Tutti Rouge has been such a bright, sunny presence in the full-bust lingerie world ever since their launch in 2013. Compared to industry stalwarts like Fantasie, Tutti Rouge’s designs have a more “youthful” bent. Alternately sweet, cute, and kitschy, the collections are fun and colorful, and the size range impressive for such a young brand: 28-38 D-J, plus one style in 40-44 D-F. In 2013 I reviewed two bras from their debut season, and while I thought there was room for improvement in the fit, I was really impressed with the care that went into the small details, like signature heart-shaped strap adjusters and creative coordinating knickers. I was thrilled to feature Fall/Winter 2014’s satin Kitty collection in the Sugar-Plum-Fairy-themed holiday editorial, but I’ve been REALLY eager to try out a non-padded style. While most of the Tutti Rouge collections featured padding, I usually prefer non-padded bras for comfort. I was therefore delighted when Tutti Rouge offered to send me the lovely mint-green Nichole collection to review.
[Disclosure: I received this set free of charge from Tutti Rouge for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Nichole is a balconette bra with a classic three-part cup shape crafted from sheer non-stretch mesh (and note: it’s VERY sheer; I’m wearing nippies for these pictures). The soft Minty Green colorway is new for Spring/Summer 2015; continuity colors (Crème and Noir/Sugar) are also available. The two bottom panels are double-lined for added support and stability. The top edge of the cup is trimmed with pretty ivory lace, while the wire channels are trimmed with a cool ribbon-threaded lace. There are white bows at each strap and a multicolor floral-print bow with a signature Tutti Rouge heart at the center gore. The powermesh band fastens in back with three rows and three columns of hooks-and-eyes, and the straps are fully adjustable (complete with heart-shaped adjusters).
The matching shorts are lined in the center panel and completely sheer over the hips and rear. They feature the same ribbon-threaded lace and floral bow, with a matching lace detail at the center back. While the rise in the front is quite low and consistent with a classic bikini brief, the shorts offer much more coverage over the sides and back. The edges of the legline are elasticized for a close fit.
While I requested my current “usual” size of 32H for the bra, unfortunately that size was sold out. The Tutti Rouge team suggested that Nichole runs a bit large in the band and that I might be able to wear a 30HH, the sister size to my usual 32H. I was pretty skeptical– I’ve never been able to fasten a 30 band in my life. To my surprise, they were right! The band fastens (firmly) on the loosest set of hooks, so if you’re in between band sizes I STRONGLY recommend sizing down in this particular style. The cup volume feels very true to size: all of my breast tissue is contained in the cups with no wrinkling or digging, and the center gore tacks (VERY) firmly against my sternum (more on this later). The cups remind me a lot of some of Cleo’s styles, like Marcie or Lily, which offer lots of round projection in an unpadded frame.
A few notes: the cups are DEEP, which is fantastic for people like me who want bras with lots of projection. They are also fairly tall at the sides and a bit wider than I need, so if tall/wide wires are a fit issue for you, I’d be advised that this style might not be the best one for you. As with many balconette bras the straps are also fairly wide set, so if you have narrow or sloping shoulders, caveat emptor. I was worried the cups would dig into my underarms or show under sleeveless tops, but so far, while I can’t wear this bra with every sleeveless thing I own, it does still work under some outfits. I’ve learned over time that I tend to get a great fit from bras where the outer bottom panel connects directly to the strap: this seems to both draw breast tissue in from the sides of the body as well as lift the breasts vertically.
For the shorts I gambled and requested a Large instead of an Extra Large. I was worried they’d come up a little small, but to my surprise, they feel great! I’ve been complaining on here a lot lately about low-rise knickers that feel like they’re falling off and/or that wiggle around throughout the day, but these stay put and feel wonderful.
I really like how light this whole set feels: the mesh is so sheer and the projection and lift it provides are so good that I’m hoping it will become one of my go-to summer sets. That being said, I encountered an issue I’ve never faced before, though I know others have: the center gore is TACKING AS HARD AS IT CAN. Good gravy, I have never worn a bra that pushed so firmly against my sternum. In theory, this is a really good thing for fit: when the wires of your bra are anchored against your ribcage (instead of standing away from the body or resting on breast tissue), the bra does a much better job of keeping your breasts lifted and supported. However, the first time I put this bra on I could only wear it for about five minutes– the gore was actually painful. The good news is that all it took was me forcibly bending the wires outward to make the bra wearable (for me). The bad news is that for those of you who have experienced sore or bruised sternums in other bras (I’m thinking again of Cleo’s non-padded bras) might encounter the same issues here.
I LOVE the shorts. I love them. In the past I’ve found that Tutti Rouge’s knickers feature extremely narrow gussets, but since the shorts fit so securely on my body, I don’t experience any discomfort. True, I wouldn’t mind if the rise in front were a little higher, but hello, I always think that, so I’m not going to ding Tutti Rouge for making knickers that fall in line with what every other brand is doing.
In spite of wearing a new-to-me size and having to give this bra bit more of a break in period than some others, I really like this set! The mint green is a new color for my lingerie drawer; while I generally avoid pastels, there’s a retro, almost-kitsch charm to this set that really appeals to me, especially for summer. G+ bras with this sort of delicacy and whimsy are hard to come by, and while you may need to branch out from your “usual” size to find your best fit, I think the Tutti team have done a great job. I look forward to seeing this style develop (and hopefully get the few minor fit issues worked out) for many seasons to come.
UPDATE: Tutti Rouge is offering FREE worldwide shipping until May 18! Use code ‘SUNDANCE’ at their Big Cartel store for free shipping on all Tutti Rouge collections.
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Bra and Short: Nichole in Minty Green by Tutti Rouge. Available in sizes 28-38 D-HH (£29.50), XS-XL (£15.50). Nichole is also available in Hot Papaya, Purple Haze, Noir/Sugar, Crème, Powder Blue, and Sugar Pink. Note: Tutti Rouge is a UK company, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH.
Photography: Studio Rezin