Spoiler: Everything about this whole set just makes me SO HAPPY.
[I purchased the Freya Minx Tabasco bra and brief from Figleaves under my real name with my own money. Neither Freya nor Figleaves is affiliated with this review.]
I have NOT been quiet about my dislike of animal prints in the past, so no one was more surprised than I when I fell head over heels for this set. I can’t explain why most animal prints don’t appeal to me (I just don’t like the way they look on me, while they seem to look divine on everyone else?), which means I am equally unable to explain why this particular one rings my bell. Maybe because the print is large and abstract? I love how crisp the contrast between the colors is too– a bold mix of white, black, and fiery orange. I knew this set was dropping in September, and my birthday was on the 30th, and as soon as September 1 rolled around I STALKED this thing, and when it popped up on Figleaves I pounced on it as part of a birthday treat to myself, along with two other sets (Panache Olivia in Teal, which I reviewed in Apricot, and my first set from Figleaves Boudoir, which I’ll review in the next couple of weeks).
Minx is a newer style for Freya (introduced for Spring/Summer 2015), and it features two standout design features: a keyhole at the center gore and a dramatic cage back that fastens with a single row of hooks. The frame of the bra is otherwise similar to Freya’s popular sheer styles, like older styles Arabella and Lyla and current styles Vixen and Siren. Unlike those bras, however, Minx has a top cup of stretch lace (with a subtle animal/floral pattern) with simplex fabric for the bottom two portions of the cup. Thanks to Faustian Foundations’ asking me the question on Twitter, I actually took the time to learn a little about simplex, and it’s pretty dang cool. In a nutshell, it’s a very light knit fabric with just a little stretch (so it doesn’t lose its shape), it molds well with heat (so it’s great for molded cup bras), and it can stretch in every direction (so it gives a great fit).
The plunge balcony version of Minx is one of my favorite bra shapes: a three-part cup with a vertical seam for lift and an outer section of the lower cup that connects directly to the strap, which helps to draw breast tissue forward and center. The straps are fully adjustable and trimmed with small orange bows to match the orange bow over the center gore keyhole. There are two vertical pieces of flexible boning in the band directly under the straps in the back, so you get the same level of support you’d get from a regular bra band, while the band finishes with an elastic cage back detail and one row of three hooks and eyes. The matching brief features the animal-print simplex all over on the front, while the back is trimmed around the legline with coordinating stretch lace.
Okey dokey I have lots to talk about. So for their plunge balcony/balcony bras Freya does this thing where they change their pattern DRAMATICALLY for cup sizes GG and up, to the point where the GG+ versions seem like they are almost completely different bras that happen to be made of the same fabric. When I first started wearing full-bust bras in the F, FF, and G size range I told everyone who would listen about Freya and how they were my favorite and the best, and then when my size changed and I needed to wear GG, H, or HH cups and I ordered Freya bras I was SHOCKED at the difference. The brand I loved and evangelized suddenly did not fit me at all. Not by a country mile. The wires spread wide, the center gore refused to tack, and the shape of the cups was all wrong for me. For this reason, I pretty much stopped buying Freya bras for a good two years.
When Minx swept me off my feet, I figured it was time to try Freya again. I currently wear around a 32GG in most UK brands. I did not want to order this size, for two reasons: 1) the above-mentioned fit issues with Freya’s GG+ cups and 2) in the GG-K version of this bra, you lose the awesome keyhole at the center gore, and the back changes from a single-hook cage back to a traditional bra back with three rows of three columns of hooks. So I ordered a 32G (one cup size down) and a 34G (the sister size to a 32GG, meaning it has the same cup volume, but the band is a little bigger) and crossed my fingers I could make one of them work.
Happily, the 32G is a perfect fit! I’ve often found Freya’s sheer balconette cups to run a little generous, and it looks like Minx, which shares the same frame, is no different. All my breast tissue is contained within the underwires, the center gore lies flat against my sternum, and the band fastens firmly but comfortably on the loosest hook. I was so pleased the cups ran generous and I could stick with my usual band size, because now I will hopefully be able to wear this set for a long time to come.
As far as the briefs go, I ordered my usual size in Freya (Large), and I found that they fit true-to-size compared to other Freya knickers.
I. love. wearing. this. bra. I put it on and forget I’m wearing it– it stays put on my body, and I don’t have to adjust it throughout the day. The animal-print simplex fabric feels almost like tulle or chiffon– very light and delicate, but it also has stretch, which makes it incredibly comfortable. The stretch lace in the top cup ensures any monthly fluctuations don’t affect the fit too much. I was curious to see how the cage back would hold up through long days of wear, particularly since there’s boning in the band at a place where we don’t generally expect it. While I usually never notice, if I happen to work a long day at the office the boning does sort of make itself known after 7+ hours of sitting at a desk. While I do become more aware of it, thankfully it doesn’t dig in or irritate.
The briefs are SO COMFY, oh my gosh. With my recent size change I seem to have an easier time getting a good fit in bikini briefs, and I love these. They go on, they stay put, there’s no digging in because of the stretch lace along the legline, and they’re just as light and breathable as the bra.
This is one of my favorite sets of the year. It’s a perfect marriage of print and style, and it thrills me that the fit and comfort levels are just as exemplary as the design. It’s just barely kitschy and retro in a way that makes me feel all cheeky and sex-kitten-ish (hence the need to pair it with my Dottie’s Delights froofy robe at any opportunity). If more traditional animal prints are your style, the brown/cornflower colorway from the Spring is still widely available, and a brown/sugarplum pink version will launch in November. If you try the GG-K version, I’d be really curious to hear your thoughts!
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Bra and Brief: Freya Minx Tabasco Plunge Balcony Bra and Brief, $56 and $28 at Figleaves. Sizes 28-30 D-G, 32-38 C-G and XS-2XL. Balcony bra available in sizes 28 GG-J, 30-36 GG-K, and 38 GG-J. Padded half cup bra available in sizes 30 D-G, 32-38 B-G. Matching chemise, short, and Brazilian brief also available. Freya is a UK brand, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K.
Dressing Gown: Dottie’s Delights Short Sheer Frou Frou Dressing Robe, $134. Sizes 1 and 2 (XS-L and XL-3X), more colors available.
Photos: Studio Rezin