I have admired this bra from afar since it was first released. There are some bras that I think “ooh, that’s pretty” and then forget about shortly after. But Marianna has been an aesthetic favorite of mine for a long while. Fantasie lingerie is fairly expensive for my limited lingerie budget at the moment (Marianna retails at $78), so when I saw it on sale for $40, I jumped at the chance. Let’s see if she was worth it.
Marianna is available in a couple of colorways. Last season’s magenta/black is the one I fell in love with, and a silver/gray version is also out now. I’ve seen hints of an emerald green/black version for Autumn 2016 which sounds perfect for me, too. (Yes, I said emerald green!) What drew me to the magenta/black colorway is that it looks so sultry and luxurious. I also don’t own a black bra at the moment, so it would fill an essential gap in my bradrobe. Sadly, I couldn’t find the half cup bra in a Nordstrom near me to try; they only carry the Marianna unlined balcony version in the silver colorway. I’ve also seen very few reviews and next to no non-stock photos online. Would it be as luxe in person?
Marianna is a typical half cup with two vertical seams and very soft foam cups. The main body of the bra is solid black and the wings are a single layer mesh. The lightly padded cups have a floral pattern lace overlay in black lace and deep, shimmering magenta. The top of the cup is smooth and satiny without any extra trim at the edge. The gorgeous magenta accents also appear on the gore along with a tiny diamante charm decoration. In person, the bra lives up to its stock photos as far as the magenta embroidery on black lace. Fantasie says “exudes sensuality with delicate lace blends and diamanté bow trims” and I agree with that.
Size and Fit
I tend to gravitate towards half cups because they are so lightweight while still padded for modesty, and the cups are generally shorter in height than a full-cup or plunge bra, while the gore is slightly higher, which works for my short roots, soft tissue and center fullness. I also prefer the rounded and uplifted look that the seams and padding provide, although I get less cakes-on-a-plate now than when I was more full on top.
Unfortunately, this bra in size 30F is not the right fit for me. I based my size decision on the fact that my current Freya half cup in 30FF has some gaping in the cup that I thought might have been solved by sizing down, and also because a 30F was the only size left in stock when I found the bra on sale 🙂
I have myriad fit issues with Marianna in this size. First, the cups are too small for my larger side, causing some spillage and also pushing out of the cup edge after settling. It is probably an accurate fit for my smaller side, but I will still quad out of both cups right after a full s&s. The top of the cups also does not to want to lie smooth and flat, but this could be from wrinkles caused by the way it was flat packed for postage. Indeed, I had some trouble photographing this bra because I couldn’t get the creases out of the cups.
With the 30F being too small, the gore tacks at the top where it left a red mark from digging into my sternum, but the bottom didn’t tack and pulled away if I lift my arms up. I think this is likely due to both a too-small cup and not enough projection in the lower part of the cup just above the wire, which is putting uneven pressure on the gore. I feel like the soft material of the cup and the open top edge would be accommodating if my tissue weren’t so soft that it overflows rather than just cutting in. Firmer tissue might be able to get away with slightly smaller cups in this style without issue as there is some “give”.
I also found the straps to be too wide set. This caused some “strap gap” issues that were fixed somewhat by pulling the straps inwards on my shoulders towards my neck. This is the first time I’ve had this problem in a half cup, so that was unexpected.
Another issue I haven’t had much before was that the outside of the cups (just past the strap) were pushing outwards towards the sides. I sometimes get gaping of this area, never overspill, so I wasn’t sure what was causing this as I don’t have that much outer fullness. The issue was completely remedied by fastening the bra on the tightest hooks, so apparently it was a symptom of a too-loose band. The band comfortably stretches to 30″, and although I sometimes prefer a softer band due to my flared ribcage, I believe a 28G in Marianna would be my best fit as the 30F is too large in the band and too small in the cup.
Sadly, Fantasie doesn’t offer 28-bands. I would like to try this bra again in 30FF if I can find it at a good price, but would likely still have to start on the second or third hook. However, I’m not sure if I should size up because of the strap issue. They may become more wide-set or prone to gaping at the outside on a larger cup.
Since this bra wasn’t a great fit on me, I don’t feel like I can fully assess the comfort level. However, an important aspect for me is that a bra isn’t made from scratchy materials. The only discomfort I had from Marianna was that the top of the gore dug in painfully and the gore itself was a little wide for me. I usually don’t get problems with the gore digging in outside of Cleo/Panache and never in a half cup.
The rest of the bra was comfortable. The wings are a lightweight mesh and the cup padding soft and supple, making this a great bra for me for summer since I don’t wear unlined styles. Although the straps have some detailing along the edges, it isn’t itchy or uncomfortable. It does make it difficult to adjust them while it’s on, but with the grippy loops and metal hardware, the straps will certainly stay put once you get them adjusted correctly.
I’ve noticed recently that my Freya half cup isn’t giving me as rounded a shape in my new size as it did when I was a 30G and full on top. Marianna similarly didn’t give me as rounded a shape as I am used to in half cups; it was a little flat at the sides. The cups didn’t feel very wide to me, so perhaps it is just becoming a shape mismatch for me.
Marianna is a beautiful bra. It is not overdone with too many details, which I generally prefer. I found the top edge of the cup to be the cheapest feeling aspect of the bra. It seemed unfinished somehow. It was a little bumpy not just at the front, but along the top edge. The inner seam is sewn very close to the edge, which might be a contributing factor. I mention this because not having a lace trim right on the cup edge was one of the aspects I thought I would love most about Marianna. I thought for sure a satin top as opposed to all the lumpy lace trim on my Freyas would be superior, but I wasn’t wowed. I appreciate smooth lines and there was something just not right, fit issues above not withstanding.
As for the rest of the materials, Marianna is well-made and I can’t pick out any faults. The quality is not a massive leap up from my Freya half cups. Although it is certainly a more sophisticated look and feel, I can’t say I would invest in this bra at full price at this time.
That said, Marianna is definitely a bra I would love to have if I could find one in my size. If Fantasie started offering 28-bands, I think they would open up to a much larger market and I’d certainly have more Fantasie pieces in my collection, despite the price tag.