Product Review: The Cleo Millie

Hello Everyone,

Originally, I tested the Cleo Millie shortly before I left for the Curves Expo in New York, which was only four months ago.  *casts a sheepish look at the rest of the Internet*  Between managing the store, catching up from Curves, and a few personal health hiccups, I accrued a lengthy backlog of items to review, but I am determined to post information on everything.  Interestingly, when I first recorded the video review for the Millie, I had not heard from Comexim or Anna Pardal about their desire to export to the US; as a result, I will pretend Cleo is still my favorite brand and judge accordingly.

Cleo Millie, Sizes 28-38D-K
Cleo Millie, Sizes 28-38D-K

Size & Fit:  I ordered my standard 30H in the Millie, and the fit was not as perfect as with the other Cleo bras I owned.  The band felt firm but comfortable on the loosest set of hooks; however, I struggled with the cup size.  One side fit fairly well, but the other had slight overflow without a full scoop.  However, the more bothersome issue was a strange indention where the flimsy mesh fabric met the patterned lower cup and created lumps under my tops.  Upon further inspection, I think the issue results from the significantly lighter mesh contrasting sharply with the firmer fabric on the lower cup.  My breast tissue is what I’d call “average” in terms of firmness, and I think women with really firm tissue would not experience this problem.

Millie_2

Furthermore, the underwires are comparable to other Cleo unpadded styles like Marcie or Lily, meaning they are narrow in the center and on the sides.  Women with close-set breasts will certainly appreciate the narrowness and added depth to the cup.  Likewise, the silhouette is rounded, lifted, and forward—perhaps a little too forward.  Thus far, I have never worn a bra with such extreme forward projection, bordering on the old 1950s bullet bras, and I was not as enthusiastic about the profile.  I wavered on keeping Millie because I wondered if washing the stiffer lower cup would ease some of the projection, but given the issues with the top of the cup, I thought it was best to pass on the style. 

Millie_3

Finally, I have received several questions asking if the Millie is similar to this season’s Minnie, and the answer is a resounding “No!”  I plan on reviewing Minnie too, but suffice it to say, the Minnie reminds me more of the earlier Zia in terms of shape and fit.  However, Millie does look like predecessor to the upcoming Izzy bra for fall, and anyone interested in this style should watch the way the top cup fits.

Izzy

Materials & Design:  I originally ordered the Millie because of the bold, bright geometric pattern, but the product was not exactly as advertised.  The print contains more brown and less purple than anticipated, but overall, I am still a fan of the aesthetic.  Lately, I am drawn more to geometric, sport, and/or minimalistic designs, and Millie fits the bill perfectly.  The use of circular embroidery over the common and overdone floral was inspired, and the mix of colors was fun and unique.

Millie_4

As I mentioned above, the mesh top cup is extremely lightweight and sheer while the printed lower and side cup is quite firm and stiff.  I think the combination creates certain fit issues, but the contrast between opaque and sheer is stunning.  Fully-adjustable straps are always a bonus for me, but once again, Cleo utilizes only two hook-and-eye closures in the back.  Muscular Hourglass wrote an impassioned plea to them about this design decision, and I couldn’t agree with her more.  It’s so frustrating to wear a larger cup and only have a thin strip of material in the back for support.  Even if they only introduced three hooks in one or two styles per season, it would be a lovely alternative.

Millie_1

Overall Grade:  B

For more information, check out the video below:

Product Review: The Cleo Millie
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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8 thoughts on “Product Review: The Cleo Millie

  • June 8, 2014 at 8:19 am
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    This bubbling in the top of the cup is very common with Cleo, and I also have it in the Panache Floris, although to a smaller degree. I think it’s a result of the top fabric slipping under the foot of the sewing machine. It’s an issue of workmanship.

    I had the same problem in Cleo Alexa, though not in Olivia. So you might try on a different Millie and see if the problem is the same there. I also think you should contact Panache and let them know they sent you a defective bra, you might be able to get your money back.

    I share your sentiments about the narrow bands and that is why I have stopped buying Cleo bras. No matter how cute I might think they are, no matter how I love the shape, the narrow bands and straps are painful and so I don’t want to give them my money!

    Fortunately, I have found that Panache Jasmine, Clara, and Floris give me an almost identical shape and uplift to Cleo bras, and Andorra is very close.

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm
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      Hi Ms. Pris! Thanks for the tip on it being a potential sewing error. Now that I have discovered Comexim, I’m less likely to buy things from Cleo in the future anyway. Jasmine, Clara, and Floris are all great alternatives though, especially if you want the Cleo-esque rounded shape. Have you tried Colette yet? I have a review of that in the pipe, and while the sizing was strange, it was a move in a better direction for Panache.

      Reply
  • June 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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    As always, really good review. Have to say that the last Cleo I bought (the Ellis) has a similar thing going on – really stiff lower cup fabric (too stiff, really) and very loose lace. It doesn’t create the best fit. In my case, the lace is too large (though the rest of the cup fits), so there’s none of that quad boob thing between the upper and lower seams. Mind you, I have space between the lace and the breasts, which isn’t so flattering. I hope they revert to fabric more like that in the Melissa. That one fits spectacularly.

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm
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      K-Line, Ellis does have a similar fit to Millie, and for some women, it works okay. For others? Meh. I prefer the cuts like Marcie, Lily, or Minnie and hope they find a better way to balance the stiffer fabric on the bottom. Perhaps swap out the thin fabric for a stretch lace a la Jasmine/Envy? 😀

      Reply
  • June 9, 2014 at 7:09 am
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    Hi Erica,

    thank you for this interesting review. I agree with you, Millie’s style needs getting used to wear. There is a comparatively strong forward uplift and I the fabric in the overcup restrains to flatter.
    I think the behavior is the same as Megs or Melissa’s. I had adequate problems with Meg an Melissa, one cup is perfect, the other make wrinkles next smaller size makes quadra-boobs. But I love the shape and especially design of Cleo’s unpadded balcony’s.

    I meanwhile tried the Minnie in fly agaric design and I agree,with you that the style and the shape are strictly deviant to the Millie’s.

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm
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      Thanks for commenting, Braberliner! Like you, I had problems with Meg, but I loved Marcie, Zia, and Lily. People kept asking me if Millie was going to be like the old Zia bra or the new Minnie, but I found Millie to be very different. I never tried Melissa, so I can’t compare there. However, I do think it shares some similarities to Ellis, and the fabric top cup feels identical to the upcoming Izzy. If you do end up liking Millie, you may want to try that later this year too. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 13, 2014 at 9:09 am
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    Hi Erica! Thanks as usual for this very interesting review. The Millie did not go too well in my store last Autumn, because of this very forward look. Are you sure the Izzy is based on the same shape? Cause I have ordered it for AW14 – I fell in love with the pattern and I thought the shape would be similar to the Minnie (which was a bestseller SS14 here!) I’ll ask the Panache staff at the Salon in July, but if you already know, it would help me change my order 🙂

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 13, 2014 at 10:53 am
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      Glad you liked the review! I am not 100% sure that the Millie and Izzy share a similar design, but the upper fabric felt flimsy to the touch at Curves. Also, if you look at this shot of the bra on a model, you can see where the fabric is creasing:

      http://sophisticatedpair.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Izzy.jpg

      Look at the sheerness of it too. Don’t the little flowers and scalloped edge seem very reminiscent of the circles/scallops of Millie? It seems like ti to me, but if you get a definitive answer, I’d love to hear it! 🙂

      Reply

What are your thoughts?