Last month, my mom and an old friend of hers dropped by my apartment for a visit and eventually, we began talking about lingerie. Specifically, lingerie that has emotional value and while it might not fit or be in the best condition, it's one of those things you hold onto because it's woven into the story of your life. My sister and I have long fought over this "vintage" Victoria Secret's robe and chemise set which belonged to my mom, who'd never really worn it. She had received it from the aforementioned friend, who was re-gifting it from her sister. The set isn't high quality and has little practical value, but it's important to me because it was of the first times I'd experienced lingerie that wasn't strictly utilitarian or bought in bulk from the Gap. It symbolized the type of mature femininity I idolized and to my preteen eyes, it was incredibly fancy.
When I previewed the Harlow and Fox collection, I immediately thought of my lingerie collectibles back home and how wonderful it would be to cherish those pieces and hand them down to my own daughter. I suppose it sounds strange to pass down underwear, but Leanna Williams' designs are as luxurious, evocative, and sentimental as any Victorian engagement ring or family china. Her line calls forth another era of lingerie -- silk! tap pants! dressing gowns! -- which I'm delighted to be transported back to.
Like most of the pieces in the Harlow and Fox collection, the Eleanor floats above today's fleeting trends. This set's rich, buttery light almond color is impossible to find in today's full bust market and the eye lash Leaver's lace works wonderfully to break up or compliment the bra's 95% silk construction. I think Ms. Williams has pulled off quite a trick in the Eleanor's design -- it's essentially a basic, but manages to stand apart with it's own sophisticated sense of glamour. More experienced designers, with heavy corporate backing, have trouble pulling off this juggle between simplicity and elegance, but Ms. Williams has succeeded with the Eleanor in her first collection.
I'm currently between sizes so I've been wearing both 28" and 30" bands comfortably. The Eleanor's 30" band seemed true to size, it's neither super tight (like a Miss Mandalay) nor loose (like a Freya). The sizing reminded me strongly of my Panache 30" bands, the Andorra and Jasmine, and it was firm upon first wear. The cups were also in line with the basic industry standard and the FF was spot on, as it is with all my Ewa Michalak SM, Panache and Fantasie styles. The briefs fit comfortably so while I've been teetering on the edge between small and medium, the small worked fine here. [And the little keyhole detail above the bum?! I died.]
For those of you who like a very specific shape or silhouette, consider yourselves warned -- the full cups from Harlow and Fox won't give you the up-to-your-neck lift of a Cleo bra nor will they provide the cleavage of Ewa Michalak's PLs. The Eleanor gave me a gentle lift and natural shape, without containing, minimizing, or otherwise reconfiguring my bust. I realize this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I find it to be one of the more comfortable fits out there. In fact, while I was testing it out, I had that rare sensation that I wasn't wearing a bra at all. Usually during my testing period, I'm aware of little quirks like wire placement or strap comfort, but with the Eleanor I'd completely forgotten I was wearing it!
While it's certainly not the stereotypical red, green, or black, the Eleanor works as a seasonal gift for the holidays too. It's simmering muted gold is reminiscent of the angel ornaments, sparkly decorations and star-shaped tree toppers that pop up this time of year. I wrote this review listening to Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas spirituals and "Angels We Have Heard On High" seemed especially appropriate.
And speaking of Christmas, Harlow and Fox's deadline for international orders, with guaranteed arrival during the holidays, will be Thursday, November 12th.