[Disclosure: Freya generously provided the bralette for review, and the boyshort was a gift from a friend. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
By far one of the biggest trends in the lingerie world right now is the bralette. While corsets, underwired bras, basques, and suspender belts will likely always have their devotees, softer loungewear-hybrid pieces like kimonos, camisoles, crop tops, and bralettes are really having a moment. Bralettes are easily accessible, both to indie designers and brands launching new collections as well as to people with smaller busts, because the fit tends to be more forgiving and more flexible. The size range is easier to manage than underwired bras, and they can feel easy and effortless, a welcome change of pace as we head into warmer months. As someone who really, really wants support out of her bras, though, I always assumed this trend would be out of my reach. Most bralettes, especially those with classic triangle-shaped cups, can’t begin to offer the coverage and support I want in order to feel comfortable.
Full-bust faves Freya are up to the challenge, though. Freya launched a new “Fancies” collection recently with a line of colorful basic Brazilian panties in stretch lace, designed to coordinate across a range of seasonal styles. The program lets customers buy knickers to mix and match with their Freya bras at slightly lower price points than those in the main collections. The line has done so well they’ve expanded it, adding a boyshort, a chemise, a bralette, and, next season, even more new pieces. When Freya offered to send me a bralette I leapt at the chance, eager to see how this on-trend piece would work for my fuller bust.
The Fancies bralette is constructed of two layers of black mesh with a gathered center seam, smooth back, and slim, fully adjustable straps. The neckline and band are trimmed with thick bands of stretch floral lace, and there’s a black bow with tiny white dots at the center gore. The boyshorts are equally simple: sheer black animal-patterned stretch lace with a ribbon bow at the waist and a center back seam. I can’t be 100% sure that it’s the same but the lace on the boyshort looks awfully similar to the lace on the Minx bra I reviewed last fall.
For reference, I currently wear around a 32GG in most UK brands. The Fancies bralette is available in sizes XS-XL, and Freya advertises that this bralette will fit sizes from a 28B up to a 38HH cup. The suggested size breakdown is as follows:
XS: 28B-DD, 30 B-C, 32B
S: 28 E-FF, 30 D-F, 32 C-DD, 34 B-D, 36B
M: 28 G-GG, 30 FF-G, 32 E-FF, 34 DD-F, 36 C-E, 38 B-D
L: 28 H-HH, 30 GG-HH, 32 G-HH, 34 FF-H, 36 F-GG, 38 DD-G
XL: 34HH, 36 H-HH, 38 GG-HH
Following the suggested fit chart, I’m wearing a size Large in both the bralette and the boyshort. Both fit comfortably– the boyshort is true to size compared to other Freya knickers, and it fits well with no digging in or wrinkling. I do feel like the Fancies knickers don’t have quite the same “recovery” that some of my other Freya knickers have– over the course of a day’s wear they start to bag out ever so slightly and don’t spring back into shape after being stretched out. This doesn’t happen in a way that affects the fit; I mention it as an interesting indicator of why there might be a price difference between the Fancies knickers and those in Freya’s main collections. With the bralette, because there’s no back fastening, you have to choose whether to step into it or pull it over your head, and I’m in the step-into-it camp, because I feel like I’m going to stretch it out faster if I have to yank it down past my boobs each time.
Once it’s on, it’s…a pretty good fit, I’d say. Obviously with a bralette you’re going to lose the shaping, support, security, and stability a wired bra provides. That’s a given, but I will say that even with those caveats in mind I’m not really sure how successful the bralette is for those who wear G+ sizes. Yes, the bralette fits around my body, but the “band” part, since it’s that pretty, delicate lace, tends to curl up on itself rather than contribute in any meaningful way to the fit. The “cup” part also feels…short on me? I feel like I want a little more depth in the cup, or at least a little more coverage– I worry when I bend over or move around that I’m going to spill out the top (or fall out of the bottom). I’ll be honest– on my body, this doesn’t have that much of a leg up over the shelf bras available in mainstream cami tops. If I were in the B-FF, maybe B-G range, I might feel differently, but because the difference between my underbust and overbust measurements is pronounced, I need a more tailored fit than this pattern can offer.
I was hoping the bralette would be a good wear-around-the-apartment-while-cooking-or-cleaning piece for me, maybe even good for gentle yoga. Sometimes a super-structured bra can feel like just too much for quieter days, but I still want a little something to hold things steady. At my current size, the bralette just can’t quite offer me what I need. If I were around two cup sizes smaller I think I’d get a little more lift and a little more support; as things currently stand, the bralette shifts and wriggles around, and I have to adjust and reposition it with annoying frequency. That said, I’m surprised by how much I like to sleep in it. True, some mornings I wake up and I’ve, um, fallen out of it in the night, but most nights it provides just a little extra hold, enough to feel comfortably contained and gently supported.
I think the Fancies bralette is a real winner for those in the B-FF, maybe B-G size range. Easy, relaxed, and comfortable, it’s a smart addition to the Freya lineup. As Erica mentioned in her review for A Sophisticated Pair, I, too, would like to see Freya consider adjusting the pattern for their G-HH customers (perhaps the way Bravissimo does with their non-wired nightwear pieces). It would be nice if there were, perhaps, a set of bralettes for XS-XL B-FF sizes and another for XS-XL G-HH sizes, with the second set of sizes offering fuller, taller “cups”, wider straps, and perhaps a firmer band. Even though the bralette isn’t the perfect loungewear solution for me, I still foresee getting a lot of wear out of it this summer when my apartment becomes an oven and the thought of wearing a shirt, let alone a padded or heavily structured bra, is unbearable.
Have you tried a full-bust bralette before? What do you think of the Fancies collection?
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Photos: Studio Rezin