Freya half cups were my first bras that truly fit and they will always hold a special place in my heart. When I saw previews of the Freya Fearne half cup for AW16, I fell in love with the print and the understated details. My love of this bra also serendipitously brought me in touch with Clare, owner of The Fitting Room, a lingerie boutique in Stevenage, UK.
Boutique spotlight: The Fitting Room
Some months ago, I met Clare on Twitter. She’s the owner of The Fitting Room, one of the coveted local gems that those of who can shop for bras solely online wish would open up in our neighborhoods. The Fitting Room stocks sizes 28-56 AA-K, including bra-sized swimwear and maternity/nursing bras. They offer free fittings as well as specialized teen fittings – something I rarely see advertised and which is fantastic. The shop has just relocated to brand new premises in Market Place, Stevenage Town Centre. A brick-and-mortar bra shop that actually sells your size and has knowledgeable fitters. Yes!
Clare and I first exchanged tweets about our mutual love for some of the latest Freya AW16/SS17 offerings. I am fascinated by bra boutiques, particularly those serving a wide range of band and cup sizes, and Clare indulged my curiosity about this, answering all kinds of questions I had about her shop; what brands and styles she stocks; and how they fit. In the process, I found her to be super knowledgeable about bras, sizes and fitting. Her knowledge of Freya styles and cuts is spot-on; if a bra gets her approval, I know it’s worth trying. She really loves her job and it shows. It’s great to have a local b&m store owner who is keenly aware of how bras fit and work (or not) for different body shapes and breast types. I intended to visit The Fitting Room when I got to the UK, but I didn’t make it over to Stevenage before I went abroad. Hopefully I’ll make it for an in-person visit soon.
Stevenage is just a stone’s throw from London, so if you’re nearby in the UK, I recommend stopping by. They have tons of gushing reviews for service and I’m not surprised. They are also thoroughly invested in their community presence as evidenced by the posts on their Facebook page, such as engaging with local charities, and Clare has even reached out to give talks at schools. It’s clear that customers at the Fitting Room are given a personal touch, making it an essential local business that I hope you’ll join me in supporting.
If you’re not local, you can always visit their website to shop online. But I have an insider tip that their other online shop – lingerie-heaven.com – has many more items in stock. 🙂 Worldwide shipping is available, too, so no one gets left out!
Now, onto the bra review …
Freya Fearne Half Cup, 28G
One bra that both Clare and I agreed on being a star of the Freya AW16 lineup is the Freya Fearne half cup. Available in a dark (black) and light (sand) colorways, Fearne is an example of a thoughtful variation on an otherwise simple basic. At the time, my bradrobe was becoming all pinks, purples and polka-dots (fuller-bust bra problems, am I right?), so some sophistication and a little bit of lace had me hooked. The subtle floral print on a dark or light base would work with most clothes while still avoiding being just a blah nude or black.
I have been hooked on Freya half cups for some time because of their supple padding for shaping and modesty, while remaining lightweight and breathable. I’m still trying to find an unlined bra that can give an equally supportive and rounded shape to my soft, pendulous boobs. So when Clare was able to acquire the Fearne half cup in the dark colorway before I had seen it available to buy anywhere, I was super excited to give it a try.
Fearne looks even better in person than in the stock photos. My photos don’t really do it justice as my camera was struggling with the slight satiny finish on the outer fabric combined with the dark colors. I love when a bra surprises me like that, and I do find that Freya bras often exceed my expectations on appearance when I get them in my hands. I like both colorways a lot, but the black is definitely me.
The cups themselves are a mix of slate on black that can come off near lavender depending on the lighting and they feature a leafy fern print that is a refreshing take on the floral trend because it’s not just all “hey, I’m flowery”, but a mix of interesting and unique plant and floral silhouettes. It reminds me of wildflowers in a meadow or walking through a summer garden. The dual tone, shadowy vibe lifts the level of sophistication to me. The detail on the print can really be appreciated up close and a nice touch is that the pattern continues onto so much of the bra, including the wings and straps.
Neat details and touches have been added throughout the bra. The upper part of the cup is also embroidered with tiny diamond shapes and trimmed with black lace. There is a black, polka-dot embroidered bow on the gore and matching tiny black bows where the straps meet the cups. Because the base color of the bra is black, the bows blend in without being too much.
The straps are fully adjustable and cushioned for comfort, with the front portion also featuring the fern fabric. I like that Freya decided to extend the pattern onto the straps rather than attach a basic strap. This is a detail that I wouldn’t mind peeking out of my shirt, not something I can always say about Freya’s bras (looking at you, Deco in kelly green with leopard print straps …). The rest of the straps have embroidered detailing and looped edging. Even though it looks quite monotone at first glance, I appreciate all of these small touches that you notice when up close and that make the bra feel more luxurious.
As with all Freya half cups I’ve tried, the bra is supremely soft, yet sturdy and well made. The material on the cups has a lovely, semi-satin smooth finish. The seams lie very flat and I didn’t find the lace to be noticeably lumpy despite the little extra frilly details.
Size & Fit
Due to my recent weightloss, I have been dropping cup sizes at an unexpected rate over the past few months. At the time I spoke to Clare about getting in the Freya Fearne, I was a solid 28G in my Freyas. Now I’m just about filling out a 28FF and need a 28F in some styles. The shape of my breasts has also changed, becoming fuller on the bottom (or, more accurately, losing upper fullness). When I was a 30G/GG, I had a lot of upper fullness and had the most luck with Freya’s 3-part half cups with 2 vertical seams that are more open on top. Fearne, like the Freya Fancies longline I reviewed here, is a 4-part half cup with both vertical and horizontal seams. I believe this style is more akin (though not identical) to the Lauren cut from Freya, which is known for being more closed on top. I was hoping that this would be the case since with my short and narrow roots, I can get some gaping on top now if a bra is too open for me even in the correct volume.
All of this bra science dispensed with, by the time the bra got to me, a 28G was probably not my ideal size. However, sizing down to a 28FF would likely not help me much in this particular style. Although the cup is indeed more closed on top, the shape as a whole is sadly not a good match for me.
The cups would prefer the deepest part of my breasts to be further out to the sides, whereas mine are fullest closest to the gore, so overall I can not fill out the bra just right. It does have ample space at the underwire and can accommodate an even to full-on-bottom shape. I would recommend this bra to someone whose bust is more evenly full on the inside and outside than mine is. Similarly, if you are more low-set or wide-set, it will probably work really well for you. I found it to have ample space at the underwire, though, which I know a lot of us need.
The gore is also a little bit tall and wide for me. I have been wearing lower and narrower gores recently and I believe that I have become less able to tolerate a wider gore like I used to. The cups are also a tad wide for my breasts, so all in all, the bra is not a good match for my frame. To me, the band runs true-to-size for a 28, not stretchy as Freya is typically known for.
The 4-part cup on Fearne gives a more “natural” profile in contrast to the 3-part vertical seam half cups that can give a more “cakes-on-a-plate” look. Softer breasts may find it slightly minimizing, but it will give a flattering, rounded shape nonetheless thanks to the seams.
I noticed right away that Fearne has firmer wires than I am used to with Freya. I appreciate firmer wires more than I used to. This might sound strange given that I’m losing weight in my bust and it’s typically people with heavier busts that find firmer wires more necessary. However, as I lose density in my tissue, I need all the support I can get. I find the wires on this bra to be firmer than the Freya Fancies longline, therefore holding its shape better and giving more support.
I cannot fault Freya’s lightly lined and padded bras for comfort and Fearne is no exception. I have yet to find a molded or unlined bra that can match their materials for all day comfort without bulk or scratchiness. They also hold their form over time, wash and dry well, are easily packable for traveling (a big plus for me!), and are overall workhorses for your bra wardrobe.
I can’t complain about the quality of any of the Freya bras I personally own. However, I have tried some other styles in their half cups that I didn’t appreciate as much in terms of quality (notably Eden and Daydreamer). Since I’ve tried so many of this style, I can say that Fearne is up there with the higher quality ones. The detailed, cushioned straps and luxurious feeling fabric give it a step up. It’s well made and thoughtful, making it worth its retail price tag, in my opinion.
I wish this bra worked for me because I’m in love with the print and styling. I have been striking out with Freya lately. It may just be me, but their gores have been wider and more irritating to my sternum than they used to be. Despite the fact that I love so many of their designs, I think I will be avoiding the 4-part padded half cup in future because the gores are too wide and tall, and the cups are a shape mismatch for me. If you have a similar problem, you might have more luck with the unlined plunge balcony version of the same bra.
As mentioned above, Clare from The Fitting Room is super knowledgeable and experienced with fitting Freya bras (and other brands, of course), so do not hesitate to pop in to The Fitting Room or email her for a consultation. Also keep an eye out for helpful fitter’s tips throughout her online shop, like advice that the Freya Fearne plunge bra in GG+ cups runs big.