[Disclosure: Samanta generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Well, I won’t lie, my heart isn’t really in lingerie blogging right now. I’m still reeling from the results of the US election, trying to come to terms with the fact that the matriarchy has been postponed, and figuring out what I can do to combat the mainstreaming of such hideous racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and misogyny that feel more like our history of 70 years ago than what should be happening 2016. I’m sorry to start off on such a downbeat, but I’ve woken up every morning for the last two weeks and been shocked anew each time I remember what happened and check in on the news.
Posting may continue to be erratic through the end of the year, but I do still have some nice pieces to share with you, and as performative as I think hashtag-self-care can be sometimes, y’all, please actually DO take care of yourselves right now, and honestly don’t listen to grumpy me, if you need to self-care all over twitter/instagram/facebook then please go do it, and do it with pride. How I take care of myself is very much lingerie-related, in that I have basically been living in my silk robes (like this one and also my Eleanor gown) and burying my nose in Miss Fisher mysteries (the books this time, although the series is still my background cooking show, and holy shit have y’all seen this shit what the shit sign me UP).
I’m also using lingerie as a distraction/calm-myself-down tool, and as such I found myself doing a little tidying and inventorying of my collection last week before my sister came for a visit. I realized exactly how much lingerie I have and felt extremely sheepish, but I also rediscovered some sets that had been unfairly buried in the back of my drawer. Among them: the Ollanta collection by Samanta. Ollanta is a continuity style from Samanta (part of their Glamour sub-brand) that’s available year-round in black, beige, and white in a huge range of shapes and sizes. This is a set that works well both for everyday and for a little glamour, so I’m delighted to revisit it this week and share it with you.
The Ollanta collection features sheer, opulent, swirling embroidery contrasted with a glitter-printed opaque stretch fabric. I’m wearing the A922 bra style here, which has non-padded sheer, embroidered, three-part cups with the addition of a fourth side panel for a centered shape. In the A922 version of this bra, the glitter-dot fabric covers the center gore and continues onto the band. The gold-trimmed black straps are fully adjustable and padded on the underside for comfort, and the band features vertical boning under the arms for stability and fastens with three rows and three columns of hooks and eyes.
The coordinating short uses the sheer embroidered fabric for decorative hip panels, while the rest of the piece is made of the glitter-dot opaque fabric. The legline is seamless for a smooth look under clothes, and the rise is a little lower than some shorts I’ve tried, which keeps the set feeling a little more modern and sexy. A small gold cursive ‘S’ charm hangs from the bows at the center gore of the bra and the waist of the short.
I’m wearing what I’ve come to think of as “my” Samanta size for the A122 bra shape, 70I. I received this same size in a different bra cut and it was unfortunately too small for me; which confirms for me that the A922 cut is a little more generous in the cups than some of Samanta’s other styles. For reference, in UK bras I’m most commonly wearing 32GG or 32H, depending on the style. The band fastens comfortably but firmly on the loosest set of hooks, the center gore tacks gently against my sternum (Samanta bras in general do not tack as firmly as most UK full-bust bras; this is a feature not a bug), and the cups contain all of my breast tissue and fit smoothly against my skin with no wrinkling or digging. I don’t feel like I get quite the same amount of lift or projection that I get in some Cleo by Panache bras, and certainly not like Ewa Michalak bras, which offer the most aggressive fit. Instead I get a comfortable, rounded shape with moderate projection. I do find that Samanta’s straps are both a little shorter and a little wider-set than some other bras. This doesn’t affect the fit for me too much, but it’s something to bear in mind if these are fit issues for you.
The shorts fit well in size XL; Samanta knickers seem to come up a bit smaller than some UK brands, where I wear size L. The rise is just a little lower than I’d prefer, as the waistband digs into my squishy bits a little, but I know I usually prefer a higher rise than most folks. I also generally prefer a slightly less “cheeky” cut in back, but I have to admit that I love how the legline doesn’t show at all under clothes.
This is a highly wearable set that feels comfortable for a full day’s wear. I know some folks either love or hate underarm stays, and for me they are sometimes more noticeable than at other times, largely depending on my weight. I avoid bras with stays in the band on super-long days or for airplane travel, as I’m usually more sensitive to, well, everything when I’m stuck in a tiny airplane seat. The fairly tall center gore can also be tricky under low or plunging necklines. Those caveats aside, this is exactly the sort of lingerie set I’m starting to value when I’m budgeting for new items: a beautiful, classic style that feels a little “fancy”, but which isn’t so luxurious that I’ll never wear it. I’ll also add that I was in a play in October wearing a costume that was, um, minimal, and these shorts were put into heavy rotation as a base layer that offered modest coverage without being visible under my scanty attire.
I mentioned this in my recent Avocado review too, but I’m really starting to come around on embroidery, and I think it’s just that I’m growing into it a bit. When I was younger I thought it was too fussy and ornate, and that heavily embroidered bras were frumpy and old-fashioned, but now I really appreciate both how beautiful a unique design can be, and how lovely it can look against the skin. The play of textures in the Ollanta collection, with sheer embroidery panels contrasting with opaque black, plus the added shimmer of glitter and glints of gold, make this “basic” set something very special. At almost €100 for the set ($106 at today’s rates), this isn’t a bargain set by any means, but it’s still in what I like to think of as the “affordable luxury” category, similar to many sets from Freya, Fantasie, or Panache.
Have you tried Samanta yet? What do you think of this style?
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Bra and Short: Ollanta (A922 and D100) by Samanta (c/o), €66.30/€33. Available sizes can be seen here; please note that all sizes are European, and therefore do not use double letters. EU and UK residents can order directly from the Samanta website; US residents should email firstname.lastname@example.org to place any orders.
Photos: Michi Rezin