal Standard for chic, refined basics;celeb-helmed brands for personal style. In addition to McCarthy, singer-song-writer Beth Ditto has launched her own collection, and actress Rebel Wilson has an ongoing collaboration with Torrid; sharewear service Gwynnie Bee (think of it as a plus-size Rent the Runway), which lets you lease the latest trends.
Shop the Straight-Size Brands That Carry Larger Sizes
Established designers are expanding their offerings too. Rachel Roy, for example, launched a curvy collection this spring. “I started my brand in 2005 and have been getting requests from plus-size customers ever since,” she says, noting that the new styles will be as fashion-forward as her main line’s. “When I interviewed fit models, I kept hearing that they didn’t want me to shy away from things like off-the-shoulder pieces. So I didn’t.”
Other straight-size brands also make plus sizes, but those 12-and-up garments can be tricky to find. So know this:
Burberry, Max Mara, Oscar de la Renta, and Rosie Assoulin, among others, produce select pieces in sizes up to 16. Find them on their sites or Moda Operandi and Saks.com.
Banana Republic, J.Crew, and Kate Spade also offer sizes up to 16 online. Akris, Loft, Gap, and Lafayette 148 New York go up to 18 online. Ralph Lauren’s Lauren Woman, Michael Michael Kors, Asos, Forever 21, Mango, New Look, Old Navy, and River Island carry full plus-size lines from 1X to 4X and 14 to 30 on their websites. Chanel carries off-the-rack pieces in sizes up to 20; the same goes for Prada, though by special order only. On consignment sites like The RealReal, you can often land designer pieces in sizes as large as 20.
And if you’re between sizes 12 and 16, Graham suggests trying on whichever straight-size brands you love. “Sometimes plus-size girls are afraid to try on clothes in high-end stores because they think they won’t fit and they’ll get judge-y looks,” she says. “But who cares what the store clerks think? The trick is to know which cuts will work for your body. I carry my weight in my low stomach, and I’m thinner up top, so shorter tops and fit-and-flare dresses work for me. My favorite new brand is A.L.C.” It’s also worth noting that many designer pieces have up to two inches in the seam, which a tailor can let out.
Huffine walks Sophie Theallet's runway during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week.
Update Your Closet With Accessories
Almost any look can be brought into the here and now with stylish shoes, bags, and jewelry. “I can get into a rut of just wearing a plain tee or all-black clothes, so accessories are my savior,” says model Candice Huffine. “With colorful bags and fun hats, even my simple out- fits feel refreshed. This season I can’t wait to break out the bandana scarves!” Some look-changing extras to keep an eye on for spring: shoulder-grazing earrings, chokers, chain bags, and midi heels.
And Toss the Rules Out the Window
Finally, all the women I interviewed had one suggestion in common: Whatever you do, don’t believe the old “shoulds” about what curvy women should wear. “Plus- size women have been told for so long, ‘You can’t wear this; you don’t look good in that; stripes are not for you,’ ” says Graham. “Honestly, it’s a bunch of bull! The more rules you break and the more fun you have with it, the better you’re going to look.” Model Precious Lee agrees: “The printed pajamas I wore for my Glamour shoot are so different from what you’re supposed to wear if you’re plus-size. Don’t be afraid of bold prints because you think they may make you look bigger.” And McCarthy has personal proof that writing your own fashion rules pays off. “People would tell me that the clothes I wanted aren’t made because ‘no plus- size woman wants a patterned pant,’ ” she recalls. “Meanwhile I was making them for myself and constantly being asked where I got them.” So now the comedian has a message for Glamour readers: “Wear the damn cheetah print,” she says. “I beg you.”
There's no denying that Khloe Kardashian is wonderfully, unabashedly body-proud. She rocks her curves like nobody's business, spreads the real-talk gospel about hitting the gym hard, and considers no subject taboo (camel toe and hair removal included). And while she hasn't expanded her career purview to include modeling—yet—she's got an opinion on some of the curvier beauties who have recently commanded headline space.
"There's this plus-size model Ashley Graham, who's beautiful and has this fantastic shape. I love what she exudes in her confidence, and I think she's incredibly healthy," Khloe told our beauty team in a recent interview, revealing that she hates the way critics have jumped to assert that plus models are, by definition, unhealthy. "There's a difference when someone is eating a bag of Cheetos and a Slurpee saying, 'I'm so fat I don't know why.' Well, maybe don't eat the Slurpee and the Cheetos. You can still be bigger and be healthy."
She also didn't shy away from pointing out that body type and weight aren't correlated with happiness and that whatever a woman decides to do, from working out to getting plastic surgery, should be for her and no one else.
"Who is to say that [being] a size 2 makes you happy? I think whatever size you are is great as long as you're happy," she said. "I don't really care what you do as long as it's for yourself, even if that's working out."
If part of your job involves giving interviews to reporters, it stands to reason you'll be asked the same few questions over and over again. And while it's to be expected (and unavoidable in many cases), certain queries exist that might just get your blood boiling. Such is the case for one of our new favorite beauties, Barbie Ferreira. The gorgeous gal stars in Aerie's spring campaign and talked to us earlier this month about her experiences in the fashion world and how she's loving her role as a body-positive activist. During our interview, we decided to flip the table just a touch, asking Ferreira what she does not like being asked.
"Definitely when anyone asks me what I eat—I think that's the most disrespectful thing. There's no winning with that question," she said, audibly annoyed. "I eat different things every day, [so] I think it's a stupid question. It's only asked to women, it's never asked to a man."
The other topic she's sick and tired of?
"Asking 'How do I feel confident in a bikini?' because I feel like no one would ask that to a Victoria's Secret model. No one would ask that to Kate Upton. I understand 'How to feel confident' [in general], but in a bikini, if you're adding that on...I wear a bikini like every other person in the world wears a bikini or a bathing suit."
There are a lot more girl-power moments where this came from too—read the full interview here.
Between their 2012 Crystal Renn editorial, 2013 and 2014 Kate Upton covers, and Robyn Lawley's 2015 Rookie feature, Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue has proven that they're on a steady mission to celebrate curves in all sizes. To date, the biggest body-positive media splash was made by Ashley Graham when she appeared in last year's issue by way of a Swimsuits For All ad—and SFA is running with that momentum. This year, their ad features Graham alongside Ghanaian model Philomena Kwao and 56-year-old Nicola Griffin.
In an exclusive interview with Glamour, Kawo said, "I think the ad speaks volumes in terms of self-empowerment for each and every woman. We’ve looked at the specific body types, skin tones, and ages in the media for so long, and we’ve compared ourselves to that. Now, we're moving toward individualism and uniqueness as the standard."
Though Kwao admitted she never imagined herself in these pages, she's proud to be flipping through them today." Sports Illustrated has set the standard for what a swimsuit model should be," she said. "For a magazine that has that much influence to include models of different body types on their pages shows that they’re breaking down old beauty ideals while opening the doors of diversity and inclusivity."
Ashley Graham's 2016 Swimsuits For All #SwimSexy Ad
Philomena Kwao's 2016 Swimsuits For All #SwimSexy Ad
The new #SwimSexy campaign is meant to usher in the golden age (get it?) of body positivity by spreading the message that women of all ages, shapes and sizes are beautiful. In just a few hours, there are already Instagram users flooding @swimsuitsforall with positive comments like @bigbadwolfe's "#SLAYAGE!!!!!!!" and @oli_and_lou's "Serious #lifegoals over here. This makes me excited about getting older!"
On Kwao's Instagram, she's getting comments like 'This is me!' and it's hitting home: "I keep seeing people comment that—and it’s humbling to know that I represent a wide range of women that had previously felt alienated," she said. "I hope any woman who feels their ethnicity isn’t well represented in mass media—whether that be Asian, Hispanic, or black—sees this and feels accepted."
Nicola Griffin's 2016 Swimsuits For All #SwimSexy Ad
Also on the SI Swimsuit docket: Ronda Rousey will appear in body paint and it's also been announced that Graham will be one of the Rookies appearing in the issue. See the first snap, here:
It's official - I'm a @si_swimsuit model!! This is a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who stood up for curves- our voices were heard and together we can help me win Rookie of the Year. Stay tuned for voting instructions #beautybeyondsize #siswim
A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on Feb 9, 2016 at 7:33am PST
Super career and hot husband aside, it's harder being Sofia Vergara than it appears. The actress just opened up to The Edit about her style, addressing criticisms that she wears the same type of dress over and over again on the red carpet.
"I know my body. It's very voluptuous, and I've got the boobs of a stripper. They're a 32DDD and because they're real, they're everywhere, so I need my dresses to have structure. And under armor," she said. "There is so much going on under my dresses that I bleed at the end of award ceremonies."
The actress said a reduction would likely be inevitable in the future as she'll eventually start experiencing back pain (though she won't go too small—"just enough that I don't end up looking like an old stripper").
Her off-duty style has also gotten less sexy now that she's over 40, with a switch regarding how much skin she'll show.
"Nowadays I don't do miniskirts and low-cut tops. It's one or the other. I don't do shorts or pink anymore," she added, though we have to read this as specific to casual style only. Did you see her hot-pink Vera Wang at last week's SAG Awards?Watch behind-the-scenes footage of one of Sofia Vergara's most glam shoots.