Undressed to Impress

Cleo Marcie Bra Review

Continuing my theme of red balconette bras, I bring you the Cleo Marcie!

I’ve never been a big fan of Cleo bras – the colours and prints have never really appealed to me. However, their new Autumn/Winter collection has changed all that. The mix of reds, blues and cute designs has really lured me in.


(Apologies for the knickers in this pic – I couldn’t find my usual plain flesh-coloured ones to wear underneath so went for what I thought was the next best thing – my Masquerade Delphi knickers in a sort-of flesh colour with very obvious embroidery!)


The Marcie set was not one I expected to love. It’s a combination of two things I don’t like in a bra: unpadded and a balconette shape. But it’s so pretty I couldn’t resist keeping it! The bra gave me a surprisingly rounded shape, which is what I prefer. As in most Panache bras, the wires are too wide for me, so there is empty fabric on the sides, but it’s not a big problem and I don’t feel it’s as minimising as other Panache bras can be on me.

I’ve got this in a 28G with the matching knickers in size 8, and it fits me absolutely perfectly. The band is pretty snug, stretching up to a maximum of 27″, so it might be worth sizing up if you are on the larger side of a 28. For me, the band fits really well on the middle hook at the moment, which gives me slightly longer than usual before I’ll have to tighten it.
As with any balconette, the wires in the centre do start to hurt me after a while, but the centre gore is quite narrow so it’s not as bad as it could be. There was also a little extra space in the underwire channel, which I made use of to position the wire slightly lower in the centre. I think I will experiment with bending the wires and perhaps sewing some padding into the centre to make it more comfortable.

Apart from the fun, young and bright designs, another great thing about Cleo bras is the price. Full price, this one is £25 for the bra and £12.50 for the knickers. £37.50 for the whole set is really not bad, and I got an extra 20% off it from Figleaves a couple of weeks ago – making it a real bargain!

I won’t say I’ve been entirely converted to the unpadded way of life, but I’ll definitely consider unpadded Cleo bras in the future – especially as some styles will be available in a 26 band next year. I’m really excited that a major UK brand has decided to do this, and I’m keen to buy the products to support this. I really hope it’s the start of something great in the small-busted market!




Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte

This review is well overdue – my laptop’s been in repair for a few weeks so I’ve got a few new posts to share with you this coming week!
Thanks to the lovely Chrystal from By Baby’s Rules (a great lingerie blog you should check out – especially if you’re pregnant, wear a small band and/or have implants) I got this beautiful bra set for a bargain price. It’s one I’ve been wanting to try for ages but until recently there haven’t been any UK stockists. I actually ordered it from the US back in March, but the parcel got lost along the way and I never received it. Thankfully, this bra’s journey was a lot smoother!

I’m having problems uploading photos tonight, and this is the only photo it will let me add. I will add more of the whole set once it’s working properly! But you can see from this one what a seriously good looking bra this is!

In terms of fit, I’m wearing a 28G in most styles at the moment, but this fit well in a 30G. The band is EXTREMELY tight for a 30, which is good for me as they don’t sell 28s or 26s. I would say the band fits 1.5 sizes smaller than it states and the cup fits 1 size smaller. This sizing inconsistency may put you off this bra, but I’ve read a few reviews that agree with my findings, so I’d have a read around to try and get a confident idea of what you’d need. Seriously, it’s worth the effort. Oh and despite this being a US brand, they use UK sizing like Freya, Panache and Curvy Kate. Unfortunately, G is the largest cup size available in this bra, and with it fitting small this is a very limited size range.

Shape-wise, the cups of this bra are shallow and wide. They are too shallow for me, which is not actually a bad thing. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I can’t usually wear balconette bras as my breasts are very close set and the central wires sit on my breast tissue and not my ribcage, causing a lot of pain. This bra is very comfortable for me, as the shallowness of the cups prevents the centre gore from sitting against my body. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you wear a bra where the centre gore doesn’t sit against your ribcage, as this usually means it does not fit you or is not a good shape for you (the latter being true here). However, I love this bra too much to let that bother me and I still feel very well supported by it.

The band is deeper than most of my everyday bras, which makes it feel very supportive and it isn’t likely to dig in. It fastens with three hooks, which I know many larger-busted ladies will like. The straps are also nice and sturdy, and are fully adjustable. The inside of the cups feels softer than the outer fabrics, and didn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin.

I found this bra took a couple of wears before it became totally comfortable. This is mostly due to the strap placement. I have quite narrow shoulders and I find the straps to be slightly too wide for me. With some softening of the fabric it’s become a lot better, and they no longer dig in. You know that feeling of desperately wanting to get your bra off as soon as you get home? Well you might find the opposite here – desperation to take your clothes off and admire its beauty!

If you’re outside the US (the only place this brand is widely available) I’d recommend Large Cup Lingerie for this bra. They stock the Charlotte in this colourway and also peach (photos of that one coming soon too!) with free worldwide delivery. Their customer service is great too!

More red undies coming next…


Bravissimo/Pepperberry clothing



I recently place an order in the Bravissimo/Pepperberry sale and thought I’d use the opportunity to try out some of the clothes. I’ve tried a couple of things in the past with little success as the size 8s were far too big on me, and the designs don’t usually appeal to me. There was nothing much that stood out for me in the sale, but I was curious to see if the fit had changed at all in the newer designs, so I tried a top, a dress and a nightdress (which I’ll be reviewing soon just after I receive my latest nightwear order!)
In their size chart my measurements are smaller than a size 8, but the closest I can get is the 8 Really Curvy. In stretchy styles I opted for an 8 Curvy/Really Curvy.
First up is the Petal Neck Jersey top (8C/RC):

(Apologies for the bad photo!) Tops with ruffles at the neckline are usually a no-no for fuller busts, but PB have been clever here and used chiffon to avoid bulk. Those princess seams are very bust-friendly too – this is a design some thought has gone into.


As you can see, the fit is good on the bust but loose in the rest of the body. It’s a stretchy top, but it didn’t need to be for me! For someone who it did fit, I think it would be a nice style. The jersey is nice and thick so wouldn’t show off lumps and bumps too badly.

Next up is the Chiffon Chevron dress. I’ve had my eye on this for a while, as the colour palette is just right for me and the reviews suggested it came up small. Down from £69 to £19.50 in the sale I thought it was time to give it a go!


I was pleased with the fit on this. The bust was just right and then it nipped in nicely on the waist. There was still a bit of wiggle room on me, but it was far better than usual and defined my figure pretty well.

I also really loved the little loops for you to put round your bra straps to stop them from poking out from the straps off the dress. Just a little touch, but so useful I’ve been thinking about sewing something similar on my strappy dresses! Also, just the thickness of the straps is a great feature as fuller-bust bras can often have much wider straps than their smaller counterparts.

Ultimately I did return this dress, but not because I didn’t like it or it didn’t fit. The length was not quite right on me, and I just couldn’t think when I’d wear it. The combination of a beachy summer feel with the chiffon fabric didn’t seem right for any occasion and I had no idea how to accessorise it. For someone with better fashion sense than me, I’m sure it would have got a lot of wear but I just know I never would have worn it.

I’m still not a massive fan of PB clothing, and for the usual prices I’d really have to love an item to buy it. However, I was pleased with the fit of the dress and I may be more inclined to try items in the future now I’ve seen one that has worked for me. The quality of these two items also seems good and the styles are flattering, so they’re definitely worth a browse for busty women.


Leave a comment »

Bravissimo Demi Diva D+ bra review

Not too long ago I placed an order in the Bravissimo/Pepperberry sale. I wasn’t expecting to be particularly impressed with much of what I ordered, as I’ve tried PB clothes in the past and found the size 8s swamp me, and the bras I ordered were more out of curiosity about how the styles fit in the correct size. This is one of those bras: the Demi Diva in a bright pillarbox red. A couple of months ago I tried a similar bra from Bravissimo, the Rococo Charm, but I was only able to try a 28FF and this was clearly too small. I hoped that some of the fit issues I experience in this size would be resolved in the 28G, which is the size I went for in the Demi Diva.

From what I can see, this bra has exactly the same construction as the Rococo Charm, but in my opinion is less attractive. I know many will love the bright red and the leopard print bows, but I’m not a massive fan of the colour and I really don’t like the pattern on the cups, which seems quite old-fashioned to me.

Fit-wise, this was far better than the 28FF Rococo Charm. The shape from the side was pleasingly rounded, and the cups were a perfect fit with no overspill. I do think this is a bra better suited to full on top boobs (unlike my bottom-heavy boobs) as the dramatic straight-across of the half cup means there is less fabric around to shape the top half of the breast, but it’s not doing a bad job – as you can see in the photo below. I think you’d get a very Marie Antoinette style cleavage in this bra if you were full on top.
The band felt like a fairly standard 28, so it was too loose on me even on the tightest hooks.

Ultimately, this was never a bra that was going to work well for me. As I noted with the Rococo Charm, the wires are quite wide and as a result the overall shape is somewhat flattened. The straps are also very wide set, and were digging in from the moment I put the bra on. And, of course, the ultimate deal-breaker for me was that super-high centre gore. As well as being high, it’s quite wide, and I was in quite a lot of pain within 5 minutes of putting the bra on. Some balconettes, such as the Masquerade Rhea, are just about OK for my close-set boobs, but this one was absolute hell. Give me back my plunges! The things I put myself through for you, readers :p


Amusing search terms this month

This week, Christine of Boosaurus wrote about some of the common web searches that had led people to her blog over the course of a week. Some were bizarre, but most had been looking for answers to their many bra questions. I just had a look at mine and some of the results made me giggle so I wanted to share them with you! I haven’t included any fitting issues that bring people here – I’m saving the serious stuff for another post.

‘how can I impress my breasts‘ – a very good question that I don’t think enough of us are asking! I think they’ll be very impressed by a comfortable and well-fitting bra 😉

‘I like bras’ – I’m glad to hear it – so do I!

‘lovely European construction‘ – the Acropolis, the Eiffel Tower and the Alhambra are some of my personal favourites but unfortunately I think I might be arrested if I tried to take a photo of myself in lingerie at any of these locations.

‘what’s in my bra’ – your breasts, I hope, dear reader!

‘cleavages that look like bums’ – may I direct you towards Victoria’s Secret, where you will find endless examples of this look created by badly fitting bras. If by some small chance you’re a woman, please take these as examples of ‘what not to wear’. If you’re a man, well, I think you need to get a life.

5 people were looking for ‘market share of bp’ – they were probably rather disappointed to end up here!

And my number one favourite:

14 people came to my blog looking for ‘knickers on nipples’ – I’m so sorry to have disappointed you all!


Gossard Vintage Rose Bra Review

I don’t normally go for floral prints but, as I’ve mentioned before, I adore teal and buy far too much in this colour. This is why the Gossard Vintage Rose bra really caught my eye when it came out some time ago. I bought it from ASOS in a 30FF with matching brief in XS, and I believe it’s now available from Brastop for a very reasonable price.

I’ve had some bad experiences with Gossard plunge bras in the past, but this one was a reasonably good fit for me. It’s a bit bigger in the cup than many other Gossard bras I’ve tried, which proved to be a good thing as the cups are a tad shallow for me at the base and there is a small empty fold of fabric by the wire. This doesn’t cause overspill as there is enough room in the cup to compensate. I don’t get a huge amount of cleavage, which makes it good for day wear. I really like the design, and the combination of satin and lace is pretty and comfortable. I particularly like that the pattern continues onto the straps.

The back of this bra is one of the things that really sold me on it, although I know a lot of people don’t like this type of band in larger sizes as it can cut-in.

It’s a really unusual style (especially for a full-bust bra) so it would be great under a top or dress with a cut-out or sheer back. It also has the added advantage for me that it will be very easy to alter! I often like Gossard bras, but with the smallest back size being a 30 I really can’t wear them. Their bands run quite tight, which at least makes altering them down to fit like a 26/27 possible.

Unfortunately, another alteration I will have to make on this bra is shortening the straps. They are only part adjustable and aren’t short enough for me when they’re at their tighest position. I’m planning on posting a tutorial on this soon – it’s incredibly easy and definitely something you can do with extremely minimal sewing skills.

The shape from the side is ever so slightly pointy, but very nice overall. I don’t wear it under very clingy clothing, but then I’d rarely wear anything except a Deco in that situation.

The matching briefs are also very comfy – somewhat of a rarity for me! They give good coverage at the back, but the sheer panel keeps them from feeling too matronly. I also don’t find they ride up or dig in anywhere!
Overall, this has proved to be a very successful set for me, and I’d definitely recommend it to ladies who fall into the size range (which starts at a 30 back and goes up to a G cup, but I’m not sure of the exact range). It’s just a shame that I can’t recommend Gossard’s sizing system so highly or that they won’t display remotely well-fitted bras in any of their promotional pictures.


Leave a comment »