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Size-Inclusive and Ethical: Molke Original Cotton Bralette Review

Disclosure: This set was purchased by The Lingerie Addict for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Molke is an ethically-made line of comfortable, wire-free lingerie and activewear, best known for their wide size range. Made in Scotland, their cotton bralettes are designed to fit band sizes 26 through 54, and UK cup sizes A through M (European sizes A-S). That’s a huge range!

Molke Original Cotton Bralette

Since the pandemic started, I rarely wear wired bras. You’ll usually find me wearing my favorite pullover Cosabella bralette or my comfy Curvy Couture wireless bra on a regular day. But most fuller bust bralettes stop far below a UK M cup, so I was stoked to try this friendly, size-inclusive line.

Molke Original Cotton Bralette

And the fact that they’re accredited Living Wage employers? That’s the cherry on top for me.

Molke Quality

The Molke Original Bra is a pullover style bralette with an overlapped front. It's priced at $50 in all sizes - a decent price for an ethically-made bralette. I ordered it in Candyfloss, a combo of pale pink and a deep coral red. The bra came from Scotland to NYC in a little over a week, though the company let me know that shipping has been known to take three or four weeks due to COVID.

When I opened up my package, I immediately noticed two things. First, the organic cotton/spandex blend jersey knit felt much rougher than I expected. It reminds me of the organic cotton swatches I would test out from suppliers 10 years ago, before organic cotton was as common as it is today. I believe it will soften as it’s washed, but it’s been a while since I purchased a piece of clothing with such a poor hand. Even my Hanes briefs were softer than this when I purchased them.

The second thing I noticed was the stitching. This bralette is sewn together with a thick overlock stitch in white, instead of a matching thread. I imagine this was to keep costs down. Luckily it’s invisible when worn - except for on the side seams, where my torso pulls the fabric just enough to show tiny white stitches between the pink seams.

The front inside of the Molke Original Bra.

That overlock stitch is used on the entire bra. It connects the elastic channel and all of the contrast bands to the body of the bra. It feels very sturdy, but it’s also quite bulky. The bra is self-lined, but none of the stitching (save for the side seams) is bagged inside the lining. It makes sense why this bra is constructed in this way, but unfortunately, the contrast stitch color makes it look cheap in person.

Sizing and Fit

I typically wear a 32FF in UK sizes. Molke’s Original Bra comes in band sizes XS-5X, with five different cup sizes: Stellar, Cosmic, Super, Mega, and Thunder.

Molke Bra Size Chart

Their helpful size chart makes conversion very clear.

I ordered this piece in “M Cosmic” as the size chart suggested. It fits nicely, once it’s on. But it’s quite a struggle to get there!

The elastic band is nice and firm, which is great for a supportive bralette. However, this is not so great when you have to get that bralette over your shoulders and bust. I’m quite flexible at the moment, but I almost wish I had gone up to a size L! It was a little painful to get on the first time I tried it, having to squish my shoulders together and severely squish my chest to pull the elastic down. I wonder how people with higher band-to-cup ratios would pull it over their bust at all.

When it’s on my body, it fits great. But if you have mobility issues of any kind, or have a high band-to-cup ratio (I’d say anything over eight or nine inches between your bust and ribcage), I would highly recommend sizing up in the band. Or just try their multi-size bra, which features a back closure.

This bra is specially designed for my cup size range, but because it has no shaping or darts in the front, it wrinkles under the cups. When it’s on the body, the underlapped front panel rides down under my breast.

I’ve had this issue with over crossover tops before. It’s not uncomfortable, just looks a little funny. It’s kind of the nature of this style. However, I think both of these little fit issues could be solved with some creative patterning.

These two issues aren’t major, and you might not mind them. But to me, they are pretty noticeable, especially against the smooth, solid-colored fabric.

Final Thoughts

Once it’s on, this bra is quite comfortable! I think it’s a decently-priced option for an ethically-made bralette in a wide size range. If it was easier to put on, I can see myself reaching for it before yoga class or cleaning the house.

But it’s so uncomfortable to get on! Plus, the fabric has a rough hand. The fit is just OK. And the construction feels very “home made.” While I know it's ethically made, but I just don't feel like I'm wearing a $50 bralette when I wear it.

Molke makes many hard-to-find bralette sizes, like 44+ bands and K+ cups. If you have a cup size larger than G, I can’t recommend this bra, simply because I think it would be so difficult to put on. But if you have a smaller cup size and a larger band size, this bralette might be a nice ethical option for you.


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Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is a lingerie expert living in Brooklyn, NY, where she creates quippy written content, crafts dreamy illustrations, and runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie.

9 Comments on this post

  1. Liz says:

    I’ve been thinking it over a few days, and one thing I adore about TLA is its efforts to make the price of production and labor in the industry more transparent and visible.
    And although all thoughts and criticisms should obviously be included, specifically the line ” While I know it’s ethically made, but I just don’t feel like I’m wearing a $50 bralette when I wear it” seemed a bit like an unfair comparison, apples to oranges. Obviously I assume no intentional malice at all! I know all the writers here, with Quinne very much included, value ethical labor very much, I just think that specific wording came off a little odd.
    A Calvin Klein bralette can retail at around 50 dollars, and they were also found to be tied to using slave labor (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/fashion/uighur-forced-labor-cotton-fashion.amp.html). So how can one really compare a 50 dollar bralette using ethical labor to one using forced? I think they way the comment about the price was worded was surprising. People who buy a 50$ bralette from Calvin Klein want to pay for a bralette. People who buy from this brand dont want to pay just a for the bra, they want to pay for labor too. So apples and oranges; you can’t really compare (in my opinion at least) what 50$ bralette should feel like. In the case of bralettes produced produced in countries with less environmental regulations and using the cheapest labor possible, the consumer might be closer to paying for the cost of the garment itself, but with Molke the consumer is paying closer to the true price of the garment.
    Sort of in a similar line, I’d never compare fair trade chocolate to less ethically sourced. I don’t particularly enjoy eating Theo’s as a snack, I use it only for baking, and while ounce for ounce it won’t taste as good as some more designer chocolate that does use slave labor, I personally don’t really care. How could I possibly compare what a certain priced chocolate bar should taste like when the playing ground is so uneven? It’s apples and oranges, one price reflects closer to the true price of production, one does not.
    In conclusion, it is surprising to see a price comparison that came off to at least some of us as unfair and inequivalent and unfair. I assume no ill will! It’s totally fair to included criticisms and thoughts, but it felt a little unfair to specifically compare the price of an often unethical industry standard pricing to ethical pricing; it’s comparing two different things.
    I hope my thoughts came out clearly! I do struggle with wording and expressing sometimes, I spent awhile working this out. Thank you for your time, and again, I assume and mean no ill will!

  2. Catherine Clavering says:

    The price on these is because they pay a living wage in the UK and in very short runs. That’s about as low a price as you can get if you want those things. I’m a little surprised to see a comment about price based on feel when the cost of labour and the lack of economies of scale are the crucial factors in figures here.

    • Quinne says:

      I agree, I can’t imagine this bra being priced any lower! But even knowing everything you mentioned, I just wasn’t impressed with the fit, fabric, and some aspects of the construction. I think those are valid things to note in a review.

      • Catherine Clavering says:

        Sure, but “I just don’t feel like I am wearing a $50 bralette” is just a nonsensical statement. How is a bra made in a country with a min wage of around 13 usd, made in very shorts runs, across a wide size range, and originally designed as a maternity solution, *supposed* to feel?

        I see from above that you think it should be comparable to things made by companies that are magnitudes larger making huge economies of scale, and/or who make in places that have *much* lower wages, and/or who generally make things that are very different in ilk.
        These are very different items from very different set-ups. If you prefer everlane, great, but Everlane can lay off hundreds of employees and still have some left. Molke are still on the lowest reporting standards for UK businesses, so their employee numbers are . . . much lower than that. And so on and so forth.

        • Quinne says:

          If you don’t think the sentence about my personal feelings makes sense, feel free to disregard it. Not being shady–I’m serious! If you’re interested in my detailed thoughts on what I expected from this item and why I didn’t personally like it, the rest of the article should be helpful.

          • Catherine Clavering says:

            Yes, I did read the rest of the article before I got to that bit, and was somewhat bemused throughout.
            But once the list of ‘comparable’ styles was posted it made absolute sense, because of course, if you’re expecting something similar to those brands but go out and order a product by a much smaller company, originally designed for folks who breastfeed and sling it in the washer-dryer, yes, you will indeed be disappointed.

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