The new Fauve? Fantasie’s Melissa Reviewed

MELISSA-BLACK-UNDERWIRED-SIDE-SUPPORT-PLUNGE-BRA-2932-BRIEF-2935

So as promised, hot on the heels of the announcement that Fauve fans could now only find their fix of beautiful luxe lingerie from sister brands Fantasie and Wacoal, I have my first Fantasie set of 2015 in my paws. How does Melissa compare next to the satiny comfort of its soon to be departed sister?

Welllll… On the model, Melissa is a perfect example of classic, elegant, grown up lingerie. So far, so very Fauve. Subtle sheer fabric, ornate lacing, tasteful non-VPL-inducing knickers. It’s no Bronte, sure (what set ever will be?) but it’s beautiful and simple and right up my alley.

Fit wise she’s great too. My normal 30G worked just fine, and she gave a lovely cleavage – subtle, not pushed up or too east-west. Technically, I should be excited.

Except, however lovely she looks and fits, Melissa feels… cheap. And she’s not. At £41/$75 she’s at the upper end of the high-street lingerie scale, but the meshing felt rough – not at all what I would expect from the heir to Fauve’s throne. I can forgive that on actual economy lingerie – such as Figleaves’ own brands – but for that price point I want something soft and special.

To be fair, Fauve just vanished so perhaps this is isn’t quite a fair fight. But I know I and others will be watching Fantasie with interest over the coming months. Can it live up to the legacy of her older sister?

Fantasie’s Melissa is available in sizes 30-32 D-GG, 34-38 C-GG, and 40 D-G.

 

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Help Me Busts 4 Justice : I can’t afford my new bra size

Tangled up bras

Finding the perfect bra size can be life changing, but what happens if you can’t afford your new bra size?

Help me Busts 4 Justice!

Hello, I found this blog while searching for bra sizing charts. The whole ordeal is dizzying. For most of my boob life I’ve worn ill fitting uncomfortable bras. That changed when I gave my cousin a farewell hug and she asked if I was wearing a bra…. I went to the department store to get sized, the lady said I was a 36 B, even though the bras I tried were just obviously not right. My boobs got blamed. After many countless hours of research on the internet I found a more accurate size but they don’t carry it in department stores AT ALL. Now I’m struggling to find decently priced bras in my size that are comfortable and supportive. The only place I can go is online and with international shipping and conversion fees on my credit card I’m starting to feel desperate. Most  brands that carry my size, UK 30 F, US 30 G  are between 60-120 dollars. I’m really frustrated.

N

Hi N,

I’m so glad that you’ve managed to find a better bra size, and I certainly feel your pain on cost. I find it staggering that the US is so far behind Europe in servicing fuller cups. But there are a couple of tricks you can try to make your money go further:

1: Nordstrom Rack – bargains to be had and they do carry European DD+ brands. I always check it out when I’m in the States.

2: E-bay – you’re not alone: there are loads of women in America struggling with the same thing. Often it’s cheaper to sell things on e-bay that don’t fit rather than shipping them back

3: Check out sites that do deliver for free internationally. Large Cup Lingerie is a great example, and I think Figleaves.com should too (they always have free shipping and 20% discount offers, so worth following). There are also really amazing bargains to be had in the sales at the moment.

What I would also say is that with bigger breasts it is worth paying a little extra for quality, but you can dramatically increase the life of your bras by caring for them kindly. Your bras should never see the inside of a washing machine or dryer. I am pretty lazy, so I wash mine when I’m in the shower with some gentle shampoo. Always let them air dry, keep them off radiators. All these tricks keep the elastic from deteriorating and so extend the life of the bra dramatically – meaning your investment goes a lot further.

Thanks for your e-mail, and I really hope this helps. Good luck!

Love from B4J x

What say you readers? What are your top tips for bigger bra shopping on a budget? Let us know below and help N replace her lingerie wardrobe with her perfect fit.

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Farewell Fauve

Fauve Bronte Longline BraLast week, Wacoal Eveden fans received a quiet farewell from Freya and Fantasie’s sister brand Fauve. Fauve is no more, and fans are asked to turn to Fantasie or Wacoal for their luxe lingerie needs.

I’m a little sad about this passing. If Fauve were a sister, she was more sophisticated and more glamorous than the other brands could hope to be. Sumptuous designs and fabrics, beautiful styles; Fauve had a grown-up elegance I am definitely yet to achieve.

She wasn’t perfect though. Although she looked stunning (I maintain that Fauve’s Bronte – above – is one of the most beautiful creations ever committed to G-Cup), her sizing could be inconsistent and she never braved it past a G Cup. If Fauve’s dissolution means Fauve style luxury up to a K cup (as promised by the e-mail) then that is one fantastic silver lining.

We can hope. I’ve not yet tried Wacoal (it is very high on my list to explore) but I’m very curious about how this will steer the previously inconsistent Fantasie. It’s veered from frumpy to fantastic and back again, often murderously high on my (yes, this again) bony sternum. And stranger for a brand hoping to pick up where another luxe one left off, the latest of theirs I’ve tried (Melissa in Black, review coming this week) is… well, it feels a bit cheap and scratchy.

We can but wait and see. In the meantime, I’m crossing everything. And pausing for a moment to reflect on Bronte: the most perfect bra I never owned. If Wacoal or Fantasie could successfully re-animate her, they’d have me for life.

 

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New Year Firecracker: Curvy Kate plunge bra reviewed

Curvy Kate Firecracker Plunge Bra

A perfect fit is much more nuanced than a letter and a number. Being full up top or full up bottom, having wide set breasts or ones that sit close together – these are all perfectly normal variations that will mean your perfect fit is different from someone else with the same bra size. For me, it’s the shape of my rib cage. It’s bony and it flares at the bottom.

This is not something you would notice, or not something that remotely bothers me. It just is. And specifically, it is the reason that many balconette bras don’t work for me. It’s a bummer because I love balconette styles, but anything with too tall a centre gore won’t sit properly on my sternum and after a few short minutes of wear I’m tearing it from my body.

Which is why Curvy Kate’s Firecracker leaped off the screen and in to my basket. It’s a deep, deep plunge bra – but with a lace detail and shape that makes it for everyday that for show-stopping cleavage moments.

In my usual 30G I found it fractionally big in the cup which made the lace baggy, but after adjusting the straps it wasn’t really noticeable. The 3-hook back was nice and firm. My only gripe was the feel of it. CK describe the cup as being “laminated for firm support”, which it certainly does give – but it feels a little plasticky with it. I also struggle with the matching undercracker options – I love a frill as much as the next girl, but I also need knickers that don’t give me VPL at 20 paces.

On balance, though it’s not for me Firecracker really is a really good bra – it gives a flattering, subtle cleavage with a great, comfortable support. It’s also dirt cheap over on Brastop right now, if you’re looking for a bargain…

More of this shape in future, Curvy Kate!

 

Photo borrowed from Brastop.com

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Do you need the bionic bra?

A team in Australia have been busy creating a tech solution to an extremely common problem: having boobs while exercising. In the future, instead of risking pain and long term damage to breast tissue, your “Bionic Bra” would use smart technological to adapt to movement in real time to deliver the support you need. Clever concept.

Although, here’s the thing. There are already sports bras on the market that can deliver the support you need – even for intensive exercise – and even for large breasts. Trust me, I’m a G-Cup. I used to exercise in two bras and a support top to try and keep things in place – and still something with repetitive bouncing like running would be impossible for me. Then I found Freya’s Underwired Active bra (still my favourite, although there are multiple options on the high-street now) and my life changed.

The trick? The technology? The science? The right bra in the right size. It’s that simple.

I (along with many, many others) have long written that the standard fitting methods employed by many bra fitters (especially in high street stores) are inadequate for women with a certain volume of breast. Standard fitting finds your back size by adding 4/5 inches to your ‘true’ back measurement. And this method serves a lot of women just fine. But as you approach a DD cup, the weight of your breasts increases. It is just physics that you need a stronger counter-weight to hold that weight up. 80% of that strength comes from the band of your bra. If it’s not firmly strapped to your back, how can it hold up the weight of your breasts? If it’s not properly anchored, how is it going to be able to support you during vigorous exercise?

Try this quick test: take off your shirt and look at how your bra is fitting after at least 30 minutes of wear. Are the shoulders digging in? Is the back riding up? If so, you probably need a stronger anchor – so you need a smaller back size*.

I’m all for engineers experimenting with wearable tech – enhancing our lives and experiences with clever hacks that make things work better. But on this count – instead of holding our breaths for a bionic miracle – wouldn’t it just be easier if we all had access to better bra fitting?

* Note – if you’re sizing down in the back, you need to remember to size up in the front to get equivalent volume. Click here for more info about sister sizing.

Source: Lingerie Insight 

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Midnight Grace’s Monroe bikini reviewed

Midnight Grace Monroe Bikini

So readers may remember me mentioning last year that I’d gotten in to a bit of a lingerie funk and I needed to get out of it. Well, I’m totally getting round to that. Except… well, I got distracted by a bikini first. As I write, heavy winds are blowing rain inside through the walls but goddam it I can hug a radiator and pretend I’m in Mexico.

I’ve always had a bit of a Minnie Mouse fixation, and so this Monroe halter bikini from Figleaves’ own Midnight Grace had me at first sight… even before I’d clocked the amazing high-waisted matching bottoms. This was my bikini! This was my year!

Midnight Grace Monroe Bikini

Well, almost. Underwired, padded and very structured the Monroe should – on paper – be a great and supportive bikini. But something has gone very wrong. The cups are a very strange shape: virtually flattened on the side – and so there’s just no room for your boobs. Speaking of Minnie Mouse, my boobs were pressed in to giant Disney mouse ears, balancing precariously over a misshapen and unsteady cup. My chest looked mangled. My face looked extremely disappointed.

It’s a great style and the bottoms are amazing, but the fit is all over the shop. Actually, the photo itself should have given me a clue: look closely at the top picture and at just how much retouching has gone in to make that cleavage look ‘normal’ when the centre gore is sitting away from the body and to one side!

My 30G felt more like a 30F, maybe even 30E – so consider sizing up (way up) if you want to try it out. We’re heading in to a whole new season for swimwear though… much better to wait for something more special to come along.

Midnight Grace’s Monroe Underwired Padded Halter Bikini is available from Figleaves in sizes 30-38 D-GG.

Images borrowed from Figleaves.

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Best sports bra ever finally takes gold.

Freya Lingerie Sports BraMega and totally overdue congratulations to my partners-in-bounce Freya for finally taking the first prize for their sports bras in the UK Lingerie Insight awards.

Freya’s underwired sports bras (moulded and non-moulded) are the only ones I trust to keep me supported and cushioned when I run/jump/climb trees. Sadly, a Figleaves shipping cock up means I’ve been making do with Panache’s much hyped but hopelessly incompatible with me sports bra for nearly two months now*. In fact, I write this message fresh from a Nike Training Club session in aforementioned nemesis. As if a drill called “stretch and burn” wasn’t painful enough…

I digress. I love these bras, Freya Active deserve huge recognition and possibly a Nobel prize for physics for getting me and G-Unit in to fitness. I have two replacements on their way, to be paired with these ultra rad Nike flash running leggings to get me back out on the road over Christmas.

Nike_Flash_Allyson_Felix_1_original

Freya Active forever!

*I’m not entirely sure why I am so incompatible with Panache’s sports bras. After extensive evaluation (and some tears) I think it’s too big for my torso. Even when I play with sizes, it comes up extremely high and cuts in to my under-arm muscles. Evil creation.

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