Abstract: This bra was a huge success for me. The fit and shape are spot-on, and the bright and shiny coral-pink color is nice, if unsubtle. In light of recent developments in EM’s customer relations, however, I’ve decided to stop purchasing bras directly from them.
Background: This is a bra that I’ve actually owned for quite a while now, but never got around to reviewing. The CHP Brzoskwinka is a padded half cup bra from the Polish brand, Ewa Michalak. The CHP style is a cross between their older CH and HP styles. This bra is similar to its predecessors in terms of lift, projection, and shape, but I think it’s quite different in other ways.
I purchased my CHP Brzoskwinka in 32FF directly from EM in August of last year at the normal retail price. My order was a standard order placed via the website, not a custom order. It went smoothly and I was notified by email at every step of the process, and I received the parcel maybe three weeks later.
At this point in time, I feel it would be disingenuous and irresponsible to write a glowing review of an EM product (as I’m about to do) without mentioning their customer service. In June this year, Ewa Michalak and their English-speaking customers were involved in a dispute that played out on bra blogs and the company’s Facebook page. The issue, dubbed “Strapgate”, was extensively discussed on Bratabase as well. Customers complained that the straps on their Ewa Michalak bras were too wide-set, particularly in the small-band-large-cup sizes. This reflected an overall problem with grading whereby larger cups weren’t properly adapted for smaller-framed bodies.
EM initially asked for feedback on the issue, but after receiving more complaints and reports of strap alterations, the company turned around and accused the customers of wearing the wrong size, with bands too small and cups too large. They then made a snarky blog post criticizing the sizing and fitting methods commonly used in the English-speaking sphere, accompanied by a photo demonstration that completely missed the point. For a short period, they also stopped offering custom orders for band sizes below 30, though that has since been reinstated.
I found EM’s conduct immature, petty, and completely unacceptable. The correctness of one fitting method over another is immaterial; what really put me off was the way they responded to (or in some cases, simply ignored) the valid points made by their customers, and the condescending tone they used throughout the whole debacle. It’s just unprofessional.
Though I wasn’t directly involved in “Strapgate” in any way, I’ve been on the receiving end of several of EM’s rude customer service emails and order screw-ups in the past. (In fact, statistically, my problem-free order for this CHP Brzoskwinka was an exception to the rule.) Due to their poor record, and now “Strapgate”, I’ve decided I won’t be giving Ewa Michalak any more of my money in the future.
With that said, I’ll get on with the actual review now.
Sizing: The band is very stretchy, but it seems like it’s also been cut a bit shorter to compensate for that. The net effect is a band that runs ever-so-slightly large (it stretches to 33″ at maximum) but conforms well to smaller underbust sizes too. It worked for me on the loosest hooks when my ribcage was 32″ and it still works well with my currently-30½” ribcage, even if it isn’t as tight as I’d ideally prefer. If my ribcage were any smaller, I’d want a 30 band CHP Brzoskwinka instead of a 32.
The cups on this bra run slightly small. My boobs bulge over the top edges, even though 32FF is my usual size (or rather, was — I’m now more like a 30G, which is the same volume). The bulging is barely noticeable most of the time, becoming obvious only on days when my boobs decide they want to be bigger than usual. Still, it’s there, and since I don’t have a 32G CHP Brzoskwinka to try on for comparison, I’m not certain whether the next cup size up would be too big. What I can say for sure, in case this data point helps anyone, is that my 32FF CHP Brzoskwinka definitely has less space in the cups than my Ewa Michalak HM Classic bra in the same size.
Overall, the sizing on this bra is reasonably, but not perfectly, accurate. If you buy it, I suggest ordering your usual UK size (assuming your UK-sized bras themselves don’t run large or small). If in doubt, or if between sizes, go down once in the band and up once in the cup.
Fit: I think the geometry of this bra is kind of genius. As per usual for Ewa Michalak’s half cup bras, the center gore and wires are both fairly narrow — EM understands that your boobs are on your front, not at your sides. The outsides of the wires and the wings are low, so they don’t cause any problems for me in the underarm area. The straps are the same as the ones on the CH Toffik and CH Karmelki bras: medium length, fully adjustable, textured to prevent slippage, moderately stretchy yet firm. I personally didn’t find the straps overly wide-set, because my torso and shoulders are themselves quite wide.
The cups are cut extremely low, and they have a uniform volume distribution, making the CHP Brzoskwinka a good option for both full-on-top and full-on-the-bottom boobs. I think it would suit full-on-the-bottom boobs especially well because the point where the strap attaches to the cup is much, much lower than on any bra I’ve ever worn. On me, that point sits at a latitude where my breasts are convex rather than concave, so I don’t get any gaping near the strap (which gaping happens to me in most other bras). Additionally, I didn’t notice this at first, but there’s some thick, strong elastic sewn along the upper edge of the cup between the strap and the end of the underwire, near the armpit. All of my EM bras have this feature — I think that’s part of what helps them conform so well to my shape (and probably to other shapes too).
While the CH and HP bras have what I would call average proportions, the CHP Brzoskwinka leans narrower and shorter. It’s the opposite of ‘a lot of bra’. If you find most bras in your size bafflingly tall and wide, this bra could be a welcome change. If, on the other hand, you prefer wider wires and higher wings, you may want to skip this one.
Comfort: Very good, apart from the center gore. The wires poke me in the sternum and there are indentations on the casing near the gore where they’ve tried to escape. Placing a piece of tissue or a cotton makeup pad under the gore is an easy fix and makes the bra comfortable for all-day wear for me.
Shape: This bra makes my boobs look like a pair of balloons attached to my chest. I love it. This is exactly my ideal shape: rounded, lifted, and centered. It really is spot-on.
Support: Medium overall. The straps, wires, and band (though it could do with being wider and gaining an extra hook) are sturdy and provide fantastic support from underneath, but because the cups are low-cut and open, I experience considerable bounce up top. This is to be expected with all half cups, though, so it’s not really the bra’s fault.
Quality: Great overall, and definitely more than worth the price. Materials-wise, the bra has the same straps as the CH Toffik, and I think the band is made of the same material as well. The padding in the CHP Brzoskwinka’s cups is different, though; it seems softer, thicker, and squishier than the padding in EM’s earlier CH and HP bras. To me, this feels like a step up in material quality, though others may not appreciate the added volume that the thicker padding entails.
Construction-wise, the quality is the same as other EM bras. The CHP Brzoskwinka has the same raw edges on the inside of the band, too — sloppy-looking, but irrelevant in terms of support, shape, and appearance from the outside. Over the last eleven months, I’ve worn the bra, on average, once a week, in rotation with lots of other bras. So far, it hasn’t stretched out or lost any shape or elasticity, so I’d say it’s held up very well.
Appearance: The color of this bra is a bright peach that shows through white clothes. It was almost like a neon highlighter shade when I first received it, but it’s become more subdued with wearing and washing.
Design-wise, it’s a gorgeous bra. The plain cups appeal to my preference for stark, sleek designs, and the lace on the front of the band is a pretty girly embellishment. They’re two different aesthetics and they do look slightly strange together, but somehow it works. The bra, on the whole, looks fairly smooth and inconspicuous under clothes that aren’t white, and due to the extremely low coverage (lower than both the CH and HP bras), it stays well hidden under necklines.
Conclusions: It’s a shame about Ewa Michalak’s unfortunate customer service situation, because this is hands-down my favorite out of all the bras I currently own. The shape is out-of this-world-amazing, and it fits like it was custom-made for me. With a wider band and a third hook-and-eye closure, it would be my perfect bra.
Also, does anyone know how to pronounce “Brzoskwinka”?