I’m sure any Playful Promises fan out there will by now know that towards the end of 2015, they launched their fuller bust collection which encompassed sizes 28 to 36, DD to G. Previously, Playful Promises had stocked a few of their bras in larger cup sizes (up to an F), but only starting at 32 bands, so the lingerie world rejoiced to see another brand embrace the 28 bands and increase their cup range slightly.
I’ve been a big fan of Playful Promises for a while and bought my Kiss Me Deadly Vargas cupless dress through them, but had never delved into their bra range as there was nothing close to my size previously. I have always lusted over their Harness briefs though and am planning a purchase of those in the near future! As a small independent brand – their team is made up of only 8 – creating lingerie in London, this is a big leap of faith for them.
When I first discovered that band sizes below 32 existed, I was quite put out that not many brands made them – I’m not tiny by any means, but yet even I have struggled to find band sizes small enough to fit me in the past, so I couldn’t understand why every brand didn’t just make them. A few years on with more experience in the lingerie world, I now see why this is. While there are people out there like me creating demand for smaller bands, this is still the minority. It’s still not realistic for a brand, particularly a small or independent one, to create sizes outside the “matrix” as it’s known, mostly because a lot people either don’t need these or don’t know that they need them. It’s all very well and good saying that there are people are there that need these sizes, so everyone should make them, but when those sizes hang around in stockrooms or storage for years because nobody is buying them, how can a small company afford to make them and survive? As Butterfly Collection recently posted, we need to vote with our money and create demand for these sizes in order for them to be produced, and sadly sometimes it’s just not viable. Erica at Sophisticated Pair frequently writes about the “behind the scenes” stats for her store including breakdowns of sales by bra size – this one on band size sale distribution is really interesting and shows exactly what I’m talking about: only 2% of bras sold in the year running up to November 2015 were a 28 band, and 6.8% were 30 bands, despite many women who currently wear a general “matrix” band size of 32, 34 and 36 frequently being fitted into these. Take a look at the others stats, 19.8% of bras sold were a 34 band and 18.1% a 36 band. Even a 32 band, which we think of as being fairly normal to pick up in a store now sits at 15.5%, below the 34, 36 and 38 band percentages!
So my point is that we really need to appreciate when brands bring out new sizing like Playful Promises have done – not only delving into large cup sizes, which I would imagine sell less in their more boudoir style of lingerie, but also the smaller band sizes. So basically, just a big well done to Playful Promises for taking that risk and leap of faith!
And now, onto the review! I was SO pleased when Playful Promises got in touch to offer for me to try out the new range. As I said, I was already a big fan of their designs and I often frequent their website. My only problem? Choosing which style to review! I was sorely tempted by the Portia with its very vintage appeal in the shape and stitching on the cups and briefs, but in the end I went for the Juliet as it’s unusual to find a harness style set in my size range, and I couldn’t resist the high waisted look too.
Appearance & Shape
First up, how Bond Girl is this set?! Charley mentioned this when I asked her help with what to choose and now I can’t see it as anything but! Now please take this as the explanation for the occasion “I want to kill you” faces in these photos – we did try some hand-guns (ie. hands forming a gun shape, not real guns!) and hair flicking photos, but sadly, none showed off the set to its full potential, so instead you just get the killer face and not a lot of explanation!
As I said, it’s quite difficult for the larger busted and smaller framed among us to find a harness style lingerie set. Yes, we can mix pieces up to create one, but it was nice to find one designed precisely for this size range, and it’s done so successfully. The shape of the “sling” around the cups creating a cut out style detail, plus the separate harness strap along with the sheer suspender belt and briefs just creates an aesthetic I haven’t found elsewhere in this size.
The bra itself is obviously not intended entirely as a functional piece, so in terms of shape, it’s slightly different in this review as I’m not necessarily looking for something that gives an uplifted shape or is smooth under clothing. The lower cup is soft, made up of 3 pieces with two vertical seams. Usually, this shape of cup provides a pushed up look for me, but it was slightly looser due to the soft cup, as it’s only lightly lined rather than a foam cup, so it’s really more of a natural shape. You then have the two “sling” pieces on either side that begin under the cup and sweep around the sides to join at the end of the strap to provide the cut out “tease” shape and bondage-inspired look. In addition to this, you have a harness strap which fastens around the neck and waist which is not attached to the bra – I love this aspect as the set can be worn with or without it, and the strap can also be worn with a different set too. You can also choose whether to wear it above or below the gore of the bra – I went for below with this look to save on distracting from the bra (then removed it for some photos), but it may be uncomfortable underneath for some if the band or cups are slightly tighter than mine are.
The findings of the set also add to the gorgeous aesthetic they’re building around it as they’re all in gold – this is something I love using in my own lingerie making as it just really shows that extra attention to detail.
I was super excited to find I was also provided with the matching roll on girdle as well as the briefs, and I ADORE both of these. They’re made of a soft, sheer mesh with cut out panels on the back of both to continue the cut out theme from the bra.
Sizing, fit & comfort
As I said, this collection is available from a 28 to 36 band, DD to G, although it may not be quite as it seems as Playful Promises skip the FF cup, meaning that the 30G in this bra is more equivalent to a 30FF in most UK bra brands. This was the reason I decided to size up in the band to a 30, as I would definitely no longer get away with a 28FF since even some 28Gs are too small on me in the cup now.
EDIT: Playful Promises have now updated the range to include FF cups, so from now, you simply choose your usual UK size for the Fuller Bust collection.
In fact, the 30 band was probably a good choice as it fits nice and snugly. I could probably comfortably wear a 28 band, but the 30 band isn’t a problem at all for me. It may be that the black dye has made this bra slightly tighter, but it could also be that the bands are snug across the whole collection, meaning larger cups could get away with sister sizing – yay! In fact, I find the cups run ever so slightly large too, as I would normally need a cup size larger than a 30FF (which I am counting this bra as) since I fit nicely into this one – so definitely don’t discount this range if you seem to be a size or two out at first! To be honest, sizing isn’t a high priority in this style of lingerie so I’m happy to go a size or two up or down in things like this, but it’s SO nice to have something designed specifically for this size range.
The straps are half adjustable on the bra, and I find I need them almost fully tightened, so that’s something to bear in mind for ladies who need shorter straps (but definitely check out our post about Strap Savers if you’re one of those!). The band fastens with three sets of two hooks, and the band is a fairly sheer power net.
I also wanted to mention the sizing on the harness strap as it’s adjustable, which is nice to see. The strap fastens around the neck and waist with a metal hook, and both of these sizes can be adjusted which is really nice. I personally had the neck on the very loosest it could be (I didn’t like the feeling of it any tighter!). The middle strap can also have its length adjusted so that it sits at the right place on your waist too which is really handy.
I took my usual size, a UK 10, in both the briefs and girdle. I’m very happy with this size, but I find that they run a little looser than some brands do, so if you’re usually on the borderline between sizes, I’d say to go down a size. Generally with briefs, I size more upwards as I don’t like any “squish” that knicker elastic can give, but there’s none of that whatsoever!
There are a couple of things I’d mention with the bottoms – first is that for me, a girdle usually means shapewear whereas this simply functions more as a garter or suspender belt for me with no shapewear action. I’m pretty sure it’s not intended as shapewear as it’s only a single layer of stretch mesh, but just something to bear in mind if the “girdle” terminology usually means the same to you! The other thing is that, you may have noticed from the back view that one of my suspender straps is not attached – it’s not a mistake, it was actually that I accidentally snapped off the rubber part which attaches to the stocking, oops! I’m fairly sure that this must have been an imperfection in the strap manufacture as the others are plenty sturdy enough and I didn’t put any extra strain on that particular strap, so it shouldn’t be a worry. It’s also a very easy fix for me to replace, but something to bear in mind, just in case.
Overall, a big thank you to Playful Promises for producing something like this in a size range that’s sometimes under catered for in boudoir and harness style lingerie – I love it and am hoping to purchase more of their fuller busted collection in future! The bra costs £65 (also including the harness strap), the briefs £25 and the girdle £38, all from Playful Promises online store. We’ve also summed up a few other harness inspired sets below for those that don’t necessarily fit this size range, enjoy!