Today started off pretty rough. I was off to class this morning, having left at the latest possible time for not arriving late (as usual), and right when I got on the highway, I realized that I did not have a distinct memory of shutting off my hair straightener. The worst thing is, I didn’t even end up using the hair straightener, after letting it warm up. I did have a vague memory of thinking “I should shut the hair straightener off now, because I don’t think I’m going to use it and I don’t want to forget,” but I was not sure if I had followed through on my intention.
Did I turn around, to save my apartment from being potentially lit on fire by my hair straightener? No – I was late, and had to get to class. The semester is almost over, and I need to teach my students this shit! But I felt terrible about my (pretty stupid) choice. It seemed irrational to risk my apartment in flames over being late to class.
I was nervous, so right in the hour between my two classes, I skedaddled home to “make sure” it was off. Yeah, I am paranoid. I was half expecting, upon approaching my street, to see fire engines lined up. There were none. Phew. I ran upstairs and found that I had indeed left it on, but it had seemed like my power outlet strip (into which it was plugged), had turned itself off. I’m not sure if that is normal, but I was certainly relieved.
In this five minute “home safety” check, before flurrying back to the university, I discovered two packages had arrived for me. One from Herroom and one from Barenecessities. I was glad they weren’t in flames, too! They had both arrived one week after I had made the order last Friday, and 4 days after being shipped. My day of nerves was improving!
And boy did it improve. I got to try on three beautiful bras, all three of which are recent offerings from the full bust world: Fantasie Mae, Fantasie Ivana, and Panache Black Loren. All three are padded half cups.
I’ve been on a “find all the beautiful bras!” kick, ever since I finished finding sufficient “basics” in this past year. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about this order of three bras. They all cost me $50 and up. I don’t usually spend that much. So, I was almost kinda hoping that I wouldn’t like them. Or at least not all of them – and make a return. Or two. It’s hard to really feel that way though, and mean it; there’s nothing better than learning that there exists another bra (or three!) that fits you!
First I tried on Fantasie Mae in 30FF (my usual Fantasie size), which I bought in the Bare Necessities Friends and Family sale for 25% off. It retails for $84, so you definitely might want to get this one on sale! Fantasie Mae is a padded half cup with very thin padding (it does not add bulk to your silhouette). Take a look at this gorgeous bra:
All that design there, on the cups? It’s a velvety material that sticks out from the cup. Amazing. It’s so original – I love it. I really feel like I’m wearing something special! The lace along the cups and the gore, the satin bows, and the pretty designs on the strap top it all off. This “champagne” bra would be an amazing bridal option, but it’s also a good option for just being beautiful!
I love the way Mae holds me. She gives me a round and uplifted shape. The cups and wires allow for inner fullness and upper fullness. In fact, the tops of the cups are pretty damn open. So, if you’re full on top, this is your bra! The bottom of the cup is not overly shallow (although those who are very firm, and full on bottom, may have a problem). The wires are about medium in length. The straps are fully adjustable and not terribly widely placed (although they are still a bit wide). And though the wires are high (for a person with a short upper torso), they somehow do not feel pokey.
As for sizing, 30FF is true to size for Fantasie (Fantasie seems to run slightly big in the cup, I’ve found, especially compared to Panache and Curvy Kate). While I had problems with the 30 band on Fantasie Allegra (it was a bit loose for my 27’ish underbust and felt flimsy), the band on Mae is actually firmer (although I am wearing it on the second hook). Which is great, because Fantasie does not produce 28 bands. So if you wear a 28 band, you may find that Mae’s 30 band may be supportive enough for you!
What about comfort? I gotta say – so far (admittedly, after only two hours of wearing – but it’s two hours of slouchy lounging! And that’s the test case!) Mae wins across the board. Aesthetics, fit (for me), and comfort. I am always grumbling about bras cutting into my armpits in an annoying or painful manner, or wires poking awkwardly, but somehow I am sitting here wearing Mae quite tranquilly. Mae is in my armpit, but she is rather gentle, and not forceful. The material in that area is softer, and less bothersome. And if you have a longer upper torso than I, or are not as high set, you’ll have even less of a problem. As for the gores and wires, they all tack nicely, but do not dig in.
Under a shirt, Fantasie Mae looks like this:
Nice cleavage, and rather minimal side view (which I’m into). The two vertical seams on each cup are highly apparent, but nothing else seems to show.
Congratulations, Fantasie Mae, your grade (based on first impressions) is:
The padded half cup version of Mae only goes up to a G, but if you are a higher size you can still enjoy Mae’s aesthetic in a different style. Mae comes as a moulded strapless and basque (which I believe go up to a GG – at least the strapless does), and as an underwire bra with side support up to a J in some band sizes. In Autumn/Winter 2015, Mae will be getting in touch with her darker side, in the color black.
Let’s now take a look at the Fantasie Ivana padded half cup in 30FF, which came in my Herroom order. Fantasie Ivana padded half cup normally retails in the $80 range, but is currently on sale at Herroom. Like Mae, Ivana comes in a bunch of styles, included a basque and a balcony bra (the latter seems very pretty, and is at a much lower price of $40 at figleaves.)
Wow, I guess I like Fantasie padded half cups. I love Ivana just as much as Mae! They do fit, however, slightly different. First take a look:
Besides her beauty, Ivana is very supportive. She fits me like a glove. It appears she is a little more shallow all around than Mae is, which – although I’m not shallow – works on me because my boobs are sufficiently squishable. Again, though, like Mae, I do not think the bottom of the cup is ridiculously shallow or anything. The wires, also like Mae, are medium in length. I only put Ivana on for 5 minutes, but the wires, though tall for my short frame, did not poke in a painful or annoying manner.
The cup construction here allows for my upper and inner fullness without cutting in, but it seems to press my breasts up more vertically than Mae does, and cause my breasts to be held closer to my body. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, since it results in a minimized look from the side, but I love it. Here’s the side view:
I suspect that the shape of Ivana’s cups would make her a good option for tall roots (even if they are a bit shallow). Here’s Ivana in a shirt from the front. Nice shape, nice cleavage, pretty strap peeking out, but those are some jarring vertical seams!
I only had Ivana on for five minutes, but the bra seemed as comfortable as Mae. Cups and straps are actually not in the armpit region when I stand (whoa!) but they are when I sit and slouch. Even so, they don’t hurt nor bother. It’s a rather gentle situation. I’m cool with that. Peaceful coexistence. My slouching armpit and Ivana’s strap-meets-cup region.
Yeah. Unfortunately for my finances, I’m quite pleased with Fantasie’s half cups. Ivana also gets a grade of:
Ivana comes out in Autumn/Winter 2015 in silver!
I was pretty excited to try Panache Black (Panache’s new “luxury” line, replacing their old luxury line, Masquerade), and particularly Panache Black Loren. I ordered this bra from Herroom to try, but it is still at its normal retail price – $79 or so. But, if you’re interested, you can already buy it in the $40 range from the U.K. at Dahlia’s Boudoir Boutique online. Dahlia’s has some amazing prices in general, lemme say. Loren is new for this season, but she may be based on older Masquerade models (which I have not tried).
It’s not hard to figure out why I was so interested in Loren. The bra’s sexy and gorgeous. The straps split into two straps near the cups, which, besides being a sexy detail, I figured would allow more lift closer to the center of the bra (I’m pretty sure I was right). The design is demure and classic, with just the right amount of detail. I was very interested in seeing how this padded half cup from Panache Black compares to the Fantasie padded half cups (above). Here’s how Loren looks:
I love the look. A lot. I ordered my typical Panache size, 30G, which appears to be the right size (Loren does not come in 28 bands). Loren is a little bit more low cut than the half cups above, and the gore is slightly lower. There is some nice uplift and cleavage here (less so than the Fantasie bras, however), but most of the sexy comes from the aesthetics of the bra. It’s very boudoir. See how nice it looks up close!
Luckily for my wallet, I will not be keeping Loren. Believe me – I almost want to – she’s so good looking! She allows for some upper and inner fullness (but I think could also work if you are less full in those areas). But there are some fit and comfort issues that I cannot ignore. For one the wires are wider and a touch higher, and they do poke me uncomfortably, right when I put the bra on:
The photo below shows how the bit of cup near the armpit actually pokes out a bit oddly. I’m not sure why, and it feels a bit annoying. All in all, the armpit situation I immediately found to be very abrasive and disturbing. Again though, this should be less of a problem for you if you have a longer upper torso or are lower set (i.e. if you usually don’t have problems with armpit chafing, lucky bastards).
Other issues include the straps and the band. The straps are the thinnest I have seen in a full bust bra in my size range. Thinner than anything Cleo has produced, even, I voucher. This could be nice aesthetically, but it takes away the comfort. The straps (they do have delightful gold hardware, I may at least point out) are also very stretchy, which also takes away support and causes them to dig into the shoulders. I had to adjust the straps all the way to the front to accommodate the effects of this stretchiness on my short upper torso. The lack of support from the straps is compounded by the unsupportive band. The band is also very stretchy, and a bit flimsy. While I actually was impressed by the 30 bands on the Fantasie bras, this 30 band is too big for me. Loren was riding up. Sad news for the sub 30 folk!
Here’s Loren under a shirt:
Only the one “fake” vertical seam shows, which isn’t too bad. I say “fake” because the seam is just aesthetic. Unlike the Fantasie half cups which are seamed, Loren has a moulded cup.
There is some pretty good looking cleavage under a shirt, too. I think that is due to the fact that this bra has a certain degree of projection in the way the cups are shaped. The side view clearly shows how there is a much more projected (and less minimized) look. My boobs may also look bigger here because the padding in Loren is thicker than the padding in Mae and Ivana. Probably twice as thick.
Loren is very lovely, and I’m sure will have many thrilled fans. I would even consider owning Loren for the prettiness – but only if I could pay a ridiculously cheap price! I’m really into “comfort” right now, and the Fantasie padded half cups bring both the prettiness and the comfort. Loren gets a grade of:
I hope these reviews of some current full bust offerings were somewhat helpful. I know that I could not find any reviews currently out there for Loren and Mae, and I believe only one exists of Ivana (on Bratabase), so here’s some starting information! Let me know what you think!