Recently, the lingerie world has been buzzing after a certain announcement from Parfait by Affinitas. Until now they have stocked 30-40 D-G, but in June they announced that they would be expanding three styles up to a K cup for AW13: the Charlotte, Sophia, and Alexis babydoll. I was very excited by this announcement, and upon release was lucky enough to get my hands on two of them, the second of which I will be reviewing in a few days.
The first set I tried was the Charlotte Padded Plunge, which now comes in 28-40 D-K. This has been my dream set for a long time, so when I won a £50 LCL voucher in Fussy Busty‘s blogiversary giveaway, I immediately knew what to get! I seem to have settled at a 30K in most bras at the moment, but I had heard that the cups ran small, so I opted for a 32K. I’m currently a UK 14-16 with 42 inch hips. and I opted the matching high-waist briefs in size L. The briefs didn’t quite reach my natural waist, and were also a bit snug on my hips, so I could have done with a size up. As I had some money left from the voucher, I also got the red high-waist briefs in a size XL, which I found to be a much comfier fit.
The Charlotte has three-part cup construction with outer side-support panels, which is good to give an upfront and rounded shape. It is cut tall at the sides and comparatively low in the middle, so it’s something of a cross between a plunge and a balconette. I find it gives me a modest, “soft hills” sort of cleavage. The cups are a lightly padded, matte material, while the front of the band and side-support panels are a shine satin. I would describe the colour as a buttery pecan, so it’s a fairly good nude colour for pale, yellow-toned skin like mine. For those with pink-toned skin, there is also a dusty rose colourway that could work quite well. Black piping on bras is one of my favourite design features (so sophisticated!), so I think it goes without saying that I love the look of this bra. The straps and band elastic are black, which adds to the boudoir look, but it does mean it can’t be worn as a nude bra under light clothes. I feel it strikes the perfect balance of sexy and supportive to be worn as both a bedroom and everyday bra, and the colouring would work fine under most darker clothes.
Previous runs of this style were described as tight in the band, but I found mine to be fairly true to size, stretching to roughly 32.5 inches. Despite me usually wearing a 30 band, I still find this bra wearable – I think the stable four-hook band combined with my V shaped ribcage means the band rides up much less than the average 32 band would. I found the cup volume to be fairly good, so I would say that it runs about a cup small. The cups seem to be fairly mid-depth all over (neither deep nor shallow), which meant that I had slight overspill at the centre and slight gapping at the straps, due to me being centre-heavy, but it isn’t enough to make it unwearable. I would say this bra is best suited to those with either lower or even fullness. I am fairly close-set, so the moderately tall gore (11cm) doesn’t quite lie flat on me at the top. The wires measure as mid-width, but they didn’t distort when the band stretched, making them more narrow to mid-width when worn. I do personally prefer slightly narrower wires, but others will have different preferences, and they are by no means unwearable. My favourite thing about this bra has to be the super-thick comfort straps, which measure in at an impressive 2.7cm, compared to the standard width of 2cm. The thick straps are a very welcome change, providing much needed relief for my shoulders.
The main issues I had with this bra were the side height and cup height. The cup itself is quite tall around the strap, which I think emphasises the gapping I get. I think the issue that will affect most people is the side height, which is 14.2cm in this size. I would consider anything over 12cm to be quite tall; for comparison, most of my bras have a wing height of around 11cm, and the tallest wing height I’ve ever tried was 16cm (CK SS12 bikini in a 30K). So far everyone I know who has tried this bra has found the sides to be a problem, including myself. Due to the comfortable padded material I didn’t find the sides to dig or rub, but I did find the height itself slightly uncomfortable. The height also meant that my arms pushed the cups down slightly when worn, so the cups do end up sitting about 1cm below my root. I think the height could be a dealbreaker for anyone with high-set breasts and/or a short root. I have considered altering the sides to be lower, but as the wires are also tall, I am not sure this would be possible without altering or replacing the actual wires.
Overall, the cup construction is outstandingly sturdy – it really is like sexy scaffolding, as it manages to be both a heavy lifter and a sultry set. I do wonder if this sort of construction would work well for a strapless, as even with the straps off, it is extremely supportive. All things considered I would say the Charlotte is fairly successful on me, but I really think it could work for a larger range of people if the centre was slightly deeper and the sides were slightly lowered. Despite the issues I found with the Charlotte, I think Parfait are a very promising company, and I hope they can take the feedback they’ve been given on board for their future collections. I really am so pleased to have more options around my size – now I just have to find it in red 😉
Read more reviews:
Sophisticated Pair (30J, Dusty Rose)
The Full Figured Chest (34J, Red)
Quest for the Perfect Bra (30H, Dusty Rose)
Boosaurus (28H, Red)
For those in the UK, the expanded sizes of the Parfait Charlotte are available from Large Cup Lingerie for £30 (peach colourway only). For those in the US, the Charlotte is available from Beautyfull Bras for $36 (all colours). The items in this review were purchased with a voucher to Large Cup Lingerie. Though most of the items were free, this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.
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Ooo,I really like this one! And due to a bit of growing,I’m now in the J-K cup territory and have had to redo finding bras all over again.
How would you say the sizing compares to Panache? I tried a 36HH Panache Andorra,which was a little small on me,but since the wires were too stiff and the center gore was crazy high and stabbed me,I will be selling it.Hopefully the gore on the Charlotte won’t give me the same issue.
I can’t compare to the Andorra as it doesn’t go above a J cup, unfortunately. At the moment I would need a 30KK in the Parfait Charlotte, a 28K in the Panache Jasmine, and maybe a 28KK in the Panache Ariza, as they both run loose in the band but fairly good in the cups. The Charlotte is higher at the sides than either of them, but I didn’t find it to dig like the Ariza. It’s a very padded and soft material, so the wires don’t feel like they would dig anywhere. The gore is slightly taller than the 30JJ Jasmine, slightly shorter than the 30K Ariza, but it isn’t uncomfortable on me – I’m not sure if this would change with a tighter band.
From what I’ve been told, I think the Andorra is a bit less generous than the Jasmine, so if it’s slightly small I would probably look at a 36JJ in the Charlotte, if you can.
I was about a cup size too large for the Charlotte in 34K but wear the Panache Jasmine comfortably in 34J with slight to unnoticeable quad boob despite the stretch lace. The Panache Andorra Full Cup runs quite small and actually has very flimsy wires relative to other bras like the Jasmine. I owned 4 of them in 34J and now need to sell them all because of both the quad boob and underwire stabbing. In a sufficient cup volume, the soft wires in the Andorra will lay comfortably flat (and still tack, as they are not as soft as Freya wires). If they are stabbing you then it is because of the cup volume, not because the wires are too solid.
I have the red, and it fits me decently well if a bit high under the arm, and I also call it scaffolding! I am pretty excited about the extended size range. If the bra continues to hold up, I’ll go for the peach version too!
I too found the cup height to be an issue. At 5’1″ tall, 32K, and a high set chest – how could I not?
Combined with the extremely shallow lower cup and overall undersized cup volume, it was just simply unwearable in 34J and 34K (the only available sizes at my local shop near my norm, and both of which caused crazy quad boob).
Most breasts in this size range are at least a little pendulous and simply will not lift and compress to such a steep angle at the bottom of the underwire. Even soft breasts cannot lift that far due to upper tissue being compressed, while firmer breasts that aren’t naturally shallow (and how many busts in the K range are?) will simply never get a tacking gore in this bra since they don’t compress to the shallow depth of this bra all over.
Bra manufacturers still don’t seem to have “gotten it” that you can’t just scale a pattern up for cup sizes this large. There is a change to the engineering problem being solved that necessitates an entirely new design.
Parfait is a disappointment to me as an engineer for not being smarter about this and obviously not test running this bra on women in the expanded range.
Love your reviews, they are so comprehensive. Also, I’ve noticed that Large Cup Lingerie have now got the red colourway in too. x
Thanks I really want the red colourway, but to be honest I just can’t afford it at the moment. Hopefully it’ll still be there in a few months!
I’m so glad you got the chance to try this, Anna!
It’s a great color on you…..but it’s such a shame we have all had the same fit issues. I tried this in a 40K (review pending), but even then…the cups were too small. I can’t even fathom needing a 40KK in a bra when I wear 40J/JJ’s in everything else.
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