Freya Rapture review

For years I’ve heard that Freya’s half-cups are good for full-on-bottom or shallow profile breasts. The designs, though, didn’t inspire me. Floral, polka dot, funky prints…there were some cool longlines like Pansy, but they didn’t come in the simple half-cup version. In the fall Freya debuted the Rapture, which came in a padded half-cup and a side support plunge. This review is about the half-cup. rapture_front rapture_back

Usually I wait until I’ve worn a bra for a while, but since this is a current style that will only last another six months, I’ll do this sooner rather than later. I kept the bra in storage to rotate in, but right now it’s too small for me to wear consistently.

Construction

Vertical seamed (two of those seams) padded bra. Two hooks in the back. Fully adjustable straps leotard-style with nubbly bits on the side so the adjustor doesn’t slip.

Fit

Band is pretty stretchy for a 34 (dig my ribcage flare!). It’s open on top, which is pretty forgiving. I’ve gained weight since I purchased this bra, so it’s too small in the cups, which makes it probably true to size. The bottom of the cup is not especially projected, so I don’t quite fill it. The fabric doesn’t buckle because it’s not quite shallow enough for that. In my case, it spreads my breasts across rather than projecting, so there’s less of an insecure feel than a very projected bra. I would not recommend this bra if you have very projected breasts or very firm breast tissue. I would recommend trying it for average to shallow breasts which are average-width to wider.

rapture_side2 rapture_side

Looks

Geometric lace in diamond patterns. This color is ‘neon’. Yes it is. Bright highlighter orange-pink that makes my skin look darker. I love the color so much I don’t care if it’s flattering or not. The seams offer a slight contrast, and the black on the ribbons sets the rest of the grapefruityness off well. Rapture gives me some lift and makes my breasts look shorter. This makes it more convenient for some shirts, less so for others. The seams show up under close-fitting knits but not looser t-shirts. I am sad I cannot wear it now. Maybe in the future? Maybe I give it away?

Pairing

Murchie’s Harlequin Rooibos. No caffeine, but peppery, chocolatey, with a bit of cinnamon and cardamom. A standard base with a kick, just like the color of this bra on a well-known frame. The cornflower sets it off a bit just like the black highlighting on the ribbons.

Rapture is out this spring in a terrifying bubblegum color. The side support plunge is a new frame by Freya. I like that they’re trying new styles and not just prints. Have you tried tried Rapture? What did you think?

Panache Rhapsody, Fern, and Clara fit checks

I’ve tried on a few Panache bras recently that didn’t quite work for me. I shall try to explain why and who they could work for.

Rhapsody

rhapsody_frontrhapsody_back rhapsody_side rhapsody_side2

I believe the Rhapsody is the same cut as the Tango, with an upside-down U for the bottom half of the cup. This may create lift for some, but since I’m full on the bottom and the fabric is rigid it fights my shape, resulting in in a diagonal line instead of curve at the bottom of the cup. The top of the cup has support but not lift, so it gets pulled down by the bottom of the cup, and it looks like my breasts are pointed at the floor in front of me. It runs pretty true to size, so it’s just a bit too small for me in a 34FF. I do love the rainbow embroidery though, it shimmers! If you like the tango or have some projection and breasts that are not top or bottom-heavy, this could be for you.

 

Fern

fern_front - Copyfern_back fern_side fern_side2

I tried this in a band size up since I was gaining weight at the time (36ff). The bottom of the cup isn’t projected enough for me and the apex is too projected, so I get another fabric fold, wrinkles in the cup, and the top of the cup cuts in. I would not recommend this to the shallow-breasted, but some of the designs have been so pretty! The fabric is very supportive.

 

Clara

clara_front clara_side1a clara_side`1b clara_side2

I mentioned this before, but now I have pictorial evidence! The bottom of the cup is not projected enough, and I have to go up a cup size to get a fit, with a bit of fabric fold on the bottom. Like Jasmine, there’s a bit more projection at the seam than my breasts normally have, so my breasts look shorter. As a result, the top of my breasts are mostly covered in the stretch lace instead of the cool pattern. I didn’t go with this because of aesthetic reasons- I can barely see the lovely print, which is what I bought it for! It does feel more supportive on top than Jasmine/Envy, but the bottom of the cup not having enough room is a bummer. Again, I think this bra would work better for women with more even fullness in their breasts and moderate projection.

Have you tried any of these Panache staples? Fern has been offered forever, Rhapsody has been out for several seasons, and Clara has caught fire and become a basic. Did you have similar issues with the fit, or did you have better luck than I did?

Bravissimo Tropic Exotic and Panache Jasmine fit checks

I purchased the Can Can from Bravissimo for Christmas, but I also bought some items from their holiday sale.

Bravissimo Tropic Exotic Half-cup

tropical_front tropical_side tropical_side2

Bravissimo Customer Service recommended me this in a 34G since I fit the Can Can in a 34FF. I initially thought this was too big when I got it, but then scooped and swept or whatever you want to call the process of getting all the tissue into the cups. Go up a cup size if you fall between them, or just go up a size. I loved the way it fit, but I didn’t keep it because I didn’t like the way the shade of pink looked on my skin. Unfortunately it’s difficult to tell these things from a catalog! The prominent embroidery on the edge of the cups will show up under knits.

Panache Jasmine, Bravissimo-exclusive color

jasmine_front jasmine_side2 jasmine_side jasmine_back

I love the paisley! It fits excellently, true to size. But…the lace is pinker than I wanted with the pictures coming out dark because I’m no lighting whiz, and more dusky instead of maroon. It seems I had a Pink Problem with this Bravissimo order! Oh well. I go back and forth on how I feel about Jasmine’s support, since I feel like the tops of my soft breasts tend to wobble in the projected cup and stretch lace more than I would like. I also feel like there’s an angle in on the underside of the cup instead of a curve.

I returned them both, and was promptly refunded. Good customer service from Bravissimo.

PSA: Bratabase giveaway

Human who wear bras (not just ladies and gentlemen),

I bought a 34FF Curvy Kate Starlet a while back and decided I just could not deal with the fabric fold at the bottom, so I’m giving it away. This bra works better for those who have less lower fullness or projection on the underside of the breasts.

starlet_front starlet_back starlet_side starlet_side2

If you have a bratabase profile and can tell me a little about what bras work for you, you can look at the listing and message me until 26 April.

Bravissimo Can Can review

I’ve been experimenting more with cut-sew bras, because they are easier to take along when traveling, and dry faster after a washing. While I’m not going to give up my padded or molded bras just yet, I like finding new options that can work for me, and ideally give you all looking for bras some help. For Christmas I ordered the Bravissimo Can Can. Why is it called the Can Can? Your guess is probably better than mine.

Construction

Three-part balconette cut-sew bra. The bottom part of the cups is a stiff fabric overlaid with a thin black mesh. The upper part of the cups is made of sheer black mesh. There is additional lining in GG-K cups, which may be a major bummer for you. Two hooks in the back, three for GG-K cups. Straps are fully adjustable with a bit of detailing on the edges so they don’t slip.

cancan_frontcancan_side

Fit

The band is a pretty generous 34, but I don’t think I’d say size down. The cups felt a bit generous, too. A 34FF, which is the smaller of the sizes I take, felt comfortable through the day.

The gore is very narrow, so may work for persons who have breasts very close together, or at least not splayed like mine (I can easily put two fingers between my breasts, and they point outwards to boot). See the empty space in the cup and the line of the breasts? I can’t fill the cup near the gore, but the gore does lie flat. Near the gore the bottom of the cups do not have enough projection for me, so my breasts are lifted and there’s a trapped fold in the center. This is not true out towards my shoulder, though.

cancan_side2cancan_back

Looks

The green is a dark forest or hunter green, a little darker than I thought from the online store. The leaf embroidery on the top of the cups There’s a little charm at the gore which I usually don’t notice but the camera caught the flare of. I get a lifted shape close to my own, even if I’m fighting the cups towards the center.

I bought the bikini to coordinate, which has more of the green and black detailing on the sides and sheer black mesh on the back. The bikini ran a little large, especially in the back for me since I have no butt.

I don’t like how the unfilled space at the gore looks (and some others have reported the same thing on the Bravissimo website), but the bra’s comfort of all things had me keeping it. This is my first Bravissimo brand bra, and I’m impressed. Bravissimo are one of the champions of actually having GG+ bras in the 28-34 band range, even if they add extra lining. 28 F-J, 30-38 DD-K. 34 GBP ($50.50) plus eight dollars shipping. My two experiences with Bravissimo say that they ship quickly to America and handle returns promptly as well.

Have you tried Bravissimo? What are your favorites?

Pairing

Chocolate: Divine Mint Dark Chocolate. Has a crunchy mint crisp. Retails around $4 for a 3oz bar in grocery stores. Somewhat Christmasy, but good anytime.

elomi Caitlyn underwire side support bra review

Caitlyn by elomi is the company’s best-selling bra, according to HerRoom. So why are there so few blog reviews out there? I am guessing it’s a demographics issue: elomi’s models look older than Cleo’s or Freya’s. Many bloggers are not in the 36+ band group, or 36+ age group, and most elomi bras start at a 36 band. Additionally, elomi had a reputation for being matronly-looking. They have made some amazing designs in recent years, but this is a review of a classic that has a new colorway every season.

caitlyn_front

Construction

Four-part fabric cup with side support panel (no sling, just reinforced satin like the bottom of the cup). Continuous band with a medium-high gore. Two hooks in some sizes, three hooks in 44DD-48DD, 42E-46E, 40G-44G, 38H-42H, 36I-46I, 34GG-44GG, 34H-42H, 34HH-40HH. Tall wings on the side, leotard back, and fully adjustable straps.

caitlyn_side

Fit

The cups run large, and I sized down to 34F, which worked rather smashingly (yes I know that’s not a real word). I don’t always quite fill the apex of the cup, but it’s a better fit than many Eveden cut-sew bras are on me. The band seems a slightly loose 34. I didn’t have an issue with strap width. There’s enough projection at the bottom of the cup that I don’t get an upside-down seven or torpedo shape from my body fighting the bra. So comfortable.

caitlyn_side2

Looks

I like shiny, and I love jewel tones. The Ink color is both. Lots of other colors are simply shiny enough to require SPF 30, like this season’s Camellia Pink, but I think sheen spices up a basic bra nicely. Swiss embroidery on the top semi-sheer panel. I think Swiss embroidery is Eveden’s ‘whoops we are out of ideas/aren’t sure what to do designwise’ default. I like it on this one, though.

The shape given is lifted and contained. The seams don’t show through most of my t-shirts and tanks, and I can wear medium to low necklines if I feel like it.

caitlyn_back

Additional Comments

Caitlyn is the most comfortable and supportive cut-sew bra I’ve tried. I had surgery yesterday and this bra and Panache Sport are the only ones I can tolerate. I’m a convert. Size range is 34-36 E-K, 38-42 DD-K, 44-46 DD-H. Maybe that’s why it sells so well and is so hard to find on sale! It’s $55, reasonable compared to other DD+ bras. There’s also a wireless version sizes 36DD-44G which has side boning. That seems to miss the point in my mind, but I guess sternum issues aren’t the same as side issues?

If you are looking for a less expensive alternative, Goddess’ Keira has a similar frame for $44. It’s the Swiss embroidery that cost $11, you know! Keira has a less inclusive size range, starting at higher cup sizes, and may fit you differently. Still worth a shot for the savings, though.

Caitlyn will be discontinued this fall and replaced by Cate, so there’s a limited time to stock up.

Pairings (comestibles compatible with this bra)

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% bar and Twinings Earl Grey. My favorite value for money and classics I always keep stocked.

Eucalan wash and its applications

I don’t usually hand-wash my bras. I know, I know that it shortens their lives. I don’t have a big basin or room for one, and doing them one or two at a time in the sink is not something I want for all my bras. I do have a few bras and garments that I consider precious, though, and I use Eucalan on them because it is clumsy-proof. No rinse! No rinse makes all the difference, and it works.

Um_small

I love stuffed animals. Above is Umbreon in a pillow fort (paging Windie Gardie), who needed a bath. I submerged him in the sink with warm water and a tablespoon of Eucalan. I came back to him a half hour later, squeezed him a bunch to get the water. The results were successful enough that I gave Madame Sylveon (below) a pedicure in a similar fashion, as her paws had gotten dirty. The grime came out in the water and her feet were as pink as they should be.

sylveon

My friends who knit use Eucalan to wash their delicate fabrics. They have a host of other uses, too. I’ve been using lavender and it doesn’t irritate my allergies, but they have a fragrance free version called ‘Natural’ as well.

In the US, you can get Eucalan from Amazon as well as yarn and fabric stores. In other countries, you can use their store locator. 9-15 USD for a 17 oz bottle, which says it’s good for 95 washes. For those who like to buy in bulk, a gallon is currently $45-70 on Amazon, good for 760 hand washes.

Quick notes on some Nordstrom offerings

I tried on the following at Nordstrom. I curse myself for not taking pictures. You now get the rapid-fire brusque lowdown!

Panache Clara in black-gold

I need to size up in the cup because the bottom doesn’t have much projection. This makes the lace dominate the cup, which is not the look I want. If you are full on the bottom, you may get the fabric fold or have to size up to get something that fits.

Freya Icon

I tried this bra on in my regular Deco size and it ran large in the cup and the lace felt pretty flimsy. Since it’s stretch lace I didn’t feel supported. The bra comes up really high on the sides.

Fantasie Allegra Vertical Seam

It seems true to size in the red and black. I got more coverage than I expected, and I actually filled the cup well unlike some Fantasie bras. The cups felt pretty wide, The print is pretty, but seems oddly interrupted by the advertised vertical seam.

Rebranding

As Wilson Phillips once sang, “Seasons change, people change.” This blog is over three years old, so I thought I’d give it a bit of a new look to cooperate with mobile browsers and big monitors alike. There will be more changes ahead.

One change you may have noticed is that I am attempting to take pictures of myself. In the past I avoided this due to being insecure about my workplace finding out and also because it can be a pain to do. However, I realize that it really is helpful to see a bra on as many different shapes and sizes as possible for a prospective shopper.

Another is that I’m occasionally going to post about comestibles- chocolate, tea, coffee. I find that those are everyday luxuries that make me feel decadent along with lovely lingerie. I am working on being kinder to myself, so I’ll try to appreciate some nice things without feeling vaguely guilty about it (There are people starving in Sri Lanka! Why aren’t you helping them right now?!, says my brain) Maybe I will also post about my other hobbies in the context of lingerie, or loosen my restrictions on what I post about, and see what flows out. “What I wear when I rock out to Trivium”, “Lingerie for being a space alien”…

I’m probably going to change the name of the blog and my user name. “Faustine’s Foundations” is a mouthful, as is the name Faustine, which I took from Ten Kids, No Pets. I’ll be going with “Lee” as my new blogger name, but don’t know what to do with the title. “Lee Loves Lingerie”? Too cutesy? Have a better idea? I’m all ears.

I am set for surgery in March to remove a congenital pilonidal cyst at my tailbone. I won’t be able to walk or sit down for a bit, and may need to invest in some Dear Kates. There will probably be fewer photos then, but plenty of words. Note to self: take as many photos as possible before the surgery.

On Valentine’s day, I’ll wear chocolate!

One of the things I’m regrettably good at is getting melted chocolate or coffee on things, which is always a pain to wash out. Valentine’s Day meant chocolate for a long time, and still does. For many, it means red clothes and lingerie and sometimes gift guides. There’s more red lingerie out there than I can physically lift, but I’ll touch on a few favorites.

The most important advice about Valentine’s Day lingerie (or anything you’re wearing for a special occasion) I can give: Don’t wear anything you haven’t before. Trying something new or surprising someone else can be fun, but getting a fit or comfort issue when you have fun or festive undergarments is not a surprise I’d enjoy. If there are people who want to buy lingerie for others here, I say buy it early and let the recipient break it in before Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a gift guide that’s a little different for a lingerie blog. It should fit anybody!

TCHO Joyeux “Gear Love” Valentine Gift Box

TCHO is based in Berkeley, California. They source their own beans, and most of their products are organic and fair trade. This gift set has all their signature styles: four different dark chocolate varieties and two milk. The little squares are a wonderful serving size. Plus, the mechanical heart is pretty awesome. They’re mail order or in San Francisco at the Westlake Center.

Theo Valentine’s Day 2 bar bundle

Theo is a Seattle company, bean to bar (they control every aspect of the chocolate making), completely organic and fair trade. They also have a factory close enough to my apartment to make the air smell delicious when the wind’s blowing right! I’m not a huge fan of these seasonal flavors: one is Holy Lego Man is that enough cinnamon bomb and the other is more sweet than I like it, but they are definitely different and fun to try. The bars are available in Seattle in grocery stores, I’ve also seen them in Boston grocery stores. My guess would be that they’re available all over America, but you can mail order them. $8, or $4/bar.

Taza Mi Corazon Bar Bundle

Stone ground chocolate has a different texture than the way chocolate is usually made in the US. Taza gives us chocolate where it originally came from, Mexican-style: ground with granite mill stones. The result is intense: granules of chocolate flavor in the best way. The factory is in Somerville, Massachusetts, but their distribution seems to be nationwide in grocery stores. You can also buy online. $15.

All of this a bit rich for your blood or taste? Here’s the best taste-for-money product I’ve ever found in chocolate:

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate

Over a pound of high-quality balanced-taste Belgian chocolate with a bit of a bite. Goes with anything, works great for baking. And the packaging is red, so why not make it for Valentine’s? $5/pound plus bar (or $2 for a three-pack of 1.67oz mini bars) at Trader Joe’s if you have one. If you do not, you can probably find it on Amazon, but it may not be as sweet a deal.

…yes I am in fact eating it right now.

Do you enjoy chocolate? Are the occasional posts on chocolate or baking something you could tolerate/want to see more of? Sound off with a comment!