Undressed to Impress

Quick review: Ewa Michalak S Szafirek

I love blue bras, so when I saw the Szafirek pop up on Ewa Michalak’s site I ordered almost straight away. As an added bonus, the bra had 20zl off for two days only!

I ordered a 65FF with the matching briefs in size 36 (UK 8). I received the set in about a week – the fastest I’ve ever had an EM order delivered, as nothing had to be made to order.

The bra didn’t quite look how I expected it to – I think I was expecting a slightly lighter blue. However, I’m still really happy with the overall look. The fabric is navy blue lace over a beige background, which matches my skin tone rather well. This gives it a slightly sheer appearance in real life (the photo below doesn’t represent this well) despite it being a padded bra. The knickers don’t have the beige backing behind the lace panels, so if your skin tone is significantly different from the bra backing this is worth taking into account. Personally I would have preferred the beige backing on the knickers too, simply for consistency. The knickers are made of a silky polyester fabric which is also found on the wings of the bra.

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Fit wise, the 65FF was OK. I’d have preferred a slightly tighter band, but I expected this and I like to avoid special orders wherever possible so it’s not too much of a concern. In my experience with the S style (albeit I’ve only tried 3) the bands have always been slightly looser than the older PL styles I have. Cup wise, the FF was pretty spot on with the removable padding in place. My boobs have shrunk a tiny bit in recent times, which has led me to wonder if I could get away with a 65F without the padding. I love the 3D styles from Ewa and these sometimes go up to an F, so I’d love to try and squeeze in one! The knickers were a good fit on me in my usual size.

I wore the set all day today and found it very comfortable straight out of the box. This surprised me, as I always expect some discomfort from non-plunge bras due to my close set shape. However, the gore is very narrow on this bra so it’s a good choice for others with this shape. Other things to note about the shape are the cups. For those used to the rounded shape of Ewa bras, the S gives a slightly different silhouette. The website describes this as a “rounded shape with a subtly marked peak”, which I think is very accurate. Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture to show this. Personally I prefer the perfectly round shape I get in the PLs, but this isn’t different enough for me to be particularly bothered.

Overall I’m a big fan of this bra and looking forward to the other new bras to come from Ewa for Spring!

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Bravissimo Autumn/Winter Mini Round-Up

Bravissimo’s latest Autumn/Winter collection has had me intrigued with quite a few interesting new styles. Since my last trip to Brav was quite a while ago, I decided to pop into store this weekend to try on a few of my favourite styles from the collection.

First up was the Panache Idina Moulded bra. I’ve seen the balconette version of this in store before, but it didn’t come in a 28 back and I’m not a big fan of unpadded bras so I passed it up, despite liking the design. The moulded version very much reminded me of my beloved but sadly no more PL Black from Ewa Michalak in terms of styling, so I was keen to try it out.

The 28G was a good fit on me – the same size I wear in the Masquerade Amor (the only other moulded style I’ve tried from Panache). I was pleasantly surprised by the wires – they weren’t horrendously wide (as I expect from Panache) and felt very wearable. The band was firm and felt comfortable on the second hook (bearing in mind my 26″ underbust measurement). The overall shape was rounded, but I felt like something odd happened at the top of the cup. The pictures below don’t capture it and it’s quite hard to describe, but I felt like there was just a bit of shape incompatibility at the top. It didn’t quite feel like overspill, but it didn’t feel like there was quite enough space at the top and the shape wasn’t quite there for me as a result. I think this problem could have been avoided with a slightly lower cut cup, which would have left the shape feeling more open at the top.

Looks-wise, it was very pretty and definitely one to consider if you’re looking for the smooth shape of a moulded cup but want something a bit prettier than your average t-shirt bra.

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Next up was the Curvy Kate Flaunt. This is based on the traditional CK plunge shape seen in the Tempt Me and Wild bras, so I knew straight away it wasn’t going to be compatible with my shape. However, I absolutely adore anything peacock-related (or pavonine, if you will) so I had to try it out.

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I asked to try on the 28GG in this style, as this is my best fit in the Tempt Me bra, and didn’t realise until after I’d tried it on that I’d actually been given the 28G. I actually quite enjoyed the fit of the 28G – the straps weren’t too wide-set (as is the case for me on the 28GG) and I got some excellent cleavage from it! The centre gore did not lie flat, however, as the cups were far too shallow for me. The band is also incredibly stretchy, and the 28 was too loose for me on the tightest hooks. I’m still almost certainly going to buy this bra though, because the design is just amazing. Since it’s so wildly impractical for me I’m tempted to go for the cleavage-tastic 28G.

Next up was the style I was most excited to try – the Satine basque. I’m a big fan of the Satine bra, as it’s so very comfortable on me. I like the plunge style as I find balconette wires uncomfortable due to my close-set shape, and the cups are cotton-lined so they’re great even on a hot summer’s day. My only complaint is that the band is a bit too loose for me in the 28, so I was worried this would leave the basque feeling too loose for me in the body.

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I was pleasantly surprised to discover the basque was a really good fit for me on the second row of hooks. It definitely feels slightly tighter than the standard bra – for reference, my waist is 25.5″ at the moment. The basque has boning down the front and sides to help pull everything in, and I felt comfortable and supported by it. The Satine bra used to have an issue with the thin layer of padding not lying flat within the fabric on some of the bras, and I’m pleased to see that the issue appears to have been fixed on the basques (at least, I didn’t notice it on any that were out on the shop floor). An added feature that’s great to see on the basque is multiway straps, making the basque more versatile. The suspenders are also detachable.

The basque felt a good length on me, and I can see it working for a number of different heights as it’s not too long. However, I think women with a larger waist to high hip ratio than myself might struggle with the sizing, as it was snug on me all over. It’s also worth noting that the back sat quite low on me – although perhaps something that could be altered with a different strap length – and as a result I got a bit of back bulge at the top.

Overall I really liked the basque and probably would have bought it if I liked the pattern more than I did. It’s a subtle purpley-grey colour that looks different depending on the level of light so I can see it appealing to a lot of women, but it  wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s £59 price tag really made me feel like I needed to love it to buy it. In terms of sizing, I tried the 28G, which is the same size I wear in the Satine bra, and the fit was spot on. I hope Bravissimo will keep manufacturing this style in a 28 next season (unlike the Lola basque) as I’d snap it up in a heartbeat in a less fussy design.

The final item I tried was the new Cleo Marcie Babydoll. My initial desire to try this style faded when I saw the open back design and ultimately I was won over by the floatier Curvy Kate Lola more than the Cleo Marcie. However, I was still keen to try it out and thought I might as well while I was there.

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I tried the babydoll in a 28G – the same size I know fits me in the Marcie bra. In general, I felt the fit was very similar but the cups ran a touch smaller than the red colourway from a couple of seasons ago. This felt to me like the difference black dye can make to bras and to me it didn’t feel enough different to need to size up. Some women have reported that it fits more like the turquoise colourway of the bra, but I haven’t tried this one so can’t comment. The back is firm, as in the bra, and you may need to size up if you’re between sizes or like a looser band. The rounded shape was the same as I’ve come to expect from the Marcie bra and overall I felt it was a very good fit. (The cups weren’t actually wrinkling as you see in the first photo – this was just from lifting my arm to take the photo.)

As I expected, I wasn’t particularly keen on the straighter style of the mesh section or the open back. However, the back does come completely open when you undo  it, so it’s a good option if you have larger hips or worry about getting into this sort of garment. I also think the polka dots keep the babydoll feeling younger and more accessible than the Curvy Kate Lola, and it’s quite fun as well as sexy. Overall, it wasn’t one for me due to the firm wires used in the Marcie styles which I find dig in.
Overall, I’m really impressed with these new styles – it’s particularly great to see basques and babydolls becoming more mainstream in the fuller bust market. Have you tried any of these styles? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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Curvy Kate “Wild” and “Tempt Me” Review

The Curvy Kate Tempt Me was one of the first bras I bought when I started wearing the right size, and it’s had a place in my drawer ever since. It’s a big oversight on my part that I’ve never actually reviewed it! I thought I’d combine this with a review of the Wild, which is a leopard print bra new to CK this season and it has the same cut as Tempt Me.

Over the years, I’ve owned every colour of the Tempt Me except the pink one, which is only because I hate pink! I’ve never worn it in my “usual” size, but have found the size of the cups to vary slightly between colours, so I have it in both a 28GG and a 28H – one and two cups up from the 28G I wear in most brands, including unpadded Curvy Kate bras. Other ladies have reported having to size up as many as 3 cups to get a good fit. As with all Showgirl styles, the bands are very stretchy and I find the 28s too loose for me so I usually alter them down. My current collection that fits is the blue in 28GG, the coral and gold in 28H, and the Wild in 28GG.

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I have to say, none of these bras are particularly compatible with my shape. The cups are too wide and shallow for me, which gives a very minimised shape from the side, but good cleavage and more of an hourglass look from the front. This is partly the reason I need to size up, as if I wear one of my older styles in a smaller size it appears to fit at first, but I ‘pop out’ quite quickly. In the larger sizes I often get a tiny fold at the base of the cup, as it’s not as deep as I need there, and extra fabric on the side where my breast tissue doesn’t extend that far back. The straps are too wide for my shape as well, and dig in after the first few wears. They also seem to get a lot wider as you go up the cup sizes, which is disappointing as they can look a bit ugly.

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But the reason I love these bras is because they’re oh so comfortable. After the first few wears the straps soften up and don’t cause me any problems, and they’re quite stretchy so they don’t dig in. They’re also fully adjustable, which is brilliant for me as I usually have to shorten straps quite considerably. The centre gore is really low so I never get any problems with wires digging in like I do on a balconette or some not-so-plunging plunges. The band is really stretchy, as I mentioned earlier, which combined with its width makes it really comfortable and flattering – these bras aren’t going to cause any back bulges. Bras I Hate & Love finds the Showgirl bands so comfortable that she sleeps in them!
The cups are lined with a cottony material that feels very soft against your skin and is great in summer months when a mesh bra can make you sweaty and uncomfortable. The thin padding is also great for keeping your boobs warm in winter (you may laugh, until that moment when your nipples make an unwelcome appearance through your t-shirt when it gets chilly!)

To match the Tempt Me bras you have a choice of shorts with detachable suspender straps, a thong or a high-waisted brief. They all come up a bit smaller than non-Showgirl CK knickers – I prefer to wear a 10 in the shorts whereas I wear an 8 in the matching knickers for non-padded CK styles. This was also true of the Wild briefs. I do like the shorts, but I find they sit at an odd place on me and the waistband is quite firm elastic, so it tends to dig in when they fit perfectly everywhere else. They’re slightly too high for my liking – I think making them a little lower would solve my fit problem, and would also enable me to wear them under the low-cut jeans I favour. The detachable suspender straps are a nice touch and they have a sexy sheer back. These touches make the set ideal for the bedroom as well as everyday wear. This bra is really a chameleon, and whilst the fit is admittedly tricky, it’s definitely worth persevering to find the Tempt Me for you!

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Ewa Michalak CHP Mak Review

I’m home for Christmas, which in my house means I’m wearing six layers and hiding under my duvet in an attempt to keep warm. It’s times like this that I’m extremely thankful for my heating being included in my (admittedly, exorbitant) rent! Anyway, the upshot of this is that there’s not a lot of things I can do in this position and still stay warm, so I’m catching up on some blogging. Thankfully, I took the pictures some time ago!

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I made an order from Ewa Michalak a few weeks ago as I was keen to have some more 26 bands in my life. I hadn’t tried a CHP before so I asked around about the sizing and it was generally accepted that they come up large in the cup. As my 60G PLs are too small in the cup, I decided to order the PL Ametyst in a 55H and this CHP in a 55GG.

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The fit of the cups is spot on, but a different shape than I’m used to from Ewa. It’s still uplifted, rounded and upfront, but less of all these things than I get in my CHs and PLs. It feels like a more natural shape, which is no bad thing as it feels more ‘everyday’ than other EMs do. It makes sense that the CHP is a slightly more compact shape than the CH, as this is true of the HP style and the CHP is supposed to be a happy medium between the two. In addition, this bra doesn’t have the removable pads many of my other EMs do – and these definitely help give a bit more cleavage.

The band was a little tight, but I’m happy I went for the 26 as I’ve found EM bands to be hugely variable in terms of both the original length and the speed at which they stretch out.   I got an extender for £1 on ebay which matches the colour really well – with one extra row from this the band is a perfect fit.

The design of the bra is quite simple and I really love the red lace around the band. It’s unusual to see this being the detailed part of the bra, but it’s actually a great idea as it means the cups remain quite smooth so they don’t show through clothing as much as they would if they were the lace covered part. The matching knickers are really pretty, and I’m very glad I got the set. The colour isn’t the best on me, as the red is a little too orange-y, but it’s nice to have a set that’s a bit different from my usual style – and it’s very festive too!

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(Not the most flattering photo ever, but I wanted to show you the lovely lace back on the knickers! I ordered my usual UK size 8 in these.)

I found this bra to be very comfortable without any need to break it in, which was not true of the other bra I ordered. The straps are fully adjustable and a little thinner than usual, which is nice on the whole but left them digging in slightly by the end of a day’s wear.

Overall, I’m really happy with this set. I’ve been hankering after the Masquerade Rosetti for a long time, but after a disappointing experience with it I’m really pleased to have found this similar set – which is both a better fit and cheaper! The set it still available for 109zl for the bra, 43zl for matching knickers and 29zl for the matching thong. At the current exchange rate that makes the set I bought around £32 and although there are additional PayPal & postage fees which hike the price up somewhat, that’s still a lot cheaper than the £58.50 price tag of the Masquerade Rosetti bra and knickers!

As a side note,  Ewa Michalak have greatly improved their English language customer service and I found the ordering process much smoother. I would still recommend looking for sizing advice elsewhere, as my questions about how the sizing compared between the different styles were met with a ‘use the calculator’ response, and the calculator on the site is vastly inaccurate for me. I had some problems receiving an invoice for the correct amount, but my emails were all replied to quickly and politely. As the bras were made to order, the process took around a month from my first contact until I received the bras, but it was definitely worth the wait!

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Evollove Bird Song Review

 

ASOS have recently been expanding their full-bust offering and I was surprised to see a number of new (to me, at least!) brands available in my sister size of a 30FF. Among these, a few sets from Evollove really stood out to me with their unusual, youthful designs.

I wanted to find out a bit more about Evollove, and discovered the brand has only been around since July 2012, and was designed to be “the affordable lingerie brand fuller busted women have long coveted”. The brand is owned by parent company Bendon, which also owns brands such as Elle Macpherson Intimates and Fayreform. While Fayreform also specialises in larger cup sizes, Evollove looks to have a more youthful feel, and it’s great to see the launch of a new brand in this often-overlooked area.

“Modern, fashion-conscious women will revel in evollove’s provocative mix of on-trend prints and fashion-forward designs.

The evollove debut collection gives traditional, structured shapes an infusion of vibrant colours and mischief, while luxurious fabrics, soft lace, and impeccable fit heightens desirability.

Inspired by LOVE, this is lingerie as it’s meant to be; confident, exciting, sexy and available in size D-G cup.” (Taken from the Bendon website)

The range covers Australian sizes 8-16 D-G, which is equivalent here to UK 30-38 D to FF (their G cup appears to be equivalent to a FF cup, as no FF is offered). This is a conservative size range and really what I’d class as middle ground in the bra sizing spectrum, so the brand certainly isn’t breaking any new ground. Many will be disappointed to be sized out of the four cup sizes offered in each band, but I’m pleased to see the inclusion of a 30 band here. That said, with a younger focus it would have been nice to see some smaller back sizes included, so it’ll be interesting to see if this is an area the brand considers expanding into once it’s more established.

I chose to try out the Bird Song set, as the combination of the pale blue background and the on-trend bird print really appealed to me. I tried the bra in a 30G (the equivalent of my usual UK sister size of 30FF) with the matching brazilian briefs in XS/size 8.

The bra is a moulded cup design with partially adjustable straps and 2 hook fastening.
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I didn’t find the 30G to be a good fit for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I found the cups of the 30G to be a little large for me, but not to the extent that I would have sized down. As a result of this, I didn’t get much uplift or cleavage. Secondly, the straps were too long, as is so often the case when they are only partially adjustable. Finally, the band was predictably too loose for me. I’d recommend sticking with your usual band size in this bra.

I really like the material this bra is made of, as it’s soft and feels like it would be comfortable to wear. I don’t think it would work well for the straps, as it feels quite slippery, which is presumably why the adjustable section is made from a different fabric. Despite seaming and lace on the cups, the bra was actually fairly undetectable under clothing and gave a nice rounded shape similar to the Freya Deco. The quality of the bra seems to be very good, and it looks well made for the price, which is towards the higher end of the usual price range you’d expect in the fuller-bust market at £34 for the bra and £20 for the matching knickers.

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The matching brazilian briefs are low-rise, which I prefer, and fit well in my usual size. The set together is very pretty and felt like it would be comfortable as an everyday bra. If it came in my size, I’d be really happy with this set, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those of you who fall into the limited size range. I hope to see Evollove expand its size range in the future, as I feel like the fun, fashionable and not overly sexy designs would be great for teenagers and young women in particular.

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Masquerade Persia Review

The Masquerade Persia first appeared on the scenes last season, and I barely paid it any attention. It seemed to somewhat divide opinion, with some loving the unusual design and others, like myself, seeing fussy embroidery in the same colour as my secondary school sweatshirt. Come to think of it, the sweatshirt thing is probably what put me off…it was REALLY nasty and I had to wear it for 4 years. Anyway, out in the lingerie blogging world Miss Underpinnings was a big fan and Invest in Your Chest liked it too, but had some fit issues. So when I saw it in blue for AW12, I paid it a little more attention.

I’m a total sucker for a blue bra, and this colour just suddenly made me start thinking ‘expensive’ rather than ‘fussy’. Unfortunately, it lives up to that description quite well – at £40 for the bra alone it’s a bit too far from payday for me to afford. To try it out for size, I ordered a bargain one in last season’s colour from Amazon with the intention of returning it. Not something I’d ever do with a small retailer or a brand I cared about, but with someone as huge as Amazon I think it’s OK. It’s not often in the full-busted lingerie world that I can try something out for real and pay no postage and no return fee! Oh and should Amazon wish for my real custom, they need to start carrying Masquerade in a 28 back…but I digress. I ordered the set in a 30FF with matching size 8 brief.

The fit wasn’t right on me at all. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a 30 to fit me, but I can attempt to comment on it compared to other 30s I’ve tried recently. I thought it  probably fit about true to size or maybe half a size small (i.e. like a 29″ back). It was looser than the Masquerade Harem but tighter than the Amira (two sets I’ll be reviewing soon). Both Invest in Your Chest and Miss Underpinnings found the band to be tight in a 28, so it may be worth sizing up if you’re on the larger end of your band size or prefer a slightly looser fit.

The cups weren’t right at all on me. It’s fuller in the cup than the bras I prefer to wear regularly, as styles like this always cause me fit issues at the top – usually resulting in ski-slope look in the above right photo. Whilst not particularly wide, I found the centre gore to be painful, and the straps did not adjust short enough for me as they are only partly adjustable. Oh and you may have noticed it’s not padded. Another thing I’m not a fan of!

On a more positive note, the briefs fit me really well and felt like they would be comfortable. They come up smaller than most other Masquerade styles, which is good for me as it meant the 8 fit rather than falling down (I’m looking at you, Rhea) but others may prefer to size up. The ‘nude’ coloured underlay also matched my skin quite well, so gave a good sheer look without showing off too much. It’s something I thought I ought to point out, as I can imagine it could look odd on one of the many skin tones significantly darker than my own.

Overall, I’m not a fan of this bra. I’ll be saving my pennies for a good deal on the beautiful Rosetti when I see it!

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Masquerade Delphi review

This review has been a really long time coming, mostly because this bra has been sat on my ‘can’t wear until I alter it’ pile. Since I managed to get round to it a couple of weeks ago I’ve been wearing it a lot and I’ve been surprised how comfortable I find it. I have this bra in a 30F and the matching knickers in a size 8 – post-alteration the bra is now a 26G. Without further ado, this is how it looks:

 

The cups are really a little too small, giving me an epic Marie Antoinette-style cleavage, but I get no cleavage in the next size up so this is the preferred option for me. I wear the same size in the Rhea, which seems to fit very similarly. As you may know, I usually stick exclusively to plunge bras as I have close set boobs and usually find the centre gore digs in if it’s more than an inch high. The Masquerade Delphi and Rhea are two exceptions for me as the centre gore and the wires themselves (I don’t mean the cups) are narrow, so they’re worth a look if you’re close-set too.

The cup width is, like all Panache bra, on the wide side. This is another reason I prefer a smaller cup size, as sizing up gave me even more width which I just don’t need. I put this bra on after several hours of wearing a CH Ewa Michalak bra and the difference in width really surprised me! The extra width here doesn’t really bother me as the wire is nowhere near high enough to poke under my arms.


The bra band lacks stretch, which is a common problem with Masquerade bras. It’s also narrow and fastens with two hooks, which means it can end up digging in by the end of the day – you might be able to see one of the red marks the band has given me in the picture above (I should mention that my skin marks VERY easily, so it’s not actually that bad). I sometimes find myself wearing this bra looser than I should be for good support as it’s more comfortable by the end of the day this way.  The straps share the same fabric, but they’re comfier due to them widening out on the shoulder. The extra width means it’s not a great bra for under a spaghetti strap top, but it’s great for the jumper weather we’re having here at the moment!

As I always find with Masquerade briefs they’re a little loose, and this combined with the skimpy cut across the bum results in them endlessly riding up – they’re not my everyday knickers of choice but I really love the look of the set together. To me, it’s a really pretty nude bra. Not the perfect one for a tight white t-shirt or anything too see-through, but it works well for me under looser/thicker pale clothing. I love that because I always find nude bras so ugly!

This Delphi is an old colourway which you can still find knocking around on the internet. For any fans, a new black and ivory version makes up part of the AW12 Masquerade collection – with a basque and high-waisted brief available too.

 

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Bravissimo, why are you leaving us out?

I love Bravissimo. I love that I can try on bras in my size in their high-street stores. I love their wonderful fitting techniques. I love their supportive nightwear. I love that they make an L cup bra. I love the thoughtful dressing gowns in their changing rooms. I love that they have lots of items in 28 backs.

Oh wait. The new collection.

I was browsing the new Bravissimo collection today and noticed a few items which caught my eye. I really liked the Lola Luxe basque that they released last season and as it was a Bravissimo item, it had a really good range of sizes compared to many other brands – 28 DD-J and 30 to 38 DD-K.

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I love it in black and despite it being a little more expensive, at £50, I was keen to buy it. Until I looked at the size chart.
28 backs have been removed altogether, as well as DD and E cups! I can understand this to a certain extent, as last season’s Lola Luxe is on sale and the sizes still available are nearly all 28 backs and/or DD/E cups. But this type of product is very rarely available in a 28 back, and I don’t know of any other that comes in a 28J – a size which was certainly sold out. Not to mention that it didn’t come in a 28JJ or 28K in the first place – both of which it would be possible for Bravissimo to make (as they produce equivalent ‘sister sizes’ and even larger sizes). As for the removal of the smaller cups, these can also be hard to find on the high street, particularly E cups, and it’s a shame to see these go. For women in an F cup it likely removes the opportunity to try sister sizes to find a good band for them. In addition, I’ve never f0und Bravissimo bands to be especially tight and I’m sure for some sizing down will be preferable.

Moving on to look at the rest of the collection, I noticed the Curvy Kate Princess bra in Teal. I love Curvy Kate for producing all their standard bras (not including Showgirl) in their full range of sizes – a huge range of 28-40 D-K.

And yet, this one is available at Bravissimo in just 30-40 F-K. This is still 54 sizes and I appreciate that it’s expensive to stock such a huge range, but I find it incredibly irritating when retailers stock bras starting at a 30 back when I know they are produced in a 28 band, something I’ve talked about before and particularly noticed with my beloved Masquerade bras.

Next up, I noticed a new pyjama style that I quite liked. It’s often baffled me that Bravissimo pyjamas are made in a 28 back when their strappy tops (which I would LOVE to be able to wear) start at a 30. Still, I’m pleased that the nightwear comes in a 28 as I find it great for sleeping in and lounging about the house – living as I do in a shared house I don’t feel comfortable walking around without a bra on and the nightwear provides me with a good alternative when I want to be comfy.


Alas, the size chart:
I really, really hope this isn’t the future for Bravissimo.

I appreciate that if 28 backs do not sell as well then it doesn’t make good business sense to offer them, but for me the Bravissimo brand is about inclusivity and offering sizes that are hard to find elsewhere – I thought this was part of the reason their prices are quite high and sales are infrequent. I can understand stocking fewer 28 bands as there is less demand for them, but I know there is at least some demand – I’ve been told numerous times in store that 28 bands have sold out in the styles I like as they are popular, sell quickly and their management orders less of them in.
I know I often end up buying 30 bands because I simply cannot find bras in a 28, even if they are produced in that size. I don’t want to do this and have to alter the bands of brand new, expensive products, but I don’t have another choice. Not offering 28s simply perpetuates the total myth that these are uncommon or ‘weird’ bra sizes – leading to women wearing the wrong bra size out of ignorance or an inability to find their real size.

With companies like Ewa Michalak producing 26 and even 24 bands on demand, and Panache raising the question of demand for 26 bands on their Facebook page (although it does not look like production will be a reality any time soon), I’ve felt that attitudes and awareness of small bands have been changing recently. Unfortunately, this feels like a major step back.

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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!

 

 

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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

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