This week, I’m giving you all the inside scoop on all things underwear! Read on for my pick of the best bras, undies, fittings and anything else lingerie-related you can think of around town.
Do you scoop?
This was the question that Lisa Cheng from Sheer asked when I was standing looking at myself in the changing room mirror thinking what went wrong?! Then I remembered the reason for the lacklustre cleavage… the baby and that goddamn expressing machine etc, and then 21 months later everything had gone a bit south. But scooping?! What the hell was that? So, with no further ado, Lisa taught me how to scoop and for a few seconds of self re-arranging it really does make a difference… ta-da, I had something that resembled a long lost cleavage! Stone the crows!
So this is how you scoop:
Put your bra on as you normally would, then while bending forward, you want to literally scoop all the flesh from as far as the back of your armpit into the cup of your bra, so you are literally scooping up all your boob including the soft tissue from under the armpits into the cup.
If this doesn’t make any sense, here’s a video by Emily Lau of the Little Bra Company:
As we all know after having a baby you often lose a bit of elasticity in the boob department and your former bras just don’t cut it. Lisa advises to change your type of bra and look for a different shape. Bras that are higher in the centre point at the front between the cups offer better support and lift; also look for bras with a little bit of push-up if sagging is a problem; teardrop shapes and balconette styles offer more support and lift. If in doubt, go for a fitting, which Sheer offers and is free. Brands to look out for are On Gossamer, Chantelle, Naturi, Simone Perele and Fleur of England.
I liked the On Gossamer Bump It Up Bra in Champagne ($590, above left) that you can twist once or twice at the front for extra oomph, and also this one from Chantelle ($799, above right), as great daytime bra options.
If you’re like me and need a whole lingerie makeover, then this is for you. Or if you have a specific problem that needs addressing, let Lisa work her magic! She suggests you start by bringing in your current bras and she’ll advise what works, what doesn’t, how you can improve and suggest different styles for you to try. You can check out Hester’s full review of the Sheer Discovery Experience here!
The first Friday of every month from 8-9pm and beginning on 13 April, Sheer are going to offer a class on different aspects of lingerie beginning with “Discovering the right fit” where you can learn how to scoop from the expert and find out your correct bra size. May is “Bridal underwear solutions” and June is “How to seduce your man”!
This little ensemble available from Sheer might do the trick:
Top of the pants
So not only had I not scooped, but I was also a Hanky Panky virgin! Sorry if I’m teaching you to suck eggs here, but it was quite an enlightening experience spending an afternoon with Lisa. Hanky Pankys are a one size fits all g-string/thong made from a super-stretchy fabric that stretches to fit your curves, meaning an end to those unsightly bulges of overspill. One size fits all… I was sceptical… but after a week of road testing the Hanky Panky, I was impressed; no VPL to report, and comfy to boot yay! The only downside is they are a little pricey at $195 each (above left).
Sheer also stock Commando seamless, laser cut underwear made from microfiber (thongs are $180, above right) – a great breathable fabric for the Hong Kong summer and excellent for a smooth finish under those super clingy dresses.
Out of control
In my early post-natal days, shapewear became one of my best friends to hold all that overstretched skin in place. Sheer stock Wolford and Resultwear, a really interesting LA brand that shakes up the idea of shapewear with designs that look almost good enough to wear as outerwear, especially the Marilyn Slip ($1550, above left) that looks almost like a Herve Leger bodycon number. The idea is that you don’t have to turn off the lights to undress when you’re wearing Resultwear!
Other brands to watch out for at Sheer are Mimi Holiday, Wundervoll, Chantelle, Eberjey and La Fee Verte (top, $590, and shorts, $530, shown above). Sheer stocks sizes from 28A to 38E.
Sheer, 4/F, W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2147 3887
If you’ve got it, Flaunt it!
My next stop was Flaunt on Lyndhurst Terrace and here I discovered the reasonably-priced Hailey & Sasha, a local Hong Kong brand (shown above). Bras are priced at the $225-300 mark and H&S also offer their own version of Hanky Panky, priced very reasonably at $70 or $180 for three pairs.
Flaunt also stock Hanky Panky priced at $170 each; I loved this Hanky Panky babydoll set with a cherry heart print ($445).
Pleasure State is another brand stocked by Flaunt that offers a good range of daywear bras, including strapless ones and a multi-way push-up bra ($495, above) perfect for those very low-cut dresses or tops.
Other brands to watch out for are Samantha Chang (which is exclusive to Flaunt) and The Little Bra Company, which specialises in smaller sizes 28A to 34B.
Emily Richardson, Flaunt’s owner, is a professional bra fitter and for finding the perfect fitting bra, she highly recommends a professional bra fitting 1-2 times a year. Check out some of Emily’s tips to get you started when fitting a bra here.
She also recommends that after you’re done breastfeeding it is important to get fitted again, as your body has gone through a huge change (yep don’t we know it!). She says not only will your cup size most likely change but your rib cage will too, making bras sit differently than they did before – it’s then not only about the size but also trying new styles that you would not have considered before. The same fitting principles apply as above.
Flaunt Boutique, Unit 902, 9th Floor, Union Commercial Building, 12 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2545 8813
Are you a strumpet, mistress or lover?
Apparently, I’m a mistress!! Find out what you are at Avec Amour, which stocks the Lascivious label – a UK lingerie company with a racy sense of humour! Strumpet is small, Mistress is medium and Lover is large. Their signature style is the Kitty Bra ($950) and matching Kitty Ouverts ($710 – and no, they’re not half the price, even if you only get half the pant!), shown above right.
I also liked Aubade (bra, $796, and matching pants, $499, show above left) and Natalie Begg, an Australian designer; Avec Amour currently have a great deal on some of her bras, which are marked down from $890 to $356. Grab those bargains, mamas!
So now you’ve forked out on all this new underwear, you’ll need something to carry it in for when you travel. Avec Amour stocks these great bra and pant bags to ensure your underwear remains in pristine condition. Also, an ideal present for the girl who has everything methinks!
Bra bag $580, Pantie bag $380, with the all-important clean and not so clean sections!
Avec Amour stocks sizes 32A up to 36D and bra fittings are free.
Avec Amour, 8/F V Plus, 68-70 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2978 3998
Recently opened again on Lyndhurst Terrace, this is a French brand made in Hong Kong offering a good selection of reasonably priced daywear bras and swimwear. Charmante stocks sizes 32A to 38E; bras are priced around the $300 mark, swimwear bikini tops are priced at $300 and bottoms are $200.
Charmante, 54 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2645 6000
INSTANT GODDESS VERDICT: most personalised shopping experience goes to Sheer; most reasonably-priced selection goes to Flaunt; and head to Avec Amour for that little bit of extra spice!
This week favourite make-up artist Jaime Smith of Smudge Make-Up Artistry says:
My make-up philosophy is not to paint my clients pretty, but to enhance a women’s best features and produce beautiful, wearable looks. Because of this, I have always been a huge proponent of a nude, pink, or neutral pout.
But even I can get creative… and what screams Spring more than beautiful bright colourful lips!
Make sure your lips are prepped and well exfoliated before applying any bright or dark colour, which can draw attention to dead skin and fine lines. Try a soft toothbrush coated with petroleum jelly and gently buff, for an easy home remedy.
Lining your lips helps the lipstick last longer. Match your liner to your lip colour and not the lipstick and apply all over the lips, not just as an outline. Look out for clear, colourless, lip liners popping up at different make-up counters in Hong Kong soon.
This Spring, an array of reds and their counterparts hit the runway. Check out Jason Wu and the Rick Owens shows for inspiration.
So get punchy, and opt for an orange or coral shade! There are so many to choose from. Try MAC Lipstick in Morange (reviewed here) and Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense in 39. The look has a matte or satin finish.
*Top Tip* keep the rest of the make- up natural and glowing.
See all MAC locations in Hong Kong here.
See all Make Up Forever locations in Hong Kong here.
Mid-week meal inspiration
This week, I’m enjoying Jamie Oliver’s salmon wrapped in prosciutto with a warm herby lentil salad from “The Return of the Naked Chef”. This is a great, simple dish and the herby lentil salad also works well with chicken.
- 255gr/9oz lentils
- 4 x 225gr/8oz salmon fillets, skinned and pin-boned
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices of prosciutto
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 good handfuls of mixed herbs (flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint) chopped
- 3 large handfuls of spinach, chopped
- 200ml/7fl.oz natural yoghurt
1) Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
2) Put the lentils into a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
3) Season the salmon fillets with a little pepper before wrapping them in the prosciutto slices. Leave some of the flesh exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for around 10 minutes until the prosciutto is golden. Feel free to cook the salmon for less time if pinker is to your liking.
4) Drain away most of the water from the lentils and season carefully with salt, pepper, the lemon juice and 4 good lugs of olive oil. Just before serving, stir the herbs and spinach into the lentils on a high heat, until wilted. Place on to plates with the salmon and finish with a drizzle of lightly seasoned yoghurt.
Yogi tea saying of the week: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are”.
Instant Goddess says: “Don’t forget to scoop and go!”
Until next week Goddesses… and remember you are always, always worth it!
Check out the rest of Katie’s Instant Goddess columns here.