Mini-review-palooza

I received a Bare Necessities order on the same day I stopped in at Bellefleur. Of the bras I tried on and received, I bought/kept only one, but I would have bought another if it came in a bigger band size.

Bellefleur had a lot of new stock in so I tried on what I could. They have a good selection right now in DD-G for a brick-and-mortar store (I will take what I can get). I tried the Masquerade Orla, Masquerade Ardour, Cleo Lori, and Panache Dahlia on.

The Masquerade Ardour fit in a 32G, although the band was tight and I may want to wear it with an extender for a full day, or just go up to a 34FF since the band is not stretchy. This is basically the Amor in black, so it has the same forgiving fit in the cups. I could have done without all the extra lace detailing, though.

I tried the Cleo Lori in a 34FF since they didn’t have a 32G, and the bottom of the cup was beautifully rounded. The top of the cup was not filled out, so this bra seems best for average to full profiles. Down a size would probably cut in. Also, the band is pretty stretchy.

I tried the Masquerade Orla in a 32G and the bra wouldn’t fasten. Whoops. It was quite pretty though, a nice non-padded half cup that seemed to fit in the cups. I’d love to try it in a 34FF but Bellefleur didn’t have it.

The winner was Panache’s new Dahlia in 32G. Think the Jasmine construction with no lace on top, just sheer mesh with an awesome pattern. It’s probably a bad fit if you’re full on top since the top of the cup is pretty full, but if you’re average profiled or shallow like me, the panel being made of less stretchy material will feel more supportive. The price was slightly marked up (three dollars, which I’m willing to pay for the chance to try everything on). The cups run somewhat generous, and the band feels somewhere between true to size and generous. I was so happy to find this in store! It doesn’t replace the lovely shape Confetti gave me, but them’s the breaks.

My Bare Necessities order contained the Claudette Sophia and the Curvy Kate Gia in purple. The Sophia didn’t really work in that the cups were very small for me in a 34G and the gore wouldn’t tack at all. It felt quite shallow. It’s a pretty bra, but doesn’t seem to come in my size.

I tried the Gia in a 32GG and it was just too big in the cups (I overflow a 32G in most CK bras). The shape seemed somewhat relaxed, though not as much as Emily’s. The shiny purple was excellent though, and I was more enamored of the design than I thought I would be. I didn’t feel like the cups were quite as wide as other CK bras I’ve tried.

Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte GG+ redesign review

I ordered the Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte a little over a year ago but resold it because it was just a smidge too small and I was sized out. I did love it though- a nice deep red, bold stripes, matte/shiny contrast, and round profile. When A Sophisticated Pair let me know that Parfait was vastly extending their size range for the Charlotte with a redesign, I jumped on the pre-order bandwagon. Although the first order didn’t fit, exchanging it for a size up worked wonders.

Charlotte, side and strap view

What’s Different

The old Charlotte had a more horizontal top of the cup, and the redesign has made it less bandeau-like: the cups are quite tall on the sides and the neckline is more U-shaped. Also changed is the cup depth- the 34G did not feel shallow to my recollection, and the redesign does. Finally, they have added lots to the wing height and back band- it measures almost three inches tall in the back, and there’s a four hook closure. Sturdy scaffolding on a pretty bra!

Construction

Three-part padded bra. There is something that looks like a shiny side support panel in the front, but I don’t know how effective it is, since it’s plain fabric and the bra is padded otherwise. There’s a side bone for support. The cups feel on the narrow side.

Fully adjustable inch-wide straps. Mondo comfy.

Charlotte, front view

Fit

This bra is quite comfortable for my back, the extra wing height and big band keeping it stable and anchored. However, my sides have a few issues because Parfait kept a design concept the same: “it feels like the top and bottom elastic of the band are markedly tighter than the rest of it.” At present the elastic sometimes feels uncomfortable on the bottom sides of my ribs behind the side stays.

Go up at least one cup size in this bra. A 32GG didn’t fit me, so I went to 32H.  The cup width seems narrow to medium to me, so I have to readjust once every four hours or so since I’m more medium/wide. Some days of the month I also spill a bit out the middle in the center. The wires are long for the high wings, so I get no escapee tissue on the sides. I’m going to rave again about the comfortable back- why don’t more non-strapless/convertible bras do this? The band seems reasonably true to size. I’ve ordered an extender, though.

If you often need deeper cups, this bra is not for you. If you find wires often poke you in the armpit because they are too long, this bra is not for you. If you are full on top or need wide wires, this bra may not work for you. So the fit can be tricky, but if it works, you will want to do a little dance in it! At least, I did! Minimal bounce, too!

Charlotte detailing

Looks

I get very slight cleavage in this bra. I’m not sure whether they were going for more pushed-together or pushed-up cleavage, and the result is something in between. The side profile is quite round and I feel nicely lifted. As before, I find the deep red color striking and it works well with my skin tone, and the contrast piping makes it look rather smart.

Charlotte, inside view

What Stands Out

The price? $38 in the US. That’s about half of some bras out there, and at least $20 off a bunch of others. I attribute that to Parfait being an American brand (Eveden/Panache bras are sold in England for less than they are here after you adjust for the exchange rate, blame duties I guess). The materials feel durable, and it’s a rare chance for the busty woman to patronize an American company (even if the bra was made in China). Full marks for value!

If the elastic stretches out and is more comfy after some time, I’ll go for the peach color (the rose and upcoming pink don’t really work for my yellow-olive skin). I ordered mine from A Sophisticated Pair by emailing the shop, but sellers that do transactions online include Breakout Bras and Beauty Full Bras. I want to boost the signal to let Parfait know that their risk can pay great dividends. I do hope they redesign and make the cups a little wider or deeper so the sizing is more consistent and that the shape works for more people.

Other reviews in many sizes: A Sophisticated Pair, Bras and Body Image, The Fuller Figured Chest, Miss Underpinnings, Boosaurus!Quest for the Perfect Bra, Petite and Plentiful

Zovo Lingerie visit

Hello, readers! I’m in Istanbul, Turkey, visiting family. It’s a bra wasteland here as far as I can tell because the local brands go 34-38 A-C as far as I can tell. There’s one exception- the English giant Marks and Spencer is all around and I believe they carry my size. I’ll be curious to try on their own brand although their sizing is a bit odd in that they skip the FF cup size so I’d be a GG. Hope the malls carry my size!

A little over a week ago I stopped by Zovo Lingerie at the University Village (shopping plaza near the University of Washington) in Seattle. They bill as having extended sizes, and that was true! My one dampening note about the boutique is that the prices are their own- things aren’t MSRP and the original tags aren’t attached to garments. I understand that it’s a nice atmosphere and the attendant was great and the rent may be high but…I feel it’s one thing to comparison shop online vs. store, and another to take off the tag on the bra when I know how much it costs at the local Nordstrom and that there’s a recommended ‘retail’ price. This is also true at Bellefleur. The boutiques do offer some bras I can’t find at Nordstrom but it does leave me with a bad taste in my mouth that the original tag (not just the price) is gone.

I came into Zovo with no intention of buying a bra but just checking things out, and I told the saleslady this a bit apologetically. She was understanding and asked what size I usually took so I could try things on anyway. I saw the Fauve Delphine but they didn’t have it in my size. Zovo carries Prima Donna, but I don’t really like the look of the Prima Donna/Marie Jo bras that come in my size. Instead they had a heap of bras for me to try on- the Deco and its Flamingo and Charm versions, the Fantasie Jana, Freya’s Hello Dolly, the Porcelain Viva, and Curvy Kate Emily.

First up, Fantasie Jana molded version. I love the black and purple, I love molded cups, but I’ve had trouble with Fantasie’s cups because they’re fuller than I am and don’t contour to my profile (except Rebecca, which is made of spacer foam), and unfortunately Jana follows this trend. Lots of extra room in the cup, and sizing down made it cut in. Oh well! I enjoyed chatting with the fitter about the differences between brands and we agreed that I’m generally a Panache girl.

I used to wear the Deco a ton in 30GG until I got tired of the fabric buckling and the overspill. However, I’ve gained some muscle mass around the rib cage (hello back resistance training) so I tried it in a 32G. Results were actually great in the plain version- the Deco Charm felt a little small. I’m so glad I get to wear it again, since the fabric doesn’t buckle in the 32 band (less lateral stress on the cups?). The fitter was quite impressed, she said it’s less common for the Deco to work in G-GG cup sizes. I guess I’m shallow but not enough to have trouble with the top of the cups, and still not too soft that I spill overmuch. I got a wonderful side profile, no seams or visible embroidery on my shirt. Full marks!

Curvy Kate Emily, midnight version, in 30GG. Fitter said it ran loose, and I knew that was true with my prior Emily. However, the bra cut in the center seam and the upper panel looked enormous. We agreed that it wasn’t the bra for me but the black and gold/tan are beautiful.

Unfortunately but predictably, Freya’s Hello Dolly wasn’t comfortable and gave me a pointy torpedo shape. I have this problem with most of their balconettes, so no real surprises. Finally, I tried to Porcelain Viva in 32G and it was a tiny bit small and I experienced fabric buckling at the bottom. This and age are why I threw out my old Porcelains. Perhaps going up a cup size would work, but the range only goes to G. I was impressed enough with the selection and the help that I bought a bottle of Forever New, which I’d been meaning to try.

Flatteringly, the lady told me she was sure they would take me as a part-time worker if I wanted because I seemed to know so much. I’ll be back to try and buy other things since I really want to be able to try things on in a store and will pay to keep them around. They also carry LELO products which add to the semi-luxe feel of the store. Very tasteful. I also saw some Elomi bras on display as well as Mimi Holliday.

Randomly, I’ll have to miss Sinners and Saints, which bills itself as Seattle’s Premier Lingerie Event, because I’ll still be in Turkey. Now that I know about it, I’ll want to go next year!