I love being proved wrong.
For as long as I’ve been writing Sweet Nothings (3 years in May, eep!), I have stood firm in my padded-bras-are-terrible stance. Well, they’re generally terrible for me: I’ve worn non-padded bras almost exclusively since I first started figuring out what sizes and styles I liked best. I’ve tried padded plunges and padded half cups and generally any kind of padded bra, and they always wind up unworn in the back of my drawers. So when people began reporting that padded plunge bras from Polish brands like Ewa Michalak, Anna Pardal, and Comexim were life-changers, I was HIGHLY skeptical.
Then Aisha from Zathiya and I were chatting about my bikini from Curvy Kate, and she asked me if I’d ever tried Comexim, and would I like to? Her new full-bust e-boutique stocks selections from full-bust favorites Parfait and Curvy Kate, and she (along with A Sophisticated Pair) is one of the first US-based retailers to stock Comexim bras. I asked if I could review a style of my choosing, and luckily for me, she indulged me! I picked out the elegant red-and-black Arizona, since its padded plunge shape is similar to the other two Comexim styles Zathiya currently stocks, in the hope that my review will be helpful to anyone who might like to order one of those styles.
[Note: Zathiya generously provided this lingerie for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Arizona is a lightly padded plunge bra constructed with a three-part cup (vertical seam from bottom of cup, diagonal seam across the cup). The cups are covered with a lovely black floral lace, lined with plain red fabric (as you know, red lingerie is currently my favorite lingerie). Small red tuxedo bows trim the center gore and straps. The mesh band and fully adjustable straps are black, and the band closes with three rows of three columns of hooks and eyes.
The coordinating shorts are low-rise with a completely sheer black mesh back. The center front panel is lined with the same pretty red/black lace fabric as the cups of the bra.
Even though some Polish brands convert their sizes from EU to UK, there are still variations in different country’s manufacturing, which left me unsure of what size to order. I gave Aisha my measurements and current sizes/brands, and she suggested a size for me to try (many reviewers seem to agree that with Ewa Michalak and Comexim, the trick is to go up a band size, keeping the same letter, which gives you a size that’s one band and one cup volume larger than your UK size). I don’t usually care to share my size on the internet, but in this situation I think it will be helpful: I’ve been wearing 32H pretty consistently in Eveden/Panache, with the occasional 34GG. Aisha advised trying 36GG (80J), which is 1-2 bands larger and 1 cup volume larger than my usual styles.
When the bra arrived I pulled it out of the box and thought “There is no way this is going to fit.” It looked so small, but that’s because the wires are so much narrower, and the cups so much lower cut, than many other styles I wear. To my delighted surprise, the fit was wonderful! The cups offer SO MUCH projection, and as someone who often finds UK and American bras wide and shallow, these cups feel just perfect. Other wires occasionally pull too wide on the sides of my body or come up uncomfortably high under my arms, but not so here: the projected shape suits my closer-set breasts really well!
While I liked the fit of the band when I first put it on, after a day’s wear, it felt a bit loose. After 3 more wears, I’m already on the middle hooks. I think next time I’ll go for 34H (75K), which is 1 band bigger (and still 1 cup volume larger) than my usual 32H. The cups occasionally gape at the top, but I think that’s the nature of a stiffer padded cup; I wouldn’t size down.
Based on my measurements and usual sizes in shorts we went with a size Large, and they feel slightly small. Some of that is because they’re low-cut, which isn’t the most fun for me as a tall person with a belly, and some of it is a waistband that digs. I would size up next time, if they weren’t so danged uncomfortable, which I’ll get to shortly.
This bra is a joy to wear. Seriously. Apart from scooping/swooping towards mid-afternoon to make sure all my breast tissue is filling the cup, I don’t have to adjust this bra at all throughout the day. Instead of feeling stiff, constricting, or uncomfortable, I forget I’m even wearing it. My usual complaint with padded bras is that I feel like my breasts aren’t really settling into the cups, like they’re floating precariously in space and will require frequent fidgeting and adjusting over the course of a day’s wear. With Arizona, I truly feel lifted and supported. The bra is fantastic for plunging necklines, and it provides an up-front-and-centered shape, along with some pretty outstanding cleavage. Granted, some days I don’t WANT to be boob-tastic, and I’ll opt for a bra with less projection and plunge, but in general I feel supported, comfortable, and confident when I wear this bra. I only hope I can wear it more before the band stretches out!
I will most likely not wear the shorts again, to be honest. I’ve worn them twice, and both times I wanted to tear them off my body by the end of the day. The rise is so low they feel like they’re falling off, and the seat has little shaping and no elastic in the legline to help them “grip” my (pretty flat) derriere. I also find the gusset a little narrow, so they tend to wriggle and slide around my body (wedgies, y’all. I’m trying to say they give me wedgies). I’ve gotten spoiled by higher-rise shorts, bikinis, and briefs, and I now no longer have the patience to deal with uncomfortable and unflattering knickers. I’m aware, however, that my anti-low-rise stance is not universal, so your mileage may vary.
While the shorts aren’t my cup of tea, this bra is a game changer. It gives me a fantastically narrow, projected shape, and despite the openness of the neckline it offers tremendous lift and support. I also really like the sensual red and black lace design: it makes the bra feel more opulent and sophisticated than the price tag would have you believe. Y’all, I love a padded bra! Who am I? What’s next? Will I revise my stance on raisins that pretend to be chocolate chips (they are evil)? Will I suddenly change my tune about Wuthering Heights (Wuthering Heights is a terrible book about terrible people)? It’s a brave new world!
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Bra and Shorts: Arizona by Comexim, c/o Zathiya. Approx. $50/$18. XS-XXL. Band sizes from 60-90 (28-40 UK) and cup sizes from D-N (D-JJ UK). Comexim follows EU cup size progressions: B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N. Zathiya currently stocks the Irish Coffee and Arabella styles, with more styles, including Arizona, on the way later this year. UPDATE:: Arizona is now available for purchase on the Zathiya website. If you’re interested in trying a different Comexim style or size than you see on the website, contact Aisha about ordering!
Photos: Studio Rezin