I first heard from Bravissimo’s press office back in August that a US site was in the works, and this morning I noticed that it’s live! Bravissimo, for those not in the know, is a UK-based retailer offering lingerie, swimwear, active wear, sleepwear, and clothing, all designed for people who wear full-bust bra sizes (DD+ cups). They carry popular full-bust brands as well as their own in-house designs.
While Bravissimo recently drastically redesigned their UK site as well, which I’ll talk about a little more in a moment, there are two important features that stand out on the US site: all prices are in US dollars, and there are now FREE RETURNS from the USA. That’s right, no more filling out customs forms or standing in line at the post office, you can just stick a label on a box and send it on its way. Thank you for sparing me from the Grand Central Post Office, Bravissimo!
I’d also like to thank Bravissimo from the bottom of my heart for not relabeling their bra sizes to try to convert them to “US sizes”. Most American companies don’t manufacture anything close to the size range that UK brands do, so we (mostly) don’t even have “L” cups or “I” cups or “DDDDDD” or whatever else happens when people try to convert sizes. Furthermore, most full-bust customers who wear the brands Bravissimo carries are already well-versed in UK cup sizes, so relabeling just hopelessly confuses the issue (looking at you, ASOS and Figleaves). Bravissimo’s clothing sizes, on the other hand, have been relabeled for American customers, which I think was absolutely the correct choice.
A few other notes, while I’m clicking around: I deeply, wholeheartedly loathe the size selection menus on the new site. In order to select a size to order, you have to first select band size, and only then will a menu of cup sizes appear. It makes for unnecessary clicks and means that on any given product page, there’s no quick way to glance and see what a product’s full size range is.
Secondly, WOW, hello, much higher prices, how are you? I know that the US places high import fees and taxes on foreign brands, but it was still startling to see the difference. When I used to order from the UK site, Bravissimo’s in-house bras usually clocked in around $42, including VAT. On the US site they retail for $60+ each. I suspected this would be the case, considering that that’s the standard starting retail price point in USA for Freya, Panache, etc., but it’s still a bit of a shock. That being said: I once spent $73 in postage returning a single order (multiple items of clothing + lingerie) to Bravissimo. That’s right: I spent $73 at the post office for the privilege of returning items that didn’t fit. That put me off ordering from Bravissimo for a long time. The promise of free returns will most likely radically change the frequency of my shopping with them. In addition, I should mention here that I think Bravissimo’s in-house lingerie designs are moving from strength to strength. They show an increasing sophistication of design and use of textiles, the size ranges can’t be beat, matching accessories are getting a lot of love and attention to detail, and they’re even dipping their toes into popular trends like longline bras and “underwire bralettes”. I think the tea rose Bryony set above, with strapping details at the center gore and straps, is absolutely divine, and if I wore half cup bras I’d have already bought it.
A nitpick: you cannot zoom on product images, which is, frankly, barbaric (I’m kidding! Sort of). Let me zoom! I want to look at prints and texture and seam details before I purchase!
As a final note, it looks to me like Bravissimo’s clothing collections (formerly called Pepperberry, now wisely tucked back under the Bravissimo name) might be settling into a design groove. After some trials and errors I feel like they’re now aiming for the Boden customer, with a mix of classic shapes, styles, prints, and colors. The collection features easy-to-wear pieces that, while not exactly the height of chic (ahhh, that sounds so catty, I just mean that they’re not trend focused or super Fashion-y with a capital F), make for cute, simple outfits. Most new collections are available in a classic colors like black, white, red, and navy, which makes it easy to mix bust-friendly pieces with other items you might have in your wardrobe. While I haven’t had much success with Bravissimo’s clothing in the past (I’ve found the items to be SO SHORT, like laughably so, and the shoulders frequently too narrow), the prospect of free returns makes me more likely to try out some bust-friendly basics like tees or cardigans.
What do you think about the debut of Bravissimo’s US site? Were you already a Bravissimo customer, or do you think you might be now? What do you think of the different collections?
ElizabethMay 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm (6 years ago)
I’ve been a bravissimo customer for years, they make the bra that fits me better than any other style (their in-house Satine). I’ve always waited for things to go on sale so that if they don’t fit I won’t take as big of a hit if I don’t return the item (for the exact reasons you mentioned). While I’m excited that I now have the option to be a little more daring with my clothing purchases as I can return things, the fact that the in-house bra brand is now considerably higher is really upsetting. As I said, the Satine is my daily go-to brand, not just because of fit but because of price point. This hike in price is insane!
SweetsMay 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm (6 years ago)
The price difference feels so jarring, but I’m almost positive it’s beyond their control. From what (little) I’ve learned from folks who do business in the UK/Europe, the US can impose absolutely punishing import duties and fees on foreign brands, forcing products to retail for higher prices in the US than they do elsewhere. The price difference on Bravissimo’s in-house stuff matches the price difference between what, say, Nordstrom and Bravissimo (UK) charge for Freya or Curvy Kate, but it feels pretty dramatic seeing it all on the website today. I sympathize!
Lee RiversMay 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm (6 years ago)
Brastop also launched a US site today with interesting US prices. Maybe there are new customs regulations that make them basically have to launch a US site? Or they’re going to depend more on the US market since they’re worried about their business from Europe.
Free returns from Bravissimo? That’s worth a look.
SweetsMay 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm (6 years ago)
I’m sure the timing isn’t coincidental. Brastop and Curvy Kate have the same owners, and they each now ship to the US, and I know Bravissimo regularly works Curvy Kate folks and vice versa. Figleaves also launched their US site recently, although they tried to convert their sizes and it makes me want to pull my hair out trying to find anything. The prices for Freya/Panache et al. I knew would go up, since they have to match the American retail price points, but I was hoping the Bravissimo ones wouldn’t go up quite so much. Still! The free returns! Trying to keep my eye on the prize 🙂
K-LineMay 12, 2017 at 10:06 pm (6 years ago)
Figleaves US has been around for years. I’m in Canada and I won’t order from the States, even given the option, because of the exchange rate, stupidly inflated shipping and likelihood of Customs being charged (even if I go with USPS). Either way, I’m paying for returns.
SweetsMay 13, 2017 at 10:10 am (6 years ago)
You’re absolutely right that Figleaves US has been around for years. What has changed recently are two major things: since the site redesign, search parameters are set in “US” sizes, making it impossible to filter by, say, 32FF. You can only select 32H, and your search results will be full of both US H cups and UK H cups. Secondly, I’ve noticed that since the site redesign, prices are now uniformly equal to US retail prices across the board. When I first started shopping Figleaves US years ago, it was not uncommon to be able to purchase Panache, Freya, Curvy Kate, etc. at the UK price, which came in about $10-15 less than the US price. That is no longer the case since their recent redesign.
K-LineMay 13, 2017 at 5:08 pm (6 years ago)
I didn’t realize this! Thanks for clarifying.
Peaches and Screams Sexy LingerieMay 14, 2017 at 2:35 am (6 years ago)
Their designs look both comfortable and stylish. Good thing they added this free-return feature.
mokeshMay 14, 2017 at 5:11 am (6 years ago)
I have to agree on the no-zoom thing. I’ve found it so annoying, and can’t for the life of me understand why anyone thought that was a good idea.
I’m fortunate to live near a Bravissimo shop these days, and get to try on a lot of stuff, and I agree with your analysis. The style has improved a lot over the last year or so, but many of the dresses are still ridiculously short, and there’s often something off with the fit around the shoulders/upper arms. In fact, I’ve only ever bought one item with sleeves (the denim jacket), everything else looked and felt like a mess.
ScarletMay 14, 2017 at 11:59 pm (6 years ago)
I have bought some attractive clothing items from Bravissimo in the past, but the cheap fabrics are a constant frustration. Their knits are thin and overly shiny and seem to pick up stains out of thin air, while many other items are made from cheap-looking, non-breathable nylon. I live in a Southern U.S. city, and these fabric types are uncomfortable and bordering on unsanitary in the heat. For the price point I would think they could use more natural materials, like cotton, wool, or linen. I also agree about the length. Bravissimo clothes are designed for an average to short figure, and it can be tricky to find a good fit if you are tall.
Jeanne HumenikSeptember 11, 2017 at 12:55 am (6 years ago)
IS THE NEW US LAUNCHED WEBSITE FOR BRAVISSIMO AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM? WHAT IS THE WEBSITE ADDRESS? THANK YOU!
SweetsSeptember 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm (6 years ago)
Hi Jeanne, yes, the site is live. It is linked to multiple times in this post; click on any pink text or on any image to be directed to the US site.
ShaunaFebruary 2, 2018 at 7:53 am (5 years ago)
Beware you still might be charged Foreign Transaction Fees for purchasing on the US site in the US- I was and it is a known problem. Here was customer service response
‘Although we are charging in dollars and have our US site in place, we are not officially classed as a company trading within the US as of yet. This is something that we are working on at the moment, as we want to prevent our customers being charged unnecessarily. There is a lot of legislation around this, so it is taking some time but we are hoping to have this resolved very soon; not all customers are affected by this as the chargers are not issued by all card providers. ‘
SweetsFebruary 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm (5 years ago)
This is very true, and a great thing to point out. My primary credit card consistently gets declined at Bravissimo because my bank always flags it as fraudulent, so I wind up using my travel credit card that doesn’t get hit with foreign transaction fees. Thank you for sharing your experiences!