Undressed to Impress

Quick review: Ewa Michalak S Szafirek

I love blue bras, so when I saw the Szafirek pop up on Ewa Michalak’s site I ordered almost straight away. As an added bonus, the bra had 20zl off for two days only!

I ordered a 65FF with the matching briefs in size 36 (UK 8). I received the set in about a week – the fastest I’ve ever had an EM order delivered, as nothing had to be made to order.

The bra didn’t quite look how I expected it to – I think I was expecting a slightly lighter blue. However, I’m still really happy with the overall look. The fabric is navy blue lace over a beige background, which matches my skin tone rather well. This gives it a slightly sheer appearance in real life (the photo below doesn’t represent this well) despite it being a padded bra. The knickers don’t have the beige backing behind the lace panels, so if your skin tone is significantly different from the bra backing this is worth taking into account. Personally I would have preferred the beige backing on the knickers too, simply for consistency. The knickers are made of a silky polyester fabric which is also found on the wings of the bra.


Fit wise, the 65FF was OK. I’d have preferred a slightly tighter band, but I expected this and I like to avoid special orders wherever possible so it’s not too much of a concern. In my experience with the S style (albeit I’ve only tried 3) the bands have always been slightly looser than the older PL styles I have. Cup wise, the FF was pretty spot on with the removable padding in place. My boobs have shrunk a tiny bit in recent times, which has led me to wonder if I could get away with a 65F without the padding. I love the 3D styles from Ewa and these sometimes go up to an F, so I’d love to try and squeeze in one! The knickers were a good fit on me in my usual size.

I wore the set all day today and found it very comfortable straight out of the box. This surprised me, as I always expect some discomfort from non-plunge bras due to my close set shape. However, the gore is very narrow on this bra so it’s a good choice for others with this shape. Other things to note about the shape are the cups. For those used to the rounded shape of Ewa bras, the S gives a slightly different silhouette. The website describes this as a “rounded shape with a subtly marked peak”, which I think is very accurate. Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture to show this. Personally I prefer the perfectly round shape I get in the PLs, but this isn’t different enough for me to be particularly bothered.

Overall I’m a big fan of this bra and looking forward to the other new bras to come from Ewa for Spring!

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Masquerade Persia Review

The Masquerade Persia first appeared on the scenes last season, and I barely paid it any attention. It seemed to somewhat divide opinion, with some loving the unusual design and others, like myself, seeing fussy embroidery in the same colour as my secondary school sweatshirt. Come to think of it, the sweatshirt thing is probably what put me off…it was REALLY nasty and I had to wear it for 4 years. Anyway, out in the lingerie blogging world Miss Underpinnings was a big fan and Invest in Your Chest liked it too, but had some fit issues. So when I saw it in blue for AW12, I paid it a little more attention.

I’m a total sucker for a blue bra, and this colour just suddenly made me start thinking ‘expensive’ rather than ‘fussy’. Unfortunately, it lives up to that description quite well – at £40 for the bra alone it’s a bit too far from payday for me to afford. To try it out for size, I ordered a bargain one in last season’s colour from Amazon with the intention of returning it. Not something I’d ever do with a small retailer or a brand I cared about, but with someone as huge as Amazon I think it’s OK. It’s not often in the full-busted lingerie world that I can try something out for real and pay no postage and no return fee! Oh and should Amazon wish for my real custom, they need to start carrying Masquerade in a 28 back…but I digress. I ordered the set in a 30FF with matching size 8 brief.

The fit wasn’t right on me at all. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a 30 to fit me, but I can attempt to comment on it compared to other 30s I’ve tried recently. I thought it  probably fit about true to size or maybe half a size small (i.e. like a 29″ back). It was looser than the Masquerade Harem but tighter than the Amira (two sets I’ll be reviewing soon). Both Invest in Your Chest and Miss Underpinnings found the band to be tight in a 28, so it may be worth sizing up if you’re on the larger end of your band size or prefer a slightly looser fit.

The cups weren’t right at all on me. It’s fuller in the cup than the bras I prefer to wear regularly, as styles like this always cause me fit issues at the top – usually resulting in ski-slope look in the above right photo. Whilst not particularly wide, I found the centre gore to be painful, and the straps did not adjust short enough for me as they are only partly adjustable. Oh and you may have noticed it’s not padded. Another thing I’m not a fan of!

On a more positive note, the briefs fit me really well and felt like they would be comfortable. They come up smaller than most other Masquerade styles, which is good for me as it meant the 8 fit rather than falling down (I’m looking at you, Rhea) but others may prefer to size up. The ‘nude’ coloured underlay also matched my skin quite well, so gave a good sheer look without showing off too much. It’s something I thought I ought to point out, as I can imagine it could look odd on one of the many skin tones significantly darker than my own.

Overall, I’m not a fan of this bra. I’ll be saving my pennies for a good deal on the beautiful Rosetti when I see it!


Cleo Marcie Bra Review

Continuing my theme of red balconette bras, I bring you the Cleo Marcie!

I’ve never been a big fan of Cleo bras – the colours and prints have never really appealed to me. However, their new Autumn/Winter collection has changed all that. The mix of reds, blues and cute designs has really lured me in.


(Apologies for the knickers in this pic – I couldn’t find my usual plain flesh-coloured ones to wear underneath so went for what I thought was the next best thing – my Masquerade Delphi knickers in a sort-of flesh colour with very obvious embroidery!)


The Marcie set was not one I expected to love. It’s a combination of two things I don’t like in a bra: unpadded and a balconette shape. But it’s so pretty I couldn’t resist keeping it! The bra gave me a surprisingly rounded shape, which is what I prefer. As in most Panache bras, the wires are too wide for me, so there is empty fabric on the sides, but it’s not a big problem and I don’t feel it’s as minimising as other Panache bras can be on me.

I’ve got this in a 28G with the matching knickers in size 8, and it fits me absolutely perfectly. The band is pretty snug, stretching up to a maximum of 27″, so it might be worth sizing up if you are on the larger side of a 28. For me, the band fits really well on the middle hook at the moment, which gives me slightly longer than usual before I’ll have to tighten it.
As with any balconette, the wires in the centre do start to hurt me after a while, but the centre gore is quite narrow so it’s not as bad as it could be. There was also a little extra space in the underwire channel, which I made use of to position the wire slightly lower in the centre. I think I will experiment with bending the wires and perhaps sewing some padding into the centre to make it more comfortable.

Apart from the fun, young and bright designs, another great thing about Cleo bras is the price. Full price, this one is £25 for the bra and £12.50 for the knickers. £37.50 for the whole set is really not bad, and I got an extra 20% off it from Figleaves a couple of weeks ago – making it a real bargain!

I won’t say I’ve been entirely converted to the unpadded way of life, but I’ll definitely consider unpadded Cleo bras in the future – especially as some styles will be available in a 26 band next year. I’m really excited that a major UK brand has decided to do this, and I’m keen to buy the products to support this. I really hope it’s the start of something great in the small-busted market!