Review: Fantasie Ivana Balcony in 30FF

I admit, I have a line up of about 10-12 different online lingerie stores strategically placed on the toolbar of my browser.  This is so I have easy access as I do my rounds to see when I can snag new season offerings, or an amazing sale price, or when I’m simply stalking bras that I’m too poor to send to my doorstep. These stores include the usual – Figleaves, Barenecessities, and Herroom (I’m biased towards U.S. shipping, of course!), but has branched out to include some smaller online boutiques. I recently found out about a store called Get Bras, which has lingerie and swimwear from a ton of full bust brands like Freya, Panache, Fantasie, Elomi, Curvy Kate (the usual suspects), appears to be based out of San Diego (U.S. Shipping!), and has lots of new season offerings, as well as older styles at great prices. Shipping is $5 flat under $70, and free over $70 – not bad!

Notably, Get Bras has the new Freya Deco swimsuit, and this amazing swim top that I had no clue about and am now terribly attracted to…but when the folks over there offered to send me something, I had to go with the gorgeous Fantasie Ivana balcony in Rosewood (new colorway for the Spring/Summer season) because apparently I can’t get enough of Fantasie lately! This is my fourth in four months…

I had a teensy bit of trepidation trying the Ivana balcony because I had never tried a Fantasie unlined balcony before. I love the padded half cups (Ivana and Mae), and had luck with the vertical seam unlined Allegra. Fantasie’s side support bras also fit well, but offered more coverage than I preferred. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect with the balcony style. 

Well, let us take a look:

   

I’m wearing my usual Fantasie size, 30FF, and the matching briefs in size small.  A closer look at the bra:

 

Yeah, I’m pretty much amazed at the beauty of this thing. The colors you are seeing are this very light pink/blush/rose/what-have-you and… Brown!  I have never had a lingerie piece with brown as a key color, and I’m now a big fan (great for warmer skin tones!). The light pink and the brown are an alluring, luxurious, sophisticated combination. I don’t think I have ever felt this fancy before, to be honest (the first matching set ever thing probably helps… Hehe).



  

So the beauty of this set is an A+ for me. It is exactly my taste.  How about the fit, however?

Well, it’s no Cleo balconnette, for sure. The shape offered is more natural, and less “boobs up and in your face”.  But this may have been because I have a bit of a shape incompatibility with the bra. The bra is rather closed on top, and has a firm elastic lining the tops’ edges to prevent gaping (which I’m sure some people will love), so my boobs are separated from where they want to be (near each other!), and are not allowed to expand upwards. That is, the bra is not great for boobs that are full on top or have a lot of inner fullness. But if you’re fuller on bottom, or perhaps more even, Ivana could work quite nicely for you. 

Looking at the photos, you may think that the bra doesn’t look all too wrong on me. And you’re right – because I did a quick fix. With my fingers, I gently tugged on the embroidery near the tops of the cups, to make room for my upper fullness. This helped a lot! It nearly solved the problem, I’d say. I’ll probably stretch it even more, and would wager that over time the embroidery will loosen up on its own as well.  So maybe my full on top boobs aren’t too out of luck. Take away: if you have a bra that you own that is not allowing for upper fullness, stretch that baby out! I have heard of people removing the elastic from the tops of the cups as well (which is possible in this case, and I’m considering it!). 

In the photo below, you can see the slightly east-west, minimizing look on the top created by the bra, with minimal cleavage.  With my shape and size this bra is definitely one of my most full coverage bras. But because it’s so different from my other bras (and let’s be real because it’s simply gorg…) I find it particularly special and attractive. 

  

Below, a look at the side silhouette, and the wires. Again, a more natural profile, but not too pointy. The wires are a little wider than I need, but not the worst offender.  They come up high but do not hurt or poke. The materials of the bra make it comfortable in all of the potentially troublesome spots. The band is riding up a teeny bit (I have it on the second hooks), but that is because Fantasie 30 bands run large. 

 
A back view:

  

The briefs are comfy and do not cut in in an unflattering way. They are a fairly modest cut, and I might prefer (read: my husband prefers) a little less coverage in the back. But gosh are they intricate and pretty, and a worthy match for the bra. 
  

I think this bra is going to be amazing when I start teaching back up at the university next month. Since I’ve been going for more and more modest professional looks over the past year, I think Fantasie Ivana could be a way for me to feel super sexy and sophisticated under my clothes, while allowing my boobs to look reasonably minimized and/or de-cleavagized under work shirts. Below, you can see the nice shape under a T-shirt, and there’s very little of anything showing through. 

 

Fantasie Ivana will come out again in both the balcony and padded half cup in the approaching Autumn/Winter season, but this time in a cool silver colorway (although I would simply die if it were gold instead!)

(Note: Although the lingerie set above was gifted to me, all opinions on the blog are entirely my own).

Some more Freya Plunge Balconies – Freya Minx and Freya Firecracker

Living somewhat near a Nordstrom now, I have been able to get my hands on some of Freya’s Spring/Summer styles. From the dressing room, I bring you Freya Minx and Freya Firecracker. 

I must confess that when I first saw Minx show up in the blogs covering the preview trade shows, I thought I HAD to have it. In fact, I made a reminder note for it to be my birthday present (as it was supposed to come out in May). What I liked about it were the colors (wow I’m bad with color names…I’m blanking…), some bluish purple with leopard, and the cut out gore (rare in full bust bras), and the interesting back (I’ll show you that later). I loved the scalloped lace too!

My excitement began to fade, however, with a combination of the following notions: the straps are leopard, and I’m not sure if I want leopard straps to be showing, Freya plunge balconies are not the best fit for me, and my husband is not a fan of animal print (and his opinion is slowly leaking into mine!). 

But seriously, look how cute it is: 

  
I know some if you won’t think its cute. Hehe. I can completely understand why it wouldn’t be someone’s style. I think, however, it’s a pretty, fun, and interesting take on the animal print trend. I love that freaking leopard bow in the middle!

The photo above and the next photo are actually size 30F (at least a cup size below my normal size). It actually looks pretty good until…

 
…I administer a solid swoop and scoop:

   

There is, then, some serious quad boob. The 30FF, expectedly, fit better:

 
Honestly, this isn’t a bad fit. The Freya plunge balconies are pretty good for bottom projection, and the wires aren’t too wide. The top of the cups is allowing for upper fullness, which is not always the case for plunge balconies. 

   

Here is the cool back:

 
It is certainly an interesting choice to make only 1 row of hooks and eyes, but I didn’t find it too much less supportive (though I didn’t wear it very long).  Please note that those straps are fully adjustable (yay!!!)

   
I do like the bra, but I am not the biggest fan of the general shape. The shape is very projected, but with little cleavage. If I’m going to go for projection, then I at least want to get some cleavage out of it (e.g. Like Comexim or Ewa Michalak do very well. Otherwise I like to go for a less projected, more minimized look).

 
Next, I have for you Freya Firecracker, which I was able to try in sister sizes 32F and 32FF. I figured the 32F would be right for cup size, but I wanted to experiment and see what happened with a bigger cup size. 

I was really surprised by how much I liked Firecracker when I put it on my body. In terms of projection and cleavage and general fit it seemed pretty similar to Minx. But I thought the bra was very beautiful! I really like the shade if orange on my skin. 

   
I also remember the bra feeling very comfortable. Look at how the tops of the cups are not coming near my armpits to bother me. The wires are also low in this size. But you can see that I’m getting an odd angled profile from the side:

 
It doesn’t bother me too much, however. I’m just not sure what causes it (too constricting on upper fullness, perhaps?)

 
Here is up a cup size, 32FF:

 

Not too much different from the front – slightly more coverage. The sides definitely have some more coverage, but luckily the tops of the cups still stay away from the armpits:
  

But the angular problem from the side view still hasn’t been solved, and now I think the profile is even pointier!
  

  

I think that I may not be projected enough to go up to this size – either that, or this bra is meant to give a pointier shape! Still, such a gorgeous pattern, though. 

What do you think – did Freya do a good job this summer?

– Little Lucie

  

Review: Body Glove Smoothies Solo Bikini Top

I wanted to get in this last Bikini top review before Summer’s dusk begins to fall upon us. This review is not a very happy review, however. The Body Glove absolutely did not work for me!

The Body Glove Smoothies bikini top is  an underwired tie bikini top that is actually very popular. There are loads of positive reviews on Amazon, and the rating is 4.5 out of 5. Hmm. Perhaps the bikini top works better in smaller sizes?

The top has an annoying sizing system – it is in terms of cup size, but not band size. Silly, because cup size is meaningless without a band size. So when I’m ordering the F cup, am I ordering the volume of a 30F? A 36F? Who knows. Gotta try it on to find out, I guess (upon trying it out, it seems like the cup volume of a 32 or 34 in UK sizing, or a 34 or 36 for US sizing).

The band is an adjustable string, so it can probably work for 26 to at least 38 backs. Here’s what the back situation looks like:    

 
The straps can be in either cross back position, like this, or a normal shoulder straps position. 

I ordered the F cup, and here’s what it does on my breasts:

   
 
Yikes! It spreads my boobs out to the sides in a kind of east-west formation, and is not allowing for inner or upper fullness. The cups are also very shallow. Take a look at the side view to see the quad boob and the astonishingly wide wires:

   
So much empty space on the sides. I usually don’t mind wider wires, but this just looks odd – especially since I don’t have enough room near the center!

 
One more thing worthy of note: the tie back is absolutely not supportive enough for larger breasts, even if you tie it super tight. You can see that the back is actually riding up in the photo above. 

I am hoping that cup sizes below an F cup (the largest size they offer) are constructed better, and do not have as  wide wires. That may explain the many  positive reviews of this bikini top! 

I’ll happily stick with my ASOS and Miss Mandalay bikini tops this summer (and will definitely be looking forward to trying a Comexim bikini top next summer!).

Little Lucie

Review: Passionata “Let’s Play” Unlined Balconette bra in 30G/30dddd

I tried Passionata’s Let’s Play unlined balconette at Nordstrom in 32ddd a few weeks ago, as I exhibited on the blog. The band was too big, but the fit of the cups was quite wonderful (which means they run a cup size large! Size down!). It was so wonderful that I couldn’t get it off my mind. I really wanted to try the 30G (U.S. Sizing, which is 30dddd – or UK size 30F), which is the highest cup/smallest band they offer in this style. Nordstrom and Barenecessities are carrying this style right now, and I ended up ordering from the former because of the free returns. 

My desire to try Let’s Play in a better size coincided with one of my goals for the summer – to find a go-to black unlined balconette. The candidates for this position were many:  I was considering black Cleo Marcie (still not out yet?), black Panache Envy, black Fantasie Allegra, and lately the Natori True Decadence… But none of these came to fruition. Not complaining, because I’m definitely liking Let’s Play!

Up-close:

   

  

The cups fit like a dream. They are great with upper and inner fullness, and the cup construction pushes my breasts up and towards the middle.

  

I love the geometric pattern, the big black bow (I am obsessed with big bows on bras since Claudette!), and the general simplicity of the bra.  

 

The material is very thin and light – great for summer – but still supportive. The straps are thin and a little stretchy (I had to adjust pretty far). The bra is soft and comfortable. The wires aren’t hard like Cleo’s, but the gore still tacks firmly. The band works on the first column of hooks, but is best on the second. There are three rows of hooks in total. Below, you can see that the wires are on the narrower side of medium. I placed the bra over my 28G Cleo Lucy and they are exactly the same, for reference – although Let’s Play has wires that come up slightly higher. 
  

Look at that round shape!
  

Under a shirt, you see two sharp vertical seams, and some side bra (nearly unavoidable it seems…).

  

Is it the one? I think it might be. 😉

And for the sake of relentless comparison between bras (which I like to do) here’s what Let’s Play looks like alongside some other unlined balconnettes: In order, Tutti Rouge Lilliana (technically this one has light lining at the bottom of the cup, Cleo Lucy, Passionata Let’s Play, Fantasie Allegra. 

        

Review: Natori Plus True Decadence and Pure Allure, both in 30H

I am pretty excited to share my first experiences of Natori’s new “fuller bust” line. I say “fuller bust” because it is fuller than their normal line, but it falls way short of the size range that full bust brands typically offer (like Freya and Panache). This is extremely sad, because Natori bras are awesome. 

The new line, called Natori Plus, begins at US size DD and goes up to a US H – which is really a UK FF. The band sizes offered are from size 30 up to size 44. Obviously, I was REALLY hoping on fitting in the 30H/30FF. Since I am often between a UK 30FF and 30G, I had to cross my fingers. 

I knew about Natori Plus ever since Hourglassy’s post a few months ago, and kept them on my radar. But I wasn’t compelled to order some in my size until I tried on a few at Nordstrom. Nordstrom unfortunately does not stock the line below a 34 band (what the heck!!!), but I saw enough loveliness that I knew I had to try some ASAP!

First up is the Pure Allure – Natori’s fuller bust version of their popular Natori Feathers bra. Below, you see it has a similar aesthetic. The straps taper into a mesh overlay, which covers a shorter contour pad. Lace lines the tops of the cups, as well as the band all the way around the back. 



Umm I really love this bra. It’s so comfortable! That’s not surprising – Natori is usually extremely comfortable. Natori uses such soft fabrics, and they are used to perfection here. The cups are light and easy on the armpits, especially!



The bra is true to size. So, if you’re a UK 30FF or 28G – you’re in luck. The 30 band is very firm and supportive, and has 3 rows of hooks.  Because I am normally larger than a 30FF, it makes sense that this bra is a touch too small for me in the cups. You can see some slight quadding in these photos. The lace overlay at the tops of the cups helps disguise it a bit, because it is stretchy. The bra is definitely compatible with upper and inner fullness – and I think would fit me perfectly if they made it in a 30I/30G! Grr!



The bottom projection is nothing to write home about. The wires are delightfully on the narrower side, however!



The contour padding is extremely light – almost negligible. So you don’t have to worry about this bra making your boobs looks bigger, if that’s not what you’re going for. The straps are rather thin but very soft, and are fully adjustable. 



Altogether, a very beautiful and comfortable basic T-shirt bra, that hasa great plunging shape. The bra gives a lovely round shape, and is invisible under a T-shirt:



I hope Natori considers making a few more cup sizes larger in this style!

Next is True Decadence, a cut-and-sew, unlined, vertical seam bra that contains a teeny bit of padding at the bottom solely for extra support – which is something I haven’t seen before. Take a look:



This bra is freaking gorgeous, and reminds me of the Fantasie Allegra Vertical Seam bra, which I love. I mean, it is almost identical. I am not complaining. This bra is far more supportive than the Allegra, too (the 30 band runs very firm and tight, and has 3 rows of hooks!)



Unfortunately, the cups are too small for me, in 30H/30FF. I am getting a lot of quadding, and the gore isn’t tacking because my boobs are in the way. If you are a true 28G/30FF, however, the sizing would likely be perfect for you. 

I think that this bra could work for upper fullness in the right size, because the elastic at the cups’ tops is pretty stretchy (like Allegra). The bottom of the cups seem to be more shallow than the Allegra’s though it is hard to tell because the cups are simply too small for me. 



Honestly, I am in love with this bra, and am almost tempted to get the right cup size in a higher band, 32H, to see if it could work. 



I am so impressed with these fuller bust offerings from Natori, and am looking forward to trying the rest of their line. However, I’m also very disappointed that those of us above an FF cup are not going to have much luck!  I guess it’s a start, and I’m happy that Natori is an American brand that is actually recognizing a potential market for small band/large cup sizes. 

Review: Passionata Starlight Unlined Plunge in 30H

I have been very intrigued by the brand Passionata, ever since I tried on a few styles at Nordstrom (a few blog posts ago). I have actually been stalking several of the styles for the past month online, and finally ended up ordering some! 

Passionata is a sister brand of Chantelle. In terms of smallest band/largest cup combination, both brands offer 30H, which is American sizing (30FF is the UK equivalent). Unfortunately this isn’t the widest size range.  I am often a cup size bigger in many brands, but I was pleased to find in my last Passionata attempts that the brand tends to run large in the cup. 

I love Chantelle’s unlined plunge in 30H, C Chic Sexy, so I really wanted to try Passionata’s unlined plunge, Starlight. I figured they would have similar fits.  I ordered this neat color way that presents as very light beige (nude for me) with some neon yellow flare in the form of stars, a diamond grid (of sorts), and a striking v neckline. The bra also comes in pink and black currently (If you look around at Herroom, Barenecessities, and Nordstrom).

Here is the Starlight!



The bra’s design is very unique looking! You can see it is also a bit transluscent. The cups are a bit on the tall side, but the look is cool – like a triangle top. It’s kind of refreshing to not have any bows as well (and I normally like bows!).  This bra is cute and mod and minimalistic and even kinda sexy…without any bows and lace and frills!



The diamond grid design continues on the band, which is a nice touch. In the above photo you can also see that this bra gives a great round shape from the side profile. The wires, you can see, are also a touch on the wide side. They are not quite as wide as the wires on C Chic Sexy, however. I do not note any fit problems from the wires being too wide. 



Sleepy, sick puppy in the background for your viewing pleasure. 😀

The cup size is pretty good here. When I first put the bra on, I thought it wasn’t good for upper or inner fullness. After I swooped and scooped, however, my breasts came closer to the middle, and the cup edges allowed it, for the most part. There is a teeny bit of cutting in, but even that could be diminished if I manually stretched the tops of the cups a bit. So, the bra is allowing upper and inner fullness to a certain extent, but I bet it would be especially great for breasts with more even fullness (and maybe full on bottom?).  



The band has two rows of hooks, with four columns (nice!).  The 30 band fit me perfectly on the second hook, out of four. The band is firm, and actually pretty wide (vertically), which makes it smoothing on the back chub. The straps are fully adjustable, but I did have to adjust them pretty far (they are stretchy) – but I have a short upper torso!



The cleavage this bra gives is pretty nice!  My breasts are close-set, so I wouldn’t mind if the cups were a little bit closer together, but it’s not a bad fit at all. The gore is nice and low, too. 



As for comfort, you can readily see that the bra is all up in my armpit. At first I thought it was way too uncomfortable. But after wearing it a bit, I realized that it didn’t bother me too much. I’ve come to realize that it depends a lot on the fabric, how much I’m bothered. Everything else about the bra was quite comfy. 

Check out the bra under a low V neck:



Works pretty well!

Now, I gotta say, I’m always on the look out for a good unlined plunge. They are hard to find in my size range, and with my shape. That’s why I am quite happy to see that Passionata has this sassy offering that actually works pretty well for me!

Another Passionata review will be coming soon. In the mean time, give this brand a try if you’re looking for a pleasant change! 

Review: Ewa Michalak SM Wrozka in 65GG

After my lovely experience with the Ewa Michalak SM Malinka in 65GG, I was looking to acquire some more of those babies! I ended up buying an SM Wrozka secondhand in the same size. While it’s a great looking bra, the fit is a little different. Most notably, the cups are larger – in fact, sadly a bit too large for me – which makes me think that for this brand I may be a few different sizes depending on the style. 

Here are some photos after a very vigorous swoop and scoop – so in these photos it does look like I’m filling the cups. Unfortunately the bra’s loose lace at the top of the cups does begin to gape a bit after moving around, or if I slouch – the swoop and scoop is not quite enough!



Like my SM Malinka, Wrozka dips down into a nice V to give a neckline that works under many tops, and some pretty cleavage. 



The straps are tapered, which helps to distribute the weight, and makes this bra very supportive feeling. The firm 65 band with 3 rows of hooks also adds to the support significantly. 



Look at that romantic black lace! 



I can’t quite tell what’s going on at the bottom here. It looks like the wires are a little below my inframammary fold, but I’m not sure what the reason is. Comparably, the bra has a fair amount of immediate projection, and the wires are medium-narrow. There is plenty of room for upper fullness, as well as some inner fullness here. 



Besides the cups being too big, the other main con was that this bra was less comfortable than the Malinka. The  straps and sides of the cups are a bit more forceful in my armpits. It’s not terribly uncomfortable or anything, but not the most ideal. Wrozka also appears to be a little more full coverage than the Malkinka in the same size. 



The side view shape is pretty darn projected looking. I am wondering if it would look different if I tried a smaller size, the 65G. But I don’t mind this projected shape. It has a nice perkiness, and is actually rather slimming! See how it looks under a T-shirt:



Fairly invisible under a T-shirt! Sweet!

All in all, I love the look of this bra enough to try it in a 65G. Anyone want to swap for my 65GG? I would also sell this beauty for $35 shipped! Lemme know in the comments!