Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cleo Minnie: A Brief Review (And Other Lingerie Stories)

I don't know if you'd call my latest online shopping exploits a success, but they're interesting IMO.

To recap, in the last month (following the bra sale) I've online shopped:
  • Empreinte daisy thong
  • Cleo Minnie bra and thong
  • Masquerade Persia bra and brief
  • Avocado Essentia bra and undies
  • Avocado Mirabelle bra and undies
  • Bravissimo Alana thong
  • Freya Nadine thong
  • 3x3 extenders
  • 2x3 extenders
Everything is taking a stupid amount of time to arrive. 3 weeks later, I'm still waiting on the Alana thong and the 2 Avocado sets (well, only ordered these 2 weeks ago and they are coming from Poland) and the smaller size of the Masquerade set (the original one arrived quickly and was way too large in both bra and undies). The extenders were ordered more recently, and from Thailand, so I'm not surprised that those are taking a while.

I was about to lose it but the Minnie set arrived today. I'm exceedingly irritated with Belle-Lingerie for having charged me shipping 3 times when I ordered 3 things at the same time and advised them as much. I'm even more irritated that 2 of the 3 items were packaged together and I was still charged shipping x2. I can scarcely be bothered to argue about it at this point. I've already followed up and I got a lame response. Note: When and if you order from Belle-Lingerie (eBay shop with terrific stock and good prices), make sure you EMAIL them directly - not via eBay messaging - to ensure that your multiple purchases are shipped together.

So here's where we're at, fit-wise:
  • Masquerade set was way too big but it was gorgeous. I'm really hoping that the smaller bra and undies does the trick - or this will have been a pricey experiment, what with paying return shipping twice.
  • The Cleo Minnie is very cute but, in my experimental one back-size up / one cup size up, I'm learning quickly that, during the week I did the majority of my purchasing, I over-estimated my dimensions. So far, in Masquerade and Cleo, the 34 back size is actually great. Both Masquerade and Cleo bands are notoriously snug. We might say tight. I mean, Cleo fits a good band size to a size and a half smaller than it should. For example, I've owned 30 back Cleos that only stretched to 29 inches. A 30 should arguably stretch to at least 30 inches and generally would stretch to 31 inches. In this instance, where things have gone sideways is in the cup. Not that I didn't realize this before ordering, but upsizing the band and upsizing (by 1) the letter measurement results in a cup jump of 2 sizes. I mean, my boobs are marginally a size larger - but they are most definitely not 2 sizes larger. So upping the band without going down in the cup is a crap shoot. 
  • Sidebar: I find it very odd to receive bras that don't fit cuz they're too large. As a person with a very projected shape, this isn't a regular occurrence. In my experience, brand-for-brand, projected breasts tend to fit a size larger than breast volume warrants, given the way projected tissue is distributed. It's much easier to design for a wider root and shallow shape, and it takes less fabric. The near-constant exceptions to this are Cleo and Empreinte, both of which design with a projected shape in mind. Masquerade, now defunct as it's been absorbed and devolved by Panache, is another brand that was known for its projected offerings in certain styles.  Update: Just tried on the Minnie again today and I do not know what I was thinking. This is as oversized as the Masquerade Persia was. Must be returned for smaller size, no two ways about it.
  • The Daisy thong is great - and I got it for a very good price. Too bad I can't really get with the matching bottom in an inverse colourway. I'm working on it.
  • The Nadine thong - repurchased in an XL as the M was really snug (right from the get go), has only marginally improved the situation. That bottom is crazy small. I mean, I like thongs that fit loosely, so it is a bit of personal preference, but the XL fits like a medium in my opinion. Still, it's better than a medium that fits like an XS. It's passable.
A bit more about the Cleo Minnie:
  • I'm impressed by how this brand grades its sizes. The larger size manages to be very firm, supportive, uplifting and totally boobs on a plate (what it's known for). 
  • The cups in the Minnie fit quite deeply. I'd put them on par with the Ellis. It's the same cut.
  • There's still too much underband for my liking. I think this signals the death-knell of Cleo for me. I'm a short-waisted person who doesn't want an inch of wire and fabric at the under bust. The Lori is a much better Cleo style from this vantage point, but it provides a totally different shape.
  • The fabric is on par with the Melissa, in terms of softness and quality. That's better than some of the other Cleos I've tried lately, but the fabrics are never going to scream luxury. This is a cheap and cheerful brand designed for ladies who are new in their bra careers.
  • The polka dot pattern is totally fun and youthful. I've recently seen the red and white polka dot version and I actually think it's cuter than the black and white - but it fits even more generously than the black. Black dye tends to shrink fabric very slightly. Why bra companies don't grade with that in mind is beyond me, but whatevs.
  • The thong is sized generously. You might want to consider going down a size.
So, there you go. Still waiting on the fun bras - the Avocados which I am SO hopeful about (in a way that's likely to disappoint me, so I should just stop with that). On this topic, anyone here tried Avocado and, if yes, how's the fit? Do you own the Minnie? Thoughts about that one? Let's talk.


  1. Yanno, all this bra posting is making me think...you might be the single most qualified person out there to put together a post that analyses a little the shape-appropriateness of the various sewing patterns for bras. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    I've noticed, for example, that Merckwaerdigh seems to work best for people with center fullness, that Pin-Up Girls seems to be on the narrower and more projected end, and that Marlborough seems to work for shallower-than-average...But you are so darn knowledgeable about this stuff I'm sure you'd have greater insight to share, and people would probably find it super-valuable in matching themselves to a better starting-point pattern. (For instance, I started with Pin-Up Girls. Needless to say, it was a fitting disaster on my super-wide, shallow self.)

    Anyway, food for thought! :)

  2. Wow - what a wonderful compliment, Scooter. Thank you. Over the years I've talked about a variety of bra patterns which I've tried, including Pin Up Girls - which was hideous. It's just a massive project to catalogue all of that info in an organized fashion. But your suggestion is terrific. Maybe if I develop some extra energy (and time) this summer :-)

  3. And when I say talked about, I mean posted about, so if you go through the archives, there's lots to read - it's just not organized in the excellent way you've suggested.

  4. Hello - Just a note on Behalf of Belle Lingerie. Belle Lingerie do not control the checkout facility on Ebay and unfortunately Ebay do not allow multiple postage discounts if the items are already discounted in price however if you do purchase items together and email us directly we can make sure that your postage costs are combined. If you do not use Ebay we do also have a website www.belle-lingerie.co.uk and postage is just 1 low fee no matter how many items are purchased :)