This review is for the Masquerade Rhea size 30DD in the colour Antique.
(copied from my original review of the 28F version) A luxurious-looking bra out of matt satin and intricate detailed lace in a beautiful but difficult to describe colour. None of the images I've seen online does it justice. It's a kind of delicate greyish pinkish sandish slightly-darker-than-nude hue -- a light rose or mauve taupe comes to mind. Anyway, even though it's definitely not nude, it's an excellent and definitely more romantic alternative for a neutral-coloured bra, which is exactly what I was looking for. The centre gore is adorned with a bow and a ... tiny sparkly pendant. As said, the lace is intricate and expensive-looking. It's not entirely flat so it might show slightly under tight, thin, clingy clothes. The zigzag stitched seams are much less noticeable in real life than online images suggest although, again, they might show under tight, clingy clothes. The cups are only thinly padded, but the material feels quite sturdy, almost stiff. They are lined with soft and comfortable cotton. Straps are only partly adjustable. The non-adjustable part is completely non-stetchy and covered with the same satin the cups are made of, which feels quite comfortable. The wings are made out of two layers of a perfectly matching stretch satin. There is no boning in the wings.
(copied from my original review of the 30E version) I must say, I am impressed. First of all, it kind of sort of fits!!! Secondly, this bra gives me the kind of shape I was expecting from Ewa Michalak's CHP, but that one didn't work for me AT ALL. The cup shaping keeps the breasts close to the chest, pushing them upwards for an uplifted, separated, and rounded 'Regency'-type cleavage. Compared to my Ewa Michalak CH there is slightly less projection, but the difference isn't as great as in the 28 band versions and it's actually really a very nice look. I do like the shape a lot: it's simply a bit more subtle than the shape I get in my CH and a bit more wearable for that reason as well. I know others consider this a look for 'special occasions', but I'm also happy with for a more everyday appearance. The cup height is quite perfect on me and there's only the slightest of gapping when I move my arms and shoulders, but as far as I know this is almost unavoidable with padded/molded cups, especially on smaller chests. The slight irregularity at the bottom of the front most cup seam that bothered me in the 28 band versions I tried is much less in this 30 band version, although it isn't entirely gone: for some reason there is a bit of diagonal pull in the cups that makes this part pucker. I'm very tempted to slip in a thin piece of boning to straighten it out as it's just such a shame in such an otherwise beautiful bra.
The wires are quite fine for me in this size, better than in the 28F. Unlike the Curvy Kate Tease Me I tried several weeks ago I do not notice the wires in this Rhea at all: no poking or pinching anywhere. The centre gore lies nice and flat and exerts zero pressure on my sternum. My breasts fill out the bottom of the cups reasonably well and the cups do not slip down like they did in the Tease Me and the CHP I tried.
The strap placement is wide but not too wide in this size. Again, it's decidedly better than in the 28F. The slight gapping of the cups when I move my arms is probably at least partly due to the wide strap placement, but then again, as far as I know this type of gapping happens in almost all padded/moulded cups, especially on smaller chests. The fact the straps are only partly adjustable is a bigger problem: as I have a very short upper torso I have to tighten them almost all the way to prevent them slipping off my shoulders.The material of the non adjustable part feels sturdy and comfortable. The zigzag stitching isn't the most aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn't bother as much as I thought it would.
The 30 band is suprisingly fine on my 69cm/27" ribcage, even though stretched it measures about 4cm more than what I've come to consider ideal. The brand isn't very stretchy to begin with and it doesn't ride up at all at the loosest hook. Still, if I wish I can still fasten it a bit tighter: I've noticed that switching between the hooks affects the fit of the cups somewhat -- moreso than what I've noticed in other bras -- which makes this 30 band much more flexible size-wise than the 28 versions I tried earlier. The band is shaped slightly funny in that it seems the wings to curve up rather than down. This makes it feel as if the band rides up in the back, even though it really doesn't. Simply takes some getting used to, I suppose. My only issue with the band is the lack of side seam boning and/or the lack of a powernet lining in the wings: tightness is less og an issue than in the 28 versions, but -- I think at least partly due to the fact that the satin the wings are made off is so much stretchier than the edging elastic -- the band wrinkles and most strain is put on the elastic edges. Side seam boning and a sturdier powernet lining would allow a more even distribution of the band tension along the entire height of the wings (not just along the elastic edges) and would almost certainly result in more comfort.
Now that I've tried this bra in a 30 band as well, I have a strong suspicion that both the flattened shape and the puckering in the bottom of the cups I noticed in the otherwise fitting 28 band versions are the result of diagonal tension in the cup caused by a 'too tight' band. Don't ask me why -- I'm almost thinking it is actually a design or construction flaw that has to do with fabric grain or something. It is also slightly funny, because the 28 band certainly doesn't FEEL too tight on my 69 ribcage (it feels tight, but not TOO tight) and the wires don't really seem as distorted as I've seen them in other bras with much looser bands (Bravissimo Mademoiselle ... ?).
Surprisingly, a band size up seem to work just fine. The band is not very stretchy to begin with and I haven't notice this 30 riding up on me at all. At 27" I'm obviously just in between band sizes so maybe that's why it works for me, but for what it's worth, if you experience a flattened shape and/or pucker in the bottom of the cup, try going up a band size. I myself definitely got a better shape that way.
The Masquerade Rhea is a mysterious bra. I've now tried it on in four different sizes and for some odd reason they all seem to fit. My breast size and density fluctuates (due to breastfeeding), but even though there may be as much a three cups sizes difference between my 'smallest' and my 'biggest' shape, these changes are not very clearly reflected in my actual measurements. Believe me, I quadruple checked! True, these four bras may not all fit the same at the same moment, but for Bratabase recommendation purposes I cannot say of any one of them that it doesn't fit under the current measurements at all.
The Masquerade Rhea truly is an Almost Perfect Bra for me. I don't think the shape it gives is as glorious as what Ewa Michalak achieves -- although in some ways this shape does suit me better and I think this model certainly FITS me better than some of the Ewa Michalak styles -- and I do have some issues with the fit and construction, but really, despite its minor imperfections it is an amazing piece! Anyway, I'm now sorely tempted to get it in all colours available plus, of course the matching knickers https://d28qt14g3opchh.cloudfront.net/smileys/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" />
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Updated on Jan 02, 2013 Flag this