I hadn’t worn a Freya Active Sports Bra in a number of years, and certainly not since Panache released their magnificent sports bra. I always wear sports bras to the gym, and lately I’ve been wearing one to S Factor classes as well. Bras, even reasonably-priced ones, will really eat into a gal’s budget, and I decided I wanted to spare my nice bras the sweat and strain of intense activity. However, Sweets in a sports bra + t-shirt doesn’t exactly scream “sexy, sensual pole goddess,” so I decided to check out Freya’s athletic top. I like wearing black to dance in, I’m proud of how toned my shoulders are becoming, and I wanted a fuss-free, all-in one piece of athletic wear, so Freya’s Sports Top, with its sleek halter style, seemed like a great option. I haven’t seen the full Freya Active range very widely available in the USA, so I placed an order with Large Cup Lingerie, an excellent e-retailer with free (and astonishingly prompt!) international delivery.
(Reminder: unless stated otherwise, anything I review on Sweet Nothings was purchased with my own money for my own use.)
I seemed to remember Freya’s sports bra not tacking fully, so I ordered the larger of the two cup sizes I’m currently waffling between to see if it would help with the fit of the cup, keeping my regular band size to achieve the best support. I placed my order on a Friday and received it the following Thursday– pretty astounding! The day it arrived I had one of those need-to-do-laundry days where you wear the bra that doesn’t totally fit and you hope no one notices but YOU notice and it drives you BANANAS, so I was thrilled to get to S Factor that night, ditch the old bra, and take the new one out for a spin.
First, the good:
Freya has put a lot of thought into the construction. The straps, instead of adjusting with sliders, feature three sets of two hooks-and-eyes, much as you’d find on a bra band, so that once you hook the straps at the desired length, they stay put with no risk of slipping throughout a long workout. The band fastens with three sets of four hooks-and-eyes, and that deep band provides a lot of stability and support. The fabric is very silky to the touch without that icky, scratchy, static-y feel some synthetic workout wear has, and it keeps you wonderfully cool. All the extra hooks and layers and things make it a bit tricky to wiggle into (I actually pulled a neck muscle craning to look for an errant strap, which says more about the state of my posture immediately post-work than it does about the bra), but once it’s hooked and adjusted it’s not going anywhere.
EXCEPT for the bad:
The shape of the cup is not my shape, and as such the fit is appalling.
The first thing I’ll nitpick is that the hooks-and-eyes on the straps are great, unless one is short-waisted and usually needs to adjust her bra straps to shorten them. I’d have needed one or two more sets of hooks to fix the straps into a position where I’d have found them comfortable.
Secondly, the seam of the cup lies horizontally smack across the center of the breast, which I loathe on a purely aesthetic level. Whereas Panache’s sports bra (with more vertical seams) gives a lovely, rounded, uplifted shape, the Freya Active gives me one of the frumpiest, most matronly shapes I’ve encountered since I discovered how to fit myself properly. Yes, appearance isn’t necessarily the first concern when it comes to athletic wear, but I know that for me personally I perform better, both at the gym and in class, when I feel confident in my appearance. I feel very wide and flabby in this top, and it’s unlikely I’d ever reach for it as a first choice for my gym bag.
Finally, the center gore/bridge doesn’t tack (lie flush against my sternum) by a country mile. Darlene wrote an interesting post on Hourglassy last week (Big Bust Bra Fit Issues: That’s So Tacky!) about how tacking is an absolute dealbreaker for some and yet the first point of fit compromise for others. I fall firmly into the first category. I’m learning that my breasts are close-set, full on top and bottom, and soft, and consequently I prefer very up-front bras with a lot of lift and forward projection, like Cleo’s unlined balconettes (especially styles like Marcie and Meg).
A bra’s failure to tack can indicate a few things. Most commonly it indicates that the cup is too small, and the breast tissue is pushing the bridge out and away from the chest wall. In this case, however, I still had significant amounts of room left in the bottom and sides of the cup. The wires are quite wide, and extended fully under my armpit, almost around to my back. Underneath each breast is more unfilled cup. So what gives? I clearly have a lot of boob, yet there’s a lot of room in the bra. Why aren’t we playing nicely together?
The bra’s shape doesn’t fit my shape, plain and simple. I have deep, narrow-set breasts with narrow roots, and this bra will work better on a woman whose breasts are shallower, wider-set, and wider at the root (where the breast tissue meets the chest wall). I found myself trying to scoop my boobs out to the sides to fill the cup, and hoisting the band up to coax my boobs to settle into the extra room, but within five minutes of movement and activity I’d have to readjust. It’s a disappointment, considering the price (around $90-100, much higher than I’m usually comfortable paying), quality, and construction, and especially because the rest of Freya’s Active range comes in some great color combinations, but I think this line isn’t going to work well for me.
Have you tried the Sports Top, or any of the other products in Freya’s Active line? What do you think of the fit and support? How do the wire-free styles compare to the underwired ones?