The Freya Fancies longline was my most anticipated bra for AW16. Up until recently, I’ve been wearing almost exclusively Freya bras. My Freya half cups were my first “bras that fit” and I love my Decos, so I’ve always had a soft spot for the brand. I fell head over heels for the Fancies longline as soon as I saw it in previews and had to make it my first ever longline.
Three words: All over lace. This bra is so far removed from the plain, boring, ill-fitting beige minimizers of my past. I simply had to have it. Lately I have formed somewhat of a mini obsession with lace. After striking out 3 times with my first lace-covered bra – my ill-fated Comexim Victoria – I’ve been on the lookout for pretty lacy things everywhere.
When I first saw the Fancies longline, it was available in black, white, or red. I zoomed in on my usual go-to black, but when I attempted to add it to my cart, it wasn’t available in my chosen size (I started with 30FF, more on that below). I chose the bright chilli red colorway as a second option and I’m so very pleased that I did. I wouldn’t generally gravitate towards red – at least I wouldn’t have until now – but the color is fantastic. In person, the vibrant red is beautifully saturated. Chilli red is a good descriptor as it’s not a deep red or a candy apple red, but gloriously fiery. Now I know that a bright red bra is conspicuously missing from my bradrobe.
I have always wanted to try a Freya longline after missing out on past seasons’ styles like the Just Flew In and Piper (not to be confused with Cleo’s new unlined Piper Longline for AW16 which you can see in this post). As I understand it, these earlier longlines were 3-part, vertical seam half cups like Freya’s well-known Patsy bra, always a go-to style for me. The Fancies, on the other hand, is also lightly padded, but is made up of a 4-part cup. There are two seams in the bottom half and one horizontal seam across the top.
The light cup padding provides a perfect amount of modesty and coverage while still offering shape and support without added bulk. I absolutely love the mid-weight padding that Freya offers. Another bonus is that the cups can be more or less packed flat and not be damaged or lose their shape, which is great for me because I travel a lot.
Let’s take a closer look.
The bra is covered in a stunning floral lace. The front of the band is comprised of a layer of lace over a single layer of mesh backing. A scalloped edge matches the lace trim on the top edge of the cups. This allows for just a hint of skin to show through the band, whereas the cups are opaque due to the padded interior. The lace continues onto the wings that are reinforced with more layers of power mesh.
As for the longline aspect, the band does not extend that far beneath the bottom of the underwires, only about an inch, making it more like a midline bra than a true longline (at least in 28FF-30FF). As a short girl, it still gives me enough of an extra band to make a difference while not feeling like I’m wearing too much fabric.
There is also no boning on the sides. This makes the entire band delightfully soft and comfortable, but might be a problem for those who find that they need firm boning to keep the band level. Personally, I love how lightweight it is. I also love the delicate appearance of the band. It’s probably my favorite aspect of the bra.
Other than the tiny black polka dots on the bow decorating the gore, everything about this bra is the same fiery red, including the hardware, straps and interior lining. The straps are relatively narrow for Freya at only .6″. They are softer and stretchier than any other Freya straps I’ve tried. I love soft straps, but I know some people prefer their straps not to have so much give. In this size range, it’s not a problem for me. There is also enough space for me to tighten them even though I have very short roots, which is a plus.
I was surprised to find, however, that the bra has a measly 2 columns of 5 hooks as a closure. I am not sure why Freya chose only 2 columns. I am perplexed by the plunge bras in the Fancies range for a similar reason: they have only 1 row of hooks and eyes. Neither of these are good design choices, IMO. Most people I know prefer to have as many hooks and eyes as possible for support. Only two columns on a longline is especially disappointing to me. The bra is made of very soft materials, and not having that third column to move onto later can obviously limit the lifespan of the band once it starts to stretch. Similarly, I know that some people like to hook their longlines unevenly to adjust for their flared ribcages or V-shaped rib cages or other fit issues, and two columns will limit how adjustable the bra is.
That said, I can’t overstate how much I adore the appearance of this bra. I really wanted it as an everyday item, so for me all the design elements are important. It could also easily function more special occasion lingerie. The solid color makes it easy to pair with the rest of the Fancies collection (they have been designed to mix and match) or any other lace complements. It can be styled as cute and modest or outright sexy. My favorite combo is this red longline with the Fancies Paradise brief as pictured below.
Now if only the Freya Fancies longline fit me like the model it was photoshopped onto …
Size & Fit (30FF and 28FF)
I first ordered a size 30FF. At the time, 28G was my go-to Freya size. However, I had heard and read that longlines can run more snug in the band than other types of bras. Given my flared ribcage, I thought I would be safer with a 30FF. It turns out that the band runs true-to-size and I had to start it on the second and final set of hooks in size 30FF.
The cups on this bra also run bit large and the wires are comparatively wider than my other Freya halfcups. Both the band – which I had to start on the second (and final) set of hooks straight away, sigh – and the cups were too big for me in 30FF, so I exchanged it for the same bra in size 28FF. The remainder of this review will focus on my experience with the bra in size 28FF, but I’ll put measurements for both at the foot of this post.
The 28FF was a marked fit improvement in the band, but it breaks my heart that the Fancies longline and I were not meant to be.
In terms of diagnosing the fit problems, it starts with the construction. The 4-part cup makes it more closed on top than the 3-part, vertical seam Freya half-cups I’m used to. The latter have no horizontal portion across the top of the cup. With my change in shape from being quite full in the upper part of my bust to now more even/full on bottom, the closed top is actually a better shape for me. It contours more to my chest where I used to have fullness and prevents gaping in a neutral posture that I get with my Freya Patsy. However, the cups remain too tall, especially at the strap, so I get a handful of empty space there above where my root ends.
More significantly, a good portion of this extra space is concentrated towards the outside of the cup beyond the strap (where the cup is too wide for me). I have most of my fullness towards the center and comparatively little towards the sides. So while there is not enough space for my fullness towards the gore in this bra, I have 3 full fingers of empty space between where my root ends and where the underwires end.
The cup feels tight towards the gore and my natural apex, indicating to me that it’s too shallow there for me even though there is empty space elsewhere. This is likely due to my short roots making my apex sit higher in the bra than it can accommodate. Similarly, the bra wants my horizontal apex to be closer to the outside of the cup. So it’s shallow where I need depth and spacious where I don’t. Yep, well and truly a shape mismatch.
On the plus side, there is ample space at the bottom of the cup/near the wire; more than my Freya half cups offer. Also, while the ends of the wires edge towards my armpits, I interestingly don’t get any digging or rubbing there. This is partly due to the excess wire channel. They seem to have sewn the wire channels at least a full inch longer than the wires themselves. The outer tip of the underwire is usually a problem spot with digging for me, so I was surprised that it didn’t bother me at all.
Sadly, my fit issues seriously affected comfort, which is what ultimately made me unable to overlook them. I really did try, since I really did not want to give up on this beauty.
I am devastated to report that the Fancies longline quite literally tried to gouge my heart out. This is due almost entirely to the gore, wires, and an overall incompatibility with my body. I didn’t think twice about the gore when I ordered (and re-ordered). In fact, I was more worried that the band wouldn’t fit. I have rarely had problems with Freya gores. Perhaps I am getting used to narrower gores like those from Comexim, but I can handle gores that are up to .75″ wide, maybe even a smidge wider if they are plunges due to my breasts being closer set at the top than lower down.
The gore on this bra is quite wide at 1″, and it is also very tall at 3.5″ (subtracting 1″ for the extra longline fabric on the band).
As mentioned before, I have a flared rib cage. I also have a slight indentation/dip in the center. The result is that almost all of my bras tack at the top half of the gore and not the bottom. I’m fairly used to that and it doesn’t cause me any problems. With the longline, this means that there is a pocket of empty space in the triangle of the band that extends just beneath the gore, while the bottom elastic of the longline sits perfectly snugly and secure. I’ve tried 3 longlines now, and they all do this.
Unfortunately, the top of the gore is more prone to dig because of the uneven pressure from my rib flare. My ribs push the wires out, which are anchored by the lower band, so it forces the top of the gore to tack firmer against my sternum – too firm for comfort.
In this case, it’s not just the fact that the top of the gore digs into my sternum because it’s too tall. Due to the wonderfully soft materials, fabric, lack of side boning, and bendy wires – all of which I typically love about Freya – instead of just digging, the very pliable wires twist inside their channels, so that when the gore pushes into my chest, it isn’t the flat side of the wire that I can feel, but the pointed sharp edges. Ouch.
All things considered, a lower and narrower gore would probably relieve all the comfort issues, and slightly narrower wires would make this my ideal lacy longline fit-wise.
This is a stunningly beautiful bra. Have I mentioned that yet? It’s lacy and soft and everything I wanted. I know that Freya is known for “soft” wires, but I had never before felt a wire twist within the casings in any of my tons of Freya half cups or Decos. Thicker and more secure wire channels and padding might have saved this bra for me, but I’m torn on how to rate it because I can’t subtract marks for quality on behalf of my awkward and needy ribcage.
I have no other issues with the quality of this bra, or indeed the rest of the Fancies collection, minus the lack of closure hooks. Some might find its retail price tag somewhat high for the lightweight construction. I gladly threw $60 at it for the prettiness alone, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to go as far as to conclude that it is designed more for looks than comfort due to the fact that the bra is a shape mismatch for me, which is not the bra’s fault. But in my case, it had all the pretty and none of the comfort I have come to expect from Freya.
I have considered attempting to alter the gore so that the wires overlap at the top to cure the problem of the wide gore as well as maybe secure the wires better to prevent them from twisting and poking, but I think the shape incompatibility will ultimately lead to more problems. I’d rather find it a happy new home (see my sales page!). I only go as far as thinking about altering a bra if I really love it, so the Fancies longline is another heartbreak for me this year, and my second lacy failure to date. Sad face.