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Full Bust Review: Freya Shapes (Ellie, Martha, & Ada)

I purchased a few sets recently and discovered, completely accidentally, that I'd bought the three non-padded bras that Freya currently releases in my size: the Balcony, the Plunge Balcony, and the Plunge. Trying them on all at once, I was struck by how different the base structures looked on me. I'm reviewing them all simultaneously so everyone can see what I'm blabbering on about, instead of having to pull up a separate review for each one.

The Balcony: The Ellie

Freya often splits lines by cup, releasing two bras in the same design for different size profiles. In smaller cups, they'll offer a plunge balcony and for the GG+ crew, they'll make a balcony (Examples: the Faye, Jolie & Lacey). These bras have a wider band and straps, a higher center gore, "sturdier" fabric and more coverage than the typical Freya "look". Flipping through promotional images, it was hard for me to find an accurate representation of this bra's fit, as most of their models seem to be Gs and below. But here's how it looked on me:



The good: I adore this print! I've been looking forward to it for months, but when I saw it in person, it was even lovelier than I imagined. The ivory background is such a timeless color, the detailed, artistic florals appear layered on, and the contrasting trims are freshly current. This type of design is exactly why I'm so taken with Freya! Unfortunately, these patterns don't translate well online. I've seen several digital photos that don't do any favors for the gorgeous Ellie; it's something you have to 'see to believe'. In terms of the silhouette, the balcony looks...boob-like? I've read that some ladies think Freya's bras are pointy, but I prefer the balcony's shape. I like the Ellie's natural/teardrop look. This is essentially the shape of my boobs, abet with some very helpful wires:































The not-so-good: As I've mentioned here before, Freya's balconies are marginally too full for me. Along one side of the bra, I get a slight ripple (or tiny gaping?) running through the apex of the bra. Since it's only on my smaller side and hardly noticeable, I just tinker with the strap and ignore it. However, this is another style where I may be inbetween sizes (G cup being smallish and the GG giving a slight gape). Happily, the Ellie does have a firmer-than-usual band. Now that I think of it, I remember that all these new bands were firmer than my previous Freyas. Hmmmm, the times they are a' changin'...
The Plunge Balcony: The Martha

The plunge balcony seems to be the most widely available style from Freya. Just as the name suggests, this bra is a middle ground between the balcony and plunge coverage. Although I like bras with more or less coverage, most of my everyday bras belong to this group or a similar cut.



The good: Right, I'm not crazy about butterflies. They're okay, but they're not my #1 winged creature (I'd take a hummingbird over a butterfly, any day). However, the print of these butterflies strongly reminds me of Victorian insect collecting, rather than little-girl-butterflies.  A little more morbid, a little less cute. Like the Ellie, Martha's print appears layered, almost like an old photograph. I think the contrast between the bright turquoise trim and the more subtle pattern is very chic and summer-y too. The first time I wore this bra, I went shopping and tried on several sheer shirts. I really liked how you could see the trim and straps through the fabric! The fit in the cups and band was exactly true-to-size.



The not-so-good: If you're someone concerned with the shape a bra provides, the plunge balcony would not be the first bra I'd suggest for you. The bottom of the cup gives a lovely round appearance, but the top panel flattens more significantly. To me, this looks a little like a ski jump. I wouldn't call it pointy, but it's not nearly as round and compact as other bras (the Plunge below, the Panache Andorra).
The Plunge: The Ada

Looking through the recent Freya catalogs, the plunge is an endangered species. This season, the Ada was the only plunge released and it's a shame since, in my experience, it's the best bra Freya offers. For Spring/Summer 2013, there will be a second fashion colorway of the Beau. I wonder, why Freya doesn't make the Beau a basic? I'd gladly buy that bow print in ivory or black.  Despite my aversion to the Ada's fabric, I bought this bra because I was gauranteed a terrific fit. I wasn't disappointed:



The good: I could gush all day about the fit! The minute I put this bra on, it was like a key clicking into a lock. This bra and it's sister shapes are in my personal Bra Hall of Fame for their blend of comfort, flirtatious design, and stellar fit. Like any good lingerie nerd, I've thought deeply about why the fit works so well and I've come up with a few factors. First of all, the bra has a smaller center gore that works nicely with the fullness I have between my breasts. Secondly, the top sheer panel is very accommodating or flexible. It doesn't cut in or restrict as much as the other soft bras I've tried. Finally, I think the cup's depth suits me perfectly. With the GG+ balconies, they're fractionally too deep whereas the same line's 28G plunge balcony creates a margin of spillover.



The not-so-good: I may get massacred in the comments for this, but (eek!) I'm not a fan of the tattoo print. Like the two other patterns, the tattoos are completed in an artistic, detailed way that looks marvelous in person. It actually makes all these bras look quite expensive! Unfortunately, I had an early 2000s "faux punk" phase which soured me on the rocker girl colors of the Ada. I wore Doc Martens, decorated my bedroom with feminist quotes, and regularly listened to the Sum 41 hit, "Fat Lip". I haven't been able to get into hot pink/black combinations since then.

Okay, hopefully this triple review was helpful! Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more group/comparative posts or if you prefer one style reviewed at a time.

19 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this review! I couldn't make heads or tails of the different bras myself, and this is really helpful. I think I will try the Beau. Honestly, I've been going more and more for the Cleo Lucys because they give me such rounded shape, and with Freya, I just don't know anymore. Plus, their design is so over the place... cooky, very specific prints like on the Ada (I don't like it either!). Freya will always be my first bra love, but the company often dissapoints me!

    Anywho, Have you tried any of the Miss Mandalay stuff?

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  2. Haha! Fat Lip is awesome. I like that Freya has narrower underwires, but I hate how high they come up. Also, I dislike when the top section is sheer because it shows my bits. The bigger the cup, the bigger the section.

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  3. I actually have the issue with many Freya bras where they pucker at the apex like you mentioned with the Ellie. However, sizing down causes them to cut in at the top of the cup! Any advice?

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  4. I actually agree with you about the tattoo print on Ada... but in my case it's because I've become somewhat of a tattoo snob (oh well). I'm really picky about tattoo art. But god, if Freya (or someone, ANYONE) would make a semi-sheer bra with a beautiful semi-realistic cherry blossom tattoo design I think I would flip all my shit.

    I also really wished that Martha worked for me, but I'm glad that you had success with it! I'm already pretty full on bottom, and Martha really emphasized the flatness of the upper part of my chest. Too low and pointy for me unfortunately. It's very beautiful though.

    Thanks for the reviews!

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  5. Fabulous reviews! Freya tends to have a few core styles (deco, padded half-cup, plunge, etc.) that they reuse for their new collections. This can work well for fans of the brand because you will know exactly how a new style will fit and whether it is right for you. My Ellie is my favorite Freya bra to date not only because of the stunning print but also because of the more v-shaped neckline. The Freya Faye (in larger cup sizes) is more straight across and reminds me of a traditional balcony, which I like, but the more open neckline of the Ellie is a little better. Of course, the Ellie utilizes 3 fabric sections whereas the Faye has two fabric sections and then a lace panel at the top. This could affect why they fit differently too.

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  6. Amber, it's crazy that you ask me that! I've been wanting to try Miss Mandalay for a while, but when I saw Windie Gardie's review of the Paige, I knew it was time to order! I got my Paige YESTERDAY! It looks great -- I'll put the review up soon.

    I'm glad you liked the triple review & the Beau is awesome. Definitely worth a try and I agree, Freya's wonderful, but they can definitely miss the mark sometimes. I haven't tried the Cleo Lucy yet - thanks for the tip!

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  7. Haha, I just watched the Fat Lip video again and it cracked me up. I've read other reviews (I think on the Sophisticated Pear blog?) that mention the top panel issue. It's a bummer, I can't imagine how difficult it must be for HH+ ladies to find a good fit.

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  8. Hey Faustineli! My advice...hmmm, well, I think that the plunge is the style that, for me, the "apex issue" never happens with. So, if you fall into that size range and haven't tried that style already, that would be the one I advise you experiment with next. If that doesn't work, maybe the depth of ALL Freyas aren't ideal for you. If that's the case, I'd look next at brands that have significantly deeper cups (some Fantasie styles) or more shallow cups (Curvy Kate). I hope this helps!

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  9. Yeah, tattoo prints are tough. I think this also may be a cultural thing. In North America, tattoo prints call up Ed Hardy t-shirts which I don't want to be reminded of in my lingerie drawer. I agree, I like cherry blossoms too. In February, Freya IS releasing a very Asian-inspired lavender bird pattern which definitely appeals to me. Thanks for commenting, Windie! I LOVE your blog!!

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  10. Hey Erica! Yes, I'm such a die hard Freya fan, I think I've tried them all. With the padded half cups, Freya hasn't made my size. I've tried the longlines though, which I believe are a similar cup shape in my sister size (30G). I've also tried the Deco too, but haven't been able to afford to try the newly released 28GG.

    You're completely right about buying successful styles too. I bought the Ada because I had such a wonderful experience with the Beau and I'll probably end up investing in more of their plunges in the future.

    With both the Faye, Elize and the Ellie, I bought the GG+ balcony shape in a 28GG and they actually fit pretty similarly. I'm not sure if that was clear from my reviews. They're all marginally too deep and create a pucker on my smaller side. My theory is that, with the lines that are split -- the plunge balcony/GG+ balcony -- I could go for either, depending on whether I'd like the bigger or smaller fit. The 28GG balcony is a bit too big while the 28G plunge balcony cuts in slightly.

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  11. Sadly, they don't make my size in the padded half cup either (30H/HH) which makes me sad. However, I do love the Faye and Ellie. The Ellie fits me differently and looks similar to the way if fits you, but the Faye is much different on me. It seems to have more coverage and a higher center gore with less of a v toward the center. That could just be for my cup size though. I really wanted to get the Ada for myself since I love the tattoo print, but I wear so many dark clothes that I find it impossible to keep bras with a white background from getting a color transfer. Did you see they are making a longline Deco? That will be exciting!

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  12. I know, it's a bummer! Freya seems to be quite excited about their half cups and my plunges come out in one colorway per season. Poo. It's also quite strange how different a large cup size versus "smaller" cup size can look. I think that's true of Curvy Kate as well.

    I did see the Deco longline! I'm really psyched for the entire Deco Shape group as it seems super feminine and sophisticated.

    On a completely different note: I'd love to pick your brain about video reviews sometime. I've always loved watching yours and I'm considering doing one, but I'm terrified I'll end up looking like an idiot.

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  13. Cece, standing in front of the camera is nerve-wracking, but if you have any questions or need pointers, shoot me an email. I'm happy to help! I find them useful because you can get a better idea of how the bra looks than in a flat image.

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  14. Ahem... I just read the words "deco" and "longline" together. I think I may have a heart palpitation. Any chance said bra will be coming out in a 28?!

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  15. Windie, I don't have my line sheets yet (Why is taking so long, Eveden???), but when I have answer to that, I'll let you know. I saw a preview shot, and it looks so cute!

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  16. Hey Windie, I'm looking at the catalog as I write this. The deco shape comes out in April, 28-38 D-G. :)

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  17. Whee! So glad to have confirmation on that! Hourglassy's blog actually mentioned recently that all their longlines will be available in 28's, but it's great to hear it from someone with a catalog in front of them :P

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  18. I'm starting to think Eveden has forgotten about me since I still haven't gotten my catalogs yet! *sobs*

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  19. [...] up, I enjoyed Miss Underpinning’s comparison of the different Freya cut-and-sew styles especially since you could really see the different silhouette and shape each bra [...]

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