Well, my bras arrived from Ewa Michalak. It took 15 days for them to reach me from Poland. That wasn’t bad, it’s about what people are reporting all over the place.
However, as soon as I opened the package, I knew something was wrong.
As I mentioned before, the Effuniak size calculator says that I am an 85GG. That’s the equivalent of a 38GG UK, which seemed just ridiculous to me: I wear a 34GG or a 32H in most bras, and I would positively swim in a 38GG. However, Ewa says that her bands are tighter than the bands on UK models, and many users agree. Opinions varied as to what size I ought to order: some people said go down one band size, some said go down a band AND a cup, or up a cup, etc. So, I ordered three bras: two of the CH Miętus, one in 85GG and one in 80H. I also ordered a HP Puder, in 80GG. I thought I had my bases covered there, especially since people say that Effuniak bands get tighter in higher cup sizes.
As soon as I opened the box, I was confronted with some very large bra cups. The 85GG Miętus was on top, and it was clearly too large. I pulled out all the bras to try on, hoping for a miracle. I didn’t get it.
Here is the smallest bra, the HP Puder, in 80GG, the equivalent of a 36GG:
First, the front view. You can see somewhat that the cup has empty spaces, and my breasts are not fully supported. And, in spite of the bra being oversized, the center gore wanted to ride out away from my chest.
From the top, you can see the emptiness more easily. I added arrows so you know what you are looking at.
The side view shows the concavity where my breast tissue should be convex. In other words, it should be round or a flat slope, but instead there is a collapsed-looking area because my breast is not supported in that area. Since the bra is squishing me in front, though, there’s some bulging.
I should also note that, out of curiosity, I tried a tshirt on over the Puder. The seams were very visible. Though the seams are flatlocked, they create an indention into the foam of the cup, but are also bulky themselves; the result is a bulky seam sitting in a ditch. This creates a lot of very strong texture. As I wear tight tshirts most of the time, that would be a problem!
The straps, also, were very long, only partially adjustable, and very thin.
On the positive side, the Puder is a more intense pink in person. It is a very pretty bra in that respect.
One thing I found strange: Ewa Michalak says her bands are tighter than UK bands. With these bands, I found it to be the opposite. This “36” band was the same length, unstretched, as my 34 Fantasie bands, but it was much more stretchy. Each of the Effuniak bands easily stretched about 9 inches! With this in mind, I think I could actually go down a band size, rather than up.
Next up I tried the Miętus in 80H. It was also too large in both cup and band.
I took the next pic to emphasize how big the cups were.
I think the Miętus is a very pretty bra, and I am disappointed that it did not fit. However, it also suffered from the very stretchy band and narrow straps. In addition, the fabric just wasn’t as pretty in person. It just wasn’t super-nice fabric, not compared to the pretty fabrics in brands like Fantasie and even Panache. I did not try the Miętus on under a shirt, as it was so large it wouldn’t have mattered. However, it is worth nothing that the seams are less obtrusive than on the Puder: they are butted seams, and they are only on the green fabric, not the foam, so there is no “ditch” around them. I think they still might show though.
Just for the blog, I decided to try on the Miętus in 85GG. What a laugh! This is the size assigned to me by the Ewa Michalak calculator:
From the top, you can see how loose the cups are:
And the side view:
All the bras had in common the very stretchy bands. Also, the powernet in the wings seemed pretty thin and not very robust to me. In terms of quality of materials, I would say that they seem about the same level as a Cacique or Cleo bra. with one exception: the underwires seem to be very, very thickly cased, which I think would add to comfort. I also noted that the padding (in the cups) seemed much thicker than I had expected. The Effuniak website says that the foam is 3mm thick, but I think there must be more than two layers of fabric over that foam. I think that in a proper fit, the foam would be compressed and not so bulky, though. And it IS much less bulky than on an American or UK contour bra.
I measured these cups for the Bratabase before I put them on, and I found two curious things: one, without exception, the right-side cup on every bra was a little bigger than the left-side cup, both in width and depth. What’s that about? Two, I noticed that the smallest cup, in 80GG, was around the same size in width and depth as my other bras that do fit. The difference was in HEIGHT. Not just the length of the underwires (though they were very long) but also the actual height of the cup, in fabric. The cup comes up to and even above the tops of the underwires, and that means a lot of cup that I just couldn’t fill. This is why I think I could go down a size in cup as well as in band: the cups in EM are much more roomy than in any other bra I have ever tried.
What I found very frustrating about this experience is that I spent all this money (the bras themselves, shipping both ways) and came out of it without a single bra that fit me. In addition to that, if I had known that my size in Ewa Michalak bras would essentially be the same, or even smaller, than my UK size, I would not have ordered these three bras in the first place! My preference is for seamed cups with no padding. The only reason I decided to try these padded bras was because EM unpadded bras were supposedly not available in my size, and many people said that the padding was unobtrusive. But, regardless of how obtrusive padding is, I really, strongly prefer unpadded bras in general. And, I think Effuniak’s unpadded lace designs are gorgeous! Due to the size inaccuracies, I missed out on some models I really liked, like the Halfek models (no longer available in my size.)
I know many other people have had great experiences with Ewa Michalak bras, and I was so hoping to be one of them! I do want to stress that I don’t think this means that Effuniak bras are poorly made, or that they are a bad company. So many ladies have found Effuniak bras to be their absolute dream bras, that they are clearly doing something right! I do think, though, that they should revise their size calculator right away. I know I am not the only person for whom it has been grossly inaccurate.
The good thing about this experience is that I know now that Effuniak unpadded styles do come in my size, and that is very good to know!
I have dropped these bras in the mail to return them, and now I must wait another agonising couple of weeks to get only some of my money back. I am undecided as to whether I should order another bra from them or not. Part of me says I should get something out of this ordeal, but the other part of me points out that the more times I have to pay for shipping back and forth, the more expensive the bra ends up being. So, I am undecided. I think the Granatowy Motyl bra is absolutely gorgeous, though, so we will see. I plan to send some pics to Ewa to see what size she would suggest.