Since the theme of the week seems to be bridal lingerie (check out this round-up of more full-bust wedding lingerie from Tuesday), I’m delighted to share a review of the pink-and-ivory Amelia collection from new small-band/full-bust brand Bosom Galore. Bosom Galore’s founder, Katy, has responded to a gap in the market to bring luxury lingerie to those who wear sizes beginning at 26E (and, next season, 26D). The brand launched with two beautiful silk styles, the non-padded half-cup Classique and the padded plunge Amelia, with new colors and new styles to follow later this year. Katy generously offered me a set to review, and advised that, at least in this first production run, Amelia was working best for FF+ sizes.
[Note: Bosom Galore generously provided this set for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Amelia is a three-part foam-lined bra with a plunging center front. The outer layer of the bra, the front portion of the straps, and the center gore are all crafted from a pretty powder pink silk, overlaid with delicate ivory stretch lace. The straps are partially adjustable, and the back portion of the straps is ivory, to match the lace trim and the ivory mesh band, which fastens with three rows of three columns of hooks and eyes. I expected that the pink would look more muted, but I love how it’s actually a very clear pale rose color. I don’t usually wear much pink, but this is so, so pretty, and I really like how the silk looks against my skin.
The matching knickers feature a silk center panel with ivory stretch lace over the hips and rear. There are small ivory bows at the center waist and center gore, but otherwise the major showstoppers are the gleaming silk and vintage-inspired lace.
Katy advised that this set came up true to size, so I requested my most common UK sizes (currently 32H and 14/L).
Size-wise? We’re in business! I found the bra fairly close in size to my other UK bras, and the band fastens firmly on the loosest hooks. While the cups seem to be close to the right volume, unfortunately the bra’s shape is a little incompatible with my breast shape. [Important note: I encourage you to read Science and Silicone’s review of Amelia, as she wears a smaller size than I do and had a very different fit experience.]
This bra reminds me a lot of the old Curvy Kate Tempt Me style: the cups feel wide-set (it’s worth pointing out that there is now a fit note to that effect on the Bosom Galore website, which is really, really helpful to potential customers), and I actually have to try to pull my breast tissue out to the sides to fit in the cups and keep from spilling out of the center. In addition, the cups themselves come up shallow, so there’s a fold in the bottom of the cup where there isn’t enough room for my breast tissue to settle into the cup. Even though I’m tall with broad shoulders, my breasts are close-set; I usually need a very narrow center gore, wires that don’t extend too far on the sides, and lots of projection in the cup. In my size, at least, Amelia feels designed for a very different breast shape. I’m a little self-conscious about these photos, both because the plunging center front makes me feel very exposed, and because when I compare them to my other photos on this site, it becomes readily apparent to me what I usually think of as a “flattering” look for my figure. Amelia is a gorgeous, gorgeous bra, but it doesn’t give me the shape and profile I prefer.
I was nervous when I unwrapped the knickers, as they looked extremely small and delicate in the package. To my surprise, they fit fairly well: while next time I might size up to a 16/XL or switch to the shorts to see if I get a slightly higher rise, the stretch lace is both comfortable and forgiving. Katy has already reported that she plans to adjust the elasticity of the waistband in next season’s collections, which will give them a more streamlined fit.
The materials and construction of this set are terrific: the seams are all smooth, and the cups feel light and delicate in spite of the structure and engineering that goes into supporting a fuller bust.
Even so, I don’t think I’ll wear this set very frequently, which is so disappointing considering how beautiful it is. I feel like I have to constantly fiddle and adjust the fit of the bra every few minutes (my photographer can attest to this), so Amelia is more likely to be a boudoir collection for me.
It’s hard for me to neatly sum up my experience of wearing Amelia, because there are a few more factors at play here than there are when I review a more everyday set. This is, after all, luxury lingerie– ethically manufactured with high-quality silk. In an ideal world, I’d want to spend my money ONLY on things that are ethically made from excellent materials, and for that reason alone I want to applaud Bosom Galore for opening that market up to full-bust bra wearers.
Then again, I am not and have never been a luxury shopper. For one thing, many luxury designers don’t make my size, and I don’t just mean my bra size. I am a tall, broad-shouldered, long-limbed person, and in nearly all categories from hats to gloves to shoes to pants to dresses, most high-end brands design with a smaller, more lithe woman in mind. For another thing, while I’m very proud of my job and how it has allowed me to support myself as a single person since I graduated from college, I am by no means rolling in dough. I value quality and construction and try to buy clothing that fits well and will last a long time, but I generally cannot afford designer or handmade goods.
So I have a few different reactions here. On the one hand: OMG! I am the lucky recipient of a SILK lingerie set that comes with MY SIZE on the tag! Who cares how it fits, do you see how PRETTY and SHINY that silk is? I’ll just wear it as boudoir lingerie, which will keep it in mint condition! Hurray!
On the other hand: again, I am not a luxury shopper. With a few exceptions (like my LaLilouche silk kimono I wore in the Sleeping Beauty editorial), when I spend my hard-earned money on lingerie, I spend it almost exclusively on items that I will wear often or that fulfill a very specific need (like a strapless bra). I want my lingerie to suit my personal style, of course, but I also want it to be wearable. While the quality of this set is really, really excellent, the way the bra fits means that it is not a set I will wear to work, or out on the town, or on a big date.
If I bought luxury lingerie regularly, I’d have no hesitation about recommending this set to all and sundry as a boudoir collection. I DO recommend it to people who have a wide-set shape or who wear a smaller size than I do. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it’s beautifully constructed. But I live alone, so I don’t really have a lot boudoir lingerie that is JUST pretty to look at; the lingerie I wear as “boudoir” lingerie makes me feel best when I like how it fits. This first production of Amelia just isn’t the best fit for me.
All THAT being said, would I recommend Bosom Galore? ABSOLUTELY YES, and here’s why:
Bosom Galore is one of the only small-band/full-bust brands that is responding immediately (in their first season!) and directly to customer demands, some of which have gone un-met for years. People have clamored for 26 bands from major brands like Cleo and Freya for ages; Bosom Galore launched with them, with plans to add additional sizes. People have asked for strappy cage bras over a G-cup; Bosom Galore will have the lovely Louise set later this year. Amelia comes up wide and shallow in the cups; Katy is already planning the Sophia collection, a non-padded silk plunge bra with internal slings designed for closer-set shapes that require more projection.
When a brand shows this level of customer dedication, ESPECIALLY when a brand is a very small independent brand with fewer resources and support systems, they’re worth saving up for. I’m by nature a bargain hunter, but while Amelia didn’t work for me (indeed, most padded bras from UK manufacturers don’t), I’m already looking at my savings with an eye to purchasing the non-padded Sophia collection.
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Bra and brief: Amelia by Bosom Galore (£85 and £38, or about $187 for the set), c/o. Available in sizes 26E-GG, 28-34 E-H and 6-16. All sizes are UK sizes, so the cup size progression goes E, F, FF, G, GG, H. Amelia will be available in a beautiful plum color with black lace for Fall/Winter.
Photography: Studio Rezin
Boudoir Gown: Lulu and Kath (c/o)