Mass review of 28DD bras: Freya, Ultimo, Miss Mandalay, Bravissimo, Gorgeous, Debenhams and more

bra shopping in the UK

   I had just one day in Manchester, so I tried to squeeze some bra shopping in there. Well, more trying on than shopping -- so that I would know what to order online later. I am sharing my notes with you guys, because I know that there aren't many bra reviews out there in my size. Forgive me if these reviews are more like notes than proper reviews -- I really had very little time.

   I visited Bravissimo first, which was really lovely with nice fitters, unfortunately the store was really small with a tiny selection of bras. I bought a Panache sports here -- it was every bit as good as I 'd read (review coming soon). Next up was Debenhams -- I liked that there was a lot of stuff here, no Panache though. There was a gigantic rack with heavily discounted stuff -- if your browsed you could find good brands selling for a couple of pounds! I did take a peek into Bravissimo, but wasn't impressed -- most of the stuff was heavily padded, and the stuff that was not didn't appeal to me in terms of design.
   What surprised me a bit was that most of the bras looked uglier than I had imagined -- in fact there was much less stuff tempting me to buy it than I expected. Also, I really regret that there were no Masquerade or Fantasie (luxury sister-brands of Panache and Fantasie) for me to try on. It was annoying that the luxury stuff was represented by brands that came in a miserable size range.

   For reference: 

    I usually wear a 28DD, my breasts are fuller on the bottom than on the top, and I prefer wide underwires.

Freya bras:

   I never tried them before since I assumed that as I prefer the broad Panache underwires, Freyas wouldn't fit me. I was right -- bras that were otherwise well-fitting would give me armpit rolls. The only exception was the Deco, more below.
    I found the Freyas very inconsistent in bands: some were hopelessly loose, some very snug.

Freya Deco Strapless

Freya Deco Strapless

     The 28DD had too small cups. I tried a 30E and it fitted perfectly, which means that I'd have to take an F cup if I wanted a 28 band (there weren't any I could try). Anyway, I found the bra to be supportive and comfortable, but it just didn't give me the shape and the lift that the Ewa Michalak Strapless does. I'd say my boobs look visually 2 cups sizes bigger in the Ewa Michalak. The top of the cups of the Deco sit flush with my breasts, unlike the Ewa Michalak Strapless.

Freya Polyanna

Freya Polyanna:

   A very pretty and girly bra, much more delicate than most of the catalogue photos suggest. It fitted well in the front, but oh, the armpit bulges!

Freya Lauren bra

Freya Lauren 

This was simply horrible. The cups are just so weird! I've never seen cups that gape below the armpits before. Also, it was just ugly, very cheap-polyester looking. Who designed this crap?

Freya Rio bra

Freya Rio

    This looks really ugly in real life. No, I didn't try it on.

Bravissimo Sherbet stripe bra

Bravissimo bras

   I wasn't impressed. I tried the Sherbet stripe (above) and the Alana in denim. The fabric was cheap and very polyester-y, and the cups construction was awful -- the horizontal seams gave me duck-beaks. I tried on a couple and it was all the same. Some also gave me the Freya pucker. I guess that if you would go to a bigger Bravissimo and go through all the models you might come up with a couple that are good.

Gorgeous bras at Debenhams

Gorgeous bras

     This was another inexpensive brand at Debenhams. I tried several of them on and was not impressed, I found them pretty similar to the Bravissimo stuff.

Freya Retro bra

Freya Retro bra and Gossard Superboost bra
Above: Freya Retro in 28DD; below: Gossard Superboost in 30D

Freya Retro

Eeerily similar to my Gossard Superboost. Actually fitted pretty well, even under the armpits -- probably because this model is designed to push the breast tissue from outside to the inside. It does give a nice cleavage. The material the cups are soft, though on catalogue photos it looks like it were moulded / padded.

Ultimo Spy bra

Ultimo Spy Balcony

    This one surprised me positively. The cups went up pretty high but still sat flush with my breasts and didn't look like armour (although they might be too much for petites). The top edges of this bra are round like in this photo, and very flattering. The cups are constructed in a way that they are shallower on the bottom than on the top, which gives a little bit of lift to the cleavage. The band was nicely snug, and the cups are padded and very firm. Runs a cup size small -- the 65DD I tried fit me well. The underwires were a tad too narrow for my breasts.

Miss Mandalay Paige bra

Miss Mandalay Paige

    This was my first time with this brand and I can't wait to try on more stuff from them. I was pleasantly surprised -- the band was quite snug, and the cups fitted me well. It's not often that I find half-cups where the diagonal seam is done well enough for the cups to stay round and not look like a duck's beak. The cup size is standard, but if your breasts are fuller on the top than the top edge of the cup might dig in (for me it was perfect). I tried on the screaming yellow-vanilla shade, which looks more youthful and less luxurious than the catalogue photos would have you believe. I would have considered buying it if it were available in any of the other lovely colours it comes in.

Debenhams bra


     This was surprisingly better quality and fit than the Bravissimo and Gorgeous stuff. There are a lot of masectomy / soft bras, but also a decent selection of the usual underwired stuff. A great option for inexpensive bras.

Debenhams Sienna Plain Padded Bra

Debenhams Sienna Plain Padded Bra

Sienna Padded Plain Bra

    This Debenhams bra came home with me. Funnily, I cannot find it anywhere online. It is quite pretty -- I call it the poor girl's Masquerade bra (it was on sale and cost me 5.85). The underwires are broad, the band is snug and the whole thing is comfortable. The cup shape is a bit inferior to that of the masquerades -- I'd give it 4 stars.

    So that concludes my bra adventures in England.

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