Over the past few months, I’ve undergone a size change, going from a 30JJ to approximately a 30KK. This means that, outside of custom orders, my options are now very slim. For now, I thought I’d review some of the bras that I’m getting by with. All of these bras can be found for £12-£16 each on Amazon and eBay, and the briefs are usually between £4-£8 per pair.
One of my current favourite bras, the Cleo Marcie in a 30J. This fit me best when I was around a 30JJ, but it’s still wearable due to a combination of not scooping properly, the open-on-top cut, and the stretch material. Ideally I think I would currently wear a 30K in this, but it is still very comfortable and supportive in this size. I got the briefs in a size 14, which I found to be a comfortable fit on my 42″ hips. I love the blue bows, different meshes and the side ruffles, though I think the cut could be more flattering at the back.
The band runs quite loose, stretching to around 31.2 inches, so small 30s may need to size down. I personally need to wear it on the tightest hooks, but I have been told that the band runs firmer in the lower cupsizes. I found the wires to be relatively narrow, and the gore fairly standard. It is stretchy on top, which means I think it could suit a range of shapes. The main issue I have with this bra is the strap placement, as the straps are placed quite wide at the front, which can irritate my shoulders/upper arms. It gives a fairly round and somewhat minimised profile, the kind Bras I Hate would love, but I would personally prefer to be deeper. The bra features Cleo’s standard two-hook fastening, and the straps are fully adjustable, although I did find the straps quite hard to adjust due to the textured material.
To demonstrate what the bra looks like if I actually scoop and swoop. I think it’s clear I could do with about 2 cups up, but for now I can usually get away with stretching the upper lace and tucking back in. This usually just gives Marie Antoinette style cleavage, along with slight quadboob and spilling toward the centre.
Another issue, this one due to depth. The seam is very rigid, and the fabric has more give on one side, which means that if you need more depth than the bra allows, there is bulging on one side of the seam. However, I have had luck stretching the seam, so this becomes less of an issue over time. Overall, I do love this cut and would very much recommend trying it out. Based on my knowledge of other Cleo bras, I would probably suggest a cup down from your Zia/Lucy size, or the same as your Alexa/Olivia/Melissa size.
The bird print Cleo Meg, also in a 30J. I loved this bra as soon as I saw it – the swallow print, the deep blue colour and the red accents are all just perfect. You can’t see it very well in my pictures, but there is also a lovely little swallow-shaped charm on the gore, which I think is just adorable. Sizewise I found it similar to the Marcie, so like a slightly generous 30JJ, however the shape is completely different.
I found it slightly firmer in the band than the Marcie, stretching to about 30.8 inches. Compared to the stretchy, layered fabric of the Marcie, the Meg is made with a stiff fabric, which may partly explain the tighter band. As with the Marcie, I wear the Meg semi-adjusted, with similar results. It features the usual two-hook fastening and fully-adjustable straps, but I’ve been having an entirely different problem than with the Marcie – the material doesn’t seem to have much friction, and I find myself having to re-tighten the straps throughout the day. The strap placement is also too wide, something I find fairly often with Cleo. This, combined with the smooth material, means that they are very prone to slipping off my shoulders.
Semi-scooped and fully scooped. Though it is gorgeous, the shape seems to be very hard to fit. Meg has a lot of space at the apex, and then curves back in at the top. Rather than the super-round shape most expect from Cleo bras, this results in an odd, almost square shape. Even in a cup that is clearly too small, I still get wrinkling at the apex. All in all, though it is a stunning bra, it might be hard to find a good fit in for a lot of people. For those that think it would work, I would suggest trying it in your Marcie size.
Another 30J Cleo Marcie, this time in the wonderful aquamarine colourway. I found it to fit fairly similarly to the red, so I can’t really add much. In this size, it gives the same round and minimised profile, and it is just as comfortable and supportive.
One issue that does seem to be improved is the seam rigidity – though I do still get slight bulging above the seam, it is much less than in the red. Finally, I’m sure I don’t need to say it, but I love the appearance of this bra. The colours are just too perfect!
We’re still in summer, but I’m already very excited for the release of Cleo’s AW13 collection, which will include a babydoll version of the Marcie (yes!) and the new Lily, an improved version of Meg. Aside from a size expansion, what more could you ask for?
These are older season colourways which may be hard to find. Check Brastop and Bravissimo to see which other colourways are available.
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Oooh I just adore that aquamarine Marcie! So gorgeous. Thanks so much for the review, very helpful in making me choose the right size.
The band on the smaller cup sizes defiently run tight , I had mine in a 28 and it was so tight almost painfull to wear :(. I ended up selling it , I’m hoping that a 30 will fit better. Brands need to start making bigger cup sizes so people won’t be sized out of pretty bras.
It’s pretty weird how the bands get so loose in the bigger cups. I wish they did run as tight as the small bands, a 32J would be a huge improvement for me! Of course, bigger cup sizes would be the better solution :p
Have you found any bras in your real size? I am a 30J, and I love reading reviews on similar sizes! Here’s to hoping our favorite bra companies realize the alphabet doesn’t end at K! Good luck!
Not yet. I’ve tried a few Panache and Bravissimo 30K and 30KK bras, but no joy. I’m hoping I can find a Bravissimo 32K that runs tight in the band, and I’ve got some Kris Line bras on the way. Hopefully I’ll find something! The sudden lack of bras over a K cup is pretty frustrating.
I’m sorry it’s been such a frustrating time on the size front lately. I can’t remember, have you tried Panache Jasmine? I was just talking to someone the other day about how size-fluctuation-friendly the stretch lace is at the top of the cups. I know things will fit everyone differently, but it’s my current favorite bra and I’m being totally obnoxious about suggesting it to everyone
I’m pretty hopeful about the Jasmine! It seems to run quite big in the band and the cups, though the straps get pretty wide in the small bands. I’ve got a 30JJ on the way, but ideally I think I’d need a 28K…We’ll see when it arrives!
Umm… A 3 hook band?
Now that would be good! If Cleo announced K cups and three hooks I would probably cry with happiness 😉
The Cleo Marcie is a newer acquisition for me too. I couldn’t wear it for awhile, but a cup size bump made it perfect for me. I wish Cleo would start adding more hook-and-eye closures to the larger cup sizes, and yes, definitely K cups! Oh, and basics! Sometimes a girl needs a beige or black bra, and Cleo’s choices are slim pickin’s.
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