My past posts where I did mass reviews of various bras I tried on in Bravissimo have been really popular, so here’s one more. I went to Bravissimo with my sister, who was visiting the UK this week, so she could get re-fitted. The women working there were friendly, but they also weren’t very committed to her fitting, which was disappointing. They put her in a Deco with a 30 band, which she fastened on the tightest hooks right away, and her fitter didn’t notice. When she asked for a 28, the band was better, but the cups were far too small, and again the fitter never came back to check, so she couldn't try the cup size up. Because of that, she didn’t end up buying anything, although she was ready to buy at least one bra if the staff had been more eager to find her the right fit. It was getting near closing time, so they seemed pretty hassled and busy, but I was still annoyed because this was my sister’s only chance to have the Bravissimo fitting experience.
On the other hand, I had pretty good luck with most of what I tried on, for once. They have a lot more things that I like in this current collection than they did back in the fall. I've also gotten better at understanding how the experience works in the Bravissimo fitting room--it seems to work best if you ask to try on three or four specific styles, and then lurk outside your fitting room to ask for other bras as the fitters go by. It also helps to point things out to them in the catalogue. Anyway, these are the things I tried.
Free Kazbar Bikini
I tried on this bikini top for a friend back at home who wanted to see if it was any good before ordering it. I thought it was a pretty nice bikini. I first tried it in a 30H, the smaller of my two normal cup sizes, and it was too small for me and cut into the top of my boobs:
I also felt like the back was very tight, and when I asked the saleslady about it, she agreed, saying that swimwear often comes up feeling tighter in the back because of the massive amount of Lycra in it. I do also know that swimwear tends to get looser in water, so I don’t know if the tight Lycra is reason enough to get a larger back size, but in any case I tried a 32H next. The cup was a much better fit.
It doesn’t give the most uplifted shape ever but I think it is perfectly fine-looking for a bikini top. The fabric along the cups can be ruched down if you prefer less coverage, which is good considering the fact that I fit better in the bigger of my two sizes.
My biggest annoyance with it was that the back fastening was very confusing and complicated. You had to thread a square piece of metal through a casing and then snap some little teeth into place. It took me a couple minutes to figure out the first time. I’m not sure why they didn’t use a simpler fastening.
I was curious to try the Andorra because I love this mint green color, but I figured I would hate it because it’s a full-cup construction (see here and here for more information on seam constructions and shape). To my surprise, I was actually a pretty big fan of this bra! I tried it in a 30H.
As you can see, the shape from the side is really nice. It’s not as round as some of my best balconettes, but it gives good uplift. Most importantly, the shape is very compact and my boobs are held close to my body, totally unlike the splayed-out east-west look that is common with full-cup bras. The difference must come from the side support panel, which is just another piece of evidence that bras that have lift from the bottom and pull up the bottom sections are far superior to those that don’t.
The lace on the Andorra is very soft and the upper panel is stretchy. I like this feature because it means there is enough give that it doesn’t cut in on my full upper boobs, and it also would be less likely to gape on someone with less fullness at the top. It’s a good compromise and a smart construction.
Miss Mandalay Paige
I’d always wanted to try on this beautiful bra but never had a chance until now when Bravissimo brought it back into stock. I’m totally in love with this colorway.
I tried it in a 30H as that is the highest cup size they make (and I’m pretty sure it only went up to GG when Bravissimo had an earlier version of this bra a few years back). It was very nearly a perfect fit, but as you can see from the side view, I had the slightest bit of cutting in across the top edge:
The lace across the top is a tiny bit tighter than I need for my shape but it is not nearly as tight as the upper section on, for instance, the Freya Arabella, Bravissimo Alana, or Curvy Kate Princess. I don’t think many people will have a problem with cutting in—probably only if you are very full on top and at the top of the size range. Even with the minor cutting in that I got, I still might have bought this bra, but unfortunately it’s completely out of my price range at £36. Still, I would recommend it for those who can handle the hefty price tag.
This is another bra that I’d always wondered about but never had a chance to try. I’m completely in love with it—this is probably the best bra I’ve tried on in the past year, and I’ve tried LOADS.
As you can see, the 30H is absolutely ideal for my shape. Because my boobs are so full on top, it ends at exactly the right point and then the top shapes itself. It’s perfect, and very luxurious. I will look for this on sale, because it’s very steep at full price (£33) but the Rhea has a history of selling out very fast, so I might consider investing in one.
Having tried the Cleo Sadie longline earlier this year, I knew that Cleo’s two-section padded cups are a pretty good fit and shape for me in a 30H, so I tried the Juna in that size.
I hate this shade of beige on me, but I wanted to see how the fit was. As I expected, it was just about identical to the fit of the Sadie. The shape from the side is a very casual rounded shape—not in-your-face at all but more subtle and fairly minimized. This would be a good everyday bra for that reason. It’s clearly not giving as excellent a shape as the Rhea, and it has less structural integrity, but at £10 cheaper than the Rhea at full price, I still think it’s a sensible option. I have heard from some people that the band on the Juna stretches out pretty quickly, so it might be worth going down a band size if you wear below an H cup (H is sadly the largest cup size in this range, so those needing an H can’t size down in the band and up in the cup).
This is a new style and a Bravissimo exlusive, but it’s clearly the same construction as Cleo’s Sasha and Alexa styles.
|Cleo Olivia--Bravissimo Exclusive
I love the polka dots but I do wish they would have chosen slightly different colors. With the pink lace edging a blue cup, it is far too similar to Cleo’s Alexa and Ellie bras which are both also out this season—seems a bit silly when Bravissimo could have had the opportunity to offer an exclusive shade that would be truly refreshing and different.
I tried the Olivia in a 30H. It was nearly a perfect fit but I did have some cutting in along the edge. I think I would probably fit better in the 30HH, but could wear either, especially if I took in the center gore on the 30H.
The shape this bra gives is really superior and it definitely seems to be better made than some other Cleo bras. The cups are made of a double layer of mesh fused together and the band underneath the wires in front adds stability to the bra so the underwires won’t stretch or distort.
As for comparison sizing, I haven’t tried either the Sasha or Alexa, but the consensus I’ve heard from my big-boobed friends who have tried both is that Alexa runs about a cup size larger than the Sasha as well as the new Olivia bra. So although I would probably prefer a 30HH in Sasha and Olivia, I suspect I’d be totally fine in a 30H in the Alexa.
I was brought this new Bravissimo style in a 30H by mistake. I wouldn’t have asked to try it in this size as I always need at least two cup sizes up to fit into Bravissimo’s own-brand Alana-style balconettes. I think it makes a hilarious and educational contrast to the Panache/Masquerade/Cleo 30Hs I’ve described above.
Sorry for the weird photoshopping. I was getting some awkward nip-slip issues. Something I've never experienced before in Bravissimo, as above the H I'd always gotten the extra lining!
You can see that although the Panache family is cut perfectly for my full-on-top boobs, this bra (like most of Bravissimo’s own-brand bras) is cut for the opposite shape, great for people with more volume on the bottom and less on the top. On me, it drags my boobs down because it is far too tight for my shape in the top section where I need lots of space, but then it has more space than I need at the apex so it makes my boobs look pointy combined with the dragging down. But I think you can also see how it would give a far better shape to someone with teardrop shaped boobs. I’m sure this will be a lovely bra for those who like the Alana, Bubbles, etc. (It’s said to be based on the Bubbles shape.) The back band is extremely firm and tight—even in the 30 band I could only just fasten it—so I think it is a good choice for small 28s, like the Ditsy Blossom bra they had in the last collection.
Bravissimo Wild At Heart
I really wanted this cool new bra to work for me because it looks exactly like something Victoria’s Secret would make and reminds me of what I would buy from them in a perfect world where they made more than 5 cup sizes.
Unfortunately this bra wasn’t the best shape for me. I tried it in a 30HH, knowing that Bravissimo’s own-brand bras run much smaller on me than the Panache families. From the front it looks good, but the shape is odd from the side.
I get the same problem I got with the Primrose bra (but on a much more minor scale)—too little space at the top edge, and too much space at the apex. So I bulged out of the top a bit, while still having enough fabric at the apex that I could pinch it between my fingers.
I’m not sure if a larger cup size (combined with shortening the straps a lot to take out the wrinkling) would help at all; I suspect this bra just isn’t compatible with my shape. From what I’ve heard, most people have had to size up to get the perfect fit in this bra, some even going up by two sizes.
One final note, this bra has very wide straps in my size range, some of the widest I’ve ever seen. The pattern continues on the straps, though, so I think they are still fairly cute; they just might not be the best with a strappy top.
Bravissimo Inspire Sports Bra
Finally, this is another bra that I tried on to help out a friend who is considering ordering from overseas. The size range on this new sports bra is truly amazing in comparison to what is available from other companies.
I tried it in a 30H because that is the same size I recently tried in the Panache Sports bra (don’t worry, review coming soon!) and I felt it would be more useful to compare. The cups on the Inspire were small on me, but I think that’s just because Bravissimo’s cups always run rather small on my shape.
As you can see in this photo, I had a bunch of flesh sort of smashed outside of the cups:
The cups on this bra are really aiming to hold in every part of your breast tissue, so I definitely would have needed a larger size—even then, it is very rare for a bra to cover all of my breast tissue because it ends so high. However, I think this bra would be much better for people with softer boobs or a teardrop/full-on-bottom shape.
In terms of support, this bra seems pretty promising. I’m not the sportiest of people so I don’t have a huge amount to compare this to, but when I jumped up and down the only thing that moved was the part of my boobs that was smashed outside of the cups. To me that indicates that it is succeeding as an encapsulation bra.
The shape was a bit pointy, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had feared. I wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen in a bra giving this shape, it is decent:
The straps are very wide and thick, and nicely padded, which I think is a nice feature for a sports bra.
The back band is also very firm on this bra. I don’t think I would have fit in a 28. I would recommend this sports bra to people looking for something firm and supportive without compressing. Personally, I liked that it had underwires. From what I’ve seen around the internet it seems to be a nicer shape than the underwired Freya sports bra, and the size range is also much better. It’s a bit hideous, with the exposed wires and seams in the front, but overall I would say it’s a success.