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.

 

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!

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.

Experiences with Eveden

I was thinking of what I look for when I shop, and what I’ve discovered about various brands. I’m starting a series on Experiences With _____, which will give a general idea of what I’ve found and can hopefully be a starting point for anyone getting acquainted with the world of DD+ bras.

I’m not young at heart, and I also don’t have a ‘youthful’ profile. My tissue is not firm and will spill towards the center or out the sides if given a chance. It’s kinda wide and bottom heavy and there’s a lot of space between my breasts, so if I want cleavage I need to bring out the big guns. I also don’t have a lot of forward projection.

In any case, let’s go through what I’ve experienced with the Eveden Group of bras:

Eveden is Goddess, Elomi, Freya, Fauve, and Fantasie. Goddess and Elomi are out of my size range, so I don’t feel much qualified to comment except that I adore the shiny fabric on many Elomi bras. Fauve is Eveden’s luxury brand, with a pretty limited size range (up to GG in unpadded bras, up to G in padded, 30-38?). I’ve only tried the Bronte longline, which I’m told doesn’t fit like others.

Fantasie generally markets to women from twenty-five to forty, I think. The designs are utilitarian (lots of basic/function bras) to feminine, with lace and darker or pastel colors. The cups tend to run very full in almost all the bras I’ve tried (Ava, Jana, t-shirt unmolded, t-shirt molded, Susanna), and that doesn’t work well with shallow profiles. Many of us get shallower as we get older, so I’m not sure how much of the older market they work for. None of the basics or molded cup bras work for me, and the fabric-and-lace bras aren’t really my style but fit a bit better. The wires are about average in the bras I’ve tried, and the bands tend to run true to size.

The exception here is Rebecca, an amazingly forgiving bra that may be full but will mold to your shape instead of the other way around. I can see myself happily buying this bra or its descendants when I am seventy.

Freya is a brand targeted for younger customers. The models look younger, and there are more bright colors and whimsical prints.

The Freya bras I’ve tried (Deco, unpadded balconettes, unpadded plunges, and padded half-cups) feel like they have loose bands or are very stretchy. Freya consistently stocks those four shapes in different colors and prints, and sometimes there’s something else (this season’s Marvel looks like an actual new cut). I have trouble filling out the apices of the cups for the unpadded bras, so the cups are too deep for me.

Deco is Freya’s cash machine, and it comes out in eleventy billion colors and prints. Not all of them are alike, though! Some of them have detailing on the top of the cup that makes the cups ever so slightly smaller (Deco Flamingo, Spotlight, Taylor, Ashlee, the new fashion colors). It doesn’t work well for very shallow shapes or very soft tissue, and I’m surprised it actually does work well for me.

Freya also has a Sport line, of which I’ve only tried the underwired unpadded bra. It definitely does the heavy lifting, but it gives me a very pointed and projected shape, due to the cup construction and flat horizontal seam. Again, the cups are deeper towards the apex, so I can get some cutting in at the top and have wrinkling in the center of the cup.

My basic understanding of the brands is currently that Freya bands run loose, and most Fantasie and Freya bras have deeper cups than fit me flatteringly. However, the Rebecca and Deco seem to be an exception and will always be in my drawer.

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!

New fitting issues

I’ve lived in Seattle for two months, gained some weight, lost some of it, and may have had tissue come from my armpits. I am popping out of my 30GG bras and some of my 32G bras. I finally put my Decos in storage because they required adjusting all the time.

As I’ve gotten older (I’ll be thirty-one in August), my tissue has gotten even softer and I require a slightly higher center gore and longer wires. It can be a bit frustrating to see lots of lingerie targeted to younger women with firm busts (as assumed from the promotional material).

I’ve mostly given up on Cleo. I’ve tried on the Marcie, Bella, Maddie, Rihanna, Juna, and Melissa, and I just did not feel very secure in them. The bands were tight enough, though. What gave? My guess is that the underwires are shorter on the sides and that they may be not quite as robustly constructed (hah!). Sizing’s also a bit tricky. I barely overspilled a Marcie in 32G but a 32GG was far too large. I love the cut of the Maddie but I felt pretty insecure if I walked at a quick pace or went up and down the stairs. Seattle’s got many hills and my building has a bunch of stairs, so it did not really work out.

I’ve also given up on my beloved Decos. The fabric buckling at the bottom is still there and I pop out of the top of a 30GG. That’s the end of their size range. I could try a 32GG, but the band feels quite loose and I’m leery of shortening/altering it myself. This leaves me with the Porcelain Plunge for tight tanks, since most of my other bras show through. I’m been trying to find shirts that aren’t quite as faithful to bra detailing that I still find flattering.

So I still have plenty of bras, but I feel dissatisfied. The Amors buckle a bit at the bottom. The Confetti,Porcelain, and CHP Stalowka are just a bit too small on top some days. The CH Onyx is usually too big and EM bras feel a bit too narrow in the cup. Going up a cup size often is too much volume. Perhaps I’m just extra finicky these days?

My dream bra is a smooth molded cup with enough room in the bottom that I don’t spill out of and otherwise feels secure. I might give Maddie another shot, otherwise it’s the Porcelain for now. I felt a bit droopy in the Fantasie Rebecca when I tried it on, but perhaps I should give it another try.

Anyway, that’s today’s rumbling and grumbling. I hope to provide some useful reviews within the month: Cleo Rihanna and Fauve Bronte. Yes, the Bronte fits. No, it’s not very practical and the bottom of the frilly band rolls up. However, it’s orange and pretty and MINE.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Freya Deco Wireless Review

I’ve never tried a soft cup before, but I was curious to try the Deco Wireless. I get along well with the Deco Plunge and the Deco strapless, so thought I’d give this a try.

Construction:

The cup is a simple mold, and there are two hooks in the back. No underwires. The plunge in front is pretty radical. Fully adjustable straps.

Fit:

I ordered my ‘starter size’ of 32G. Unfortunately, the bottom of the cups are extremely shallow for me so I get a lot of fabric buckling at the bottom and a lot of me quad-boobing at the top. I decided to wash it and give it another few tries to see if it would soften up, but sadly that was not to be. My tissue is also soft so it slides around a good deal. To make matters more unfortunate, I gained weight.

The band is pretty stretchy, almost as much as the regular Decos.

Looks:

The bra itself is simple and sleek (no bow at the gore, yay!). My looks in it, however, are, er, not, since the spillage is visible in shirts.

This bra is best for women with firm tissue who aren’t full on the bottom, I think. The neckline is many kinds of fab, and it’s a comfy piece for a while before my tissue settles where it wants to. I’ll probably list it, and I hope it works for someone else!

almost upsizes, and Jockey’s new venture

Since I tried to eat a good portion of Boston before I left and I’m adjusting to Seattle, I’ve gained some weight- just enough to make two thirds of my bras not fit. I think I’ll settle back down in a few months, but for now I’m going to wear bras that tend towards the big side: Masquerade Amor, Panache Sport, and my EM CH Onyx. I rotate in the Porcelain and the black Deco sometimes, but I should really keep on wearing the larger ones to be sufficiently supported so I can run for the bus. I ordered a bigger bra to help tide me over (Cleo Marcie 32GG), but it was definitely too large in the cup.

I’ve been thinking about which bras I feel most stable in, and the results puzzle me slightly. For some reason my Ewa Michalak bras don’t support the top and I feel rather wobbly. Not sure if that’s a size or style question (this is true in my CH and CHP styles, I don’t remember having this issue in the too-small PL I tried).

It seems I need underwires that come up high under my arms and the cup to encompass the front well. Plunge bras actually work well for this because they have to anchor somehow! I have trouble filling out actual full coverage cups. I haven’t had the best of luck with Cleo’s nor Freya’s wires on the side (I get escapee breast) for most bras.

Meanwhile, Jockey International has decided to try a new bra fitting technique with new sizing! Apparently they ship you some plastic cups in different shapes and you stick your breasts in and see what works best (cups are numbered 1-10, instead of given letters). You then measure around your rib cage and send in that measurement. I’m a bit leery of it working at larger sizes, since an H seems to correspond to a 9. In either case, it’s $20 to try it, and then you get a voucher for $20 off a bra. The bras offered aren’t especially interesting, but I do want to applaud and support Jockey for trying something new (and taking away the weird psychological hangups one can have with cup letters). I’d have to go to Tulalip to get fitted in store, so I’ll debate between that and ordering online.

Any of you heard about or tried Jockey’s new bra fitting kit/methodology? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Freya Deco Strapless

I owned a Panache Porcelain Body until a good while ago- it was a 34FF, but I didn’t care for the fabric all over, as I dislike shapewear. I sometimes sadly need a strapless bra (being a bridesmaid, mostly), so I picked up a Freya Deco strapless a while ago.

freya deco strapless photo

Construction:

The cups are wider than the standard Deco and the gore is higher. Four-hook closure for stability. It’s a lot more bra than the Deco, but that seems necessary for a strapless. Lined with silicone for less slippage down. There are actually two positions one can hook the straps into front and back. Points for versatility and accommodating different shoulder widths and different multiway fits.

Fit:

Wow. This worked better than I expected. The cups are pretty full, and the band is quite firm, so a 32G (I wear a 30GG in the regular Deco) fits well. If I were between cup sizes I’d size down.

Comfort:

I’ve tried wearing this around for a full day with and without straps, although I haven’t had an occasion that needed a strapless yet. No sliding down (I wasn’t dancing or anything though).

Looks:

Nice rounded profile. No cleavage for me and my bottom-heavy breasts, since the cups are full. That’s fine by me. The ‘nude’ color is a lighter beige than my skin.

I don’t use a strapless bra often, and I’ve only worn this and the Porcelain body since I wore anything remotely resembling the correct size (I have tried on a Fantasie strapless in this size, and unfortunately I couldn’t fill out the apexes of those cups). This is more comfortable for me than the body, but is still a special occasion piece for me. I wouldn’t recommend extended strenuous activity in this bra, I imagine sweat and silicone don’t mix well over too many hours. If you like the Deco, chances are you’ll like this bra as well. If you think the Deco gives too pronounced a cleavage or plunges too much, it may still work as the center gore is higher. If you have trouble filling it, though, I’d give the Porcelain strapless a try.