[Disclosure: Tutti Rouge generously provided this set for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I’m excited (and honored, because Tutti Rouge approached me with the suggestion) to kick off a little mini-series of reviews taking a look at several different styles and shapes from Tutti Rouge’s Fall/Winter 2015 collections. It’s been really fun for me to get to know the brand’s full line better, and if you’ve been wanting to try Tutti Rouge but weren’t sure where to start, hopefully these posts will give you some helpful advice about how the different styles fit. I’m starting today with Liliana, with a second style to come on Friday, and then two more styles will follow in December.
Liliana has been a Tutti Rouge stalwart since their first season. In 2013 the brand burst onto the full bust scene with an infectiously cheerful aesthetic and an impressive size range, and as they’ve adjusted fit and expanded their sizes, Liliana has been with them every step of the way. Liliana is currently available in the widest size range Tutti Rouge offers, up to a J-cup in 28-38 bands and up to an F-cup in 40-44 bands. I had the chance to review the very first version of Liliana, and while there were aspects of the bra I really liked, there was definitely some room for fit improvements. Now that Tutti Rouge has a few more seasons under their belt, I was excited to see how the new-and-improved Liliana worked for me.
Liliana is a sort of a cross between a plunge bra and a balconette: the center gore isn’t super low, but it does come up a little lower than a demi or full cup bra would. The three-part cups feature an all-over stretch lace in a pretty “Magenta” color (it feels more like a dark lilac to me), with light padding in the bottom two sections and stretch lace in the top section; in GG+ sizes the top section is backed with a layer of tulle for stability and added support. The fully adjustable straps feature Tutti’s signature heart-shaped adjusters, and the band (in my size, at least) fastens with three rows and three columns of hooks and eyes. Small contrasting scarlet bows trim the center gore and the waistband of the matching shorts, and narrow scarlet ribbon is threaded through the top section of the bra cups and along the legline of the shorts. The shorts feature the same all-over stretch lace, the better to avoid digging or visible panty lines under clothes.
I requested my current most-commonly-worn UK sizes, 32GG and 14/L. The first generation of Liliana ran quite small and shallow in the cup, and my review sample also ran a little snug in the band, so I was curious to see how the newer model would fit. The comparison might be more useful if I still wore the same size (at the time of my first review, I usually wore 34H but sized up to 34J in Liliana), but in my opinion the current generation of Liliana is now much more true to size compared to the other mid-market UK full-bust brands. The band fastens firmly on the loosest set of hooks, the center gore tacks supportively against my sternum, and all my breast tissue is contained within the cups.
Liliana IS a shallow bra, it must be said, and if you have a lot of projection, or if you’re very full on the top of your breasts, you may want to size up in the cups, or seek out a different Tutti style like Nichole or Betty. I can’t quite settle into the bottom of the bra, and by the end of the day I sometimes get just a little spillage on my fuller side (I, like many people, am slightly asymmetrical). The shape is noticeably different than Freya’s plunge balcony bras (which some find “pointy”), or Cleo’s/Panache’s super-rounded shapes, or the super-lifted-and-projected shape you get from some of the Polish brands. I actually kind of like this—sometimes it’s nice to have support without tons of projection. Depends on the outfit, you know? Instead of smooshed-together cleavage I feel like I get the kind of Marie-Antoinette cleavage that’s sort of gently rounded (I’m describing this so badly, but roll with me). I like wearing Liliana under button-down shirts, because it seems to reduce the risk of pulling and gaping (I’m talking here about your regular, run-of-the-mill button down shirts, not ones designed specifically for fuller busts).
I’ve had the chance to try a few different Tutti Rouge styles from this season, and as far as the knickers go, the Liliana shorts definitely offer the most flexible fit. The stretch lace is very soft and forgiving, and I got a comfortable fit in size 14/L, which is in line with my sizes in other UK brands. Shorts have a tendency to wiggle around on me a little (I have kind of a flat rear), in a way that briefs do not, but mostly these fit A-okay, with a nice moderate rise. If you’re between sizes I’d say size down in the shorts.
Before I even talk about the bra: hallelujah, the shorts have a fully lined gusset that is stitched in place! This is sooooooooooo much more comfortable than the first generation’s small, partial lining that was only tacked in place and thus had a tendency to get all bunched up in your business. Rejoice with me! The shorts are now both more polished looking and much more fun to wear.
Ahem, now to the bra: Tutti Rouge’s bras do not, in my experience, tack lightly. Their underwires (again, in my experience as someone wearing GG+ sizes) are very rigid, and the center gore can press VERY firmly against your sternum, sometimes painfully. I first noticed this with Nichole, and while Liliana is less aggressive than Nichole, this is still something to watch out for if you’ve had trouble with painful gores in the past. I think Liliana’s wires might be a touch shorter than Nichole’s, but honestly I can’t say if this is a result of the style being different or whether it’s a difference in cup size (30HH vs. 32GG). Bras! So tricksy! I do find the straps a little wider-spaced than some other balconette bras, and the band requires a little breaking in, as it’s very firm on the first wear.
I’m impressed with the fit changes Tutti Rouge has made since their first season, as well as some aesthetic enhancements. While I loved the sugary sweetness of the first collection, the current Fall/Winter collection offers, to me, more sophisticated playfulness with color, greater attention to detail, and some improved fabrics and construction that make each set really stand out. The color clash of the scarlet and magenta feels fresh and modern and helps to keep the lace and threaded-ribbon detail from feeling too cutesy. I’ll be interested to see if the brand continues to adapt their current styles or works to develop new ones. I’ve heard that the D-G versions of each bra tend to find more universal success, while the GG+ versions can introduce some fit difficulties (wide/rigid wires, painful gores, etc.). This is kind of par for the course in the full-bust industry, and it’s a really tough situation all around: one GG+ customer desperately wants super-rigid wires for maximum stability and support, while another desperately wants softer, gentler bras because she finds rigid wires too painful. What’s a brand to do? I do find it really interesting that Nichole and Liliana fit so differently: one is lightweight with very deep cups, while the other is padded and would suit a shallower profile. Offering two such different styles is really smart, as it means that people with varying body types have the chance to find a Tutti Rouge style that works well for them. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on three other styles as we head into the end of the year! I’d also be really interested to hear what others’ experiences have been like with Tutti Rouge’s more recent collections: which style is your favorite?
* * * * *
Bra and Short: Liliana by Tutti Rouge in Magenta/Scarlet, 38-38 D-J, 40-44 D-F, XS-XXL. Tutti Rouge is a UK brand, so the cup size progression goes D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J.
Shoes: T.U.K. Shoes
Photos: Lydia Hudgens