Review: BeMe NYC
Disclosure: I received these products free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
BeMeNYC is a fairly new brand (out of New York, of course) featuring pretty and simple renditions of classic styles. They're also moderately priced, with bras in the $30-$40 range and panties averaging $13. The fabrics are pretty and comfortable, the construction quality is good --- all told, I may have just found my new go-to brand for basics! I was offered a credit sufficient to buy one set from each collection and actually ended up buying a couple extra pieces. Of course, I do have a couple minor concerns/nitpicks...
As far as fit and sizing goes, at present they are stocking only limited sizes, 32B-38D for most bras, although select styles may also include 32A, 38DD and 40D. Overall, I would say the bras run true to size, bordering on small (or perhaps merely closer to European/British sizing than American). The panties also run a bit small --- if you are between sizes on their chart, I would definitely recommend going with the larger one. Although they do have a really great amount of elasticity when on the body, the panties seem really small when off of it, which can be a little disconcerting. I found myself swapping my S for a M because I feel it creates a smoother line under clothes. I also find it somewhat irksome that their beige fabrication is titled "Really Nude," even though it shows up as stark ivory on even their caucasian models' skin. And, lastly, it's slightly concerning that my items had CA Prop 65 warnings on them, but since even Starbucks coffee features this warning, I think some research and a future post are more in order than serious consternation.
Some good stuff about brand policies and values: BeMe offers free shipping within the contiguous United States as well as free returns within 15 days. It's not the fastest shipping, as they use FedEx ground, but returns are super easy, with a return label included in your box. So even if you do end up with the wrong size, it's easily fixed. I actually lost my return label and they emailed me another one. They are partnered with the "Free the Girls" charity (which "provides job opportunities to women rescued from sex trafficking"), and they give this "Begiving" philosophy billing equal to their product categories at the top of their site as well as offering a 20% discount in exchange for a contribution of gently worn bras. Lastly, though they don't beat you over the head with it (in fact, it's not even mentioned on their site, only in the press pack I received), their models are minimally styled with hair and makeup, and their photos are unretouched. (For further thoughts on the efficacy of these sorts of campaigns, I highly recommend Cora's "Why I'm Not Very Excited by the 'Aerie Real' Campaign.")
The Invisibles Collection
I haven't had a new sports bra in, oh, five years, so I picked up the Invisibles Relax Bra ($28) in a size small to fulfill that purpose. This isn't a dedicated sports bra, which would explain why it has (removable) padding. I know some people are miffed by padding in sports bra; personally, I am entirely unfazed by it. Despite not having any closures, it's so stretchy that I don't feel like I'm doing a workout just to put it on (hooray!), and it offers good support and shaping while worn. I haven't put it very heavily through its paces (...there's a reason it took me five years to bother replacing my last sports bra) but I found it totally adequate for my Wii Fit routines, and next I'll be trying it layered as if it were a tank for casual wear (perhaps at swing dancing class), as recommended by a reviewer on BeMe's site.
Originally I'd ordered the Invisibles Boyshort ($13) in an XS (why did I think my hips would ever be XS?), which looked laughably tiny in my hands and a little too boxy (though okay in size) when I tried it on. All BeMe panties ship with a liner to facilitate home try-on and simple returns, so I switched it out for the Invisibles Hipster ($13), size small. I wish I'd gone straight for the medium, because I prefer underwear that skims my body without dimpling my hipline at all. On their size chart, my waist is squarely a S, but my hips tiptoed across the line into M territory. Since all their panties are low-rise, I would recommend going by hip rather than waist for sizing. Other than that, everything about this panty is pretty self-explanatory. The cut is slightly cheeky (which I like), the rise is nice and low, the fabric is super soft and very stretchy, and of course, there's no side seam. Even the gusset seaming is practically, well, invisible. Though this style also comes in navy blue, orange, and beige, I stuck with classic black, because you can pretty much never have enough plain black panties, especially those that are free of seaming and textured detail.
The Essensuals Collection
By now I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm obsessed with bralettes, so of course I had to try the Essensuals Bralette ($26), size S for my 30D bust. Featuring double-layered mesh with standard adjustable straps, a hook back, and darted shaping in the front, it's a pretty cute style. Unfortunately, the fit didn't quite work out for me, as it lacked sufficient depth and cut into my overbust with a little bit of quad-boob dimpling that was visible even through my clothes. I passed it onto a friend. I wouldn't recommend this style for more than a B or perhaps C cup with a less rounded bust shape. If memory serves, the band was also on the loose size for me, so I also wouldn't recommend it if you typically wear smaller than a 32 band.
The Essensuals Wire-Free Light Push Up Bra ($32) in a 32C seemed surprisingly small in the cup when first I ordered it, and I nearly exchanged it for a 32D. I felt I was spilling out on both sides. The next time I put it on, though, it seemed fine, so it may have just been a fluke of hormones that day. I have noticed that the cups are a bit wide set; as a push-up bra, I can't deny that my cleavage looks fantastic, but I do feel as if my naturally close-set breasts are falling away from the outer depth of the cup and sort of pooling together in the plunge opening. On the bright side, it does well in the washing machine, which is great if you are lazy about such things. (I am.) Do note that while this style is wire-free, there's a short piece of plastic boning where the wing attaches, which I find mildly irritating as it is prone to collapsing into a curve and chafing at its end. But then, my bras and my underbust corsets often seem to disagree in this way where they meet.
The Essensuals Hipster ($14) is not so different from the Invisibles Hipster. Originally I'd ordered a small, but then switched it to a medium. Instead of a nylon-elastane blend, the Essensuals Hipster is 90% modal, and it's also super soft and stretchy. (Downside: it's only available in black, beige, and "Autumn" orange.) The gusset has one exposed edge on the interior, finished with an overlock stitch. Unlike the Invisibles Hipster, it has a slight gathering elastic down the center back. Either panty makes a great daywear basic, but I think Invisibles has the overall advantage in color, seamlessness, gusset construction, and a $1 price difference.
The Rough and Tumble Collection
Rough and Tumble was by far my favorite group, still offering classic styles but with more feminine styling in the form of lots of lace and the addition of a magenta color choice for certain styles. I picked up two bras, the Lace Demi Bra ($38) in 32C and the Lace Bralette ($32) in small. The former is... well, exactly what you'd expect. It runs pretty true to size, creates a modern bust shape that seems as if it would be accommodating for a variety of natural breast shapes, the construction is good, and it is both pretty and comfortable. It's available in black, orange, or magenta. For $38, I think it would make a really great everyday bra if you fall within its limited size range (32B-38D).
The Lace Bralette was an instant favorite with me. The styling is cute and flirty, from the lace/mesh combination to the double straps and wide back. But more than that, it stands out amongst the increasing number of bralettes in my collection, providing just about as much lift as Dita's Madame X and Anita's Lace Rose Soft Bra, which is all the more impressive when you consider how light the construction is and the fact that the band isn't at all adjustable (it's a front clasping style). More so than any other bralette I've tried, I feel like it really has two distinct cups and it holds the breasts apart from each other. If you find most bralettes don't have enough cup depth for you, this bralette just may be the solution.
The Rough & Tumble Lace French Knicker ($20) was another favorite. First of all, it's just plain pretty --- I love the cut, with a low rise, low legline in front, and cheeky rear, and the all-lace construction feels mentally decadent while being physically totally comfortable. I found the small to be a really comfortable fit, skimming my curves, and it wasn't too textural even for a clingy jersey dress. It's a style that's unobtrusive (visually and physically) enough to wear everyday, but pretty (dare I say, sexy?) enough that it feels like a special occasion panty.
All told, I think BeMe NYC is off to a great start. Going forward, I'd love to see them expand their sizing if possible, but I think everything in the current lineup is really well-designed. They're selling fairly simple styles, but everything is all very well executed, classic and highly wearable. None of the styles feel overly "young" or trendy, nor do they touch upon matronly. With the exception of size range, I think the styles are really accessible across demographics.
What did you think of the styles above? Have you tried BeMe NYC? Share your opinion and experience in the comments below!