One thing I really struggle to find easily is pretty but practical underwear; I love a classic black or nude set for day but I’m very particular about the style – rounded cups, the band has to be quite shallow, a low centre, not too full a cup nor too thick a strap… the list is endless. Just like shopping for the perfect jeans, I find bra shopping rather draining and I often come away empty handed, feeling frumpy and grumpy and dumpy. When I do need a new bra, I tend to shop at Bravissimo as I know they stock larger sizes and I can find my favourite brands – in particular, Freya, which I wear all the time not only for their youthful but get-the-job-done lingerie, but for their swimwear too. So, when Freya offered to send me some undies to try out, I knew I had to go for something a bit more exciting than my standard black (yep, I love black as underwear as well as outerwear!).
When Freya’s Firecracker set arrived, my first thought was “WOW!”. Firecracker is an explosion of colours, dynamite lingerie for a bold woman. After getting used to the bright print, I realised how gorgeous the colour is for this time of year; the coral is perfect on pale and tanned skin alike, and the design is softened by the watercolour effect. As much as I was out of my comfort zone, I was excited to try it on.
Having worn the bra a few times, I find the shape really good – it has the rounded cups that I so love, and it’s uplifting too (which, when you’re well endowed up top, is a godsend). The straps are a good width – they don’t slip off my shoulders – but they’re pretty too, with the print design continuing over the strap. One thing that I love in particular is that the band is really shallow and fits neatly round my ribcage, supporting me really, really well – there’s no pressure on my straps which means my shoulders remain comfortable throughout the day. (It always surprises me that some women don’t realise the support should come from the band rather than the straps. It’s just one of the reasons why we are often wearing the wrong bra size and thus feeling uncomfy.) The shorts are rather big, but this gives them a vintage feel, which is echoed by the loose hem that flutters around the legs and bum. Not only does the loose edging look pretty, it helps with the fit too – there’s little risk of a VPL, so you can rest assured that your behind is smooth as a peach. Overall, I’d give Freya’s Firecracker a 5/5 – this set is worth every penny.
Firecracker by Freya: bra, £33; short, £14.50 / thong £12.50.
Another brand stocked by Bravissimo is Tutti Rouge, a brand I hadn’t heard of before they got in touch regarding a review. Their website is really cute and features blogger and former Made In Chelsea star, Ashley Louise James as the model, so it seems as though Tutti Rouge is going for the younger end of the curvy market. At 33, I wouldn’t say I’m the main target audience for this brand – some of the designs are very geared towards late teens/early twenties – however I do really like some of their lingerie sets, including Nichole in Papaya, another great summer colour. Like the first bra, this one also offers a rounded shape, and the youthfulness is evident in the details; the little bows are leopard print (how naughty), the straps are dainty, and the black lace edging is sassy. The bra feels really comfortable on, again with a fairly shallow band and a good bit of stretch, but the only downside to the thin straps is that, as the day goes on, I do start to feel a bit of strain on my shoulders. That said, if you were only wearing the Nichole bra for a few hours, you’d be absolutely fine – and it does feel great knowing your bra is as delicate as those made with smaller cups. To be honest, it’s a bit of a novelty and I haven’t found many brands that can offer good structure with attractive straps so Tutti Rouge does get brownie points on that front. The matching Brazilian brief is the only pant available. It looks really great (sits quite low on the hip) but I did find it rode up a little when I walked – but I’m as well endowed behind as I am up front! So if your bum is quite neat or if you like a thong, you’ll love these briefs. Overall, the Tutti Rouge Nichole is a 4/5 – the lingerie looks gorgeous and feels great, but it isn’t practical for all day, every day.
Nichole by Tutti Rouge: bra, £26; Brazilian brief, £12.
Both Freya and Tutti Rouge are available at Bravissimo.