Bra Review: Curvy Kate Florence Balcony, 30E

The results of my Twitter poll are in and you’ve voted for me to review another Curvy Kate bra. I’ve chosen my second favorite balcony style from my Curvy Kate haul in a lovely springtime color. The Florence balcony bra in powder blue is my perfect pick for Easter. Let’s have a look.

Appearance

ck-florence-front-slant

The stock photos of Florence reminded me of Cleo Marcie or Lucy, both bras that I feel are sort of plain; just shy of utilitarian and boring despite their varied colorways and lace accents. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Florence to be much cuter in person than I had anticipated. In all honesty, I wasn’t sold on the powder blue colorway in the stock photos and ordered it because it was on sale. In real life it turned out to be much more cheerful than I expected. I love when a bra surprises me like that.

For me, the small touches of canary yellow really make a difference visually. It appeals to me even more right now that I’m obsessing over spring tones. I usually go for darker bras, but flowers and pastels are catching my eye. Florence really is an ideal bra for the vernal equinox. Like if the Easter bunny wore brassieres, this would be perfect. Are you picturing that now? Then you’re very welcome.

ck-florence-cup-detail

Florence is constructed as a standard 3-part balcony. The cups are semi-sheer with two layers of mesh on the bottom half. Still sheer, mind you. The top panel is made from a floral embroidered lace without stretch. I appreciate this subtle embroidered detail because it lends a lot of texture and interest when up close. With a simple balcony bra, it’s the small elements that I look for.

A tiny yellow daisy-shaped button adorns the gore. Regular readers will recall that I can’t get enough of button details on bras. Matching tiny yellow bows at the straps pull the contrasting colors together in a pleasant way. There are no other frills or extras to speak of. The straps are slightly wide and were a little stubborn to adjust due to the scalloped details on the edge. The back closure has 2 hooks and eyes in size 30E, which is perfect for me as I dislike 3-hook closures.

The lightweight fabric and floral accents give Florence a simple and sweet design that I think would appeal to women (and bunnies) of all ages.

ck-florence-gore-detail

Size & Fit

Like CK Belle, Florence was recommended to me for my short and projected breasts. A lot of bloggers that I follow in my size range have had plenty of success with Florence and I honestly expected this bra to work for me the best out of the bunch that I ordered. In the end, it wasn’t quite as successful as I’d hoped. I am starting to wonder if my body shape (namely ribcage) is incompatible with Curvy Kate’s balcony bras.

I chose a 30E rather than my usual 28F because that was the only size available when I was ordering. If I were going to try this bra again, I would go with a 30F, 28F or 28FF to compare the fit. The band on 30E seems to run tight, stretching to 28” before the wires distort. I have a sub-28” ribcage, so this isn’t – or should be – a problem for me. The cups run true-to-size for a 30E, and at 5” wide and 9” deep, on paper it should be a really decent fit.

However, again like Belle, Florence was not a comfortable fit in the cup for me. It felt very tight at the apex, putting pressure where I needed more depth, while the wires felt wide as if they were distorting when I put the bra on. It could be that the cup was just too small, even though I have other bras with the same measurements that fit. For sure there is not enough room at the apex and the bra struggles to cope with my center fullness.

Fit1bA

It doesn’t look too bad in this first photo. I’m pleased because it makes it easy to appreciate the aesthetics of the bra for a moment. Judging by other reviews, it looks super cute on when it fits. Unfortunately, all is not as it seems. I have one arm lifted up to take the photo and my shoulders all the way back and chest out, yet still I am straining to fill the top of the cups. If I could fill it out like it looks in this picture all the time, I might have kept it. Note the cup wrinkling and fabric sticking out under my arm on the left.

As soon as I relax my posture, the fit becomes a hot mess.

The second shot (below left) looks like I’m filling the lace, but that’s deceptive since my arm is still up to take the photo. You can see how empty the lace is (and my short roots) when in a normal posture on the side with the relaxed arm. Where my breasts are most full is at the center, so they fill the lace part of the cup towards the gore, while the area towards the strap remains empty. Once again, because of my very soft tissue, I get noticeable in-cup-quad boob where my soft tissue is spilling over the horizontal seam.

Finally, I tried to show the side/underarm gaping and uneven band tension in the third photo (above right). You can see the sides and tops of the cups just aren’t filled right and my tissue is falling towards the gore because I’m too soft and center full.

The weird side-gaping issue recurs with all Curvy Kate balcony bras that I have tried. It wasn’t so visible with Belle, but the issue showed up much more clearly with Florence. It’s as if the top edges of the bra aren’t anchoring properly against my body. The outside of the cup sags and gapes instead of contouring to my ribcage. Perhaps the lack of depth in the cup is the ultimate culprit, but there is definitely uneven band tension at work.

All in all this was another disappointing fit for me from Curvy Kate. I’m sad because it’s such a cute bra and exactly what I wanted for the warmer months. When I get a chance, I may try a deeper cup and hope the wires don’t get much wider than 5” or that they spring better if my boobs aren’t putting so much pressure on the apex of the cup.

Just to add a disclaimer: Florence is known as a deep and projected cup that is short-roots friendly. It may work for you if these are your fit characteristics. My breasts are very narrow and projected, so in this size, on me, the cup felt too shallow at the apex. I fear going up a size will lead to a cup that is destined to remain empty on top because I don’t have much upper fullness to fill up the lace in a way that won’t spill over the central seam.

Comfort

While the cups on Florence are non-stretch mesh like CK Belle, the material itself is much softer and lighter to the touch, making it more suitable for sensitive skin. It feels like it has a little more flexibility and give than Belle. At the same time, the softness of the fabric means that when wearing, Florence doesn’t feel to me quite as uplifting in comparison. Sadly I can’t comment on long-term comfort.

Quality

For a bra that weighs next to nothing, I can’t fault the quality of the materials. Naturally, I am not thrilled about that side-gape that I get in all CK balconies. I have looked through other fit photos on Bratabase and additional reviews, and I know that I am not the only one who suffers from this issue. I think it may have to do with my being short and having a flared ribcage, so the bra’s uneven band tension (tighter at the bottom and looser at the top) is more evident on me since my ribcage is narrower at the top and wider at the bottom.

Final Thoughts

Florence not being a great fit on me is not really a reflection on an otherwise great bra. 3-part unlined balconies are proving to be my most difficult bra to work with across all brands. I really want to try a bra from CK’s boudoir sister-brand Scantilly, but my many failures with Curvy Kate are making me apprehensive. If you have any advice, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

Measurements

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