I've heard nothing but great things about Rhea by Masquerade. It's supposed to be amazing for shallow breasts and for full on top breasts. I've had my eye on various Masquerade bras for a while, but this was one I especially wanted to try out. I picked up a used one on Ebay for pretty cheap, and it's in great condition. The picture above is the color option that I have; it seems to be a Bravissimo-only option. The bra itself is a three part vertical seamed cup. I find that bras like this generally work for me, and they give excellent shape. This bra has a satin outer lining, and intricate lace across the top of the cups and the band. It also has zigzag seaming on the cups and straps, which I think is a nice extra detail.
Oh snap cleavage.
Good quality; nice materials
Surprisingly close to a neutral underneath clothing - I wore it under a creme and grey top and it didn't show
Good for shallow/full on top breasts
Wonderful globe like shape
Half adjustable straps - they fall off easily.
The lace is a little stiff -it kind of gapes
Gore is too wide and pokes into my breast tissue
Wires are not quite wide enough on the sides for me- they cut in a little bit
I thought I would try this out because it looked like a more elegant version of the typical half cup from Freya. It has a light texture-based pinstripe on the cups, and lace details on the straps and along the seams. The straps are made from black satin, rather than the textured elastic that normal freya half cups have for straps. However, unlike the older freya half cups, it has a microfiber like cloth trim above the main part of the cups, and it is a bit fuller coverage than a normal Freya half cup. It also has a large black bow in the center, and matching bows on the straps.
Apologies for terrible photos, the iphone knows I hate it and it doesn't want to cooperate.
It's a half cup in black that doesn't poke much underneath tops
Fuller coverage than normal Freya half cup - gapes sometimes
Less great shape than some half cups I've tried
The straps are too large for the rings connecting the straps to the band - might wear out early because of that
This is definitely my favorite t-shirt bra at the moment. I purchased it on a whim from Ebay since it was a good deal, even though it's the sister size up from what I generally wear in Freya. Unfortunately, it doesn't actually come in my actual size for Freya, so 32F is as good as it's going to get (In case you're wondering, Freya runs about 2 inches larger than whatever the band size says it is. It's annoying, but at least it's consistent.)
It does press into breast tissue in the gore, but it isn't painful
Half cup t shirt bra!!
Pattern is cute, although not particularly pronounced
Lace isn't an issue under shirts
Push up pads in the bottom - less room in the cups
Gapes a tiny bit in one cup and I quadboob in the other.
I have been in love with this bra as an idea since I first saw it on Asos about a year ago. It has pretty much everything I like in a bra: simplicity, elegance, femininity... reasonable price. Plus it comes in solid colors, unlike the Freya half cups. I like solid color bras because they are easier to match with underwear. I feel weird if my undies are too chaotically mismatched.
So first off, the pictures are absolutely terrible because I'm using an iPhone instead of my beloved and dead Samsung Galaxy S4.
I absolutely hated this bra the first time I wore it. It gaped on the side of my smaller breast, regardless of how I adjusted it. The gaping could be seen through my shirt, even. The gore, in its natural state, is far too high for me. My breasts are very close set in the middle, and most half cup gores end up being too high for me. I had the unlucky mistake of wearing it for the first time on a day when I *had* to be at work for 13 hours. I ended up almost crying on the phone to the boyfriend that this bra was biting me.
Since that night, I've made a few alterations that have made it comfortable. I bent the wires so it's a little bit more shallow. It got rid of the gaping issue, at least if I have good posture. I also pushed the wires away from the gore - it stops them from poking me in the chest.
Good shape for shallow breasts
Nice shape under clothing
Doesn't really show underneath clothing
Not fully adjustable - the straps are just barely the right size.
Although I have a steady job and income, I still like to cut costs anywhere I can. I was raised to be a saver. I have NEVER paid full price for a bra. I pretty much never pay full price for anything. Except one pair of running shoes.
Keep in mind, these tips well work less well if your size is harder to find. I'm lucky enough to have lots of options. Also, I am US based, so my thought process is geared towards US residents :)
Ideas for getting great deals if you have no idea what your size is and what works for you: /r/braswap
Check Amazon. They have free returns via UPS, and it's either 30 or 60 days from when it shipped. They have a pretty wide selection, but make sure that whatever you're purchasing is eligible for free returns. There ARE non-Amazon vendors on there and they don't tend to offer free returns :)
Asos offers free shipping and free returns. It can be a bit hard to figure out your size if you are based in the US, but BrasIhateAndLove wrote a post explaining how the sizing works. The smallest band they offer is 30, as a note.
Nordstrom's offers free shipping and returns, and they have a few yearly sales. They have a pretty large selection online, but their in person options can be pretty meager above UK E/F cup. The smallest band they offer is a 30. When I've been to a store, there's usually Freya but no other UK large cup brands. I saw Panache once, but they had nothing in my size range. Nordstrom Rack tends to have a few large cup/small bands bras too (although their prices are better in person).
Figleaves is another good resource. They offer shipping to the US for $5 and it's about $3 to return. They have a huge selection compared to the other sites I listed, and generally their prices are really good. They tend to have revolving 20-30% sales, and seasonal sales.
If you know what you want:
Ebay has some pretty remarkable deals. Just search for your size, or the brand you want, and set the location to worldwide, and you will find some very cheap bras. People often sell their used bras on ebay too, just make sure to look at the pictures before buying :) Ebay adds their insurance to all transactions. I'm not entirely sure what that entails, but I haven't had any issues with Ebay since the early 2000s when I was buying used video games. Nifty tip: you can have Ebay email you when it finds items that match a search you did by saving the search. I have searches set up for specific bra brands + price ranges + sizes :D
Bratabase lets the users list their bras for sale/swap/give away. They will pay for your shipping if you are selling or swapping. Pretty good deal, in my opinion.
r/BraSwap Pretty much the same idea as Bratabase, just less organized and no help on paying for shipping. You can definitely find gems here, but you have to just like with Bratabase you definitely have to feel trusting of people.
General online shopping notes:
I always sign up for newsletters, and send them to a secondary email. It's an easy way to find out about sales/deals :)
If you're using a credit card to make purchases, check if your card gives extra points for whichever retailer you are using. You might be surprised by how many retailers offer referral points.
Sister sizing can be your friend. My preferred size is 32F in brands that run true to size, but I still generally search for 30FF when looking at sizing, since sometimes there can be surprise deals.