Saturday, October 15, 2016

Review: Fantasie Rebecca Nouveau Spacer bra

Nutshell: virtually the same bra as the Fantasie Rebecca, but less plain and with less irritating trim. (The Nouveau style was apparently discontinued last month so will be around a bit longer on discount sites.)


Very plain, save for the Art Nouveau swirled tracery embroidery along the underband and sides....which you can barely see as it's tucked under the shadow of my boobs. Little tuxedo bows and embroidery on each strap. This color is cream, too pale to serve as a neutral, but I hate it less than my dreaded beige. The Nouveau was supposed to have a lower cut than the regular Rebecca, but I can tell no difference in the height of the gore.

Comfort & Fit

Cups  Fabulous spacer foam: by definition, this fabric is thin and breathable. Kind of remarkable, really; like a loose-weave foam. When I walk around I can actually feel the air flowing to my boobs, similar to a mesh bra but a lot more comfy a fabric. As you can see, you will not get full Tshirt bra style nippy coverage from spacer foam. It's enough camouflage for me personally, but although I'm not typically prone to headlight issues, you can clearly see some outline.

 The cups run large, by around 1-1/2 cups. I'm wearing an FF from 4 years ago here, i.e., 2 cup sizes smaller than my usual GG. I could go up a cup today - due to the double-bubble happening on my right side - but it still fits quite well. They are not cut tall, which I appreciate.

The shape is very round, with even fullness in the cup, which is shallow at the gore, but otherwise quite deep. 

Band   It's a standard Fantasie band: snug, and with only 2 hooks. It's surprisingly comfy considering that, but it does have that unfortunate UK construction where the band angles upward in the back. That can make it appear the band is riding up, which is not the case at all. It simply isn't angled downward slightly - as so many European bands are - which has the great feature of counter-balancing the weight of the boobs and fitting securely and without the need for tightness. A far better design approach than simply insisting upon tight bands, which balance the weight through sheer constriction. I digress.

Straps  Nicely placed. They are not center pull, so can still be worn with wide(ish) necklines, but are placed a little further in than the usual balconette, while also angling in at the back. They are on the thin side of average, which is fine, because due to the design they are not carrying too much weight.

Shape  Very rounded and a little wide.  

It accommodates quite a bit of upper fullness and the spacer foam fabric is flexible enough to actually let my boob retain its natural shape on top.

I'd say full-on-bottom shapes will experience some empty space at the top of the cup, but balanced and full-on-tops will enjoy the fabric respecting their natural upper boob sovereignty.

The shape is not minimized exactly but the projection is softened which makes flowy tops or boxy shapes hang much better. No boob tent issues here.

When Do I Wear It?

When I want a very round shape, with more coverage and smoothness than a seamed bra can provide, but don't want a full-on molded foam Tshirt bra. Especially during warm weather and clingy fabrics.
Size:  38FF


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: Rosme Annija Half-Padded bra

Rosme is an eastern European brand; from what I can tell, it is based in Latvia. Apparently there is some connection to Miss Mary of Sweden as well, a company that has been around for donkey's years - the 1950s I'd guess, from their aesthetic, which is...traditional. (Read: lots of horizontal seams, pointy cups, and wirefrees - and always, always in white.) But they offered larger cup sizes, so they were often the only option. 

Rosme is a good deal less frumpy in their aesthetic. I've tried a non-padded balconette in the past and it was quite comfy, if much pointier than I prefer. So I thought I'd try the half-padded version and see if I got a rounder shape.


Stylized rose lace pattern is unique. 
Unfortunately, Annija only comes in beige or black.
The beige is a cool tone, non-yellowy, so a decent match for my skin.


Straps.  Quite comfy. The front is wide and flat, but the back is fairly narrow regular elastic. 

Wires.  On the narrow side: less narrow than Gorsenia or Comexim; similar to Natori. Medium-soft gauge.

Band.  Very true to size. Mesh, but on the softer side.

Cups.   The foam lining the bottom half of the cup is thin, so it gives support and structure, but is lightweight. Unfortunately, the lace upper cup - which I assumed to be stretch lace - isn't. Which makes this bra completely unsuitable for a full on top shape, and results in this rather unfortunate shape. 

Oh dear:

The top of my boob is forced downward into the cup, where most of the space is - except that bottom bit, where it is not cut full enough for the foam to accommodate much boob. 

I am getting a downward ski slope shape worse than Curvy Kate's.

This shape is 100% meant for a  full on bottom boob shape. I don't think even a balanced shape could make this style work.

When Do I Wear It?

There is no way to make this shape work for me. Which is unfortunate, since the quality is decent, the price point is great, and the brand is easily available on amazon and eBay. If you are full on bottom, this is definitely a budget brand worth trying.
Size: 38H

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Review: Freya Pansy

Eight years ago, when I finally gave up trying to fit into 38DD's, Freya was the first full-bust brand I tried. It was (& is) easily available on eBay and brastop. BrasIHate had not yet written her (bra)life changing post explaining full-on-top vs. full-on-bottom, with the now iconic turquoise boob silhouettes. So I was still trying - & being hugely disappointed by - all of the bras so beloved at that time: Freya Pollyanna & Jolie; Panache Lucy; Curvy Kate Princess. 

I had found my correct size (36G at that time) but nothing fit just right and I never was happy with the comfort or shape I got in any of those correctly fitting bras. Still, at a 36G, I was able to wear the 'normal' Freyas - I had no idea of the suckage that would ensue when I crept over that cup line in the sand and needed a 36GG. I went from being semi-satisfied with Freya's attractive, moderate coverage, and minimally comfortable being completely appalled at the ox-in-a-harness look (and feel) that afflicted anything above a G-cup. Then I read the post  Why I Hate Freya. And realized that the brand would never work for me. All of the balconette shapes are the same; there are no styles that suit full-on-top shapes, save the 1/2 cups. And those stop at a G-cup. Because naturally. 

I moved on to try many brands that are less, well, stodgy. For all their wacky patterns, Freya is incredibly conservative, sticking with their same old clunky 3-part balconette shape regardless of all the innovation being shown by new brands like Tutti Rouge, which offer many different cup shapes to suit many different boob shapes. Freya? Nope. They're still clinging to their frumpy shape and bizarre belief that some kind of mysterious, cataclysmic change occurs from G-to-GG necessitating epic harness-style scaffolding and 1" straps.

Fast forward 6 years and I decide to give Freya another try. Why? Because I was suckered by the hyper-realistic floral pattern trend (the proper name for that, I cannot recall right now). And Pansy was on sale. I regret my moment of optimistic weakness.


Hmmmm. The print is actually very pretty - what you can see of it - even continuing onto those honkin-huge straps. But that awkwardly large expanse of double-lined, non-stretch lace breaks up the pattern in a clunky way and makes the bra read - and feel - very large and blocky on the body. Curvy Kate suffers from this same compulsion to expand the upper cup to ridiculous proportions as the sizes increase.


Yeah, there really isn't much.

Band. Awful, frankly. And the bane of all Freyas. A crappy, rough mesh, with a very narrow edging of elastic - top & bottom - which is tighter than the mesh band itself and therefore cuts into the skin. Yeah, thanks for that, Freya.

Straps. These are surprising comfy. And they ought to be, as they are enormous. Wider than any other Freya straps I've encountered. The patterned material extends about 1/2 the length, and has a unusual feature: it isn't stitched down, which is usual and would render the front of the strap non-stretch; instead, the fabric floats like a soft, stretchy tube, allowing the strap to conform perfectly to the shoulder. This is only great design element I've ever seen from Freya. Though the width is really overkill - and I say this as a lover of wide straps.


Cups.  The lace lacks any stretch, rendering this the usual terrible for full-on-tops shape. Pollyanna (discontinued, naturally) had a nice stretch lace top that made if workable for FOTs as well as FOBs. Pansy doesn't. The cups are quite full coverage; I don't consider this a balconette, but a full cup.

Wires.  Above G-cup, the wires change to a wider, taller shape. Not helpful. They are also a heavier gauge, so less comfy.

Tack.  Because they also make the gore ridiculously tall and wide in the GG, I do not get the nice tack I did with a G. 

Shape.  It really doesn't appear too bad from the side:

But under clothing, the effect is just...awkward, especially from the front: pointy and splayed:

When Do I Wear It?

Yeahhhh, I no longer put up with discomfort, or the ox-in-a-harness look/feel. Or brands that simply ignore customer feedback and years of requests for a rounder shape, and better bands. It would take a serious change in their design philosophy for me to try Freya again. And the brand is nothing if not resistant to change.
Size: 38GG