I’ve always loved the idea of bralettes; they come in such lovely designs and look oh-so-comfortable with no wires, no padding etc. However, being a size 34DD, I have always been rather sceptical about whether they would support me or even lift my boobs up so I didn’t look like an ageing hippie. The only one I’ve ever been tempted to try on was from Kiss Me Deadly and, unfortunately, I seemed to be between a size large and extra large, so didn’t feel entirely comfortable purchasing one. Nevertheless, I didn’t ever stop coveting them and when Joanna’s Wardrobe launched their new range of own brand lingerie at the end of last year I was instantly drawn to their vintage style bralette, the Grace bra.
Joanna’s Wardrobe is a fantastic one-stop-shop for vintage inspired lingerie and stocks leading brands such as What Katie Did and Kiss Me Deadly alongside their own ranges. Their collection consists of fun and sexy pin up style items in red, black and white that can all be mixed and matched to create your own look. Bras retail at about £32, knickers between £14 and £20, and suspenders, girdles, clinchers and corselettes ranging from £32 up to £45.
The Grace bra only comes in black, which is a shame because it would be equally lovely in the red and white. There are four different styles of knickers to go with it, briefs, boy shorts, high waisted and French. I decided on the high waisted Ella knickers in matching black as I wanted to go for the fully fledged pin up look.
My package arrived very quickly within a couple of days and all beautifully wrapped up in black tissue with a pink ribbon. I always think that with lingerie the packaging makes all the difference. You’re buying something special, something that will make you feel good about yourself so having it arrived specially wrapped for you adds to that feeling of being special.
I was even more excited once I’d opened the package and pulled them out. Both items, particularly the bra, look like genuine vintage items and really are beautifully made. There were no loose threads, no dodgy stitching and nothing looked puckered. One thing I did notice, though, was that the satin on the bra was different to the silky satin on the knickers, which I thought a little disappointing, especially as the other bras in their range appear to be made from the silky one. However, it is possible that the amazing shape of the cups may not have been so easily achieved with the more silky satin.
The cups are completely unlined and have no padding, under wires or boning, yet they still stay in a pointed, bullet bra shape. This allows the bra to lift and separate your boobs to give you a definite 1950s silhouette. All of the seams are finished beautifully inside with overtape leaving none of the stitching exposed, so there is nothing that is going to irritate you. It feels as if the lace and satin has been stiffened somehow which gives them a slightly scratchy feel when you handle it. However, this is not noticeable at all when wearing and both fabrics feel quite smooth against the skin.
The support comes from the elastic band around the bottom of the bra and the strong, adjustable straps. The band is very soft and as this bra is sized using back measurement and cup size, rather than small, medium, large, it fitted perfectly and barely moves during the day, unlike some modern bras. I needed to pull the straps up quite a lot to feel completely supported and found that they sat slightly more towards my shoulders than how they do on the model pictured above.
The back closure is the standard two hook and eyes but these are quite possibly the most secure ones I’ve ever known on a bra. I’ve even struggled to undo them a couple of times!
The lace is quite a standard design that I have seen on a number of clothing and lingerie items and because of its density it gives you good coverage, still leaving a little bit to the imagination!
The knickers, although rather plain, are completely stunning when on. The satin is very slinky but is thick enough that it gives you a little support at the front and is finished off with the same matching bow as the bra. The shape is pure pin up, think Bettie Page rather than granny knickers. Rather than coming right up to the natural waist, they sit just below, allowing your belly button to peer over the top edge!
The back is made entirely from a delicate sheer mesh giving anyone lucky enough to see a cheeky surprise! The back seam is left visible through the mesh which adds to its suggestiveness and the shape of the knickers finishes just at the top of the thighs. I personally found the elastic around the leg holes a little tight. Having bought a large I would’ve expected these to be looser to accommodate a slightly larger thigh. This can be a little unsightly under tight clothing but is still comfortable enough to wear under loose ones.
This set really is beautiful, is reasonably priced and looks stunning on. I’ve already had a lot of wear out of it, teaming it up with the Kiss Me Deadly Van Doren 6 Strap Suspender Belt, the Kiss Me Deadly Pinstripe Longline Girdle and the What Katie Did 1940s Style French Knickers. Joanna’s Wardrobe are a fantastic company, having purchased from them a couple of times and have a really helpful customer service. I would highly recommend checking them out next time you fancy a little vintage lingerie and, trust me, I will be buying the white Ella set!