An Afternoon at Bravissimo

Back in July, I went down to London for the weekend. While I was there, there was one place I knew I had to visit: Bravissimo! Bravissimo stock a huge range of styles and sizes, and their fitting service is regarded as one of the best in the UK. So, when I had some time, I headed down to Covent Garden to get fitted and try on some different styles.

Bravissimo Covent Garden Storefront

Bravissimo Display

They were quite busy on the day, but they managed to fit me in after about 30 minutes. I have been fitted at Bravissimo in Manchester before and found it to be a good experience, so I didn’t have any worries beforehand. However, I did find that my fitting wasn’t quite as good as I expected.

Once I was called, my fitter took me through to one of the changing rooms, explained how she would be fitting me (by eye), checked the fit of my current bra and asked me a few questions about the size I usually wear (30JJ in Panache Floris/Jasmine, 30K in Bravissimo). Based on this, she brought me a few styles she thought would fit me.

Panache Envy Black 30JJ

The first bra I tried was the Panache Envy in Black, size 30JJ. My fitter asked if I would like her to leave while I put on my bras, but I opted to let her stay in, as it meant she could help me to fasten the bra and get adjusted properly. In terms of construction and sizing, the Envy is very similar to the Jasmine, featuring narrow-to-average wires, side support panels and a stretch lace upper section. However, while the Jasmine uses something closer to a rigid laminate fabric for the lower cups, the Envy is a very soft material. I personally felt this made the bra noticeably less supportive, but it was definitely more comfortable, and it still gave a good shape – on me it was very rounded and slightly more minimised than the Jasmine’s, with less of a visible apex. Overall this is definitely a great bra, and my fitter and I agreed this was a great fit in the cups – unfortunately, the band was too large even on the tightest hooks (fitting more like a 32 band), so I decided against buying it.

Cleo Lily Pink/Blue 30J

One of the next bras I tried was the Cleo Lily in Pink. Considering I had said my usual size was a 30JJ in Panache, I was fairly surprised when she came back with this in a 30J (especially considering she’d brought a 30JJ Envy). However, I hadn’t tried this style, and she said it ran very large in the cups, so I gave it a try. Trying it on, it was clear to me that though the band seemed fine, it was much too small in the cups and (like many Cleo styles) slightly too shallow at the bottom for me. This resulted slight wrinkling at the bottom (due to my breasts pushing the cup material down) and noticeable overspill at the top, even with the straps loose enough to pull up to my ears. However, my fitter believed this was a great fit, and could not see any overspill. Her solution for the wrinkling at the bottom was to keep pulling the bra up, even though it was already at my root, resulting in it (very painfully) sitting on breast tissue. I did try to explain that my close-set and narrow root shape tends to be incompatible with most underwires, which may be another reason for the slight wrinkling at the very bottom/sides, but she didn’t seem to pay much attention. At any rate, this colourway seemed beautiful and supportive, and I would’ve loved it to fit me, but it was clearly not going to happen.

Bravissimo Dotty Spot Cream 30J

The last bra she had brought me to try on, the Dotty Spot in Cream/Rose. I had said my usual DS size was 30JJ or 30K (as I find it usually runs about half a cup bigger than most Bravissimo balconettes), but again I was surprised to find that she had brought me a 30J. I tried it on, and while I was relieved to see that it wasn’t as small as I expected, it was still definitely too small. Even with straps loosened, I had quite a bit of overspill towards the centre, and the shape wasn’t what I’d expected (somewhat downwards pointing). I would say this bra is more generous than previous DS colourways, perhaps fitting more like a 30JJ (possibly slightly bigger) in other Brav balconettes. Again, my fitter pulled the bra as far up as possible until it was sitting on my breast tissue – not comfortable. I would’ve actually loved if this size had fit me, as the wires and height were much better for me than many of my bras, but when I moved around it was clearly too small. I asked if I could try it in a 30JJ, but the fitter deemed the 30J a good fit. At this point she decided my standard size was 30JJ, and went to get some more bras to leave with me.

Bravissimo Dotty Spot Cream 30JJ

After my fitter fetched more bras and left me to my own devices, I was glad to find she had listened and let me try the 30JJ Dotty Spot. Again I found it very generous in the cups (similar volume to a 30K in other Bravissimo balconettes, or a 30KK Alana), which seemed just about spot on for me. I found the shape much better in this size, with good coverage and no overspill. I get slight wrinkling along the upper horizontal seam when I slouch or put my arms forward (as in the angled pictures), and the wires are slightly too high in the centre, but otherwise I am much more comfortable in this size. I did end up buying this bra, and hopefully will write a full review of it soon.

Bravissimo Boudoir Beau Purple 30JJ

One of the other bras she brought was the Boudoir Beau in Violet, size 30JJ. I found this bra to be a fairly reasonable fit, possibly running half a cup to a full cup bigger than most other Bravissimo balconettes. It seemed slightly more generous than my Jet/Emerald Boudoir Beau, and it seemed to give a much rounder shape. Again the wires are too tall in the centre for me, but the appearance and the fit aside from that seemed pretty great, so I did end up also buying this bra (again, review to come soon).

Bravissimo Melrose Purple 30JJ

This is the Melrose in Iris, size 30JJ. My camera didn’t capture the colour very well, but in person this is a gorgeously rich Cadbury purple. This is a full cup style, quite different from the balconettes I usually favour, as they don’t usually give me the sort of uplift and shape I like. I found that in this size, this bra gave me a fairly downwards pointing profile, which was quite natural and almost retro. However, I did also think that this bra was too small – as a full cup, this bra should give more coverage than the Dotty Spot, yet this was not the case. If I pulled the cup up slightly to where felt about right, I did get a much better shape, but I also had definite overspill. One thing I noticed was that the straps seemed to be set slightly more centrally than in most bras, so if you lean towards a more natural profile and have trouble with wide-set straps, this could definitely be one to try. I imagine I would need my usual 30K in this style, but I did not bother trying it as I wasn’t too keen on the style anyway. Overall though, it felt very comfortable and supportive, and could be a great choice depending on your aesthetic preferences.

Bravissimo Floral Haze 30JJ

Another bra she brought was the Floral Haze in a 30JJ. This bra is a new underwired balconette going up to an L cup (KK cup for 30 bands), so I was very keen to try this out. I thought the style was beautiful and seemed comfortable, but the 30JJ was too small in the cups, giving lots of overspill towards the centre (see the angled picture). So, I leaned out of the changing room and asked to try it in a 30K.

Bravissimo Floral Haze 30K

Finally, the Floral Haze in a 30K. This was a much better fit, giving no overspill anywhere and what I would personally call a wonderful shape. Many people find that the other L cup offering from Bravissimo, the Alana, runs approximately one cup smaller than most of their other styles (meaning it only really goes to a K/KK), so I was very glad to find that the Floral Haze was more true to size. I did end up buying this style, though I haven’t worn it yet, and have since noticed from the picture that the band looks quite small. I plan to write a separate review of this style soon (including full measurements), but as a quick summary, this style is gorgeous and definitely one I would recommend (perhaps in your usual cup and one bandsize bigger).

Panache Floris - Bravissimo exclusive floral colourway

So, I left with three lovely bras, and when I was at the checkout, I also asked to order the Dotty Spot in Teal and the Panache Floris in the Bravissimo exclusive Floral Print (see right), as they weren’t available to try instore. Again, hopefully reviews will come soon!

Anyway, overall, while I adore the range of bras Bravissimo make and stock, I do have to say I was fairly disappointed with this fitting experience. It is possible that some of it was that perhaps some of these bras do run differently in smaller cups, and my fitter didn’t have as much experience with my size range or shape. Regardless, I was very put off that she left the straps of the bras I tried unsupportively loose (so as to make the cups fit better), and that she was repeatedly pulling the wires up onto my breasts, even when I told her they were painfully high.

I do not want it to sound as though I am attacking my fitter or Bravissimo, as these issues aside, my fitter seemed very nice, and I have had great fittings at other stores. No doubt they are still one of the best places to go in the UK, but it does go to show that bra fitting is complicated, and even the best of the best can get it wrong sometimes. If anything, I would just like to emphasise that it is just as important to listen to your body as it is to listen to your fitter, and if something feels uncomfortable, painful, or not right in any way, you shouldn’t feel you have to go along with it. Ultimately, the only person wearing your bras is you.

What do you think of these Bravissimo styles? How do you rate their fitting service? Let me know any thoughts in the comments!

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Founder and main author of Bras and Body Image. Anna is a lingerie lover, feminist and maths student based in the UK, who hopes to someday cuddle every cat in the world.

16 thoughts on “An Afternoon at Bravissimo

  1. I was really interested in this post as I am the same size as you and have had differing experiences at this particular retailer. I find that every time I go I am told I need a bigger cup size … Last time I was fitted in a 30k Alana which I wasn’t happy in and subsequently took back. I find the bravissimo bras actually cut into me in a 30 with the most recent ones I have bought. I have bruising etc but the 32 bands are far too loose. I am struggling to find something that fits and is comfortable, especially as I need something for my wedding NOW!!! I’ve settled on the panache envy for a day to day bra right now. I’m sick of wasting my money on ones that make me wince in pain :(

    • How strange. There is something of a lack of consistency in Bravissimo’s own bras sometimes – I’ve had 30 band bras which range from 29-32 inches, even within the same style. They are generally better for consistency than most other full-bust brands, but on the occasions it does happen, it makes it pretty hard to know what size you need. The Panache Envy did seem like a wonderful bra, aside from the loose band – I’m really hoping Panache will at some point either expand to 28s or make the bands of larger cups firmer (so more true-to-size). Have you tried any of the other similar Panache cuts? Jasmine, Floris? They’re a bit firmer all over than the Envy but similar shape, and really great uplift/support.

  2. I am a much smaller size than you (28FF/30F) so you’d think loose straps wouldn’t be bothersome, but it pains me and feels really uncomfortable when I don’t tighten them (I guess it’s exacerbated by me having tiny shoulders and veeeery high-set breasts). I have also been fitted at Covent Garden, I don’t remember her name but she was black and had beatiful, long box braids (I’m pretty sure it was box braids). I was extremely pleased with my experience with her, she really didn’t do anything wrong (she helped me put the bras on and adjusted the straps far too little for my taste but everyone’s different), once I pointed out that I found it uncomfortable having them that loose she just gladly adjusted them for me and said that if that’s how I feel most comfortable, that’s how I should wear them. Her attitude was lovely and I couldn’t have felt more at ease. It just goes to show you that fitters can be different (like all people) and maybe the same fitter can be different towards different customers.

    • Definitely agreed – it seems that if you don’t have as much experience, it could take a few decent fittings to really get an idea of the sizes/styles you need. My fitter did seem perfectly lovely, and was likely more experienced in a smaller cup range than mine. I think I remember the fitter you mean – I was actually hoping I would get her, as I think her wall picture said she wore a 32J. I expect having a fitter in a similar size range would be slightly easier!

      • Actually, that’s not the woman I talked about :) I get why you would think that though, both women had box braids (one was a little heavier and one was quite slim and toned). I remember seeing her too! She greeted me downstairs and arranged for someone to fit me, I totally get wanting to be fitted by someone in roughly the same size range, especially when your boobs are of the bigger variety (often more challenging and precise needs).

        • Hmm, I don’t think I saw the fitter you had then! I’d’ve definitely loved to have the one in my size range, boobs are complicated, haha. I actually spent so much time trying on bras in Bravissimo that I had to cut a bunch of other stuff out of my day (like visiting Collectif). Serves me right for forgetting how complicated bra fittings can be :p

  3. Anna, I liked it better when you showed your face with the lingerie photos. To me it gives more comfort to see the joy of your trying on each new bra, an encourages me to consider getting those bras as well. Just my two cents. Thank you for the detailed and personalized reviews today!

    • Thanks for commenting! I do include my face in most full reviews, but for mini-reviews (where I’m trying to showcase lots of bras in a short space/area), it takes up a lot of space and takes the focus off the lingerie.

  4. Thanks for such detailed reviews! I’m hoping to get to visit Bravissimo for the first time in October, and I’ve had my eye on some of these styles, so hearing what you thought is really helpful in terms of making my shopping list! Really looking forward to seeing what the experience is like.

    • How exciting! Hopefully you’ll have a good experience, and you’ll get to try all the bras 😀 I wish there was a Bravissimo near me, I’d be there every week haha.

  5. Did you get hands on the new cherry blossom bra? I emailed bravissimo but no reply yet. I wear 30HH in freya and cleo but ended up with cherry fling in 32H which fits perfect. I found band overly snug as well. I am eyeballing cherry blossom which looks to be same style but unsure if to order 30HH or 32H.
    Being in us…. Returns are spendy and a pain :/

    • Afraid not! I’ve posted everything I tried. I was there for a good 2 hours and it wasn’t quite long enough to try everything I wanted to – I would’ve loved to try the Inspire, Deco strapless, Satine, Liliana and many others if I had the chance! I think Bravissimo generally run a bit firmer than Freya and Cleo in the higher cups, so I’d imagine a 32H would be more likely to fit (usually something like 31.5 inches)…but if you’re not sure, it’s probably better to go for the 30HH, as you can always use an extender if it’s too small (whereas it’s a bit trickier to fix a too-loose band).

  6. I recently got the dotty spot. The shape takes some getting used to but the support is superb. The fabric is the strongest I’ve seen on a bra. I would love another bra with this fabric with a little less point. Does the floral Haze use the same fabric as the dotty in the bottom two sections? Could you recommend any other Bravissimo bras that use the dotty spot fabric? You seem to have tried a lot of Bravissimo bras. I’m in the US so I don’t have the luxury of going to the store.

    • Hey, thanks for commenting. The Dotty Spot uses a laminate cup fabric (something I always love in a bra). The Floral Haze isn’t laminate material (it’s more of a rigid-but-light fabric), the same as most of their bras. I can’t actually think of any more similar bras from Bravissimo, though I can’t be 100% sure as I haven’t tried all of their styles. I believe the Melrose is a laminate fabric (though it is a full-cup, not a balconette), as does the Dixie (though it is a plunge), though I’m not sure if either of them would be much rounder. Bravissimo’s balconettes are generally all very supportive and well constructed, despite not being laminate fabric, though they do also tend towards a slightly pointy shape. The Floral Haze is actually one of the few Bravissimo balconettes to give me a round shape.

      If you’d be interested in trying other brands, you might get along well with the Curvy Kate Gia (go 1 cup up from your DS size) or perhaps the Curvy Kate Eden (same cup as your DS size)? I’ve recently reviewed the Gia recently if you want to check that out. I do get along with it splendidly (lovely uplifted round shape), and the Eden is another great bra (though more of a defined point).

      Not sure if that was any use! If you want any more recommendations feel free to leave your usual size and/or which bra styles work for you, I might be able to come up with a suggestion or two,

  7. Have you considered that maybe you’d do best in the Dotty Spot in 32HH since even though the 30J fit you much better in the cups, it was uncomfortable because of it’s position as right under your root (where it should be), and that a looser band might make it more comfortable? I was so afraid that I would lose support in a larger band size that I put off trying larger band sizes at the expense of my own fit.

    • Hey, thanks for commenting. Unfortunately the 30J didn’t fit me much better in the cups, it was about half a cup small. These pictures were taken straight after putting it on, with the straps fairly loose, and I forgot to take a picture from the side. It’s a bit hard to see, but this size gave me overspill towards the centre, which became very clear afterwards when I moved around, and the shape was downwards pointing and unlifted. It’s a personal preference, but I prefer minor gapping and a good shape to overspill and downwards pointing. I do have various bras in 32 bands for low activity days/days when I want a bit of comfort, so I’m not really averse to trying a bigger bands. I’m not sure if going up to a 32HH/J in this stylewould improve the wire shape issue, it might be something to try in the future.

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