Thursday 29 March 2012

What Freya Has To Offer (Brand Overview)

What is Freya good for? A lot, in fact. I’ve given them a lot of crap in this blog, but it’s silly not to acknowedge their strong points and the fact that they’re the best brand for many people. As part of my section “Starting Points”, I want to go over some of the ups and downs of the brand and hopefully provide direction for those who haven’t tried them before. Since it’s been a couple years since I wore Freya regularly, I’m not quite as updated as I could be on their most recent styles, though I’ve tried many of them in stores. So if you have knowledge that I lack, please add it in the comments!

Freya’s classic balconette are easy to wear, and give good shape for medium-sized boobs and full-on-the-bottom boobs of any size. They also seem to be a good fit for various other shapes but these classic balconettes are often not the best for full-on-top boobs, though it’s possible to make it work.
Freya’s unpadded bras tend to come up higher in the cup, which for larger cup sizes can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming visually. I’m beginning to come around to the fact, though, that the look isn’t bad, there’s just more fabric. It’s actually a bit retro without the pointy shape. Compare my 28J Freya Clarissa to my 28J Panache Confetti to see what I mean—the Freya clearly covers more of my chest, and makes my boobs look bigger, but it still looks cute, just different.

Freya Clarissa, left; Panache Confetti, right.

These higher-cut bras also tend to go hand in hand with higher center gores, but this is more true of the older styles than the newer ones. Some of Freya’s newer styles, like the Trudie and Beau, have center gores that sit a bit lower.

The extra coverage makes Freya bras a bit more reliable than other options, actually. These balconettes will reduce bounce you might get in lower-cut bras while walking around—something that I find embarrassing, so I’ve been reaching for my Clarissa a lot during this heat wave to reduce bounce in warm-weather clothes. The downside of the higher-cut cups is that they will show under low-cut (or in my case, even medium-low-cut) tops. This is actually something that I find cute and flirty for casual situations, but I can see how it would be a bit of a bummer for more serious or businesslike occasions.

One of Freya’s best shapes can be found in the bras modeled after the Antoinette—the Clarissa, Charlotte, Katie, Adele, Lucy, Pippa, and Claudia. 





All of these bras are discontinued, but you can still occasionally find them, especially the Antoinette, on eBay. The shape given by this bra is very round. Full-on-tops may need to size up or the top edge will cut in. I’m personally not sure which newer Freya bras, if any, follow this model, but I haven’t tried any on in shops that are identical. (I find myself wondering if the current Daphne style is similar?) Because these bras have the same fabric on all three parts of the cup, I find that they remain flattering even in the biggest cup sizes, whereas the bras with lacy upper sections sometimes grow unflattering as the cups grow.

The balconettes with the upper lace section (Pollyanna, Estelle, Latisha, Nancy, Faye, Edith, Luisa, Naomi, etc) are a very similar fit to the Antoinette-esque shapes for full-on-bottoms and will give a similarly good shape. 



These styles are also generally more forgiving for full-on-tops because the lace has a tiny bit of stretch, so sizing up may not be necessary. The Zara, Tara and Beau bras with the stripes instead of lace also fit fairly similarly to these, in my experience. 



When I tried the Sadie, it also gave a similar shape though the upper section is mesh rather than lace. This one reminds me of their older Mimi style, with a butterfly pattern, from way back when. The Mimi gave excellent shape, so I'm happy they've revived it. If you liked the Mimi, you may also like the Sadie!


The older Greta was also similar and was one of my favorite bras at the time that I owned it. 


The Lauren is yet another style that fits similarly. 


In my opinion, the biggest drawback to these upper-lace-section styles and the similar designs is that they have a tendency to look less flattering on bigger cup sizes, in contrast to certain Panache balconettes and the Curvy Kate Showgirl bras, which tend to look fairly similar across sizes. Because the lace on these Freya bras is usually a different color or texture, and that section gets expanded hugely in the bigger sizes, it tends to maximize the appearance of your boobs if you are just looking in a mirror with the bra on. Obviously not everyone will care about this, but it was always a big disappointment for me when I saw how different my bras looked from how they looked on the model. Because of this, in my Freya heydey I tended to prefer to seek out the styles that had the same fabric all over the cup. I want to note that the Lauren, although it looks sort of like the same fabric all over the cup, actually isn’t—the texture isn’t continued on the upper section, and I found it looked a bit silly on my larger size because of that. (I’ve seen it looking beautiful on others of a similar size, though, so maybe the style just didn’t suit me for other reasons.)

Another category of Freya bra is their padded half-cups. A lot of their balconettes come with a padded half-cup version that has three vertical sections on the bottom and an upper section, but since the sizing is much more limited, I've never been able to try one. They seem pretty promising for those who can fit them.

Padded Half-Cup Naomi

Padded Half-cup Lauren
Then there is the Arabella bra and its knockoffs—Lyla and Eleanor. These bras are sheer in the smaller cup sizes and have only a sheer upper section in the larger cup sizes


There are also some semi-sheer bras that are similar in shape, such as Eloise, Roxanne, Nina, Halle, and Alexa.



The Arabella and the bras like it often don't work as well for full-on-top boobs because the upper section is just too tight and tends to cut in unless you size up. Those whose boobs are fuller on the bottom, though, however, will get a really nice, perky, uplifted shape in these.

The Jolie bra is fuller-coverage and the cups go up higher towards the straps. It is popular among those who wear it as a basic bra and it has come in some pretty cute colors over the years, some of which you can still find on sale. I’ve never tried it myself, but I have heard from others that the band can run a bit big.


Finally, the Deco family is one of Freya’s strongest offerings. This may be the bra with the most universal popularity in the D+ community.



The regular Deco bras run about a cup size big, as do the Frida and Lydia versions, but the other versions (Carly, Crystal, Taylor, Ashlee) run truer to size, so a bit smaller than the regular Deco. The Deco also has a frustratingly limited size range. It only goes up to a GG, and it seems like everyone who wears a size above that just tries to cram themself in, or buys a bigger band size and takes in the band. Personally, I would hope to see the Deco developed up to a J, but I don’t see much action from Freya towards this. The massive fanfare surrounding the addition of the 28GG (ONE more cup size in ONE band size) proves that any sizing changes for the Deco are probably going to be miniscule and rare, which is really a shame. I’m lucky enough to actually fit perfectly in a 30GG Deco even though I usually wear a 28HH/28J, but I know many people who would really benefit from expanded sizes (and I’d probably get a 28H if they made one. Decos are almost always full price, rarely go on sale, and the colors do tend to sell out; if you want one, you typically have to invest. They are also subject to some tearing of the foam cups near the center gore after lots of wear. The bands are very well made, though, and don’t seem to stretch out much even with daily wear. These bras will typically give a lot of cleavage, which can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for.

It’s good to know that Freya bras sometimes get a bit dodgy after HH cup, when they do go up that high. The underwires get weak, the whole structure seems off. This is especially true in their recent Nieve balconette style, which is the same as the current Edina. (The Nieve and Edina longline styles are more like the padded half-cups I mentioned above.)

Nieve balconette
I have tried both of these bras and found that they gave a pretty good shape, similar to the shape given by the upper-lace-section styles. I liked the Edina better than the Nieve but I agreed with the general feeling that they weren’t the strongest bras nor the most supportive for higher cup sizes.

In general, though, Freya doesn’t really make any bras that are actually dowdy, and it’s pretty simple to see if the cup is too small (unlike Curvy Kate, where it is the shape that indicates whether you’re in the right size, as I’ll write about in a later post). So even if you don’t get your Freya fit spot on at first, you still won’t feel like a granny or hate yourself. For this reason Freya is probably the best starter brand and should be investigated by anyone who has just learned their size. The sizing is relatively similar between Freya and Panache, so it’s pretty easy to move between the two. The biggest difference in terms of fit is that Freya center gores are generally narrow while Panache center gores are generally wide. Freya is a better option for closer-set boobs.

Freya bras are a often harder to find at sale price than Panache or Curvy Kate. Leia Lingerie’s Outlet section is the best source for sales, and their regular section has one of the best selections of current-season styles. For those not in the UK, Figleaves tends to stock current Freya styles, and in the US you can sometimes find them at Nordstrom.

Of course many of the bras I've written about have subtle differences that will cause them to fit people in different ways, but I still hope this can at least serve as a starting point to send people in the right direction. I've also been unable to include anywhere near every bra Freya has made, but hopefully seeing which bras are similar will be helpful. 

Thursday 22 March 2012

30 and Below Bra Band Project!

Hi there readers! I've teamed up with the wonderful bloggers Boosaurus, By Baby's Rules, Braless in Brasil, and StackDD to help raise awareness for the existence of a large market for band sizes 30, 28, 26, or smaller. Braless in Brasil's recent study proves that likely more than HALF of all women (in all weight ranges) may need a 30-inch band or below. Yet 30 and 28 bands are still rare and difficult to find, and 26 bands hardly exist at all! To try to shake things up, we're going to compile a collage of photos proving that women wearing 30 bands and below are common and look just like many of the women we see in our everyday lives.

At the bottom of this post, you will find a submission form. You can submit straight from here! We will crop faces out of the photos that include them, so you do not need to worry about being recognized. You can also submit a photo that is already cropped or taken from the neck down. Feel free to wear clothing (preferably something that still shows your figure) or lingerie, just no nudity please. Note that the form asks for a "path address." This means you can send us a link if the photo you'd like to use is already hosted on a public forum, like your blog, a public flickr, tumblr, or a public Facebook album. If not, just include your email address and email us a photo! (We expect lots of people will take the email route.)

Here's the "official" blurb that we are all including on our blogs!

"Recently at the Curve Expos in both New York and Las Vegas, brands that cater to large-busted women suggested that 30 bands and under were either for juniors, or that there was no market for them.  However, that is simply not the case. There are many women out there who need 30 bands and under, and we are not all juniors.  While we come in all different shapes and sizes, we all have a small back size in common. 
To prove that we are not all juniors and that we exist as a market, we have decided to create the Bra Band Project where we are looking for photos of women who wear 30 bands or under. We will make a flickr album and eventually a collage with our photos to show that we are not just juniors, but women of all shapes and sizes that need small bands.

We'd love your help, so please submit your own photo and band size using the form below or email it to  Note we need both your bra size and your photo. We cannot include a submission without both of those. If you are a blogger who would like to help out with this project email us at"

Friday 16 March 2012

Adventures in Showgirl: Curvy Kate's "Thrill Me" and "Tease Me"

I already positively reviewed Curvy Kate’s Tease Me bra, but since I owned it in the rather outdated size of 30H, I decided to update my collection recently with a couple of 28Js—two Tease Mes and a Thrill Me. The past-season colorways are still available for good prices on Brastop and Lovebras, plus if you’re in the UK you can find them in certain sizes on Amazon for good prices.

The fit is pretty similar between the two styles of bra, but to be honest I have always had a bit more trouble fitting into the Thrill Me (the one with ruffles). It doesn’t exactly run smaller, this is down to very subtle differences in shape, and most people who have tried both seem to have one or the other that they prefer.

With both these Showgirl styles, I always find it a bit of a wiggle to fit into it at first. Most people like to size up in Showgirl, but since I already wear the biggest size in this range, I can’t. Plus, after a few days’ wear, these bras seem to loosen up a bit and fit me better. However, I still do need to re-adjust a couple times a day. The reason I put up with that is the superior shape offered by the construction of the cup. They are fairly low-cut bras, but with a much higher gore than plunge bras like the Freya Deco, so it’s a balance that I love—they show more skin, but less cleavage. (Still more cleavage than I get in my normal unpadded bras, don’t get me wrong, just not as much as I get in the Deco.)

One hilarious and depressing thing I discovered this winter was the fact that when it’s cold and windy, my boobs go numb (which HURTS) unless I wear a padded bra. So I bought these Showgirl bras to wear as normal, everyday bras, and they do work for that—depending on the clothes you wear them with. The Thrill Me, since it has ruffles, is only suitable for wear under a double layer of tight clothes (ie cami and stretchy top) or something tight and thick-knit like a form-fitting sweater. I also personally wouldn’t wear the Tease Me under anything other than a double layer of tight clothes, just because A. that’s really all I wear and B. because my boobs are full on top, I like to have something holding me down where these bras don’t cover.

I LOVE the back bands on these bras. This is a big deal for me; I hate the back band on every other bra I own! The bands on the Showgirls have a firm stretch all over—they don’t have that pesky tighter strip of elastic, enemy of back fat, on the bottom of the band. A lot of people find that they prefer to go down a band size in Showgirl bras to get a firmer fit, but I’ve never found this. I think the reason it works for me in my normal band size is that it’s a little wider (3 hooks, yay!) and situated a tiny bit lower on the cups than many other bras, so it sits a bit lower on my back, where my ribs are. My ribs are a little bigger than my underbust, so the 28 band works well for me even if it is a tiny bit more stretchy than your normal band. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that people go down a band size; I’d say only if you’re between sizes or like a really tight band. I would, however, recommend that you try going up a cup size if your boobs are full on the bottom—there is very little volume in the bottom section of these cups.

Now, when I got my ivory/black Thrill Me from Amazon, it wasn’t exactly the most perfect bra I’ve ever seen. Notice anything odd?

The ribbon was missing from one side! At first I planned to return it as faulty, but it had been the last one available in my size, it was very cheap, plus I realized if I sent it back they would probably just throw it out. So I decided to just put in a ribbon and sew it into the corners. I actually used the ribbon from the long bow on my worn-out ivory Panache Confetti, since it was the right color and width.

This wasn’t the only issue with my Thrill Me, though. As a much older colorway, the ivory/black is fabled to run almost a cup size larger than other colorways made at the same time. This manifested itself in an odd way—I got a lot of gaping, something that has never happened to me before.

But I figured this would be an easy fix, too—the ribbons going across the cups (one of which I had just added) simply needed to be tightened a bit. I just pulled them a bit tighter, folded them at the upper corner, and stitched the fold into place.

And voila! The gaping was much improved.

I still feel, in general, that this specific Thrill Me (perhaps the colorway, or perhaps just this one lonely faulty one I happen to own) isn’t as reliable as my Tease Mes. The Tease Me lacks the ruffles that makes the Thrill Me a bit tricky to wear, and I find it a bit more basic and workable in general. But BOTH styles suffer from a design flaw—the part of the band that runs under the cups in front has a very sharp, stiff edging, which rolls in toward my body and cuts in horribly, to the point of shooting pains. I eventually decided it wasn’t worth it to put up with this in hopes that it would stop happening once I’d broken in the bras, so I decided to try a quick fix. I simply rolled the edging up and out, so it folds towards the outside, and stitched it in place. I imagine if I’d spend a bit more time, I could have made this look a bit nicer than the sloppy way I did it…

But hey, compare the before…

…to the after!

The sharp edging is now nowhere near my skin and the bras are wearable.

Now, it may sound like I’ve had to do so much work on these bras that they aren’t worth buying. But don’t worry! All of these alterations were quick fixes, took less than ten minutes, didn’t require any materials other than needle and thread, and can be easily undone with no damage to the bra if I should decide to re-sell them used later (unlike my alterations on the Princess). Plus, the fix I did on the edging under the cups is something that not everyone will need to do, as not everyone has a problem with the edging rolling in towards them. It just depends on your body and how you move. But it is a very easy fix for anyone who loves the Thrill Me/Tease Me and wants to make it a bit more wearable for everyday.

One last note, I wanted to try to show you what the true color of the Silver/Back Tease Me is. It's another of those bras that seems to look different in every photo (sometimes it's indistinguishable from the Lemon/Black, the Almond/Black, or even the Pink/Black). This was my best attempt to capture the color on camera, but it's still less pink-toned than this in real life--more gray than shiny silver, which is what I'd wanted. You can also see that the alteration, even though I did it a bit haphazardly, isn't very noticeable when you see the whole bra!