For this swimwear review, I’ll take another look at a Figleaves.com house brand, Midnight Grace, with the bright and cheerful Jasmine Underwire Twist Bandeau Bikini Top. I wasn’t expecting much when I snapped it up at a bargain $12 in their swim sale. Now that I’ve tried and reviewed a few bra-sized tops, let’s see how Jasmine compares.
Figleaves describes the Jasmine Underwired Twist Bandeau as “a refreshing bouquet of bright florals” with detachable straps and ruching at the front. I ordered this at the same time as the Panache Amelia bandeau top, also a floral bandeau. Since the cuts are similar, it makes for a good comparison, which I might draw on throughout this review. But for now, let’s focus on Jasmine.
I actually found this bikini top to be much prettier in person than online. The colors are intensely rich and inviting. The front of the bikini really does resemble a bright bouquet of flowers. There is an eye-catching mix of blooms in orange, purple, pink, lavender, pale blue, mint green and yellow. Some of the flowers are nearly photo-realistic and jump out when you examine them closely. From far away it looks cheerful and feminine, and, to my eye, more expensive than the stock photos would have you believe. I think this top would “pop” on all skin tones.
The strap and wings do not feature the same floral print as the front. They are a visually contrasting horizontal stripe pattern that just doesn’t quite match. It draws from the same color palette, but for some reason the patterns feel like they clash. This could be problematic particularly if you might want to mix and match a solid bottom with the bikini. You’d have to buy the matching bottoms with these for this suit to make sense. Luckily the bottoms are equally affordable.
The cups are padded and consist of three parts. A straight horizontal seam separates the top and a vertical seam divides the bottom half. The fabric covering on the front of the cups has the same horizontal seam and is finished at the center gore with a twist of ruching tacked down with a single purple thread. Although you can see the thread up close, it means that the ruching is held down near to the body, which I prefer, as I think it is less likely to look sloppy when wet.
The interior of the cup is lined with white fabric like the Figleaves Just Peachy Dove Underwire Padded Plunge bikini top I also reviewed. This white lining cheapens the whole piece for me somewhat. Luckily it’s on the inside.
As I mentioned above, the description on the site says that the bandeau comes with detachable straps. I naturally thought that this would mean two adjustable multiway straps so you can wear them in different configurations. Alas, it only comes with one detachable strap to turn it into a halter top. There are two hook attachments at the front for this purpose and none at the back, so the only options are halter or strapless bandeau.
The back closes with a single purple-pink hook clasp that twists shut and matches the plastic hardware on the straps.
Size and Fit
The aforementioned $12 bargain I got was tempered slightly by limited size availability at the time of my order. I really wanted to try this bikini, though, so I had to go for a 30F instead of my usual 30FF that was out of stock. Luckily, the cups are fairly narrow at 5″ – certainly more so than the Panache bandeau I tried (5.5″) – and they have nearly enough depth for me at the apex. The wires are unfortunately shaped too much like a tall and deep U for me, and the cup somewhat shallow at the bottom. The gore is also very wide, with a 1″ separation between the cups. What’s with such wide gores on bikinis?
The band runs like a true 30, making it too loose for me – especially for swimwear. This is in contrast with the very tight band on the Just Peachy Dove Plunge top I previously reviewed, so there is some inconsistency between the Figleaves sub-brands. The result is that the entire top sits a little low on me. Without the help of standard straps, I have to keep pulling it up. The halter strap doesn’t do much for support and puts all the strain on my neck.
This 3-part cup gives a rounder shape than Panache’s single seam bandeau cup. Even with slight fit issues, I could probably have overlooked them and kept this top had the band run more snug (so it could be worn strapless) or had it come with standard straps for more support and less pressure on my neck.
I get the impression that this bikini top would be a comfortable one for most people in the right size. I don’t think it’s made below a 30-band, so 28s like myself are out of luck. Even though the gore is too wide for me, it doesn’t hurt like some of the other bikinis I tried (although that could have been because it sits too low to reach my most close-set point). The materials are certainly comfortable.
Now for a big however: the halter aspect and lack of standard orientation straps makes Jasmine unbearably uncomfortable for me personally. I have to admit that when I first unboxed the bikini and saw one lonely strap, I was instinctively apprehensive. I dug to the bottom of the box hoping the other strap had been inadvertently packed with another item.
Don’t get me wrong: if you like and can wear halters, you should be fine. The strap fabric is soft and it’s fully adjustable. But for me, it was sensory torture. I have issues with any type of strap or fabric on my neck. Combined with the fact that I had to rely on the straps to do much of the work that the band couldn’t do, the halter was not a good idea. This isn’t a comment on the construction of the bra per se, but my experience trying it.
Appearance-wise, the halter helps the bikini to look more like swimwear and less like bra. I wanted to feel very glamorous in it. Sadly, my sensory issues were insurmountable. Instead of this:
I felt like this:
I couldn’t wait to take it off, hence the lack of fit photos. Sorry. Please feel free to sympathy-like or comment on this post if you know how this feels. I have learned that a lot of people have sensory concerns when it comes to clothing and bras in particular. Before finding bra-fitting communities online, I thought I was just strange. Maybe I still am, but I’m not the only one who can’t wear halter straps!
Having tried two Figleaves.com house brand bikinis this season, I would not hesitate to recommend them for quality. Notably, like the Dove Plunge, Jasmine has a very sturdy back closure clasp. This is so important for a bikini. I found both Figleaves bikinis that I tried to have a sturdier, more substantial closure than Panache or Curvy Kate tops. That’s not bad. Who wants their bikini accidentally coming open at the beach? I wouldn’t worry about that at all with Jasmine.
On the whole, it is well-made, with soft fabrics and truly vibrant colors. The only downside to the quality for me, apart from the white lining, is that (again like the Figleaves Dove Plunge) the material gives off a funny chemical smell. I only tried the top on and never washed it or swam in it, but the smell appeared very strong and offensive as soon as I opened the package and it never really weakened. It’s not pleasant.
Apart from the smell, the Jasmine twist bandeau is a very nice attempt from a house brand and was the cheapest bikini top I tried all season, making the cost-value ratio quite good.
I appreciate that a variety of cuts are offered by Figleaves for each swimsuit range they sell. For Midnight Grace Jasmine, there’s the bandeau bikini top I’m reviewing here, a one-piece strapless bandeau version, a padded halter bikini top, a halter one-piece (pictured left), high-waisted brief, and frilly brief. All are variations on this floral print. There’s also a kaftan cover up. Since different cuts and styles work for different body types and preferences, it’s nice to see such a wide variety of options on offer. It’s always disappointing to love a print or color in something and find out it only comes a shape or style that doesn’t work for you.
In short, if you’re looking for fun and bright bra-sized swimwear on a budget, the Midnight Grace Jasmine collection is certainly worth a look.