It’s no secret that I love the Eveden group, especially Freya. I love the styles, the fit and the shape. My 28G underwired Freya Active – despite being imperfectly small in the cup – is still far and away the best sports bra I have ever had, my three Freya Jolies are my favourite everyday bras, and they consistently make swimwear that make me regret not living somewhere that isn’t so Amsterdam-cold. I love Freya, and Freya loves me… Or so I thought.
This weekend, I finally met fellow blogger and Invest In Your Chest powerhouse Cheryl in Selfridges for a brief trollydash in the lingerie department. In the frenzy, I grabbed 4 Eveden family bras to try: a Freya Taylor, a red Freya Deco, a gorgeous red Emmanuelle from Fauve, and a grown up, elegant Fantasie – all in my normal size.
With the exception of the Fantasie, which was big enough to house me and 4-6 Haribo mini-snack packs, all of them were a: gorgeous, and b: perfect in the cup. So why did I not leave London with a glossy yellow bag full of lingerie delights?
Because I think Eveden is dumping me.
She’s not said anything – yet. But things have definitely changed between us. We used to be so in sync. She knew what I wanted before I knew it, and I could count on her to always be there for me with – especially with Freya – 30G bras that fit perfectly right off the peg.
But now, things are different. Her 30Gs are now big on my back – all 3 of those perfectly fitting cupped bras were tried on on their tightest hook with room to spare. And as much as I was tempted I knew any purchase would soon have worn out beyond wearability. Not responsible lingerie shopping.
I know it’s not me. I have not shrunk, and my often worn 30G Jolies are still firmer than anything I tried this weekend. No, it is not me. For whatever reason, it seems Freya backs are getting bigger. So if I am sensible and am not to waste the £30 on a Freya, or the £50 on a Fauve that won’t last, I need a 28GG. And that bra size is the lipstick on the collar proving Eveden is trying to end our beautiful relationship. Because – to them – it barely exists. Fauve doesn’t go down to a 28, and Freya only has a handful of styles that go beyond a G in a 28 back. None of the three I’d tried and loved are available in my new, true Eveden size. Gloom.
I don’t know what I did wrong, but generous back sizes have pushed me out in to a wilderness I had got used to not being in. The brands that brought me in from the cold have pushed me back out again. And the worst thing is, I still love her. I love her so much I found myself genuinely trying to justify the expense of a bra that would soon wear out, or reasoning whether I could once more get used to a slight overspill and four boob being a daily fact of my lingerie life. You see, I am still hopelessly besotted, and I fear she’s moved on without a backward glance…
Eveden, darling: won’t you take me back?
The loves that will never be*…
Freya Deco in Red
…unless I take the hit on cost-per-wear, obvs… *puts on Working Girl and stuffs face with ice cream*
I think what you’re seeing is exactly what has caused the +4 wrongness and rise of 28 backs – back size inflation. I believe it actually did used to be the case that you had to add 4 to get your band size, but since band sizes have slowly inflated since then because women like to believe they’re slimmer than they expected, it’s now no longer true and may even be on the way to having to subtract numbers to get the band size. I notice that some of my older 28s (but not Panache who have been surprisingly consistent over time if not style) from when they were quite rare are some of the tightest.
I worry that if someone finally starts doing a 26, it will just be because their 28s have expanded to what we now call 30. I really hope Freya aren’t about to bring out a 26 which is exactly the same as their old 28 to be able to fob off and scam money from the people who always wanted a 26 and still sell to the people who are a true 28.
I do wonder how much vanity sizing plays a role – when I was first properly 30s felt super snug on my 29″ ribs. Now, I need a 28 to get the same feeling of tightness. Sure, I won’t pretend that saying 28GG instead of 30G doesn’t make me feel thinner, but that’s not right – especially when it’s at the expense of the petite girls again being sized out…
Back in the 40s-50s bras were much less stretchy. We didn’t have the same kind of elastic we have now. Some people say that this is where the plus four method came from, that at that time you had to add four to get your right size because the bands were so small and tight. But I do not think it is a case of band size inflation, or anything to do with a desire to seem slimmer.
I do have a VS bra from the 90s which is sized 36C, and has the same length in band as my current 34s from Fantasie. But, it is SUPER stretchy. It stretches ridiculously.
Even in the 90s, the plus four method was used some places and not others. Frederick’s of Hollywood did not use the plus four method in sizing, and VS at that time didn’t even use a tape measure.
Great post yayyyy! I love to see people calling companies out on this… let’s hope Freya will take notice!
It’s so frustrating! As if it isn’t hard for petite girls (26/28) to find bras anyway, they don’t need 30 backs like me muscling in and booting them out of their own range! I have had an e-mail from Freya to say they are listening… I wonder if they can answer the question about the sizing drift…
So it’s not just me imagining things then! My most recent 28 band purchases from Freya are definitely looser than they used to be. I remember the amazing feeling of my first 28 – the first time I had ever ever done a bra-band up on the loosest hooks. And now, I’m sometimes having to do them up on the middle hooks right from the start.
I’m also finding huge variation in cup sizes between styles; I pretty much only buy Freya as generally their 28FF suits me. But I recently had to go down again to a 28F and even that’s a bit big, though I doubt the EE would do.
Sigh. I hope Eveden/Freya are listening.
I really think you’re on to something here. During my last bra shipment I was pretty shocked that I definitely needed all 30 bands when in reality my underbust measures right at 31″. I had initially thought I would fit somewhere between 32 and 30’s depending on the style.
Like Penny said, I fear that vanity sizing might be coming into play here. WHAT A HORRIBLE IDEA!!! Ugh. Why can’t we at least have one piece of clothing that goes more or less by our measurements? It’s hard enough to order online and get the cup sizes perfect due to the different shapes of our breasts and now they want to throw in bands that don’t match up to the measurements!?!? How can this be even remotely a good idea? As is, it’s hard enough for me to order clothes online because they rarely match up to their posted size charts, now bras too?
I agree that vanity sizing might be an issue here, which is just a pain in the ass. Ill-fitting clothes because of this stupid trend is one thing; ill-fitting bras just make me think that certain manufacturers aren’t worth my while if they’re going to deliberately sew the wrong size labels into the bras.
?!! Your title is funny as always but the news are horrible. 😮
Freya has always been pretty stretchy in my opinion and most of their bras did not support my 34H/32HH-bust properly. (Surprisingly the Freya Supernova Bikini Top in 36G is perfect). I guess a 30J might have done the job but then the whole construction would have been messed up. So no Freya for me. 😦
Producing even stretchier bands is just ridiculous!
I really hope they reconsider!
I do not understand this trend at all. I’m a great fan of Ariza by Panache since its band is supersnug and I can wear a 34H and feel comfortable and supported.
I’m a 32 back in most brands (Panache, Bravissimo, etc) but the shock of getting the Nieve balconette bra in a 32 back was just too much. I could have fit two of me in the circle the band made and we could still have room to play hopscotch! In the end I went for a 28 back in that bra but I’m lucky enough that I’m able to go down the two back sizes. If you’re already a 28 back, where do you go? Come on Freya (and Eveden), I still love you, but our relationship can only work if the love goes both ways.x
Already I’ve noticed inconsistencies with band sizes. The Ewa Michalak I ordered was a 70 (32) band and fits amazingly but I got a Harlequin and a Panache both in a 32 band and both have lots of room to spare. They’re both looser than my altered Lane Bryant bra that Ive worn pretty much daily for two years and have been washed and dried in machines a zillion times. I wish 32 actually meant 32 inches! Its a shame that brands that are so loved by women who are actually starting to be recognized by lingerie companies are turning their backs (all pun intended) on the women who are their loyal customers. </3
I had the same exact problem recently! I love the shape the Freya Deco gives but am not being supported anymore. Usually I wear a 30GG, but with a lot of the Freya’s I need the 28 back. With no 28H or HH, I’m out of luck completely. Please Eveden, make your bands tighter or larger cup sizes in the smaller bands!
Before I read this I also thought I was either just imagining or in some strange way shrinking even though I’ve been a solid 27 inches the last 6 years.
I used to wear Freya a lot. Loved everything about them and basicly my whole bra wardrobe was just Freya. However, that’s not the case at the moment. The old 28G bras are still as tight as they ever been, but when I try the new 28H/HH bras they are all way too big in the back. And, well, there is not so much to choose from even though it have gone from basicly nothing to atleast a couple of styles. I want to be able to wear Freya again but the fact that the backs have gone bigger (I have measured them too) makes me unable. Please Freya, keep the bands normal tight!
Agree, I’m NOT a 32 back but need that in most Eveden bras these days. I’m 34 back and need to remember that with the gorgeous polish brand Kris Line. But then, wuth Curvy Kate bras I need 32 too…
It’s interesting that it’s a trend across the board – I’ve even heard some of the usually trusty Panache backs aren’t what they used to be (certainly the case in their new sports bra). It’s not fun…
When 30G needs a 28GG:
This is exactly me, too! 😦
However, the luxury of trying on an assortment of Eveden bras in-store is just not something available to me in the States. All (6) regular Decos and (2) Padded Half Cups I own I *should* start on the last hook. I recently just purchased “Strapless Deco” which is nice and snug but will only wear it with criss-cross straps rather than strapless. Although I adore most all Freya designs only the padded styles suit my breast shape. And none of those styles are made in a 28GG. 😦 😦
Nice post! My absolute favourite bra is the Deco but the ideal size for me would be a 28GG, which sadly doesn’t exist. I tend to buy a 30G and start wearing them on the middle hooks, shortening their lifespan. Clever marketing there Freya…
I do know at least that Deco 28GG is coming next year…
Really?? That’s awesome! I need a 28GG and have been able to make do with a 28G Deco because it runs big, but a 28GG Deco (and more sizes for it in general) would be AMAZING!
As a fitter, I’ve noticed general inconsistency across the board from Panache and Eveden (we’re still new to Curvy Kate). I’ve had women leave with a 34G in Fantasie, a 32GG in Freya, and a 36FF in Panache, which confuses them because they only have a ball park idea of what size works. From personal experience, my ribcage measures 30.5″ so I tend to be in between 30s and 32s depending on the style. What I think may be a partial culprit is the “powernet” wings many come standard with nowadays. If you look at some of the more traditional lacier styles with less of the mesh wing, they tend to be a bit more true-to-size in the band. Perhaps in trying to get a secure or comfortable fit in the band, they inadvertently created larger bands? Of course, vanity sizing makes sense too since the size of the average woman has only increased. Whatever the case, it leaves out so many women who truly need a 28″ back.
This is so interesting, thank you for commenting! Eveden have said they’re looking in to it – I wonder what they’ll discover… x
I think that explains the difference between 1950s and modern sizes but not the changes over the last 5 years. One of the tightest 28 bands I have is a Mimi Holliday with powernet wings from when there were very few brands doing 28 backs and it was the only style they did in that size, more recent ones since they did more 28 backs are bigger. The tightest 28 band I’ve bought in the last year or two is also powernet. The size seems to be defined by the length and stretchyness of the elastic more than the fabric.
I also think that elastic is a culprit, at least in Empreinte. While their powernet is very firm, their surrounding elastic is very stretchy and just keeps on stretching.
I don’t wear Freya bras because I have never found one that fits. But I have seen a big difference between Panache bands and Fantasie bands. Fantasie bands tend to start out tighter and are much slower to stretch out (I bought my first Savannah in July and still waver between the first and second hook.) Panache bands tend to start out looser, and, I fear, stretch out faster. My Cleo Sasha went to the second hook the second time I wore it. I can actually wear a 32 in Panache, but then the cups are too small (forget sister sizing with them.)
Empreinte bras tend to have a very stretchy band, so that when I was technically a 36F, the fitter had me try on a 34G too, to see if it would fit, and it did. But within a matter of months, I was on the third hook.
Ewa Michalak 80 bands (so a 36) are the same resting length as my Fantasie 34s, but they stretch about twice as much, so I need to actually go down a band size in those.
If it is vanity sizing, I think it’s awful to do it to bras of all things. The fit needs to be precise, and people who fall outside the 32A-38DD paradigm often have to buy online to get their size. Put both together, and it becomes increasingly expensive to buy well-fitting bras, as we then have to order a variety of sizes, pay shipping on them, and then pay shipping to return them.
This is something that makes me reluctant to buy bras online from brands I’m not already familiar with. I’ve got three everyday bras at the moment, all in the same labelled size, but the cup sizes vary. They all fit me OK at different times of the month, but I’m not keen to stray outside those brands unless I can try them on in-store first.
If you do have your heart set on the Freya bras, I think it’s fairly simple to alter the band to fit. If it’s two inches too big, then on either side of the clasp, between the clasp and the strap, you can take it in. Gather about an inch of the band, stretched (it should be half an inch in length, as it’s folded over) and stitch it into place.
This is something you shouldn’t *have* to do, of course, but if it makes bras that fit in the cup fit in the band then it might be worth a try.
Great tip! Although you’re right of course, you *shouldn’t* have to do it. And I agree about the precision – cup sizes vary so wildly down to things like cup and shape of your breast – we don’t need it made harder by the one relatively straightforward element of bra fitting being compromised!
The easiest one to modify I’ve found is the gate back style found on classic Wonderbra and Gossard, that can be taken in without any sign it’s been modified. The problem with modifying bras like that is that the people who need it most are the people with large cups and small bands, which really doesn’t leave much of the band to work with and can leave the bra the wrong shape like by having the straps attached in an odd place.
I’ve done this too, back when I was a teen. To prevent the baggy back issue with the fabric, you can even take a 3 or 4 hook back off a different bra (cut off the straps and the backs of your old bras before you toss them in the bin!) and sew it onto the back of the one you are altering. I’ve used non-stretch straps from old bras to replace and reduce bouncing in elastic strap bras too. Sad but true.
That is a BRILLIANT idea! Elastic bra straps baffle me, and it’s such a disappointment to find a bra that fits and then… boing. How on earth did manufacturers get the idea that a 28G wants her boobs hooked to bungey cords?
Great piece Becky,
There always has been a bit of variation on the back sizes in the Freya range. However, I found this was limited to when a plunge balcony becomes a balcony, (2 hooks to 3 hooks with a different tension on the back elastic). Arabella used to be the worst for this, personally I used to wear it in a 34G but then my boobs grew a little and instead of needing a 34GG, I needed a 32H/ 30HH (I have both sizes). The two for me at the moment with over sized back sizes are Faye and Nieve (balcony) both great bras, if you go down a back size (if you have that option). Interesting both bras have also picked quite poor customer reviews for their back sizes on the Bravissimo site.
Biggest back size in Freya I’ve ever come across was the Lottie which seems to be from 2007 (the 28 was like a large 30). I don’t know how it compares to the new ones. The other one which came up memorably big but not nearly as bad as Lottie was the other mesh one which wasn’t Arabella but I forget the name now (Google suggests it was Elanor, which sounds about right) which was also a few years back. What worries me is if they’ve all become consistently bigger, and especially if any existing styles have become bigger.
If this is the case then I will be sized out of Freya bras. Like so many other women out there, I love the fact that Freya has room in the front of the cup for the forward projection of the breast and not a horribly wide wire. If the Freya 28 backs are increasing in size, I will no longer be able to wear their bras. With a 26 inch ribcage I am already pushing my luck. I have found that some styles in the M&S bras run tight in the 28 bands. Affinitas Intimates has the Charlotte and Saffron bras (and a few more, but the names escape me) that run tight. I can wear their 30 bands comfortably but they also stop at a G cup.
I am currently looking at 2wenty8 lingerie by Miss Fit UK. Her line is specifically for 28 banded women with sizing from 28DD-H. Her website is http://www.thebigbrabar.com. I have two bikinis on order from her one in a 26 back and one in a 28. They are sized as band and cupsizes with the tie backs meant to fit 26-30 band sizes. Once they arrive I’ll be posting a blog review and photos.
Do let me know how you get on with them – I loved the polka dot Slinky Dip bikini I bought in spring but it was absolutely ginormous when it arrived. Hopefully that’ll have been resolved though. Have you ever tried Ewa Michalak? Her bras come up small and come highly recommended: http://www.ewa-michalak.pl/
And on Freya, I couldn’t agree more. Small backed girls love the brand because it fits them and seemed to be expanding their ranges – but there’s no good in an expanded rang that simply caters for 30 backed girls under a different name. Reeeally hoping they come back to me with good news, or at the very least a promise to investigate what is – as is clear from the comments – a widely recognised size-drift phenomena…. x
Try Debenhams, they also sometimes have some very tight 28s in their Gorgeous range.
I measure 25-26″ and Boux Avenue’s 30 band fits me about as well as a Panache 28, if not tighter. Unfortunately, their range in 30E-G is quite limited at the moment.
Agreed with Penny that Gorgeous at Debenhams can run small in the band, and like Freya their cups have more of a narrow/deep shape. I find that M&S Limited Collection usually runs about a size smaller than standard, but the fit is inconsistent and they’re not making as many 28s as they used to. It’s frustrating that so many smaller-fitting brands (La Senza, Elle Macpherson…) start at 30 or 32!
If you can wear a 28 band, then try Elle Macphereson anyway. Their bras are ridiculously small. They run TINY.
I have tried them but they start at 32 back and swamped me. I’m cross with them as a company too, because they didn’t reply to my query about 28/30 backed bras. Their models are tiny – their bras seem less so… x
WRT to Fantasie/Fauve, here is a tip I learned the hard way: their side support bras are made with narrower underwires and basically fit a cup size smaller than their balconettes. So if you tried a balconette and it seemed too big, try going down one cup size. I wear a 34GG in the side support (and in most other brands), and a 34G in the balconettes.
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