Quick Reviews: Freya “Gem” Balconette Bra, Cleo “Marcie” Balconette Bra, Freya “Lauren” Padded Half Cup Bra

I’m trying out a new, shorter review format for bras where I don’t have enough data to write a full review. Today’s subjects are the Freya Gem balconette, the Cleo Marcie, and the Freya Lauren half cup.

Freya “Gem” Balconette Bra

Freya "Gem" Balconette Bra

Image source: Freya’s website.

Background: The Gem is a fairly new continuity style available in black-on-pink, beige, and white. There’s also a red seasonal color at the moment. I don’t fit into the size range of the half cup version (28–38 B–F, excluding 28–30 B–C), which is unfortunate because half cups are my favorite kind of bra. Instead, I tried out the balconette bra, which has a larger size range of 28–38 D–K, exlcuding 28 and 38 JJ–K. I bought a black-on-pink 30G online at the full retail price in April this year. It was all kinds of wrong on me, so I sent it back for a refund.

Sizing: Runs very large in both band and cup. When I tried this bra in April, I measured 31″ underbust and 40″ bust, so my ‘calculator size’ was approximately 32FF. The 30G Gem bra was too loose around the back and had too much space in the cups. A 28G would probably have been right at the time. If you buy this bra, go down two band sizes and up one cup size. If this puts you in GG+ territory, however, all bets are off, as I only tried the D–G version of the bra.

Fit: Same as Freya’s other unpadded balconettes: lots of space at the bottom and apex of the cup, less space at the top. The official product page states that the Gem based on the older Rio model.

Shape: Lifted, with a lot of forward projection. The centering was subpar, and it wasn’t round enough for my liking.

Appearance: Striking. The combination of black and pale pink looks beautiful up close, and I like the combination of lace and tiny polka dots.

Conclusions: This is pretty much a case of once you’ve tried one Freya balconette, you’ve tried them all. You’ll like it if your shape and the bra’s shape are compatible.

Cleo “Marcie” Balconette Bra

Cleo "Marcie" Balconette Bra

Image source: Cleo’s website.

Background: Among bra enthusiasts, the Marcie is a very divisive style. Some people love it, while others have boatloads of issues with the fit. The Marcie was first released in red in 2012. I tried the second iteration, in teal, in June this year. I bought a 30G online during a sale, but returned it because I’d chosen the wrong size. The bra is currently available in a candy pink color, in sizes 28–38 D–J. A black babydoll version will be released later in the year.

Sizing: With my June measurements of 30½” underbust and 39″ bust, I couldn’t fasten the 30G without an extender. With an extender, the cups were definitely too big for my boobs. I think a 32F would have been the right size for me. If you buy this bra, size up once in the band and down once or twice in the cup from your normal ‘calculator size’.

Fit: The cups are very open on top, so they should be a good match for full-on-top boobs.

Shape: Beautifully rounded and lifted, even in the wrong size. The bra moves your boobs more upward than forward, giving less projection than, say, the Cleo Lucy.

Appearance: I love the embroidery and mesh patterns on the cups. The teal color, though, looks a bit murky in real life. It’s not as bright as it appears to be in pictures.

Conclusions: This bra was very promising on me. I really want the pink version, but currently I have too many bras and not enough funds. Maybe at the next end-of-season sale.

Freya “Lauren” Padded Half Cup Bra

Freya "Lauren" Padded Half Cup Bra

Image source: Freya’s website.

Background: I tried, and was unimpressed with, the balcony version of the Lauren a while ago. Then in June this year, I decided I needed a white bra for some reason, so I ordered the padded half cup Lauren, in 30FF and 30G, online at the normal retail price. They didn’t fit, so I sent them back. This continuity style is currently widely available in black and white in sizes 30–38 B–G, but not 30B or 30C. It’s the same style of bra as the Secret Garden, the Totally Tartan, and the other Freya padded half cups where the top and bottom halves have different prints.

Sizing: I measured 30½” underbust and 39″ bust in June, and the 30G was just too big for me everywhere. The 30FF was all right with regard to cup volume, but the band was far too loose to provide proper support. I suggest sizing down once in the band and keeping your normal cup size for this bra.

Fit: The cups are shallower and a bit wider than the balconette version.

Shape: Rounded overall, but with a tiny, pointy little discontinuity at the horizontal seam. This padded half cup bra didn’t give me as much lift as the unpadded Freya balconettes usually do. The view from the side is a touch minimized, and the thin padding doesn’t add much bulk.

Appearance: The crisp design adds a classy, feminine touch to the traditional white underwear theme. The only downside is the thick seams on the cups, which disrupt the aesthetic a bit.

Conclusions: I’m not really surprised that this bra didn’t work for me. I’d be mildly curious about trying a (nonexistent) 28G, but at the same time, this half cup Lauren, like its balconette relative, is nothing special.

  1. When you talked about the Freya Gem what did you mean by centering?

    • Lia said:

      Hi, when I talk about centering I mean how much the bra aligns your boobs in a forward direction. A bra with good centering brings the boobs front and center; a bra with poor centering makes them point out to the side, away from each other.

      I see now that I also wrote that the Gem has lots of forward projection, which seems contradictory. What I should have said was there’s a lot of outward projection. So it projects your boobs out away from your chest, but more sideways than forward. Hope that makes sense!

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