Saturday, March 14, 2015

Black and White

The terrific thing about the "one in / one out" policy is that, when you cull 8 29 bras from your wardrobe, you're well within rights to purchase two :-)

And there are two I've had my eye on for a long time.

The sporty:

Cleo Minnie and Brief
And the sexy:
Masquerade Persia and Brief
What can I tell you about each?

I've read that they're both very projected bras (especially at the centre gore). They've both got narrow wires (in the scheme of things) and they're both lauded for fit.

You'll note that they're both riffs on basic black. The Masquerade was discontinued some time ago but it's still available in some sizes on eBay. In truth, I'd have preferred the blue version - but it wasn't to be found in my size.

The Cleo is a popular bra that's still being produced. I'd also have preferred this in the blue/gold colourway (of a few seasons ago) but had to go with the colour way available in the appropriate size.

Having said this, I'm not in any way feeling flirty or floral. These days, I like the binary, low-key quality of black and white.

My concerns about each are these:
  • They close with 2 hooks and eyes (vs the 3 I prefer, especially since comfort is key and I'm trying to deflect pressure against a wider portion of my back torso).
  • They're known for being snug in the band. I've sized up to a 34 in each (and I'm willing to use an extender as necessary) but who knows how these will be, especially when you add in the factor of bullet point above. There's no way I can size up in the band more than 34. At that point, the scale of the bra becomes too wide for my frame (and the wires too wide for my breasts).
  • I've never tried a Masquerade bra (thought they were popular before the brand folded into Panache - and was rather decimated in the process), so I don't know if it is a comfortable brand.
  • Cleo bras aren't known for their comfort at the end of the day - I can say that with experience. Mind you, I've never gone up to a 34 back in this brand...
What have I done to mitigate this concern? Well, I opted to size up, not only in the band, but also in the cup. Of course, this is likely to backfire completely, especially measurements I've been able to determine, but I can return each set - as necessary - so I'm calling it a good experiment. (I'm just so sick of feeling swollen pretty much everywhere, 75% of the time... I figure, if this fails, at least I will have given it a go.)

Furthermore, I managed to get very reasonable deals on both sets. Including shipping and currency conversion (GBP), each was 50 bucks.

I seriously considered yielding to my latest bra tingle with Empreinte, but seriously, that would have cost me 3 times this total price for one set alone. I can't justify that expense right now. Mind you, I wear 90% of my Empreintes into the ground - and they last, in regular rotation, for years, not to mention that they're insanely comfortable, especially in the band.

FWIW, I do intend to sell one or two in the upcoming bra sale (cuz they never fit right - they were purchased online so I couldn't try them on for fit) but please note, I do intend to charge for those. Not so much that I'd even come close to breaking even (by a long shot) - but for bras that retail at 200 bucks (and that have been worn twice), I've got to charge something.

If these Cleo and Masquerade are duds, I'm going to return them and give the (very projected) Polish brands one more go. And if that process becomes too complicated (getting bras from Poland is quite a production), I'm going to accept that I'm the kind of woman who will buy a couple of Empreinte sets a year, and call it a day.

Thoughts on these bras? Have you tried them? Do you like them?


  1. I've had my eye on the Cleo Minnie for awhile, but I've never clicked "buy" because I'm not sure that it's as projected at my best fitting Cleo, which is the (discontinue) Lily. But I sure like the aesthetics of the Minnie better!

    1. I agree about the aesthetics. From 2 seconds of size by size comparison on Bratabase (I used 34G as the size, just randomly), the two bras have almost identical depth. The shape might be more projected on the Lily (I don't know). I've never tried a Minnie or a Lily before.

  2. I haven't tried either the Cleo Minnie or Masquerade Persia because of the height of their center gores. I love the Cleo Marcie, so the Minnie is very attractive to me, but for the center gore height. I need plunges.

    The Masquerade Persia is indeed supposed to be very projected. I hope it has enough projection near the center gore for you! I hope the Cleo Minnie does the same. Please please enter their measurements into Bratabase, okay? I know a lot of people bargain hunt bras because they truly have to. Since both bras are past season ones, they are likely to be on the radar for more financially stressed shoppers.

    Having said that, I truly think you can justify buying eight more Empreinte bras, if not matching sets. It's not like wearing a bra is optional for you, most of the time. I think you went to work without a bra on more than one occasion, but in your size range, that is way suboptimal. Plus that's no way to live. We need pretty bras! Also, you got rid of a bunch of bras. You are now operating at a bra deficit. Deficits--bad! :)

    Finally, quality will out. It is better for all of us to favor quality over quantity. If you are operating at an eight bra deficit, two Empreinte sets still doesn't get you back to even, right??

    1. Well, I've got the ball rolling by buying yet another Empreinte set (see new post) :-) Don't tempt me! You know I have issues! I do enter all of my bras into Bratabase. I go through phases where I enter 10 in and then lose interest, and then enter them again. I def try to put the Empreintes in there because there's very little to go by - already entered into the database - from that brand.

  3. I have a couple of the Persia's and wear them often. On most days they are a little lose across the top of the cup. I have a different Cleo and that one runs a little tight across the top of the cup on me. My most favorite bra is a Prima Donna (that of course has been discontinued). Have you tried one of theirs?

    1. That's what I've heard about the upper cup on the Persia. Which is the Cleo you bought that's closed on top? I have tried Prima Donna and their Twist line. The cups are too full, the wires too wide. But I know the brand has some serious followers.

  4. From what I can tell Masquerade is rather comfortable, but I don't have Persia (I have Tiffany and heavily altered Rhea).