Some “quick” reviews of recent offerings from Freya, Panache, Cleo, Fantasie

I went on a little shopping trip yesterday, and had the opportunity to try on some recent styles I have been curious about. These will of course be “quick” reviews, since I only got to spend time with each bra in a dressing room.

First up is the Cleo Minnie.  The photos below are 30FF, but I also tried sizes 30G and 28G. The 30G enclosed all my tissue nicely, but looked a little sad – sometimes I go for a smidge smaller in the cups, in order to get a better lift/more cleavage! The 30FF accomplished that well, while the 28G was actually too small in the cups.  Here are some photos:

The Minnie gives a very “Cleo” rounded, uplifted shape.  I really like Cleo unlined balconettes, but before this moment had only tried Lucy and Marcie (both of which I am fond). Compared to the Lucy and Marcie, Minnie has firmer mesh on the upper cups, so it cannot accommodate upper fullness as well as Lucy and Marcie do quite nicely. In addition, Minnie is more projected than Lucy and Marcie, and I felt like my boobs were really “out there”, in front of me!  I didn’t get a good look at the wires, but I would imagine they are just as narrow, if not narrower than Marcie’s. The narrowness, however, does not extend to the rest of the bra. I found the straps to be quite wide-set, and more so than Lucy and Marcie. They cut uncomfortably into my armpits – a common fit problem for me (that drives me nuts!)

Aesthetically, I wasn’t a fan of the super projection (I actually prefer my boobs a bit closer to my chest), and I didn’t love the polka dot print.   Needless to say, it’s not bad looking, however. It’s cute!  But these days I’m looking for a more sexy/glamorous look than cutesy.

Next, I got to try Cleo Kali, in 30G. I didn’t get a chance to try 30FF or 28G, which I think would have looked better to me.  In the following photos you can see how I do not get the best lift in a 30G Cleo Kali:

I did like this colorway of the Kali, and would be interested in trying Kali again in a 30FF or 28G to check out the lift. It appears to fit pretty close to how a Lucy fits.

Next, I have been wanting to try Panche’s new unlined plunge style, Fontaine, ever since the previews last summer.  Fontaine is new for the Spring/Summer 2015 season, and will at least be continuing on to next season.  I was hoping it would work for me, because I prefer unlined styles to padded styles (I do not need added bulk), and I prefer plunges to balconettes (I wear a lot of v-neck shirts). The combination of unlined + plunge could very well be my holy grail bra, and I have yet to find one that I am thoroughly satisfied with. While I do not like the shape that both Freya and Curvy Kate unlined plunges give, and Panache’s last unlined plunge, the Andorra plunge, featured cups that were too stretchy to give me the shape I wanted, I have had moderate success with Chantelle’s C Chic Sexy unlined plunge in U.S. size 30H (a review of this bra to come, eventually!). Though C Chic Sexy minimizes from the side (which I like), gives some nice cleavage, and is beautiful, my main gripe is that it causes my breasts to appear a bit wide from the front, and thus looks odd in form-fitting shirts.

Accordingly, I had my hopes set on Fontaine – I wanted her to be my perfect, go-to unlined plunge bra! Alas, take a look at the disappointing results in the photos:

The Fontaine shown above is size 30G. As for the positives, I really like the aesthetic of Fontaine – the crepe-like fabric, the contemporary/minimalistic design, and the color. But this bra, apparently, was not made for breasts like mine.  The front view is all right (although my ideal would be slightly more cleavage), but the side view exhibited a shape I was not a fan of: downward, and a bit pointy. The bra also seemed simultaneously too small (near the center), and too big (the gaping on the sides if I move my shoulders slightly). In my experience, Fontaine has a similar fit to some of Curvy Kate’s unlined plunges, like Dare and Daisie.  To be honest, I am not sure why all of these bras do not work for my breasts – if anyone has a suggestion, let me know!

My hope is to one day find an unlined plunge that gives the kind of shape that a moulded plunge like Cleo Neve or Panache Porcelain Plunge gives me!  Anyone have any ideas?

I have been itching to try the Panache Clara ever since the beautiful black/gold colorway came out. It looked so glamorous to me – and unlike every bra I have ever owned!  Here is what it looks like on me, in 30FF:

I am happy to report that Clara is indeed a very beautiful bra, although it is a little less luxurious-looking in person (I might even say more cheap-looking than I had hoped). I am also happy to report that Clara allows for some upper fullness, which is why I could fit into both a 30G and 30FF fairly well, and offers a really round shape. Clara seemed comfortable; the material, even on the straps, wasn’t too coarse, and the bra didn’t dig in. I would have liked to try Clara over the course of a day, to see if the comfort lasts. It’s always so hard for me to tell in a dressing room.

I may consider buying Clara at one point, but I didn’t love/need the bra. I prefer a less full coverage bra, even though I do admit that for a full coverage bra, this one is very attractive! In addition, while I kind of liked the cleavage situation under a shirt, I found the horizontal seams very jarring.  Look at them in the following photos:

I have been intrigued by Fantasie’s Eclipse ever since I saw the initial promo images. I had tried Fantasie Rebecca before (best fit in 30FF), and while I loved the comfort of the bra, and the spacer cups, the bra looked far too full coverage on me.  Eclipse utilizes the same spacer fabric as Rebecca, but is supposed to have less coverage. Eclipse also features a racerback clip on the back. Here’s how Eclipse looked on me:

Eclipse (above in size 30FF) disappointed me. It still has a very full-coverage look like the Rebecca, and is rather shallow at the tops of the cups (closed on top). The spacer cups are very stretchy, so the closed do not cut in too much, but they seem to flatten out my decolletage oddly. In typical Fantasie fashion, also, the 30 band ran large. But the worst part of the bra, however, was the discomfort around the straps and tops of the cups.  Even when the racerback clip was hooked, the straps spliced into my armpits. If you do not normally have a problem with wide-set straps/cups, Eclipse may work for you as a good T-shirt bra option (though, note, there is still some faint nipple showing through the light spacer fabric!)

Next, another bra I really wanted to try: Freya’s unlined plunge balcony, Enchanted. Since summer is coming up, I want to find the perfect unlined black bra (I will likely go for the new black Marcie, if I do not find anything better). Enchanted was definitely a candidate in my mind! The only other Freya unlined plunge balcony I have tried  in the past was Ooh La La. It fit decently, though its shape was a little less round and a little more natural, and I wouldn’t have been opposed to some more cleavage. Actually…why not? Here’s a photo of me trying Ooh La La a few months ago, in size 30FF:

Now compare the fit of Oh la la in 30FF to the fit of Enchanted in 30FF:

So far so good from the front…but now take a look at the side view!

Note the very odd shape I get here, probably owing to the inability of the mesh on the top of the cups to accommodate my upper fullness/tall roots. I doubt going up in the cup would improve the fit for me. Ooh la la didn’t have this issue, so it seems Enchanted’s upper mesh is simply less flexible. I think Enchanted would fit better on a more full on bottom shape.

Finally, I will end with the only style I felt tempted to buy!  Cleo’s unpadded balconette swim top, Lucille.  There are a few different colorways (and styles) of Lucille, and I loved this one in particular.  Take a look!

I tried Lucille in 30G, and it fit perfectly, though I am tempted to try a 30FF to see if it would have a little more va va voom action. The trendy nautical theme is executed with finesse in the Lucille, and there is something very flattering about the navy cup edges and the v-striped navy and white print on the rest of the cups.  But the fit is something I am even more obsessed with.  It gives the perfect round shape, all while keeping my breasts close to my chest. It’s also very comfy. In fact, this would also be the perfect bra. Why doesn’t Cleo make a bra with similar fabric as one of its unlined options?

That’s all from my little shopping trip yesterday.  As you can likely deduce, I did not buy anything (I opted out of Lucille, since I’ve already purchased 4 new swim tops!). I was fairly disappointed in many of the fits. But, on the other hand, it is also nice to knock off some potentials on my long list of lingerie lusts, since I can’t possibly afford them all!


Little Lucie


5 thoughts on “Some “quick” reviews of recent offerings from Freya, Panache, Cleo, Fantasie

  1. Thanks for reading and thanks for the recommendation! I have been eyeing the experiences others have had with Ewa Michalak for the past 9 months, and have not yet ventured so far myself yet. I think my Ewa attempt will be coming soon though, and your praise of her unlined plunges will likely hasten it!


  2. Great start to the blog. Nice, thorough reviews & the ‘how this looks under a shirt’ pix are extremely useful! I’ll be interested to see how you fare in the Polish brands. I’d imagine Comexim might be a great fit, as you appear to be very close-set, with upper fullness. Also Avocado. Although the prospect of returns hassles has stopped me from trying these brands, my disillusionment with Freya’s poor shape & Panache/Cleo’s brute force armpit-stabbers, & just the height & width of UK wires in general, I may have to brave the shipping.

    Two brands I’m relatively happy with: Tutti Rouge – lots of different shapes means at least one of them will work for most; great quality materials; but obnoxious shipping rates. And, surprisingly, -some- newer Curvy Kate styles. I’ve gotten an actual roundish shape with Gia & the plunges are at least roundISH. And the wires are nice moderate height. But I’d love more options, so I’ll be reading.


    • Ooh – thanks for all of your comments – I’m especially glad to hear that you’re finding some aspects of my blog useful so far! As for your suggestions, I am definitely interested in trying Polish bras soon – in fact I just made my first Comexim order. Review to come whenever the heck it gets here!

      I have indeed been slow to venture into Polish lingerie. I *just* became acquainted with the full bust world about one year ago, so have been steadily trying out all the UK bras. And it’s only been a year of trying UK bras for me to realize, as you have, that they just aren’t cutting it (well, I haven’t found the PERFECT bra!). I agree about Panache and Freya, but I would say that even Curvy Kate’s newer plunges like Daisie and Dare still give me a kinda pointy shape (maybe I’m in the wrong size? I don’t know!) and – like all Curvy Kates – are so wide they jab my armpits. I have yet to try their unlined balconettes, but fear that they will also have the wideness issue for me.

      From Tutti Rouge, I’ve only yet tried the Lilliana, which wasn’t the best for me – but then again, I am not sure if I was in an ideal size. The main problem in the 28GG was, again, pain caused from the bra being too wide and digging into my armpits. I often have this problem, but for Lilliana it was unbearable. I would be interested in trying other Tutti Rouge styles however – especially the beautiful Eliza.


  3. Pingback: Reviews: Panache Black Esme and Panache Clara | A Tale of Two Boobs.

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