Exclusive First Look! A Review of Anna Pardal’s Hibiscus Longline Bra

You guys.

Sweet Nothings reviews Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline. Photo by Lydia Hudgens.YOU GUYS.

Look at this lovely thing. Drink it in.

So what happened was I was talking with Erica from A Sophisticated Pair after I reviewed my first Comexim set, and I asked her about her Comexim stock for Spring, and then she put me in touch with Anna Pardal, who designs her own collection for Comexim, and then the next day I had an email in my inbox from Anna saying oh, would I like to review Anna Pardal’s brand new longline style?

Would I.

I’ve been yammering about wanting more options and more sizes for longline style bras pretty much since I started the blog. In particular, I’ve yelled at anyone who will listen about how few options there are for people who wear cup sizes larger than a UK G-cup. While the longline bra’s ubiquity and popularity might be declining in core-sized lingerie markets, I know many full-bust customers, myself included, are still waiting eagerly for our turn to try out this retro-influenced style.

After my first Comexim bra blew me away with its fabulous shape and support, I was eager to try Anna Pardal. Her collections are slightly more luxe and sophisticated than the main Comexim line, and Erica spoke of them highly, both in terms of their elegant designs and their exceptional quality. As soon as my set was made Anna shipped it out to me, and I was on pins and needles waiting for it to clear US Customs.

Sweet Nothings reviews Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline. Photo by Lydia Hudgens.[Note: while Anna Pardal generously provided this set for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Appearance

Hibiscus is a longline-style lightly-padded half-cup bra with a pale, biscuit-colored lining topped with black abstract floral stretch lace that reminds me a little of Tiffany stained glass. Each cup contains two vertical seams for shaping, and the black lines of the seams offer an elegant graphic contrast to the floral lace. The top edge of the cups is trimmed with a thin ribbon of sheer tulle, edged in black, and there are gold-and-black tuxedo bows at the center gore and where each fully-adjustable strap meets the cup. The longline band extends about 2 3/4 inches/7 centimeters below the deepest point of the underwire. The front portion of the band is crafted from the same materials covering the bra cups, while the back portion of the band is black powermesh. The band closes with two columns of six rows of hooks and eyes. Unlike some other longline bras I’ve tried (like Elomi’s or Parfait’s), the band isn’t boned, and the bottom edge is elasticated to help it grip the body and stay in place.

The brief features the same lace fabric as the bra cups in the front center panel with sheer black mesh over the hips and in the back. The center panel is trimmed with the same ribbon and tuxedo bows as the bra. Unlike the shorts I reviewed from Comexim, the Anna Pardal brief features an elasticated legline, which I find both more comfortable and better fitting.

Sweet Nothings reviews Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline. Photo by Lydia Hudgens.

I have to say that I gasped out loud when I opened the package and saw this set for the first time. I have never seen a bra in this size and price range that is this breathtakingly beautiful. Pictures do not do it justice. I wore this home from my shoot with Lydia and went to a friend’s for dinner; when the topic inevitably turned to bras and I flashed her to show her Hibiscus, she gasped “Oh my god, that IS beautiful!”

Even though a longline bra in larger cup sizes can read as “a lot of bra”, the floral lace overlay and clean lines help this set feel light and delicate. I can’t praise the finer details enough: the tuxedo bows, the craftsmanship (the stitching is neat, meticulous, and clean), and the elegant black-and-gold color scheme all contribute to a sophisticated set that is a true stand-out.

Fit

I currently wear a 32H in almost all UK brands, with the occasional 34GG if the band runs super tight (for example, the Lulu Tout Amelie). The consensus of most English-speaking reviews I’ve read of Polish brands, including Ewa Michalak and Comexim, is that going up one band size and keeping the same cup letter as your UK size will give you a close guess at your Polish size. While I reported that my 36GG Augusta [edit, erm, Arizona is the name of the style, what was I doing when I wrote this?] bra got loose in the band too quickly for my liking, I decided to stick with the 36GG/ for a longline, since my belly and waist are a little bigger than my underbust.

The band size feels good for me: it fastens comfortably yet firmly on the loosest column of hooks. I think the cup volume is good, but unfortunately I’m running into the same issues with this bra that I do with most half-cup styles: they’re just. too. danged. shallow. It’s hard to create a shape using only vertical seams that projects sharply away from the ribcage without sacrificing support, even with padding in the cups. Balconette and plunge bras use different seam patterns from half cup bras, and their cups tend to offer more depth and projection. Furthermore, the gore is a little wide for me, and it’s pushing my breast tissue out to the sides. As a result of the shallow shape and wide gore, the underwires aren’t lying flat against my sternum, and consequently the bra doesn’t feel quite as secure or supportive as I usually prefer. My breasts are close-set with a high, narrow root and lots of projection: half-cup bra shapes just aren’t a great match for my breast shape and size. However, those of you who are fans of half cup shapes? I think you’re going to love this one.

Sweet Nothings reviews Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline. Photo by Lydia Hudgens.

Where I had some trouble with the fit of my Comexim Augusta [again, the Comexim style I tried is Arizona, get it together, Sweets] shorts, I found the Anna Pardal size chart to be extremely accurate (I took a size L/4). I love the rise of these briefs, which come up high enough that my belly doesn’t roll over the top, and they provide a great, comfortable level of coverage over my hips and rear.

Comfort

I was nervous when I saw there was no boning in the band: surely it would flip up when I sat down or moved around? And yet NO: that bad boy stays perfectly in place. I’m astonished at how well it works, if only because the longline styles I’ve tried before have not fared as well– the band has either curled up or bunched uncomfortably up under my breasts, or the boning has the potential to dig or pinch. Even though I have a squishy torso and even though there’s no boning, there’s no discomfort: just a feeling of smooth, even support. I also really like how the deeper band gives such a smoothing effect on my back and seems to minimize the “fluffy bits” under my arms that sometimes stand out in well-fitting bras. Yes, the elastic edge does dig into my belly a little when I sit (this isn’t a corset, after all), but not uncomfortably so.

Overall

I am really starting to regret how long it took me to try Comexim and Anna Pardal. Where their English counterparts often struggle with fit and shape in G+ styles, these brands work tremendously well for those G+ customers who find that UK brands’ underwires are too wide and tall. The Polish designs also seem, to me at least, to offer elegance and sophistication instead of “safe” basics or overly whimsical prints. There’s a place for whimsy, of course, and a place for simplicity, but since turning 30 I’ve become increasingly interested in refining and curating my lingerie collection to match my changing tastes. Even though Hibiscus’ shape isn’t 100% perfect for me, this is one of my favorite new sets to wear when I want something a little special, because it makes me feel so, so elegant.

Sweet Nothings reviews Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline. Photo by Lydia Hudgens.

*****

Bra and Brief: Hibiscus by Anna Pardal. Bra available in band sizes 28-50 and cup sizes A-M (with custom sizes available upon consultation), brief available in sizes 1-6 (XS-XXL) (click here for the Anna Pardal size chart). The bra will retail for between $74-76 USD and the brief for around $20 USD. Hibiscus is also available in the classic Comexim padded plunge shape as well as a half cup bra (with a standard, non-longline band).  Interested in pre-ordering? Hibiscus will be available at the Anna Pardal official site in May, 2015; you can contact Anna directly to order, or you can pre-order through A Sophisticated Pair!

Speaking of Erica, she currently has a comprehensive post up talking about the various Anna Pardal/Comexim bra shapes, as well as several alterations that are available to customers, from gore height to cup shape. Check it out!

Photos: Lydia Hudgens

23 Comments on Exclusive First Look! A Review of Anna Pardal’s Hibiscus Longline Bra

  1. The Lingerie Lesbian
    April 22, 2015 at 10:07 am (5 years ago)

    SO MUCH PRETTY! I love this set on you, it’s so sophisticated. I’m so glad you’re getting to try the longlines you have longed for!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:31 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much! It truly is a joyous time for me.

      Reply
  2. Rachelle
    April 22, 2015 at 10:23 am (5 years ago)

    Methinks this set will have to make it into my lingerie cabinet. Absolutely stunning (you AND the set).

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:32 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you Rachelle! If you order it, I’d love to hear what you think!

      Reply
  3. Amanda
    April 22, 2015 at 11:09 am (5 years ago)

    I squee’d when I saw this review pop up in my feed! I have been (im)patiently waiting for the new arrivals from AP to show up on their site. This looks gorgeous on you! Love that it’s a black bra option that is anything but boring (especially the piping along the top). Also appreciate you reviewing their panties, as I’ve been reluctant to buy a matching pair for fear they wouldn’t fit.

    P.S. It was my suggestion to name this bra Hibiscus. So I think that means I’m owed a set now?? ;D A girl can try!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:36 am (5 years ago)

      Amanda! Good suggestion! Oh well done, you totally deserve a set of your own 😉

      Reply
    • Anna Pardal
      April 25, 2015 at 1:07 pm (5 years ago)

      Amanda, we are so close! It actually has all come down to photo delays and our gigantic move of the office to Poland — now that we’re settling in, we are almost ready to go live!

      Please send me an email for a special promo code! — after all, you did name it!

      Warm wishes from Anna Pardal

      Reply
  4. Erica of A Sophisticated Pair
    April 22, 2015 at 11:22 am (5 years ago)

    I am so glad you were able to try the new longlines! Like you, I prefer the classic shape to the half-cup because of the width/depth issue; however, I have to say the print on this is fabulous. I have the basic bra coming to the shop in this print, and I am so excited now!! Great review per always 🙂

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:39 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks Erica! I’m so, so happy I had the chance to try this style– thank you so much for putting me in touch with Anna!

      Reply
    • Anna Pardal
      April 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi ladies! We are working on a longline design with the classic plunge shape as we speak — more details coming soon!

      Also, this looks absolutely stunning on you. Wow!

      Warm wishes from Anna Pardal

      Reply
  5. Antonia
    April 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm (5 years ago)

    This set is BEAUTIFUL on you Sweets! I gasped when I saw the photos. I’m so excited to see a longline bra for fuller busts that I actually like. Wonderfully detailed review, as per always. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:39 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you Antonia! This is easily one of the best longline styles I’ve seen in the last few seasons– I’m so, so pleased I got to try it!

      Reply
  6. Lee Rivers
    April 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm (5 years ago)

    That’s quite lovely! For many years I found Polish bras had designs that were overly opulent with as much lace embroidery per square inch as they could squeeze in/ wires were pretty narrow and sat on my tissue. You would say the wires are wider on the longlines? If that’s true I’ll probably give Anna Pardal a try in the half cup or longline cut.

    I’m glad the print comes in a variety of cuts, though! I’m also glad to hear that the non-basic shapes come up to 36GG, as I couldn’t find those on the Comexim site.

    The design goes so well with your skin tone! Elegant indeed!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:43 am (5 years ago)

      I think you might really like the half-cups in general, especially the longline. I was a little confused the first time I looked at the site and tried to find my size/figure out the size range for each style, but as long as the fabric’s available most sizes can be made upon request, so if you don’t see yours listed, it’s always worth sending Anna an email!

      Reply
  7. samalander
    April 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm (5 years ago)

    oh that is pretty!

    could I ask what the measurement is from the bottom of the underwire to the bottom of the band? This is the first longline I’ve seen that actually looks long on a taller person, and I’m kind of extremely excited about the potential that it’s longer than 1″ 🙂

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 7:58 am (5 years ago)

      Hi Samalander, as I mention in the post, the measurement is 2 and 3/4 inches or 7 centimeters. As a tall person, this makes me very, very, very happy!

      Reply
      • samalander
        April 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm (5 years ago)

        *facepalm* I completely missed that, sorry!
        thank-you! and YAY!!

        Reply
  8. astrid
    April 23, 2015 at 1:24 am (5 years ago)

    The plunge was on my wishlist. I gasped when I saw your post and realised they were making it into a longline: even better!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 23, 2015 at 9:44 am (5 years ago)

      Hurray! If you get one for yourself, I’d love to hear what you think!

      Reply
  9. D
    April 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm (5 years ago)

    “You guys. YOU GUYS.”

    Loved that intro 🙂

    Reply
  10. cale
    April 27, 2015 at 11:17 am (5 years ago)

    Gorgeous as always, Sweets!
    I am really looking forward to the new collection and can’t wait to get my hands on something from the Hibiscus range! It is such a contemporary look-very NYC.

    I love your in depth review and it is great to hear that Comexim offers different shapes and styles because everyone is different. The Comexim classic plunge works really well for me because I like a narrow gore and deeper cups–have you tried that one yet? I would love to see one of your photoshoot reviews on this style!

    Reply
    • Sweets
      April 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much! So far I’ve only tried the Comexim classic shape, but if my budget allows I hope to have a chance to try more from both brands later this year.

      Reply
  11. Rachelle
    July 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s now available! Thanks for the heads up. Also, I just discovered that the other Anna Pardal retail partner in the US is IN MY HOMETOWN! And my birthday is coming up….happy happy happy dance!

    Reply

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