elomi Bijou review

elomi’s Bijou (a bijou is a little piece of jewelry) is their plunge t-shirt bra with a racerback converter. That screams versatility, and the style comes out in a new fashion color every half-year. There’s also a fancier version for those who like a bit of embroidery on top, the Bijou Soiree.

Construction

Molded bra with a continuous, arched band. At HerRoom the tip is that this is a great bra for an “apple-shaped” woman. Leaving aside the confusing-to-me classification of people as fruit, I think that means the arch leaves some room for high tummies. Since it’s a plunge, there’s a very low gore. Leotard back with J-hook to convert to racerback.  2-3 hook closure, depending on the bra size.

Fit

A 36F was my best fit in this color, although when I tried it on in a store a while ago a 36FF worked better for me in black. Perhaps the black runs smaller. True-to-size in the band, and your cup size will vary depending on where your fullness is. I get an uneven orange-in-a-glass effect because I have more immediate projection in some parts on the bottom of the cup than the bra is pre-shaped for. Even when I pull down the back of the band, there’s a bit of looseness at the top of the back. I didn’t notice it until I looked at the photos.

If you’re fuller on top or the center, you may want to go up a size. I found the sides were quite high (not the wires, the wings). When I clip the hook in back, tissue spills out towards my armpits. I left this in the photos without rescooping. This does partially mitigate the fabric buckling at the bottom, but means there’s more looseness and rippling in the back where the wings end. Maybe I’m hooking it at the wrong point of the straps? If you’ve advice there I’d love a comment.

Looks

Very smooth and uncomplicated. The colors Bijou comes in are usually very saturated, and I liked the jewel tone of this “Pansy” colorway. There’s some contrast zig-zag stitching on the sides of the cup that goes from the back of the band to little bows where the straps meet the cups. There’s also a bow at the gore of the same color as the stitching. The shape isn’t too far from my natural one, a lifted bottom-heavy teardrop. I’m not sure if this would work for somebody who is very round, projected, or full on top.

Final Thoughts

A comparison to Freya’s Deco is inevitable since they’re both Wacoal Eveden t-shirt bras that sometimes use the same contrast seams. Bijou does not have the upper edging on the cups and plunges more deeply. The coverage and shape are different: Bijou does more of a containment job and doesn’t push my very separate breasts together, the cups are teardrop-shaped and separate. Deco creates more cleavage and pushes in from the sides more. Bijou has thinner padding.

After several months, I can vouch for this bra’s comfort factor in my size: it’s the plunge/t-shirt option that I can put on and forget I’m wearing a bra for the longest time. It’s pricey and the fabric fold and band ripple means it won’t be the most durable of my bras, but it’s a useful staple to have in my wardrobe. Bijou is one of the few molded plunges in higher band sizes, and now I understand why it’s a bestseller.

 

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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.

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.

My Christmas Lingerie

I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, but my partner’s family does. As a result, I get a bit of the holiday spirit! I’ll be traveling as per usual for the winter. Here are some things in my drawer I’m considering bringing:

Bravissimo Can Can

I got this in the mail yesterday, no time to photograph. It’s beautiful. I love the little embroidery touches (tildes!), they feel very Art Nouveau. It doesn’t work quite as well for me as it does for the model since it’s a bit fuller on the top than I am and the gore is pretty narrow, so I’ll get a second opinion before I decide whether to keep it.

Parfait Natalia

The colors on this are very candy cane (darker red than the picture)- the stripes are pink instead of white. I got the babydoll and padded bra to see how they fit. The padded bra is actually molded and feels a bit too much lace overlay (though I love the keyhole-in-gore detail). The babydoll is fun, though, I haven’t had one before.

Freya Deco Honey in Jade

Classic, slight frills, the Deco shape most everyone knows. I adore the color, it’s darker than my experience with most jade…more of a malachite perhaps? This bra works under anything. It’s a bit less Christmas-pine green than the Can Can, but it’ll do!

Parfait Charlotte in Red

It slices, it dices, it…wait, it’s a bra, not a kitchen tool. That said, I can’t think of an occasion this bra doesn’t work for. The red is quite festive! I review it often, it seems.

I don’t have time for a photo shoot (or ‘here’s my torso with too much or too little flash’ before I head off, so these are professional models and photos. Do you like the idea of ‘Christmas’ lingerie? Or just like red or green? What’s your favorite?

Cleo Maddie Animal review

I was terrified that Panache would cancel this Maddie like it has been canceling so many styles I found intriguing. So terrified that I snapped one up immediately after the lady at Nordstrom fitted me. To my surprise, it’s at many online outlets (Bare Necessities, Breakout Bras, Nordstrom online, Amazon). They’re starting to put it on sale since it’s a fashion style.

Construction

Molded cup (thinner than Deco) with lace edging at the top. Inside of cups is also orange. Two hooks at back. The cups are somewhat wide, and the gore high and arched (good for rib or abdominal bones and fluff on bottom, but not so great for protruding sternums). Fully adjustable straps placed a bit on the wide side.

Fit

I found this bra to run quite small, and went up a band and two cup sizes to 36G, where I wear a 34FF in most Panache bras. For reference, I still wear a 34FF Deco Honey/Charm. It’s reasonably supportive, meaning I can run around some in it, but I wouldn’t play soccer (I’ve had World Cup Fever since 1994).

Looks

Now that’s orange. Orange with a darker orange shiny leopard print on it. I’m not normally one for prints, but if it’s in shiny orange, I’ll take it. The print doesn’t contrast. The lace makes it look a little more girly which clashes for me, but I will take it. I get a roundish shape with just a bit of cleavage- it’s more ‘relaxed’ than Deco or Neve. There’s also a fuschia bow on it.

This is currently the most cheerful bra I own. I am told the Maddie in solid colors does not work as well for full-on-bottom or shallow shapes (I vaguely remember trying it on, and the fit being similar to Maddie Animal, but I suggest you try for yourself if you can, as that’s a popular bra). More T-shirt bras in small band-larger cup sizes are welcome. This bra, along with Neve, is available in a 28 band. If you normally wear a 26 band, the 28 might work. I’m not completely sure, though, because sometimes band stretch differs across sizes.

I will also join the chorus asking for Cleo bras with three-hook closures. If you have either Maddie printed or non, how does it fit you?

Cleo Neve review

Cleo’s basic t-shirt option was called the Jude, and seemed a bra that fit differently than anything else I knew. It cut in at the top for me, and there would be extra space in the apex of the molded cup. It had a very wide gore with this, so when it did work for people, it was one of the few that fit right.

I was not in that category, and I don’t historically fit in Cleo bras- I tend to spill out of the sides and be unable to fill the tops of the cups. However, I like their older sister brand Panache enough that I am always happy to give a new design a try. Neve seemed a bit shallower than Jude and doesn’t have lace layered on the cup that can show through shirts, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Construction

Molded plunge bra. This is generally my favorite type of style. Fully adjustable straps and two hooks in the back. High sides of the cup and the wires feel medium length, not as short as many Cleo bras, so I don’t fall out.  The band is quite arched and discontinuous, so it may be more forgiving of a high tummy or front ribcage flare. The gore felt medium width, seemingly (from measurements on Bratabase) closer set than Jude.

Fit

This is an overall shallow bra with medium-to wide cup, but does have enough room at the bottom of the cup to prevent the fabric buckling on me. I don’t recommend this if one is full on top or needs deep cups, since I filled out the cup thoroughly. The top of the cups were folding over outwards when I first got the bra, but after several washes there’s no issue.

Also, this bra runs small all over. I had to go up a cup and a band size, to 36FF. The band was quite tight on the first few wears. Not sure if that’s especially for the black version

I am really not sure how I am not falling out of the center of this bra. I have soft tissue and this is a deep plunge, so I would guess the situation could be precarious. There’s enough support somehow, somewhere that everything stays reasonably in place for the day.

Looks

I got this in black. Everything goes with black, right? There’s a decorative edging on the top of the cups that reminds me of the Josie Hippi briefs (which are much less expensive), so I wear those together sometimes. Another ornamental touch is a teardrop charm in the center. The straps have this cool slightly shiny checkered pattern that’s pretty subtle. Other than that it’s a basic. It gives a pretty round and separated shape. I got some cleavage towards the middle, not quite Deco level because the gore is wider.

Further notes

The specific bra I bought has an odd problem- the elastic sometimes squeaks! Not the wires or their casings, but the elastic in the back if I change posture or move my arms around a lot. I thought washing would take care of that, but it hasn’t eliminated the problem. It doesn’t interfere with anything else, though. I advise when you first try Neve on to roll your shoulders about to test that.

The price point is $55, the cheapest English t-shirt bra, but I can’t say how long it will last compared to other molded t-shirt bras. Size range is a little bigger than Deco: 28-38 D-H, but if it runs small in the cup in all bands, it only goes to GG. Yay for 28 bands! I don’t know if it also runs small at the smaller band sizes, but if so, it seems like an option for 26 backs.

This bra reminds me of my late great Panache Porcelain Plunge, although it doesn’t have the same structure at the bottom of the cup. It’s an excellent T-shirt bra and feels a bit different from Deco. Since they both work decently for me, I now have twice the fashion colors to choose from, although I find the current pink a little alarming. This season there’s a bright flower print and for fall we have the Neve Excite (which is horrific and I am probably getting despite some lace on the wings because it is so blinding), and a cobalt blue,  if this season’s cobalt Freya didn’t quite work for you. I’m really excited that I can wear some Cleo bras now!

Quick notes on some bra/swim fits

I bought and returned the Masquerade Angie. The band is not as tight as other Masquerade bands, but I’d need to go up a cup size (from 34FF). It was quite pretty with a lovely shape, but a bit lacy for me. Did not order an exchange because of that.

I also bought and returned the Panache Talullah bikini. The fit was amazingly accurate in 34FF and the shape flattering, but the color was much duller and purple dominated (instead of rainbows) than I had anticipated. Ergo, since I don’t truly need a swimsuit I’m sending it back.

I got fit for the orange Maddie at a San Francisco Nordstrom. Go up a band and a cup for this one, I think…36FF was the closest fit for me and there might be a teensy bit of overspill. Took it home with me. Still testing it!

I also found that Fantasie’s Susanna fits me surprisingly well in 34FF. It doesn’t feel as deep a cup as most Fantasie bras. I didn’t purchase it due to being uninspired by the pattern.

Spring/Summer with Panache

I think I will be buying Panache bras until they no longer come in my size, they go out of business, or I die. They often have at least a few bras that fit my shape well: full on bottom, soft, shallow, splayed, wider root. However, their deliveries often seem to be late to stores (compared to anticipated day out), and I’m not a huge fan of their fashion orders having such a narrow window so far ahead of delivery date. When your size changes before you get the new bra, well, that doesn’t encourage preordering. I haven’t found any other brand that compares in fit for me, though.

Panache Superbra

I’ve had more luck with their basics than anywhere else except Freya’s Deco. There’s enough variety here to fit most people, but here are the standouts for me in style and personal taste:

Jasmine

Ivory floral looks intriguing, it’s the first Jasmine print I’ve liked in a while. What’s more, it’s coordinated with a purple lace. If Freya did this it would be called ‘quirky’. I find it unusual and attractive. Jasmine is a bit too projected for my shape to feel supported properly on top, but the bra is popular with many because it’s so forgiving on top and supportive on the bottom.

Clara

Turkish Delight? Turkish delight (or lokum) is traditionally more of a pastel color on the outside and the inside can be colored, but I haven’t seen this color before. Regardless, it’s some awesome purples with an attractive cut involving the forgiving stretch lace.

Dahlia

Dahlia

A continuity style which I love and should buy in my new size goshdarnit.

Porcelain Plunge

A great basic in a better size range than the regular Porcelain. I know it’s due to be redesigned, so it’s worth grabbing more if it currently works for you.

 

Cleo

Normally Cleo is too projected for me, with full cups I can’t fill. Then there’s terrifying-to-me lace in places I didn’t know you could stick it. Lace ruffles? Great googly moogly. However, I have found that their molded cups do work for me.

Neve

Pink is my meh, but that big bold floral is fun without necessarily being teenage. I’ve recently found that Neve fits me, and it’s my competitor to Deco for ‘plunge that fits’ with occasional colors I like. I need to go up a band and cup size for it, though (36FF, when I wear a 34FF in many bras). Also, no lace edging at all! No bows! Just a button!

Maddie

I adore orange. Don’t adore animal print, but for sheer orangeness in my size, this can’t be beat. I know I have to go up at least a cup size with regular Maddie, we’ll see how this fits. I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere, though. Waiting waiting.

Marcie

I also love yellow. This is a wonderful cheery color the Lucy came in last year or the year before, can’t remember. I can’t fit in the Marcie myself and it’s not my style, but if you want to have some brights under your clothes, Marcie has deeper cups and wires that aren’t very long.

Masquerade

The past few seasons I have been unimpressed by most of Masquerade, feeling it rehashed and a bit too Old Europe for my tastes. However, they deliver wonderful shapes in tasty fabric at a price point below Fauve (and in more extended sizes). So I’ll keep watching and waiting, while commenting on what I like this season.

Rhea

Oh, I wish they made Rhea in fashion colors again. You can’t go wrong with black, but it feels too safe. Also, please expand your size range I know many women would love it. If we keep on saying it it could happen?

Utopia

Finally, a strapless bra that isn’t neutral. Topaz tone and vertical seams. If I ever wore strapless, this would be a definite buy.

Swim

I need an excuse to buy this new bikini. However, Seattle is not a constant-beach place. Maybe if I’m stubborn enough?

Talullah

Wow. You can get it in tankini. You can get a high waisted brief. And all with those lovely colors. Where can I order this in the US?

 

That’s my current-season Panache roundup, excepting Sculptresse, which I don’t follow because I’m still sized out. What have you liked this season so far?

Balancing purchases, or things I’ve bought

Amazon’s another source of bras for me now- with free shipping and returns for several bras, the only barrier to me trying more stuff is my annoyance at sending stuff back (repackaging and going to the PO which is a bit of a walk from work). I also feel far less weird about sending a bra back to Amazon than to a smaller retailer who needs to restock and evaluate with slimmer margin for error. My policy these days is to look for a smaller retailer if they have stuff I know I love or that I can try on in store, and look to the big distributors for purchases I am not sure will work.

Anyway, since I outgrew my Charlotte I ordered another one but had to futz with the size somewhat. Tried the balcony style but it didn’t fit my shape (was more projected), and am now happy in the 36G padded style. The cups are ever-so-slightly too tall, but it fits well on my shallow shape. No empty space at bottom or sides. I am happy that an American brand works for me, and will see about other colors once I break this one in. What if my back measurement grows more? I doubt it…

I also nabbed a Deco Honey in jade as it was being phased out. When I find a color I like in a shape I like, I take it. That’s my new philosophy. Also I finally found my proper Neve size since it runs tight and small, so there’s another awesome under-tank top option in lots of colors. I’m looking at amazing posts from Sweets and Miss Underpinnings and The Lingerie Lesbian for upcoming Autumn excitement. Time to update my Pinterest!

Freya Deco Honey redux

It’s been a heck of a few weeks dealing with some mental and physical health issues (nothing that time and adjusted medication hasn’t cured) and I’m back in the swing of things. I was dithering on whether to post this now or later because I didn’t take photos before I left for San Francisco. After my trip I’ll ideally take some photos of the bras in question and post them instead of stock photography. It’s been a request from some commenters, and although I find dealing with images cumbersome, it seems genuinely helpful to readers. I do also recommend anyone who wants to see how bras look on actual humans go to bratabase.

Freya’s current moneymaker is the Deco line- they have Decos for many purposes, including a day at work, a day at work with pinstripes, going to a club, going to the disco, going to the zoo, being a bridesmaid, being a bridesmaid with a dress that the bride selected months ago for you that doesn’t quite fit anymore, lounging about at home, and in the future, for those who really like UC Santa Barbara’s campus.

For a while Decos didn’t fit me well. I went to a 30 band size and the band was pulled tight enough that the bottom of the cups collapsed under the weight of my breasts, resulting in a too-small cup and orange-in-glass effect. However, with my muscle gain, I fit nicely into a 32G in some Decos. There’s a bit of variance between the models. Since my tissue is soft, the cups that have an extra lining at top (Flamingo, upcoming blue color, Spotlight) cut in. Sizing up with those feels a bit big, though.

The Deco Honey is a lacy take on the Deco which I wouldn’t go for except (1) fewer bows and (2) lovely color choice. I obtained a Firecracker Red, which is vibrant and a bit orangey, and an Iris purple. I’m talking about the plunge version, as the half-cup is not made in my size.

Construction

Molded plunge, so the gore is quite low and also on the wider side. The cups seem of average width, but since they are not close together it’s can go around one’s sides. The cups are slightly shallow on the bottom and pretty open on top.

Fit

Band runs on the looser side. If you’re between sizes or like a tighter band, take the lower. Cups can run from true-to-size to a bit generous, depending on what kind of profile one has. Very shallow breasts may have trouble with the bottom of the cup, and close-set ones with the overall width of the bra. Very soft breasts may spill in the middle- mine will after six or so hours and then I need to readjust.

Looks

Voom! Up we go! There’s some cleavage, but of a pushed up rather than pushed together variety (the model’s results aren’t representative). Gives a round and lifted shape from the front and side. The colors are quite vivid. The bows on the regular Deco are gone- nothing at the straps, and two smart buttons at the gore. However, the straps are satin instead of embroidered stretchy stuff and edged in lace to prevent slippage. The wings are covered in a lace mesh with little diamonds in it.

This bra makes money for good reasons: it disappears under clothes and gives a shape desirable to many. A good number of stores carry it, so it’s easier to try on and see if it works for you. It’s out in a nice dark green now. This is an oft-reviewed bra, but I thought it worth it to note the differences in the Honey model.