Dear Poland, I take back everything I ever said about padded bras; you were right and I was wrong.
This is my second set from Polish lingerie brand Ewa Michalak, part of the group Ewa originally picked out for me back in November (I reviewed the BM Bibi czarny Tulipan earlier this year). I had to exchange this set for a better fit, and US Customs has been trying to keep my international deliveries for themselves, so unfortunately by the time this set arrived in New York there weren’t a lot of sizes left in this particular style on the EM website. Nevertheless, the padded plunge (“PL”) styles are Ewa Michalak classics, so I thought it would be a good set to review anyway, in case any of the other PL styles caught your eye.
[Disclosure: I received this set free of charge from Ewa Michalak for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I’ve learned through the magic of Google that ‘Jagodzianki’ roughly translates to ‘blueberry bun’; it’s the name of a traditional Polish pastry (so, yeah, pretty much perfect for Sweet Nothings, right?). The bra features lightly padded three-part cups with a cherry red base and a navy blue lace overlay. Inside the cups are little pockets where you can tuck removable pads. These were included in my order, although Holly, who reviewed this style for The Lingerie Addict, reports that the pads were not included in hers. The pads can be added to one cup to balance out any asymmetry (remember, it’s a good idea to fit your bras to your larger breast, and then you can use these pads to help fill out the cup on your smaller side if you wish) or you can wear a pad in each cup for a little extra boost. I chose not to wear the pads for these pictures, which I’ll discuss in a moment. Red bows trim the low, plunging center gore and straps, and the navy blue straps are fully adjustable. The band closes in back with three rows and three columns of hooks and eyes.
The cherry red/navy combo is repeated on the front of the briefs, which feature a slightly higher rise than a classic bikini, with fairly full coverage over the navy blue hips and rear. I go back and forth on how I feel about the color blocking on the front: I love the red/navy combo (two of my favorite colors to wear!), but I’m not sure that I love how it makes a red inverted V pointing to my crotch. It’s a common pattern for EM briefs, but I think I’d prefer, say, a red waistband or red trims, instead of the red center panel.
As I mentioned in my review of the Tulipan set, the general consensus among those used to UK brands seems to be to choose a size in Ewa Michalak that is one band size higher than your UK size, keeping the same cup letter, so technically one volume larger. As I generally wear a 32H in most brands, I settled on a 34H/75H in this style (Ewa originally sent a 36G and 36H, neither of which was quite right). The band fastens firmly yet comfortably on the loosest hooks, and I have plenty of room in the straps to adjust them to suit my height.
The underwires are both shorter at the sides and narrower than many UK brands, which means they fit my shape much better. Sometimes I can’t wear my Panache bras, Envy and Jasmine in particular, too often or I get red, sore spots under my arms. I don’t have that problem in Ewa Michalak bras. The cups are set closer together and really pull the breast tissue in from the sides of the body.
I usually have terrible luck with padded bras, particularly plunge bras. The cups can feel small and shallow, and I’ll feel like I’m spilling out of the cups. I don’t know how Ewa does it, but not only does Jagodzianki offer a low, plunging center gore, but good grief this bra has a lot of depth and projection. My breasts are very full on bottom, and I usually need more room in the bottom of the cup than some bras offer. Not a problem here: this bra is designed to send breast tissue UP and OUT, straight away from the rib cage. When I add the removable pads, the effect is amplified: serious lift, full breasts, and major, major cleavage. It…it takes some getting used to.
I take the same size in EM briefs that I do in brands like Freya, Fantasie, and Curvy Kate. I find these briefs fit well with no digging or slipping. Sometimes the waistband rolls down, but nowhere near as much as a standard bikini brief does.
This is one of my more comfortable sets. The bra fits my shape beautifully, the materials feel great, it’s useful to wear under v-neck shirts and button downs, and the briefs never pinch, dig, or slide around throughout the day. So why don’t I wear it very often?
Some of it has to do with my preference for unpadded bras, true, but it also has to do with my preference for a less dramatic shape with minimal cleavage. Not to put too fine a point on it, but as a tall woman who occasionally wears heels, I feel like I’m presenting anyone who stops to talk to me with a face full of cleavage, my boobs right at their eye level. That’s part of why I’m not wearing the bra with the pads in these photos; the effect is just…a lot for me, personally. Furthermore, I get SO much projection that it affects the fit of my clothes, especially if buttons are involved. It’s fine to wear under v-neck tees, but under my professional clothes I usually choose a bra with a rounder shape and slightly less projection.
If you’re looking for major, major lift and cleavage, this is the bra for you, especially if you are on the hunt for deep cups with narrow underwires. The removable pads are a nice bonus if you’re looking to balance any asymmetry or get a little extra boost, and the plunge shape means the center gore won’t peek out under lower necklines. The bra retails for about $47, and with the brief plus shipping to the USA an Ewa Michalak set costs around $75. While this is by no means cheap, it’s still an excellent price for such a well-made set; for comparison, some bras by Fantasie and Elomi are hovering right around $78-80 for the bra alone.
Those of you who have tried Ewa Michalak, what are your thoughts on her padded plunge bras? Is this a style you would wear, or do you prefer a different shape?
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Bra and brief: PL Jagodzianki by Ewa Michalak. Band sizes from 30-46 and cup sizes from A-K, although limited sizes are currently available in this style.
Photos: Lydia Hudgens