This is, in my opinion, a truly beautiful and refreshing take on an otherwise ordinary T-shirt bra. As every item in the Rive Gauche range, with the lace and contrasting 'pin stripe' stitch details, its appearance is an interesting mix of 'romance' and 'business-like' attitude that really appeals to me.
The cups are moulded and lightly lined/padded, but the foam is thin and pliable and I think it will soften up further with washing and wear. It isn't a concern to me, but if it is for you, I'm pretty sure despite it's thinness it is still substantial enough that it prevents nipple show-through. The foam is overlaid ... with a smooth, satiny knit fabric and a narrow strip of lace finishes the cup edge. The lace is flat and soft and neither irritates (me) nor shows through clothing. Except for a small part near the gore it seems to lay flat against my skin. The cradle and wings are made out of the same lace. The lace is surprisingly firm, with still a pleasant amount of stretch. The cradle is lined and stabilised with a very sheer, smooth, non-stretch mesh. The wings in this size have side seam boning and although the closure is only two hooks high, they are spaced somewhat further apart than normal, which makes the back slightly higher (note that this type of closure is not compatible with regular-spaced extenders). The inside of the cups is not covered in cotton as I would have preferred, but in a smooth and soft knit material that still feels pleasant against my sensitive skin.
NB: from what I can tell, the side seam boning and wider back closure are only available in cupsizes E (DD) and up. Smaller cup sizes (regardless of band size) do not have side seam boning and have a 'regular' narrow-spaced closure.
The wires are actually fairly sturdy, and definitely not as flexible as some (Bravissimo, I'm looking at you!). The whole bra feels surprisingly light and seems to conform well to the body, especially considering the fact it has moulded, padded cups. The straps are only partly adjustable, which can be an issue if you are as petite and high-set as I am. The non-adjustable part of the straps consists of two narrow strands of elastic decorated with contrasting 'pin stripe' stitching. The bow that adorns the lowered centre gore -- the wires come up higher than the fabric piece that connects them -- has the same contrasting 'pin stripe' stitch detail. All findings -- sliders, connectors, hooks and eyes -- are made out of silver-coloured metal. A little silver-coloured metal tag with the brand name 'Chantelle' is attached next to the closure.
Believe it or not, but this is my best-fitting bra at the moment. It is not perfect, but for me it certainly seems a step up from the T-back and Demi versions of the Rive Gauche range (the T-back actually fits me well enough, but simply isn't entirely my style. The Demi is nothing short of a disaster as the cups are so tall and so very deep in the bottom).
The band is perfect for me on the loosest: snug, but still with enough give to not feel restrictive (for a variety of reasons I cannot wear my bands very tight). It stays in place well and doesn't irritate or cut in anywhere. The side seam boning and slightly higher back closure make it feel more supportive than most bands in this size range. Oddly enough, tightness-wise, the band of this bra feels quite the same as the band of the aforementioned Rive Gauche T-back which is labelled 70D. Rather than say that the band of this T-shirt version runs loose though, I think the T-back runs small.
The wires are perfect too: they hit me in all the right places and feel very comfortable. They are reasonably firm and don't seem to distort easily. Again, this may not be the same for cup sizes below E (DD).
Unfortunately the cups are, as all cups on all bras but especially the ones made by Chantelle, designed for someone way taller than I am. I have a petite upper torso, high-set and 'short' breasts and it shows: this bra is supposed to be a demi, but on me it covers significantly more. There's a very slight amount of empty space in very the top of the cup (more on my smaller side), but a size smaller would definitely be too small as I need this (horizontal) cup depth and wire width. The tallness of this bra (or my petite-ness, for that matter) is also where the two main fit issues I have with this bra stem from: I have to adjust the straps all the way if I don't want them to fall of my shoulders and the cup-part of the armhole is just a bit too 'tight'. When I move my arms forward or slouch even the slightest bit the gapping is absolutely phenomenal, suggesting the cups are way to big for me, which volume-wise they aren't really, especially not on my larger right side. I'd have to lower the armhole -- or better yet, take out 2cm or so out of the bottom of the cups -- to make this bra truly fitting, but it is not a disaster as it is. I might actually look into the possibility of making some kind of alteration as I like this bra enough to go the extra mile.
A problem often reported with this bra is a flattened-out bottom of the cups. When I first put on this bra I encountered the same issue, but when I adjusted myself properly and hiked the bra up far enough the crease disappeared (due to the smooth fabric overlay the crease wouldn't have been visible on the outside though as it only affected the moulded foam). In my case the initial crease seems to have been a matter of putting the bra on too low. Oddly enough, wearing the bra higher also made me fill out the cups better -- not sure where the added breast volume comes from, but hey, I won't complain As said, though, in smaller cup sizes the wires may be more flexible, which may also contribute to more easily flattened out cup bottoms.
The shape this bra gives me is very very round and lifted. Unfortunately though I don't get the lovely 'mounds' the model photos suggest and the result on me seems a bit closer to BIHAL's 'green' shape than the slightly 'purple' shape I usually prefer (yeah, I'm weird like that), but it definitely looks good enough I would absolutely love it if could get a similar fit in the unpadded Rive Gauche version, but in order for that to happen alterations are absolutely inevitable. I'm definitely working on that though.
As said, my best fit straight out of the package yet, albeit absolutely not perfect. I'd have to shorten the cups somehow to make it truly 'mine', but the bra is definitely wearable as it is. It's a quality item (reflected in the price ... ) that looks good, is ridiculously comfortable to wear -- even under hot and sweaty conditions! -- and does all the things it is supposed to do. So, shall I "just get five of them and be done with it?"
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Updated on May 27, 2013 Flag this