Review: Curvy Kate “Emily” Balconette Bra

 Abstract: A fabric-and-mesh cup bra that didn’t work well with my shape or offer any uplift.

Background: The Emily bra is a fabric cup balconette made by the UK brand Curvy Kate. It’s sold in sizes 28-40 D-K in black, white, and nude, plus one or two seasonal colors. This bra was part of my first Curvy Kate online order, which I placed in several weeks ago in April. Not having any prior experience with the brand’s products, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect or which size to order, so I went with my usual 32FF in black. In the end, I returned the bra because it wasn’t working for me.

Image source: Curvy Kate’s website.

Sizing: I found the 32 band to be a perfect fit for my 32″ ribcage, neither too tight nor too loose. One thing I’ve seen mentioned in other reviews, however, is that Curvy Kate’s bands tend to be very stretchy, so if you’re between band sizes (that is, with an odd-numbered ribcage measurement), then perhaps you should go for the smaller of the two. As for the cups, for me they cut in slightly at the top, so I think they run a little small.

Comfort: Undetermined, since I tried it on only briefly.

Shape: Yikes. Not good. This bra makes my boobs look like funnels — drooping, downward-pointing funnels, as pictured above. I think they actually look worse in this bra than they do in no bra at all, which is quite a feat. I also got zero uplift from the Emily bra. Tightening the straps doesn’t work here because the point of strap attachment is significantly displaced from the heaviest part of the breast, so the only thing achieved by shortening the straps was pushing my boobs a bit closer together. That, and hurting my shoulders. Things might have been slightly improved by trying on a 32G (one cup size up), but as far as I can tell from the product photos and other reviews, the Emily isn’t ever a bra that gives much roundness or uplift.

Support: Surprisingly good, at least for the thirty seconds or so during which I had the bra on. The FF fastens with three hooks, which I really like since other brands don’t usually give you three hooks until you get to GG cups and up.

Quality: Good, as far as I can tell, and commensurate with its price. The band is nice and firm and the mesh on the cups is a lot stronger than it looks. I didn’t have to worry about accidentally putting my thumb through the sheer upper section, unlike when I’m putting on, for example, some of Freya’s lacy bras. Again, though, I didn’t wear the Emily bra for long enough to get a comprehensive idea of its quality.

Appearance: It’s a very nice-looking bra, with pretty embroidery on the upper mesh section and lots of fine little details. The black version has quite a formal look about it, but some of the seasonal colors that I’ve seen in the product photos look more fun and casual. The two-tone options, in particular, are much prettier because they really allow the embroidered designs to pop.

Conclusions: The Emily bra scores lots of points for looks, but it failed utterly, for me, on the shape front. If it plays nice with your particular shape, great; if not, I suppose it’s still all right if you don’t mind droopy or pointy boobs, but really, there are better options out there.

  1. Anna said:

    Thanks for the review! I excitedly ordered the Emily in multiple sizes a few weeks ago after reading the CK brand overview on Bras I Hate. My experience was the same as yours; this bra was bafflingly droopy, in every size I tried. If I went down to an uncomfortably tight band and tightened the straps like mad, I could hoist the thing into a vaguely acceptable shape… except it felt like I was wearing a straightjacket. It did wonders for my posture, provided I never needed to bend over.

    • Lia said:

      That last line made me laugh out loud! With this bra, a smaller band and super-tight straps can mitigate the drooping, true, but like you said, it’s uncomfortable and impractical. I just returned it and moved on — there are other, better bras to be found, is my reasoning.

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