My Ewa Michalak Conversion at Levana Bratique (Preaching to the Full Bust Choir)

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.

Ewa drawer in my size unpadded

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. [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Visiting Etaín Lingerie Boutique in Portland, Maine

I was on vacation in Maine last week, including spending a few days in Portland, where my husband and I ate and drank to our heart’s content. I hadn’t anticipated doing much shopping there, and I certainly didn’t expect to find a lingerie shop that carried anything for the full bust, but that’s exactly what I stumbled upon on my very first day there!

Etaín is a really lovely little shop carrying a wide range of brands and sizes, with a distinct perspective. Much to my delight, there was nary a “nude” bra in sight! There were bright colors and cheeky materials, brands both well known (Panache) and independent (Fortnight), and items to suit several needs (in addition to conventional bras, there were binders, loungewear, swim, and sport). It was a beautifully curated collection that somehow still managed to provide something for everyone despite the lack of boring basics.

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Owner and manager Mackenzie Morris was on duty when I walked in the door, and she was exceedingly helpful. She knew the stock well, and knew the size range of each of the items I considered, which made trying a few new things a real pleasure. [Read more…]