[I received this piece as a gift. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This year Playful Promises celebrates their 15th anniversary, and they’ve done so by unleashing a dazzling array of new lingerie collections, with more sizes than ever, recreations of classic garments from their archives, and exciting collaborations with influencers and artists. They’ve broadened their product range and size range significantly, yet somehow, even with all this expansion, I never mistake a Playful Promises design for any other brand’s. Their blend of daring-with-a-retro-edge is a secret sauce that can’t really be imitated.
You may remember the gorgeous floral sequined embroidery that first made an appearance here in last year’s The Lady of Shalott editorial. That piece was created by Playful Promises in collaboration with Gabi Fresh, and this year the embroidery has returned across a few collections, including Eleanor, where it’s paired with cream mesh and straps, in new, super-trendy shapes, including this high-leg sheer-backed bodysuit.
The Eleanor fuller bust bodysuit features a decadent floral embroidery on the built-in underwired bra cups as well as the front body panel. The back features a single panel of sheer, cream-colored stretch mesh, with an adjustable keyhole fastening in back, trimmed with satin piping. The legs and neckline are finished with cream satin binding, and the fully adjustable elastic straps are covered with cream satin and feature gold hardware. The gusset is lined with cotton for comfort and breathability, and it fastens with one row of three poppers for convenience (there are differing schools of thought on the best fasteners for bodysuit gussets; personally I will always argue for hooks-and-eyes, because unlike poppers they’re less likely to un-pop when you don’t want them to).
The all-over embroidery is a botanical motif with red, pink, and blue flowers on a sheer background with black leaves and vines, embellished with clusters of gold and blue sequins. Both the bra and the front of the body are lined with an additional layer of sheer non-stretch tulle. The built-in bra cups feature a three-part seamed shape, with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup for lift and a diagonal seam running across the cup. The underwire is enclosed in cream satin binding as well for a graphic effect.
In terms of cup shape and volume, I found this piece to run fairly true to other UK bra sizes, perhaps even a touch generous in the cup. I’m wearing a 36GG here, which is is a sister size to 34H and 332HH. I initially requested a 32H, then a 34GG, then I finally settled on 36GG and when it arrived said “sure, this is good enough, I can’t be bothered to do a third exchange”; as you can tell from the empty space in the bottom of the cup, I probably could wear a 36G (sister size to my current 34GG/32H usual size). The center gore is a touch wide, so it doesn’t fully sink against my sternum, although the cup shape is nice and full. I had to do all those size exchanges for two reasons: my fuller waist and belly, and my height. Because the whole front of this piece is made from the glorious sequined embroidery, there is no stretch at all, either vertically or horizontally. The only stretch in the piece comes from the back panel, so I kept sizing up in the body/band to try to get a little more room to both slide it over my hips and to lengthen it as much as possible.
I think I got as close as I could, but I also think at the end of the day I’m too tall to get a perfect fit. Fuller bust bodysuits are notoriously tricky, because there are just so many variables to get right, and with no stretch in the front plus no adjustability in the gusset, this piece will always be a bit short on me. Since I have to loosen the straps to get more length in the body, the underwires sit a little low on me, and I can’t properly “scoop and swoop” or settle fully into the cups. One nice thing about the non-stretch front, though, is that it has good “hold”; while it’s not technically shapewear, it does offer a smoothing, firm fit over my belly. The hips hit quite high, both because that’s how the bodysuit is designed to fit, and because, again, it’s a little short on my 5’10” frame.
Unfortunately the shorter length means this won’t be a piece for all-day wear, nor for lots of activity. It works okay when I’m sitting down, but if I try to stretch or move around, the cups immediately get pulled down my ribcage, and the gusset begins to dig in. I am really glad to have it as a statement boudoir piece or for photoshoots, because, again, Playful Promises designs lingerie that’s unlike anything else in the world, and this piece gives me and my fuller bust a chance to try out trends that the larger fit-focused brands aren’t offering. If the length was a little longer, and if I was more of A Youth™ who went to festivals and such, this would be such a great wardrobe addition!
This embroidery truly makes me feel like a princess, and I love how the cream satin looks against with my skin. While this piece isn’t a perfect fit for my particular (tall) body, the actual bra part of it succeeds thanks to the fit improvements I noted in my review earlier this year of the Ezmae collection. While Playful Promises isn’t a fit-first brand, the fact that they’re producing over 70 bra sizes and that the bras actually WORK WELL in those sizes is incredible. I keep telling myself that I don’t need to buy more lingerie, and then with each new collection that drops, I find myself picking up a new set, because I know I’ll get a style that I won’t find anywhere else. This brand was one of my ones-to-watch for 2019, and as we get to the end of the year, Playful Promises continues to prove me right. The designs feel vibrant, celebratory, and special, and with more accessible price points, you get a lot of bang for your buck. I’m so excited by what this brand is doing; this is lingerie I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined seeing in my teens and early 20s, let alone having the chance to wear.
Bodysuit: Eleanor by Playful Promises (c/o). Available in sizes 30-38 DD-H (E-K in US sizes) and 30-36 A-D. Eleanor collection also includes a bra and high-waist brief. You can try this same embroidery in the Gabi Fresh collaboration as well as the Felicity Hayward collaboration.
Photography: Whitney Green