[I purchased this lingerie set with my own money. Buttress & Snatch is not affiliated with this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
When I opened my first order of Buttress & Snatch lingerie I almost started crying.
Just to get everyone up to speed, I’ve admired Buttress & Snatch, an independent luxury lingerie and swimwear label from the UK, for several years now. I first saw them featured on The Lingerie Addict in 2013 and fell head over heels for the opulent fabrics and show-stopping embellishments like diamanté trim, lush silk ruffles, and dramatic off-the-shoulder swags of lace. In sharp contrast to the American lingerie market’s emphasis on “wearability” and beige t-shirt bras, this is lingerie that’s meant to be seen and admired, infused with a cheeky sense of fun that seduces while not taking itself too seriously.
I kind of knew in the back of my mind that Buttress & Snatch made non-core sizes available as custom orders, but honestly? I VERY rarely place a custom lingerie order until I’ve seen a photo of someone with a similar body type to mine wearing a particular piece. I’ve known my body and its fit challenges for a long time now, and having tried lots of bras from lots of brands, I know that making D+ bras is not a walk in the park (for more on the making of full-bust bras, check out Part I and Part II of my interview with full-bust and plus size lingerie designer Kim Hamilton).
I’d resigned myself to admiring the brand from afar when this year all my dreams came true: Buttress & Snatch launched a new Curvy range, with bras in sizes up to a J cup and 42 band and knickers up to a UK size 24 (sizes beyond these are also available as custom orders). I LOVE how the full-bust and plus size collections retain the sensual playfulness of their core-sized counterparts, and when I read Holly’s review of the Antoinette set I knew I had to try one out for myself. Buttress & Snatch generously sent me a set to try out that I loved so much I had to save it for this year’s holiday editorials (sorry), but almost immediately I dipped into my vacation fund to purchase one of the sets of my dreams: the Black Maria bra and bow-back brief.
I cannot explain why I have always felt like I needed a bra with sleeves, but here we are. The Curvy Maria bra is a non-padded bra with a three-part cup, crafted of delicate black floral lace blacked with sheer beige tulle. The cup is structured like a demi-cup bra; the seam that runs diagonally across the cup cuts quite low, just barely clearing my nipples, while the top section of the cup, a gathering of the black lace with no lining, drapes loosely across the décolletage and can be adjusted for more or less coverage. The gathers of lace continue across the upper arms and connect directly to the straps in back. The straps themselves are partially adjustable; the front section consists of two slim elastic straps, one smooth and one trimmed with small pompoms (I’m quite certain there’s a technical term for this, someone help me out). The back section of each strap is a traditional bra strap with plastic adjuster. The band is sheer black powermesh with no stays, and it fastens in back with two rows and four columns of hooks and eyes.
The details are where this set truly shines: The top edge of the demi cup (underneath the lace swag) is trimmed with a narrow lace ribbon, and oversized bows made of the same lace ribbon swing from the center gore and the legline of the high-waist brief. Clusters of jet-black beads dangle from the back of the shoulders, and pink velvet flowers with green tulle leaves (orchids, maybe?) adorn the front and back of the straps, the front of the brief, the center gore, and either side of the back closure. These are the kinds of thoughtful details you really only get in handmade luxury lingerie– there’s a sense of both opulence and whimsy that makes me so happy.
Speaking of the briefs, these aren’t technically the Maria briefs. I sort of figured “I’m already buying a bra with sleeves and flowers all over it that I can’t wear to work, why not go big on the bottoms as well?” I emailed Rachel, the founder of Buttress and Snatch, to ask if the high-waist bow-back knickers could be made to match the Maria bra, and she said absolutely! The center front panel features the same delicate lace as the bra, while the seat has been changed from a dotted mesh to a smooth mesh to match the bra band. Instead of a silk bow, she swapped in large panels of floral lace, edged entirely in the same lace ribbon trim that makes up the bows at the leg openings and center gore. Every detail has been so carefully considered, and every trim and embellishment so carefully placed. The more I look at the set, the more care and attention to detail I notice. This set is truly special.
Holly reported fantastic experiences with the fit of her Buttress & Snatch sets, so I had high hopes. My first sample (that I’m saving for holiday editorials) arrived in sizes 32GG and 14/Large, and while I loved the fit of the briefs, I found the cups came up a tiny bit small, and the center gore floated away from my ribcage. When I ordered my Maria bra, I asked if the cups could be slightly a slightly more generous 32H, and I stuck with 14/Large for the knickers. To my surprise I found the band on the Maria bra looser than the one on my original sample, so I usually wear the Maria bra fastened on one of the tighter sets of hooks, rather than the loosest. I also found that the cups aren’t a great match for my breast shape. I have close set, narrow-rooted (I think) breasts, and I usually prefer bras that offer a lot of depth and projection. The shape of the Maria bra is wider and shallower than my breasts, so the center gore doesn’t tack firmly against my sternum and the underwires have trouble staying put against my ribs. If this were a more practical, everyday bra, the shape of the cups would honestly be a dealbreaker.
The thing is, this bra doesn’t have to see me through a day at the office, or an overseas flight, or a long day of running errands or cleaning or rehearsing or what have you. This is the opposite of a practical, everyday bra. It has sleeves and velvet orchids all over it and the underwear has a freaking sash, like, what more do I want? My personal fit criteria become flexible under certain conditions, and I’m thrilled with how this set looks and how I feel like a million bucks wearing it.
The briefs fit very nicely. I’ve never worn such a, ahem, breezy pair of underwear before, so that took some getting used to, but the fit across the front and through the hips is perfect, and the functional sash at the waist allows me to tie the knickers as firmly or as loosely as I might need on any given day. I love the feeling of the lace sash brushing bare skin when I walk, and even though I don’t have a particularly voluptuous derriere, I feel like a goddess wearing these knickers.
Again, the standards I’m using to evaluate this set are very different from the standards I’d use to evaluate, say, the Panache Envy set, or a sports bra, or even a more “practical” luxury bra like the Harlow & Fox Alexandra. This simply isn’t a lingerie set that I’m going to wear for long stretches of time, or while performing moderate to strenuous activity, or while traveling. This is definitely special occasion lingerie, but even so, I’m really impressed with how nice it feels to wear. It looks really lush and opulent, but it feels incredibly light. The slim elastic straps may not be great for you if you’re especially sensitive and prefer a wider strap, and again, the fit of the cups for my body prevents me from giving the bra a 100% comfort rating. But I can’t help it– I love this set with my whole heart, and I want to wear it with marabou slippers while drinking cocktails in a glamorous boudoir. Or a castle. I’m not picky.
When I said my first Buttress & Snatch delivery nearly made me cry, I wasn’t exaggerating. I never, ever could have imagined that lingerie like this would ever be available to someone with my body type. This feels like the very grandest showgirl lingerie, meant to be seen and shown off and celebrated. As a taller and larger-than-average person, especially as a woman, for my entire life I’ve felt like I need to shrink and minimize and deflect attention from my body. Buttress & Snatch’s lingerie is the opposite: it’s glamorous, celebratory, larger-than-life, and completely, utterly gorgeous. And frankly, with the exchange rate much more favorable to Americans now than it was when I bought this set in early June, there’s no time like the present to treat yourself to a little luxury. And then we need to have a cocktail party where we all wear our very favorite lingerie and be extremely fancy all together, yes?
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Bra: Curvy Maria bra by Buttress & Snatch (£106). Available in sizes 28-42 D-H, plus additional sizes available upon request. Buttress & Snatch is a UK company, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H. Matching high-waist knickers (not reviewed) available here, sizes 6-24 (UK).
Knickers: High-Waist Bow-Back Knickers by Buttress & Snatch (£55). Available in sizes 6-22 (UK), can be customized to match any of Buttress & Snatch’s black bras.
Photos: Studio Rezin