Lingerie Review: Miss Mandalay ‘Paris’ Bra Set

Disclosure: The lingerie discussed here was sent to me free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

miss_mandalay_cobalt_blue_bra_2

Miss Mandalay is a brand I’ve known of since the very beginnings of my blog. When the founder, Lorraine Morton, started the company back in 2005, they were one of the few full-bust bra specialists around; no one else had really caught on to the value of appealing to the D cup and up market with fashionable lingerie that also fit really well.

I remember being enamored of Miss Mandalay’s sheer cut-and-sewn designs even back in 2008 (the height of my push-up t-shirt bra phase), and wishing that their bras came in B cups. Miss Mandalay has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and a number of other publications. In addition to lingerie, the label also makes beautiful swimwear in fuller bust sizes.

As of right now, their size range goes from 28–38 C–HH cups with knickers in sizes XS -XL. Bras are priced between £36.00 and £46.00 (approximately $57.00 and $73.00), while knickers are priced between £20.00 and £30.00 ($32.00 and $47.00). I received the ‘Paris’ Cobalt Blue balcony bra and ruched brief in sizes 34C and L, respectively.miss_mandalay_cobalt_blue_bra

The first thing I noticed is that this bra is really well constructed. I know when you’re spending upwards of $50 on an undergarment, you want to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, and you definitely do with this piece. The mesh, specifically on the lower 2/3rd’s of the cups, is very firm and supportive, while softer mesh and satin ribbon comprise the upper third. There are no ‘boob slings’ or any other devices inside the bra cup, and a considerably stretchier powermesh (a bit like vintage girdle fabric) constitutes the band. The back is a 3-column/2-row hook and eye closure.

miss_mandalay_bra_front

Now to talk about fit. My first impression was that this bra is tight. As in really, really tight…uncomfortably so. And I don’t just mean the band was tight; the gore was tight (it dug into my sternum), and the cups were tight (the underwires felt like they were pulling my boobs inward). In short, this bra felt…aggressive. It’s a gorgeous piece, but it’s also very definitely meant to do some serious boob shaping.

miss_mandalay_bra_side

I wonder if the uncomfortable tightness of Miss Mandalay’s bras has to do with their origins as a full bust brand. As we’ve talked about a few times on the blog before, heavier breasts need a tighter band to offer support and keep the breast tissue aloft. Fuller busts may also respond more favorably to the kind of inward pulling this bra does. I also imagine that softer breasts would respond better to this kind of shaping. But it’s a little too much for me.

miss_mandalay_bra_back

As the day went on, the band did start to feel a bit looser, but the digging in sensation from the gore never went away. While testing out this bra, I wound up having to take it off sooner than I really wanted to because the discomfort became too great. However, I did find the depth of the cups to be just right; though shallower breasts may have some issues filling out the ribbon-edged upper portion of the cups (you can see a little bit of puckering in my photos). I also thought the knickers were excellent. I was worried the elastic would dig into my bottom or waist, but the panty is just as high quality and well-constructed (sans tightness) as the bra.

Overall, I do think this is a great bra and a great buy; it just doesn’t work very well with my body type and my personal preferences. Nor do I think that going up a band size would fix things as that would likely create even more gapping and puckering in the cups (and sister sizing’s not an option here since there are no B cups for this brand). That said, if you like a tight band and if you feel like your breasts need to moved towards the center of your chest, this would be a good purchase for you. ‘Paris’ is one of Miss Mandalay’s continuity styles, and it comes in a ton of great colors every season.

Have you tried Miss Mandalay? What did you think of it? For reviews from other lingerie bloggers on this same style, check out The Lingerie Lesbian, Sweet Nothings, Undiegamer, and Becky’s Boudoir.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Chief Editor of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, my little site has become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and it's been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every woman deserves gorgeous underpinnings that help her feel comfortable and confident. Body snark free zone since 2012.

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12 Comments

  1. 12/09/13 at 12:12

    I have this bra in hot pink and had the same problems – my thoughts are that the tightness stems from the fact that the wire used is the same type as in a full bust bra, where the weight of the breast is enough to ‘open’ it enough to sit comfortably against your body. Which doesn’t really happen in smaller busts like mine, so I guess the tightness is to compensate. Unfortunately that makes for an uncomfortable bra – which makes me sad as it’s so pretty and I want to wear it!

    • 12/09/13 at 12:20

      That’s a really excellent point. I know I’ve read several conversations about bra fit issues that can happen when grading across sizes, and it’s interesting that the fit issues I’m having here may be from grading a full bust bra down to smaller busts. It really just illustrates that there’s more into bra construction than simply making something bigger or smaller.

  2. 12/09/13 at 13:11

    It’s also a U shaped underwire, which is great for fuller rounder busts, but not so great for teardrop shapes.

  3. 12/09/13 at 13:27

    Hi !
    What your describe with underwires, I have it too when I wear full bust bras whith sturdy underwires. I wear sizes between 30DD-E-32D-DD, and I prefer polish bras for smaller sizes (from Only her and Ewa Michalak) because they uses light-weight underwires (and also low coverage, narrow gores, very shallow etc but it is not the question here). So even with my “full bust size” I am not full busted, and full bust bras are not confortable even in the good size. So bad you have this issue too if you like the bra… Maybe you can replace thoses painfull underwires by ones from one of your old bra ?

  4. 12/09/13 at 14:15

    I have wanted to try this company’s swim bikini tops for a while but my questions regarding size and style for my shape of breasts has gone unanswered on their Facebook. I must say I am not pleased with their customer service so far.
    Thank you for the review though: this bra reminds me of Claudette’s Dessous but it is always hard to tell online. I am shallow enough I don’t quite fill out the top of the Dessous so I am sure I would fair no better in this one.

    • 12/09/13 at 21:21

      With small brands – and Miss Mandalay has even fewer staff than KMD – you’ll get a far, far better response to email than to facebook for customer service stuff. I’m online plenty but CS queries on facebook or similar still fox me, and I know Lorraine doesn’t do her facebook much herself.

  5. 12/09/13 at 15:58

    Beautiful color! I’ve still yet to try this brand and the bra is pretty but your review was quite helpful re: fit.

    • 12/09/13 at 17:52

      I’m so glad! If you do a review, I’d really love to read it. :-)

  6. 12/09/13 at 17:13

    Thank you for mentioning me, Cora! I so agree with you about the quality of Miss Mandalay bras: they are impeccably constructed and built for lift! The blue for this version of Paris is aboslutely stunning. I too found the band to run snug in this colorway (so much so that in my “usual” size, the straps were practically under my arms instead of down my back), so it’s interesting to note that it seems to be snug across the full size range. Loved reading your thoughts!

    • 12/09/13 at 17:51

      Thanks for stopping by, Sweets! It is really interesting that the tightness seems to be a common concern between sizes. If I was able to sister size down in this brand, I totally would, as the bras are gorgeous.

  7. Mia Culpa
    12/09/13 at 17:16

    I have both a halter bikini swimsuit and the Amelie set in 32G. I think some of their fit issues exist regardless of size, in that I think they run small. The bikini top is VERY firm, and takes quite a bit of time to break in, and the shape is never quite as lifted as I would like (but, y’know, halter top, so total YMMV). The Amelie is my favorite bra right now and fits fantastically since the materials are much more forgiving. It also is incredibly sexy in a grown-up way.

    • 12/09/13 at 17:50

      I think the Miss Mandalay ‘Amelie’ is gorgeous. Seriously…such a sexy, sophisticated bra. Thanks for the fit notes about the swimsuits as well. Sometimes I get inquiries from readers about the fit, and that’s really good info to have.

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