Abstract: A solid choice for an everyday bra that would blend in well with pale skin tones. The band runs large, so sizing down would be advisable.
Background: This is a padded half cup bra from the Polish brand Ewa Michalak. It’s currently a continuity style and is available in loads of sizes. You can custom order the bra from EM if your size isn’t listed on the product page. I purchased the bra, in 30GG, directly from EM this August at the normal retail price.
Sizing: Prior to ordering, I’d read that the bra ran large in the band, so I opted for a 30GG instead of my usual 32FF/G. My HP Cielus stretches to 33″, so I would agree that it runs large in the band.
My bra size has changed slightly since I first received this bra. My ribcage has always been between 31½” and 32″, and for a good few months there, my cup size fluctuated between FF and G. The HP Cielus in 30GG was a great fit at the times when my bra size was 32G, though the cup gaped a bit on my smaller right side. On 32FF days, the gaping was more noticeable.
Recently, though, I’ve lost about an inch or so off my ribcage and my boobs have stopped fluctuating in volume, so my size is now closer to 30G. At this size, I find the 30GG HP Cielus too big in both the band and the cup. The band is manageable on the tightest hook, but (unsurprisingly) there’s loads of unfilled space in the cups.
I’d say this bra runs large in the band and also a tiny bit large in the cups. If you buy it, definitely size down once in the band and maybe up once in the cup from your usual UK bra size. Since the band is fairly stretchy, you may even want to go down two band sizes if you prefer a very tight band.
Fit: The straps on this bra seem to be more widely set than those on the other Ewa Michalak bras I’ve tried, so they sit more in my underarm area than on my front. They’re no wider-set than the straps on a typical Freya balconette, though. Straps aside, I had no fit issues with the HP Cielus. Like other EM bras, it’s well-proportioned and plays nice with my low, wide-set shape. The underwires aren’t overly wide or narrow and the straps are fully adjustable, which is always a plus.
Comfort: Pretty good all around. The cotton-lined cups feel comfortable against my skin and I don’t get any digging or scratching from the wires, the straps, or the hook-and-eye closure.
Shape: This bra produces the same excellent shape as EM’s other HP bras. It brings my boobs into the center of my chest and gives them a good upward lift while holding them a bit closer in rather than projecting them forward. The padding is fairly thin, so it doesn’t add too much bulk, and the shape is almost hemispherical, which is ideal for me.
Support: Average. It won’t lock down your boobs like a full cup bra or a sports bra, but for me, the support is perfectly adequate for everyday wear. The 30GG closes with three hooks and the straps are of reasonable width, which is good, but the stretchy band does diminish the support slightly.
Quality: Good, considering the price. The inside of the band features the same unfinished edges that are present on nearly all Ewa Michalak bras. It looks a bit untidy, but the stitching is holding tight and it hasn’t unravelled or torn off so far, so I think it should be fine. The band has stretched slightly with wear, but overall, the bra has held up well over the last few months.
Appearance: This is a fairly plain-looking bra with some pretty embellishments on the straps and the top edges of the cups. The color is a very light beige with neutral undertones — neither too pink or too yellow. If you find that most beige bras are too dark for you, you may get on well with the HP Cielus. It’s quite a bit paler than I am, so it’s not completely invisible when I wear it under a white top.
Conclusions: This bra has impressed me overall. It’s comfortable and gives a great shape, and I like that it’s only lightly padded without push-up pads. It would work well as a nude bra if you have a pale skin tone and prefer a hemispherical boob shape. I recommend ordering one band size smaller than what you would usually wear.