Abstract: These bras aren’t perfect, but they’re very close. The shape is brilliant and the fabric is very lightweight, but the HM Classic is itchy and doesn’t look very smooth under clothes.
Background: These are sheer, unpadded half cup bras from the Polish brand, Ewa Michalak. According to Bratabase, the range of band sizes on the HM Gold is is EU 50–115 (UK 24–50) and each band size has its own cup size range (a subset of A–K). I assume it’s the same for the HM Classic. Right now, it looks like both bras are continuity styles and can be ordered in any size. I purchased the bras directly from Ewa Michalak at slightly discounted prices: the HM Gold, in 32GG, in June, and the HM Classic, in 32FF, in August. The 32GG HM Gold didn’t fit me, but I didn’t return it to EM due to the cost of shipping. I plan to sell it on the secondary market instead.
Sizing: Both bras are accurately sized in both the band and the cup (but I’m not sure if this is true for all Ewa Michalak HM styles). The tried-once-and-never-worn HM Gold stretches to 31″, while the partly-worn-in HM Classic stretches to 31½”, which is about the right length for a 32 band bra. The cup volume on the 32FF perfectly matches the volume of my sometimes-32FF, sometimes-32G boobs, while the 32GG is obviously too big in the cups for me (it was my first EM order, so the sizing was kind of a crapshoot). If you buy these bras, it would be best to order your normal UK size. You could go up one band size and down one cup size if you prefer a looser band, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Fit: I didn’t closely examine the fit of the 32GG HM Gold because it was clearly the wrong size for me, so for this section, I’m going to talk about the 32FF HM Classic only.
The first thing I noticed about this bra was that the underwires come up quite high in the center, which could be uncomfortable for close-set breasts. The underwire casings, however, are sewn such that they overlap each other, decreasing the width of the center gore; the high wires could thus be less problematic than expected.
The underwires on this bra are fairly narrow and the wings aren’t very tall, so my boobs escape out the sides a little bit. At the same time, the upper edges of the cups gape slightly near the gore because I can’t quite fill them there. This pattern of simultaneous bulging and gaping tells me that the distribution of cup volume on the HM Classic isn’t the best match for my extremely wide-set boobs, but the incompatibility is minor enough that it doesn’t really bother me. (I’ll take too-narrow underwires over too-wide underwires any day.)
The straps on the HM Gold are maybe 90% adjustable, while those on the HM Classic are fully adjustable. I keep them adjusted fairly long to accommodate my enormous shoulders. The straps are short enough that narrow shoulders or petite frames probably won’t have any issues.
Overall, I think the HM bras would fit best on close-set, full-on-top boobs. Note, however, that the widths, lengths, and heights on these bras aren’t skewed too far one way or the other, so they should fit decently on a number of different breast shapes (as is the case with most Ewa Michalak bras).
Comfort: I find the HM Classic quite itchy around the whole underboob area. This might be because the bra is still fairly new and hasn’t been fully broken in yet. That aside, the lightweight mesh is great when it’s hot outside — much better than wearing a moulded or padded bra.
Shape: This bra does a brilliant job of lifting and centering my boobs. Additionally, the vertical seams prevent sharp points from forming and the open cups don’t push down on the top of the breasts, which creates a gorgeous rounded shape from the side. It’s hands down the best shape I’ve ever seen from an unpadded bra. (Click here for a visual — on me, the shape of the HM bra is very similar to the shape of the HP.)
Support: Vertical seams and open cups give a nice rounded shape, but they’re not so great when it comes to support. The straps are of a decent width and the underwires are strong and sturdy, which is good, but the band is rather narrow. Also, both the 32FF HM Classic and the 32GG HM Gold close with only two hooks, and the hook-and-eye closures are narrower than those used by other brands, which doesn’t help things in the support department. My boobs bounce quite a bit when I walk around in this bra, so I wear it on days and occasions that don’t involve too much moving around.
Quality: No complaints here. I’ve been wearing the HM Classic for about six weeks and it’s held up well so far. The materials are satisfactory and all the seams are strong and neat. One thing is, there are raw edges on the mesh fabric on the inside of the back band, which I’ve begun to notice is a common feature on all EM bras. It looks a little sloppy but it doesn’t seem to have any negative practical effect. For the price, I think the quality of these bras is excellent.
Appearance: Both bras have a lovely black-and-bronze color scheme, and while the HM Classic is pretty, the HM Gold is just beautiful. With bras, I’m usually a fan of clean lines and understatement, but the HM Gold’s open mesh, fine gold threads, and strong floral pattern have really won me over. (Soon I’ll buy one that actually fits me.)
On me, the HM Classic definitely works better under clothes with thicker fabric and a looser fit. Under tight clothes the embroidery on the front looks bumpy, and the narrow band produces some fairly obvious bulging around the torso. I don’t have a large amount of padding on my back or ribcage, but what’s there is really highlighted when I wear the HM Classic. This would be much less of a problem, I think, if the bra had three hooks instead of two.
Conclusions: Given the issues with incompatible shapes, itchy fabric, low support, and suboptimal under-clothes performance, I shouldn’t love the HM Classic as much as I do. But honestly, it’s wonderful (and the HM Gold, too). The fact that such delicate sheer mesh bras can give such a great lifted, rounded shape is pretty astonishing. I think I’ll be buying quite a few HM bras the next time I order from Ewa Michalak.