[Disclosure: Claudette generously provided this set as a gift. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I’ve been looking forward to trying Darling, one of Claudette’s newer styles, for a while now. Claudette may be best known for their sheer mesh Dessous and standout Fishnet collections, and Darling is kind of a fun hybrid of those styles: the shape echoes Dessous, with lace cups instead of mesh, while the coordinating briefs get a sassy kick from a fishnet back. I adore the Fishnet collection, and I have the Chinchilla colorway of Dessous from a few seasons back that’s one of my go-tos, so I had high hopes for Darling.
Darling is a three-part non-padded balconette bra crafted of stretch lace. The bottom two sections of the cup are backed with tulle for stability, and the top edge of the cup is elasticated. Rather than having one of the bottom sections connect directly to the strap like Dessous, the diagonal seam bisects the bra horizontally, and the top section of the cup is the one that connects to the strap. The slim straps are fully adjustable, and the band, which features a stretch fishnet backed with powernet, fastens with three rows and columns of hooks and eyes. The center panel of the coordinating brief features the same lace backed with tulle, while the hips and rear are sheer stretch fishnet with a backseam for a close fit. The color, Gothic Grape, is a rich dark purple with navy undertones, and large Elsa Pink grosgrain bows trim the center gore of the bra and the waist of the briefs.
My current most common size is 32GG (UK). Since Claudette stops at a G-cup, I chose my sister size, 34G, which is the same cup volume. I worried that the band might be loose, but to my surprise it’s a great fit! Darling seems to run a bit firmer in the band than some other Claudette styles I’ve tried, which is great for those of you who prefer a nice snug band.
While the band was great, there are some issues with the cups that let me down. For one thing the shape is quite shallow and kind of pulls my breast tissue out to the sides. I generally prefer deeper cups with more projection and a front-and-center shape. The second fit issue lies with the underwires themselves: they’re surprisingly flexible. I was taken aback the first time I took a close look at the bra– the wire is light and extremely bendy, and as a result it’s not sturdy enough to support the weight of my breasts. The center gore pulls away from my sternum rather than anchoring firmly, and the wires bend and warp under my breasts as the day goes on. It’s a very different shape from Fishnet, which (in my size at least) uses a much heavier gauge wire.
I generally wear a size Large in most briefs, but for certain Claudette styles I prefer an XL, which is what I took in Darling. The fit feels nice– although the rise is a little lower than my preference (it’s right in line with a standard bikini brief), I love the sheer fishnet back, which feels so light and comfy.
While I usually love a nice sheer three-part bra, sadly Darling is one of the more uncomfortable bras I’ve tried recently. Everything feels fine when I first put it on, but within about twenty minutes things start to move around and I have to readjust it. The wires bend into my skin painfully over the course of a day’s wear, and I find I’m distracted by how often I have to scoop my breast tissue out to the sides to try to force the center gore to tack.
The briefs, on the other hand, are super comfy– they have a great amount of stretch, and they don’t shift around. The fishnet fabric across the seat and over the hips feels so smooth and soft. I tend to really like briefs with a backseam, as it helps them hug my rather flat derriere a little closer for a more a secure fit. I’ve considered checking out the Elsa Pink version of the Fishnet bra and doing a little mixing-and-matching so I can get more wear out of the briefs.
As much as I love the look of this set (Claudette is SO good at color), I really need sturdier underwires and a deeper, more projected cup to get a good and comfortable fit. Of the Claudette styles I’ve tried, Fishnet is a definite winner for me: while the shape is unusual, I love the edgy, androgynous lines and the great feel of the fishnet material. However, if you wear a smaller size than I do, or you sometimes find full-bust underwires uncomfortably rigid, you might give Darling a try.
I do like that Claudette mixes and matches their seasonal colors across a range of styles. As I mentioned above, the Elsa Pink Fishnet bra would bring out that pop of pink bow in the Darling briefs, and we’ll see more of this color coordination in the Fall/Winter 2016 collections. Have you tried Darling yet? What was your experience like?
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Bra and Brief: Darling by Claudette in Gothic Grape (c/o), 28 D-G, 30-34 A-G, 36-38 B-G, XS-XL. Claudette uses UK cup sizing conventions, so their cup size progression is A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G (note: the AW15 season collection omitted FF cups for some reason, but if you look for other seasons’ colorways, FF cups should be available).
Hair Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio, Brooklyn
Photos: Studio Rezin (seriously, how great is this Midsummer Night’s Dream set she whipped up for me?)