I´m back from a trip to Poland, which happens to be Europe´s 2nd bra capital (the first is UK). Of course this wasn´t the reason I was there in the first place. Of course once I was I couldn´t not go bra shopping.
But first, I have two confessions to make: one, I have never been fitted by anyone other than myself. Second, since my conversion to my correct size, I have never been bra shopping in a real, offline store. (In my defense, my town has one expensive store that carries Freya bras starting at band 70, which the saleswoman tried to convince me would fit. I fled.)
Krakow boasts of several bra stores* with a full size range and enlightened fitters. My mission: try on brands I don´t know, check my bra-fitting skills and hopefully learn something new and to buy a swimsuit and a black bra.
Once inside Intimo4you, I started grabbing bras off hangers and headed to the changing room. The fitters asked if they could take a peek and after satisfying themselves that I was indeed wearing the correct size, started bringing me armloads of bras to try on.
The fitter took one glance at me and said that I was wearing all my bras too low. After gathering, she made me grab the ends of the underwire and pull the cups up**. Apparently I hadn´t been paying attention to the small empty space at the bottom of each cup. This made a huuuge difference n my fit.
I also found out that, just as I had suspected, Freya bras are incompatible with my breasts. Even though the underwire went all the way around the breast, there appeared a roll of flesh above where the underwire ended at the armpit. Not pretty. And in the front was the infamous Freya pucker**.
I was disappointed that I couldn´t try on the Freya Carousel, since I have heard that the swimsuits have wider underwires than the bras. But alas, most sizes were sold out ! I did try on tons of Masquerades (a glamorous line by Panache) and they all fit me like a dream. I din´t buy anything in the end, since I had one more store to visit.
On to the next store: the Brafitteria located inconspiciously in a shabby passage. This was one of the few stores that carry Ewa Michalak bras and as you already know I am a big fan of them. When I entered, imagine my delight on seeing this red bikini hanging on the shelf ! It is from last year's collection and I had been hunting for it high and low, in vain. Brafitteria didn´t have it in 30D (my correct size in EM bras) but they did have one in 28DD. It´s tight, but I can still breathe. Of course I bought it, and will wear it around the house and hand wash it a couple of times hoping it stretches a bit. I`m not sure the briefs are flattering, and I might buy a simple pair somewhere.
After trying on everything they had from EM, I finally chose the Black Halfcup, but didn´t have enough cash on me to pay. I came back after two days, but it was already gone (nooooo!). After trying on every black bra in the store (none fit me well), I finally chose the Passioanata One Piece. In real life the bra is gorgeous and makes a beautiful shape. The size was 70C, but the band strikes me as pretty snug and the silicone lining adds stability. (No idea if all Passionata bras are so snug though). It struck me as expensive (50€) compared to the Ewa Michalak bras, but since it is multifunction (black, smoothing and convertible) I decided to go for it.
My other brafitting gleanings: because my breasts are not full at the top, a lot of balconettes don´t fit me well (the top edge either gapes, or the breasts spills over). Half-cups and plunges fit me best. Bras constructed like Panache Harmony present another problem: the seam joining the lace to the rest of the cup digs in, causing wrinkles and bulges (again, this is due to the breasts not being firm). Also, the fitter sensitised me to the shape the bra gives to my breasts**, something I didn´t pay a lot of attention to before.
As for the other brands I wanted to try ? There were a few pieces from Keia Pink (formerly Ruby Pink) as well as Comexim. None of them fit me well, but as I only tried on tow models from each, I can't judge the whole brand.
Before I end, I leave you with the Bra World Map, which lists all visit-worthy bra stores in Poland and the UK.
* If you ever visit Krakow (which by the way is totally charming and interesting and worth your time), here are the addresses:
Intimo4you.com: ul. Dietla 50, 31 - 039 Kraków
Brafitteria: ul. Krakowska 5, Kraków
** I will write detailed posts about this. Soon.