Every brand of bras has it's pros and cons. I think Curvy Kate bras excel in the 'appeal' department. They really make very beautiful bras. Out of the hundreds of CK bras I've seen, I may have disliked only one bra because the colour did not suit my taste. Otherwise, CK bras are very pretty and feminine (always a bonus). Don't get me wrong though, I love industrial bras too (referred to as "ugly bras" by my husband) but they have a time and place. I do not think of CK bras as industrial. They are supportive enough for everyday wear yet elegant enough for a special occasion. They are also quite affordable. Curvy Kate bras are not as cheap as department store bras (which are very low quality in my opinion and in this case you really get what you pay for) but they won't break the bank either. More often than not, I find them on sale in many online stores, sometimes even up to 70% off on fashion colours, which makes them a steal at that point.
I've heard from many women as well as store owners that Curvy Kate bras are not very supportive. I personally think that this is untrue but I believe I understand why some might see CK bras that way. Over the course of the last year I've tried on several Curvy Kate bras through online and local stores. I found that Curvy Kate bras are supportive when they are in the correct size. They work fine and will even look okay initially but they will not offer enough support if not in the proper size, which for me felt very much like a game of Where's Waldo. Not only that, but also it took me a while to figure out that I am wearing the wrong size CK bra because with many CK bras, the tell-tale signs of bad fit are not very visible. Instead, CK bras tend to give an odd shape to the breast. I'll talk about that in a bit. Upon discovering this, and to prove the theory to myself, I tried one specific bra in multiple sizes. Sure enough, I did not get quadraboob (at least not initially), and I did not get any side spilling. However, the shape was all wrong.
Let's talk about shape. Different bras give different shapes. What may be ideal for one woman, may be undesirable for another. Not every woman thinks of shapes the same way. Some women think that a round shape is the ideal one for them. Some prefer a more natural shape. And some prefer a pointy shape. Of course, these are my own interpretations of the shapes down to the names. I am not sure if others even refer to them that way but the best way to demonstrate what those shapes are, from my perspective, is through pictures. Observe..
I definitely prefer a round shape under t-shirts and tight fitting clothes. Bras that give me a round shape often lift my breasts dramatically and project them forward. I often prefer a natural shape if I'm wearing more formal clothes like silk blouses or dresses with soft flow material. A natural shape also gives me a little bit of an hourglass figure when viewed from the front so I find it ideal under dresses and thin blouses. Bras that give a pointy shape, commonly referred to as the 'Madonna Boob', are not everyone's cup of tea. I, for one, do not prefer this shape under dresses or shirts. I have two pointy shape bras that give me incredible support and are super comfortable. Mind you, they are very industrial and almost matronly but they are ideal on days when I will be moving a lot, doing heavy lifting and other annoying things like buying groceries, doing laundry and reorganizing closets. I prefer pointy shape bras under sweaters, jackets and thick clothing. Essentially, I wear pointy bras under anything that already makes me look square or clothing that doesn't give me a particular shape. Pointy bras are great for days when I just want to hide under a rock, usually when things are not going my way. Pointy bras are equally good for days when I want to find a black hole to crawl into, such as when the cups are not all lined perfectly in the cupboard. It is OCD central in this house. Anyway...
In general, Curvy Kate bras do not give me a pointy shape. In fact, I have yet to come across one that does. I find that CK bras give me a very natural shape. They do not lift up my breasts as high as some of my other bras, such as Freya, Fantasie and Panache (which actually give me a very uplifted round shape) but CK bras are supportive when I get fitted in the right size. And herein lies the problem. My biggest beef with Curvy Kate bras is the inconsistency in sizing between the different models. Sometimes even the same bra in a different colour will fit differently. It's borderline maddening!
When I wear a CK bra in the right size, I almost always end up with a natural shape which is the desired effect. It's also hard to get comfortable in some of the bras because I find that CK suits women with wider shoulders. I have narrow shoulders and when I wear a brand new CK bra I always get the dreaded chafing at the shoulder, where the strap meets the cup. This is partly due to my shape, I guess, as I'm narrow and boney at the shoulders. I don't have much meat around that area though I'm working on building muscle there so I can lift grocery bags without tipping over. But in all fairness that is a design issue which I can't really fault Curvy Kate for. I just have tiny shoulders. Thankfully, after a few washes the bra softens and the chafing goes away.
The first Curvy Kate bra I bought was the Emily. I fell in love with it because it looked so elegant but I could not get it to fit right no matter how hard I tried. It started to slowly slide down my torso into the smaller part of my waist and so after wearing the bra for an hour I would end up with a very odd shape, almost like a square/triangle/trapezoid. I didn't really get quadraboob, rather a slight bubble at the top edge of the cup. It looked like I am about to spill out yet not really spilling. It turns out that the band was too big.
I realize that in most cases a band that is too big will ride up, but I am certain that there are other women out there who are built like me with narrow shoulders and a narrow ribcage that kind of curves in towards the waist so that bras sometimes will slide down with the weight of the breasts. Basically the band slides down and so my breasts do not fill the cup entirely and I get spillage at the top of the cup. I have to thank Claire of Butterfly Collection for this discovery. I didn't realize that I was not filling the cup until I talked to her. She brought my attention to the fact that just because I'm spilling out of the cup does not necessarily mean that the bra is too small and that I shouldn't discard a bra until I make sure that I am filling the cup all the way. It's when I looked into why I am not filling the cup that I accidentally discovered why Curvy Kate gives such a weird shape.
In brands like Freya, Panache, and Fantasie, 30G is my size in most of their various styles. Even when I go with a different size in another brand like say Cleo, I tend to take 30GG in most of their bras. My size in most styles of those brands remains consistent. However, with Curvy Kate bras, my size is all over the map depending on the style. Here is an example of my favourite CK bras in the sizes that fit and at the same time give me a nice natural shape:
I realize that 28GG, 30G, 28H, 30GG, and 32G are sister sizes and that many women can get away with that in some bras. In my case, I cannot. And definitely not with Curvy Kate bras. I have to be spot on with the sizing otherwise I don't get that natural shape and instead end up with either a square trapezoid shape or a droopy triangle shape. I also find the inconsistency between colours to be quite frustrating. It's especially annoying when ordering online because I can't just order a bra I like in a different colour. There is always a good chance that it will fit differently and returns are always a hassle especially for international orders. Case in point; the blue Portia fits good in 32G; the purple Portia fits good in 30G. Yet, in bras like the Emily and Tease Me, the size is consistent across colours respectively. Go figure!
In summary, I think Curvy Kate makes some stunning bras and I really hope that they can make their sizing more consistent in the future. As it stands now, any time I see a Curvy Kate bra that I like, it's always a gamble as to whether it will fit. Despite all this madness, I think Curvy Kate bras are beautiful enough that I would go through the trouble of trying to find the size that fits me best. The bras are also affordable and so a little bit of effort goes a long way. Okay, maybe a lot of effort but still, I think CK bras are too pretty to give up on them. Even though I have issues with the sizing, I'd say that Curvy Kate bras are among my favourites. I find myself reaching for one at least twice a week. Simply put, Curvy Kate bras are pretty, supportive and fairly comfortable. And when they fit properly, they look gorgeous.
To learn more about the latest styles of Curvy Kate bras you can visit them here.