It’s my dream–and I’m sure it’s yours–that if a brand makes bras in my size, to be able to walk into a store and try EVERY style available in my size. Since this didn’t happen for me earlier in my week in Paris, I squeezed in a visit to Empreinte an hour before it closed the evening before we left. Dream accomplished.
Despite the late hour, my fitter Céliane was incredibly thorough. She answered all my questions and accommodated my every preference. After confirming my size, she wheeled a rack into my dressing room that held every bra that Empreinte makes in 32F.
She explained that the rack was organized into three forms: classical, corbeille and seamless. Before leaving the room, she advised me to try one style in each form, and if I didn’t like a certain form, she would take away all the styles in that form so that I could focus on the styles in the forms I liked.
Of COURSE my trial style of choice of was the sky blue Pompadour that I fell in love with at Curve last year. It gave great lift in both the classical and corbeille, but I preferred the corbeille, which is essentially a 3/4 cup, meaning it has a lower neckline. It’s the same form that I described when I wrote about my Capucine and Erin bras. The classical form is a full-cup bra. Here is a photo of the Erin in classical on the left and corbeille on the right.
Because the classical provides a double layer of support, it is less transparent than the corbeille. Also, the classical seams come from the side (below left), while corbeille seams come up the middle (below right). Céliane explained that this is the reason that bras in the classical form may have a more pointed profile.
Empreinte seamless forms are at the opposite of the pointiness spectrum, as you saw when I reviewed the Grace. This time I got to try the exquisite Cassiopee, which gives a beautiful natural shape and lift. Céliane told me that in sauvage rose it goes with almost any skin tone.
As beautiful as Empreinte’s seamless lace bras are, however, I was on a mission to find yet another bra that I can wear under my white shirts. And as much as I love and constantly wear my Erin and Capucine, I was really hoping for a seamless alternative.
Empreinte actually has a basic beige seamless option, but the shape wasn’t flattering on me and there was no magic. Instead, Céliane found a solution for me in a fourth form, the very plunge padded bra. First she put me in the Ornella, which launched last winter. The triangle of sheer embroidered tulle coming from the straps to the cups actually looks magical on. Because of its success, the Ornella is available in red or purple this summer. Unfortunately, none of these options will work under a white shirt, and I begged Céliane to request the company to offer a more neutral version in the future.
I desperately wished I could justify another black bra, but I stayed on course, and Céliane rewarded my self-discipline with the Irina seamless padded very plunge in rose mist. Interestingly, my breasts bubbled slightly over in the 32F, so she put me in a 34F on the middle hook, and it fit perfectly. Fitting note: Empreinte bands are consistent across all styles, but some variation is possible in their cups. For instance, Thalia cups run deep, so a Thalia F cup fits like a G in other styles. Speaking of deep cups, Empreinte cups run deep in general, which explains why I found myself sized into 32FF, G and GG in various Eveden styles at their press event when I got back to the States. My point once again: don’t forego French brands just because their size sequence is different from British brands.
I. Adore. This. Bra.
It has everything I could ask for: round shape, great lift and wearability under my white shirts. I paid my own money for it (more on price below), so it has another significant feature that justified the cost to my husband: it gives fabulous cleavage. He no longer thinks that a bra is just a bra.
Basically, the Irina plunge has replaced the Grace as my favorite bra. Even though the plunge causes my boobs to kiss each other, I don’t notice after a few seconds, and it hasn’t bothered me in this summer’s heat.
I’ve worn my Irina for almost three months now, and the finish at the base of the band-less cups continues to lie as flat as it did when I brought it home from the store. There has been absolutely no rolling. I’m still wearing it on the middle hook, and sometimes even the loosest hook is fine.
There has been only one curious change inside the cups. Below is what the interior looked like before I ever wore it, and below that is what it looks like today. It doesn’t feel like there is any extra space at the bottom of the cups, but it may be a better fit for me if the underwires actually ran across the higher “shelf” that is developing with wear.
Before I tell you about price, here is the amazing little scanner in each dressing room to show you the cost of every item you try on.
I also indulged and purchased the most beautiful underwear I’ve ever owned.
I’ve forgotten the exact price of each item, but the total came to €166.30, or US$189. (I feel like the bra was in the $125 range and the underwear in the $60 range.) On an American website that I found, the same bra in 32F sells for $207, and the underwear sell for $94. If I had done my research on VAT refunds and purchased enough to meet the single-store minimum, I could have saved even more. However, I think a 40% difference is pretty incredible. Combined with the amazing fit experience, I had a perfect happy ending to my time in Paris.