I’ve always thought of Toolz as a peculiar woman because of her curvaceous body (whether or not thanks to girdles). You cannot deny that her underwear packaging is highly commendable, and by heavens, she makes it look so easy!
You see, it’s one thing to be big and blessed, and another to put it all together without hurting yourself. When people compliment us big girls about how good we look, we say thank you but not deeply appreciating the compliment and momentarily forgetting the long and hard hours spent in local markets or boutiques struggling to try on brassieres and shapewear to make us look like them Cover Girl models.
Under those layers of clothing is an underwired bra pressing through thick skin to give our breasts great support; stylish panties to ensure our bottoms jiggle in preferred patterns; girdles or waist cinchers tightly embracing folds of fat to keep us looking confident and also ensuring we never lose our hourglass shapes. Sounds tough but plus size underwear is quite a big deal, and of course, a money maker for those who sell.
This is why when I came across Toolz’s lingerie and shapewear line, Sablier on social media, I took interest immediately.
— Shop Sablier (@ShopSablier) May 9, 2018
As a Content Marketing professional, it’s only natural that I look out for the brand communication first. The brand message in Sablier’s commercial was clear – embrace your (own definition of) beautiful, whether big, busty, ‘bootyful’, pear-shaped, etc.
The simplicity of the message appealed to me instantly and reminded me of Lane Bryant’s 2015 Plus Is Equal commercial. However, I am certain most plus-size Nigerian women would be more attracted by Toolz as the face of the lingerie line rather than focus on the actual brand messaging about embracing all your curves and edges.
The name of the line “Sablier” (pronounced Sab-lee-ay) stands out as it is a French word which means hourglass – the exact image of Toolz in my head. I’ve always thought it chic to use French words as business names as I believe it is a language of class and sophistication.
Toolz’s lingerie and shapewear line has a boujie name, a body-positive media campaign and good looking plus-size models in her advertising so I imagined her prices would be over the top. Moreover, I have a brassiere dealer who I am somewhat loyal to, so I moved on without checking the website.
Some days down the line, I got a message from my friend and editor of 234Star, Njideka asking me for a review of Toolz’s new lingerie line! Oh yes! I was so doing it!
Off I went to the social media page, then to the website to feed my eyes on my next set of undies. The website was quite easy to navigate. A scroll here and there and you could tell what was where. It was like shopping on Amazon.
Also, the bras and panties were fairly priced; lower than I had imagined. On an average, the least I spend on a good plus-size bra is N5,000. The bras currently on Shop Sablier cost between N5,500 and N15,000.
But there was an issue. There was a limited range of options in terms of function. I was hoping to see properly defined bras (push up and T-shirt bras, full coverage bras and minimizers, and maybe strapless and multi-way bras).
I understand that the business is new and more products will roll out over the course of time but I’d have preferred if the Sablier team opened shop with the big guns.
Defined options are particularly important because a woman should have various types of bras for different outfits (and purposes).
The negligees and robes looked good, but no thank you. I was focusing on the daily essentials.
So what makes up a good bra?
Based on my experience, it’s a combination of these pointers (of which most can only be ascertained through physical fitting):
- Bras with the combination of nylon, polyester and elastane/spandex are my preferred options for fabric.
- Medium sized or large straps to ensure I don’t get blisters or bra strap marks.
- Bras that don’t require me pulling the adjusters all the way to the front for a perfect fit.
- A full cup to keep my bossom in place and reduce cleavage bounce or boob spillage.
- A properly fitted centre gore that I can hardly feel.
- Side bones that are comfortable and don’t dig into my skin.
- A fitted elastic band that is my size when I use all (2 or 3) of the hook and eyes. This prevents my back skin from getting all squished up.
- A non-itchy apex is important too, but most times you don’t feel the itchiness until you’ve worn the bra for a while.
On Shop Sablier, there are English-made products (U.K bras, panties, etc) and Sablier products (made by Toolz and her team).
As far as I know, U.K bras are the best because they often merge comfort, style and functionality.
Considering all of these pointers, I bought the Sablier Pink Flower Lace Bra and the Fantasie Alex UW Side Support Bra spending about 5 minutes zooming in on all parts of the bras to ensure I ticked off on all the items on my checklist. Of course, there was no guarantee that these bras would be perfect as there was no physical fitting, but I was willing to take the risk.
I really wanted the Sablier Leopard Print Full Cup Bra but they didn’t have it in my size so I had to go with Sablier’s Flower Lace Bra, which I had doubts about.
I was right. The Sablier Pink Flower Lace Bra was a no-no for the following reasons:
- The full cups were bigger. I had picked a 38G but this lace bra felt like a 40G.
- I had to move the adjusters to the extreme front for there to be some sort of fit. This made the back band of the bra go all the way up, and there still was no perfect fit.
It was definitely going to be my stay-at-home-no-visitor bra.
On the other hand, the Fantasie Alex UW Side Support Bra, which was the exact (same) size as the Sablier Lace Bra, was a perfect fit! I could hardly feel my jugs!
Surely, it’s going to be one of my new favourite bras.
|Product Feature (according to my personal preferences)||Bras bought on Shop Sablier|
|Fantasie Alex UW Side Support Bra (Blue)||Sablier Flower Lace Bra
(Black & Pink)
|Fabric (nylon, polyester, elastane)||Yes||Fabric only described as lace. No proper description written on website product page or on bra tag|
|Medium or large straps||Yes||Yes|
|No need to move adjusters to extreme front||Yes||No|
|Properly fitted centre gore||Yes||No|
|Comfortable side bones||Yes||Yes|
|Fitted elastic band using all 3 hook and eyes||Yes||No|
On the website, it is clearly stated under their return policy that they do not refund or exchange products due to hygiene reasons. I understand this, but to ensure I don’t spend so much on one great bra and one bad bra next time, I’d rather go for a fitting. Fitting is an important part of the business of lingerie selling and this comes with interacting with your customer. This for me was missing at Shop Sablier.
I believe shopping for a full-bust bra is a big decision, especially if you’re spending a whole lot on it. For me, the process starts from explaining why I need the bra to the seller. What problem do I want it to solve? I think this is very personal which is why I would be going back to my dealer who allows physical fittings and gives me cheaper prices too 🙂
Oyindamola Bamgbola is a Lagos-based Inbound and Content Marketing Professional who has worked on various brands in different industries. Popularly known as “Digital Marketing Octopus”, Oyinda writes literotica and takes photos in her spare time.