[Zathiya generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
After almost five years of wearing, researching, and writing about full-bust brands, I’m always surprised and pleased when a full-bust brand pops up that I’ve never heard of before! Aisha Leh, the owner of Texas full-bust online boutique Zathiya, contacted me earlier this year and suggested I try Nessa, after I found such success with the BM shape by Ewa Michalak (reviews here, here, and here). Like Ewa Michalak, Nessa is a Polish lingerie brand, and the bras give a super lifted, super rounded shape. I received two sets featuring the same cut in two different bold prints: Moly, a classic black and white houndstooth, and Klara, featuring an unusual blue and green rose print. With Spring coming slowly but surely to NYC, I thought it fitting to focus on some florals.
Klara is a non-padded bra featuring a classic three part cup, with the lower panel wrapping around and connecting directly to the strap to help draw breast tissue in towards the front of the body. The bottom two panels are made of a sturdy, non-stretch laminated fabric printed with sky blue, pale green, and pale yellow roses against a dark blue background. The top section of the cup is a black non-stretch mesh, with a black embroidery motif that matches the rose print. Fully adjustable black straps and a black powermesh continuous band finish off the high-contrast look. The band fastens with three rows and columns of hooks and eyes, and there are side stays (vertical pieces of flexible boning) placed in the band under the arms to provide extra stability. The matching brief features a center panel of printed roses, with black mesh and embroidery over the hips and an opaque black stretch mesh over the rear. The gusset is lined in cotton for comfort, and the legline is fully elasticated for a secure fit. The rise is fairly low, comparable to a classic bikini brief.
I currently wear size 32H in my Ewa Michalak BM bras and in most UK brands. Aisha sent me a size 70K Nessa bra, as well as an XL for the briefs, which come up smaller than many UK brands. My usual conversion gives Euro size 70K as 32H, while the Zathiya website converts it to 32GG. With Klara I found that 70K is indeed closer to a UK 32H, so the fit is quite good. The briefs fit similarly to my Avocado briefs in one size larger than I wear in most UK brands, while the bra fastens firmly on the loosest set of hooks. The band comes up juuust a touch more snug than my Panache bras; if you’re between sizes, you might want to choose your larger size. Because the cups are rigid, this bra doesn’t offer as flexible a fit as my bras with stretch lace in the top cup. I’ve been dealing with some health issues this year that are accompanied by occasional bloating, and I can really tell a difference in the fit between when I feeling well versus when I’m under the weather. I’ll note that I found the Moly bra noticeably smaller in both band and cup; in that style I’d get a better fit in a 75K (equivalent to a 34H), which would give me a looser band a fuller cup.
Those technicalities out of the way, here’s the real news: if you are looking for aggressive lift, a rounded shape, and a bra that won’t budget throughout the day, wow, this is the bra for you. I was extremely impressed the first time I put it on. The shape is super centered, really pulling breast tissue in from the sides of the body and pushing it up high on the chest. This is a great shape for someone like me, whose breasts are close-set with a lot of projection, as well as being somewhat high up on my chest wall. I never feel like I have to “swoop and scoop” my breast tissue back into the cup during the day, the way I do in some bras with a shallower shape; instead, the bra manages to lift all of my breast tissue from the root and keep it lifted and contained in the cup.
I’m glad Aisha recommended trying an XL instead of my usual Large for the brief, as the Large would have been far too small. I really like briefs with elasticated leglines, because they’re less inclined to wriggle around throughout the day, but if you need a seam-free edge, these may prove to be tricky for you.
As I mentioned above, this bra does not use stretch lace or mesh in the cup, so it may not be the best choice for sensitive days. In addition, the firm band and side stays mean that sometimes the bra uncomfortably digs into my squishy bits by the end of the day. Again, if you’re between band sizes, choosing the larger of those sizes may resolve that issue for you. One thing that is nice about how well the bra centers breasts on the front of the body is that it helps to reduce the chance of chafing. Some folks with larger breasts (myself include) find that when a bra doesn’t pull breast tissue in from the sides of the body, active days can leave you with chafe marks on your arms where they brush against your breasts as you walk. With this bra, that’s much less likely to happen.
I really, really wish the briefs had a slightly higher rise. They’re close to being a great fit for me, but they keep rolling down under my belly, which is one of my least favorite feelings in the world. I prioritize wearing matching sets on most days because they make me happy, so when the knickers aren’t comfy, the bra doesn’t get as much wear as it might deserve. That’s a personal preference though, so if you’re on the lookout for some sassy low-rise knickers to match your full-bust bra, these may tickle your fancy.
I am impressed with Nessa lingerie. Based on the two sets I tried, they’ve found a pattern that really nails some key fit factors that many full-bust folks want: a firm band, lots of lift, a rounded shape, no padding and no extra volume, a smooth finish, and a narrowed, centered presentation. The quality and fit are outstanding, especially considering the accessible price point. My personal preferences are moving away from bigger, kitschier prints like this, but Zathiya currently stocks some Nessa styles that feature pretty embroidery rather than a print. I particularly like the Tatuaz set, which, on someone like me with pale skin, would tap into the tattoo-like embroidery trend.
Have you tried Nessa before? What do you think of the fit?
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Bra and Brief: Klara by Nessa ($45 and $18, c/o Zathiya). Nessa bras are available in band sizes 65-100 and cup sizes E-O, panties in sizes XS-XXL. Nessa is a Polish brand that does not use double letters, so the cup size progression is E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O. This roughly corresponds to 30-44 bands and E-K cups in UK sizes.
Photos: Michi Rezin