Pretty Bras for Big Breasts: Antigel

My first encounter with Antigel bras was a bit anticlimactic after the glamor and elegance of Éprise and Antinéa. Basically, the collection seemed like a variation of the Freya Deco–a lot of contoured cups but in interesting prints–plus one really neat 3-part charcoal basic in super soft Modal that you’re going to love. I planned to write this in a quick summary at the end of my last post, but the more I prepared for said summary, the more I realized there was nothing quick about all I have to share with you.

First, Antigel bras are the moderate arm of the Lise Charmel group, retailing at around $90 for 3-part bras. Rather than intricate constructions of lace and embroidery, the company relies on its exclusive prints and fabrics to make an impact. Each line includes loungewear, outerwear or shapewear that builds on the base established by the bras.

For most Hourglassy readers, the style you’re going to care about is the 3/4 cup 3-part bra that is available from a 30G to a 36G, and since I began with continuity styles from Eprise and Antigel, I’ll do the same with Antigel. Let’s start with the charcoal Modal bra that I mentioned earlier.

It was the minimalist sweatshirt look of the Simply Perfect that initially grabbed my attention, but then I touched the fabric in a matching lounge top and melted from the softness. The same super soft Modal is used in the bra. Some of the matching loungewear comes with shelf bras, but if I could wear this 3/4 cup bra underneath the pieces that don’t have it, I wouldn’t miss it. The Simply Perfect 3/4 cup bra also comes in beige, light grey, ivory and black.

antigel sweatshirt grey bra on table

3/4 cup 30-40E, 30-38F, 30-36G $90; thong $40, bikini $44 range of 5 neutrals (dark grey, beige, light grey, ivory, black) modal

antigel loungewear

Shopping for basic bras is usually just a chore, but next up is a basic that would be a real treat to bring home. The style is called Personal Pep. Given a choice between the rounded Antinéa Essentiel Fit that I told you about yesterday and this lifting, centering full cup with lace-up front and alternating opaque and transparent stripes, I’d choose the the Personal Pep!

antigel latice lace front black bra

This full cup style (no 3/4 model in this style) comes in 32-44F and 32-38G. It’s constructed out of microfiber fabric and is available in beige, black, white and red.

antigel interior latice lace front black bra

Side sling inside the cups

There’s one more basic called the Culte Beaute that comes in a 3/4 cup in 30-38F and 30-36G, available in white, black, ivory, blush and “poudre de soleil”. I love its simple clean lines.

antigel culte beaute 3 fourths cup

Finally, here are two examples of Antigel’s gorgeous prints. I’ll update this post once I’ve confirmed which styles are available in 3/4 or full cups.  From what I can tell, D is the highest contour cup size that Antigel offers.

antigel padded dentelle au coeur

Dentelle Au Coeur (check out the matching wrap dress on the website here:

antigel padded dark background velvet bow

Oiseau d’Eden. Don’t you love the velvet bow in the center?

Oiseau d’Eden appears to come in a 3-part cup, complete with interior side sling.

antigel dark background soft cut and sew

antigel dark background inner sling

Definitely check out the Antigel website for some of their other prints–you can see that I gravitate towards lacy or floral, but they also have plaids and polka dots.

But wait–there’s more! Here’s a bonus peek at some of the 2016 swimwear prints in styles that should accommodate a French G cup.

antigel swim 5

antigel swim 6

antigel swim 8

antigel swim extra


Antigel compare swim with 3 part basic bra

This turquoise bikini top is based on the cut of the Culte Beaute 3/4 cup bra.

Currently, it seems easier to find Antigel swimwear than bras, but I’m now on the hunt for stores that carry them. Sandra Jones, the U.S. sales rep for Lise Charmel, told me that neither Antinéa nor Antigel are sold in massive department stores, and 95% of the time they are only sold online by brick and mortars that have their own website. What a nice way for boutiques to be able to distinguish themselves–especially if they offer the full range of sizes so that full-busted women can discover which band and cup size work best for them in these brands.

Pretty Bras for Big Breasts: Éprise (Reprise) . . . and Antinéa and Antigel

Éprise by Lise Charmel has always been a mythical lingerie brand for me. When I first learned of its existence six years ago, the pictures were so beautiful it seemed like a fairy tale. I had another brief sighting the first time I attended Curve in 2011. The perfect happy ending would have been finding their haute couture large bust bras in a store where I could try my size. Instead, until last month I simply cast a wistful glance at their Curve booth on my way to visit the brands I knew our readers could find in America.

This year I found two reasons to revisit the Lise Charmel booth. First, you read my Antigel swimsuit review in June where I couldn’t find ANY background info to share with you about this Lise Charmel subsidiary. What was Antigel? What sizes did it offer?

Second, I sat next to Xavier Zorn, the Americas & Middle East Export Sales Manager for Lise Charmel, at the Truly French blog launch and learned that going forward, all Éprise styles will continue the Lise Charmel designs instead of being completely separate. Across from him, Cora from The Lingerie Addict mentioned a gorgeous Lise Charmel continuity style called “Dressing Floral”. If these tulle based cups with their tattoo-effect lace were also available to Eprise’s large cup customers, then I needed to learn more.

lise charmel dressing floral white

lise charmel dressing floral white closeup

The delicate tulle is rigid and deceptively strong.

Personally, I find the Lise Charmel website confusing, so I’ve tried to fill in the gaps about this company through conversations with Xavier Zorn, as well as Sandra Jones, who is the US sales manager for Lise Charmel, and Hannale, who sells Lise Charmel brands at Le Piege des Boobies in Brooklyn.

Let’s begin with some background on Lise Charmel. Founded after World War II, Lise Charmel now has 150 employees at its headquarters, the majority of whom are women, which gives the company most of the sizes that it needs for testing fit. Everything is designed in France, while cutting and stitching takes place at their own factory in Hungary where they maintain tight control over quality.

The three Lise Charmel brands relevant to Hourglassy readers are Éprise, Antinéa and Antigel.

Éprise is the large cup version of the Lise Charmel luxury line. It shares the same high quality materials and workmanship, but Éprise band sizes range from 30 to 44, and its cup sizes extend to a French H. A 32 is the smallest band paired with an Éprise H cup, and this combination only comes in the 3-part full cup styles. Demi cup styles are available from a 30G. Hannale at Le Piege des Boobies told me that her typical advice for sizing in French brands applies to all three of the brands I’m writing about today: go up a cup size and down a band size from what you usually wear.

The Éprise version of the Dressing Floral bra is called the “Guipure Charming” (it has the same style number 98 as the Dressing Floral). The 3-part full cup style has wider straps, a double layer of tulle at the base, and a side sling. As part of their continuity collection, the Guipure Charming will always be available in black lace and a light lace.

lise charmel dressing floral white on tan

Guipere Charming demi

lise charmel dressing floral straps detail

Comparison of the straps on the Guipere Charming demi and full cup

lise charmel dressing floral light beige closeup 2

Sheer single layer of tulle on upper half of Guipere Charming full cup

lise charmel dressing floral lighte beige closeup

Double layer of tulle on bottom half of Guipere Charming full cup ensures lift and support.

lise charmel dressing floral light beige inner sling

Interior view of Guipere Charming full cup with side sling

While the Guipere Charming doesn’t have the same degree of fragility as the Dressing Floral, Eprise has successfully created an exquisite adornment for the large bust. I’ll report more on the actual fit of this piece in a later post.

In addition to its continuity styles, each brand develops two spring/summer and two fall/winter collections that follow a certain theme. The fall/winter 2015 theme is “Indalousie” and is inspired by India. You can visit the website to see the other Éprise styles that follow this theme, but my favorite is the Love Karma.

eprise love karma 2

eprise love karma lace detail

eprise love karma sheerness detail

eprise karma bottoms and back straps detail

You have to do some sleuthing to find where Éprise is carried in the United States, which explains why the French women who live in the vicinity of Le Piege des Boobies, enticed by its window display, will walk in demanding to try only the Lise Charmel brands. According to Hannale, European women remain more comfortable with the pointiness of the cut-and-sew style than American women. This explains the strategy of the next Lise Charmel brand I’m going to write about, Antinéa.

Antinéa began in the 1920’s and has a distinctly Parisian style, so although Lise Charmel acquired it 18 years ago, it has been developed with its own personality rather than as a moderate version of Lise Charmel (Antinéa’s relationship with its holding company makes me think of Huit’s relationship with Eveden). Antinéa bras tend to cost $120-$130, and they attract women looking for something high end but everyday.

Antinéa’s main foray into U.S. markets is certainly everyday–and not very Parisian. It’s the Essentiel Fit 3D spacer tee shirt bra. With the rounded shape that American women feel so comfortable with, this bra is a bestseller in Canada, and I’ve heard good things about it from Hannale up here in New York and Liz at Lion’s Lair down in the Florida Keys. And it comes in a 30H. The suggested retail price is $89, which makes it competitive with Simone Perele and Chantelle.

30-38G $99 beige, blush, black Essential Fit

Hannale has confirmed that this style disappears under clothing.

Guipure motifs

The Guipure motifs are a nice touch.

Of course it’s the Antinéa fashion collection that excites me most, and for fall/winter 2015, the theme is Precieux Voyage. My favorite is the Fleur de Kerala that begins delivery this month. I’m drawn to asymmetric designs, so I love the velvet touches. Plus, the navy makes it a great basic instead of black.

The Fleur de Kerala retails for $132.

antinea fleur de kerala interior sling

Interior side sling

antinea fleur de kerala closeup

antinea fleur de kerala on model

Unfortunately, the Essentiel Fit 3D spacer is an exception to Antinéa’s typical size range. All 3-part styles that go up to a French G cup begin with a 34 band, and F cups begin at a 32. The gorgeous Aruna Passion below is not available in a 3-part full cup style, but it goes to an F cup in 32-38 bands in the demi cup style. image

Here’s hoping that the Essentiel Fit 3D spacer will be such a hit with American women that they beg for a similar size range from Antinea’s fashion styles.

Finally, what about Antigel? When I wrote about it in June, it was called “Antigel by Lise Charmel”, but with its younger styling and prices below $100, the company has wisely rebranded this line as a standalone. Look for its own standalone post next!

Fit & Active October Begins . . . Tomorrow?

It’s time for Fit & Active October, and it couldn’t come soon enough. My enthusiasm for exercise has been dwindling, and last night on the way back to our condo (after a platter of fried seafood), we passed the “hot” sign at Krispy Kreme. Of course we U-turned and bought a dozen.

krispy kreme

I’m counting on Fit & Active October 2015 to get me back to the level of fitness that I enjoyed after Fit & Active October 2014. It’s time to make an appointment with my nutritionist for help combating the twin enemies of healthy eating: boredom and hunger. Also, sports bra review samples are on their way–just what I need to feel excited about going to the gym again.

However, two more Krispy Kremes for breakfast means October 1 wasn’t the fresh start I promised myself. But I did make it to the weight room. And tomorrow I plan to power walk on the beach.


Leah hurt her back this week, so her start to Fit & Active October is also delayed. Mia is busy with kids, work and training for the NYC marathon in November. I’m really hoping she’ll be able to squeeze in a post about the experience.

Lazy Days in a Hardworking Rock Cotton Tunic


We’re at a family reunion in Florida this week. After preparing for our fun clothing swap last Saturday (more on that when my photographer sends the pictures), this trip is a welcome vacation.

Today I’m simply going to take a break from the pool long enough to tell you about the Rock Cotton tunic that I’m wearing right now. PJ Harlow included it in their shipment with my beloved B Saxxy. I wore the tunic yesterday and today as a swimsuit coverup, including shopping this afternoon. On Sunday I wore it with leggings for our flight from New York. Together with my chunky red necklace, it made me look polished and alert even though I felt exhausted.

Two features make this a perfect transitional piece between climates (and seasons). The 95% cotton keeps it from being too hot here in Florida, but the long sleeves give a little more coverage when the temperature dips (or you’re running back to the condo from the lazy river in the driving rain as I did yesterday with my niece and nephew). I’m going to experiment with accessorizing and layering this tunic some more when I return to New York’s cooler weather, and I’ll share the results with you here.

But it wasn’t the cotton content or sleeve length that captured my interest when I first discovered this tunic. I was reading up on new brands ahead of Curve, and I was attracted to the batwing sleeves of the Rock Cotton tunic. We all know that generous sleeves can mean generous bust room, and that’s exactly what this tunic offers.

I used to think that voluminous sleeves automatically made a busty woman’s top half look even larger, and I still think it’s a real possibility. In this case, the narrow bottom of the Rock Cotton tunic and the lighter shading over my chest certainly contribute to an inverted triangle look on me. It doesn’t matter, though, because I find I get very positive feedback on my appearance when I wear this top. It’s making me want to experiment with more looks that I don’t usually gravitate toward!

On the Rock Cotton website, this tunic retails for $98 and comes in a variety of colors. Each tunic also comes with a necklace with a rock in a color that matches it. I thought this just a gimmicky touch until I actually tried the onyx stone that came with my own tunic and loved the look!

I have a 31″ waist and 39″ bust and am wearing a size medium. There’s plenty of room for a much larger bust than mine.