Abstract: Perfect fit, perfect shape, some minor comfort and support issues. The appearance is also a bit old-fashioned. Nonetheless, if you love the nearly-hemispherical boob shape as much as I do, you should definitely try this bra (or other Ewa Michalak HP styles).
Background: The HP is one of Ewa Michalak’s two padded half cup models. It gives more of a push-up effect and somewhat less forward projection compared the CH model. The HP Szarak style looks like it’s currently available to order in any size, though I’m not sure whether it will be discontinued in the future. I purchased a 32G directly from EM during a 10% sale in early June of this year. This was the missing bra that I mentioned in this post; I received the replacement in mid-August, so I’ve had the bra for around two months.
Sizing: It’s not often that I get to say this about a bra, but the HP Szarak, to my best estimation, is accurately sized in both the band and the cup. For a while now, my boobs have been indecisive about whether they’re 32FFs or 32Gs, sometimes alternating between the two sizes on a daily basis. On FF days, I get a bit of gaping in the HP Szarak, while on G days, the cup volume matches my breast volume exactly. The band is wonderfully tight and firm on my 32″ ribcage, too. If you buy this bra, I think going with your normal UK size would be a good idea.
Fit: This bra is a perfect fit on me. The center gore is of average width and the wires are wide enough to accommodate my wide-set boobs, but not so wide that they start creeping around my ribcage towards my back. The cups are slightly shallow and they’re very open on top, so they’re particularly well suited to full-on-top boobs (or to boobs of uniform fullness like mine). Full-on-the-bottoms may struggle a bit, but I think the bra is still worth a try, since Ewa Michalak bras can fit lots of different shapes owing to their very ‘average’ proportions.
Comfort: Generally good. The insides of the cups are lined with cotton for added comfort. The center gore does start to rub uncomfortably if I have the bra on for a long period of time; it’s not as bad as in the CH Toffik or the CH Karmelki, though, and it’s easy to fix by putting some tissue or a cotton makeup pad between the wires and my skin.
Shape: Of the Ewa Michalak styles I’ve tried, the HP is definitely my favorite. This bra holds my boobs in close to my chest and doesn’t project them as far forward as the CH bras do. The shape is perfectly rounded — practically hemispherical — and the lift and centering are amazing. It’s pretty much the ideal shape I look for in a bra.
Support: Average. There are three hooks in the 32G and the wires and the band are strong, but the straps are too narrow for my liking. The open cups provide a decent amount of support from the bottom but very little from the top, so I can feel some bounce when I walk. It’s fine for everyday wear, but I wouldn’t want to run around in it.
Quality: The construction is solid, as are the materials. Ewa Michalak bras, in general, hover at around the same level of quality as Cleo bras. They don’t offer quite the same level of luxury as do products from Freya or Fantasie, but they’re sturdy and cheap and cheerful, which I’m happy with.
What I love about the HP Szarak, in particular, is the lovely, thick, double-layered band. It’s less stretchy than most other bra bands, and so far it hasn’t permanently stretched out to any appreciable degree through washing and wearing. This is a good sign for the long-term durability of the bra.
Appearance: You can probably tell by looking at my blog, but I absolutely love grey and monochrome, so I’m completely on board with the color scheme of the HP Szarak. The cups are really gorgeous; I love the contrast of the black and the shiny silver embroidery. For me, the embroidery and the top edges of the cups are visible under tight and/or thin clothes. I’m not a huge fan of the textured pattern on the wings and band — it kind of looks like upholstery from the seventies — but it’s fairly subtle, so I can deal with it.
Conclusions: This is currently my favorite bra, mostly due to the amazing shape it produces. I generally prefer bras that look a bit more modern, but since appearance is the least important aspect of a bra for me, I love the HP Szarak all the same.