Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Year in Review: 2013

Last year was a big year. I discovered my correct bra size in April launched my blog in May to help other women find their real size. Since then I have bought or received a dozen bras. After reading A Sophisticated Pair's bra round-up, I decided to throw in my two cents about how my bras have held up. I'm only covering bras that I still own. Unfortunately, none of these bras fit well anymore since I've recently become a 34J. I've listed them all for sale on Bratabase (you can find a like in the right side column) and I should be buying new bras to review shortly. 

Cleo Zia

When I first bought the Zia I was utterly in love with it and I reviewed it here  I loved the bright colors and lift and shape it gave. The band was very firm and the cup fabric was sturdy yet comfortable. I haven't had issues with Zia falling apart or stretching out. However, the Zia Has fallen out of my rotation due to 2 issues. Firstly, although I love the dots, they show through almost all of my clothes. And secondly, the straps are so wide-set that I'm constantly pulling them back up - especially when I'm sitting down. (This is super annoying when I'm driving.) I'd still recommend the Zia but not for someone who has narrow shoulders like I do.
Final Grade: B +

Panache Andorra Plunge 

Though I bought the Andorra Plunge online second-hand, I'm going review it because they kept it around, albeit it in a new color-way (Spice) this season. I own this bra in a size 36H. The gore was a bit too wide for me so I took it in and it fit much better after. The stretchy top fabric has allowed me to wear it long after my boobs got too big for some of my other bras. It also prevents quad boob - super handy if you project on top. The bra sets my boobs a bit wide, but it's great for when I want to wear a V-neck or look a little more demure. It's definitely not a cleavage-booster but sometimes that's a nice change from my normally heaving bossom. Even though I'm needing to size up my cup I'll definitely be buying this bra in a 34J. 
Final Grade: A

Panache Andorra Full 

This bra is easily one of my favorites from last year. I own two of these bras and was so devastated when I realized they no longer fit. The firm lower cup and stretchy upper cup combined with the beautiful shape makes this bra a unsung gem. I hope Panache intends to keep this bra around for a long time. I would buy this bra in a bigger size in a heartbeat. The first run of this bra had issues with the wing fabric pulling away from the hook and eye panels. However, after I wrote them an email about it, Panache replaced my first bra and the replacement's fabric was much sturdier and, honestly, more comfortable. The band runs tight so if you're on the upper end of your size you may want to size up. For the first few wears I found this bra very uncomfortable but after a few wears and washes the band stretched a bit and I don't have any issues with it hurting since then. I also haven't had any issues with the second one pulling apart and it has been a part of my regular rotation for several months. Like most Panache bras when it becomes too small it doesn't affect the shape so much as the placement on the chest. I've noticed the wires sliding down and I end up with emptiness at the bottom of the cup and quadboob on top. I'm looking forward to purchasing a new one in my new size. 
Final Grade: A+

Freya Deco

I know I never covered this bra initially but I've had it since August and I'm a huge fan. If you want to read a review of the fantastic Freya Deco click here or here. This bra is a huge favorite among the over-D crowd and it's no wonder. The shape of the Deco is remarkably round and perky. It's shape-shifting powers continue even into the 36GG range and even though mine doesn't really fit I can't bring myself to get rid of it because of the incredible lift and cleavage it gives. My own personal issues with Deco include the size range (stops at 36GG) and the very stretchy band. Generally I find that 34's are very snug on me and I can comfortably wear a 36 in most bras. Unfortunately in the Deco, which I own in 36GG, I find the band to be very loose. I've also experienced the front of the bra buckling and bending but I'm not sure if that's a common problem or just due to the weight of my boobs in a bra that's now two sizes too small. The cups have otherwise held up very nicely, especially considering how often I wear this bra. The straps are also fully adjustable and I haven't noticed them stretching out with wear. I'd gladly purchase the Deco in a larger size if there was one available due to the comfort, lift and heartiness of the bra. I highly recommend purchasing a Deco as your first properly fitting bra as the shape works on almost everyone and Deco is smooth, ensuring that it won't be seen through a t-shirt or other light-colored top. 
Final Grade: A - 

Curvy Kate Gia

I received the Gia as a gift a few months ago and while my initial reaction to Gia was positive I soon found that my initial dissatisfaction with the shape has grown as my boobs get bigger. Bras I Hate & Love has a post that explains that the pointy shape so many experience with Curvy Kate is caused by wearing a size too small. Curvy Kate can be hard to fit if you're ordering online and I recommend sizing up at least a cup size in their new styles and 2 in their old styles to be sure you don't end up with pointy boobs. That being said, Curvy Kate makes some of the prettiest and sturdiest bras with one of the largest size range around. Their designs are always flirty and girly and the Gia in blush was a gorgeous addition to my collection. The Gia fell a bit out of use as I realized it was too small for me though I'm definitely willing to give it a try in the next size up. The band is firm, but not uncomfortable and the cups feel strong and supportive. The straps haven't stretched out but I do find them a bit too wide for me and tend to slide off my narrow shoulders. All in all, though I still love Curvy Kate, I'm not certain Gia is the perfect bra for me, though it certainly may be for someone else! 
Final Grade: B+


As a bonus, I'm listing some bra brands I didn't try last year but I plan to try this year:
Ewa Michalak


  1. Panace Andorra is one of my favorite bras but the underwire popped out after three months of light use. I'm looking forward to hopefully trying the plunge version this year...

    1. Panache has had some issues with Andorra in the past. I've had a few of them. I think their newest Andorra is definitely the best one yet. They've changed the side panels to make them more sturdy and the cups feel stronger too.

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  3. Most of these bras don't look correct fit-wise. I think that can be mostly solved by wearing a better size in even the same lines. You should go up several bandsizes and down a couple cup sizes.

    1. Hi Betty,

      I've tried doing that but I've actually found that a snugger band feels much more supportive on me. I find that when I go up in band sizes I just get sore shoulders.

      Thanks for the input!