I know, I know, I’ve called about 74 pieces of lingerie “best of the year”; my affections are fickle and ever-changing. For 2013 I do hereby revoke the title from any previous set I may have foolishly given it to and bequeath it to this one: “Imogen” by Elomi. In terms of innovation, sophistication, and execution, particularly at this price point, Imogen blew everyone else out of the water. As soon as I saw it at Curve last February, I knew I wanted to try it for myself, and I was thrilled when Elomi offered me a set of my choice for review.
[Note: while Elomi generously provided this set, all thoughts and opinions are my own]
“Imogen” is an elegant, versatile collection consisting of a full-cup bra (up to a JJ-cup), a half-cup bra (up to a G-cup), a waist cincher (or waspie), a full brief, and a thong. Featuring sheer black floral embroidered mesh laid over butterscotch-colored simplex, I love that the set is dark without being all black– there’s a lovely warmth and delicacy to it that my tragic smartphone pictures below will utterly fail to capture.
Stunning? Beautiful? Luxurious? The bra is a four-part cup (a vertical seam in the lower cup, a horizontal seam separating upper and lower cup, and a side panel connecting the lower cup to the strap) featuring a sheer upper cup trimmed in black with matching, slightly puffy bows at the center front of bra and brief. The bra features fully-adjustable straps and closes with three rows of three columns of hooks-and-eyes, and the cincher closes with two columns of seven rows of hooks and eyes. The briefs feature elegant panelling details and a sexy sheer mesh back.
As I mentioned, I LOVE that the set isn’t all-black. All-black lingerie is sexy and classic, don’t get me wrong– much of my lingerie is black or at least trimmed with black. I just never thought a brown lingerie set would light my fire, but wow.
I requested the full-cup bra in my most common bra size, and the brief and waist cincher in my usual brief size. In terms of band size and cup volume, the fit of the bra is spot-on. I find Elomi’s wires to spread a bit wide for my frame, but that’s really a quibble– I can’t expect an off-the-rack bra to fit my specific body 100% perfectly. To that end, what got me into trouble was not so much the size as the style.
Simply put, Eveden’s full-cup bras and fuller balcony bras don’t work for me. Freddy Zappe, Eveden’s national fit specialist, explained the reasons for this to me at last February’s Curve: my boobs are set high on my body and they’re pretty full all-around, and the way Eveden cuts their full-cut bras doesn’t include enough room in the top of the cup. As a result, the top of the cups dig in to my breast tissue and the center gore can’t tack firmly. Even sizing up in the cups doesn’t help, as it throws off the fit elsewhere in the bra. The top of the cups are just too shallow for me. It doesn’t mean that Imogen, or Fantasie’s “Salsa” style, or Freya’s “Gem” style (which have similar shapes and thus fit me equally poorly) are bad bras; it just means they’re designed for someone whose boobs aren’t as full on top. If I were in the size range I might have tried the half-cup Imogen bra instead, but as the full cup or the fuller balcony styles are some of the only ones Eveden offers past a G-cup, I just kind of have to make do whenever I want to wear this complete set (and avoid clingy tops).
Now we need to talk about the waspie/waist cincher, and how I think it’s just the greatest. It’s cut so that the top perfectly lines up with the curve of the bra’s underwire, and on me the bottom slightly overlaps the top of the briefs (I am fairly short-waisted, so it might fall differently on a woman with a longer torso). What’s lovely about this is it allows you to choose how you want to fit your waist separately from how you want to fit your boobs. My underbust is smaller than my waist, so a basque in my true bra size can sometimes squeeze uncomfortably. With this set, I get the look of a basque with a customized, flexible fit.
I requested the waspie and briefs in what I think of as my usual knicker size, and while I love the fit of the waist cincher, I find the briefs slightly large (as I often do with Elomi’s sister brand, Freya). If you, like me, occasionally find that Eveden’s briefs run a little big, feel free to size down. My hips and rear aren’t as curvy as my boobs, so these briefs might work really beautifully on those of you with true hourglass figures.
While I do occasionally have to adjust the bra throughout the day, on account of the shape incompatibility I talked about above, overall I’ve found the few Elomi bras I’ve tried insanely comfortable. The bands are deep and sturdy, yet the bottom edge of elastic never digs in the way some other bras do. Even though the full-cup shape isn’t great for me, I do really like that the wide, soft straps pull more from the center of the bra, rather than the outside edges right at my arms. This helps prevent slipping straps, and it also helps to provide a little extra lift and stability. The briefs are higher rise than a bikini brief and yet are slightly lower than a true retro high-waist panty, and they hit me just below my navel. As this is just about my favorite rise in the world, because it’s super comfortable, I’m a happy girl.
I’ve worn the cincher on both the loosest and tightest columns and been pretty happy in either case. Because it features elastic and plastic boning instead of cotton coutil and steel boning, like a corset would, it’s not going to offer any sort of radical figure change (you can, in fact, still see the curve of my tummy in the shot above, as well as the clear indentation of my bra band hugging my underbust before my waist thickens). Neverthless, as light shapewear it functions beautifully– I’ve worn it under a clinging dress and a slim pencil skirt and been really, really pleased with the results- a slight nipping in of the waist plus smoothing.
Overall, this set is an absolute stand-out. I love the rich, elegant color scheme, and I also think Elomi has plenty of room for creativity here: black with a variety of other colors for more of a boudoir feel, ivory and pastels for a lighter (as well as more bridal) feel. I might like to see a version of the waist cincher with detachable suspenders for stockings, but as you can see, a pair of hold ups also gets the job done. I had so much fun wearing it at my boudoir shoot, and pairing it with a tulle bustle skirt from my pole dancing wardrobe for more of a burlesque, costumey look. In a perfect world I’d ask Elomi to come up with a new bra shape for their G+ customers, since the full-cup doesn’t work for me (and also isn’t the sexiest style in town), but otherwise I think this set is a gorgeous, fantastic addition to the full-figure/full-bust lingerie landscape.
Full-cup bra: Sizes 34 G-JJ, 36-42 E-JJ, 44 E-G.
Half-cup bra: Sizes 36-42 D-G, 44 D-FF, 46 D-F.
Brief and thong: Sizes M-4XL.
Waist cincher: Sizes M-2XL.