Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Bra Adventures: Cleo Meg and Cleo Melissa (and some links to demystify breast shape)

I've got a bunch of exciting things to talk about but I've opted to start with a bit more on bras.

For starters, a number of you have expressed intrigue, or confusion, over certain terms breast shape terms I've used lately i.e., wide or narrow root, shallow or deep bust and I'm sure the list goes on. There are some very comprehensive posts out there that clarify these somewhat complex concepts so please do read these (a brief smattering of the great info that's out there):
Having said this, the whole breast shape thing is pretty complicated! I mean, it's hard enough to find a shirt that fits - and it doesn't need to fit particularly perfectly or to provide you with optimal structural support. Don't be too fussed if these concepts and terms seem alien for a while. The more you think on them - the more you aim to apply them to your own shape - the sooner you'll begin to understand. One day, you'll look at someone on the streetcar and think: Wow, that woman has very deep bust and that bra she's wearing would be much better suited to someone with a wider, flatter breast profile. And the band's too big! (Of course, you'll think it very scientifically and with compassion.)

OK, moving along, I do have a fun Bra Adventure to share - or is it 2 bra adventures?!

Cleo is a brand I didn't have much use for when first I tried it a couple of years ago. I bought the Frances, which was lovely, but which fit quite small and not very supportively. I really had written off the brand till I started reading all the bra bloggers and many of them have great things to say about it.

Then, when I started using Bratabase recently (having determined my own breast depth and shape) I was able to review the stats on the Cleo bras I like (along with the reviews) to predict if they will work.

A couple of weeks ago I tried the Melissa at a bra boutique in TO. It was in my "regular" size and it was too small, but I did like the shape - and I loved the pattern. Alas, the shop didn't have a size up in stock.

I LOVE the design:

Image from A Sophisticated Pair
It's so whimsical. So playful! Look at the cloud motif in the lace!

You may notice that the cups on this bra are quite substantial for a balconette. See how high they run? You may also be able to tell (though pictures don't show the full story) that this is a fairly deep cup. Observe how the profile of the breast from the gore to the nipple is longer than that from the nipple to outer breast. And, if that means nothing, take my word for it: The cup is far deeper than it was on the Frances I tried years ago. Mind you, it's still small in the cup - hence my need to size up.

I'll also say that this bra is quite supportive with firm fabric, snug band (you might want to go up a band size) and good coverage (but it's in no way frumpy, I should add).

You know, there's an argument to be made that I'm too old for this design but I'm not hearing it, thank you very much :-)

Then there's another Cleo offering I'm really into, the Meg:

Photo from Bras I Hate
Note the similar construction to the Melissa. It's a high balconette with a rounded upper cup - good for a full on top bust (but with no stretch on the top cup - so the fit has got to be right or there will be some pillowing!) I think it's even more apparent, with this bra, that the cup is deep. It too has a band that runs tight so consider sizing up.

The pattern is whimsical, but elegant - a bird motif in navy with white and grey, accented in red ribbon.

The shape it provides - like the Melissa - is what I call "boobs on a plate" (albeit, boobs on a plate that are well supported). More on this concept when one of my next orders arrives, but the gist is that the shape is front and centre - and high.

Originally I purchased this at a great price, on sale, from LCL and it just arrived a couple of days ago. Honestly, I can't believe it's still available on the site, given the discount and the quality of the bra. Alas, I ordered it in my regular size - which Bratabase led me to believe would yield good fit - and it's just the teensiest bit too snug. I debated whether to just keep and wear it but I'm on a mission. If the fit's not perfect, I'm moving on. Empreinte has ruined me in this way!

So, I went onto eBay and found a vendor selling both of these (with the matching undies) and I purchased each in the size up that was no longer available (in the case of the Meg, on LCL, and in the case of the Melissa, at the Toronto boutique).

I'd already bought the Meg undies via LCL at this point (when I bought the bra) - they're darling. But to give you a reference point - 2 bras and a pair of matching undies cost me @50 bucks (including shipping) from the UK. That's freakin' awesome given that I a) know the quality of what I'm getting and b) have a pretty good sense that the fit will work - having tried on both bras in another size. By contrast, the Melissa bra alone, which  I tried on in store, would have cost @90 bucks once the tax was added in.

I've even decided to keep the Meg I bought (the one that doesn't fit perfectly), with all of its original tags, to sell at a later date if I so choose (or to wear if my shape warrants it).

At any rate, that's my thesis du jour.

So, today's questions are: Have you tried the Cleo Meg or Cleo Melissa and, if yes, what do you think? Do you like this brand? These styles? Are the bra-shape links useful to you? Let's talk!


  1. It is amazing how much reading can be done, not to mention a life looking down on my own, and still feel like there is a lot more to learn about breasts.
    Those are pretty bras, I see what you mean about the depth. I'm a bit surprised the model wasn't given a lolly pop to suck on...

  2. Sorry, the model for Meg. Perhaps I should hold off on commenting after my second glass of wine...

    1. Ha! I find comments on the third glass of wine are the most fun :-) (And I see what you mean but I still like it!)

    2. Oh I like the bra, the styling is what kind of puts me off. But I suppose they are playing up the sweet aspect of it.

      Highly recommend a visit to Sue Ann Staff if you're in the Beamsville area. We were enjoying the merlot tonight but their Robert Block reisling is quite good too (and Sue herself is quite nice, she was pouring the day we were there).

  3. I've bought 5 bras in the last week, and its all your fault.

  4. You're welcome. I mean, I'm sorry. :-) Which ones did you buy??

  5. great links! I think I'm definitely in the "shallow breast" camp. And the +2 camp, given that the bra store lady measured me at a 28" underbust (tight) and I wouldn't want to wear tighter than a 30. But there is very little extra flesh around my ribcage... I think that squish factor is probably a BIG part of what feels comfortable or not.

    I'm really loving one of the super-fancy bras I bought, but the other, it turns out, digs in at the CF really badly. Which I didn't notice when I tried it on... I'm wondering if the band alteration they did could have affected that? It seems weird. And makes me sad, although it's still a gorgeous bra and fits well otherwise.

    Anyway, I continue to thoroughly enjoy your bra-perfecting adventures. :)

    1. Often, "smaller breasted", slender, tall women do. It's possible that band alteration has affected the "integrity" of the fit. I haven't altered a bra band so I can't say for sure but I suspect, if they cut through the band, that it's a likely outcome. I've heard that you can prevent a band from stretching by sewing in a line of straight stitches along the band (perpendicular to the stretch).

  6. I love reading this stuff, I'm still trying to work out my breast shape/features. I think I might have more success with online shopping if I pay more attention to these things.

    I know mine are full on the bottom and have a wide root. I've never thought of them as shallow, but a few things in that post about shallow boobs make me think otherwise (the part about bras with vertical seams and open tops actually fitting better, and trouble with digging in on top... that's the experience I've had that's always made me question the shallow boobs thing. It's a major part of why I can't do full-coverage bras... the top NEVER fits me right.) Interesting...

    1. That would be interesting if they are shallow. Apparently, just to make things complicated, you can have full-on-top and shallow breasts. Fun times! (Don't worry, I have my own share of fitting challenges. :-))

  7. I have the Cleo Lucy bra and like it very much. It was one of the first I ordered from Butterfly Collection with my new size (after getting a lot of help and education from Claire about what size I really should be buying). It's surprisingly supportive considering the delicate material. I quite like it. Might consider buying other Cleo bras based on your info. Though, I'm still trying to wrap my head around what my breast shape is. I might have to reread your post and do some further research. Hope

    1. Hope: Keep reading and thinking and let us know what you decide. I have always wanted that Lucy bra in yellow, but I didn't pounce on it while the set, in my size, was still available.

  8. OMG--the links were so useful (although the term "root" creeps me out; reminds me of root canals or weeding, and my breasts are staying put, thankyouverymuch).

    1. Glad to hear that the links are useful. Just forget the term root and all will be well... :-)