Addendum: Freya “Faye” Plunge Balcony Bra

Abstract: This post, an addendum to this review, compares the B–G Faye bra and the (far superior) GG–K version. The GG–K bra still runs very large in the band and it’s probably still not worth £31, but it’s an improvement.

Background: I gave the Faye bra a thorough thrashing in my original review, so I don’t know what possessed me to order yet another one, but that’s what I did. Given that the 30 band was far too big for my 32″ ribcage, I doubted a 28 band would be much of an improvement. I was pleasantly surprised; sizing down to a 28 band tipped me over into GG+ territory, and the GG–K version of the Faye is very different to the B–G version. I ordered a 28H in black, which is the basis of all of the observations I’ve posted. I don’t know if the nude or white versions would fit the same way.

Sizing: The band on the GG–K bra is much tighter, at least initially. The 28H is a comfortable fit for my 32G boobs. I haven’t worn it enough to determine how much it stretches, but for now, it’s looking good. The sizing, of course, remains ridiculous — a 28 band shouldn’t even come close to fastening on me — but it’s not as bad as in the B–G version. If you buy the GG–K Faye bra, go down two band sizes and up two cup sizes. You may be able to get away with sizing down just once in the band and up once in the cup if you’re already on the higher end of your band size.

I haven’t measured my new 28H yet, but here are the band measurements of my older Faye bras. I wore them regularly for about six weeks each before they stretched out to the point of being unwearable.

  • 30FF, nude: 27″ at rest, 37″ stretched
  • 32F, nude: 28″ at rest, 38″ stretched
  • 32F, black: 28″ at rest, 38″ stretched

I think a 30 band bra should stretch to 30″ at maximum, and a 32 band bra to 32″. These B–G bras are thus 6″ to 7″ larger than they should be. In the original review, I suggested sizing down twice in the band and up once or twice in the cup, but I now think that if you buy the B–G bra — well, you shouldn’t, really, because it’s complete rubbish, but if you do, you should go down three or four band sizes and up three or four cup sizes.

Fit: Unlike the B–G Faye bra, which has quite narrow underwires, the cups on the GG–K bra are cut a touch too wide for my liking. The underwires do start to creep across your sides toward your back. Curiously, this has no bearing on cup depth; like many of Freya’s fabric cup balconettes, the GG–K Faye has deep cups with a small ‘radius of curvature’ and will fit best on boobs that are full on the bottom. I have fairly uniform fullness, so on me, this bra’s cups wrinkle at the apex while simultaneously cutting in at the top. I find this effect tolerable in this case because it was slight and less noticeable compared to other bras I’ve tried.

Another thing I want to mention is that the GG–K Faye’s shoulder straps are extremely long and wide-set. I have very broad shoulders and I don’t usually have problems with the straps on any bras, but on the 28H Faye I had to tighten them nearly all the way to stop them slipping off. If you’re petite and/or have narrow shoulders, these straps may not work for you.

Comfort: No glaring issues so far, apart from the abovementioned annoying strap slippage.

Shape: Much the same as the first image in the diagram I posted in the original review. Lifted and a tiny bit triangular, but not really pointy. It isn’t my ideal shape, but I can live with it. Due to its wider cups, the GG–K version also doesn’t center as well as the B–G version, so in the 28H, my boobs point a bit further out to the side than they do in the 32F/30FF. Again, not ideal, but satisfactory.

Support: The GG–K bra has three hooks instead of two, as well as extra lining in the bottom section of the cups. The wings and center gore are higher, too, and the straps are wider. In general, everything is more solid and more robust in the GG–K bra. I know most people don’t like this, but I absolutely do. The downside is that the back band remains a flimsy single layer of powernet mesh; I would have liked some additional reinforcement there.

Here are some photos comparing the two different versions of the Faye bra. You can see in the top row how stretched and distorted the cups, wings, and band of the 32F have become; neither the underwires nor the fabric were strong enough to hold their original shape. (I’m not stretching the bras with my hands; they’re hanging straight down under their own weight, and the photos have been rotated 90°.)

Image sources: photographed by me.

The second row of photos shows an undocumented feature of the GG–K bra: side boning. In the B–G version, the wing-band interface is an empty tunnel of fabric, allowing the entire band to crumple up when you move. In the GG–K version, however, there’s some stiff material in there that requires nonzero force to bend. This helps the band keep its shape and makes a sizeable contribution to the support of the bra.

Quality: Construction-wise, it’s fine. Materials-wise, it’s still pretty flimsy, but it’s marginally better than the B–G Faye due to the double-lined cups. Intriguingly, the two bras have different fabric compositions: the polyester/nylon/elastane split is 69%/19%/12% in the B–G version and 60%/31%/9% in the GG–K version.

It’s too early to say anything empirical about the long-term performance my new 28H Faye — I’ll wait and see whether it deteriorates like its smaller-cupped relatives.

Appearance: Pretty much identical to the B–G version, except that the higher center gore of the GG–K version gives more of a horizontal balconette neckline than a V-shaped plunge neckline.

Conclusions: While I still think the B–G Faye bra is completely useless, the GG–K version in black has, for now, met with my cautious approval. It’s far from perfect, however; new fit-related oddities appear and old sizing problems persist. I remain unimpressed by the way that Freya includes 30-and-under bands in theory but excludes them in practice.

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3 comments
  1. Anna said:

    I have also found Freya bras to run consistently large, although only one band size so for me. A notable exception is the Freya Lacey, which might be worth a try. However, at 28FF I’m stuck in B-G territory and like you I find the bras have… problems.

    My biggest objection to Freya (unpadded) bras is that my shoulders are responsible for pretty much all of the lifting. If I remove the straps, the support collapses – I don’t have this problem in any other brand. I’m pretty sure it’s not the band at fault, because the bras in question are almost new and still feel firm. I blame the plunge cut, low wires and cup construction.

    From your and A Sophisticated Pair’s reviews, it sounds like the GG+ edition is a sturdier creature. I’m jealous! Thanks for your awesome reviews! I love the quasi-academic format.

    • Lia said:

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, I find Freya’s unpadded bras put a lot of strain on my shoulders as well. I’ve worn the 28H Faye a lot since writing this post, and it gets less comfortable each time, unfortunately. I have to tighten the straps almost all the way to get any decent lift, the band has stretched to 32″, and the wires and cups are far too wide for me (and I’m definitely not tiny!). The GG+ Faye is sturdier, to be sure, but I think fit-wise, you aren’t missing out on much. 🙂

      About the Lacey bra, that’s interesting — the review at Undiegamer (http://windiegardie.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/freya-lacey-reviewed) also says that the band is very firm. The one that I tried was a GG+, so maybe the B–G Lacey is cut tighter.

  2. Anna said:

    Oops, just saw your review of Lacey. Odd that you found the 28 loose; I found it quite tight.

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