As you all might know, my favorite bra ever is the Cleo Melissa. The Melissa lit a fire in me I never knew would be lit: a love for unpadded bras (particularly unpadded Cleo bras, which are known for giving a rounded shape). So, when I heard about the Cleo Bella, an aquamarine floral version of the Melissa (and seemingly the summer counterpart to the spring-y Melissa), I knew I had to have it! I grabbed it in a 30F, because that’s what fit me best in the Melissa. (I usually wear 28 bands and tight 30 bands.) However, I ended up finding that the fit of the Bella was quite a bit different from the Melissa shapewise.
You may also remember that I have a shallow/tall breast shape as well as being full-on-top. This makes my breast tissue go up a bit higher on my chest than others’ (I have tissue up to my collarbone). So, a common problem I have is when bras have extra room in the apex (middle) of the cup, but cut in on the top. Unfortunately, I definitely have this problem in the Bella. It’s not nearly as bad as some other bras I’ve tried (such as unpadded Freya balconettes), but it’s bad enough that I don’t feel that I can keep this bra.
As you can see here, the bottom of the cup is filled well, but there’s so much wrinkling at the top that if I didn’t know better I would think that I needed a smaller cup size. Yet, the very top of the cup cuts in!
How it fits
- Band: The band runs fairly tight, I found it comparable to a 28FF Lucy or Marcie.
- Cups: The cups seemed pretty true to size, maybe a tiny bit large. I am usually a large 30F, and the cup seemed <1/2 cup larger than most 30Fs I try.
Who it’s for/Other Thoughts
- I would not recommend this bra for shallow breasts.
- I’m not sure how well this would work for full-on-top breasts either, as the top of the cups have a thick seam sewn into it (see pictures), making the top a bit firm. I can’t think of an alteration that would fix this. However, it possible that it’ll work just fine—the shape definitely favors some level of fullness on top.
- This would work well for those with fullness at the apex. This is one of the deeper-cut Cleos I’ve tried.
- I think this may work well for giving those with even fullness or slightly full-on-top breasts an uplifted shape.
- The size range is pretty respectable, 28-38 D-J. It’s hard to find a cute bra in the GG-J range especially, so this is a great option for those in that range! Sadly, no JJ+ cups, though.
- Sub-28 bands may find success with the tight band.
- The cut felt more similar to the Meg/Alexa than the Melissa.
- The only possible alteration I could see being done is reducing the deep-ness/”pointy-ness.” (Bras I Hate has a tutorial on this.)
Visual Appeal and Quality
Attractiveness: Cleo bras often have a print that I almost like, and this is one of them. It has the proper ingredients, like colors and flowers, but it’s not quite right and I’m not completely sure why. However, I love the yellow bird, butterfly, and tiny sunshine embroidery, it’s my favorite part! The tie-dye button over the pink bow was also a great touch.
Shape: Cleo is famous for their unique ability to make an unpadded bra that gives a rounded (rather than pointy) shape, and this bra is almost there. I imagine it would be fantastic on someone whose shape fit the bra better, so take this with a grain of salt, but I feel that it’s one of the more deep/”pointy” Cleo bras I’ve tried. That said, if Cleos are usually too shallow for you, the Bella could be your ticket to owning a Cleo.
Price vs Quality: With a full retail price of ~$50 USD (although you can find it for cheaper), this is a relatively cheap full-bust option. That’s another thing I love about Cleo: their bras are so reasonably priced, even though they are great quality. Of course, they’re no Masquerade (Cleo’s upscale sister brand that usually retails ~$85), but the fabrics are sturdy yet not utilitarian, the construction is excellent, and the prints and colors are never boring. Not only that, but the size range for this particular cut is respectable: 28-38 D-J. I love paying for a bra that I know will also fit my GG+ friends! (Although, I hope Cleo can expand to JJ+ cups someday!)