As part of the last Curve Expo, Darlene and I were invited to a Lingerie Française meetup at Ladurée SoHo. We got to meet a bunch of fellow bloggers as well as brand ambassadors for several French lingerie brands, all while enjoying a cute French meal followed by all the sweets we could eat.
A bonus of the evening was the goodie bags we received, which included an invitation to try a Lise Charmel lingerie set. Since I’ve never tried French lingerie, I was really excited to have this opportunity, especially after chatting with the Lise Charmel rep at dinner, to whom I even spoke a little French.
Disclosure: These items were received as review samples. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.
I was unsure on sizing since, like most French lingerie, Lise Charmel bras start at 30 band and use a single-letter cup schema that stops at G or, rarely, H (which is about a UK FF). But I was advised that French bras offer much more projection in the bottom of the cup, and that the difference between each letter is bigger than the difference between UK cup sizes, so a French 30G should fit if I’m normally a UK 28G, so that’s what I went with.
The set I received is the “Guipure Charming” demi bra and shorty-style bikini in blush pink. It features a sheer lacey mesh base with allover embroidery that resembles tattooing on the body. A two-part cup, the bottom half is lined in light tulle, and there’s a tulle side sling as well. The embroidery features tiny touches of white and there’s a sparkly Swarovski crystal charm in the gore. Finally, the straps are half-adjustable, with the front side splitting into two and featuring a piece of embroidery to match. The band back is solid, stretchy, unlined fabric.
The bra is really beautiful, and the embroidery is surprisingly smooth and soft, and doesn’t show through fabric except maybe the wispiest of tee shirts. This shade of blush pink works as a perfect nude against my pale skin tone. And while the mesh/tulle base looks and feels deliciously delicate, the bra actually gives excellent support.
The bra gives a very natural, almost minimized shape. I think I look much smaller in it under my clothes than, say, a Cleo unlined. The shape is rounded on the bottom half and a little sloped and pointy on the upper half. Additionally, the wires are only a little wider than I need and the projection at the base of the cup is just about spot-on.
Unfortunately, the sizing really isn’t right for me. For one thing, the band is too big and stretchy on me. On the tightest setting, I can still pull it away from my body significantly. Then the cups are too small, with a little pillowing on my smaller boob, and a full cup size too small on my bigger boob, resulting in quad boob. Seems like what I would really need is a band down and a cup up, which would be 28I (remember that with sister-sizing, one band down but the same cup volume would be 28H).
To be fair, I’m more often a 28GG these days than 28G, so I knew 30G might be a bit small in the cups if it was recommended for a true UK 28G.
Sadly, I don’t know of any French brands that offer size 28I (though Passionata does do 30H in some models). In fact, with the gorgeous details and amazing quality, I would definitely consider French brands in 30H if it was a bra that I really loved and the cups fit well. But Lisa Charmel’s 30-bands stop at G (though they do have 32H in 3-part full cup styles), so I’m out of luck in this case.
As for the panties, with most brands I’m in between medium and large, but I absolutely hate underwear that digs into my muffin tops or doesn’t have enough cheek coverage, so I guessed on a large this time. It looked enormous when I unwrapped it, but then it fit pretty okay while on. The elastic at the waistband is tight enough to grip my body without falling or shifting around, but it doesn’t dig in. Unfortunately for me, though, there is nowhere near enough fabric in the back. The moment I take a step, the panties ride straight up my butt and give a horrible, uncomfortable wedgie. So I can’t really recommend these for the more voluptuously gifted in rear.