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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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!

Fantasie Rebecca Review

I’ve loved spacer foam since I tried on some Simone Pereles several years ago, and Fantasie’s Rebecca was the first bra to come in my size that made use of the technology. Historically, Fantasie hasn’t worked for me since, like Freya, they seem to leave a bit extra in the apices of the cups so that they wrinkle in the middle when I wear them. They seem to work best if one doesn’t have shallow breasts. In any case, I’ve tried on the Rebecca and liked the comfort but wasn’t immediately wowed by the look.

However, recently I’ve had to purge my collection due to sizing and wearing out, so I thought I’d give Rebecca a try (there was one on eBay for about $20). I was pleasantly surprised!

Construction:

Spacer foam molded cup. What’s spacer foam? Think corrugated cardboard fabric. It means there’s more thread and more time to construct and calibrate the knit (which is probably why these bras are more expensive). It’s pretty lightweight. Two hooks in the back, partially adjustable straps, continuous band.

Fit:

The general wisdom of the internet has imparted upon me the need to go down a cup size for this bra, and I went down a cup size and a half to 32FF. This was the right thing to do, and the fit is as advertised- intensely comfy and forgiving. There’s little bounce when I hop or skip around. At the end of the day I sometimes feel that the wires are a bit narrow, but this is not consistent.

Looks:

I give the geometric embroidery a solid meh on this bra. It’s thank goodness not lace, and it’s not too fussy, but I can’t get excited about it in the beige color. It looks better in navy and red and such- they’ve generally picked beautiful jewel-tone colors for each season. Additionally, if they got rid of the embroidery on the straps they could be fully adjustable. The wing mesh is slightly peek-a-boo with the embroidery design, which is neat but something I didn’t notice at first.

The shape is a bit more natural than many t-shirt bras, since it doesn’t do heavy lifting. It holds the breasts up some, but not a great deal, and keeps them there. It is a pretty rounded one, and a few months I thought it looked a bit droopy, but under clothes (and down a size) it looked just fine. The cups come up pretty high, so I shouldn’t wear it under anything low cut.

Additional Thoughts:

Based on the new colors coming out all the time, I’d say the bra’s been quite a success for Fantasie, and that makes me happy. I’m curious as to how it compares to Elomi’s Hermione in larger band sizes (supposedly the inspiration for Rebecca). The Rebecca Nouveau is coming out this winter, and I’m intrigued by its supposedly less-coverage cups. If you live in the US, Nordstrom carries them in store for trying on.

Something I’ve appreciated this summer is the way the fabric ‘breathes’- the airflow is a good deal better in it than in heavily padded or laminated cups. Less sternum sweat = more comfort. On the other hand, the foam doesn’t hide headlights too well in cold rooms/weather, if that’s a concern.