I was starting to wonder if this bra was meant to be. I ordered it on March 16 (from France) and it just arrived today. I mean, that's not the worst shipping time ever, but it's on the extreme end of the continuum. (On the plus side, the eBay vendor from whom I purchased it, charged extremely reasonable shipping, and there was no Customs fee.)
I could only find this in the 32 back size. Actually, the vendor was selling a 30 and a 32 but I dithered until the 30 was gone (that would be 24 hours - won't make that mistake again). The 30 might have been the better back size for me (not that the 32 is especially loose), but the bra I bought fits PERFECTLY in every other way.
My friends, this bra does not disappoint. The lace is spectacular (and deceptively firm). The cups have a deep-through-the-centre fit. The construction brings the breasts forward and lifts them up but there's still quite a lot of support through the top of the cup (which in no way cuts into the upper breast). The gore lies beautifully flat against my breastbone.
I fucking love this brand.
I was not in any way mistaken when I first tried to buy this more than a year ago (unsuccessfully, given that one cannot buy Empreinte directly from the EU, online). The only thing that vaguely impinges on the flipping fantasticness of this bra is that I already own the Empreinte Lola (the world's most perfect bra ever). This is a pretty good runner-up though.
I managed to find this bra, all in, for 50 bucks, which is SO worth it given the quality of the brand. If I were to have bought this at a bricks and mortar shop in TO, it would have cost me 4 times that much. Of course, it took 3 weeks for it to get here and I didn't have the chance to try it on first, but these are the trade-offs.
OK, if I'm going to be picky, I would say that the straps, which are only partially adjustable (half-way) would be better if they were fully extendable. Had I bought this for 220 bucks plus tax, that would have been a significant consideration.
I've mentioned this before, but I heard (from someone in the know) that Empreinte has been moving away from its "pointier" shape (which I like to call "natural") towards a seriously round shape (most definitely the more popular silhouette in these times, which I am nonetheless compelled to name "grapefruit-fake boob" shape). I know everyone and her younger sister loves to diss the "pointy" 3-piece cup that emphasizes a centre-seam at nipple-height, but I think that shape rocks. In truth, if you have my proportions, wearing a super-round bra just makes everything look artificial. I'm in no way undermining implants (if, after consideration, that's the choice a woman makes for herself). But I think we can agree that the majority of those who get implants are not aiming for the "fake boob" look. I'm all for the implants I can't discern as such.
Anyway, this bra is in the "early Freya" mold, which is to say it brings everything forward, lifts it up, but does so in a modest, vaguely ski-slope-y way. I call these balconettes in the UK style "full balconettes" and they work very well on me.
Many a bra-blogger has spoken about band cut. Empreinte (like certain styles of Ewa Michalak and some other brands) cuts the band so that it angles down from the wings to the hooks and eyes. If you lay the bra flat on a table and look at the latitude of the hooks and eyes against the latitude of the underwire at the centre cups, you will see that the hooks and eyes are considerably lower.
Note to bra-makers: That angled band style (which I've NOT found in any commercial bra pattern that I've made) is KEY to good fit if you're working with a narrow frame and dense breasts. The bands that are angled down in this way, when made from excellent materials and worn at the correct size, are immoveable. They stay put like a dream.
OK, for whom is this bra optimal?
- Women with centre-fullness aka "deep breasts". The brand doesn't cater to full on top or bottom breasts particularly, from what I can tell. It focuses on centre depth and narrow-ish cups.
- This means that the lower, centre cups and the centre section of the upper cups (those that attach to the gore) are relatively large compared to other (shallow) styles. And the outer cup (that which attaches to the wings) is smaller.
- Women who want lift - and need support.
- Women who like a fuller balconette. It's sexy and chic, but it's no half-cup. I suspect, a lot of American ladies of a certain age (the demographic which buys the majority of full cup bras) would LOVE this brand. Instead, they're wearing Wacoal and Le Mystere and, IMO, those brands are all kinds of matronly.
- Women who appreciate really elegant fabrics and a very feminine bra. This brand isn't "fun". It's sexy. It has a Continental appeal.
- Women who can justify spending a minimum of $50 bucks on the bra alone - and possibly quadruple that.
- Women under the age of 30, unless they're very French or very mature. (I'm being glib but you get my drift.)
- Women with breasts that are wide at the root and shallow. This brand suits the projectile breast. A shallow breast will likely swim in the cups and yet find the wires too narrow.