Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: La Isla Bra

The full name of this one is: Full Coverage Underwire Non Padded Lace Sheer Minimizer Bra. I was curious enough to try this, in the hope of finding an inexpensive, practical full cup, with more centered straps, and some stretch lace in the upper cup - with a less pointy profile than the similar Rosme style I have.

Spoiler: it is not minimizing at all, and has good cup depth, which is why I tried it in the first place.

Overall, the bra was promising, and may be a good bargain option for someone without my Princess & the Pea sensitive skin. In fact, I'm really bummed that I don't think I'll be able to make this one work for me - especially at this price (under $20). * (See Update at bottom for some good news)

Comfort & Fit:

·      Cups.  These are more of a teardrop shape. They run large, which is a great thing, as the H cup (Euro size) actually fit me exactly like a GG (UK size), which is my actual size. There was no need at all to size up in the band to get more cup capacity, which I virtually always have to do because a GG equates to an I in most Euro/US sizing systems. (caveat: some Polish brands skip the I & go straight to J). This is also a big plus, due to:

·      Band.  This runs a size large. I would not have been able to go up to a 40. I definitely needed the 38, which was an average-to-slightly-looser 38.

·      Wires.  A nice lower height. No armpit-stabbing. Also no padding at all. But the casing is not overly harsh, such as Cleo's, so it is doable, if not ideal.

·      Fabric.  Average. Not scratchy, but not super-soft, either. The lace actually doesn't have a huge amount of stretch. It is what I classify as having give, or a little flex. Something between the zero-give of Curvy Kate Portia and the ultra-stretch of Panache Jasmine, being closer to the CK side of the spectrum.

·      Tacking. I was surprised by this. It tacks perfectly for me: a soft tack. The gore is at nice medium height and width.

·      Shape.  Good. Really good. Rounded, moderately lifted. I liked how it looked under knits.


FYI: that shadow you're seeing below is not armpit hair (not that there would be anything wrong with that) but rather, a patch of eczema caused by several weeks of crutches (with plush fleece padding) rubbing against ultra-soft fabric (already turned inside-out for the seams) against my skin. I point this out as an excellent illustration of just how intense my skin sensitivity issues are. And that something that causes me issues may well be perfectly fine for anyone with average, or only slightly sensitive skin.

The style is surprisingly pretty in a muted, understated way. The color is a deep jewel toned violet-purple, not overly bright. The style comes in lots of other colors as well.

There is a subtle keyhole detail, which is kind of lost in the deep shadow of my boobs in these angled pics. The lace in the upper cup is a very pretty pattern: open, with sheer background showing through; non-fussy. It does show through knits slightly, but that's more the seam where the lace joins the satin.

Best of all, I have deep love for the way that the upper cup is well-balanced to the lower cup in this size. The upper cup does not grow to take up 1/2 the entire cup and bisect the boobs in an unattractive way (yes, that drives me nuts about Curvy Kate).


Elastic  This is only problem I had with this bra. But it's a big one. Big enough to pretty much ruin it for me. The elastic that lines the band, both upper and lower, has a sharp, stiff edge to it. It's not tiny and narrow, causing it to bite in a'la Freya, but it's the actual thin edge of the elastic itself: it's actually a sharp, razor-thin edge that I can feel against my skin. I wasn't able to wear the bra more than 2 hours. Which is a real shame because it was a great fit - & a great price - in almost every other way. I do think that, if you don't have super-sensitive skin like I do, where this kind of thin results in rashes, eczema, abrasions, all of that joy, then you may really have success with this bra. 

When Do I Wear It?
Unfortunately, probably never. But if it weren't for that single, probably insurmountable discomfort issue, this bra would be in heavy rotation for work days for the moderate, round shaping, and the great cup capacity. If only La Isla was as comfy as the Rosme, which can't hold a candle to it in terms of cup depth, shape, or tacking. (But is far more comfy.)
Size: 38H
Update I'm glad I didn't give up on this bra too soon. I washed (with my usual double-rinse) before wearing the first time. But still wasn't optimistic the elastic edging would ever be soft enough to allow me to wear the bra without skin irritation. I washed it a 2nd time, still...meh. Finally, I washed it one more time, this time using fabric softener (non-waxy organic) something I don't normally use on my bras. And it made a marked difference. I'm now able to wear it comfortably for a work day. Theoretically, softener might shorten the life of the bra, but at this price, that isn't much of a consideration. 

This is a great bargain option for folks with a tight bra budget, who don't want to settle for beige anything, want a lower gore, and need up to a UK H cup. You can't really sister-size because the bands run looser, but the cups run a size big, so a UK H may well be able to fit this Euro H.


  1. I think it looks really nice and you should find a way to soften the elastic! :-) Would a bath in fabric softener do the trick. Might as well experiment if you're not going to wear it otherwise.

    1. I really did not expect this to work, but you were right!

  2. Absolutely right. I shall commence experimenting. I even thought of softly sanding the edge with ultra-fine sandpaper. Now that's determination. It is an otherwise well-made garment, with real potential as a practical work bra. And at a fabulous price.