Saturday, July 30, 2016

Review: Gorsenia Sheilla, a padded 1/2 cup style

After my surprising success with my first attempt at Gorsenia, the very comfy Solange  a non-padded 3-part balconette, I wanted to try a padded style. 



Beauty

Opulent. From the satin luster to the swirling embroidery to the subtly detailed straps. Sheilla is stunning.








Comfort & Fit

Band.  Based on my experience with the fit of the Solange, I went down a band size, and kept the same cup. Unfortunately, the description did not specify that this bra has a power mesh band. I have always found them to run tighter than other fabrics, and this one does as well. So the 38 fits like a snug 38 in a UK brand like Curvy Kate or Panache. I don't care for mesh bands (or bras, really),  'power' mesh in particular, which is just a rougher fabric that I don't enjoy on my body. This mesh isn't worse than any other power mesh though, so it's not a deal-breaker, just not as comfy as the satin microfiber of its sister, Solange.

Cups.   I can't really compare it to the fit of the non-padded balconette, as the shape is completely different: a shallow 1/2 cup with two vertical seams, but without the wide wires often found to accompany that style. The fit felt most like a cross between a Freya 1/2 cup and a Comexim plunge.

Lined with comfy soft fabric. No irritation.

 
 The padding was only slightly thicker than Freya's and Comexim's and the wires much lower than Freya's, but a little taller than Comexim's.

Wires.  Narrow, which is rare in a 1/2 cup. Soft/medium gauge. Medium-low; a perfect height for me. 

I get a very soft tack, less than I get with Comexim; far more than I get with Freya 1/2 cups.






Shape.  Very boosted and round. 
Very projected. 

Very similar to Comexim's. But I find it more comfy. In part, due to....

Straps.  Slightly wide, not too stretchy; they are doing their share of the work, but no more. I would choose this above Comexim or Parfait Casey for longer of hours of comfort. 

Compromises

  • Power mesh band
  • Shallowish cups
  • Non-versatile shape won't work under some clothes
  • Comfy-ish, but not truly full-out comfortable like the non-padded balconette style

When Do I Wear It?

When I would normally wear a T-shirt bra or a 1/2 cup, or I just want to wrap my boobs in opulent Baroque gorgeousness, just because. For say, 4 - 6 hours. The embroidery doesn't show under clothing, at least not to a degree that concerns me. 

Size:  38H  This fit me like a 38 G/GG in UK sizing. This style runs true in band size and one cup size large, in Euro sizing. So, while I would normally wear a Euro 38I, I was able to drop a cup size in this style. That's consistent with the cup size of the non-padded 3-section style, however that style also runs large in band.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: Curvy Couture Cotton Luxe Unlined Wire Free Bra

Nutshell:  a potentially wonderful wirefree option, ruined by a single serious design flaw.





Note: these pics are more terrible than usual since they were taken during a 3 week period during which there was no sun, just endless rain and gray skies. Which makes me oddly perky. This climate is not for the faint of heart.

 Beauty 

It is actually quite pretty. The deep lace embellishment helps to break up the visual space, so it doesn't read as frumpy as it otherwise might. It also comes in a warm cream-beige, and a pale rose, which is difficult to find.

Comfort & Fit

Fabric.  Fabulous. A silky smooth cotton blend that feels like your favorite high thread count T-shirt sheets.

Band.  Runs snug, which is standard for the brand. I went up a band size and got a good fit. The band is covered in very soft satiny fabric, so the underbust area is non-irritating, which I really enjoyed. The uplift and shape are decent.


Cups.   I find Curvy Couture does not run particularly generous in the cup. They are shallow, whereas I need some depth, especially in the center. For an underwire, I would have gone up a cup, but in this wirefree style I had sufficient room. Still, even for a wirefree, the gore is really standing away from my chest.


Fatal Flaw

Straps.  Absolutely terrible. I can't imagine how this design ever seemed like a good idea - to anyone. I only wore the bra for 5 minutes - of deep discomfort - at the end of which I had deep, red grooves that took awhile to fade.

The straps are the type that have a ring connector. In this case, that ring is designed to sit right smack on top of the shoulder - you know, the place where ALL weight will be concentrated. But wait, that's not all. The fabric is doubled over, right next to the ring, forming a hideously uncomfortable wadded up, seamed knot of fabric. This wadded up knot and the metal ring beside it, are where all the pressure is concentrated. Digging into the top of your shoulders. 

I wish I was dexterous enough to get a pic from directly overhead, but this gives some idea.

When Do I Wear It?

Yeahhhhh. About a quarter past never. I returned this the same day. Which was a real disappointment as the fabric is wonderful and the underband so nicely designed. I just can't imagine how the idiotic strap (mis)design snuck in there.

Size:  42G  (I sister-sized from my usual US size of 38I. The 42 band fit like a regular 38 or a loose 40, so quite small. The cup runs 1/2 to a full cup size small.)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Review: Gorsenia Solange

Gorsenia is a Polish brand with an aesthetic that is closer to Kris Line than Comexim. Solange is a non-padded balconette and they have 'semi-soft' (padded lower cup, mesh upper) and padded (1/2 cup shapes) as well.

Beauty


Deeply gorgeous. A lustrous misty-cloud grey satin with silvery embroidery that catches the light. 

Solange wowed the BF while drying on the line. (I always, always wash a bra before the first wear to remove any fabric starch and processing chemicals.)


 Comfort & Fit

BandStretchy & runs loose. This is sized nothing like ultra-tight Comexim, very tight Ewa Michalak, or snug US bands. It is a comfy non-mesh band with 3 hooks. It is arched under the gore, which makes it more comfy to sit in and doesn't put pressure on your diaphragm if that's something that bothers you.

Cups.  Very generous and very deep. Again, runs much larger than Comexim. I tried my usual Euro size of 40H and the cup was actually 1/2 to a full cup size large on me. The fabric is high quality and feels soft.

This is visible in the gapping on my smaller left side; though there is still slightly gapping on the larger side, it is not as visible. 

There is plenty of room for top and center fullness.

The mesh upper portion is a double layer, with a bit of give, but not stretch. The satin lower cup is very silky - not rough & 'laminated'. Yay!

Wires.  A little higher under the arm than I prefer, but this may be due to the cup size being a little too large for me. The wires are a softer gauge, like other Polish & Euro brands I've tried (exept Ewa) and they are narrow-medium width; just a smidge narrower than Natori, but not as narrow as Comexim


 
Tacking.   Unexpectedly, I am getting a perfect tack here: full, complete contact - including the top of the gore - that falls at a natural place between my boobs. It's more than a soft tack, but nothing like the harsh hard tack of a Panache or Tutti Rouge. It is perfect. And comfy. And oh so rare.

Something I get from very, very few brands. 




This means the gore is narrow, the wires are medium-narrow, and the cup is very deep. 


  
Shape.  Great!


Rounded, but not overly projected. 

Solange does not suffer from the pointy shape issues that can plague deep, seamed cup shapes.

The shape is like most Polish brands: centered, with boobs on the front of your chest. No arms bumping into the sides of your boobs a'la Panache.

The profile is lifted, but not overly boosted.  

Natural, not overly orb-like.
 
(The tag is on because I hadn't decided whether to return it for a cup size smaller. I opted to keep it for the one week of the month I experience a 1/2 cup size worth of swelling.)



Compromises

Stays.  There are the hated side stays, and they are not flexible & flat, but the rounded, thick type. But they were very easy to remove, i.e., not sewn into the band a'la Freya. 

EdgingThe edging beneath the wires is not the softest and tends to roll under a bit. Hopefully, it will soften a bit with each wash and even so, it is far softer than the La Isla bra, which has become quite wearable.

Straps.  The straps themselves are great: a smidge wider than average, and something between regular and restricted stretch. They are comfy and not taking on too much weight the way Comexim can. However, they are a bit too widely spaced - and I have broad shoulders, so... But I am reserving judgement until I try a band size down to see if it scales well and eliminates this issue.

When Do I Wear It?

Under pretty much anything. The shape is moderate and very versatile. Gorsenia is basically what Curvy Kate should be. Not just a great aesthetic, but a great shape. And at the far better price point of $30 on amazon. The brand is very promising for balanced or full-on-top boobs that like narrow wires and lots of projection.

Size:  40H  Which was basically a cup and a band size too large. I am trying a 38H next. The sizing is different from other Polish brands, and runs more generous in both cup and band. A good place to start is with your Euro size: go with the tighter band size you normally wear, and also go down a cup size. 

For instance, my usual Euro size is 38I (& I usually have to sister-size to the more commonly available 40H). So for Gorsenia, I would try a 38H. If you're trying to convert from your usual UK size, then either keep your normal band, or drop down one, & go up one cup. E.g. 38GG to a 38H

Update! 

After a second laundering, the underband scalloped edging is a non-issue. I have since worn Solange for an 11-hour day - longer than the usual 9 hours I wear an underwire, and she was extremely comfortable right up to the time I took her off. 

She provided very comfy support during PMS swelling, when my skin is at its most sensitive. I experienced no irritation from the materials during a mix of a long day at my desk followed by a mile of walking. 

This puts Gorsenia Solange into my top three bras: for comfort, she is #3, behind Natori Satin Fleur and the unbeatable Anita Twin. In price, Solange reigns supreme at $30 (the regular, non-sale price). In shape, she is #1, with the Anita a distant 3rd.  

Here is how she looks under clothing. For comparison, I'm wearing the Comexim under the same shirt, here: Comexim T under floaty top

  



 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Review: Leading Lady cami bralette

Houseguests in summer = I need some comfy bralettes. That I can easily put on before I stagger out for coffee in my usual semi-conscious morning condition. And that means I need hooks. Nothing would be more ill-advised than me trying to balance on one foot to step into an Ahh Bra style, or even worse, trying to pull one over my head. I'd end up with an elbow to the eye, or another knee injury.

I wanted something lighter weight than the Comfort Revolutions that provide heavier support (with less comfy straps). But more substantial than the ultra-minimal Bali sleep bra. Because cleavage. I needed something light & soft that I wouldn't mind wearing early in the morning, and again for hours of late evening socializing until bedtime. 

Leading Lady is a brand I'd never tried, but their bralette looked promising. I first opted to try the bralette in a 3x (in blue), the size that corresponded to my bust measurement. I then tried a size down (in grey), to compare the support:
 

Comfort

Fabric.  Wonderful! Very soft cotton. I really did not expect that at this price point ($15); I was braced for cardboardy cheap cotton along the lines of Hanes sports bras. But this fabric has a very soft hand and moderate stretch. 

Straps.  Regular, adjustable bra straps. They are center-pull. More comfy than the rolled & doubled straps of my Bali Comfort Revolution. 

Band.  More snug than I expected, which is a nice surprise, since I ordered by my boob size, expecting I'd have to put up with a very loose band. But nope. It's a bit too loose for me, but not unwearable. It is not, however, the usual deep knit-fabric band found on bralettes like these. It is actually just an band of covered elastic. So you don't get that wide, anchored effect, but you also don't get any annoying roll up or dig in. 


Cups. Well, there actually aren't any. But there is shirring at the bottom and of course, stretch, so no uniboober look. The cup capacity was much bigger than I'd expected, and without the usual intense flattening of these styles.


Neckline.  The lace is completely non-irritating, and the high neckline was perfect with my deep V-neck pj tops. Complete cleavage coverage, and the narrow band of lace looks like a pretty cami peaking above. It does come up quite high.

Compromises

Support.  Um, well, yeahhhh. There isn't much of that, especially in the larger size




I did find that it was enough for gentle containment under loose pj's; definitely better than nothing. The lack of compression or uplift meant no crazy cleavage. 

 


The support was significantly better in the size down, because I got a bit more compression-effect, and the band was basically a normal 38 in the 2x size. 

However, I also got less comfort. In this size, I was more aware of the edging around the arm/sides and band, and just the general - though mild - compressed feeling.


Band.  Also, some may prefer the more secure anchoring of a knit-in deep band. It was not uncomfy, but doesn't add much support. It does have 4 hooks,  so I think they missed an opportunity by using such a thin elastic band. Just a 2-inch band of elastic would have really increased the anchoring and support.


When Do I Wear It?

When I don't want to go totally braless (as I normally would, say, like now, when I am just sitting on my sofa in jammies drinking coffee), but I want to be absolutely comfortable, and will not be leaving the house, I choose the 3X. So, for early a.m./late p.m. when I have houseguests, or PMS time. Also for reading in the garden in my bathrobe. (Something about that combination of activities virtually ensures that the Fed Ex guy will show up and I'll have to sign for a package over the garden gate.)  If I want more support and to be able to mayyyybe even leave the house for a quick errand, I'll opt for the 2X

Size: 2X or 3X  (cups run large)
The cup capacity and stretchy material mean the larger size is more than I need, but very comfy. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Comexim Basic T-shirt Bra

Nutshell: This is a very surprising bra, but not my holy grail.

I have it in two sizes: Beige in 40H (which is a cup size too small) and Bronze in 40HH. Let's analyze:

Beauty

This style is very plain. The only element of beauty is in the satiny lustre, I mean luster of the fabric. (Three years of living in the UK still pops out at odd times, even 20 years later, like when I say 'hy-dranj-ya' instead of 'hy-drain-geeya') 

40H
40HH

 Comfort & Fit

Cups.  Cotton-lined, which is an unusual find. Now, the cotton is not particularly soft - far less so than the linings of the Parfait Casey or the Natori Pure Allure - but it is breathable. It is lightly padded: a bit more than Pure Allure, but far less than Deco or Casey. There is serious projection here, and plenty of room for a full-on-top shape, yet also slightly compact. Yeah, I know - projected...yet compact. This is odd magic. The cups are not too tall, which I really appreciate since I am high-set.


Straps.  Very average and not restricted stretch, which allows a bit of bounce.

Gore.  This is a plunge, and is intended to soft-tack. So the gore causes no issues for close-set boobs.


Wires.   Very narrow indeed. On the flexible side. And wonderfully low. More narrow than Natori, which is medium-to-narrow.  


And definitely more narrow than Ewa Michalak. There is basically zero danger of any armpit-stabbing or side-wire chafing. 

I really enjoyed having my boob sovereignty respected by allowing them to remain where they belong, which is: completely on the front of my chest. I am not a believer in 'tissue migration'.

I am pretty clear on tissue that is boob vs tissue that is, er, fluffy bits. I have no wish to corral side-chub into the cup. I prefer it to remain in its homeland: my back and sides. I just want boob in my cups. 

But that's me. If you feel differently, or are shaped differently, Comexim is probably not your brand. 




Band.   OK. Describing the band as 'running tight' is the equivalent of saying my hair is 'slightly wavy'. Uh, no. The sizing of the band bears no relationship to actual measurements in our dimensional universe. This 40" band does not even come close to stretching to 36 actual inches. When I say I need an extender with this bra, I don't mean I need a standard non-stretch version that adds an extra 2", such as I would wear with a Cleo. Noooo. I mean I require a full-on 3" extender - complete with a large elastic inset - and even then, I can only fasten it on the loosest hook. I don't think even a 42 band would allow me to actually close the bra. Perhaps a 44.....maybe.

Shape.  Gorgeous. Truly. Because the cups are so projected and front-and-center, I feared a serious jacked-up boob tent effect under loose, flowy tops. But that is not what happened. At all. Here is the bra under two very different fabrics:

A loose airy open-weave knit, with a very floaty, open shape:
 Yeah, I don't know how they accomplished that, either.




And tight-weave knit with a draped, boxy silhouette:


Compromises

OK, this one makes me sad. It stops this Comexim from being a full day of comfort bra, and relegates it to a special occasion bra.

Underband.  This is not a bandless style, but the underband is very minimal. Due to the projected shape of the cups, and the non-restricted stretch straps, the full weight of the bust is suspended like a shelf - centered directly above the underband. And it simply doesn't have enough structure to take the weight comfortably, so distributes a lot of it to the bottom of the wires. Basically, the effect is the same as a heavy wall shelf suspended by two small horizontal braces, rather than L-brackets. To be fair, I am at the upper edge of their size range, so if you are below say, a UK 36F, this may not even be an issue for you.

When Do I Wear It?

When I want the girls to look their best under flowy tops or very low necklines. Formal wear or a special occasion. The bra is a lot more comfortable for standing than sitting. So while it would give the perfect look for the opera or symphony, I would hesitate to wear it to a much longer event like a protracted wedding, unless I was going to spend a lot of time standing or dancing.
Size: 40HH (true size more like a 42H)