Abstract: This is another angry rant about Freya’s ridiculous sizing. It’s also a review of the Edina balcony bra, which, while gorgeous, gives torpedo-boob and runs extremely large in the band.
Background: This fabric cup balconette was part of Freya’s spring/summer 2012 collection. I reviewed the longline version a while ago and really liked the print, so I ordered the balcony version last month when I was in need of new bras (the Cleo Juna and Freya Faye bras that I had been wearing regularly had stretched out the point of intolerability). The Edina balcony bra is supposedly sold in sizes 28-38 D-K (excluding 28JJ-K and 38JJ-K); nearly every review indicates that it runs large in the band, though, so I decided to order it in 28GG and 28H instead of my usual 32FF/G. The bras were slightly discounted because the style is no longer current. Though I bought these bras at a good price, I returned them because the shape was pointy and the sizing was terrible.
Sizing: The bra runs unbelievably large in the band. I have a 32″ ribcage; I’ve been measured dozens of times (and I measured myself again while trying this bra on, just to make sure I hadn’t magically misplaced four inches somewhere) and I’ve never come up lower than 31½”. After ordering the Edina, I was worried that the band would be too small, but I figured I’d be able to wear it with an extender until it stretched out. This turned out to be completely unnecessary because the bra was too loose for me. I could fit both hands under the back band when it was fastened on the tightest hook. This is absolutely ridiculous — as a 32-band girl, a 28 band bra shouldn’t even come close to doing up on me, let alone doing up easily on the tightest hooks with room to spare. I took a measuring tape to this bra and found that the band is 26″ long at rest and stretches to 34″. Thirty-four inches. Excuse my language, but what the hell is this crap? Has Freya decided to counter ‘plus four’ by introducing ‘minus six’? Has every measuring device in their factories undergone some kind of simultaneous and inexplicable dilation? Do they think that vanity sizing — whereby the size printed on the label is smaller than the actual size of the product — makes customers happy? Because it really doesn’t. Not only does the extreme sizing discrepancy make it difficult for customers to find the right size, it also locks out everyone who wears a small band. If you buy this bra, go down three band sizes and up three cup sizes. (I wish I was joking, but I’m not.) If you’re a 32 band or under, don’t waste your time or your money.
Comfort: The bra seemed pretty comfortable on the seconds/minutes timescale, but I didn’t keep it so I don’t know what it’s like after a full day of wear. The sides of the bra do come up quite high; I didn’t mind this, personally, but it might be something to look out for if you prefer your bras lower and more open on the sides.
Shape: This bra gives me the classic ‘torpedo-boob’ shape — centered and lifted, but very pointy. (For a diagram, see my review of the Fantasie Elodie bra.) The construction of the cups is just plain strange, too. There’s a lot of space at the bottom and at the apex and very little in the upper section of the cup, which gave me double-boob at the top and wrinkles and empty space at the bottom all at the same time. My boobs are fairly uniform in fullness; you might fare better with this bra if your boobs are full on the bottom, but I expect it will always create torpedo-boob to some degree.
Support: Fairly good, at least for the minute or so during which I had the bra on. I jumped around a bit to test this specifically. Both the 28GG and the 28H have tall wings, wide bands, three-hook closure, and massive wide straps, which contribute a lot to the support of the bra. The fabric used in the cups is of decent thickness and it doesn’t stretch, so it supports well, too.
Quality: Mixed. I’m a fan of the cups and straps, but the band is basically the same as the one on the Faye bra — one layer of flimsy and very stretchy powernet fabric that, I suspect, would likewise expand permanently after a short period of wear. Unlike the longline Edina bra, this balcony version has short wings, which increases the length of the powernet section and exacerbates the stretching problem.
Appearance: Beautiful, as always. The print looks amazing, and though the seams and trimmings aren’t completely invisible under clothes, they aren’t too overt either.
Conclusions: First, do note that this review is based on the GG-K version of the bra; things might be slightly different in the D-G version, which is marketed as a ‘plunge balcony’ bra and is sold as a separate product on some websites. In particular, I suspect the center gore and wings would be lower in the smaller cup sizes. The band, however, is likely to be just as awful.
To conclude, the Edina bra looks nice, but it will give you pointy boobs and its sizing and fit are horrendous. It doesn’t actually range from 28-38 D-K — 34-44 A-HH is a more accurate estimate. Really, if Freya has decided to stop catering to the small-band market, they should at least be honest about it.