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I'm a big fan of color and pattern, as well as on a perennial hunt for a molded bra with enough projection, so I was delighted to find Karen on EBay. Well, she sure is cheerful and bright! Pink, purple, blue and yellow stars on a black background, with deep pink rickrack trim and a little pink grosgrain ribbon bow. Fun! The material is slightly shiny, smooth, and extends all the way around. The straps are very thin and very, very stretchy - the band does the work here. The band is a little small for a 32, but not uncomfortable. The wires are a deep U shape, ... and come up well on the sides while the gore is quite narrow at the bottom - providing firm enclosure on the sides and in the center. A front & center profile. For a molded cup, the immediate projection is good, similar to unlined Cleo's like Izzy or Ellis; but not shallow like Maddie (which is what I expected). The wires are definitely Cleo-firm! The smooth cup and little trim are completely invisible under tight knits. However, the top of the cup toward the center cuts in firmly and I quad pretty badly. An extender doesn't help, as it sometimes does. This bra might be better for short and narrow roots without a lot of center fullness. I think my breasts are being held in and up too much, then encountering the firm top edge. Pity, because Karen really makes me smile!
Updated on Aug 18, 2016 Flag this
Let me tell you about the Karen. Wouldn't you know it, I'm wearing it right now! So, anyway. This is a bra that I searched high and low on the internet for in my "default" size (30G). At one point I found it on Nordstrom's website on sale, but then I didn't act quick enough and it slipped through my grasp. Imagine my delight, when I found the Karen at my local Nordstrom Rack on clearance for $22.
But! I compromised with a 32FF. So I feel like I should put a giant disclaimer on this review, because while it technically fits, it is on the tightest ... hook. Like, if I had my way, I would much rather have a 30 band. However, given the nature of the cups, I wonder if a 30G would have ended up stabbing me in the armpits. But I digress.
Let me start by saying I've tried a couple of other molded "plunge" models and this one may be by far the most comfortable. For example, take the Freya Deco -- while I love that bra, it goes slightly farther up in the armpits than the Karen. The Deco also smushes your boobs closer together and up, while the Karen seems to just lift them up but not necessarily smushed together. Not that there's anything wrong with that! It just means, given the cut of the bra, you can wear something that is more of a V-neck with the Deco than you can with the Karen. The Karen is good for necklines that are open or wide but that don't dip down too low. In general, I love the rounded, uplifted shape that the Karen gives my profile. It might look like I'm getting some quadboob action, but that's only if I contort enough while taking photos (but I'm working on that lol).
Of course, I love the star pattern. This is why I sought it out! The material is soft and but no means scratchy. To me, the band is firm for a 32, given that I prefer 30 bands. I do wish that the straps seemed a little less flimsy. I mean, maybe I'm used to .75 inch straps now, instead of the half inch straps here. Another thing is, if I had my way, I would design this model with three sets of hooks, instead of the two that this model (and every other Cleo model I've tried) has. Why the resistance to the three sets of hooks? :'(
Okay, I'm done waxing poetic about the Karen. I say if you have boobs like mine, get your hands on a Karen and try it out for yourself
Updated on Mar 16, 2013 Flag this
Generally I wear a 30F/32E (sometimes a 32F), and the 32FF in this bra fits me pretty great. Like others have said, it runs a few cup sizes small. I'm fairly full on top (I think? I have tissue that goes basically up to my collarbones) and shallow, so quadboob is usually a big problem for me with bras. The Karen doesn't have this problem because it's pretty open on top. Band feels pretty good, but it's fairly stretchy. It will probably stretch out over time, but that's okay since it seems pretty tight for a 32. I have a 30F Freya Deco and the band is much ... larger on the Deco (unstretched, about 1.5 inches either side!). The gore is a teensy bit uncomfortable with extended wear because it pokes into my sternum a bit. Definitely not a huge problem, the wires can be slightly bent out.
As with most balconette styled bras, the straps are pretty wide on this bra. I'm fairly broad shouldered, so it's not too much of a problem for me. I could see it being a problem for someone more petite. Additionally, the wires come up pretty high on the sides. Again, not a problem for me, but something to keep in mind if you have a smaller frame.
Overall, I really like this bra! It looks great under t-shirts and it has a really cute pattern!
Updated on Feb 28, 2014 Flag this
The band and the straps are wonderful, unfortunately, this appears to be at least 2 cup sizes too small for me. The fabric feels really nice though and I hope to find this model in a larger size to try out.
Updated on Feb 17, 2014 Flag this
The Karen is sooo cute! I love the aesthetics, but I'm not impressed with Cleo's sizing on this one. The cups run at least a cup size small, and the band is stretchy (mine stretched to 33in). I like unpadded Cleos in 30G, so I am sister sizing up a band size. I think a 32FF would be ideal for somebody who typically wears 32F or maybe even a smaller 34 back.
I'll be listing this one, but only because the size didn't work out for me.
Updated on Feb 06, 2014 Flag this
This bra is AWESOME!! Best fitting bra I have. It is a balconette molded cup style. The band is true to size. The pattern is so cute! I just wish it came in more colors. The gore is narrow enough for me and the wires are wide enough to encompass all of my breast tissue. No gapping or wrinkling.
If you want fuller coverage, I suggest going up one cup size from your normal size and keep your usual band size.
The only bad thing I have to say about this bra is that I wish it had a leotard back for more support.
Updated on Apr 09, 2013 Flag this