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Longtime readers will know that I’ve spoken about plus size lingerie before. Annoyingly for us DD+ gals, finding pretty, comfortable and affordable bras is still an issue and there is a very limited choice available on the UK high street. Boo-frickin-hoo, you might say, at least you have big boobs! But lingerie shopping as a plus-sizer can become anything but sexy, let me tell you. Traipsing around department store after department store, stripping naked to the waist and trying to squeeze into the wrong size, gazing at all those gorgeous designs only stocked in A-D; it’s hard to stay positive. If you have a larger bust, you may be left thinking that without either breaking the bank or wearing underoos like your grandma’s you simply won’t find a bra to support you.
I’ve been a fan of Bravissimo and the brands they stock for several years now (read about my Bravissimo bra-fitting experience here) so when Panache got in touch and asked if I’d like to review one of their sets in honour of “Banish Your Bad Bra Day” I jumped at the chance. Along with a brand-spanking new bra (more on that in a minute) they sent me a set of questions to answer which should help us all uncover our bad underwear habits and give our lingerie collection a bit of an overhaul! Let’s begin.
Be honest… how old is your oldest bra? 18 months ago I got measured for the first time ever. When they told me my correct size, I was so sick and tired of wearing unsupportive, uncomfortable bras that I bought all new ones to celebrate… with the exception of just one. It’s a turquoise plunge bra that I love wearing in the summer underneath brightly coloured tops. Even though it’s so badly fitting and doesn’t do my back any favours, I can’t bare to part with it.
What is your favourite colour underwear, and why? Black. It’s practical. It’s easy to wear under a lot of my outfits because I wear a lot of darker colours and always looks good. I like a flash of colour too, although I like rich, jewel shades like plum and teal, because otherwise I think a flash of coloured strap can look cheap.
What is a good fitting bra to you? What do you look at to see it’s a good fit? When I got measured I was told that the middle section of your bra (between the cups) should sit flush on your breast bone. that was a bit of a revelation to me and now it’s always the main thing I look for. I find as long as the middle part fits right, the band is supportive. A good fitting bra should be easy to wear. You should forget you’re wearing it (in a good way). The straps should stay tight and you shouldn’t have to readjust it throughout the day. Fiddling with your undergarments is not a good look.
How often, or at what sort of occasions, do you wear matching underwear? This ties in with black being my favourite colour underwear to wear. Wearing a black bra means it’s so easy to match with plain black knickers so I wear matching underwear in that sense nearly everyday. Matching sets are great but they’re too high maintenance for me to wear everyday – I don’t have that many bras and I hate doing laundry!
What is your favourite type of bra, and why? My favourite actual bra is the one I featured in my Bravissimo fitting post. It’s the Freya Alexa bra and you can still buy it in limited sizes. I love the fit, the colour and the pattern. Plus, I love a non-padded cup. I feel they’re more flattering on me and help minimise my chest to help keep my figure balanced. But mainly I love it because it’s a balconnet style. I can’t seem to get along with anything other than a balconnet. They’re so comfortable and they’re so much more supportive than a plunge. Don’t get me wrong, I like a plunge occasionally, especially for more cleavage revealing tops, but for day to day – you can’t beat a balconnet for support, comfort and style.
The bra that Panache sent me is from their Cleo range. My experience was slightly complicated in that I tried the Cleo Meg style as my first choice but I just couldn’t find a size that fitted me. I’m usually a 32E or 34DD and I tried both, but the band was coming up small and the cups big. This is something that should definitely not be held against the brand but just goes to show that brands and styles do differ in sizing and if you’re going for a shape or brand you don’t usually buy you have to make the effort to try a few sizes to get the correct fit. If you’re unsure about brands or sizing you should read Sophia Jenner – she’s an amazing lingerie blogger with loads of advice for what size to buy from where and just reading her posts will reiterate how sizes can vary from store to store.
In the end I concluded that the particular shape of the Meg bra just wasn’t for me (some styles just don’t suit certain breast shapes, no biggie) so I tried on the Cleo Darcy in a 34DD which had a moulded cup as opposed to mesh. Straight away it felt a million times more comfortable. The band is stretchy and soft, the section between the cups fitted snugly against my breast bone and the straps are thick enough to support without feeling dowdy. It’s quickly become one of my favourite, most comfortable bras. I opted for the bigger of the 2 sizes I wear and after a few weeks wear I’m now on to the tightest hook. I could easily fit into a 32E so I would say that the Darcy style does run slightly large.
The navy and red print is fun and the red lace trim adds a hint of sexiness without any cringe factor. It doesn’t look like it takes itself too seriously. As I mentioned earlier, I wear a lot of darker colours so visibility isn’t usually an issue for me. This bra smooths out any lumps and bumps in my silhouette and is virtually untraceable below clothes. As a balconnet, it doesn’t come up too high on the sides so it’s easy to wear with lower fitting tops and dresses. I handwash all my bras and this one has done fine with that. The fabric of the bra still runs smooth and has kept it’s stretchy quality – not a dimple or a bobble in sight.
Darcy is available from Figleaves for £25, plus £14.50 for the matching briefs.
Where do you buy your lingerie? Have you had any problems in sizing with particular brands? What do you look for in a bra?