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?

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Parfait Charlotte purple wine notes

I’ve long loved the Parfait Charlotte padded bra (I like the look of the balconette/bandeau version but unfortunately it doesn’t get along with my shallow shape- the top cuts in and I can’t fill the cups). The price point in the US, the stable band and support, the side support, the smart piping. So do many others, and I’d guess it’s one of Parfait’s bestsellers. It comes out in a new color every six months and that stays current for a year. Right now the fashion colors are ‘wild pink’ and ‘purple wine’.

For my birthday I treated myself to some Parfait goodness from A Sophisticated Pair, and the results were rather pleasing. The purple is prettier than I thought it’d be. I guess more saturated/deeper than I thought it was from pictures? Anyway, a darker purple would tick all of my boxes but this color is rather nice.

IMG_20140906_174733

On previous Parfait Charlottes in red I’d gone up two cup sizes, keeping my bigger band size for the side stays. I was advised to go with my usual size in the purple model (36F), and it actually fit great. As before, this bra seems to have narrow to medium width cups that are on the shallow side. If you’re fuller on top, go up a cup size, or the bra may just not be for you. The band may be a bit looser than the red version, but not much. This is good news in general because the bra going to a K may mean more women can wear it now. The one downside of the bra being more true to size is that I’m down to two hooks on the back. At FF they go up to three hooks, and at GG to four.

This spring Charlotte will come out in a powdery/icy blue, which I’ll be getting in line for. I am not sure if they are discontinuing the peach colorway since I see it on zulily, anybody know? I bought one just in case…

Status update, and some customer service

Blogging, I can’t quit you…

Or at least it seems that way! I love to read and write and gather data. I’m looking at my most-read posts and they seem to be Ewa Michalak and Masquerade. The Parfait Charlotte posts were pretty popular too (should I even bother reviewing a bra a third time, though this is the third size I’ve had?). Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll order again from EM because I’m quite shallow and their cups are deep. The good news is I’ve ordered the Masquerade Angie so should be able to review that. I spent some time neuroticizing about it, because I have a bunch of Masquerade bras. Unfortunately, they won’t fit anytime soon and some of them don’t fit even with an extender. I will work on finding better homes for those.

In progress for review: photos for Freya Active top, Cleo Neve.

I didn’t mention previously that I ordered through Beau T Full Bras and found the transaction pleasant. I ordered the Charlotte bandeau but it didn’t work for me, so I exchanged it for the padded. Email transactions were quick, and Rene was quick to notify me that she didn’t have my size immediately in stock for the exchange, but would get it to me next week (which she did). There’s a restocking fee with this store of 10% for returns (I didn’t see one for exchanges), and a shipping fee for initial orders and exchanges which is quite low for the US. If you’re looking for a Parfait by Affinitas gallery, they have an extensive catalog.

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!

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

Fit/sizing for Bella, Charlotte, and Rebecca

I don’t feel comfortable giving an entire review with bras I’ve tried on/had less than a week, but I think the following information might be timely for some.

Cleo Bella: I think I’m getting too old for Cleo, but I try them on anyway. This design is quite generous in the cup and I had trouble filling out the top of a 32G. I didn’t feel secure and tended to jiggle around walking about the fitting room, especially out the sides near my armpits.

Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte: Runs at least one cup size small (in the redesign size range). I was quad-boobing near the center gore. The four hooks on the back of a 32GG made me sing with delight, though!

Fantasie Rebecca: Pleasantly surprised this time around! The band runs a little loose. The spacer fabric means no empty space on the bottom! I went down one and a half cup sizes (32FF) and it fits wonderfully so far. However, I did have a headlight incident (nipple show-through), so if that’s a big deal for you you may need more padding.

Inventory turnover, a look at intriguing fall selections

It’s a sad thing that bras only last less than a year- gravity fights wires and seams, and bands stretch out. Thus the contents of my drawer change every six months or so.

I have eight bras I wear consistently, five of which are Freya Decos. Another is a sports bra (also Freya underwire), and I have two Masquerade bras (Delphi, Rhea) as well. The rest of my drawer is wearing out (CK Emily, Panache Porcelains) or I’ve had trouble fitting the cup (Freya Taylor, CK Tempt Me, Parfait Jeanie). I’m in the process of donating/listing all of those.

What does this say to me? It tells me I have more than enough enough Decos (I got them all on eBay or through exchange) and that I don’t like fabric bras. I haven’t given up, though: I ordered the Panache Confetti from Breakout Bras to try on. How many fancy bras does a woman need? My Masquerades are in good condition but I still want more- I find them beautiful and give amazing shape. They are not the most practical under clothes, though.

Eight isn’t too many, right? Right? Here’s my Most Wanted list for pretty stuff- I tend to keep a new bra every six weeks, so it’s a little above replacement level.

Masquerade Rosetti

Contrast satin leads to interesting geometrics, and I love red.

 

Masquerade Amor

I’m a bit concerned that the model doesn’t appear to fill the bottom of the cup here. However, I love myself some jewel tones. Sweetheart neckline plus dart and V-shape is not something I’ve seen appearance-wise before.

Panache Sport

My Freya Sport will give out in a while as it is well-used. I’ve been curious to try the Panache sport for a while- I love molded cups and encapsulation-type bras, so I should get this before my other sport bra dies!

 

Cleo Leila

Absurdly girly for me, but I do like that shade of purple and that shape (vertical seams for the win!).

Parfait by Affinitas Jeanie

Affinitas Intimates is an American company boasting the D-G Parfait line. I love their designs and enjoy supporting American businesses without the price conversion, but they seem to run just a bit too small for my size range. Here’s my experience with Jeanie:

Construction:
Jeanie compares to the Freya Deco as a seamless molded plunge bra. However, the curve across the top line of the bra seems steeper. There’s also side boning in this model for side support. The fabric is more cottony than that of Deco.

Fit:
Runs true to size in band, and perhaps a bit small or true to size in cup, Shapewise, they do fit a bit differently, as well. I get quad-boob towards the middle  in Jeanie and the cup is pretty tall, so I can’t quite fill it and have some empty space up near the strap. My tissue is rather soft, so that contributes to the spillage. I am sure if the black version is tighter than the nude version. Additionally, the side boning can get irritating after a while and probably needs to be ‘broken in.’ At this point, not a replacement for the Deco, more’s the pity- I’d size up in the cup but have hit the end of the size range.

Looks:
Plain, simple, basic, and goes with my three black tank tops and under any t-shirt. There’s a little heart charm at the bow which is a bit much for me. The shape under clothes is round and smooth.

Conclusion:
I’d pick the Deco over Jeanie for bottom-heavy breasts, but I love the price of the Jeanie.  I’ve listed the bra on Bratabase (32G, worn twice, hand washed once).

Parfait by Affinitas Charlotte

I get almost all of my bras from English companies, and am delighted to hear that some American companies are making larger-cupped bras. Affinitas Intimates’ Parfait line has received rave reviews from many other bloggers, so I thought I’d give them a try because their prices are much nicer (importation and currency exchange probably contribute to this), and I’ve been eyeing some of their structured bras. I ordered the Charlotte and Jeanie from HerRoom.

Construction: The Charlotte is a foam three-part cup with side support. Advertised as ‘light foam padding’, I find I disagree- this is one of the heaviest bras I have tried in my size, as the padding is thicker than the Freya Deco, Panache Porcelain, or any Masquerade bra I’ve tried. The sides of the cups have satin fabric over them, functioning as side supports. Additionally, there’s a bit of vertical boning on the wings of the bra. The straps are almost fully adjustable, except for an inch right above the cup covered in satin. It’s a lot of bra, even if it doesn’t give much coverage!

Looks: I’m not a retro person or into the ‘pinup’ aesthetic for myself, but the piping appeals to me geometrically. The red color is actually a deeper red than in pictures, and it contrasts well with the black details. It’s low cut and gives a round, uplifted shape, perhaps due to the side supports helping keep tissue in the cups.

Sizing and fit: Available from 30-40 bands for D-G cups, but HerRoom advised going up a band and a cup size. Sadly, this bra doesn’t come any larger than a G so I only I went up a band size. The band is still tight at 34, but the cups are just a bit too small- there’s a tiny bit of overspill. Furthermore, the side support boning digs in after a few hours, and it feels like the top and bottom elastic of the band are markedly tighter than the rest of it. Unfortunately, I’ll be reselling this.

Matching briefs: Run a bit small, so a large fit me fine except similar issues with the elastic digging in more than the fabric.

Conclusion: A beautiful bra that gives an amazing shape, but runs small in band and cup. If you have migrated breast tissue on your sides, check for how the side support boning and elastic fit.

Between band sizes? Looking for stability.

My underbust measurement is between 30.5  and 31 inches depending on how tightly I do the tape up.  I’ve lost a kilo or so in the past three months, and my three Panache Porcelain bras are now all going on the tightest hook after two hours (bra stretches during the day), and they are about a half year old.  The newer black Deco (32)  is stretching out pretty fast, so I’m not sure how long it will last with my current measurements.  I guess I could try putting on a few pounds, but there’s no guarantee they would go to the underbust.  My 32 Curvy Kate is also stretching out a bunch after less frequent wear over five months.

Anyway, time to go shopping again!  I’m still not sure I could size down to a 32 in the Rhea, but it seems a bit late since I can no longer find a mulberry one in 32G online.  I’ve ordered a Deco in 30GG to test that, but I will probably need to buy an extender for the first few weeks.  In the past year I’ve learned a lot- I’ve found Freya bands are a bit looser than Panache, and my shape isn’t quite round enough for many Freyas/Fantasies, nor wide and shallow enough for most Curvy Kates.    I can fit into a non-molded bra, but greatly prefer shapes generally given by them.

To review: Panache Geneva bikini, Curvy Kate Emily, Freya Deco in several sizes once I get the 30, Curvy Kate Tempt Me, Freya Mystere bikini set once I actually wear it.

To finally get my hands on: Masquerade Delphi, Affinitas Charlotte and Jeanie.  I know the Charlotte comes up tight and small, but would a 34G be too loose?

What bands have you found to be most stable?  I hear good things about Ewa Michalak but am leery of the sizing/return issues.  On the other hand, I just moved and rent is several hundred dollars lower a month…but I need to pay off moving costs!