Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mass Review Of GG+ Cup Bras

This past weekend I took a trip to the bra store that originally fitted me into my correct size, Zoe and Co. There are two locations, one in Westerly, RI and the other in Concord, NH and if you’re anywhere near either of those places, I recommend a visit. Here's their website--they recommend making an appointment for fitting. The customer service is really impeccable. They check every bra for proper fit and write down your name and size so they can remember you next time you come in. Going there is always a wonderful experience. The prices are higher than online shopping, but in my opinion the excellent customer service is worth it if you can afford it.

I didn’t have my camera with me at the shop, but I tried a lot of bras and thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts on fit even without photos. Unless otherwise noted, all the bras I tried were a size 30H.

Fantasie Smoothing: There are two versions of this bra. The 4510 (Smoothing Molded T-Shirt Bra) is a true molded bra.
4510 (Smoothing Molded)

The 4500 (Smoothing Full Cup) is just plain fabric that is ‘molded’ into the shape of boobs, and thus seamless, but doesn’t have the stiffness or padding normally associated with a molded bra.
4500 (Smoothing Full Cup)
The non-padded Smoothing Full Cup gave quite a good shape, actually, though pretty low and somewhat minimized. Unfortunately, though, the cups go up very high and therefore I found it would lose a lot of practicality for the stuff I wear now, although it would work well with button-down shirts.

The padded 4510 also gives a good shape, but very different—quite ‘perky’ and with a lot of projection, which gets smaller in the tip of the cup so it isn’t too visually overwhelming. Not my favorite shape on myself—a little too in-your-face—but very attractive. However, since my boobs don’t have that much projection, the tips of the cups were empty even though a size down would have been small everywhere else. Since it’s a very stiff molding, it held its shape even with the empty area, but the whole thing just felt a bit like a contraption on me.

Both the 4510 and 4500 are a shade that is a bit too dark and too yellow-toned to be a perfect nude for me.

Fantasie 0993 (Classic Specialty Full Cup): 

Another beige bra from Fantasie, this one with seams. This oldie-but-not-goodie is similar to the Belle, but uglier and, if possible, even WORSE in terms of shape. I’ve never seen my boobs so pointy and flattened. Kinda like a spade shape:

I can’t think of anyone who would seek this shape. I’m officially renaming it the Fantasie Ugh-Get-It-Off-Of-Me.

Masquerade Coco: 

This one in a 30H was a perfect fit on me. My fitter was basically in raptures over it. The gore sat perfectly, the cups perfectly hugged my boobs. I’d say this bra fits pretty much identically to the Delphi (also like the Rhea, but Coco and Delphi have thinner padding) and is a good alternative to the Delphi for those looking to avoid its massive foamy straps. I would have gotten this one except I’ve finally learned that I will not really wear a padded bra; which is a shame as this one is beautiful.

Panache Fern:

 I tried this on in two colors without any hopes that it would work for me, as it’s the dreaded full-cup shape.

However, the Fern is nicer than some others with the same seam pattern. The shape was not stellar on me, but not nearly as bad as the Tango full-cup or a Fantasie full-cup. This is the sort of bra that I might have bought in high school before I was so picky about shape.

Panache Tango II Full Cup: I already knew that I hated this bra, but I tried it one more time for kicks. UGH UGH UGH. This bra is one of the bras that depresses me most.

To start off, the band runs really tight and the cups have absolutely no flexibility or stretch in them, so putting it on is like being suctioned into a cardboard bodice.

Secondly, the shape is just a huge ‘no’ for my boobs. Because they’re full on top, there isn’t any way that I’m going to get a natural ‘curve back in’ at the top (which happens for boobs with less upper fullness, as there’s less tissue there) which combined with the flat lift of the bottom would give a decent shape. Instead, the tissue at the top is flattened into a ski slope and my boobs become a behemoth-ish downward-pointing triangle. 0 out of 10 stars, would not recommend. I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend the Tango Full Cup to people who don’t have upper fullness (even though it will sometimes look better on them than it does on me) just because there are so many bras that will be nicer than this one on just about everyone.

The one exception is if you try on the Tango Full Cup in a store and the shape is nice on you; then you’re in luck, because it comes in zillions of colors and Panache obsessively brings out new versions of it every season. Tango Luxe! Tango Spirit! Tango Two Tone! Idina! Tango Accenti! Ugh smother me with a sock. I wish they’d give this much attention to their best bras, like the Andorra and Sienna.

Panache Tango II Plunge

I tried this one again just so I could nail down my impressions for the blog. It’s a LOT better in terms of shape than the Full Cup, and I like how flat the gore sits and how little cleavage it shows. But the cups just have too much depth to them for me, without having enough space to compensate everywhere else (especially in the top), which results in a pointy shape. I would say this one can definitely work for some shapes though.

Cleo Maddie

Cleo’s new molded bra that goes up to an H. Don’t get too excited, though. Sadly, this is no true H; the 30H was at least two cup sizes too small for me. Size UP in this one! It runs much smaller than the Juna etc. I’d recommend two sizes up from your size in Juna.

Curvy Kate Tempt Me

I knew this wouldn’t fit me in a 30H, because it’s the same cut as the Elegance, which was absurdly tiny on me in a cup size bigger. However, the Tempt Me does run a little bit bigger in the cups than the Elegance; I could probably fit a 30J in it, whereas I’d need a nonexistent 30JJ to fit in the Elegance. Of course, this is always going to be a bra that shows loads of cleavage, it has very little space in the bottom (even for me, who has very little boob tissue there), and it’s kind of an odd shape with tons of bra in the upper corners. But good for showing tons of cleavage in deep V-necks—just make sure you size up.

Curvy Kate Wild

Another bra with this same shape, but ran just slightly larger than the Tempt Me. To my surprise, I hardly got quad-boob in this one, although the cleavage levels were far greater than necessary for any event in my life. But if I really wanted show-stopping cleavage (no, thanks—I don’t) this would be perfect in a 30HH. I’m not a cleavage person, but if you are, I’d recommend the Wild over the Tempt Me for a better fit (and it’s cute!).

Cleo Darcy

No surprises here, this fits just like the Juna, Rihanna, Ellie, Sadie, etc etc.

Royce Charlotte Soft Cup: 

I tried a wireless bra for the heck of it. The shape, of course, was heinous—sort of like an upside-down elf shoe—

…but I was interested to note that the cups actually did separate my boobs, so if I was living alone in a dark cave with no mirrors, I could comfortably wear this to bed. The band runs pretty tight on this one.

Do I believe that any wireless bra can give a nice shape? Not really—maybe a molded one—but it’s interesting to know that you actually can get separation without wires.

Curvy Kate Princess

I’ve reviewed this one before, and it’s a bra I have a thorny history with. The new purple color is beautiful, though. I tried it in a 30H, which I know is always one size too small for me in Curvy Kate balconettes, but this one was actually bigger than the old red Princess in the same cup size. So the Princess, like the Cleo Lucy, has actually gotten a little bit bigger over the years, which is good for those who need just a smidge more space in the cups. It’s not by any stretch a full cup size bigger, though.

Curvy Kate Daily Boost

Again, I knew the 30H they brought me was going to be one cup size too small, but all I really wanted to verify by trying this one was that it gives the same shape as the unpadded balconettes. It does. So this one is kind of a no-go for me; Curvy Kate’s bras with this shape just don’t make my boobs round enough or lifted enough for my tastes. It’s definitely a comfy bra though. Try it out if you like Curvy Kate’s unpadded balconettes and crave some padding.

Masquerade Deity

This is a newish padded plunge. It’s structured similarly to the Cleo Molly, but a little different; it gives a more rounded shape from the side than the Molly right off the bat. The satin material is gorgeous and luxurious. Padded means “not for me”, but I’d highly recommend this bra for those who like padding. I’d say it’s similar to the Bravissimo Satine but runs a cup size bigger.

Curvy Kate Gia

Again, these balconettes aren’t for me, and again it was a size too small, but even from that I was pretty impressed. The shape it gives is actually nicer than the other Curvy Kate balconettes I’ve tried. Pretty similar, but nicer. However, I’m not crazy about the thick material on the lower cup; it makes a really bulky seam across the boobs. But I guess it’s a good compromise between padded and non-padded.

Freya Fever bikini: My mom offered to buy this for me and I wasn’t about to refuse because this one looks CRACKERJACK on me in a 32GG. Better than the Siren bikini, because there isn’t that little bit of wrinkling along the seam. The gores on these plunges sit so unbelievably flat against my chest. The band on the Fever is tighter than the Siren or Cha Cha.

A real photo of me in it, since I own it now!
I also tried on the Fever bikini in a 30H, but I found that the structure is changed in this size (most of Freya’s plunge bikinis only go up to GG, but the Fever theoretically goes up higher; however, it’s an altered structure). The 30H had the straps placed closer to the middle and designed so that the top edge of the cups would hold the boobs in more. In my size range, this alteration isn’t necessary, and it’s not as cute as the normal plunge (it’s more practical/‘sporty’ looking). But the different design for bigger cups still fit well and gave a great shape, so it’s not a deal breaker; I just prefer the 32GG for that reason. I also didn’t note a huge departure in band size between the 30 and 32 just because there is so much Lycra involved.

I’ve been wearing my Fever bikini as a bra for the four days straight because frankly, no one is currently selling a bra that fits me as well as this bikini, much less one that gives SUCH a wonderful shape and is SO comfortable. I’m in love. 

Ruby Pink/Keia Simone: A big surprise from this one! I tried it in a 32GG and actually bought it.

I gotta say that I felt pretty suspicious of this one at first because it is so different from the kind of bra that usually works for me. It’s cut the same way as the Tango Plunge, with an altered full-cup construction in which the bottom sections still do not come up to meet the strap, but are angled diagonally instead of straight across. Not a seam structure that’s ever worked for me, except in the Andorra Plunge, which has side support. Plus, I’ve tried Ruby Pink/Keia bras before and they all failed on me, though I hadn’t tried one with this structure (the ones I tried before were proper balconettes). Finally, the vast top section is not something I’m used to. But despite the odds, this bra seems to work really well on me. The shape is what I look for: round and compressed. I’m not sure yet if the shape will change over the course of a day; the top section is made of mesh that has a good bit of stretch, but no elastic. I find that the use of a fabric that can distort, but doesn’t have any stretch to snap back to shape, can result in a bra whose shape declines over the course of the day—starts the day round, ends the day pointy. That’s a concern that time will reveal. But the thing I was so excited about was that this nude bra that finally MIGHT be my long-awaited well-fitting nude bra is actually CUTE! It has pom-poms and glitter. POM-POMS AND GLITTER. This is the kind of bra I’m waiting for from Cleo; only time will tell if it can meet that standard with wear. Full review to come.


  1. That Fever bikini looks all kind of awesome on you.
    In other news, my dislike of Fantasie has grown with this post. The 0993 is one of the most horrid bras I've ever seen.

  2. I recently bought the Fever in the 32HH, and it's kind of majorly disappointing. 32HH is my base size, and I have two Freya bras that fit me in the cups in that size (Piper and Gem). They don't provide the best shape ever, but they fit well enough. I get a weird puckering at the seam that look like my nips in the Fever, and it's at least a half cup size too small. I'm glad it works so well on you, though! Freya swimwear never used to let me down til now.

    1. I don't get that puckering in the Fever, but i know what you mean because I get it in the Siren bikini. It doesn't really bother me, but it is a bit annoying. You might have better luck in the other Freya swimwear shapes as they don't have that seam there.

  3. You probably would have liked the Fantasie 4520, which is the same cut as the 4510 but not stiff, but it tops out at a G cup which is super disappointing. :(

  4. The Fever is really gorgeous!

    And I really need to go back and stalk your Curvy Kate reviews. I tried the Gia recently and it was hideous. I mean, laughably bad. I need an extender with it (I bought a 32) but even that doesn't help me... my boobs try to eat it and I end up being able to pinch an inch of fabric below my boobs with the inverted 7 look on top. Argh. Pity because I LOVE the way it looks.

    None of those Fantasies you tried are flattering. I just need to keep myself a supply of my beloved Florence, I guess....

    1. Unfortunately, if the Gia didn't work on you, I doubt any of the other unpadded balconettes will work either. I also get the upside down 7 shape. To a certain extent, it's possible to get rid of that by sizing up and shortening the straps, but the problem is that Curvy Kate balconettes include mesh that is flexible but doesn't have actual stretch (like the Ruby Pink bra I described in this post) so it will lose its shape over the course of a day and doesn't have any elastic to bounce back. So even in a bigger size, the shape will look great in the morning and hideous two hours later. I've given up on them entirely. I still like the padded half-cup Showgirl bras for certain occasions though. And I'm interested to try the new unpadded plunge shape they're coming out with.

  5. I tried on the Cleo Maddie in, I thiiiiink, a 30G (my Freya size) and I hated it. It fit great but the gore was way too high (I don't usually wear bras that have a high gore) and it made my boobs look terrible in my opinion!

  6. I'm surprised you had such good experience there. Maybe I had one of the bad fitters. Over a year ago I went to the Concord location. The girl added 4 to my ribcage which was measured over my bra and the tape was not level. Then brought me my first bra in 30C. When I walked into the store I was wearing a well fitting 28FF...

    Long story short, a 2 hour drive and 2.5 hour experience left me leaving humiliated because she insisted not many women are as small as 28, pretty much implying my small framed 24" waist and 25" ribcage (seamstress here, I know how to measure properly and that number is not even with the tape pulled tight) were chubby and also that I had no boobs. She would not let me scoop properly either and every time I tried she yanked the bra back up by pulling very firmly on the straps, then would yank the band down in back, closing the 30's on their loosest eyes. I'm not kidding you when I say she pulled so hard, and the band was slanted down almost at my waist (and I've got a long torso). Wires were sitting on breast tissue, the whole experience was just painful (literally) and embarassing. I could not believe a bra fitter would act the way she did. I had a couple of questions for her too to see how well her bra knowledge was and she could not answer them. I can't remember her name but she had long blonde hair.

    1. Your story is very strange, since the fitters at Zoe and Co don't use tape measures. They look at you to determine your band size and try you in different sizes until they find the right one. Clearly the fitter you worked with was not one of the better ones, but if you told them you were wearing a 28FF surely they would have brought you that size?

      Zoe and Co however does not typically fit people into the uber-tight bands that a lot of bloggers are into. They fit me into a 30 and I measure 27, but as you probably know from my blog, I hate tight bands and just as often wear a 32. They brought me 32s when I asked, they also have brought me 28s in the past when I asked.

      To be fair, people needing 28 bands ARE somewhat rare. In the Westerly location, they have a chart listing the number of their customers needing each size, and there are far fewer needing 28 bands. 30, 32, 34 are more common. Of course those numbers do reflect their particular clientele, but they stock fewer 28 bands because they do not sell as many. They can special order sizes for you, though.

      The thing they do where they pull the straps over your shoulders and then pull the band down is their way of testing to make sure that it properly fits. It's something I do when putting on my bra as a matter of course to make sure the bands sits in the right place.

      I'm actually shocked to hear that you had a bad experience there. Zoe and Co is very committed to making sure their fitters are uber-professional and super committed and they require six months of training. I'm not denying that you did have a bad experience, just that I think it was a major anomaly and I'm sure the owners would be horrified to hear that you were made to feel uncomfortable. I've been to both the Concord and Westerly shops and have always had a good experience and I've never heard of anyone else having a bad experience there.

    2. It was in Dec 2011, so maybe they've stopped using the tape measure method since then? The bra moved significantly when the straps were yanked up and band pulled down. If this is one of their tests to see the fit then I'm really surprised the fitter didn't noticed how much the bra was moving. I found her some time ago on the company's Facebook page and she has worked at the RI location before. From what I read it seemed she was one of the better (senior, so to speak) fitters. I had read reviews of the stores beforehand and it got about 50/50 but I decided to give them a try anyway. I was pretty obvious that 30 was ginormous. 28 slides around and I don't like firm bands either. The girl I had was basically just implying her ideas of what fit and comfort should feel like rather than making sure I was secure and supported. When I walked out I felt as though they were just looking for a sale. But yeah...totally my experience there. I would definitely go back if they didn't know my name, what I looked like or size worn (wouldn't want them to recognize me and bring me what they think I should be wearing) because they do have a fantastic selection! I was pretty impressed with that part.

      I sent them an email a couple of months after the fact telling them my experience and all the things that happened, even left a comment on their FB wall. The comment was deleted and I never heard back from them.

    3. As to the measuring thing, I've been going there a couple times a year since 2007 and never seen a tape measure. I don't know about the other stuff, just that lots of people have had wonderful experiences there. I'm sorry yours wasn't good.

    4. Ugh, I think I've ran into the same fitter! Exact same problems. I know what fits. No part of me is exactly huge. Other than my boobs, but they aren't that big either. I measure 25" ribs, prefer a 28" band due to lack of rib padding, the ultra tight fit is just too tight. I'm extremely bottom heavy, 34" at apex. 28DDD is my starting bra.

      34" is not a starting band size ever for me.

      My very pretty 28DDD did fit me correctly. No boob spillage, no digging in, back lays spot on. Center gore never lays flat for me, it relates to touching boobs and their starting point being below my sternum, so there isn't support there.

      Smallest bra she brought was a 30C. Band was crazy loose, could pinch in 6" of material, and never mind quad boob, I had side boobs, under boobs and over boobs. I'm not that stupid, that bra did nothing to fit. She swore it was perfect.

      Her magic tape measure over my bra, over my boobs, gave her a 32" and clearly she's right. Granted, it's Dillard's, but my Mom fit bras for years before I needed one, I've never worn the wrong size other than the 28" for comfort vs the 26" for exact measurements. I'm in the 15% who knows her bra size.

      I don't care if they are normally fantastic. Three hours of being put in poorly designed for what I need, huge band sizes and dinky cups. I'm dinking around online instead. At least there, I may get the right size.

      Feb 2013 visit here.

    5. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but again, I'm curious--if you know your size already, why didn't you just ask for them to bring you that size? (28E is what they would call your size in UK sizing).

    6. I'm also personally shocked to hear these stories... this store literally changed my life when I was a sad teenage girl with 30HHs trying to make 34DDs work. If I was ever measured (I can't remember the details of my first fitting) it was around my underbust, but they prefer to fit you on a per-bra basis. The fitters there taught me the "swoop and scoop" and have never been anything except helpful and kind.

    7. I did ask for 28DDD/E which got me nowhere. The band size would clearly be too small and cups too big.

      Plus, honestly, it felt like she was after something from Fantasie - which are a joke to get fitted in my world - and Curvy Kate - which run very small, the one I do have for the jack the girls up and flaunt them is a 32F I think.

      I should have pushed back, but I didn't. So back to online shopping. Plus, despite the general dislike, the Tango II plunge and full cup fit me easily, so I've got plenty of choices. Granted in full cup, I go with a 30DD so I can take in the center gore. Which is my always issue.

      Just glad I didn't try them before my kids - I was in a 26DD then.

    8. @Kerri - My guess is they think in terms of most clothing companies...small band, frame or dress size means you have no boobs. Not sure how Anonymous feels, but I'm under this impression in most stores I shop. I even still have friends who feel this way, that if you're thin there is no need to assume you have boobs. So when going into a lingerie store it's no different. I'll throw this out there...I remember now my fitter's name was Leona. I informed her of the size I was wearing and what I was looking for, but apparently her measuring tape and opinions were correct. Afterall, she clearly told me "Not many women are really as small as a 28". She only wanted a sale.

      Perhaps Anonymous was in the same boat, I was testing their size knowledge. Fail.

    9. I checked with my friend who is in the area. She's normally a 30G in Freya and Masquerade and 30H-HH in Curvy Kate - sigh, I wish my boobs looked that nice.

      My fitter, and hers, was Leona. Cassandra did push back on getting a 30 band, but was told that too tight bands damage breasts, so she refused to bring out anything under a 34, except a Cleo 32F - Cleo doesn't typically fit my friend well and the cup when it does fit is a 30H. So, since, duh spilling out of the cups, the band is too small. So Cassandra put on the 34G Curvy Kate Romance, let Leona fake worship the fit, then walked out of the fitting room with the back up around her shoulders and told two other fitters that if they find the bra actually fit, she may as well go to Victoria Secrets.

      Stores may be decent, but if Leona is your fitter - don't bother.

  7. When I wore a smaller cup size (currently 36jj), I loooved the Fantasie 4500, it gave me a great shape and I loved that it was seamless. Haven't worn a seamless bra since because....they do not exist in my size. Curvy Kate has been an overall fail for me, what with the inconsistant sizing and tiny cups. Tango is a constant companion, just because it fits. My only wish is for a smooth fabric! Does fabric without embroidery non exist?! help me! :)

    1. Yeah, I liked the 4500 too. When I get a proper job I may get that one :)

      The Tango II does also come in a plain fabric but the same cut (it's called the Tango Classic). I think it might be discontinued, but if you check eBay and sale sections in online stores, you might find some on sale. Since it's the same as the Tango II, you can just get your normal size in that. It only comes in black and beige, but the fabric is smooth.

    2. The Tango classic fits most people differently than the Tango II. Lots of people don't like the shape and have been asking for a smooth Tango II. I hope the Tango Accenti that is coming up will fill that void. Of course, it depends on individuals, so it's always worth a try, but the Tango classic is quite unpopular. (I don't hate it, beause it was the first bra in my size I could get my hands on in years, so that was something at least!)

  8. I bought the Fever last year in the balconette style in 32FF. It's been my best fitting bikini so far, though I find the straps are really itchy and unfortunately it hasn't disappeared with wash and wear. I also get visible zigzag marks on my shoulders from the seams. Tried the plunge in the same size but it was too Big in the cups. I own the Coco too and think it fits a little different than the Delphi and a little better. Sadly I have grown out of it.

    1. Yeah, the one drawback of the Fever bikini is that the straps are much thinner than what I'm used to. I haven't experienced much discomfort from it yet, but I imagine it will get old, what with the frequency that I've been wearing it. The altered 30H cut had thicker straps though.

  9. Thanks for this! I'm really disappointed that the Maddie runs small. I am a moulded bra fan and I was hoping it would run large because 30H is too small for me in the padded Juna Cleos. On the other hand, you made me really want the Fever bikini!

    I also share your disgust in the constant expansion of the Tango, It's ugly and poorly constructed. I haven't tried the Sienna, but it's gorgeous and give a way superior shape. I really want it in the plum color you reviewed.

    Do the Wild cups happen to be less wide-set than the Tempt Me? My breasts are extremely close set, so the Tempt me (30J) basically covered the sides of my torso. I really like the look of the Wild.

    1. Unfortunately, I think the construction is pretty similar between the Wild and Tempt Me. Because of the shape of the cups, I think you'll end up with a lot of cup where you don't need it.

  10. Do you think the Tango would work for someone with bottom heavy breasts? I recall it being a favourite bra of mine in the past, BUT that when I knew nada about lift, shape etc. I used to wear full cups all the time. Ugh!

    1. Possibly! There are lots of Tangos available cheaply from eBay etc, so it's worth a try.

  11. I'm a 32GG and I have full-on-top breasts, what is a good style? I've been wearing a 34-36 D/DD at VictoriaSecret for years now and it's never worked for me. Since pinterest I've found that it's because I've been measured wrong. So I measured myself and now want to order online. I've never ordere online before, but I'm planning to order from I don't want to order and return againa and again so if you could help with a style that might work better for me I would really appreciate it! Your posts are awesome btw! I've learning so much! Thank you!

  12. I wear a 30G and your blog has been amazing. I wanted to know whether you regularly where a bra to bed? I don't currently as someone (possibly my mum) told me that it is bad for your boobs and that they need to allow the blood to flow properly. But i have noticed that in some of your posts you mention it. Thanks

  13. hello! could you please make a review of the Ruby Pink/Keia bra? and thank you for the blog, your is my favourite one.