Review: Parfait “Lola” and “Cassandra” Padded Half Cup Bras, “Charlotte” Balconette Bra

Abstract: Three great bras that run quite small in the band and cup. I liked the shape, the designs, and the unexpectedly low price points. These bras were a unique and appealing change of pace compared to the other brands I’ve tried.

Background: Parfait by Affinitas is an American brand that has been around for a while, but they weren’t on my radar until recently because I didn’t know where to buy their bras. In July, when I finally located an online Parfait retailer that stocked a good range of products, shipped internationally, and had reasonable prices, I eagerly ordered the Lola padded half cup (30FF, 30G, and 32F), the Cassandra padded half up (32F), and the Charlotte balconette (30FF and 32F) to try out. I’ve put them in that order in the picture above. There’s only one colorway for the Lola, while the Cassandra is available in black and white and the Charlotte in red, peach, and pink.

All three of these bras come in two distinct cuts, and, confusingly, Parfait’s definitions of a balconette and a half cup are the opposite of what I’ve seen from most other brands. I’ve always thought of balconettes as having V-shaped necklines, while half cups have horizontal necklines, but with these bras, it’s the other way around. To clarify, the three bras in the picture are the ones that I tried; I would call the two on the left balconettes and the one on the right a half cup, but for consistency, I’ll refer to them using the brand’s own terminology in this review.

The size range for these three bras is currently 30–40 D–G (UK sizes). Parfait, however, have recently made themselves very popular with bra bloggers by expanding their sizes to include 28 bands and cups up to K for several of their products. You can read the details in this post on By Baby’s Rules. I think this is a great move on the part of the company because it shows they’re listening to their customers (which, incidentally, is more than can be said of the brand Freya, who are backpedalling on their planned half cup size expansion).

As for the result of my order, I ended up returning all of the bras, not because there was anything wrong with them, but because I’d chosen the wrong sizes. I would love to try them again in the correct size, but I currently own enough bras that I can’t really justify the expense of acquiring more.

Sizing: I received the bras in the mail at the start of August, when my measurements were more or less the same as they are now: 30½” underbust, 38½” bust. When I went to try on the bras, I could just barely close the hooks on the 32Fs, and the 30 bands wouldn’t fasten at all. These bras run small by at least one full band size, so they could work well for 26- and 28-band girls too.

The Lola and Cassandra bras seem to be sized exactly the same way in both band and cup — points to Parfait for consistency here. Both bras, in size 32F, were the best match for me in terms of cup volume. In the Charlotte, I double-boobed slightly in both the 30FF (with an extender) and the 32F. All in all, I’d say the Lola and Cassandra are accurate in the cup, while the Charlotte runs a bit small.

My provisional sizing suggestion for the Lola and Cassandra is to go up once in the band and down once in the cup relative to your usual or calculated bra size. For the Charlotte, go up once in the band and keep the same cup size. Even though this will still put you in an extremely tight band, I’m not recommending going up two band sizes because I didn’t try on any 34s myself, and also because I don’t know whether/how much the bands loosen up with time.

Fit: On my uniform-fullness boobs, the top sections of the 32F Lola and Cassandra bras neither gape nor cut in, while the bottom sections are filled perfectly. The Charlotte, similarly, has cups with a balanced volume distribution, except it’s shallower than the other two.

These bras would be great for boobs that are approximately even in fullness. That’s not to say they won’t work if you’re slightly full on top or full on the bottom, but I would guess that for an extremely full-on-top shape, the top edges of the cups would cut in, whereas extremely full-on-the-bottom boobs might experience gaping in the same location.

For all three bras, the cups and underwires are narrow and wings are high. The Lola and Cassandra have wide gores, while the Charlotte’s gore is a bit narrower. Unfortunately I don’t remember any details about about the strap positions or lengths.

Parfait "Cassandra" Padded Half Cup Bra

Image source: photographed by me.

Comfort: When I put on the Lola and Cassandra bras, the underwires at the front immediately started digging into my sternum. This was probably because the bands were too small for me and the strong wires didn’t bend to accommodate the stretch, so they had nowhere to go but inward. Painfully, I might add. This could be another good reason for sizing up in the band and possibly wearing them looser than you normally would. Aside from that, I can’t really say much about the comfort of these bras as I wore them for only a few minutes each.

Shapes of the Parfait "Lola", "Cassandra", and "Charlotte" bras

Shape: Again, the Lola and Cassandra are identical here. Both score well in my three shape categories of roundness, uplift and centering. There’s still room for improvement in each aspect, and the shape isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s definitely more than satisfactory. I would describe the shape as moderately projected and rounded, with a discontinuity at the apex where the lower and upper sections of the cups meet.

The Charlotte bra also gives a fairly rounded shape, with much less projection. It holds your boobs closer to your chest and pushes them upward more. The Charlotte’s cups also form a point at the apex, which is more noticeable than in the other two bras.

The padding on the cups of these bras adds a bit of volume to the breast shape. For comparison, I’d say they’re thicker than Freya’s padded half cups, certainly thinner than the Freya Deco, and about the same thickness as Ewa Michalak’s padded bras.

Support: It’s impossible to tell for sure, since I didn’t keep the bras. Structurally, they have a lot of good things going for them: the bands are nice and wide, and all the 32Fs fasten with two hooks, while the 30FF and 30G have three. According to Faustine’s Foundations, a 32GG has four hooks.

The bras also feature extremely rigid underwires and side boning on the wings, and the straps are strong, with little stretch and a decent width. The ones on the 30FF Charlotte are actually quite enormous. I would expect all this to contribute to good support and a secure ‘strapped in’ feeling.

Quality: These bras are incredibly cheap if you buy them from a US retailer, and they’re more than worth the price. They have a noticeably solid feel that’s absent from most of my other bras. The materials seem good, with soft cotton-like lining on the insides of the cups and a polyester satin material covering the outsides. I didn’t keep the bras, so I don’t know how well they hold up to prolonged wearing and washing.

Parfait "Lola" Padded Half Cup Bra

Image source: photographed by me.

Appearance: I love how each of these bras contains an element of my favorite pattern — pinstripes! They show up in the print on Lola and in the fabric and the mesh pleats on the Cassandra, and they’re remixed in the bold tape trim on the Charlotte. These bras are all gorgeous and very luxurious-looking, and even the all-black Cassandra is far from boring due to little details like the beautiful contrasting ribbons.

Parfait "Charlotte" Balconette Bras (32F and 30FF)

Image source: photographed by me.

The Charlotte bra is what I would consider to be a true half cup (which makes it more confusing that Parfait calls it a balconette!). It’s shaped like a bandeau, where the tops of the cups are completely horizontal and don’t taper to a teardrop-like point where they meet the straps. I really like this shape, and I wish it was more common in bras. The large black bows on the straps are an unusual design choice and they work well with the general aesthetic of the Charlotte. The outer fabric of the cups has an overall wrinkly appearance and looks slightly mismatched because the top part is made of a matte fabric, while the bottom is shiny, and the top is a darker shade of yellow-beige than the bottom.

Conclusions: I don’t have any information about the long-term comfort or performance of these bras, but I can say that I was very impressed by what I saw when I tried them on. They’re well-priced, they give a nice shape, the structures are sound, and of course, the designs are beautiful. I loved the look of the Cassandra in particular, and would definitely consider buying one the next time I need a new bra. If you’re not quite getting what you want from the British brands, then give Parfait a try. I highly recommend all three of the bras that I’ve reviewed here.

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