Off the Rack ~ Reviewing Freya Fancies Bralette & Hipster Short

Bralettes are a huge trend right now. Even Victoria’s Secret is advertising them (it’s quite a shock considering their usual marketing strategy of overly Photoshopped push-up padded bras). For some, I’m sure this comes as a relief. Shoppers can finally find a range of wire-free, comfy bras in fun colors and styles.

However, for the most part these are not suited to the big bust market. Many feature cups that are too small, fabric too flimsy, support absolutely laughable. Luckily, though, good ol’ Freya has us bigger-boob’ed gals covered with their “Fancies” collection of bralettes.

I first introduced these cute items in my March Curve show coverage. At the time, I was more intrigued by the other items in the Fancies collection (like the Minx and the longline bras), but after reading some recent blogger reviews, my interest was piqued.

Then I was offered a Fancies bralette set when I attended Eveden’s “70s Dance Party” event this week (more on that in an upcoming post). With my 37” bust and 29” underbust, I have the bralette in a medium. Here’s a chart to figure out your size:


Disclosure: These items were received as review samples. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

The Fancies bralette features fully adjustable straps, stretch lace trim, and a double layer of semi-sheer fabric across the bust and around the back. It does not have any closure mechanism, which means you pull it over your head. There is gathering under the bust to offer more volume in the “cup” area.

This bralette does not provide lift. So you have to go into trying it with your expectations in the right place. Don’t expect the same support you get from a wired bra, or even a structured non-wired bra. It’s a different beast. I would say the manufacturer’s photo on the Freya site is actually a very accurate portrayal of how it looks on the body:


When I first tried the bralette on, I swooped and scooped my boobs up and then let them settle into the bralette. The band rose up a little to rest in my infra-mammary fold. The resulting shape is very close to what I look like in no bra, except that my boobs are being held in front of my body instead of splaying into the east-west position.




Closeup of the gathering along the band.

I suppose one could tighten the straps further to attempt just a little bit more lift, but the non-adjustable band was already riding up slightly in back, so I just left the straps alone.

I wore the bralette for a few evenings and slept in it a few nights, and I’m pleasantly surprised to report that the lace band does not roll up like the Freya longline bras I’ve tried in the past.

It’s a comfortable, cute piece to lounge around in (especially in summer heat!), and I get less underboob-sweat than I would with no bra (though the underboob-sweat is definitely still present). Plus, it offers just enough support that I can throw on a tank or tee shirt in the morning to walk the dog instead of having to deal with a real bra (I refuse to walk around my neighbors totally braless).

So now that I’ve got all the gushing out of the way, I do have some critiques. As I mentioned earlier, the band is riding up in back. But there’s no way I could size down, because I wouldn’t be able to get it over my shoulders. In fact, getting it on and off is actually quite difficult. Putting in on, it rolls up around my armpits and I have the hardest time getting it unrolled. Taking it off, it’s simply not very stretchy, so it’s a real beast to pull over my shoulders.

Even though it’s really comfy not to have any hooks, I would trade this feature for the practicality of being able to unhook the bralette to take it on and off.

As for the underwear, well I’m not a huge fan to be honest. The all-lace hipster shorts are adorable, of course. But the second I take a step, they ride right up my butt. In fact, you can see it happening to Freya’s model!


My 29” waist falls into medium on most size charts, and my 41” hips into large. So I went with large this time. Due to the stretch lace, I could have gotten away with a medium. Maybe that would solve the riding up issue? Or maybe I just need a flatter butt for this particular style!



Full Bust Finds: Denim Jackets from Pepperberry and DD Atelier

There was only one item on my must-try list when I planned my trip to Pepperberry: the denim jacket. I’ve wanted one forever (especially since trying Olga’s clearance jacket in September), and it would have been perfect to have for my entire trip. In the countdown to my departure, I wondered, “Is it really necessary to buy a denim jacket made specifically for a big bust?” Yes, it is. I made last-minute trips to the Gap and several other stores, but none of the jackets would button over my boobs without smashing them, and I couldn’t bring myself to size up to an XL just to accommodate my chest.

As you can see, neither the Pepperberry jacket on the left, nor the DD Atelier jacket on the right, smashed my big bust when buttoned.

big bust denim jackets no smashingThe Pepperberry Denim Jacket

I have never owned a denim jacket before, and when I put the Pepperberry jacket on, I didn’t want to take it off. A jean jacket immediately changes the tone of the rest of the outfit–making it more casual or edgier, depending on how you accessorize it. In my case, because I look better in blues, it also brightens my face when I’m wearing black or white as a base.

[Read more…]

An American in Pepperberry (Part II – Jackets, Tops & Sleepwear)

Here’s a sneak peek at the Pepperberry denim jacket in 12C (the 10C was sold out when I was there) that I’ll review with the DD Atelier denim jacket in a separate post next week. Spoiler: I love them both.

blog denim jacket with my street clothes

The khaki linen biker jacket was a surprise win! It looked especially good with my street clothes above, but I forgot to take a photo. However, since it’s one of only two pieces that I finally purchased, I’m sure you’ll be seeing it in future posts.

blog linine jacket unzipped

I’m wearing a 12C. Unlike the 12C denim jacket, the armholes didn’t feel too roomy.

I probably won’t wear it fully zipped without major accessorization, but these photos demonstrate that there was no boob smashing going on! [Read more…]

An American in Pepperberry (Part I – Dresses)

Last Friday was the big day. I dressed in easy-off sandals, tee shirt and jeans; packed snacks and water for energy; and encouraged my husband to go on a tour of London by himself. Then I spent FIVE HOURS at the Oxford Circus Pepperberry.

Soon it might not be necessary to fly to England just to avoid overseas shipping costs on big bust clothing. While in the store, I heard a rumor that Bravissimo has heard its American customers and is considering plans to open in the United States! It’s unclear whether they will open as a brick and mortar store or online only, but either retail method will be a welcome change.

Until then, if you’re like me and have avoided purchasing from Pepperberry because you’re afraid of the cost of returns for ordering the wrong size, here’s a rundown of the sizes that fit me best during my dressing room marathon. After telling one of the saleswomen that I wear a 32F (but you’ll see that I ended up in a different size in strappy tops and sleepwear), she looked me over and suggested Curvy/Really Curvy in S or M for knits, and Curvy in UK 10  or 12 in wovens and more tailored styles. I tried other size combinations when I couldn’t find a 10C or 12C in a style I liked. I’m wearing my Empreinte Erin in these photos.

[FYI, we don’t get remuneration for any Pepperberry purchases you might make after clicking on the links below, but we do receive a small commission if you purchase bras, sleepwear or strappy tops after clicking this link.]

Safari Dress

I’m wearing a 10C in this picture and a 12C in the photo below it. Even though the 10C cut a little at the armhole, I prefer its overall more fitted look. The 12C was very comfortable but slightly baggy around the waist.

There are so many features that I love about this dress: the subtle gold edging at the neckline and pockets, the working zipper in front, the pockets, the shirttail hem, the soft exterior fabric and the cottony feel of the lining even though both layers are viscose.

blog safari front 10C [Read more…]