As anyone who has learned about proper bra fitting will know, there are some bra sizes that are hardly manufactured, if even made at all. In particular, women who need sub-28 bands and J+ cups will often have difficulty finding their size. Ewa Michalak are one of the brands, or perhaps even the only brand, that will make these sizes on demand, but in the highest cup sizes there has previously only been one choice of style: the Ewa Michalak plunge bra (PL). However, EM have recently released a new style, the “S”, specifically designed for large breasts. The style is intended to provide better support and uplift than the PL, bringing the breasts up and centre. I’ve found the S to be a huge improvement, so I decided to properly compare the two styles.
This is the S Wiśniówka, the first S bra to be released, and my new favourite bra. It’s fairly basic in terms of appearance, but I’ve found the comfort, fit, shape and support to be absolutely outstanding. I had read that the S bra runs about half a cup bigger than the PLs, so I opted to try this bra in a 30JJ (65JJ). My UK size is usually a 30JJ, but it’s worth pointing out that I seem to have had a growth spurt recently, and am now between a 30JJ/K. The band feels like a fairly standard 30, stretching to about 30.3 inches. I feel I could do with sizing up in the cups – I don’t have any overspill, but it is cut quite open on top, so I do have a touch more Marie Antoinette style cleavage than I think there’s meant to be. I have also noticed that my boobs seem to push the cups down a bit throughout the day, another sign of them being too small. I’d say I could wear either a 30JJ or 30K, but the 30K would probably fit better, it would just be more full coverage.
While it isn’t made to give show-stopping cleavage, the construction is more stable and supportive. Some people have found to be very pointy, but I haven’t found this at all – it seems to give a very uplifted, natural profile. The strap placement is slightly too wide, but it’s definitely an improvement over the PLs, something I’ll go into further down the page! The centre gore is nice and narrow, and about the same height as Bravissimo’s balconettes (~2cm higher than a PL). The wires are about the same height under the arm as a PL, but the wires are very narrow, so the highest point is further forwards. This means the sides of the bra are significantly lower than bras with comparable wire heights, which is great considering how high some full-bust bras are cut. It has four columns of 3 hooks and eyes and fully adjustable straps, although I actually found the straps were very short, so that might be something to keep in mind if you need long straps.
It really is a lovely bra, and definitely worth a try for anyone who didn’t find the PLs to work on them. One good thing is that just about every size has been made and tested on a person to check the construction is sound, but this does mean that some sizes might be unavailable until they’ve been tested. Band sizes go from 24-46, and the cups are 32E-32KK and all corresponding sister sizes. The bad is that EM prices have recently gone up, and they’ve added a 20zł surcharge for any custom order sizes. This meant that for me to order just this bra, after postage and charges, cost £37 (177zł). Some people might find it worth it, some might not, but it’s something to keep in mind. Personally, I think a padded bra in my size range with this construction is definitely worth the extra cost. Continue scrolling for an image-heavy, in-depth comparison of the PL and S construction.
S Lolitka bra, image courtesy of Ewa Michalak
I bought a few PLs in a 30K about half a year ago, which I reviewed here. At the time I thought that I had the wrong size and could do with going down to a 30JJ, but I have since realised that they are actually too small in the cup. The main issue with the PLs is that the pattern isn’t really graded between sister sizes – a 36G and a 28J have the exact same cups and strap placement at the front, the only difference is the band length. While the straps might work at a 36G, as the band gets smaller, the straps become too wide set, resulting in serious armpit irritation. What happened in my case is that because the straps were so wide set, I couldn’t physically shorten them without being in pain, so I left them loose. This resulted in a poor profile/uplift, as well as the too-small cups being disguised. For comparison, I’ve taken pictures of the PLs to show the issues.
The PL Black. On the left is how I’ve been wearing it, with the straps nearly as loose as possible. I think it’s quite clear that the profile and uplift leaves much to be desired. On the right is what it would look like if the straps were slightly more central. While the shape would clearly be improved, you can see I now have minor overspill, suggesting that if the straps were more central and tightened I would actually need a bigger cup.
The top shows the gapping at the strap. I previously thought that this gapping meant that the cup was too big, but as you can see from the other angles, I fill the cup everywhere else. The gapping is actually because the straps are too wide set and the cup is too tall. The bottom shows the height at the underarms (standing normally, arm slightly back, hands on hips). Again, the straps are loose here, as I can’t comfortably wear them any tighter, but even at this level of looseness you can see the sides are much too high. This height results in irritation throughout the day, as I can barely move my arms forwards without the strap/cup cutting in. The straps need to be more central and the cups need to be less tall.
PL Czerwona Panterka, also in a 30K. I thought I should show all of the above with the straps tightened to where I’d actually need them. The profile is improved on the left, but I now have overspill before I even think about changing the strap placement. With the straps tightened and the cup held slightly further in, there is significant overspill – I would likely need a 30KK/L.
Again, the deceptive gapping at the straps, and the now noticeably high underarms. Tightening the straps to where they need to be results in the underarm/strap severely digging in, resulting in red marks after just a couple of minutes of wear. It is now very clear that the side of the cup is too tall, and there is actually wrinkling around the underarm because there is just too much material at the top. I have found all of my PLs would need a bigger cup, with the armhole lowered and the straps moved to be more central. This is a do-able alteration, one which I believe the wonderful Zoe of Weirdly Shaped has done and will be sharing at some point. If I ever do alter my PLs, I’ll be sure to share the results!
The S bra for comparison. The straps are still slightly too wide set and could do with being slightly more central, but it’s nowhere near as much of a problem. There is no longer gapping at the strap, and it is significantly lower at the underarms, so it’s far more comfortable.
The cup construction itself. At this cup size, the PL is made with 3 vertical panels and one horizontal panel across the top. The cups are a fairly flexible, lightly padded fabric. The depth is split fairly symmetrically across the cup with a rounded, subtle apex. In the bottom right picture, you can see the apex is about in the middle, and the cups are deep at the bottom.
The S cup construction. The S is made with two vertical panels, and one horizontal panel across the top, with a clearly defined apex where the three panels meet. Compared to the PL, the vertical panels are slightly taller, so the apex is higher. The depth is concentrated towards the centre and the cups are shallower at the bottom, pushing the breasts up and centre. I believe in higher cup sizes there are three vertical panels, which both ensures the cup is strong enough for larger breasts and makes the apex less defined, giving a very round shape (as seen in Braless in Brasil’s review). The cups are a fairly stiff, lightly padded foam, though I believe other S bras are made with a material similar to my PLs.
At the moment, I seem to be getting overspill in all of my bras, so at time of writing I believe I might be closer to a 30K. I think I would ideally need a 30K in the S and a 30KK/L in the PL, so I would say the S runs fairly true to size. I have heard success stories from people with firm and soft breast tissue, and from people with upper and lower fullness, so it’s quite possibly worth a try for just about anyone with a mid to narrow root. For those who don’t like padded bras but are sized out of other brands, there is also the SM style, an unpadded bra with the same cut. Reviews so far suggest it fits similarly to the S, though I haven’t tried it personally. More S styles have been released since I bought this, including the S Ptyś, a green polka-dot bra which I am pretty sure I’m going to end up buying!
For more reviews of the S bra, check out XL Hourglass, Braless in Brasil, and Voluptuously Thin (here, here and here).
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Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I was having issues with the PLs but wasn’t sure why. This totally explains it. No wonder my underarms are always chafed :/
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The problem is your band is too small and the cup size too high. You are wearing your band too close to your waist and using some of the cup area as band. You should compromise between a 36 and 30, maybe 34. This line is probably good for your figure in the right size.
Sorry, the S bra is a much better cut for you though, regardless of size. It’s for rounder, less projected/conical breasts. The PLs have a different interior cup cut…
And I’m not sure what the point of this comment was. About two thirds of this post were showing the difference between the cup constructions of the two styles and how the S is better suited to my breast shape. It doesn’t seem like you actually read my post at all.
I am not wearing my band too close to my waist. That’s where the roots of my breasts are. I have low set breasts, a short waist and a long rise, so the roots of my breasts are set maybe 2 inches above my waist. The underwires of this bra are perfectly aligned to my breast roots. Wearing my bra higher would mean literally wearing my bra on my breast tissue. I don’t think I have to explain how that would be awful, awful bra fitting. Following Ewa’s calculator + instructions, my calculated size was 65J at time of writing this article), and as I have full breasts, I need to add 1-2 cups (so at time of writing, 65JJ/K). Even by Ewa’s recommendations, this was the correct size for me at the time, so I am not sure why you think otherwise.
Additionally, this bra was borderline too small in the cups when I got it, and now I’ve gone up in size by 1-2 cups, it is definitely too small. Even when worn with the straps loosened (as recommended by some in the Polish bra-fitting community to make smaller cups fit better), I get significant overspill and lower cup buckling because it is just too small for my breasts to fit into now. If your recommendation made any sense and the cups were in fact too big, this would not be the case. EM’s bras have recently gotten firmer in general, so taking into account cup growth, I believe my current EM size is somewhere around a 70K/KK. A 34 or 36 would result in absolutely no support on my very squishy, smaller-than-it-looks ribcage. I don’t really have a polite way to say that you are flat out wrong and are giving extremely bad advice here.
I’m sorry, that was just my reaction, maybe it was too quick. I’ve just noticed a trend of what I mentioned and I think I reacted especially to the photo of your back. Because the band seemed at the waist I thought that might explain the issue with the PL bras. You definitely shouldn’t wear the underwire on your root though. Let me think about what you said for a bit and perhaps give you better answer. Thanks for responding.
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