Review: Freya “Faye” Plunge Balcony Bra

Abstract: This post is very long and it’s really more of a rant than a review. Though the Faye bra looks beautiful and gives a nice shape, it has serious quality issues; the worst of these is the large and stretchy back band, which limits the bra’s effective size range to approximately 32-42 A-J.

Image source: Freya’s website.

Background: The Faye is one of Freya’s continuity styles. It replaced the discontinued Pollyanna style at some point in 2011. It’s a fabric-and-lace cup plunge balconette bra sold in black, white, and nude; the (nominal) size range is 28-38 C-K, with several omissions at the corners of the size chart.

I first bought this bra about four months ago, and I’ve been postponing this review for quite a while because I wanted to see how the bra performed over the long term. I first purchased two of these in 32F, in black and nude, and later purchased another, in 30FF, in nude. All were bought online at a slight discount from the normal retail price during a sale. Both 32Fs are a terrible fit on me and I stopped wearing them after a few weeks, so this review mainly focuses on the 30FF. Despite also having numerous problems with the 30FF, I’ve worn it continuously since purchasing it due to a dearth of other bras to wear.

Sizing: The bra runs small in the cups and extremely large in the band. Though my ribcage measures just a fraction less than 32″, there is absolutely no way I can wear a 32 band Faye — it’s so loose it fits more like a 34 band, or even a 36. The 30 band Faye is likewise far too big for me, even on the tightest hooks, and even after I altered it to try to stop it from stretching too much. I think this is unacceptable. Sizing inaccuracies don’t usually affect my assessment of a bra, but in this case it really matters; if a 32-band girl like me needs to wear a 28 band to get the right fit, where does that leave the women who normally wear 24-30 bands? Freya needs to get this sorted, because right now the bra’s dodgy sizing locks out a significant number of their customers.

I’ll conclude this section of my rant with some sizing advice: if you buy the Faye, go down two band sizes and up one or two cup sizes. If you’re a 30 band or under, don’t even bother. The need to size down in the band and up in the cups is the reason why the bra’s actual effective size range is approximately 32-42 A-J and not 28-38 C-K as claimed.

Comfort: The Faye is a sternum-stabber, and the straps, though wide and thick, dig uncomfortably into my shoulders. I think both of these issues can be attributed to the too-large back band riding up and failing to provide adequate support, which places the stress of holding up my breasts on my shoulders and distorts the front of the bra so that the underwires angle inwards and the ends poke me. I’m not sure, though, if wearing the right size would entirely resolve the sternum-stabbing issue for me, as I have wide-set breasts while the bra seems to be designed for close-set breasts. With the bra in its current problematic state, I’m unwilling to spend more money on a 28GG to check whether it’s more comfortable in the correct size.

Shape: Surprisingly good, for a fabric cup bra. It doesn’t quite give the nearly-hemispherical shape that I consider ideal, but it’s fairly rounded, lifted, and not pointy. In addition, the Faye does a good job of bringing my sideways-pointing breasts in toward the center, so the shape here is definitely upfront rather than spread out, which I prefer. Since the bra isn’t padded, it doesn’t add bulk, so the shape is quite low-key.

The trouble here is that over the course of the day, my boobs spill out into the center of the bra, leaving the bottoms of the cups empty and creating double-boob on top of a droopy, pointy shape. I’ve read that this is a common effect in plunge bras with low center gores. It may also be due, again, to the band of my 30FF bra being too big and allowing breast tissue to shift and slide around.

I wrote above that I think the Faye bra is designed for close-set breasts; this is because its central gore is quite narrow compared to the ones in Panache or Curvy Kate bras, and the underwires don’t extend very far back and come up very low under the arms. This caused some side spillage for me because my breasts are both wide and wide-set, but for those with close-set breasts, I think the fit would be pretty good. You know, as long as you choose the right size to adequately compensate for the ridiculous sizing discrepancy.

Support: Average. Since it’s a fabric cup bra with short, flexible underwires, it’s less supportive than something like the Deco half cup (which has moulded cups, thicker fabric, and rigid underwires) but it’s better than, say, the Cleo Lucy bra (which has a tripartite band and an all-mesh construction). The wide straps of the Faye are a plus, but the narrow, stretchy, flimsy band and the two-hook closure (in the F and FF cups, at least) are minuses here. The low center gore also diminishes the support somewhat, but since this bra is marketed as a ‘plunge balcony’ bra, I don’t count this as a negative because it comes with the territory.

Quality: Awful. I’m going to start with the band because it’s absolutely the worst part of the bra. In addition to being cut too large for the size stated on the label, the band of the Faye is made of a single layer of powernet mesh and it’s very, very stretchy. The band never ‘bounces back’, either — it just keeps stretching out more and more. These bras will permanently gain at least two band sizes after just one or two weeks of wear.

This causes problems because when you first try the bra on — before it’s been stretched out by wearing and washing — you might think your normal band size is a decent fit. That’s the reason I kept the two 32F Fayes that I originally purchased. After they grew and became unwearably large, I bought another Faye in 30FF, which felt reasonably snug when I first tried it on. After a few weeks, however, it, too, stretched out and became just as large as the 32F bras had, which was frustrating. It turns out I underestimated the full extent of the stretching problem at first, because my ribcage was actually not big enough to stretch the 32 bands as far as they could go. I’m quite irritated that I’ve wasted my money on three bras that don’t fit, and moreover, on three bras that seemed to fit fine at first but degenerated into unsupportive stretched-out messes after such a short time.

Anyway, rubbish back band aside, the fabric used in the rest of the bra is of good quality, but there isn’t really enough of it. I would have liked a double layer of fabric on the wings and the lower sections of the cups. The only part of the bra that I’m completely sold on are the straps, which are very wide and wonderfully thick and soft.

The review at A Sophisticated Pair indicates that the sizing of the Faye varies depending on color, with black bras being overall tighter than nude bras of the same nominal size. I noticed this inconsistency as well, but for me it turned out to be an insignificant factor because all three of the bras that I bought stretched out to the same size over the long term.

Construction-wise, I observed no issues with this bra. It’s been put together properly and there are no loose threads or wonky seams or anything like that. Considering its other issues, though, I’d say it’s definitely not worth the £31 it retails for.

Appearance: Making bras that look beautiful has always been Freya’s strong point, and the Faye is no exception. Like many Freya bras, it also looks much prettier in real life than in photos, particularly the black color. I love the design on the lace and the modern but subtle print on the cups, wings, and band, and the little striped bows are the perfect accent. The neckline is low in the center but quite high on the sides, forming a deep V-shape that sits well below the necklines of most tops. The lace does look slightly bumpy under clothes, but it’s much less noticeable than some of the other bras I’ve tried.

The only aspect of the bra’s appearance that I feel could do with some improvement is the relative sizes of the upper and lower sections of the cups. The lace section is too large and throws off the proportions of the bra. If the upper lace section were smaller and the lower fabric section larger, the Faye would look better and, visually, it would be much more balanced. The support and shape would probably be improved, too.

Conclusions: I think I’m quite finished venting my spleen about this bra now. I acknowledge that most of the problems I’ve experienced with it would likely be solved by wearing the right size, but I think it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that ‘the right size’ is more or less easy to determine. To that end, this bra’s inaccurate, inconsistent sizing and its unforgivably stretchy band are significant hindrances. Nearly all bras stretch and have their own little sizing quirks, but here it’s just egregious. Not cool, Freya. Get it sorted.

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10 comments
  1. I’ve pretty much given up on that style of bra, since it always ends up doing the weirdest things to my shape… not to mention the fact that they always end up coming up way too high on me. I do think that the 28GG would be less problematic for you (ie: less quad-boob), but the general shape of the cup is still strange.

  2. I’m sorry you’ve had such a horrible experience with the bra! I have noticed, particularly for larger cup sizes, that the fit on the Faye can be rather hit or miss. I love my black one (the nude on disappointed me) and would buy it again. It’s possible we got our bras from different runs too and that they corrected some of the problems. I’ve heard good things about the Rio and Jolie from Freya though.

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