We’re going back to the past for the final time . . . for now! Confused? Don’t be! Today marks the end of my “shot before/during/immediately after illness” period which saw posts wither away in my filing system for months. From now on, however, the blog is moving forward with recent reviews, fresh content, and more helpful advice, and I find it appropriate that my final backlogged post would be a Curvy Kate bra. My relationship with the brand, much like my health the last year, has always been a roller coaster, and for every bra I like, another comes along to make me question why I haven’t given up entirely. Would the Carmen revive my love in the brand, or would it be the bra which made me walk away?
Sizing & Fit: When I ordered the Carmen, I consistently wore a UK 30HH although at the time of the pictures/video, my issues with 30 bands were developing. Based on the initial fit, I found the Carmen to be true-to-size for Curvy Kate, and the 30 band was firm but comfortable on the loosest set of hooks. Furthermore, the cup had no gaping or overflow issues like I experienced with the Ritzy, and I loved the overall shape provided by Carmen. The underwires were narrower than most CK bras, and the cups boasted more projection toward the front without compromising lift. All of my complaints with previous Curvy Kate bras center on the conflict between my close set breasts and the frequent use of wide and shallow designs by the brand. As a result, I often struggled with fit issues including breasts splayed toward the sides, overflow at the center from the shallowness, a cup which pulled into my arm, and extra space on the side and bottom. Carmen has almost none of these issues. In fact, the shape and lift reminds me more of my beloved Tease Me bra than I expected, and I was floored by how much the design worked for my breasts. Not only was the bra exceptionally comfortable, but I found the lift and profile to be rounded and flattering.
Until Carmen, most longlines in the fuller-bust market either had no boning which caused the band to roll up or used so much boning on the front and side that sitting was painful. Curvy Kate managed to find a happy middle ground by using long side stays to keep the band in place but a softer front fabric which feels comfortable while moving or seated. Don’t misunderstand: Carmen is not a bra which allows for slouching, but the design still feels wearable and comfortable. The extremely wide back and side provide incredible support and disperse the weight across such a large surface area that I do not feel tension anywhere. I think Carmen would have a natural transition to a successful longline strapless piece if the brand was so inclined (*hint hint*).
Despite my love for the bra, I experienced a bit of sour with the sweet. Oftentimes, when I gush over a bra, I had a chance to wear it several times before writing the review, but Carmen still has the tags attached. If you read my Dare review, you’ll know I did not keep the bra because of sizing issues I had related to weight gain, but Carmen . . . Oh, Carmen I refused to give up. Not to long after it arrived, the weight piled on, making the fit less comfortable, but even when I became so sensitive to tight bands I had to wear stretched out bras with full extenders, I still did not want to part with it. As a result, Carmen patiently sits, awaiting my return, and even though I can now fit into the bra again, I still have a few more pounds to lose for a comfortable fit. Consequently, I can’t comment on its long-term wearability, but I have high hopes. During my initial trial, I only experienced mild rolling when I sat (okay, slouched) into my chair, and it was more like the fabric turned under than a full-on issue.
Materials & Design: I am not going to lie. I originally wanted the hot pink version which released in early 2014 with its gorgeous lime green accents, but I had a vision of my gorgeous hot pink bra falling victim to the dreaded color bleed in the arm area, which is why I ordered the black version from fall. I love it! As I mentioned, the extra wide wings have side stays, and there are multiple high quality hook-and-eye closures in the back. Fully adjustable straps allow for a customized fit, and lightly padded cups provide lift and shaping without extra bulk. The black tulle fabric on the cup is delicate but interesting, and I love how they overlapped the folds to create texture. Furthermore, the dark black base complements the pink and purple floral embroidery perfectly. Flowers and lingerie go together like peas and carrots to the point that many people, myself included, often wonder why nobody thinks to put out some fried okra or twice-baked potatoes. Food metaphors aside, so many different patterns and prints work well in conjunction with lingerie beyond the floral variety, but I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I love the way CK included them here. They have an abstract, iridescent quality like light moving in the dark, which adds an ethereal quality to make the blooms appropriate, interesting, and unique.
The Shorts: Curvy Kate’s underwear and I always get along splendidly. The fit and shape are perfect, so I always buy the matching bottoms. I prefer the size Large/14 in most UK brands because I can’t stand for the edges to dig into the hips. The Carmen shorts were true-to-size and feel lovely. The aforementioned floral embroidery adorns the front of the panty while the back is tastefully translucent with a well-placed keyhole cut-out.
Overall Grade: A
For more information, please feel free to check out the video below: