When I was planning the bridal boudoir editorial featured last month on Burnett’s Boards, I knew I wanted to make sure to feature lingerie pieces that are available in a range of back sizes. After all, curvy really describes a shape, not a size. There are women who are very slim with small ribcages who have curves, and there are women with broader ribcages and heavier physiques who have curves. I’ve experienced some pretty unfortunate/sizeist comments from staff in bridal stores and salons when I’ve been shopping for wedding dresses with some of my friends, so I’m really pleased today to review pieces from Elomi’s beautiful full-figure bridal collection Maria. Note: while Elomi very generously provided this set for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Part of what I think of as “Elomi’s 2013-2014 Surge of Greatness”, the Maria collection is a beautiful, ground-breaking special occasion lingerie set for people who wear full-figure + full-bust bra sizes. Featuring a strapless bra, convertible basque, brief, and thong, all in gleaming satin, sheer mesh, and delicate lace, Maria is stunningly pretty, highly functional, and an absolute standout in this particular demographic of the lingerie industry.
The basque features panels of ivory satin interspersed with sheer mesh and delicate lace. I love that some panels are totally sheer: it’s a really sexy touch! The basque features four vertical soft bones in the front and four in the back, for smoothing and support. The cups are seamed, three-piece cups made of spacer fabric with a soft, flexible bone sewn vertically inside each cup for extra stability and lift. The back closes with two columns of eight rows of hooks and eyes, and the four suspenders are fully detachable. The straps are also convertible and fully detachable, and there are two points of attachment in the front on each side, you so can adjust the straps to suit different necklines.
The briefs feature an opaque center front and fully sheer stretch lace hips and rear. Both the basque and brief feature ivory bows at the center front.
I took my “regular” (the size I wear most frequently) bra size and my “Freya” brief size, or one size down from what I take in some other brands. I find most Eveden briefs are cut for hips and rears that are a little fuller than mine, so your mileage may vary. For the basque I found the sizing to be spot on and consistent with other Elomi bras. At first I thought the top of the band was snug, and then I realized that I was simply trying to hook it too high on my back: this piece has a surprisingly low back for a full-bust basque, a lovely feature for gowns that feature low or sheer back details! Once I pulled the back down lower it hooked quite comfortably. I had a little more room than I needed towards my waist and hips, which I again attribute to my not being as full in the hips as I am in the bust.
One tradeoff that comes as a result of the lower back is a not-quite-tacking center gore. In a traditional full-bust bra, the firm, horizontal band combined with the slight lift from the shoulder straps help pull the center gore against the chest wall. Without these forces, I found that the center gore of the basque hovers slightly off my sternum. This means this is probably a good foundation garment for a dress with a little more structure to it, as opposed to one that is looser or more flowing.
I’ll just note here that it’s quite common to wear a different size in “occasion” lingerie than you might in your everyday bras. Sometimes the specialized construction affects the fit (there are often different bells and whistles involved to help provide support and structure), and sometimes you might just find that you want a larger cup or a smaller band to help with lift or to make sure you feel supported but still comfortable. Even though I found a pretty good fit in the Maria basque in my “regular” size, don’t be afraid to try on a few different sizes to make sure you get the comfort, shape, and support you want. For many special occasions, and for weddings in particular, there’s a very strong chance that you’ll be standing, getting photographed, hugging, dancing, eating and drinking, and generally celebrating good times, come on, in your special-occasion lingerie. It’ll be worth it to take some time to make sure your underwear will treat you kindly throughout all of those activities.
As I mentioned in my review of the Serenity collection by Masquerade, it’s rare to find special-occasion lingerie or strapless bras that are as comfortable as everyday bras. That being said, for a lower-backed full-bust strapless basque, Maria is pretty exceptional. I really appreciate the boning in the cups, as they help the cup hold its shape and provide a little extra lift. Because this is a seamed cup, the shape is not as perfectly rounded as what you’ll find with a molded cup, but as many wedding gowns and dresses are more structured to begin with, I personally didn’t mind the shape. As with the floating center gore, there are some tradeoffs to be made when constructing a strapless low-back bra for larger, heavier breasts, and a perfectly rounded, perfectly lifted profile (such as you’d get with your everyday bras) is one of them. The bones in the basque are sturdy enough that they don’t buckle or bulge, but flexible enough that there’s no restriction or discomfort.
The briefs are incredibly comfortable. The rise is my personal sweet spot about an inch below my navel, and the stretch lace over the hips mean there’s no elastic to dig in and create panty lines. I happen to think thongs are The Worst, so I love that there’s such a pretty, functional brief to pair with the set, though of course there is a coordinating thong for those of you who prefer them.
I am so, so, SO pleased and impressed with this collection from Elomi. The size range is phenomenal, the shapes and design are carefully considered, the construction is detailed and flawless, AND the whole darn thing is available in both ivory and black, which makes it incredibly versatile. I’m eager to hear from women across the size range to get a sense of what the fit is like in different sizes. Have you tried the Maria collection? What did you think?
Photography: Kate Ignatowski
Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Lingerie: Elomi Lingerie “Maria” Basque and Brief (c/o Elomi). Basque available in sizes 32 DD-HH, 34-40 D-HH, 42 D-H, 44 D-G, 46 D-F, 48 D-E (UK cup sizes), brief in sizes M-4XL. Coordinating strapless bra and thong also available.
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Anny Chow