Curvy Kate and Flirtelle

Curvy Kate and Flirtelle are two UK-based “sister brands”, both of which are owned by at least some of the same people who own Brastop.com and Lovebras.com.  Flirtelle bras are marketed as very slightly lower-cost versions of Curvy Kate bras; CK bras typically have more elaborate embroidery or more fancy-looking fabrics. Curvy Kate is sold by other lingerie sellers, such as Bravissimo, but Flirtelle is only sold at their own online shops.

I have never worn a bra by Curvy Kate or by Flirtelle. They are available to me only by mail, and I’ve had no chance to examine the fit of these brands, so although some of them are gorgeous bras, I have never even tried one on. But I do wonder: why bother having two separate lines of lingerie, using the same cuts and styles? Flirtelle isn’t that much less expensive than Curvy Kate, so it does not seem to be a matter of price point.

What do you think?

 

Time, time, time, see what’s become of me . . .

I have

so much to say

about bras.

 

Seriously. I have been on a bra ODYSSEY this year. I have not been able to write much about it here. I’ve been so so busy, and I don’t think that will change soon. But BRA ODYSSEY. Bras still fascinate me and I love a nice bra. I finally admitted that I am becoming a collector. I collect bras.

I just wish I had more time.

 

Holiday Shopping Thoughts at Fussy Busty

I just ran across this excellent guide to buying lingerie for a significant other at FussyBusty. Definitely check it out!

I especially applaud Mr. Slawson for taking into account  lesbian couples! It is really great to see people acknowledge the existence of queer people. I do quibble a with the assumption that a lesbian will necessarily know more about feminine* lingerie than will a man. In fact many lesbians, especially masculine* types, do not wear bras or other “feminine” lingerie. Some of them never have. So, they wouldn’t actually be more familiar with lingerie than most men would be. However, I think it is natural for a non-lesbian, especially a straight person, to not be aware of these things: most straight people are not aware of the intricacies of lesbian culture.  And again, I really appreciate the author’s inclusiveness.

So, if you are thinking about buying lingerie for your significant other who wears it, check out these tips! They will ikncrease the chances of your partner actually wearing what you buy for her this season 🙂

* Although I am a gender/queer person, I am not a person who thinks that we should demolish the terms “masculine” and “feminine” or that those terms are oppressive. “Masculine” and “feminine” are not words which define men or women. They are words which describe ideas and concepts involving the way we perceive gender. Eliminating those words doesn’t change the way we perceive and think about gender; for that we have to do the actual work of changing the way we perceive and think about gender.

A little update

I am in end-of-semester crunch in what has been a very difficult semester. But I wanted to pop in to leave an update. I’ve meant to for awhile, but something is always distracting me.

I have been taking a drug called MetforminER since mid-September. This is a drug that has long been used for diabetes, but it is also good for people like me who have Reactive Hypoglycemia or have become Insulin Resistant. (In my case, the RH led to IR, so this is a good drug for me to try.)

Metformin is a drug with many potential side effects, and they can be life-disrupting. I’ve seen this first hand. The way that most doctors (including mine) want you to take Metformin is to start with the lowest dose (500mg) and work your way up to the highest dose (2000mg.) So that is what I did: I started at 500mg, once a day, and started working my way up. I found that some of the worst side effects took a week or so to subside, so I would basically take 10 days to two weeks between raising the dose, to let my body adjust.

At first things were great! Within the first week or so on Metformin I was sleeping better, and I could tell that my blood sugar was more stable, my boobs shrank a little, and I dropped a little weight. I just felt more comfortable in my skin all-around. Things continued to improve until I got up to about 1500mg. Then I felt a little worse . . . but I thought maybe it was a matter of my chronic illness. Finally, in early November, I got up to 2000mg. And then I spent two terrible weeks being almost incapacitated. I was exhausted, I could barely walk, I was gaining weight and craving sugar, I was in a lot of pain. After two weeks of that I said “To hell with this,” and lowered my dose back to 1000mg. It took three days for my body to equalize, and then suddenly I felt a lot better! That was a week ago, and for now, I am sticking with 1000mg a day.

One of the possible side effects of Metformin is hypoglycemia. Typically this isn’t expected to happen in people who are not diabetic. But at 2000mg, I had all the symptoms of severe hypoglycemia, for two weeks! I’ve concluded that 2000mg is just too high of a dose for me.

I have more to report, and I hope to report it soon, but now I have to write a paper. But after that, I have plans for making a site for people like me, who have had more than one hormone disorder. If you are a person with disrupted hormones or an interest in hormone health, I would especially like to hear from you.

New News

This blog has been silent most of the summer, and I am very sorry! I have had a lot going on and a lot of half-finished posts to share with you.

I don’t write here much about my personal life. But here is something I need to share in order to fully explain the newest news: I have lived with chronic illness for 16 years. I became ill in the late 90s, and spent many years being dismissed and condescended to by doctors. Eventually, in 2002, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and in 2003 with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome  (CFIDS, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or ME.) I have had good times and bad times, but since 2003 my health has been permanently impaired.

How is it impaired? Well, it is a lot like having the flu, for 15 years. I am in pain every day. I have for some years now used daily medications to reduce the pain, but it never goes away entirely, and some days it is excruciating. Some days I am essentially bedridden or housebound. Some days I can get out and do things, but I always have to be mindful of conserving my energy, lest I overdo it and have what we sufferers often call a “crash” and the doctors call “post-exertional malaise.”

In 2007 or so, I was diagnosed with hypothyroid disease. I think now that I have had hypo off and on my whole life- I had symptoms even in my early childhood. But because doctors did not take me seriously, and because the diagnostic criteria for hypothyroid were not as advanced then as they are now, I went without diagnosis. I am now treated for hypothyroid disease.

However, I had hit a wall. Since last winter, I have been craving sweets constantly, and steadily gaining weight, even though my hypo was treated. And, even when treated, I could never get below 196 pounds. I eat very healthfully (mostly veggies) I exercise, etc, but still I was at this plateau. I wrote some in this blog about my weight gain. I did a lot of research on my symptoms and I suspected insulin resistance, as it is often a by-product of hypothyroid disease.

This summer, I was tested and diagnosed with insulin resistance. I am an example of how you can do all the “right things” and still get IR due to genetic factors. I eat lower carb, I am mostly vegetarian (I eat seafood) and I exercise, but none of those were enough to prevent me from becoming resistant.

I was also diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia, which contributed to my IR, and frankly, that really pisses me off. For years and years I told doctors that I thought I was hypoglycemic, and they all dismissed me and pooh-poohed the very idea. Eventually I resigned myself to just having undiagnosed “blood sugar issues”. No one ever bothered to test me until this summer, when I was revealed to be a classic case of reactive hypoglycemia. If I had been diagnosed with this years ago, I might not have IR now (or I might still have it. You never know.)

IR is a whole new ballgame for me. I have to learn how to manage it, including taking medication, eating particular foods in particular ways (it’s not enough now for me to eat the right foods, I have to eat them in the right combinations) and etc. On top of the other things I have to manage, like a challenging school program and my other health issues, I now have to become an expert on IR and RH. And yes, I do have to become an expert: what I have learned from being chronically ill is that doctors are not experts, and they don’t have time to be experts, so I have to be in order to take care of myself! I am often the one who tells my doctors about new research.

So, I feel overwhelmed. I have a lot to learn and to do. And I will be putting a lot of health stuff in this blog for awhile. Mainly because this is what is going on with my body! The IR has caused the distressing weight gain, and treating it might help me to feel better and will certainly help me to be more healthy: RH is less likely than other sorts of IR to lead to diabetes, and my lifestyle choices have helped, but diabetes is still a risk and I want to avoid it at all costs.  My maternal grandmother had Type 1 diabetes, her brother had hypoglycemia, their grandfather had Type 2. And on my father’s side, I come from an ethnic community (American Indian) in which Type 2 is an enormous problem!

I have always been passionate about nutrition, and always intended to write more about that in this blog, but things have been so busy! I do love this blog though, and the community it is a part of, so I will be keeping up, though sporadically. Please bear with me.

Do you really think Freya has narrow underwires?

This is something that has puzzled me ever since I got involved in the bra blogging community. People say that Freya has narrow underwires, and that Fantasie has wide ones (some people say Fantasie is moderate.) I have never, ever found this to be the case. The Freya bras I have tried have all had wide underwires, much wider than the Fantasie bras I love.

With regard to Fantasie, some styles have wider wires than others, and I do think the wires get really wide when you get up to an H cup and above. I think that Freya, in spite of the idea that they have narrow wires, is really all over the map. A quick scroll through the Bratabase shows that Freya bras of the same size, but different styles, can have widely varying width of wire.

So, I don’t think it is really accurate to say that Freya is a narrow wire brand. It is a brand that makes lots of bras, some narrow and some wide.

 

Newly Discovered: The Oldest Known Bra

How cool is this?

The Daily Mail reports on a discovery of lingerie 600 years old. Check out the bra:

This bra is from the 15th century!

The bra is clearly a bra. I have long been skeptical of the claim that women had no kind of breast support before the 20th-ish century.  People find ways to ease their discomfort, and breasts without support are uncomfortable. In the Early Modern period, noble women wore tight, stiff bodices over their chemises  or smocks; you have probably seen this in paintings. What most people don’t know is that bodices were basically “public wear”; when noble women were enclosed in their rooms, with only other women and children to see, they removed their bodices (or “bodies”, as they were then called) and wore only their smocks. It was just more comfortable. The bodies pressed the breasts flat against the chest, but I think we know that isn’t very supportive, and without the bodies, they would have no support at all. This undergarment was a solution. It even has shaped cups! This garment was made to fit the breasts of a specific person.

Now for the pants:

I don’t think these are actually underpants in the way we wear them today. I think it is more likely that this garment was used during menstruation, to hold wadded or folded cloth in place to soak up menstrual fluid. Historians, finding no evidence of anything for menstrual fluid, have variously guessed that women in the Early Modern period either used wadded up cloth tied to themselves somehow, or that the women just walked around bleeding on everything, or just stayed in bed. I think staying in bed is unlikely: women had things to do, they couldn’t actually just lie around. Noble women actually did a lot of the work of running a household; sewing, planning meals, paying bills, and childcare were all some responsibilities of noble women in the 1400s.  I also think just bleeding down their legs was unlikely; hygiene was already a challenge, and no one wants dried menstrual fluid sticking on your skin and staining your clothes. The thing is, menstruation and personal hygiene were considered very private subjects. It wasn’t something a woman would talk about with a man, and most of what we know about history is what men have written.

I think it is likely that this garment was used to hold wadded or folded cloth or fiber in place, to soak up menstrual fluid. The folded cloth was probably burned when it was soaked; a woman could toss it in the fireplace in her room and no man would then ever see or know about it. The fabric used depended on a woman’s social class; poor women may have used a combination of coarse fabric and straw, whereas wealthy women probably used scraps of finer fabrics (linen, wool, cotton.)

I think these finds are interesting, because the finer details of women’s lives are so often lost to history.

You can read the preliminary report of Beatrix Nutz, one of the researchers involved in this discovery, here.