Leah and I have very different bra-shopping styles. She’s happy hunting down online bargains and returning what doesn’t fit, while I’m happiest in a brick and mortar dressing room. My only exception is a bra that is only available online. And my only exception to the exception has been Ewa Michalak.
My full-busted friends’ declarations of love for the brand have failed to move me for years. Purchasing a bra from EM seemed like a long distance relationship too difficult to begin let alone maintain: (1) all those styles with confusing letters; (2) stories of inconsistent sizing; (3) international shipping and returns; and (4) language challenges. I decided not to get involved.
Then at a dinner after Curve last February, I sat next to Judy Masucci, the owner of a lingerie store in Pittsburgh, who happened to mention that she stocks Ewa Michalak. My ears perked up immediately–not because I wanted to purchase an EM bra, but because this signaled that Judy was a member of the busty bra cognoscenti. Last week I drove 6.5 hours to her store to have a pop up shop for my shirts and finally to try EM bras in a brick and mortar dressing room.
In all but two bra styles, I wore a 75G. The two exceptions were the Pantera and the Karmnik Biszkopty. The former tends to run bigger in the cup, so I needed a 75FF. In the latter (a plunge nursing bra that Ewa created as a regular plunge bra just for Judy’s customers), I needed a 75GG to keep from spilling into the center.
How very satisfying it was to watch Judy and her assistant pull all these EM soft cup bras out of one drawer for me to try in a single afternoon.
It was even more satisfying to discover the semi-soft Gladzioch bra. I adore the simplicity of a beige seamed bra, and the stiff base is an added bonus. I’m used to “semi-soft” meaning padding on the bottom, but the Gladzioch base seems to be created from a laminate that keeps it from being bulky. This is countered by the stretchy tulle panels along the top of the cups. I happily purchased this bra.
Here is the plunge bra that I mentioned above. Judy’s assistant Shauna wears it all the time in the equivalent of a 28HH, and you can see how it looks on her under one of my size 4M shirts in last week’s IG post.
The pads are removable.
The Noir is the only other padded bra that I tried–an ultra-vavavoomy balconette perfect for the boudoir.
The chandelier charm at the bridge is the perfect touch.
Here are the various unpadded balconettes that I tried. The second bra that I purchased was the BM Kleks that you see at the bottom of the picture. It was just too gorgeous on. It turns out most of Judy’s customers agree–both bras that I purchased are best-sellers. Judy explained that the reason I liked the shape of the BM Kleks on me so much more than the others was that the lace overlay gives it a slightly stiffer base.
The KanKan and the Triumph balconettes rounded out my fit experience. What distinguishes these “BM” bras from the balconettes above is they are constructed of non-stretch lace.
I’m not going to go into all the intricacies of fit and shape–there are many detailed EM reviews out there to guide you. (I always said that when I was ready to purchase an EM bra online, I’d study all of CurvyWordy‘s reviews.) However, thanks to a store in Pittsburgh, I’ve simply been able to rely on the expertise of a super knowledgeable fitter who did all the analysis for me!
It was extremely reassuring to listen to Judy and her staff fit other women as well . . . they never failed to instruct on “scoop and tuck”, and tried to ensure that every customer left with a bra that hooked on the loosest hook. Basically, if Levana Bratique were in New York City, I’d refer all of my friends there without worrying that I should accompany them.