When Parfait announced the launch of three D-K cup styles in late 2013, I couldn’t wait to try them for myself. I really like the brand’s commitment to pretty, colorful lingerie in a wide variety of styles, all at a moderate price point. I was curious to see how differently each of the shapes would fit (if they were different at all), so when Parfait offered me a second piece to review (after reviewing the gorgeous red “Charlotte” last year), I eagerly said “yes please!” [Note: while Parfait generously provided this piece for review, all opinions and comments are my own.]
For my second piece I skipped right over the very lovely (but rather basic) lace “Sophia” bra and jumped straight over to the “Alexis” babydoll. Despite still being a fairly new player in the full-bust lingerie market, Parfait continues to offer styles than many other, bigger brands shy away from, like gorgeous satiny longline bras, high-waist knickers, and sweet, sassy babydolls. Apart from basques, I’ve never really had a super-dressy, flirty piece of lingerie, and certainly not one that could double as nightwear/loungewear. While I usually choose black over white in my lingerie wardrobe, I decided to try a different look this time and requested the Ivory colorway (I also thought it might hide cat fur better. Don’t judge).
I think Parfait really doesn’t get enough credit for how well they balance creativity with broad appeal to a wide customer base. True, they are a mass-market brand, so you’re not going to see any zany prints or super-risky colors, but the pieces they do create tend to be both pretty and memorable. I’m pleased but frankly astonished that there haven’t been too many knock-offs of the hugely popular “Charlotte”, the satin “Danielle” longline bra and brief set stands out in my mind as one of the prettiest full-bust lingerie sets I’ve seen since I started blogging, and I think the floral “Louisa” style for Spring/Summer 2014 is an unexpected winner. “Alexis” is a bit more classic and traditional than any of these styles: a fantastic boudoir piece that offers the full shape and support of an underwire bra.
The color is a very bright ivory, almost white, with a full, floating mesh skirt. The skirt portion is about 18 inches/46 centimeters long, coming down to about two inches below my hips. The cups are made of sheer mesh and lace with a single seam (more later) and foam interior side slings. The satiny straps are an inch wide and fully adjustable, and the back closes with three columns of four rows of hooks and eyes. The satin and mesh band features flexible boning under the arms for extra stability. For a little added glamour, there are three pretty beaded, crystal drops suspended from the bow at the center gore.
I have a bit of a belly, and since this was going to be more of a bedroom piece than a wear-around-the-city-to-run-errands piece, I requested a band size one size larger than I normally wear, so that the skirt portion would be a bit fuller. After some trial and error, I found that the cups run at least one size small, if not two, so the size I kept is one band size larger but with the same cup letter as my regular bras, which gives me a size one cup volume larger than I normally wear. Parfait bands tend to run true-to-size, if not a bit tight, and I found that to be the case here: the band fits comfortably and slightly looser than I’d normally take, which is consistent with my trying a band one size larger.
I love the deep band and wide straps to support a larger bust, and I tip my hat to Parfait for keeping the wires in their G+ styles much narrower than brands like Elomi or Freya, but unfortunately Parfait’s G+ cups and I just don’t seem to get along. The cups are much shallower than many of the styles I’m used to, and I find my full-all-around boobs can’t get the projection they need to settle into the cups.
The picture above shows the unusual construction of the cups: the outer layer is made of a single piece of fabric, with one seam stitched into it to pull it into shape. While I think using a single seam for shaping gives this piece a clean, sexy look, a single seam just can’t give the curve, depth, and projection that very full cups need. As it is, I’m kind of smooshed into the bra, so even though the gore tacks against my sternum, my boobs keep pushing the underwires away from my ribs and slipping out the bottom of the cups. While some of this may be related to wearing a larger band than normal (and as such is to be expected), ultimately the shallow cups just don’t give me enough room. As a result, I’m not getting the sort of lift (or the sort of cleavage) and stability I usually like in a bra.
While the fit isn’t a great match for me, I still find the babydoll very, very comfortable. The wide straps and deep band feel amazing– I wish brands like Cleo would make similar adjustments for some of their larger cup sizes, as a deeper band provides much more lift and comfort. I expected to feel self-conscious about the large open keyhole in the back (as my back is not and has never been what one might call “toned”), but the deep band helps to provide coverage, and the exposed skin just feels very sexy.
Overall, I think this is a really outstanding addition to the full-bust market. While I hope Parfait continues to refine their G+ shapes and fit (especially to get the cup sizes in line with the rest of the market, so that true K-cup wearers aren’t sized out), having a piece like this available at such a reasonable price is a treat. I can see it making a fantastic Valentine’s Day, bridal shower, or wedding gift, and it might even be nice for maternity lingerie, since the skirt is very full, stretchy, and soft. I’d love to see Parfait offer one or two fashion colors each year– how pretty would a bright holiday red or a pale peachy ballet pink be?
“Alexis” Babydoll ($65.00) is available in sizes 30-40 D-K (UK cup sizes: D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K) at Classic Shapewear, Large Cup Lingerie, Bare Necessities (D-H only), Beautyfull Bras, Helen of Troy Bras (D-G only), and Breakout Bras (D-G only), among others.