Note: In all the photos of me in this bra, the top is what it looks like naturally and the bottom is what it would look like if the straps were shorter. Any comments about my hairy armpits will not be approved. The colors have been adjusted to show a more accurate representation of the bra, so my skin looks a little odd.
Today I’m reviewing the Bravissimo Alana in a 36L. I chose to try the Shorts in a 2X, which is the largest size they come in. I’ve heard some people say that all the Bravissimo L cups fit the same. I do not agree with that statement because the Alana and Nordic Rose are completely different in every way. Check out my review of the Bravissimo Nordic Rose in the same size to compare the fit differences.
If you’ve ever read any of my other bra related posts, you’ll know that I’ve been on the hunt for bras in my size. It’s not an easy feat considering that I wear a 36L and have wide breast roots. I’ve always been reluctant to try Bravissimo because it’s expensive for me to order from the US, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to resell in case their bras didn’t fit me correctly. Because of this, I was absolutely thrilled when Bravissimo was willing to work with me and send me two sets to review on my blog. I’m an incredibly honest person (almost too honest) and thus my opinions are 100% genuine and are not impacted by the fact that I received this for free.
The Alana is a 3 part balconette, the two bottom parts sharing a vertical seam and the top section coming in horizontally and then curving up towards the top. The appearance and construction of this bra reminds me of some Curvy Kate offerings, namely the Portia and Gia. Despite not being a fan of the Panache Rhapsody’s Mint colorway, Bravissimo’s version of mint is brighter and more saturated which looks better on my skin tone. I have the three bras I mentioned pictured below in the order that they’ve been listed. I’m just going to say right now that this bra isn’t the best fit for me personally, but I love how it looks under clothing. At the end of the day, bras are most often seen under clothing and the fit issues I have seem like something I can fix easily with a needle and thread.
My biggest issue with this bra is the straps and the band. The band is extremely loose, and I’m able to fasten it on the tightest hooks immediately. This is a sharp contrast from the Nordic Rose in the same size because I can’t even close the Nordic Rose without an extender. The straps are very wide in diameter, which balances out the weight of a heavy bust, but they’re extremely long and widely spaced on my shoulders. I have them on the tightest setting and they still slide way off my shoulders. I have to use a bra strap holder to keep them from falling down. I find that I have to adjust them throughout the day because they tend to loosen over time. Keep in mind that I’m short (barely 5’2″) and have high set breasts, so most bra straps are way too long and wide set for me. The only two brands that make straps I get along with are Elomi and Ewa Michalak (at least in the FB cut.) Someone of average height won’t have these problems. If you compare the Nordic Rose and Alana’s straps, these are much more widely spaced due to the Alana’s balconette construction.
You’ll see from the pictures that the cups aren’t a perfect fit. The gore is very far away from my chest, and the wires won’t stay in my inframammary fold. I have some orange in a glass going on because of that. I think my boobs might be too wide for this bra. It’s worth mentioning that if I mimic the appearance of shorter straps, the gore is closer to my chest and the bra gives me a generally more supportive fit. I think what’s going on here is the same thing that happened with my Panache Tango, which was fixed once I altered the straps to be shorter. This is a simple fix that can be done in about 10 minutes and is something I do to most of my bras. It’s also possible that the 36L isn’t the best size for me, so if the alterations don’t work I’ll be looking into trying both the 36KK and the 38L to see which fits better.
The shape I get in the Alana is closer to the Brasihate “green shape”, which means it takes on a natural and slightly pointed appearance. Once again, if I fix the straps the bra gets a lot rounder, although I don’t mind the slight point. I think it looks great under T-shirts and looks a lot more natural than a super round shape. It shows the size of my breasts without making them too “out there”. I feel like this bra will fit me very similarly to the Curvy Kate Gia once it’s altered, which gives me so much hope because the Gia was my favorite bra of all time when I was able to fit into it.
The wires are the perfect width and length for me, as they stop right at the end of my breast tissue and don’t dig into my armpits. They’re softer than Panache’s underwires, but not as soft as the ones used by Curvy Kate or Elomi. The wires in the Nordic Rose are pretty much identical in terms of comfort and support, but I find that the Nordic Rose doesn’t have as drastic of an angle and seems to suit me better. The Alana is incredibly comfortable, and it doesn’t tend to dig in or rub me anywhere even after wearing it for over 12 hours the first day. If you’re wondering about the red lines on my chest, they’re from the combination of trying on and taking photos of myself in 10 bras in the span of an hour, and the fact that my skin is fair and sensitive.
Despite having a few issues with this bra, I definitely recommend trying it out if other Balconette styles work out for you. I personally do better in Full Cup styles, which is why the Nordic Rose is a better option for me than the Alana. I’ll definitely make a follow up post once I alter the straps on this bra. I love the way it looks on me and think it would be perfect with tiny alterations. I don’t feel like this review is as accurate as it could be because the loose straps and band are throwing everything off. Consider this a part one of two. I want to be clear that none of these issues are the fault of Bravissimo, because this bras fits amazingly on women of average height. I’m attaching a link to Bratabase so you can see how it looks on someone else in my size range. Her boobs aren’t as picky as mine when it comes to finding bras. I’ll also show how it looks on me under a shirt.
Just like the Nordic Rose shorts, I wasn’t crazy about the shorts here either. They’re too low to be high rise, but are too high to be low rise. It causes them to hit me at a weird part of my body, which makes them slide down and shift around during wear. If they had a larger size, I’d probably prefer them so that I can pull them up as a pseudo “high waist” option. If I had to choose between the Alana underwear and the Nordic Rose underwear, I’d choose the Nordic Rose because I’m not comfortable with completely sheer underwear. I won’t be showing myself in them because it’s pretty NSFW.
Appearance: 7 out of 10
Fit: 5 out of 10
Comfort: 8 out of 10
Quality: 9 out of 10
Shape: 5 out of 10
EDIT 5/22/2016: Head on over to this post to see how I used the Extra Strength Strap Saver to save the fit of this bra.