Abstract: This is a well-priced basic balconette that gives a brilliant round shape, especially for a fabric cup bra. I found it lacking in support, however, and rather flimsy overall.
Background: The Lucy is a fabric cup balconette from Cleo by Panache. It’s a continuity style available in black and white, with other colors like yellow and green produced seasonally. The size range is 28-38 D-J. I wasn’t interested in the Lucy at first because I’m always a bit skeptical about bras with tripartite bands, but I was sold after reading the review on Bras I Hate. I purchased a white 32FF online earlier this year for the normal retail price, but returned it because it didn’t seem right for my shape.
Sizing: It seems accurate in the band, but the sizing of the cups is difficult to pin down. 32FF is my normal/average/calculator size, but I can’t actually tell whether the 32FF Lucy bra is too large or too small. The signs were contradictory: the center gore didn’t quite sit flat and the tops of the cups cut in very slightly, but I also had a bit of empty cup space near underarms and experienced some wrinkling emanating from the points where the straps are attached to the cups.
It’s possible that the wrinkling indicates undue stress being placed on the straps due to an insufficiently supportive band. I noticed, however, that the wrinkles disappeared if I used my hands to push my boobs a bit closer to the center of my chest. This leads me to suspect that the Lucy is a bra best suited to those with close-set boobs. Mine are quite far apart and they point more sideways than forwards, so the cups of the bra were pushed further out to the side than they were designed to go, producing the odd wrinkling pattern. That’s just a guess, though, and I remain confused about the sizing of this bra. If you buy it, you should probably go with your normal size and also try one cup size up and down to see which fits best.
Comfort: Undetermined, because I tried it on only briefly.
Shape: Wow. This is the category where the Lucy bra really excels. It gives me exactly the shape that I consider ideal: rounded and lifted, with no hint whatsoever of pointiness. I’ve never had a fabric cup bra provide such a great shape before, and I don’t know how this one does it, but it’s pretty fantastic.
Support: Poor. I dislike using the word ‘jiggle’, but in this bra, there was a lot of jiggle. Maybe I’m biased, but I blame this on the tripartite band and the thin, flimsy fabric. Though the straps are a decent width, the band is narrow and closes with only two hooks. I prefer to feel well-supported and ‘strapped in’, as it were, when I’m wearing a bra, so the low support of the Lucy was a major disadvantage for me.
Quality: I find the quality of this bra lacking, but I’m quite picky when it comes to this kind of thing; I think most people would be satisfied by the quality, especially given the bra costs only £25. The fabric is the main sticking point here. It feels rough and, as mentioned above, it’s very thin and flimsy. (This could be advantageous in hot weather, though, since this bra would keep you cooler than a moulded or padded bra would.) My overall impression is that the bra feels floppy and insubstantial. It’s almost like it’s only half a bra. That said, I’m quite biased toward bras with much more structural engineering, so all of this is very subjective; one girl’s ‘flimsy and floppy’ is another girl’s ‘lightweight and comfortable’, after all. Construction-wise, I didn’t notice any issues with weak stitching or anything like that on the bra that I tried on.
Appearance: Though well-designed, the rough fabric of the bra lets it down in this department. The floral embroidery on the cups does give the bra a fun and feminine appearance, but I don’t know whether it shows up under clothes because I didn’t put on a top while trying the bra on. The bra that I purchased was white, which probably contributed to its utilitarian look and feel; the brightly colored versions would probably look a bit more appealing. The neckline of the Lucy bra is also much lower than those of comparable balconettes from Freya, which makes it a good choice for wearing under low-cut tops.
Conclusions: I decided not to keep this bra because of the strange wrinkling, the lack of support, and the mediocre quality. It’s probably best suited to close-set boobs and could work well for someone who was compatible with its shape and didn’t mind the low support and thin fabric.