The UK lingerie brand Royce is notable for its attention to both comfort and style. All Royce bras are wire-free, which is ideal for women who find underwires difficult to tolerate.
I do wear underwire bras, but they are not the most comfortable for me. Like many small-busted women, I really don't need the support of an underwire.
I'm always happy to discover a wire-free bra that still provides some coverage and shaping, because although I am a fan of bralettes, they don't do much other than look cute.
I received the Royce Enhance 1069 bra in black and cream (above). It's also available in rose and cream, shown at right.
Royce markets this bra as a solution for petite small-breasted women seeking a fuller shape under clothing, as well as those who have had mastectomies and want enhancement without needing to wear prosthetic breast forms.
Sizing is by band only (32, 34, 36, 38), and all sizes are meant to fit AA, A, and B cups. The bra is described as "super-padded" and is designed to make your breasts look two cup sizes larger.
The really unique thing about this style is that it is not a push-up bra; it doesn't use push-up "bump pads" inside the cups to enhance the bust. Instead, the added size comes from a layer of padding encased in the bra cup on the outside (between the cup lining next to the skin and the external casing), so that it covers the entire breast. This is an interesting approach because it means your breasts aren't squeezed up to the top of the cups in the Royce 1069, and clearly it is not a bra that is intended to boost cleavage.
The alternative approach to padding, as far as I'm concerned, is a reason to like this bra... at least in theory. It offers increased size without underwires, and without that unpleasant squish that often happens with push-up bras. So far, so good.
However, there are drawbacks. This is sort of like wearing two prosthetic breasts over your own chest, but instead of having the prosthetic breast forms inside the bra cups in pockets (as they are normally worn with mastectomy bras), the prosthetics are inside the bra cups themselves.
Except, the change in size is actually not quite as dramatic as you would get with real prosthetic breasts; I wouldn't say that this bra really adds two cup sizes, which is a relief to me personally, but may be a disappointment to those of you who want that. I'd say it makes me look about one cup size larger when worn under a t-shirt.
Another not-so-great thing is the feel of the cups: the padding is very stiff. When I'm wearing it, the cups don't move with me, and it doesn't look natural. It looks, honestly, like I'm wearing a heavily padded bra. The band and straps are comfortable enough, but it's impossible for me to feel at ease in a bra with cups this rigid... it's just too much like armor.
It's also possible that I'm being squeezed too much in these cups, because right now I measure a size 32B (I tried a 32 in the Royce 1069). Perhaps it would feel less uncomfortable if I still wore a 32AA or 32A-- it may be a better choice for women with those cup sizes than it is for me at this point. The sizing in the band seems accurate.
To sum up: if what you want is a bra that makes you look fuller without an underwire, this one is certainly worth considering. It's not perfect, but it's not awful either. The lace trim and center bow are quite pretty, and I would say it's above-average in style compared to similar wire-free bras (which are notorious for looking matronly and covering too much skin).
Disclosure: I received this bra at no cost in exchange for a review.