[Disclosure: Tutti Rouge generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Welcome back to the Tutti Rouge review series! In case you missed my earlier posts, a quick recap: Tutti Rouge generously gave me the opportunity to wear and review four of their Fall/Winter 2015 styles, so I could get to know the different shapes and styles and share my thoughts with you. In November I reviewed Liliana and Betty, which have been a part of the brand since they launched, and today I’m getting in the festive spirit with brand-new style Jessica.
Jessica is one of Tutti Rouge’s showpieces for this season, the world’s first ever non-padded plunge bra up to an HH-cup that includes removable push-up pads (called Tutti boosters). I’ve heard from a few readers over the years who miss the push-up or cleavage-enhancing products they enjoyed wearing in core sizes, so I’m excited to talk today about Tutti Rouge’s innovative new collection. Would it give me #illegalcleavage, as promised?
Jessica is a three-part non-padded plunge bra with an internal pocket in the outer cup section (closest to the band/underarm) for two sets of removable push-up pads (more details on these below). The fabric is a soft mesh with wonderful stretch in a classic beige-and-black color scheme, with a lovely mix of dotted mesh overlay and elegant stretch lace. The fully adjustable straps feature Tutti Rouge’s signature heart-shaped adjusters, and the band (in my size, so I suspect in all GG+ sizes) fastens with three rows and three columns of hooks and eyes. The matching thong features Tutti’s standout attention to detail with two decorative rosebuds at the back.
I requested my current most common UK sizes, 32GG and 14/L. The band on Jessica comes up quite firm, as I found to be the case with the other two Tutti Rouge styles I tried this Fall, and it definitely required a bit of a break-in period before it didn’t feel super tight. As with Liliana, the wires are rigid and a bit wide for my shape, but because this is a plunge style, the shorter center gore doesn’t tack as aggressively as Nichole, which I reviewed in May, or Fifi, which I’ll review on Wednesday.
So far I’ve mostly worn the bra without the removable push-up pads, because outside of work and the gym I haven’t been going out a lot, because I am a very cool and active person with a wild big city lifestyle, see: my many twitter odes to brussels sprouts pizza + Netflix. So let’s talk about the bra in its most sedate form. I am generally Team No Padding when it comes to bras, and Jessica is terrific as a non-padded bra: the low center gore won’t show under deeper necklines, there’s plenty of stretch in the upper cup so that it doesn’t dig or create lines, and, without the pads, the bra offers a fairly low profile. If you generally need very structured cups, the stretch in the upper section may give you some fit challenges, and, as with my recent review of plunge bras like Panache’s Fontaine or Bosom Galore’s Amelia, Jessica is to some extent a bra that’s just too wide-set for my shape. It’s a strange realization for me: I’ve been told my whole life that I have broad shoulders and a broad ribcage, so this is just another example of how boobs do their own thing. Despite being a generally larger-than-average person, my breasts are still set fairly close together, and I sometimes find that certain bras are designed to suit someone with a different build.
This wide-set issue comes into play again when it’s time to experiment with the “Tutti boosters”. When you buy Jessica, it’s like you’re actually buying three different bras: a non-padded plunge bra, a bra with one level of push-up padding, and a bra with two levels of push-up padding. The smaller of the boosters fits inside the larger, and, with a little practice and dexterity, you can even change the padding level on the go without removing the bra! Since the boosters offer wayyy more padding than I’m used to, I was actually surprised that I didn’t have, well, more cleavage. They give me an upward boost and an extreme push-up effect, but because the bra is wider-set than I am, it can’t actually push my breasts towards the center of my body to create jaw-dropping cleavage. I feel like I get a lot of volume, but not necessarily a lot of shaping (to see how different the bra can look, check out these images (here and here) from Tutti Rouge’s Instagram).
I’ve found some inconsistencies with the fit of TR’s knickers, but a lot of that depends on personal preference, the type of fabric, and the style. The Jessica thong fits me well with no digging and even a little more coverage in front than I was expecting.
As I mentioned, the bra required a few full days of wear before the band was 100% comfy. This is fairly common in full-bust bra land, but if you are sensitive to tight bands, it might be worth trying your sister size (one band size up and one cup size down). The wires are also rigid, so if you prefer a more flexible wire, particularly in G+ sizes, I’d recommend looking at styles by Freya for alternatives. All that said, Jessica gets a lot of wear from me, particularly in its non-padded iteration: the soft materials, low neckline, and clean look under clothes make it a super useful addition to my wardrobe. While I haven’t yet worn the boosters all day, since I usually prefer a lower profile at work, they’re soft and easy to use, and Tutti Rouge reports that they mold nicely to your breast shape after a few wears.
I’m not going to mince words here: I don’t like thongs. They are not my friends. I have trouble getting a good fit, I don’t love the way they look on me, and I’m conscious of them every single instant I wear them. Since I’m a stickler for a matching set, if a thong is the only underwear available, sometimes the matching bra gets shuffled to the back of my lingerie drawer. Now that I’ve made everything sound as terrible as it possibly could be, there is good news: for one thing, the Jessica bra will coordinate beautifully with many black underwear styles, and for another the Jessica thong is actually way less terrible than other thongs. The stretch fabric sits comfortably over my hips, and I’m not distracted by its, ahem, presence, like I usually am with thongs. I have actually voluntarily chosen to wear it even if there are other pairs of clean underwear available. I know this sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise, but I cannot overstate my dislike of thongs, so the fact that there’s one I’ll wear voluntarily is a pretty big deal. Would it be my first choice, over a brief or Brazilian? Absolutely not, but I was still pleasantly surprised by how much more comfortable it is than its blighted brethren.
While I don’t get the va-va-voom, super-pushed-together cleavage I’d hoped for, I’m still really pleased to have Jessica in my lingerie wardrobe. I was curious about how well a bra could adapt to having so much padding inserted without causing overspill, but the stretch fabric works almost miraculously well. The color scheme is a classic, while the red rosebuds add a classic Tutti touch (and the ribbon-threaded-lace detail on the underwire channels mean it coordinates nicely with Tutti’s Nichole style). What do you think of Jessica? I know some full-bust women prefer lower profile bras, but I’ve also heard from some who wish they had the same push-up options as their counterparts who wear core sizes. Will you give Jessica a try?
About those hold-ups: Earlier this year I was contacted by Glamory Hosiery, who asked if I’d be interested in trying some of their hold-ups and stockings. I’d heard great things about the brand from Erica at A Sophisticated Pair, who carries a great sheer style in her store, and I’d particularly heard that they were a good fit for those of us on the tall and/or plus size end of the size spectrum (the brand also specializes in hosiery for men). After reviewing the size chart, I requested to try size 44-46/XL, and Glamory sent me four beautiful pairs, including white hold-ups, ivory stockings, sheer black hold-ups, and the opaque black hold-ups featured here. I feel like a dope, because I’m not actually sure which style these are because I threw away the packaging and can’t seem to find them on the website, but y’all, they are FANTASTIC. I genuinely can’t say enough good things about the brand. Sometimes hold-ups and stockings come up short on me, or the band is too narrow and digs into my inner thighs, but Glamory hold-ups are different. Though they use the same silicone grippy strips as other brands, they don’t seem to irritate my skin like some others do, and best of all, they stay put with no digging! I’ve been wearing the black pairs almost non-stop to work, and I suspect that when Spring comes around the white or ivory pairs will make an appearance on the blog. If you’ve been frustrated with or sized out of other hosiery brands, I’d definitely consider giving Glamory a try!
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Bra and Thong: Jessica by Tutti Rouge (c/o), 38-38 D-HH, XS-XXL. Tutti Rouge is a UK brand, so the cup size progression goes D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH.
Hold-ups: Glamory (c/o), Medium-5X.
Photos: Studio Rezin