[Disclosure: Sonata Rapalyte generously provided this piece for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Oooh boy, today’s review takes me a little outside of my comfort zone, but I’m also really, really excited to share it with you. I’ve been an admirer of Sonata Rapalyte’s lingerie for a few years now, especially her signature lace bodysuits. With loungewear and layering pieces still surging in popularity, and with references to styles and shapes of the 1980s still trending, these bodysuits make me weak in the knees. Gorgeous color combinations, silk-covered buttons, daringly sheer lace and a plunging scalloped neckline: these pieces feel both elegant and effortless. Y’all know I love a dramatic corset with lots of structure and opulence, but there should be harmony in all things, including one’s lingerie wardrobe, and these lace bodysuits feel just as special, but a little more relaxed.
I’ve had a fuller bust for two decades or so now, so I’d long since resigned myself to the idea that delicate, lightweight lingerie pieces like this were Not For Me. No, I figured I’d always be on the hunt for a fancy bra, or a basque, or a corset, or I’d have to settle for a less body-conscious style like a robe or chemise. So when the Sonata Rapalyte press team reached out to me to ask if I’d like to review a piece, I initially declined, explaining that I was outside their size range, being full-busted, tall, and fuller-figured. To my surprise, they wrote back immediately and offered to make a bodysuit of my choice specifically to my measurements. After I picked my jaw up off the floor and responded yes yes, a thousand times yes, I picked the style I wanted and took a series of measurements following instructions and a diagram the Sonata Rapalyte team provided. I emailed my measurements on April 6, and the bodysuit arrived, beautifully wrapped in a lovely box, in New York on May 3.
I selected the Electra classic bodysuit for my custom style. This piece has been a particular favorite of mine since I first laid eyes on it– the dark blue lace and electric pink silk are a striking combination, and I really like that this feels dark and mysterious without defaulting to black. The piece features cap sleeves and a plunging V-neckline, both with scalloped edges. The bodysuit fastens with fully functional hot pink silk buttons all the way down the front, and the same silk lines the gusset (which also features a snap crotch) and binds the legline. There’s a long seam down the center back that’s ruched right over the rear for shaping and ease of movement. The lace features recurring floral motifs and is non-stretch; a seam runs under the bust line where the gathered “cups”, further shaped with a single dart, meet the smooth lace of the body.
For reasons unknown to me, I almost always have fit issues with made-to-measure garments, even ones that have been made for me after an in-person fitting session. Generally the issues are two-fold: first, the garments tend to come back to me too large in the back, waist, and hips, and secondly, it’s often hard to communicate “I am tall but also short-waisted” in any meaningful way on a size chart, so garments I’ve had made to measure in the past have been too long-waisted for me. I worked as a stitcher in college and I’m pretty scrupulous about taking exact measurements, so I’m not sure why fit issues recur for me with such frequency, unless it’s that my proportions are different than most patternmakers expect. This is background to let you know that I was both extremely excited and a bit apprehensive when I unwrapped my custom bodysuit to try it on for the first time. The good news first:
This piece fits my bust beautifully. Seriously, hats off to the team at Sonata– they did a fantastic job. The fit through my shoulders is smooth, and there’s enough room in the “cup” sections so that the lace lies gently over my boobs without wrinkling or being stretched out. I wasn’t really thinking and took my measurements while wearing a bra, without considering that the bodysuit is designed to be worn without one, yet the piece fits equally well whether I’m being lifted and shaped or going bra-free.
It also fits my tall-person-with-a-short(ish)-torso body very well. The size chart the Sonata team sent asks for several measurements related to torso length and waist placement, which are hugely important considerations when working with non-stretch fabrics! My fear with bodysuits is always that they’ll be too short in the crotch, and my fear with made-to-measure is that the waistline will be down around my hips, but those fears were completely unfounded in this case: the length is super comfortable and perfect for walking around, sitting, and lounging.
My only fit quibble is that it’s several inches too big through the waist and ribcage, which you can really see in the photo above. I can reach to the back of my waist and gather a full handful of extra fabric. From an aesthetic point of view, I think these bodysuits are really pretty when they’re more closely fitted, so that the buttons are “pulling” ever so gently to reveal little peek-a-boo glimpses of bare skin (as in this image of the Peony bodysuit). From a fit and comfort point of view, I would probably feel a bit more secure in this piece if it hugged my body more closely. Obviously, this is a non-stretch garment, so you do need a little wiggle room in order to move comfortably without tearing it. But my boobs are heavy, and gravity is a thing that exists, and when my boobs want to go down, the back of the bodysuit wants to ride up, and because it’s a bit too big, ride up it does. This is why fuller bust folks often get more lift from bras with a firmer band– a little stability there helps fight the call of gravity. If the lower half of the bodysuit was more closely fitted to my body, I probably wouldn’t have to tug and lift and readjust it quite so frequently.
Well hey friends, it turns out going bra-free, especially in pictures, is something I am not at all sure I feel awesome about, tbh. I love bras! Bras are my friends! They help me move comfortably and feel supported and exercise and generally live my life without worrying about what my boobs are up too. I think maybe bras have become a bit of a crutch for me in my learning-to-like-or-at-least-be-okay-with-my-body journey, like I only feel super-duper about my boobs when I’m wearing a really ace bra. I hesitated going into this review about whether or not to go bra-free in photos– I knew I wanted to shoot some wearing this fab electric pink Miss Mandalay Paris bra that was just BEGGING to be layered under the bodysuit. I was not at all certain, however, that I was ready to be wearing a layer of see-through lace and nothing else (I am wearing nippies so that social media doesn’t get its knickers in a twist (underwear puns!)). This is a lot more revealing than what I usually wear, even off the blog, and on the day of the shoot I found myself feeling shy about my tummy, my heavy boobs, and my love handles.
But then I thought to myself “hey, turn that shit down. You aren’t allowed to wear lightweight lacy lingerie because you’re a big girl? People have always told you you’re too big for delicacy, that you don’t get to wear barely-there lingerie, that you’re too tall and too much and too overpowering? These nice people at Sonata made you a gorgeous wisp of lace and silk specifically because they thought you could wear it. You can wear whatever you want, and isn’t it nice to give yourself permission to let go of your bra and underwire, just a little bit?”
I didn’t really say all that, of course; I still tried to suck my stomach in in front of the camera. HOWEVS the point still stands, and imaginary me would say the same thing to anyone else who wants to wear a fully-sheer lace bodysuit. It also goes without saying that wearing nothing but see-through lace feels deliciously sensual, should you be in the market for lingerie with the boudoir in mind.
In terms of physical comfort, if you crave support above all, then this isn’t the piece to wear on active days, and I’m wary of sleeping in it lest I tear or strain the delicate lace (I’m a restless sleeper). But since my 5th floor apartment turns into a furnace the instant the temperature sneaks over 75 degrees, this piece is DIVINE for weekend relaxing, catching up on Netflix, blogging, and other leisurely pursuits. I’ll mention that while the snap crotch is nice, I actually prefer to just unbutton the front and step out of it when I need to, so that the snaps don’t loosen up with too much use. If it fit me better through the waist and ribcage I would probably wear it even more frequently, since I probably wouldn’t have to adjust it quite as much.
I think one really valid measure of a piece of lingerie is “would I buy it again” (or buy it for myself, rather than accept a review sample), and even though I had some reservations, the answer is a resounding YES. I am FLOORED by how fantastic the bust fit is, I’m so pleased with the length, and I think with a few simple tweaks we could get a fit through the waist that would make me super happy. I want to explore more layering possibilities (maybe even take the piece for an underwear-as-outerwear spin!), and I really want to see if I can save up for another one next year (I am captivated by the Olive Jade bodysuit— the sleeves!). I love how Sonata Rapalyte plays with color and textural contrast– some of my favorite designs include Amber, with its mix of tulle, chiffon, and satin, Diva, with metallic lace gleaming against black silk, and Lila, with an unusual lilac and turquoise color scheme (and a delicious silk bow).
Electra is a big departure from the kind of lingerie I usually review– what do you think? Would you wear a lace bodysuit? On a scale from 1 to 10, how awesome are navy and pink together? 11, they are extremely awesome, I’m glad we all agree.
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Bodysuit: Electra Classic Bodysuit by Sonata Rapalyte (c/o), £139. Available in sizes XS-XL plus custom sizing.
Bra: Paris by Miss Mandalay (c/o), £39. Available in sizes 28-38 D-GG (select sizes also available on sale at Journelle). As a pro tip: I find this style runs a band size small and at least half a cup size small; I’m generally wearing a 32GG of late, and I take a 34GG in Paris. If you have ever felt that 28 bands were still a little big on you, Paris might be worth a try!
Photos: Studio Rezin