I'm starting to think that Fantasie bras are a whole cup size bigger than Panache/Cleo/Freya and pretty much everyone else. I bought about 10-15 bras in a big haul from Figleaves this month - while Figleaves had a 20% off sale - all were size 30GG including this one.
The Helena always gets 5 stars and has been available for years and years - but it's expensive enough that I never got around to trying it.
The first thing that I noticed is that it's really a full cup - it looks matronly. It's got lace and satin but it looks like an practical bra trying to look sexy. It certainly didn't make me feel good wearing it. The straps are really wide, like: you've-got-massive-boobs-so-you-must-need-an-inch-wide-elastic-to-hold-up-all-that-fat.
Perhaps if I had it in a 30G it wouldn't have been quite so bad.
Honestly can't recommend this style certainly not it it's normal price point. There's plenty other full cup bras out there that I prefer (see Panache Envy or Idina or Andorra for that matter)
I really love this bra. It's gorgeous, the fabrics feel like they're high quality, soft, smooth, and very comfortable. It took me quite a while to review this bra. I feel a bit off doing a proper review on something I've only worn at home for like an half hour, max. I did a fit check on this bra and was informed that the Helena Balcony Bra model from @Fantasie is one of their older models. @Fantasie is specifically a "bigger bust" brand and most their bras (especially the older models) are originally patterned around a size 32G (just a guess on my part) ... and are then sized down to the smaller cups/bands. I often hear that @Fantasie bras run larger in the cup compared to most brands (i.e. Panache, Freya, CK, Parfait etc.). Due to my lack of experience wearing the bra I had to mark everything as "Good" instead of "Excellent." But, IMO, I think the quality, comfort, and appearance would all be excellent if I had more experience with it. I hope I do! I am looking at more @Fantasie bras! Though they tend to be on the more expensive side and very rarely do they come in a size 30C. I have found the Helena in a 30C a couple times and hope to get my hands on it. The top of the cups on this bra are obviously too big for me. I completely fill the bottom of the bra and fully intend on removing the lace section and perhaps attaching it to the rest of the cup to stabilize it. I think this alteration will make me a really lovely low coverage, plunge style bra that fit very well and it super comfortable. The fabrics felt oh-so-nice and were really comfortable against the skin . Although I often wish they used the silky/satiny fabric they use on the outside of the bra on the inside of the bra because of it's lovely skin feel. Instead they tend to use some rougher cotton, cotton-like, polyester fabric for the inner lining of the bra if they use any at all. I can see this bra being very good for FOT, even full, firm breasted women. I didn't really like how the lace felt, but I don't see it being annoying to those with more sensitive skin than I. The band was nicely firm for a 30 band. I typically need a >28 band, so this band was obviously too big for me and I needed to hook it on the tightest hook. It certainly seemed tight/firm enough on this book and was definitely comfortable. The elastic definitely feels very high quality. The wires seem to be about an average width for this size. I really enjoyed these wires. They were not extremely firm, but they were not soft and flexible like Comexim's. They were...sturdy. Nice and sturdy. They were tall at the Gore and the sides. I could see some women complaining about the bra being too tall and poking. I also feel that the Gore is fairly tall but was comfortable for me. I really like that the wires are pretty freaking close together and the Gore remained narrow all the way down to the bottom of the gore where there is some widening. I can definitely see this bra being good for closer set women. I really disliked the straps. The base fabric didn't feel great and seems to be some sort of fold over elastic. This "elastic" was covered with the same lace that was on the cups. This made the straps really wide. I'm not a huge fan of wide straps. It also made the straps not fully adjustable, which can easily be a con. The lace does not look really good so it does nothing for the appearance of the bra IMO. Although it does match so it makes the bra look well thought out in design and aesthetic. What was nice about the straps was that they weren't very wide set, I am getting really tired of super wide set straps. Overall, I can't wait to try more @Fantasie and I certainly look forward to making my alterations to this bra and will post and update as the alterations occur. Read more 602 more words
Love affair with Fantasie is now a marriage of convenience.
Good quality bra.
Cons: No side support. Note to self: need side support. Seam across cup is super thick and shows under thin shirt. Shape is really bad: droopy, almost squarish. Gore is narrow and yet it seems wide, or the cups splay wider than I am used to/prefer. Straps are so wide-set I couldn't shorten them and have them fit. Oddly, I had wrinkling in the side (due to no side support panel?)
Amazing projection for a non-lined and non-padded bra, especially at my smaller size... was quite impressed with that. This reminds me of bras I used to wear in high school in the late 80s and early 90s (before t-shirt bras were the norm!). The lower cup fabric is between gloss and matte, sort of satin finish, and the lace is beautifully textured -- more so than it looks in the few online pics I've seen of this model. Great bra for when you don't want padding or bulk. Does have somewhat of a retro look, but I find that cute. Purchased Spring 2010 from The Lingerie Store USA.
Helena is a lovely day-to-day bra. Supportive, uplifting and quite comfortable, its design is pretty while understated. Under clothing, the bra provides a great, forward-facing shape.
That said, my breasts naturally sit very close together, and this bra doesn't deal very well with that; when wearing the bra, the underwires comes up quite high and wide in my cleavage, pressing down and into my breasts' soft tissue, leaving very unhappy red marks in their wake. Women with more space between their breasts, however, will not necessarily have this problem and may find this to be a perfect fit.
The cup size is somewhere between 30D and 30DD IMO, almost fits, but still some quadboob there. I like the stretchy material, very comfortable all around. Might try one size up. Update: gained weight, so there is no way this will fit in the near future. The bra itself is fantastic: soft and lifting, great for tall roots, as the upper lace is is soft and flexible. The Helena is Fantasie's greatest model, I'd say. Too bad the 30E is soo expensive and never discounted.
I think this bra is a decent fit overall, but it can get uncomfortable over the course of the day due to the taller wires. I don't think it would be such an issue if I wasn't both so short and short-waisted. In my opinion this bra is much more utility than beauty, but it does its job well. I has a decent amount of depth and gives a very nice up and forward look.
My mother ordered this bra as a potential replacement for her beloved @Fantasie Kara Balcony, which has been discontinued.
Sadly the fit is not the same, the Helena allows more volume in the top and in the bottom than the Kara Balcony. In addition the band is significantly wider, so there was lots of gaping going on with the band riding up in the back.
Comparing the fit, the wires of the Helena were higher up in her armpits and where the strap meets the cup rubbed in her armpit.
I also suspect that the cup is shallower. This gives a nice round shape, but on my mother with her very projected breasts it was not so good.