[Zathiya generously provided this set for review. Ewa Michalak is not affiliated with this post. I was not compensated for my review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Ewa Michalak is a Polish lingerie brand that’s achieved a huge fan base, particularly amongst their full-bust customers, by offering lingerie and swim styles in one of the largest size ranges of any brand currently on the market (28-60 band sizes and A-M cups sizes). They’re especially known for their narrow underwires and deep cups, which can be harder to find in G+ sizes. I’ve had positive experiences with Ewa Michalak bras in the past (reviews here, here, and here), but I admit that sometimes the prospect of ordering from Poland and having to do a return or exchange is a little daunting. Happily for me as an American, Zathiya, a lingerie boutique based in Texas, stocks Ewa Michalak, which makes the prospect of trying a new style feel much less risky. Plus shipping from another state is faster than overseas, and no worries about your order getting held up at Customs! Win-win. Aisha approached me about trying a set from some of her newer stock, and I was drawn immediately to Szmaragd (“Emerald”), both for the color and for the non-padded lace cups.
Szmaragd is an unusual dark green and black lace and mesh lingerie set, trimmed with plum satin bows. The bra is based on Ewa Michalak’s BM shape, a three-part non-padded cup made of rose-patterned stretch lace backed with black stretch mesh (in the upper panel) and black tulle (in the lower two panels). The band is a double layer of black power mesh that fastens with three rows and four columns of hooks and eyes. The shoulder straps are partially adjustable, with green satin covering the front portion and wide black elastic in the back (theoretically you could probably force the adjuster over the satin part if you needed to shorten the straps further, but it would require some effort).
The brief is a classic Ewa Michalak shape, with multiple panels creating a V-shape in front and a sheer black mesh back. The waistband is black stretch lace for a smooth look, and the legline is elasticated for a close fit. The briefs have a moderate rise, slightly higher than a classic bikini brief, but not so much coverage as a high-waist brief.
I adore the colors in this set. Green is an unusual choice for lingerie (particularly in full-bust land), and this dark emerald really hits a sweet spot for me. The set feels as “functional” as a plain black set, in that I can wear it under darker colors with no show-through, but it’s much more striking and dramatic. I feel very mysterious and regal in this color!
Ewa Michalak bras can vary in fit from style to style, and my size has changed a bit since I last tried the brand, so I wasn’t totally sure which size to try. I currently wear a 32GG (UK) most frequently (although over the last few weeks some of my 32Hs have been fitting again, sigh, pick a size please, boobs), and I asked Aisha of Zathiya if it would be possible to try a 32GG and a 34G, as sometimes Ewa Michalak bands come up a little firmer than some other UK brands. I worried that perhaps I should also have tried a larger cup size, and when the bras arrived my heart sank, since the cups looked a little small on first glance. I tried the 32GG first and never even tried the 34G, since the 32GG felt fantastic!
Like many full-bust bras the band felt quite firm at first, but it loosened gradually over the first few wears. If you’re between band sizes you might still want to try your larger size, especially since there are four columns of hooks instead of the usual three, so you don’t have to worry about the band getting too big too quickly. I always forget how rare it is to find underwires that suit my shape, and how nearly impossible it is to find a bra offers enough projection. Szmaragd fits like it was made specifically for my body. Usually I have to adjust my bras throughout the day, especially “scooping and swooping” my breast tissue into the cups, but once I put on Szmaragd I completely forget about it. The wires are narrow and close-set, the cups are deep, and the stretch lace in the top of the cup is firm enough for support and shape yet flexible enough to accommodate size fluctuation. This has quickly become one of my go-to bras.
I took the briefs in size 42/L and got a pretty much perfect fit. The rise is high enough to stay up over my tummy, but the smooth lace waistband keeps the brief from digging into my softer bits and creating a line under clothes.
As with the other BM style I’ve tried from Ewa Michalak, I noticed a little roughness in the seams on the band, but a few wears and a wash helped the materials to soften so that the band feels much smoother. As I mentioned above, the cups are PERFECT for me, keeping me lifted, contained, and supported throughout a long day’s wear with little to no adjustment. The band can occasionally dig if I’m having a puffy or inactive day, but in general it lies nice and smooth against my ribs with no rolling or digging. I can’t speak highly enough of the briefs: this is one of my favorite cuts of underwear, and I find them extremely comfortable to wear. The rise is great, they don’t wiggle or shift around on my body, and there’s no digging or bunching.
I will note that, again as with the other Ewa bras I’ve tried, sometimes that gloriously projected shape is a little, um, too projected for my liking. There are days when I want a less pronounced look, depending on my mood or my outfit, and I’ll usually opt for one of my bras that creates a more relaxed silhouette, like Claudette Fishnet or Paramour. But on days when I want a little wow factor, Szmaragd can’t be beat: I get a ton of lift, a little cleavage (despite the coverage), and a pleasingly rounded shape.
Having now tried four different Ewa styles, I gotta say the bras are worth the hype. Offering shapes and a size range unmatched by most other brands, as well as some especially daring designs like fully sheer sets and dramatic strapping, this brand is a real stand-out. I don’t usually include Ewa Michalak in my roundups of “where to buy full-bust bras if you’re new to them”, because I do think, for someone who’s a US-based bra newbie, ordering from Poland, navigating the made-to-order process, dealing with currency conversion and possible customs holds, and familiarizing yourself with the different shapes is a higher degree of difficulty than saying “oh, just order a bunch of things from Nordstrom and return the ones you don’t like”. It’s also worth noting that while the narrow underwires + super projection formula is fantastic for me, there are lots of full-bust women for whom this shape isn’t a great match.
That’s why I just love that Zathiya stocks Ewa Michalak. Aisha, owner of Zathiya, offers fantastic fit advice, reliable shipping, and a great selection of international brands that can be hard to find in the US. Shopping with her takes away a lot of the risk and anxiety of international shopping, making these fantastic bras much easier to purchase. She’s also recently launched a great rewards program! I’ve had nothing but fantastic interactions with her and her store, and I recommend her highly, especially if you’re a fan of brands like Comexim and Ewa Michalak,
What do you think of the Szmaragd collection? Are you a lover of Polish lingerie?
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Bra and Brief: Szmaragd by Ewa Michalak ($56/18), c/o Zathiya Lingerie. Bra available in sizes 28-40 DD-K (available cup sizes will vary by band size), brief in sizes XS-XL (36-46).
Photos: Studio Rezin