While it might not seem like it to the women who live there, Britain has a vast selection of full bust lingerie and several more budget or in-house labels to choose from. Enviably, some DD+ women can pick between Bravissimo's label, the Victoria Secret-inspired Boux Avenue, Marks and Spencer's options and the Gorgeous line from Debenhams, in addition to all the big brands we know in North America! However, Debenhams now offers an international delivery option for their private label lingerie and shipping to the United States costs a mere £10 (or $16.05), which is only a fraction higher than Bravissimo, who charges £7.95 ($12.76). This fee -- combined with their continuously running sales and promo codes -- adds Debenhams to the list of modestly priced options for American women. To get an idea of what the Gorgeous line offers, Debenhams generously sent me a review sample and I ended up being quite surprised...
I approach budget brands with trepidation, not because I don't think they'll work but because I want them to work so badly. The best moderately priced bras have the greatest combination of fit, design, construction and materials for the price point and oftentimes, that special phenomenon is impossible to find. I didn't want to raise my expectations so when the package from Debenhams arrived on my doorstep, I held my breath until I tried the set on. The chances of it working out seemed so, so slim! I shouldn't have worried, Debenhams' Gorgeous "White spotted non padded D-G balcony" bra is a solid option for less than $50 (including shipping).
There were eleven options from Gorgeous in my size and online, I wasn't intensely tempted by any of them, but I chose the White Spotted because it seemed less fussy and as someone in the "middle market", I've been searching for basics with a little less going on. In person, the design was a delight and I enjoyed how unusual the white, grey, and bright pink looked. The stark aesthetic of the bra is reinforced by the embroidery's geometric patterns, which in turn wonderfully compliments the ditsy polka dots. The white isn't terribly flattering, but I vastly prefer it to the ubiquitous beige options.
I think the briefs would look great on a bunch of different body types too. I look for bottoms that feature side or bum ruching because I've found they're more flattering and these didn't disappoint. While it's not something I've considered in the past, I like this midrise cut too. I wore this set frequently when I was vacationing in South Carolina last month and even though the humidity wasn't at it's worst, my native New England body was in shock so the White Spotted's mesh fabric was a lifesaver.
The White Spotted's band was firm, I'd say it falls between the tightness of Miss Mandalay/Tutti Rouge and the comfortable Freya 28"/Panache 30" bands. The bra's cups and matching briefs were both true to size and I'm wearing my usual 28G and UK 10 above. I haven't worn a Cleo bra regularly in ages, but the White Spotted's fit was eerily close to the uplift and rounding that they're famous for. If I didn't know it came from another brand, I would've sworn it was a Cleo bra. I think it's safe to say, if you're a Cleo devotee, you'll really like what the White Spotted offers.
I'm going to add this to my list of budget bra recommendations, alongside the Parfait Charlotte and Figleaves' Midnight Grace Paige. FYI: the White Spotted set is 20% off right now, making the bra £18 ($28.90) and the briefs £6.50 ($10.44), Debenhams accepts Paypal and when I clicked into the international site, I believe I saw an introductory 10% off coupon pop up.