Disclosure: I received these products free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Rosy feels like a classic French lingerie brand. It is exactly that, but I don’t mean to state the obvious. Its sensibility is elegant and refined, with understated colors and lace as a main novelty feature. According to its website, the brand sells mostly bras and panties, along with some sleepwear. It is divided into mini collections, which are each defined by an adjective like “L’Honorable,” “La Frivole,” and “La Piquante.” I chose to review a set from “L’Exaltante”– who wouldn’t want to exhilarate in their underwear?
Rosy’s website (translated by Google from French to English) says that the brand was founded in 1947, and in its early days focused on garments that enhanced the curves of a woman’s body. In 1989, the brand launched a hosiery line, and in the 2000s it began to celebrate its own vintage heritage.
I was not familiar with Rosy until it was brought to my attention by the British online shop, Hepburn and Leigh, which carries a selection of Rosy. I chose the L’Exaltante Padded Bra (available in 32A-36D at Hepburn and Leigh) and High Waisted Brief (available in XS-L) because I love the piecing of the black lace against the black patterned mesh. The set strikes a beautiful balance of referring to retro styling of the 50s while feeling modern enough for everyday use. There’s a bit of pinup nostalgia, especially with the brief, butit didn’t feel literally vintage to me.
First, the brief. I generally prefer low rise bikinis; they sit below the waist of modern pants and they tend to stay in place on my body shape. But I love the look of high waisted briefs, partly because I’ve always respected and enjoyed the retrospection of vintage, and partly because waists are on their way up in fashion, so our eyes are all adjusting to higher waists, which are feeling fresh and relevant. This journey to the natural waist, of course, may be only affecting those of us who spend quality time with fashion. The caveat that big panties are man repellers still rings true in my experience. My boyfriend’s diplomatic response to the L’Exaltante set was that he liked the bra better than “those.”
Despite this feedback, I have only exultant praise for the L’Exaltante High Waisted Brief.
It’s funny to divide this panty up conversationally into my favorite parts since the prettiness of the unified whole is maybe more discussion-worthy than each of its attributes. But, because it’s fun to deep-dive into lingerie design, here are my favorite parts, each with a dedicated paragraph below: front piecing, elastic, body fabric, overall silhouette, use under clothes.
The proportions of the piecing in front is lovely. At the center, floral lace is overlaid on beige mesh, and this piece is flanked by narrow inserts of sheer swiss dot mesh. The piecing is conceptually simple, but shows an artistic attention to proportion. It refers to the structure of a shaping girdle of the 50s, where there might have been a similarly shaped front panel that provided support. Panels in the L’Exaltante brief of course are not meant to give support or to minimize, but are decorative. I like the contrasting levels of sheerness with the opaque body, sheer mesh, and lined lace.
All joints on this decorative piecing are finished with 1/4″ soft elastic binding, which then extends in a continuous piece around the leg openings and is used again at the waist. This elastic is clean looking and pretty, and I like the matte finish. It can be hard to find narrow elastic that does not dig into the body and create obvious elastic lines, but I find that this elastic–combined with the careful specifications the design team created–keeps the garment in place while not digging. For me, it fits true to size.
The body fabric is fantastic. It is lightweight polyamide, which feels soft, strong, secure, and smooth. Aesthetically, it’s a great choice to modernize a classic silhouette, and for utility, it’s the right weight for a larger garment like this that has a lot of fabric coverage, where a heavier fabric might be too bulky. It is light enough to be shirred at the center back seam without creating bumps. This modern detail allows the center back seam to hug into the bum more than it would without shirring. I think it’s cute but in this case I found the shirring placement to be a bit higher on the seam than I would like.
I find this silhouette flattering and sexy. It was popular in the 50s, when curvy silhouettes were idealized more than they are now in popular culture. A high waisted brief with full coverage behind is somewhat out of favor in our era since it does not necessarily have a visually minimizing effect on the lower half of a body. It celebrates curves, and for this reason I like it.
I chose to wear this set on a day when I was wearing a one-piece outfit. The underwear wouldn’t have worked with any of my pants that sit below the natural waist, so I was left with the option of either high waisted separates or one-piece. I liked the contrast (that only I knew about) of wearing this gorgeous retro set under a trendy, modern denim romper. It turns out that it was a perfect foundation for this outfit. Until I wore this very secure brief that doesn’t move anywhere, I hadn’t realized that my regular low rise bikinis do shift around a bit throughout the day under loose clothes.
Now for the bra. What I like visually about the bra is similar to what I like about the brief. The pattern mixing in the brief, floral lace over beige mesh and sheer swiss dot mesh, is enhanced in the bra with the addition of opaque beige lining at the bra cup and center front band. This creates an interesting ombre effect of more opaqueness at the center front, medium opaqueness at the outer cups, and sheerness at the wings at the side and back.
Like the brief, the bra has soft elastic binding over the piecing seams in front and along the entire top. A version of the same elastic forms the front straps, which are wider than many modern bra straps and lend a slightly vintage feel because of this. The back straps are shinier grosgrain elastic with Rosy branding woven into them. To me, this branding feels a bit visually intrusive in the otherwise pretty and unified looking garment–but it’s in back and not an aesthetic deal-breaker.
The lining of the cups is slightly unusual in its construction. Rather than being a pre-formed cup as in most lined bras, this one is seamed at the same joints as the lace and mesh on the exterior. Seaming the lining along with the exterior fabric allows for a few things: neater seams; the upper cup can be unlined; the joints of the piecing can be curved to create the unlined acute angle where they meet. It’s very pretty, though for me it created a less rounded shape than I generally like. Where they meet, the three pieces of the cup are a little protrusive, which contributes to a slightly pointy silhouette, reminiscent of the 50s. The seams are also a little crispy to the touch; they feel like a structured garment, not like breast. This is all in keeping with the subtly retro sensibility of the L’exaltante set, so I don’t think of it as a drawback. However, it’s the kind of bra that’s best AS the main event, rather than as a foundation to disappear under clothes.
It fit true to size and was comfortable enough to wear all day without noticing any chafing. Overall, I think these pieces are beautiful and loved wearing them. Both are occasion pieces that will sit in my lingerie drawer for specific use since they both have slightly unusual fits that I wouldn’t work under, for example, mid-rise jeans and a tee shirt. I am always glad to meet classic lingerie brands and learn about how their designers incorporate the brand’s heritage into modern pieces, and I would be interested to check out pieces from Rosy’s other collections.
What do you think about Rosy lingerie? Do you like high waisted briefs?