Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Claudette 'Neon Dessous' bra review & Operation Claudette 28!

   Since its launch in 2011, Claudette lingerie has whipped fashion-conscious lingerie lovers into a frenzy worldwide. Claudette describe their lingerie as "modern, contemporary and effortlessly wearable" and their daring colour combinations, quirky prints and fuller-bust-friendly designs have been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan and have been championed by a host of lingerie bloggers (including The Lingerie Addict). Based in Los Angeles and designed and developed in London, Claudette is primarily owned and operated by women - all of whom understand the need for lingerie that is engineered to fit beautifully and look amazing! 

   Claudette first captured my heart when I discovered them at the Lingerie Collective trade show a few years ago and I fell head-over-heels in love with their range (30-38, A-G cups). I was particularly smitten with the bold, colour clash 'Neon Dessous' bras, which come in a plethora of highly saturated and vibrant colour options..

   I was lucky enough to meet the brand's designer and product developer, Bok Goodall, who has a strong fashion background and a wealth of experience working in D+ lingerie product development. I was delighted to find out that Claudette would be introducing 28 backs to their collections in the future and Bok kindly offered to send me my very own Claudette 'Neon Dessous' set to try for size. I received a 28G and size Medium briefs in 'Sandstone/Navy':

   The 'Neon Dessous' is a gorgeous, unpadded, 'full coverage' bra, fashioned from peachy-beige mesh, complemented by a navy trim and ribbon motifs. The bra has an understated, vintage feel to it, yet the sheer cups deliver undeniable sex appeal!

   Although the 'Sandstone/Navy' set that I received moves away from the aesthetically arresting neons that I tend to associate with Claudette, the 'sandstone' and navy contrast plays deftly with 'traditional' notions of what beige underwear should look like. The beige mesh has peachy undertones, making this set a perfect 'nude' lingerie set for my fair skin - and it certainly knocks spots off my other nude bras in the style stakes!

  Claudette have carefully considered the construction for fuller busts and this bra is underwired with a 3-part cup construction that reminds me nostalgically of my first unlined bra, the Freya 'Arabella'. The top panel of the cups is single lined mesh (which stretches to accomodate for your breast shape), whereas the lower part of the cups is double lined. The reinforced cups and angled seams act a little bit like a 'sling', keeping the breast tissue fully encased in the cups, whilst providing additional comfort and evenly distributed support.

   The cups are almost 'tear drop' shaped and although they are are fairly 'tall', the elastic at the side of the cups curves away from the armpit, meaning that there is no uncomfortable digging in.

   The straps are around 1.5cm thick, which is slightly thinner than those on my other bras and they are (conveniently) fully adjustable, for a more 'tailored-to-you' fit. The strap placement is closer-set and the underwires are 'U'-shaped and quite narrow - features which make this bra ideal for any ladies with close-set breasts or more narrow shoulders.

   I find the 'Neon Dessous' very comfortable to wear, although I have to wear the 28G on the tightest hook, as the band comes up larger than other 28 backed bras that I own. This is most likely due to the very stretchy mesh that is used in the bra wings (although the fabric feels beautifully soft!) 

   This bra has definitely revived my love for unpadded bras - the cups feel as if they are cradling the breasts, giving a subtle but natural lift. The shape is also surprisingly rounded, which is largely due to the clever placement of the diagonal seam, which sits across the nipple. A by-product of this, however, is that after prolonged wear, the diagonal seam cuts in very slightly and leaves a slight mark (despite not causing any discomfort).

   With regard to the 'Neon Dessous' briefs, I have to say that I am very impressed indeed! The briefs feature soft, stretch mesh at the sides and back, whereas the central panel and gusset are double-lined with 'regular' mesh. The knickers are fairly risqué due to the sheer mesh, but the navy picot trim and ribbon detail add a flirty but sophisticated edge, making these knickers very feminine and wearable. 

     The cut of the knickers is very flattering - they sit at perfect hip height at the front and are generously cut at the back - a combination that is often hard to come by! Additionally, the stretch mesh is incredibly soft against the skin and the elastic does not dig in. These briefs are a winner in every respect! 

   I am really excited by my first taster of Claudette lingerie and the 'Neon Dessous' in Sandstone/Navy definitely reinvents the wheel with regard to neutral tone lingerie! The set demonstrates an excellent balance of style and substance, thanks to Claudette's consideration of fit and cup construction, coupled with a modern (and fearless!) approach to colour contrasting. 

   Having enjoyed the fit of my first Claudette 'Neon Dessous' set, I am hoping to add some of Claudette's distinctive colour clash bras to my collection in future. The Claudette A/W14 'Neon Dessous' shades are absolutely knock-out and the purple/yellow and mint/yellow colourways are at the very top of my wishlist:

   Now, here comes the sad news..

   Despite Claudette introducing 28 backs last year, retailers have been slow on the uptake in stocking them. After doing some research into where I could buy another Claudette bra in a 28 back, I came across a few US retailers (e.g. Faire Frou Frou and Amanda May), but was left frustrated by a lack of 28 backs available in the UK. 

   Claudette is currently stocked at SelfridgesASOS and Beautifully Undressed but none of these retailers stock 28 backs. Not one to take no for an answer, I decided to contact some of Claudette's past and present retailers and was interested by some of the feedback. One ex-stockist stated that they stopped stocking Claudette largely due to costly US import rates and higher price points than other brands. Other retailers expressed interest in stocking Claudette in the future (Large Cup Lingerie) and excitingly, Beautifully Undressed said that they are aiming to stock 28 backs in the Claudette A/W14 collection! Although my research yielded some positive feedback, there is still a way to go in getting 28 backs stocked at more retailers...

   A little while ago, Marielle at Petite & Plentiful started up the 'Operation Claudette 28' campaign, as she ran across the same lack of 28 backs in Claudette available at UK retailers. If you are a 28 back or think that a company should stock Claudette in a 28 back, please get in touch with them to express your interest! One tweet or email could well have an effect on a retailer's buying decisions!


Let me know what you think of Claudette's lingerie and please leave a comment if you'd be interested in UK (and other worldwide) retailers stocking 28 backs in Claudette!