Friday 10 February 2012

Review: Bravissimo's Current Offerings, February Update

I went back to Bravissimo today to try out their new stock. I’m sorry to say the experience was kind of depressing in terms of the service I received. I’m not usually one to get on my high horse about this, but I was bewildered and embarrassed by my talk with the women who helped me; if I had even a fraction less confidence about my boobs, I might have just walked out.

In my experience, when you go into the fitting area in Bravissimo, the women working there always sort of stare at you like they are waiting for you to say something highly specific. In all my visits, I’ve never figured out what they want me to say, because everything that comes out of my mouth seems to totally baffle them.

Here’s how it would work in my mind: I go up to the desk, they say, “Hi! Would you like to get fitted?” I say, “Well, I normally wear 28J, but I can fit into a 28HH in certain styles.” They put me in a basic bra to check that I am still wearing the right size, then they bring me all the styles they have in my size and I try them on and buy what I like.

Here’s how it worked today: I said, “Um, hi, I wear a 28J but—”
The woman interrupted me and said, “What would you like to try on?”
I said “I’d just like to try things out and see what you have.”
She responded, “Well, everything in a 28 band sells out almost immediately so we don’t really have very much. We definitely won’t have much in colors.”
I said “Can I just try on everything you have in a 28J and also the things that stop at HH, in a 28HH?”
She said “Oh, no, I can’t bring you everything. Here, look through this catalogue and pick out the styles you would like to try on.”

Really? First of all, if everything sells out right away in a 28 band, why don’t they stock more? Second of all, that wasn’t even true—there was only one style that was actually sold out. Third, if there really was so little, why couldn’t she bring me everything they had? Fourth, do they really expect most people to walk in knowing one or two specific bras that they want to try? How are you supposed to know what will fit if you can’t try on a variety of styles?

Eventually my look of embarrassment became too much for her, and she caved and brought me the basic concept of what I asked for. Here are the results.

Bravissimo Ditsy Blossom

This one was actually prettier than I expected; from the online photos I thought it would be hideous, but the pattern and color were quite nice. The shape was similar to the Alana, so I knew it wouldn’t fit me even in a 28J. They only had a 28HH, so this is me breathing out all the way to make it look like it wasn’t horribly too small.

For Alana fans, this bra will probably be a nice fit. The band is quite tight, so it would last longer too. The fabric of the cups is pretty stiff and scratchy, though.

Bravissimo Rococo Charm

This is another half-cup along the lines of the Demi Diva/Parisian Plume. The fabric in this one was a lot stiffer, though, and I’m still not a fan of how high the center gore is. Once again, I recommend this bra for people who want to get a very minimized, round, compact shape from the side--compare it to the side views of Bravissimo's other bras.

Panache Melody

Since I own this in a 28HH and it’s a bit small on me, I simply wanted to try it in a J-cup. It was indeed a much better fit, although it became even more V-necked and Freya-ish in its appearance from the front. 

I don’t like how big the upper leafy section is—it makes the bra a lot less open at the top so it isn’t as good a fit on me as Panache’s Harmony bra (the supposed model for the Melody).

Also, the width of those wires is just getting crazy.

Bravissimo Broderie

This is one of those bras that has that pesky extra lining in HH-K cups, so it looks like a totally different bra from the product photo.

That said, I don’t dislike the way it looks with the extra lining, and I think it looks nice from the front. I’m not crazy about the shape from the side, though.

I think Alana fans might like this bra better than I did. It is also fairly low in the armpits, which I know a lot of people really need, so there’s that.

Bravissimo Boudoir Beau

This was an unpleasant surprise for me, because I had really loved the Boudoir Beau when I tried it in the red and grey color. This black one seemed like a totally different bra! It was stiffer, smaller even in the same 28J, and just MEH all over.

The shape from the side was pointy and low-slung, nothing like the nice rounded shape I got in the red/grey version. I’m… confused.

Bravissimo Starlet Bra

I love me a nice red bra, but this one wasn’t my favorite. It looked a bit dull from the front, and from the side you can see that I didn’t get much uplift in it.

However, it is REALLY REALLY low in the armpit, so again, for people who seek that feature this bra could be a miracle. Not to be a broken record, but I also think this bra would be appreciated more by Alana fans, although the shape is a little different.

It also has very wide, shiny satin straps. I was torn; on the one hand, they are very comfortable and soft, but on the other hand, I imagine they would just slide off the shoulders over and over—the satin is on the inside of the strap as well.

Bravissimo Moulin Rose

Oh man, I really wanted to like this. I think the concept is lovely, the colors are nice, and the textures are delightful (satiny cups, velvet ribbon). Sadly, this was not a bra I got along with. I had to try it in a 28HH because there is no J, but the HH usually fits me in Bravissimo’s half-cups (this one is padded, like the Parisian Plume that fit me fine in a 28HH) and this one just DIDN’T fit. 

It was very small, but it was also kind of flattening—taking the minimizing effect of these half-cups to ridiculous levels.

I would recommend going up a cup size, or even two, for people trying this bra.

Bravissimo Dotty Spot

This bra is a favorite of lots of people I know for giving a super-uplifted shape—one of the best for giving the “green shape”:

It’s not a shape that really suits my body, but I am a fan of this bra on other people’s behalf. As you can see, the 28J was a bit small on me, so I didn’t really get the full uplifted glory and projection that this bra gives others, but it’s not a bad shape. 

It’s also very low in the armpit, for fans of that.

Curvy Kate Thrill Me

The Thrill Me is a bra that I’ve owned in various sizes and colors, but it’s not one that I’ve had an easy time with. I’d say it definitely runs about a cup size small in this color. Because it was small on me, the center gore didn’t sit on my chest, and I felt very unsupported. It would have been nice in the right size, though; overall I think the Thrill Me is a great bra, though in my opinion it doesn’t measure up to its sister the Tease Me.

Bravissimo Satine

This bra is the same as last season’s Bettie Mae bra, which I’d quite liked, except this one is a million times better. It’s not orange, and it’s smooth and satiny and luxurious-feeling. I absolutely loved this bra. The center gore sat right on my chest, and it gave a delightful subtle cleavage and a nice shape. 

I would have definitely bought this except for the fact that they didn’t have my 28J, so I had to try it on in a “sister size” of 30HH. I may still order it online even though it’s well outside my normal budget for a bra.

Bravissimo Thea

For some mysterious reason, Bravissimo is keeping this bra a big secret. It’s not on the website, it’s not in their catalogue, you can’t order it by phone, and they didn’t bring it out to me until I asked for it by name—even though they had it in my size! The only reason I knew about it at all is from a couple of people I know who had tried it on in the shop.

This bra is basically a plunge version of the Alana. As you may have gathered by now, I do not get on well with the Alana, but the Thea was awesome! It gave a really good shape from the side, only cut in the slightest fraction on even my full-on-top boobs, and the center gore was fairly low (low enough to show my hideous scar from the Sienna-stabbing) without making me nervous. Like with the Satine, the center gore sat right on my chest and I felt very secure and supported.

At this point, if you live near a Bravissimo you will need to go into the shop and heckle them to even get a look at this bra. But if they ever end up putting it up on the website (really, how can they NOT? Everyone will want one), I highly, highly recommend it.

Finally, I want to mention Bravissimo's Luxe Heart bra. 

This was the one style that was actually, genuinely sold out in anything approaching my size (or so the woman working there told me). I'm going to have to say that I wasn't too depressed about this. I got a chance to look at, and feel, the bra in the few sizes they had out in the front of the shop, and I found it very stiff and scratchy. I'm also not crazy about the colors or design. I'm clearly in the minority, though, so if you like this bra you may want to be quick to order it (although it's not sold out in any sizes online yet).


  1. Do you think the Dotty Spotty just runs small in the cup, or that it seemed small because of the shape not suiting you? I'm sort of between sizes right now due to some holiday weight gain that just WON'T GO AWAY, and I'm dying to buy the blue and red Dotty Spotty currently on sale on the Bravissimo site, but it's only available in my band size one cup size up from what I usually wear (or, well, I guess I should say what I was wearing prior to Thanksgiving/Xmas/New Years). So if it runs a bit small in the cup, it might be just right.

    1. I think it is mostly down to the shape not suiting me, but have you ever tried the Alana, and bras based on it? Dotty Spot is similar to that in that people with fuller boobs on top generally have to size up to avoid cutting in (plus the Alana is reputed to run a bit small anyway, which I must say I agree with). The Dotty Spot is a better fit on me than the Alana--it's a little bigger than the Alana, that is--but if you have full-on-top boobs I think you'd be right to size up in the Dotty Spot anyway. So I guess it is down to the shape but if you're between sizes it might still be the right choice to go for the bigger.

      One word of warning, though, the fabric used in the Dotty Spot is fairly thick and not at all stretchy, so if it was too big and got wrinkles, it might show under clothes.

      Generally better to go too big than too small, though, in my opinion!

    2. Hmmmm...Well I've never tried any Bravissimo bras, since I live in the US, can't try them in a store, and find their prices a bit prohibitive. And I have full EVERYWHERE boobs. It's actually a bit problematic, as most cups are too shallow at the base AND I get a lot of cups that cut in at the top. But I love the way it looks in your photo, and the low armpit is a dream. So many bras rub my armpits raw by the end of the day.

      Guess I'll try the one cup up. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Which branch of Bravissimo was this? I visited the edinburgh store and was really wrongfooted by an incredibly unhelpful assistant who seemed only to want to let me try on bras if i was very specific. I'm used to the Oxford street one in London, where you can do exactly what you say - tell them your size(ish), and what kind of colour etc you fancy, and they bring you an armful of bras to try.

    1. Interesting, it WAS the Edinburgh store! I wonder if perhaps they just train their staff in a way that causes them to act like this? I hope I'll get a chance to go to the London store at some point.

  3. I'm sorry that you weren't treated well.

    I really like the Thea, can't imagine why they don't want us to see it?
    And as for the rococo charm: I've seen it on some women in smaller sizes and it nearly never fit because of this ridiculously high center gore.

    1. My guess is that they are doing a sort of "test run" of the Thea to see if it works/sells well. That would mean they'd have low enough stock that they can't put it anywhere but the stores. I really, really hope they end up bringing it out so it is more widely available.

  4. Seriously, thanks for doing this! I just had a chance to skim everything because my 3 year old is jumping all over me at the moment but what size in the thrill me did you try and is that one size up from your normal Thrill me size or do you mean your normal Curvy Kate size?

    1. I tried the Thrill Me in a 28J, which is my normal Curvy Kate/Freya size and also the size I wear in some Cleo/Panache stuff. I also own the Thrill Me in cobalt/fuschia in a 28HH, which is too small for me, especially on one side--but not as small as the 28J azure/plum that I tried yesterday in Bravissimo. I also own the older ivory/black Thrill Me in 28J and that is too big. Because of these inconsistencies, it is really hard for me to say what my "normal" Thrill Me size is, but I do fit a 28J in the Tease Me, and this color of the Thrill Me at least is one size smaller than that. I find the whole range rather confusing :/

    2. I finally had a chance to really read through this. The
      Bravissimo Satine looks amazing! It's also out of my budget but now you have me eyeing it. You're normally a 28J, right, so it seems to run pretty true to size then?

      Thanks for the run down on the show girl bras! I really want to try one but have been pretty scared to because of the sizing. However, I'm really thinking about it once Brastop has their next round of free international shipping.

      BTW, sorry your experience was so crappy. :( Although, I have to admit, I'd take a crappy experience any day if I could just try on bras in my side in person. :P

      Oh, and what is up with Panache making wires that go so far back to our shoulder blades?

  5. I had the same problems with the Moulin Rose, I really liked the look of it but it just did not fit, so I went for the Luxe Heart bra which I really do love, it's a great fit and really comfortable, and the material isn't itchy against the skin but I think the colour isn't as nice as it could be.
    I seem to have a problem with demi cup bras too, they just don't suit me at all and I can never get the centre gore to lie flat.

    I really like the look of the Thea though! I may have to go try it on. Do they acknowledge its existence if you just ask for it in store?
    The staff at the Bravissimo store in Leeds are like this as well, you have to be really specific about what you want and have to go out and ask them to check if your bra is fitted ok or if you want another size bringing which is kind of awkward because you either have to get dressed again or put on one of the purple dressing gowns...

    1. I just asked "Do you have the Thea plunge bra?" without any explanation and the saleslady brought it right out for me, she didn't seem surprised that I knew about it. I assume that if someone came in asking to try plunge bras, they would bring it out without being asked. I think I didn't get it right away because she pegged me more for a "colorful"/"frilly" type customer-- I had to ask for the Satine plunge as well.

  6. Hi, a belated thanks for the review! I was wondering if you could help me out a bit, since I am still rather new to Proper Bra World...

    I would really like to get the Rococo Charm bra, but here, where I live, the only place that does proper fitting stocks mainly Freya bras. So I got a Freya Pollyanna (30GG), which fits great, but I suspect that the sizing might not work for Bravissimo :-) If it's not much to ask, what size would you recommend?

    Love your blog, by the way, thanks a lot for sharing all the wonderful bra-posts!


    1. The 30GG is probably a good place to start! I consider the Freya Pollyanna to be a great basic bra that runs very true to size, so you can probably buy most bras in that size, other than ones that are noted to run small (like Bravissimo's Alana).

  7. I think I'm going to buy that Satine bra online, do the cup and band run big/small compared to Freya?

    1. I'd say about the same, maybe a bit on the smaller side in terms of the cups. I can wear a 30H in most Freya bras but would want a 30HH in the Satine. But I'm between sizes. If you're solidly in the middle of your cup size, you might be fine going with your normal size.

    2. Forgot to mention, if it's the Deco you're comparing to, the Satine runs about 1.5-2 cup sizes smaller than the Deco. I fit into a 30GG Deco, because it runs a cup size larger than most bras.

  8. sizing re brands is unbelievable, thank you all for your comments and reviews, you helped me a lot! I am from france and finding Freya is ok but other bigbusted brands don't sell in stores here except online.

    Freya bands : Pollyana looked like a grand mother one, no sexy at all, band is true to size to my 30J but the cup in H is really too big...compared to the trudie 32HH which is true to size for the band (so a bit big for my 30) But the cup is downsized compared to mine. I have purchased the Cary's longline is absolutely beautiful, true to size for the band, have tried the biggest so G and it should have been an H. Damn .

    Curvy Kate, I have a 32H and a 30HH, the cup is a little bit too small for the 30HH and the band is true to size for Tempt me Plunge and Elegance bra plunge, unlike I had seen on the internet.

    I am a 30J so Freya about a 30H, sometimes a 30GG, sometimes an HH.
    Curvy Kate : my 30J is true to size.

  9. What size Thea are you wearing in your pics? I'm thinking of getting one and you and I are really close in size :) albeit opposite shapes

    1. It's a 28J! I ended up buying it, but I wear it with an extender now, so equivalent of 30HH. It does get a little bit droopy throughout the day, so I wonder if the Satine might be the better of the two bras... but I prefer unpadded so that's why I went with Thea.

    2. Darn lol I was hoping it was a 30H because someone in the Clothes for Boobs Facebook page is selling one :P thanks though

  10. Thank you SO MUCH for doing this, you're several cups larger than me, but the same band and I get a much better idea of what to order from Bravissimo from seeing what you try on.