Review: Charlotte Soft Cup by Royce

I get a lot of questions about wire-free options in large cup sizes (cup sized/wire free bras differ from custom made bralettes in that they are designed to be as supportive as wired bras, without the restriction of wires). Until now I’ve only been able to speak from a fitter’s perspective and draw on the experience of fitting people for non-wired bras, so my opinions on these styles are not personal and are largely fit-focussed. However, I’ve recently teamed up with Royce Lingerie who sent me some of their bras to try, so now I feel I can give a more rounded review of wire free bras and offer some more recommendations for those of my readers who have struggled to find styles like this in larger cup sizes.

Royce is a family owned business which launched in 1991 – so,  happy 25th birthday! They specialise completely  in wire free lingerie, offering soft cup bras suitable for pregnancy and nursing, as well as post-mastectomy bras and even teen bras in smaller sizes. I love when lingerie companies create a wide range of products and try to include as many customers as possible. Their designs also go through a lengthy testing process, so you know what you’re wearing has been tried and tested until the team is 100%  satisfied with the end product.

I’ll be honest: I know and respect Royce as a brand, but their product was never something I had an interest in myself outside of fitting. I only knew the styles Bravissimo stocked; Ava, Charlotte and the Impact Free sports bra, and going wire free was not something I felt the need to try. Wires don’t annoy or bother me at all and I never really thought much of the shape non-wired bras give. Many women however choose to wear soft cup bras their whole lives, and the majority that I fitted for Ava and Charlotte were always happy with the styles. Royce sent me the Charlotte soft cup bra in black in a 30HH – I went for this size because I remember it being a little tighter or smaller fitting than most of the wired bras I would fit with daily. I’m glad I chose this size as it is perfect.

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Charlotte is available in sizes 28DD-J, 30-32DD-K, 34-36 DD-L and 38-40DD-K. It is also one of Royce’s best-selling styles, and after trialling it I can definitely see why. The styling is mostly plain, but the upper section of the cup is a delicate, polka-dotted mesh which adds a sophisticated prettiness to the overall look. The band closes with the normal hook and eye clasps, which is what I think I miss the most when I wear fashion bralets. Even having had one made to my measurements, I really miss that secure feeling of clasps and the option to go tighter if I’m not feeling supported enough. The band feels perfect on Charlotte. In fact, this bra is really, really, ridiculously comfortable. It’s comfortable in a different way to my wired bras. I won’t compare them too much because like I said I don’t find wires uncomfortable. It’s a completely different kind of comfort, but I still feel just as supported and controlled as I do in a wired bra.

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The main area that underwired bras and wire free bras differ in is the shape they each give. Now, I’ve gone on and on about how much I love the shape my Cleos give me and how nothing compares, and that still stands. But I really was surprised by how much I didn’t hate the shape Charlotte gave me. It’s definitely not what I’m used to. I’m not as lifted nor pulled in at the sides, and normally anything that does the opposite makes me shudder, but I honestly don’t mind how I look in Charlotte. The shape is slightly lower and more east to west than I would usually want from a bra, but I also don’t feel self conscious or uncomfortable with my shape in this bra. One thing that really struck me about Charlotte was how much smaller it made me look. Sure, I’ve embraced my size and am generally happy with my boobs, but sometimes we all want to hide or shrink a little, and this bra makes my boobs less obvious. It’s just nice to have the option!

Sometimes you love the look of a bra on its own but then put a top on over it and hate the look it gives. I was worried this would be one of those times, but the shape is quite cute under a tight fitting top. It’s somewhat similar to the shape you might get from a bullet bra, and now I wish I’d had this bra when I wrote my vintage lingerie post! But hey, big boobed vintage lovers – this bra is for you!

Another reason to love Royce is that, on top of their bras that are specifically for women who have had a mastectomy, there is also the option to have pockets added to some of the other bras. So if you don’t like any of the mastectomy bras or they don’t come in your size, you can always check if any of the bras in their pocketable list are suitable for you!

I know this style of bra may not be for everyone, and I thought I’d be one of those people but after trying and wearing Charlotte, I can honestly say that I’m glad it’s now in my lingerie drawer. Perhaps I need to be more open to all the options available to me, and maybe having one or two wire free bras in our collection is a smart investment!

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