The Fantasie Esme’s claim to fame is its ‘center-pull straps’—essentially, the location of the straps has been modified so they are closer together in the back. This is useful for women with narrow shoulders who find straps usually slide off. It’s also a nice alternative to having straps sit in the exact same place every day. The Esme is also part of a small group of molded Fantasie bras which are, in my opinion, rather underrated and under-reviewed. So when I got a chance to try the Esme in a store, I snapped a couple photos so I could review it.
Like the Fantasie Smoothing (4520), the Esme is MOLDED but NOT PADDED. The concept of this confused me before I had tried it, but it essentially just means that the fabric itself has been molded into a seamless shape. A molded AND padded bra would have foam as well as fabric molded into the shape; however, although they’re often synonymous, padding doesn’t need to be part of a molded bra.
I tried the Esme in a 30H. I’d say it runs fairly true to size, though a little larger in the cups than Bravissimo balconettes.
Like the Smoothing 4520, it came up a little bit higher than I’d like in the cups (which was the ultimate reason I didn’t buy it). I tend to wear some fairly low-cut tops, though, so if you wear tops with more coverage, this won’t be an issue. It also won’t be an issue if you’re considering this bra, as I was, as something to wear under button-down shirts for work.
I loved the feeling of the modified straps. Since most straps sit in the same tender groove on my shoulders, I loved the fact that these were pulled in closer to my neck. This is what it looked like from the back:
The shape from the side was quite good:
I often have a knee-jerk fear that Fantasie bras will be pointy, but frankly this is undeserved. Though they do still produce some clunkers like the Belle full-cup, they also make a lot of really nice basic bras that give nice shapes. The Esme is similar to the unpadded Smoothing 4520 in its somewhat minimized, nicely rounded shape. The padded Smoothing T-Shirt Bra (4510) gives a different, but still lovely, shape—perky and projected. Another benefit of these bras is that they reliably come out in basic colors. I know, it seems odd that I get excited by boring black and beige bras, but I feel like a lot of brands have gone too far in the other direction, while Fantasie still understands that plenty of customers need something practical or have simple tastes.
If you’re looking for a seamless bra, and especially if you have problems with wide straps falling off your shoulders, give the Esme a try. It’s one of Fantasie’s ‘good ones.’