Last February I decided to special-order some of my favorite upcoming Spring/Summer styles through A Sophisticated Pair. Erica offers a very generous special order/return policy, and while I often wait for certain pieces to go on sale (or for me to impulse purchase them during a Netflix-induced internet spiral), I knew I wanted to get a jump on one or two styles as soon as they became available, and I wanted to support an independent boutique while doing so. The first set on my list was Elomi’s “Megan” collection, including a lovely non-padded longline bra and coordinating brief. [Note: I purchased this set under my real name with my own money. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The longline version of Megan features an opaque laminate fabric in a dark purple/navy blue color with a contrasting pink and white ditsy floral print. The longline band features a subtle colorblock effect with the printed center panel contrasting with dark navy powermesh at the sides and back. The band includes built-in flexible boning below the center of each cup, under the arms, and near the center back, to help keep the band lying straight and flush against the ribcage without wrinkling or curling up. The straps are fully adjustable and are set fairly close together in the back, which ensures they don’t slip off the shoulders. The band closes with two columns of five rows of hooks and eyes.
The cups are four-part cups, with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup, a horizontal seam bisecting the cup, and a side panel connected to the strap, for forward projection. The bra features a slightly lower center gore, and while I wouldn’t say it’s a true plunge, it’s definitely a lower profile than Elomi’s full cup bras. The cups are trimmed with coordinating pink embroidered mesh, with a pink bow at the center gore, at each strap, and at the center front of the briefs.
So this print: when I saw it at last August’s Curve, I thought “well, it’s better than the terrible denim weirdness that was last year’s version”. It’s very sweet, very cheerful, and very pretty. I think the colors will be flattering on a range of skin tones, and it feels very bright and summery whenever I wear it.
I have been waiting impatiently for the magical day when a non-padded G+ longline bra would be mine, and I may have let my hopes get too high. I’ve wanted a longline bra since the trend first picked up steam 3-4 years ago. Freya, Panache, Curvy Kate, and Parfait all make (or have made) lovely D+ longline bras with padded or molded cups (see Julia Lambert’s review of Parfait’s Danielle), but I strongly prefer unpadded bras. Claudette has since introduced a cute longline version of Dessous, but they don’t make my size. My dream version, if anyone cares to know, is a sheer mesh longline bra with boning in the band and matching sheer high-waist suspender briefs, maybe with contrast seaming or opaque piping, or a set that’s unabashedly retro in pale pink silk with matching tap pants, like one Miss Phryne Fisher might wear. In other words, I want something really, really sexy or special, without sacrificing the fit and comfort I get from nonpadded bras.
Megan, bless its darling little heart, is not really, really sexy or special. It’s cute as a damn button though, so I’ll allow it. I feel like longline bras in fuller cup sizes can sometimes read as a Whole Lotta Bra, which can be a turn-off to some customers, and designing a set to be a showpiece or a special occasion set (like Curvy Kate have done with the black version of Carmen for A/W 14) can help make the style extra enticing, instead of intimidating. This purple-and-pink ditsy floral print can read as simultaneously little girlish or as mumsy (not that there’s anything wrong with youth or motherhood!), but this is a market demographic that, when not dominated by beige, black, and white, is a little over-saturated with girly and mumsy. I’d love to see some pieces that might appeal to a full-figure woman looking for more fashion-forward, directional lingerie.
I’ve enjoyed wearing Elomi over the last year because the brand’s style has gotten both cuter and more sophisticated. They offer lots of different shapes, and I’m freed from the tyranny of the molded/padded bra. That being said, Elomi isn’t a perfect match for my body, and Megan is no exception.
I tried on last summer’s longline “Roxy” style once at a lingerie boutique in Virginia, and based solely on memory, Megan’s band feels a bit looser and less constricting. It’s firmer towards the top and more forgiving towards the bottom, where some full-figure customers’ waistlines widen. In fact, I sometimes hook the bottom three hooks on the firmest column and the top two on the loosest, in order to get the band to hug my ribcage more firmly. I’m not complaining about a more relaxed band: one of the issues I wondered about when it comes to longline bras in full-figure sizes was how flexible the fit would be in terms of accommodating different shapes (as many of us carry our weight in different places), and I think Megan will be flattering on a range of body shapes.
The cups feel true-to-size for Elomi, although, as is often the case, they’re the primary source of fit shenanigans for me. The shape is designed for a body that’s different from mine: the wires feel wide, and the cups have more room in the sides and less room at the center front. Elomi bras are great for women who feel like they have a lot of breast tissue under their arms, like their breasts are wide-set, or like the underwires in other bras sit on the breast tissue and dig. My breasts are high on my chest wall with a lot of forward projection, so sometimes it feels like Elomi bras sort of pull my breasts out to the sides of my body. Megan fit fairly well when I bought it, with occasional digging in along the neckline where my breasts are fuller, but now that I’ve lost some weight I really notice the extra space at the sides and in the bottom of the cup.
For the briefs, I chose what I think of as my “Freya” size (one size down from what I wear in other brands), and I’m glad I did, as I found Megan’s briefs fit very comfortably in the smaller size. My hips and rear are smaller in proportion to my bust, so if you have a curvier lower half you might be comfortable in your usual size.
So, why did I buy a longline bra from a brand that isn’t the best shape for me, when the print and color didn’t really set my world on fire?
So help me, I just really wanted one. I really, really, REALLY wanted a longline bra. The deeper bands distribute the pressure of supporting heavy breasts more evenly without digging in at the top or bottom edges, plus they offer extra smoothing to your back and sides, and some souls more daring than I even wear them as crop tops or as midriff-baring base layers. I totally wear Megan around my apartment when I’m cooking (hi neighbors) or cleaning or just lounging with the cats, and it’s very handy for some sleeveless tops, because the straps are set closer together in the back. It’s not quite right for racerback styles, or for tops with wide-set straps, but I’ve definitely found a home for it in my wardrobe.
The briefs are a really comfortable cut for me: low enough that they don’t dig in to my waistline or hips, high enough that they don’t curl up and roll down under my belly. I love the way Elomi cuts their knickers, so two thumbs up from me!
Overall, and in spite of some shape incompatibility, I’m really pleased with this set. I hope Elomi keeps the longline style in their Spring/Summer collections– I’d love to see them experiment with some more unusual prints or styles. I think a solid colorblocked version, or one that featured sheer mesh or lace, could be a deeply dramatic, show-stopping piece. What do you think?
“Megan” Longline Bra is available in sizes 34-40 E-H (UK cup sizes, so approximately F-K in US cup sizes). Coordinating brief available in sizes M-4XL, and coordinating banded bra available in sizes 36-42 E-JJ, 44 E-G.
Photography: Lydia Hudgens