Luxury Lingerie Review: Harlow & Fox Eleanor Lilac Silk Bra

Disclosure: This bra was purchased for me by The Lingerie Addict. All opinions are my own.

 



It feels like every lingerie line has called their products “luxury” at some point. The term is so watered down and used as a marketing technique so frequently it almost means nothing anymore.

Some brands, however, are true luxury. UK-based, full-bust brand, Harlow & Fox, is one of them. Not only are these items priced at actual luxury prices (think bras over $150, briefs for $100, gowns over $400, and $500+ robes), but the craftsmanship and materials – like custom-dyed silks and actual couture lace – are the epitome of luxury.

Even better, all Harlow & Fox garments are designed for full-bust bra wearers. The line includes bras through a G cup and gowns in sizes S through L with two different bust size options for a better fit. The full bust lingerie market is growing, but popular “luxury” bra makers (think Agent Provocateur and La Perla) often stop at a DD cup. Needless to say, I was stoked to try this line for myself.

Harlow & Fox’s original group, Eleanor, was recently released in a perfect pale lilac color. The range now includes band size 28 and cup size GG, making Eleanor the brand’s most size-inclusive group. I’ve always loved this silhouette with its classic lines and ultra-fine lace, and the color is right up my alley, so the choice was easy.

First Impressions

Harlow & Fox items arrive carefully-wrapped and packaged in a gift box, which is elevated by a gold wax seal stamped with the Harlow & Fox logo. Mine came with a bottle of their silk washing liquid, which seems to be unscented (or very lightly scented), which I appreciate.

I’ve seen Harlow & Fox lingerie in person before (and my favorite silk robe is from the label, but there’s something magical about opening this box, to a bra this fine, that actually belongs to me. It’s seriously beautiful.

Photo by Hannah Rimm

The silk satin is the finest silk satin in my entire bra drawer. It’s weightier and more lustrous than the silk used in bras I own from other luxury brands like Fifi Chachnil and Fraulein Annie. The stitching is impeccable. Holding this piece feels more like holding a fine silk evening gown instead of just a bra.

Every other detail of this bra is gorgeous, too. The lace is delicate and light. The glass pearl is heavy and looks like a jewelry component. In fact, this whole garment is reminiscent of a piece of jewelry.

The bra is clearly engineered for larger breasts, but in ways that don’t feel bulky or overwhelming. Mesh lines both the center gore and the small panels on the outsides of the cups for more support. The straps are sturdy and thick, but not unnecessarily wide.

Add in the fact this bra is ethically made, and the $180 price tag is totally justified.

Size and Fit

I ordered a 32F UK in this bra, my typical size. In general, most bras in my size fit me in a way with which I’m happy.

I have pretty balanced breasts and am not particularly shallow or full on top. I don’t need loads of support to be happy with a bra. I like having a lot of different bra shapes in my wardrobe from super-pointy retro styles to rounder, more modern silhouettes. I don’t mind if my band is a little loose or a little snug, and a tiny bit of spillage or room in the cup doesn’t bother me too much.

Photo by Hannah Rimm

That said, as much as I love the branding, quality, fabric, and general aesthetic of this bra, I was a little disappointed with the fit. First, the band is very snug. I am pretty squishy and consider myself a fan of a snug band. But this is so tight, it’s difficult for me to fasten.

My weight fluctuates frequently,and I am at the higher end of my typical weight range right now. However, this bra is still snugger than any other 32 band bras I have, save for one Japanese bra I own in the same size. Loose straps when you first buy a bra are great, but my straps have to be loosened all the way for this bra to even go on my body.

This shot shows how the elastic is fully stretched on the bottom of the band. Photo by Hannah Rimm

The band is made entirely of luxurious silk, with no power mesh in sight, so I’d assume that’s the reason why. If you’re a fan of a super snug band, or have trouble finding bras in your band size (26 bands, anyone?), you’ll be happy. Otherwise, I would absolutely size up in the back.

Photo by Hannah Rimm

What bums me out the most about this bra is the cup. The wire feels perfect, and I am used to the pointy-ness of many UK brands, but the cup creates a downward-angled point I’m not a fan of.

It almost seems like the bottom half of the cup is too short, pushing my apex lower than usual. Plus, the folded mesh beneath the beautiful lace digs in, making it look like I’m bursting out of the top of the lace.

Detail of the mesh beneath the lace pushing into my tissue. Photo by Hannah Rimm

The mesh acts as additional stabilizer and helps keep my tissue in place beneath the fine lace, but it’s too snug.

Without the mesh, this cup might be an excellent fit, since the fabric parts of the cup and the wire both feel pretty good. I’d be interested in seeing what a cup size bigger would look like, or maybe even a 34E sister size. However, I worry the wire might be too wide. If you have very shallow breasts, this might be a good fit for you. But for me, it’s a bummer.

This bra is so stunning. It’s beautifully made and makes me feel like a literal princess when I wear it. As an item, it’s incredible. I just wish I liked how I look in it!

Final thoughts

I’m disappointed in the fit of this bra, but I still consider it to be, literally, the most beautiful bra I own. Despite the major fit issues with the cups, I think one band size bigger would make this bra totally wearable for me, which, given how the cups look, says a lot about how impressed I am with the overall quality and feel. After all, given the price and the fine materials, this is definitely a special occasion item, not something you’d wear under your t-shirt to go to the grocery store.

Harlow & Fox is one of the only brands today making truly luxurious DD+ bras. Do these fit issues make that a moot point? I don’t think so, but if you’re looking for a bra that’s absolute perfection in both construction and fit, this might not be it.

Save

Save

Save


Article Tags :
Quinne
Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is based in Brooklyn, NY where she runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie. She is also a textile designer, a watercolor illustrator, a writer, and a consultant for the lingerie industry.

11 Comments on this post

  1. Bubble says:

    Harlow and Fox really makes some beautiful things, nice to see a review of one of their products. Even though i’m not big busted enough for their bras I might get a pair of their knickers in the future, the new Eleanor colourway in deep red surely is tempting.

  2. parsnip says:

    those monogrammed tap shorts are also VERY choice

    • Linh says:

      They’re by Glitter and the Moon! Just got some for my bridesmaids and myself. They come wrapped up cutely and they’re a good heft in poly satin.

  3. wendybien says:

    It’s such a gorgeous piece! A too-tight band can really throw off the fit of the cups, so if you didn’t try it with an extender for this review, I’d do that first to see where to go size-wise with an exchange, either 34E (if the band extender fixes the odd cup fit) or 34F. I would LOVE to see an update if you do exchange it! I get this shape with some bras regardless (e.g. every single Panache) because the apex is too low compared to my natural shape, but in some, this fit is artificially induced by size issues and can be fixed by better sizing.
    Good to know that the bands run tight (especially for those who may have thought they were just below the offered band size range–they may be able to get a good fit after all)/

  4. lia says:

    That lilac is a beautiful color! I have two Harlow & Fox sets in 30DD: the indigo Eleanor and the Alexandra. I did find Eleanor’s band to run tight as well, but I had no issues with the strap length. I’m incredibly fortunate that the fit is so compatible with my shape! I was impressed with the silk lined cups which make it very comfortable against the skin.

  5. Thank you so much for such a well-thought-out review, and for all the lovely compliments on the garment itself – especially likening it to a “fine silk evening gown”, which I totally love, and is exactly how I want people to feel about what I’ve made!

    I am so sorry to hear you’ve had issues with the fit though! Luxury is nothing without comfort and fit, and though of course these are “special occasion” bras in many ways, they are most definitely designed to be worn and enjoyed as well-fitting garments that give a great shape and support – a special occasion could be an average Tuesday, after all! It would break my heart to think of anyone leaving their Harlow & Fox bra languishing in a drawer as it didn’t make them feel like their very best self to be wearing it, so although I’m happy you would still think it was wearable if the band was bigger, I definitely want to see if there’s a way to figure out what’s making it not work for you on the cups, as “wearable” isn’t the same as really loving it!

    As you rightly pointed out, it is an unfortunate side effect of using silk on the bands that they do have less flexibility than a power mesh band would. Silk feels lovely and looks lovely, but it does have its drawbacks in this sense, and though I decided the pros outweighed the cons with using it on the band in this way (as aesthetically, a mesh band just wouldn’t have the same look or design) it does mean there’s less variance with how much one size of band can fit a variety of people.

    As you mentioned you’re at the higher end of your typical fluctuation range now, perhaps that’s just pushed you over into being a better fit for a 34 band in ours at the moment, whereas your regular 32 band bras can stretch more to accommodate it?

    The cup is definitely not as it should be on you though, I agree. From the photo it looks like there’s just not enough volume in the cup overall to hold you properly, both with the bottom cup coming up a bit shallow on you (making the pointy shape) and the top compressing too much. Again, there’s not quite the same variance possible with using these kinds of laces as opposed to very stretchy ones, but without the layer of mesh underneath, there would be too much strain on the lace, and also the cup wouldn’t be able to hold its form as well, and go a bit “east/west” with the shape, so it is vital to have it there.

    Normally I would just suggest going up a cup size, but it’s interesting if the wire feels like it’s just right as it is. Of course, everyone’s body is different and sometimes some breast shapes just aren’t as suited to some bra shapes as others, which is great once you find a bra that works for your body, but less great if you find one that isn’t. However, considering how much the cup volume isn’t working for you, I would think the difference in the wires being possibly too wide by sizing up might be negligible compared to how much better it would sit with having more room for your breast volume overall – I would think if you wanted to try a 34F, that might be a good solution?

    The band being so tight on you probably isn’t helping the cup issues either, as it will be pulling everything taut too much, and the same for having the straps extended all the way down, which might also be able to be remedied once the band is working better for you in a 34, and then be able to give more uplift to the cups and avoid the “downward” point shape.

    Interestingly, we had quite a bit of feedback asking for shorter straps, so from SS17 (which this style is from) the straps were all made shorter – though since doing that, a few other customers have come back saying they preferred them the other way! So that’s definitely something we’ll be looking at in the next production run. Most people have seemed fine either way, but for what it’s worth in the meantime, we’re super happy to either lengthen or shorten straps as required for anyone who needs it, just drop us an email.

    Our returns/exchange rate on our website is around 8% currently (including exchanges bought in a mistaken size as a gift, swaps on coordinate/robe sizes or styles, or trying things from the outlet in a different size to usual when a regular one was out of stock) so usually there’s a relatively high chance of something fitting first time, but when it doesn’t, it’s always important to me to see if there’s either a way to find a solution, or to get some useful feedback from it, but hopefully switching sizes will be able to remedy these problems here for you!

    We’re also working on a bunch of improvements on the site at the moment, including free returns shipping, which will make it easier and cost-free to try things out if someone new to the brand is not sure of their size, and a testimonials/reviews section where customers can share how the garments work for their particular shape, so hopefully all of that will make things easier for new shoppers going forward too!

    Sorry this is such a long-winded response, but hopefully a different size will be able to make things work perfectly for you so you can properly enjoy wearing it! I’ll send you an email now and we can figure it out. Thanks for all the great feedback on all the other aspects of it too, and hopefully you can feel like a “literal princess”, but a well-fitted princess, very soon!

    • Crysta says:

      I have to reply to this comment to say that I’ve never had a piece of luxury lingerie before but have been considering treating myself. I read this review and wasn’t sure if Harlow & Fox would be the right choice, but seeing the depth, care, and speed of your reply, I’m sold! Heading to the website now!

  6. Holly Harlott says:

    I adore the lilac on you, it’s such a beautiful colour! I have two Harlow & Fox sets, the Serena and the Eleanor in indigo and I find that they fit me perfectly. The bras both have snug bands due to the wings being made of silk as opposed to power-mesh like you said, but I don’t find them uncomfortable or overly snug. I also have them in 32F funnily enough! But it does look like my breast shape is different than yours, I wouldn’t say shallow but I think they’re more narrow and closer set than yours. My underbust is also 30.5″ which accommodates for a little more room in the 32 band.

  7. Clare says:

    I have a 32F in the Octavia set and I had some fit issues at first similar to yours. However I eventually tried pushing it slightly higher at the back which seemed to resolve them by giving me a bit more length in the straps. It’s now one of my favourite sets to wear.

  8. sarahluv says:

    I’m usually a 30GG/H and I have just ordered this in a 30GG as I want to have one of their other sets custom made. I will report back.

  9. Kimberly says:

    Ohhhh! I have been wanting to try a Harlow & Fox for ages, but have been just a tiny bit past the offered size range. With the new GG and firm fitting band, this might actually fit! Shame that the size didn’t work for you, it would be interesting to know if a 34F solved all the issues with a slightly deeper cup and looser band. Super gorgeous though, I saw some photos of the new collections for FW17 and I really want to treat myself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *