File this review under my “Better Late than Never” category as it was recorded pre-Fall illness; however, since the Minnie is now an ongoing style for Cleo, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the bra remain relevant and possibly helpful for anyone interested in exploring what Cleo has to offer. For me, I was drawn to Minnie because it reminded me of an earlier Cleo polka-dot bra called Zia—a personal favorite, and I hoped Minnie would live up to my expectations.
Sizing & Fit: When I ordered Minnie, my body was in the throws of both breast and weight fluctuations, and my usual UK 30H did not fit. The band was comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks, but I had overflow at the top of the cup as well as the dreaded “quadboob.” At the time, I could not determine if the fit issue originated with my body changes, inconsistent sizing, or shape incompatibility. Having had time to reflect on everything, I think the issue was the shape of the cup and my changing size/tissue. In addition to increasing in size, my breast tissue became fuller toward the top, and Minnie works better for balanced or lower-fullness breasts on account of how the cup darts inward. In contrast to another Cleo best-seller, the Marcie, Minnie has a closed in shape toward the top, meaning some people may need to size up to ensure a proper fit. Sadly, others with very full-on-top breasts may not be able to wear the style at all. I would have loved to test a 30HH for comparison, but with my size changing, I didn’t want to order bras that may not fit for long.
As with other Cleo unpadded bras, Minnie utilizes narrower underwires and deeper cups with a moderate center gore. On the side, the underwires do not extend too far back, but they are not as narrow or low as my Comexim/Anna Pardal styles. Minnie provides a flattering, uplifted, and rounded profile, and the cups feel secure. Furthermore, Cleo continues to use 2 hook-and-eye closures in the back although I personally prefer at least three and continue to urge Cleo to offer this option in one of their future styles. Finally, the straps on Minnie, as with other Cleo bras, are wider set, and customers with narrow or sloping shoulders have reported issues with strap slippage and fit. I would love to see Cleo move the straps inward by 2-3cm on one of their models to fix this issue.
Materials & Design: The lower cup is made from a heavier, firmer fabric with less flexibility that provides incredible lift and hold while the top cup is an embroidered mesh. Stiff embroidery on the mesh contributes to tailoring the top inward, and the sweetheart neckline is flattering under most tops. Earlier, I mentioned how Minnie reminded me of Zia, and after trying it out, I think Minnie is a pretty worthy inheritor to the once popular style. The variation used for the review is the original fresh red/white combination for Spring 2014, and I loved it! The true red background with modernized white polka dots felt seasonally appropriate for spring and summer, and the contrasting yellow and white polka dot pattern on the bow was a cute touch. For Fall, the black and white version was a popular alternative to plain black, and for spring 2015, they are releasing a light, Carolina blue colorway. Then, later this year, there will be a dark Navy version with yellow contrasting straps which I am excited to bring into the shop. Throughout all of the various colors, I think Minnie has achieved a balance between Cleo’s traditionally brighter and quirkier aesthetic and designs accessible to people of all ages.
Overall Grade: A
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