Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: Rosme Mona Unpadded

Rosme is an Eastern European brand that is worth trying. It is easily available on Amazon & eBay and most of their styles are under $25. Their aesthetic is pretty utilitarian: simple styles - and beige, black & white are the only colors you're likely to find. However, there is a wide variety of styles, which are truly aimed toward different shapes. 

So, unlike brands such as Panache - and especially Freya & Elomi, which really only cater to one single shape - your chances of finding a style that suits you are quite good. Case in point: the Annija was one of the worst fits (for my shape) I've tried in quite some time. But the Mona is a different beast altogether:

 Beauty


It is very difficult to make out in photos, but the upper cup is a very open, stretchy, soft lace; the bottom cup is satin. Overall, the design is quite plain and streamlined. 


Comfort

Band. Non-mesh, 2-hook, runs large and stretchy (as do all the Rosme I've tried). I actually bought this bra a couple of years ago, but it fit a bit too loose for good support, so I packed it away. Now, 20 lbs later, it fits quite well. The band is actually comfy. Not something I'd expect with 2 hooks, but the fact that it is not made of crappy, rugged mesh really helps with that. 

Cups.  Wires are on the softer side, and nice medium height; upright U-shape. The upper lace is an open pattern, which provides lots of stretch and ventilation and makes it full-on-top friendly. The whole bra feels very light on the body; I could feel air flow just walking around. The Mona is the opposite of 'a lotta bra'. The cups have good capacity and depth; the Mona tacks better than usual on me. 


Straps.  They have those ring-connectors I absolutely hate - except when I don't, in this single rare case. Surprise: they are actually comfy. Because they are designed correctly i.e. the ring sits where it should: not smack on top of my shoulder, but over it, and about 1/3 of the way down my back. So there is no weight or pressure. The front of the strap is broader, but not actually padded. 


Compromise

Shape.  And it's iffy to even list it under this category because shape is more a matter of preference, really. And Mona does not give a horrid shape like, say, Curvy Kate's ski slope (for FOT's). It's just not quite as round (under clothing) as I'd like.


And this pic shows really well how Euro designs differ from UK designs. See that area from the strap to the band? See what's not there? Yep: that deeply annoying extra fabric that comes up way too high on UK bras and cuts into the underarm area. Whereas this Euro design is cut perfectly to follow the lines of the body, giving you full range of motion with zero cutting in.

For comparison, here is the Panache Jasmine, one of their 'lower'(!) wire styles.
I'm a good 20 lbs thinner in this pic, but from the way the bra cuts in & encases me, you wouldn't guess that. The band was even a little loose on me then. 
 


 When Do I Wear It?

This is another good 'anytime' bra. It's a good work bra, especially for overheated offices, since it is so lightweight and cool. It's perfectly comfy for weekends, too. The only time I wouldn't likely choose Mona is under thin, loose knits. The lace pattern is flat and invisible, but the seam is a little prominent and the shape a little more projected, which makes a high likelihood for boob-tenting.

Size: 40H (Euro sizing) Fits me like a UK 40G
The bands do run quite loose and stretchy, so sister-sizing won't be as useful here. The stretch-lace and projected cups makes this very workable for FOT's, though it's probably aimed at a balanced shape. I do think full-on-bottoms could also do well with this style, especially if you have some projection; the lace is more substantial than say, Jasmine, and is unlikely to gap.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Review: Gorsenia Verona

In my latest attempt to find another style as wonderful as Gorsenia's Solange, I tried Verona. From the Amazon pics, she looked very similar in structure; however, she turned out to be more similar to Lilli-Rose, also a good bra - just not as good. 

Beauty


Satin luster combines with a pretty lace-on-sheer section. The overall effect is one of clean-lined elegance. The lace is flat and does not show under knits.

Comfort & Fit

Cups.  They run slightly smaller than Solange, so I get less of the fluttering effect with the lace panel: a little on my smaller left side, and none at all on my right. As with all Gorsenia styles I've tried, they are very full-on-top friendly - a welcome rarity - and also would work for balanced shapes. Full-on-bottoms, not so much; you will have a lot of empty upper cup, and as there isn't much stretch to the lace, it isn't going to conform to that shape well.  I am getting the usual Gorsenia perfect tack.

Band.  Unfortunately, it is mesh. It runs quite a bit tighter than Solange's lovely satin band. And it is power mesh, not the finer, softer mesh of a Natori. It's not a dealbreaker, but it does mean that I am ready to take Verona off when I get home, whereas Solange, I am happy to wear out to dinner after work. 

Straps.  These are the same slightly wider - and much shorter - straps of Lilli-Rose. I have to wear them fully extended. There's no awful ring connector, so they are fully adjustable and very petite-friendly. 

Wires.  The same medium/narrow U-shape and medium height of all the unpadded Gorsenias I have tried. A perfect fit for my projected, medium-set shape - though, as always, I'd prefer them to be a 1/2" shorter. 

Shape

I am really happy with the shape I get from every Gorsenia I've tried. 


My natural shape is respected and allowed to do its thing.

But in a way that is lifted, centered, and supported. 

Boobs are kept on the center of my chest, which keeps my silhouette balanced, rather than wide.







The profile shape is pretty much perfection:

Definitely lifted - but not boosted.  

Rounded, but not disconcertingly perfect-orb round. 

Naturally projected - but not in-your-face as Ewa Michalak is.


When Do I Wear It?

For work, mainly. The shape is incredibly versatile and does not create any cleavage. This is huge, as I am high-set and can basically show cleavage in anything other than a turtleneck. The shape works as well under a thin T-shirt as it does under a chunky sweater.

The only instance where a Gorsenia may not be the best choice is with a fitted button-down in a non-stretch fabric, say an Oxford shirt. A style I very rarely wear, in any case. (For that kind of highly structured clothing, you're pretty much stuck with a minimizer bra in any case, unless you have the shirt custom-tailored to your own big-boob specs.) But if for some reason I had to wear that kind of clothing, I would opt for either Liliana or Esme as both possess magical, minimizing - but not widening/flattening - properties.  

Size: 40H (Euro sizing)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: Hanky Panky Organic Cotton Crop Top

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/14/ae/9d/14ae9d52f9844a26864b1f99bf86f22d--hanky-panky-organic-cotton.jpg 



I tried this in black, but it's much easier to see the details in white. Which is why I didn't bother to take any photos of how it looked on me before I returned it. 
https://i.pinimg.com/736x/1d/42/07/1d42072560b7f8d91bc1a7a64b2dbd12--panky-hanky-organic-cotton.jpg

Nutshell: Very disappointing.

I opted for the crop top style over the other bralette designs by the brand as it came in extended sizes and the construction was more likely to work for larger busts. Theoretically.

Beauty: The lace pattern is quite pretty and saves it from being completely plain. 

Comfort:  Nope. The lace is scratchy, not soft in any way. Which is outrageous, considering the price point of $50. The organic cotton is also pretty underwhelming. It is far less soft than the $15  Leading Lady Cami Bralette, which is a superior choice in every way: comfort, support, & price.

Fit:  Very little in the way of anchorage in that inadequate thin band with the scratchy lace hanging limply below it. The straps are the worst part of the design. They are flimsy and ultra-stretchy. They literally provide less-than-zero support. If your boobs are bigger than an A-cup, they will simply drag them down like grapefruits suspended from dental floss. Wait. That would actually offer more support than these straps, because it is not stretchy. 

Who Might This Work For?
Literally, A-cups with skin as non-sensitive as the hide of a rhinoceros. 

Size: 1x
 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Maurice bralettes

Maurice is a store brand I had never heard of. They seem to be more common in the Eastern side of the country and the price point is $16, so, not much to lose. Anyhoo, I came across a review online and decided to give them a try. Since I now have a half dozen wired bra brands I am happy with, I am turning my obsession with comfy support to finding bralettes with those characteristics. 

About that whole bralette thing: I'm surprised at myself, but I kinda like this whole anti-support movement. I suppose because it is really gratifying to see women demand comfort, in direct opposition to the fitting philosophies of Victoria's Secret foam domes or the Panache-y rigid lockdown support. Of course, I think we deserve both: comfort and support. But yeah, I know: good luck with that, right?

So, here we go. Spoiler Alert: Fail.

I tried two different styles, both vastly different in fit, but mostly similar in their suckage quotient. Helpfully, they don't seem to have names other than 'Floral Lace Bralette'. Both are made of cheap, non-soft lace. As you would expect.


This style has thin, bouncy straps and far less cup capacity than the other. 

Which you can see here:

It's basically only covering 3/4 of my boob and flattening it in the front.

The cups are an odd mix of too stretchy at the bottom and inflexible on the top, with a rigid strip along the side. 

Culminating in a boob pressed against a window shape.




And, to top it all off, here is the dreaded metal ring connector, conveniently located on the top of my shoulder bones.

I actually feel the urge to slap the idiot responsible for the whole concept of that stupid connector. 

Not that I take it personally or anything.



 Next up is this slightly better-designed T-back style:


 Plenty of cup capacity; it's actually more like a crop top. 


 
The straps are super stretchy, so offer no support.

But they do have this interesting racer-back design. And if they had used that broad lace section of lower strap as the actual shoulder strap, it would have been a real improvement for comfort and support.  

(An aside: this gives a good idea of how broad my shoulders are, so when I mention straps are too wide-set, it's a good indication that they are ridiculously wide-set.)




Here we come to the main problem: the 'band' is incredibly loose. 

It is nothing more than a flimsy, single strip of lace.

My boobs literally would be able to fall through the bottom. 







(My first thought was Ms. Choksondik of South Park, 'cuz who doesn't want that look?)  
                        
Image result for Ms. Chokesondick of South Park

 Who Might These Work For?

Those without sensitive skin, who just want something cheap & pretty, with zero support. If you are on the smaller end of the cup size range, or alternatively, if you need a large band size, and smaller cups, say 44B, the crop top style could actually be a good solution for you.

Sizing: XL

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review: Delmira Floral Lace Underwired Bra

This was a random pick on Amazon: a stretch lace bra with a big size range, and a risk-free pricepoint of $17. It also seemed vaguely familiar....



I realized once I had it on that it is basically a copycat of the iconic Lepel Fiore:
https://brastop.cachefly.net/content/images/thumbs/0020752_lepel-fiore-full-cup-bra-neon-pink.jpeg

Beauty

The lace is a large floral pattern with subtle tonal changes and lots of sheer sections, so it appears light on the body and does not read as 'a lotta bra'. The lace has a slightly raised, embossed effect that does not show through clothing for me.

 

Comfort

Overall, I'm a fan. This is what I consider a 'soft hold' bra. Lots of stretch, light-to-medium support. It's not going to alter - or fight against - your natural shape; it's not going to jack up your cleavage or create a lot of projection. Instead it will support comfortably and moderately. You're not going to want to run for a bus in this; it's not designed to eliminate all bounce. 

Claudette represents this type of bra quite well. The opposite end of the spectrum would be Cleo. 

Fabric.  The upper cup is a single layer of soft lace, and the lower is lined with a knit fabric, which is a lot more comfy than the usual mesh lining.  

Band.   Non-mesh. Which is always a huge positive for me. I find it true to size. Of note: I am pudging out a bit lately, so a 40 may not be sister-sizing these days.

Straps.  A nice width, but not overly substantial. Comfy. No ring-connectors - always a plus - and no sharp edges where the fabric connects to the band, either. It would be nice if they were restricted stretch, but they're fine as-is. 

Fit

Cups.  These run quite large, about a full cup size so. This is also similar to Lepel Fiore, which runs huge. Because they are quite stretchy and the top is a single layer, I will actually order a cup size down next time. (If you're full-on-bottom, you'll almost certainly want to consider going down a cup.) 

There is a medium amount of depth near the gore, about on par with Natori. They are clearly not designed for a very projected shape, but the fabric is very forgiving, so it's quite doable for full-on-tops.

Shape.  It gives a natural, rounded shape that is my usual workaday preference. There would likely be more lift in a cup size down, since I have extra room here.


Compromises

Wires.  They are a bit taller than ideal for me, but then, I strongly prefer lower wires. They also are standard UK shape, with the wires winging back a bit. My firm preference is for Euro style wires that do not slant back, but rather, stay close to the boob in a U shape.


However, they are not overly wide, stabby, or rigid, just a little higher at the sides than I like. And dropping down a cup size may well solve this for me. 


Higher side/pit area.  This is an issue with most UK bras and it goes with the UK wire style and its higher, Nike-swoop shape. There's just more fabric than I want/need in the area between the strap and armpit. But it's less extreme than the issue can be in brands like Freya or Panache. 

When Do I Wear It?

When I need a flexible fit without a lot of intense molding and shaping and I'm not going to be super active or walking several miles. So, when I'm experiencing size fluctuations from PMS swelling or a hot day. Or when I want a softer, moderate profile, such as a fitted blouse requires.

Size:  40G (UK), which I found fit me like a large 40H. My actual size is 38GG. There are no double letters, so each cup size is a fairly big jump.

 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Hip & Curves bralettes and balconette

This is a brand supposedly designed for curvy women, so I gave a few items a try. 

Conclusion: when they say 'curvy', this apparently means from the waist down only. Literally, their fitting approach seems to be tailored completely toward an extreme bowling pin shape: big hips and A/B cup sized boobs.

The lounge pants and panties I tried both fit beautifully: very pear friendly, with fitted waist and generous hip and thigh room. The bra and bralettes however....Not. At. All. 

I tried two different styles. The one on the left, especially, I thought looked workable in terms of cup capacity and more substantial straps. The one on the right, ehhh. 
Related imageImage result for hip and curves bralettes

Both turned out to have ridiculously tiny cups. I mean....incomprehensibly small. Maximum capacity would fit a small B-cup. 

Even then, the design is so inadequate for real boobs, I would not choose either style. The tiny straps have so much stretch they basically function as yo-yos. Cups have little stretch and zero depth. Bands run quite large and stretchy, so sister-sizing up is a non-starter.

I cannot post pics of these bralettes on me because, well, it would be basically pornographic. There is zero side cup, and basically no inner cup.  But here is a pic with a 38G bra on top....and the hysterically inadequate, flat-cupped bralette below it.


I was not expecting a great fit, but these actually have less cup capacity than your average bralette aimed at core A-D cup sizes. A lot less. 

The poor design is a shame because the fabric is wonderful. Literally the softest lace I have ever encountered. 

Chloe Soft Lace Cup Bra

I fared better with an actual bra in the line. But it was not a success, either.



Beauty & Shape.  Very pretty indeed.  Flat stretch lace, soft and non-irritating. Despite its horizontal seam structure, it gives a nicely rounded shape due to the very stretchy lace upper cup. The lower cup is lined in a soft knit fabric which is supportive without being stiff. 

Comfort & Fit.  The fabric has great comfort potential. But the wires are a dealbreaker for me. Nice and narrow-to-average, with an upright shape, but waaaay too tall for comfort.


And because the sizing runs quite small and I need at least a cup up, in my proper size the wires would be even higher. Which would put them basically at the level of my eyeballs. 


Because the wires are narrow, but the inner cups lack projection, while there is plenty in the center and outer cups, it seems that the cups do expect projected boobs - but just think that smooshed-together cleavage is the proper fit result. 

So again, great fabric, but a design fail for big boobs.

Sizing: I tried this in a 40G, as a starting point, based on my experience that most US bands run snug and cups a bit large, with greater increase in each cup size. That turned out not to be the case here. The band runs incredibly snug. This fit like a tight 36. And the cup also runs quite small. Because of the very high wires and awkward cup shape, I don't think sister-sizing would be successful.

What Shape Might This Bra Fit?

 Non-high-set, medium-to-narrow, balanced to full-on-top, non-projected boobs, without much in the way of inner fullness.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Glamorise Sport Low Impact Cami Bra

So, I really have no need for an actual sports bra. Because I am all about the low-to-no impact. One of the great things about a cross-country ski machine - besides having no impact on my cartilage-damaged knee - is that is causes virtually no bounce and so little need to corral the boobs. (Irony alert: I live in a place where actual skiing is a thing, but the injury risk is too high for me now.) 

So, really, yeah, I'm just looking for another wire-free bra option. And this one's not bad.


Beauty

Comes in many color combos, and the center panel hides cleavage and controls bounce, while looking like a very casual camisole, due to the perforated nylon material that resembles a basketball jersey. 


Comfort & Fit

When I searched for reviews, all I had to go on were comments left on amazon. If you've ever tried to order a bra there, you'll know how generally unhelpful those reviews are. Very rarely is any frame of reference given - such as the wearer's size - and when that is provided, it's often pretty obvious that there is no understanding of bra sizing. So, what you get are a lot of comments like 'Uncomfortable' or 'Runs small' or 'Runs big - band kept riding up'. Yeahhhh. Unless the reviewer gives enough info that I can tell they know what they're talking about, I pretty much disregard all of them. Exceptions: I pay attention to details about the fabric: if it was scratchy, or flimsy, etc. And I look for patterns. e.g. did a lot of people mention the cups run large? Even without the sizing context, that can help me determine my correct size in a brand. 

In this case, the mention of cups running large and band running snug were consistent. And that turned out to be correct. But multiple comments about 'no support' are baffling, especially as they came from folks just looking for a leisure bra to wear around the house. This bra has plenty of support. Definitely enough for yoga or weightlifting. Anything but jumping up and down, I would say.

Shape.  Overall, the shape and structure remind me a great deal of Panache's iconic sports bra. 

There is definitely lift and containment, though no flattening. There is plenty of depth in the cups. This angle looks almost like the shape has a touch of 'elf shoe' (for the origins of that fabulous term, see: Bras I Hate & Love - Also, I adore her for lighting the shining beacon of hope for all full-on-tops, and wish she would come back). However, there is no real elf shoe and the profile shape is actually quite rounded and compact:


Straps.  Wide, flat and comfortable. 

Seams.  Non-irritating and very diagonal, which usually results in a nice rounded shape. 

Breathability. Meh. A bit better than Panache, which wears really warm, but not super ventilated.

UnderbandA+  Glamorise really got this right. It is not too deep and tall, only about an inch high, has the perfect amount of stretchy give, and it is covered in soft, soft satiny fabric. It feels like a cloud of angels floating about your ribs. And then they went and undid all of that comfort with....

Clasp.  Five rows of hooks on an unpadded clasp. With sharp, scratchy edges. That can be felt at all times, from all angles. Really, Glamorise? Really?

When Do I Wear It?

When I want more support than a Bali bralette can provide and will be active enough that I do not want any wires rubbing. Say, when I am going to the garden center and lugging home a lot of shrubs. Or rambling a rocky beach with my wee beastie. And I am willing to contort myself to wedge a folded Kleenex between the clasp and my back.

Size: 42F
The comments about the cups running large were frequent enough that, together with my own experience of often needing less cup capacity in a wire-free stye, I opted to drop down a cup, but keep my normal band size for this brand. That turned out to be the right call. 

Keep in mind that Glamorise is a brand from the 1920s, and as such, is very wedded to the +4 sizing approach. The 42 fits me like a snug 38 in a UK brand. Most US-sized brands follow this older sizing model, from the time before the wonders of spandex, when the inches had to be built in for give. Brands such as: Playtex, Wacoal, Curvy Couture, Comfort Choice. 

Due to this, I have learned that often I am not sized out of these brands. I wouldn't even say I am sister-sizing in these cases, but rather taking their sizing on its own terms. So, while I am a 38GG in most UK sizing, and 38I in Euro, wearing a 42G in these brands is simply following their own system of measurement, which is different from sister-sizing, i.e. compromising on a too-big band to finagle enough cup capacity. Being willing to consider other sizing systems on their own merits will open up many other choices, at a whole range of prices.