Curvy Kate has always been a staple in my bra-drobe (that’s definitely a word, I promise!). It was actually Curvy Kate that started me on my properly fitting bra journey a few years ago with their hot pink Princess balcony bra in a 30F, and I’ve also reviewed their Starlet bra in a 28G and we made a little video when we started up this blog demonstrating our love for Curvy Kate for a competition they were running – this involved dancing in underwear outside in November with smoke bombs, like I said, we’re big fans of Curvy Kate! They’re ideal for basics, have a brilliant ethos on body image and bra fitting, and are just generally quite awesome. I know that not of all their bra shapes fit everyone perfectly (in fact, the Princess I started out with would probably not be an ideal shape on me any more if I owned it in my current size), but I’ve heard that they’ve recently rejigged a few styles to fit more people, and they’ve also released a few new styles designed to fit beautifully too – the Ellace* is one of these.
Curvy Kate asked Charley and I if we’d like to review something each from their new Autumn Winter 2015 collection, and of course, we were more than happy to say yes to that. We weren’t told in advance which style we’d be getting, but just asked our sizes – knowing that the lovely ladies at Curvy Kate have more than enough experience and knowledge in bra fitting, I explained that my current size is usually a 28GG, but in more closed top or shallow styles, I’d be better with a 28H, knowing that they’d know what to choose for me based on what they’ve seen on the blog. And did they get it right? They did indeed! Read on for more…
Appearance & Shape
The Ellace balcony bra is a soft cup style, but has a feature that’s brand new to Curvy Kate styles – the bottom half of the cup is made from a non-stretch laminated mesh fabric (all normal and very supportive there) but the top half is made from a beautiful stretch lace. I’ll talk about this more in the fitting section (below) but suffice to say, it is both functional and pretty – something I’m always happy to find in a bra!
Another unusual point I noticed in this bra is that it’s described as black and champagne in colour – the main body, cups and straps of the bra are all black mesh and lace, but the detailing such as the bows and band elastic are all a gorgeous shimmering golden champagne that really compliments the sophisticated look of the bra. It just adds that little bit of interest that black elastic matching the black bra would have otherwise dulled.
The bra fastens with 3 rows of hooks and eyes at the back (at least in my size, I can’t say for definite in smaller sizes) and has fully adjustable straps made from a nice sturdy elastic (I’ve recently realised I own a couple of bras that have really stretchy straps, so it’s useful to know!).
Shapewise, it gives a fairly natural look for me. I have noted other people mentioning that they get a sort of torpedo look from it (which I have experienced in a couple of other bras), but I think my natural shape is quite rounded so I mostly seem to avoid getting too much of a torpedo from it. It isn’t a very rounded shape though, but I like it.
Sizing, fit & comfort
Curvy Kate chose well when sending me this bra in a 28GG – it is definitely a very good fit. When I first tried it on, I was a little concerned that it might be on the small side in the cups, but then loosened the straps slightly and realised I’d just had them too tight to begin with which was pulling the cups up a bit high and shallow. To be honest, I probably could get away with a 28H, but, and this is where the important part comes in, the stretch lace is very forgiving, so is perfect if you’re on the boundary between sizes or have a shape that you often find difficult to fit. It’s ideal for my shape as I generally tend to act as quite full on top, so find that any closed top styles will cut into the tissue there or will be forced into an odd shape, but the stretch lace does exactly what it says on the tin and stretches to accommodate my upper fullness. Obviously this doesn’t necessarily mean you should be buying a size smaller because you can get away with it, but like I said, if you’re in between sizes or find that your size fluctuates throughout the month, this is perfect.
Bandwise, this is an odd one though! I’ve mostly found that Curvy Kate bands run large – I’m a solid 28 band at the moment, and usually find that even my brand new Curvy Kate bras need to be fastened on the tightest hook. This one however actually feels pretty tight, even on the loosest hooks. I’m not sure whether this means that Curvy Kate have tightened their bands up a little in general (yay to true 28 bands and smaller!) or whether it’s this bra itself, or simply just a result of the black dye used (like I said in my last review actually, black dye tends to tighten fabric slightly). It’s not too tight on me, nice and firm really, but I do have a slight niggle with the band – the elastic used for the band is quite stiff, as in, it feels more like strap elastic than band elastic (this may be a reason the band is slightly tighter than usual?!). It’s very pretty, but it does this strange rolling under thing that you can kind of see from the flat photo above, meaning that it rubs slightly on my underbust and leaves a bit of a red mark there. It’s a bit odd and annoying because the gold elastic is what makes the bra style so unique and pretty, but it doesn’t mean that it’s unwearable at all, just a little annoying if I’m wearing it for a long stretch of time.
And a note on the support of this one – I know I’ve often thought before that unpadded cups might not have as much support as padded or moulded ones, I’m not sure why, but that’s what I thought. However, I wore this bra when we went cycling in the Peak District and I didn’t even notice a thing, despite joking that I probably should have worn my Panache Sports Bra instead – the support was excellent and it was comfortable for the full day, yay!
I also got the matching Brazilian briefs in a size 10 to make up the set – they fit very well, nice and snug around the top elastic with just enough coverage, despite me not being a big fan of Brazilian style briefs in general. They have a mesh front and the same stretch lace on the back and the gold elastic to match the bra, so they’re super pretty.
The Ellace set is currently available to buy in sizes 28-40 D-K and 42-44 D-G at a good number of places currently with prices ranging from £24.80 to £32, so make sure to check out all the places your size is available, including Very.co.uk, John Lewis, Figleaves, Littlewoods, Amazon, Bra Stop and more.
I’ve also spotted that Kupista Asiaa has also reviewed this bra in a 32K – interestingly she found the band to be a little loose and actually sister sized down.