Boudoir Bustiers Tuesday, May 29 2012 

Hi Ladies,

Hope all is well!  As the weather is heating up, heading from spring into summer in just a few weeks, I’d like to share a fun idea to heat up your boudoir as well: the black lace bustier.

It will give you an alluring hourglass figure, plus black is always slimming and lace is always sexy.  It’s a great look for all body types, from petites to plus sizes.  In fact, here’s a great example of a plus size gal wearing the look; it’s from W Magazine.  They styled actress Melissa McCarthy in Va Bien’s vintage Lacy Firm Control Bustier, #523, and an amazing set of Cartier jewelry.


Here’s the bustier:


And a fun option for petites:


Enjoy and have a wonderful rest-of-spring!



Pass on the Stuffing Monday, Nov 14 2011 

Hi Ladies,

I often receive emails from customers asking which size shapewear they should be wearing - especially around this time of year, with Thanksgiving around the corner followed by holiday party season!

One common sizing mistake I point out is sizing down - particularly in firm control styles.  Many women think if they size down, they’ll trim off an extra inch or two.  Big mistake!

The beauty of true firm control shapewear is the precision with which it shapes the body.  These styles are expertly crafted not to flatten curves, but to enhance them in all the right places.  Sizing down will throw off the balance of the garment, create unsightly bulges and causing discomfort.

This Thanksgiving, pass on the stuffing - don’t size down in firm control shapewear!  Wear your true size and you will look gorgeous.


Opera National de Paris Thursday, Jun 16 2011 

Hi Ladies,

At Va Bien I am lucky to work with the top stage performers and costumers around the world.  Va Bien’s contemporary corsetry is well-known for providing the best possible support - with total comfort - to help performers look and achieve their best during their act.

Today I thought I would share with you a measurement chart that one of our clients - the Opera National de Paris - sent us.  Look at the incredible precision with which the costumers measure the performers:  (The performer’s name here has been removed for privacy.)


Love Thy Mother Wednesday, Jun 8 2011 

Hi Ladies,

While most of my bridal posts address brides themselves - or their bridesmaids - I would like to devote this note to the dear mothers out there!  Here are a few tips to help two of the most important wedding guests - the mother of the bride, and of the groom - look their very best on their loved one’s big day:

1. Make sure to select a foundation with supportive bra cups.  It must fit nice and tight.  We don’t want mom pulling on the neckline of her dress throughout the evening.

2. Consider bodysuits or control briefs with double - or triple - paneled front sections.  This will cinch the midsection effectively.

3. Do not size down in firm control styles!  While it may be tempting to size down to cinch an extra inch, this will only result in bulging around the seams and discomfort.

Here’s a Va Bien style that is quite popular among mothers of the bride - it offers great bust support and firm-but-comfortable slimming:


Love you Mom!



Need a Lift? Thursday, Feb 3 2011 

Hi Ladies,

Hope your 2011 has gotten off to a fabulous start.  Seems like mother nature woke up on the wrong side of the bed this year, with typhoons in Australia and ice storms in the US - but as we say in France, “a la guerre comme a la guerre”.

Crazy weather aside, I am always excited this time of year because bridal season is getting into swing.  Here’s an email that I received from Alexa T. in Connecticut, who is looking for some strapless support:

Dear Marianne

I have my dress picked out but not my lingerie. I think I need something really supportive because I’m a G cup and my dress is strapless. Here is a picture of a very similar dress from Vera Wang. Can you help me out?



Alexa T., Westport CT

Very pretty dress - leave it to Vera.  With a sweetheart neckline and no straps my thoughts immediately turn to the ultra-Lift Perfect Strapless.  Especially because Alexa is a G cup, she needs serious support to not just look great on her big day but also feel “held in” and confident.  Don’t want any surprises when that bouquet is thrown up in the air.

The bra features patented technology that seals three thin stays inside of each cup.  These stays, made of a very lightweight plastic, provide amazing support and even prevent the bra from sliding down. 

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2011!


Supporting Our Troops - In Style! Wednesday, Nov 24 2010 

Hi Ladies,

When most of us think about a day to give thanks in the month of November, we think of Thanksgiving.  But another important holiday on which to give thanks is Veteran’s Day.  This month Va Bien is proud to participate in a wonderful program to serve our troops and their families in honor of Veteran’s Day called “Brides Across America”.

The program is coordinated across a selection of bridal boutiques around the country, each of which generously gives away dozens of wedding dresses to engaged women serving in the military or fiancees of gentlemen serving in the military.  Va Bien is working with these stores to give away foundation garments to accompany the dresses - or if a bride doesn’t want to wear a foundation on her big day, we’re giving away something else that suits her fancy. 

For example, yesterday we gave away a sexy low plunge bodysuit to a fiancee of a brave young man fighting in Afghanastan - she’s going to wear it the evening of the day that he comes home.  Talk about a sight for sore eyes!

For more information on Brides Across America, you can visit their website


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!



Because Nobody’s Perfect Monday, Aug 30 2010 

Hi Ladies,

One of the most-asked questions about bra fitting is how to accommodate uneven breasts.  For many women it is a frustrating task; seemingly most bras either fit their smaller side but cause the larger side to spill out, or fit their larger side, leaving a gap between their smaller side and the cup.

Additionally, this isn’t something that only affects a few of us - studies show that most women today have uneven breasts.  So what’s a girl to do?

In my opinion, an excellent solution is to wear a stretch lace bra.  As the name implies, the bra cups have stretch built into them, allowing the garment to fit both sides of an uneven bustline.  The challenge however is to find a stretch lace bra that stretches enough to accommodate the size differential while also lifting and supporting properly.  Not an easy task!

Make sure that any stretch lace bra that you buy has double layered cups - one layer of lace alone will not support properly.  The lace should be lined with a strong stretch fabric.  Once you find the right style, just adjust the straps for the perfect fit on both sides.


In Va Bien I recommend the new D’Lite Stretch Lace Bra, Style #618.  In addition to lined cups, it also features a sling along the lower section of both cups, for extra support to keep the girls held up and in.  It was picked by InStyle magazine in May as the best solution for uneven breasts!



Bustier Case Busted Wednesday, Jun 23 2010 

Hi Ladies,

I received many emails regarding my last post on bridal bustiers - so here’s a bit of follow-up on it, in response to one particular email that came in:

dear marianne

i saw your post last month about fitting bustiers.  i get the part about fitting on the loosest hook, so that i can go to the tighter hooks as i lose weight before the wedding.  however, i’m still having problems finding the right bustier size.  i wear a bra size 36D, so that’s the size i bought my bustier in but it didn’t fit.  it was too tight around the tummy.  i have some lovehandles and whatnot that are keeping me from closing the garment, even on the loosest hook.  help pls!!   –mariella

Let’s first take a moment to consider the differences between a traditional bra and a bustier.  A bra wraps from the upper back around the bust.  (The band measurement of a bra is an indication of that distance, specifically around the top of the bust.)  A bustier however wraps around the entire midsection - and whereas bra bands are made of stretch fabric, the bodice of a bustier is often rigid.

Therefore if you are pear-shaped, much fuller around the midsection than the upper back, you will run into fit issues if you extrapolate out your bustier size from your bra size.  In such cases I suggest moving up one increment in band size - but also down one cup size, because going up in the band will often increase the size of the cup as well.  In Mariella’s case, I would suggest going from 36D to 38C.

Hope that helps!



Wedding Weight Loss Wednesday, May 12 2010 

Hi Ladies,

Hope everyone is having a lovely spring - or autumn for our friends Down Under!  I have been sharing a tip regarding weight loss with many brides-to-be lately, so I thought I’d post it here for everyone to consider.

Every bride wants to look slim on her big day, with a perfect hourglass figure.  That means that she will likely diet quite a bit in the months leading up to her wedding.  I strongly suggest that she considers this weight loss when selecting the foundation garment that she’ll wear under the dress.


If she is fit for her corset, strapless bra - or whatever she chooses to wear - on the tightest hook, or if she chooses a size that is too loose on her, she will run into problems when she loses weight.  The foundation will no longer fit her, and she won’t be able to tighten it enough without a visit to the seamstress.

To solve this issue, I always suggest that brides-to-be get fitted on the last hook and make sure that the foundation fits nice and snug so that as she loses weight, she can simply adjust to the middle or tightest hook.



(Image couresy of

Polyvore Crush Solved Wednesday, Mar 31 2010 

Hi Ladies,

Hope all is well!  I have been traveling quite a bit lately, visiting customers in Europe and the Middle East.  Glad to be back home now, and to sleep in my own bed for a few weeks in a row!

I received this fun email from “Tara” a few weeks ago:

Dear Marianne,

I came across a super cute Issa dress on Polyvore, check out the look: (it’s the one in the middle)


My question to you is that I am very um “well-endowed,” and am looking for the right bra to keep me supported and held in under the v-cut neckline of the dress.  I don’t want shapewear, just a bra.  Can you please recommend something for me?


I just discovered Polyvore for myself earlier this year - such a fun site, wish I had more time to play with it!  I love the dress that Tara found, lovely colors for spring.  (I like the shoes in the composite as well, very cool!)

Regarding her bra question, Tara has two options:

Option A: “Va Va Voom”

If Tara is looking to add some “umph” to that dress - beyond its vibrant colors! - she can opt for a bra with low-plunge cut cups that will hold her bust upwards and inwards, for a sexy decolté.  She must make sure that the cups fit perfectly: too loose and they’ll put her at risk for a wardrobe malfunction (and not shape her effectively), too tight and she’ll spill out of the top, creating bulges instead of an elegant decolté.  In Va Bien I can recommend this low plunge number, which has patented ultra-Lift bra cups to keep the bust held up and in securely and comfortably.

Option B: “Let the Dress Speak”

Tara’s alternative option is to let the dress do the talking, and minimize her Girls.  No surprise that a minimizer bra fits the bill here.  With rigid bra cups that flatten the bustline and hold it inwards, tucking a bit near the underarms, Tara could wear this dress with no decolté showing under the v-cut neckline.  Here’s an option to check out.  However, there is a possible snag: the dress’s neckline might run too far south and expose the bra.  This will be a function of her torso length, and she’ll have to try it on to tell - if it’s the case, then Option A is the way to go.

Thanks for sharing the look, Tara, and hope these bra tips help you out!



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