Last summer London got hot. Very hot! And not the good kind either. It got to the point where even the most dedicated bra-wearers amongst us were dreaming of a bra-free solution to the discomfort inflicted by those soaring temperatures. Sure, I tried bras without underwires, but they still felt uncomfortable when I got sticky. I also tried going without a bra, but the pools of sweat that would develop under my unsupported breasts only added to my frustration. How on earth do women with large breasts cope in the heat? Answer: Manners London.
I saw an Instagram post from Georgia Mackay back in June 2020, where she was wearing the most amazing top that supported her without a bra, and I quickly decided that I needed one for myself. It was the Iza crop vest top (in the rather wonderful Libre print) and, although it’s not a style of top I would usually go for, I thought I’d step out of my comfort zone a little and also see if their claims of being able to go bra-free were genuine. Every time I’ve tried it before, I’ve just not been happy with my shape and silhouette – I look in the mirror and I just don’t feel like me. It looked like Manners London might be different though.
As there was a discount on a second item at the time, I also ordered the EKA racer crop in Pomegranate because that colour was just too good to resist. Another style I wouldn’t usually go for, because bra straps would show, I thought this strappy style would be the perfect test of whether this fabric was as amazing as the reviews claimed. As I usually wear a size 16, which was on the edge of both their M and L sizes, I decided to play it safe and order both in L. As pre-order items can take up to 6 weeks for delivery, I promptly filed it under “supporting small women-owned businesses” and got on with my weird new working-from-home life. Thankfully, both tops arrived in time to solve my heatwave woes!
First of all, I really need to tell you that the fabric is just wonderful. You won’t even realise just how cheap and flimsy all of your cotton stretch jersey tops are until you get your hands on some Manners. The crop of both tops means that they finish at my natural waist (I’m short in the body, so this would probably flash some skin on someone taller), which is perfect for me because my hips are very wide and long tops are never cut curvy enough for me. The print on the Iza top is just stunning and the bright red colour of the EKA was perfect, although it does show my underboob sweat patches! Despite the fact that I could easily have sized down to an M, the fabric gave wonderful bust support and I was able to spend many bra-free days looking glamorous in the heat. All things considered, I’m glad I went for the L in these tops, as the neck is small in both and wrestling them off after a hot day would have been even harder in a smaller size.
Fast forward to November and I had the urge to buy some more Manners tops that would work well for the colder months. It took me a while to decide, as there are so many good options on the site, but I finally went for the half-sleeve Indah reversible wrap top in classic leopard and the long sleeved limited edition Dragon’s Den top. Seeing as both had wide neck openings, I figured I’d be safe going for a size M, as I wouldn’t be wrestling with them in quite the same way as the two vests. There was a delay on my order but this time it was a bit longer than expected, so I contacted Sally via Instagram to find out what had happened. Turns out, the Dragon’s Den top was actually a pre-order item (which hadn’t shown up at the time I ordered it), and there were shipping delays too. Sally vowed to get my leopard top sent out ASAP and we kept our fingers crossed that the pre-orders would arrive soon after.
As you can see from the photos, the wrap top is quite a stunner! Again, it’s a cropped length which sits just on my natural waist, and the ties are nice and long so you can get yourself wrapped up firmly and tied with a bow. I’m not sure if I’d wear it with the wrap crossed over the front if I was leaving the house, as I’m not quite sure I would stay firmly in place, but once again I was amazed at how good these tops look when worn without a bra. I defy you to not be distracted by your own boobs while wearing them!
The Dragon’s Den top turned up last Saturday and I’m loving the delicious square neck and long sleeves. It’s a touch longer in the body than the other three, but doesn’t reach my hips so the fit was good. I think if I bought any bottoms from Manners London (perhaps a midi skirt or some leopard leggings?), I would probably go for a size L as my bum is usually a dress size bigger than my boobs. Would be interesting to read how others have got on with their sizing when you come out ‘in between’ though.
As you can tell, I’m now a Manners London convert! Not sure if I’ll ever want to completely ditch my bras, but it’s so good to have an option that allows me to go without whilst still feeling like myself. If you’re looking for fantastic quality basics that will look fabulous and last well, I definitely recommend checking them out. They really are worth the investment!