Saturday, April 23, 2016

Empreinte Grace (in which the angels sing a second verse)

First, let's establish which bra we're talking about; Empreinte can be confusing.



I tried the Low Neck version:  
















There is also a Full Cup version:


One sentence review: Now that I have met Grace, and found her to be deeply fabulous, I will be spending less time with my Curvy Kates, which are the equivalent of mean girl friends compared to the gracious Grace.

I'd seen Grace, but was on the fence for quite awhile, afraid she might be 'too much bra' for my liking. (I'd only seen the full cup version reviewed or available on eBay). But this review made me think she was worth a try:  Review of Grace on hourglassy.com  And when a Low Neck version came up, it seemed like fate.

Beauty

Grace is quite delicate looking,(please ignore those crazy morning curl tendrils, pre-taming; I was so excited at the feel & fit, I took these before my 2nd cup of coffee).


The lace pattern features large flowers, which renders it basically opaque. I'm still trying to figure out which flower it is: pansy...? dahlia...? I think it looks most like cosmos. Anyhoo. The lace is very flat and completely invisible under clothing. It is also very strong. I cannot imagine any situation that would allow you to put a fingernail through the lace - something you can easily imagine happening with Panache Jasmine. The color is a warm tomato red; as I have pale skin with an olive cast, I prefer a cool, cherry red instead. But this is a personal preference, and the red is still very nice and infinitely preferable to the dreaded beige.

Comfort & Fit
(Do settle in, while I babble on for awhile)

Cups.  Deep, and with plenty of room for my upper fullness. This is a very full-on-top friendly shape. Note how happy the tops of my boobs are, especially if you compare how sad they looked being wrangled into last week's bra. They give a weightless feel that is quite rare, and the mark of a great bra. The cups are seamless, but offer some rather amazing lift:

Shape.   Very rounded, but not orb-like. There is a defined apex and plenty of projection. The silhouette is much nicer than the round, wide, undefined 'boob mound' padded T-shirt bras often give.

Neckline.  The 'Low Neck' designation simply means balconette. It is in no way an actual low necked or 1/2 cup style. The gore is still fairly tall, but lower than the full cup styles I have tried previously, Capucine and Rose.  I find this style to be a better fit for me than the full cup. 

Tack.  The lower height allows a better fit for my relatively closer-set boobs. Although the gore tacks the same as the Rose: it floats 1/2" or so. This seems to be a consequence of my decidedly full-on-top shape, rather than a need for more cup depth - there's plenty of depth; it's just located in the upper and lower cup areas, rather than the inner center area near the gore. Tellingly, I find this to be the case in all of my most comfy bras; they are supportive, but the wires are soft enough to allow my natural shape to assert itself. Whereas in the bras were I get perfect tack (Curvy Kate, Panache, Tutti Rouge) the reason is because the wires are more rigid and are wrangling my boobs by force to fit the shape of the cup & wires. 

StrapsReally nicely designed. Wide and flat, they distribute weight beautifully. The picot trim, bows, and subtle stitched detailing make them pretty, tailored, and well-proportioned. Not center-pull, but not too widely-spaced. They rival the straps of the Anita Twin and contribute a great deal to the weightless feel. 

Band.  Stable and comfy, similar to the other Empreintes I've tried. The Grace band runss slightly looser than the other styles I've tried; not a full size loose, but enough to mention. I would actually consider a size down in this one, whereas I am happy with the 40 (90) in the other styles.

Compromises

Fabric.  This is the only thing that could be improved upon. The fabric could be a little softer. Part of that is a Me thing. At the end of a 9-hour day, one of two things things will usually be irritating me:  too rough fabric, or too tall/rigid wires. 

Buttery-soft microfiber fabric with some stretch will always be the comfort gold standard for me. But: lightweight and airy, preferably stretch, lace is the silver standard. The Grace is rigid lace, but flat and smooth, and very light. The rigid lace and the substantial straps combine to provide weightless lift, which is wonderful. The only thing I notice at the end of a long day is that the fabric along the upper outer cup, where it runs along the underarm and connects to the band can feel slightly rough. It is not noticeable until then, and is the only minor quibble I have. The Grace is otherwise overwhelmingly wonderful.

When Do Don't I Wear It?

There's really no situation where Grace isn't a great choice. She is invisible under thin knits; provides enough lift for a lower neckline blouse with limited bust room; gives a moderately projected, yet rounded, shape that works under structured clothing. 

Size:  40F (fits me like a UK 40G or loose 38GG)




4 comments:

  1. Here's the thing to remember - and it's key! You can't size down in the band without getting a cup with totally different wires and fit. That's the Empreinte offering - every band/cup combo has a diff size and width of wire. So they don't sister size the way other brands do. It makes it a bit sad as, if you no longer fit in a particular cup or band, the brand may no longer work for you (there aren't that many size options that it offers as you know). I've worn Empreinte at 30F, 32F and they were perfection. Seriously. Now that I'm more in a G (half way between Empreinte F and G) the 32G is way too much bra (all wrong proportions) but they don't make 30G in most styles. Not to mention that a 30 band is no longer working for me, even a loose one. So I'm ok in the really projected seamed styles in 32F (also the insanely expensive ones that never come up online) but the shallower styles, like the Grace, won't work.

    Given my comment above, I don't think you could size down band-wise in that bra because the cups would be too shallow. This style (as with most Empreintes) only goes up to a G cup - though as we know that's a very deep G. I know you're getting a soft tack, but in your pics it looks like your breasts are competing with the cup shape at the centre (at the lower cup). It could just be the photo... So sizing down in the band would not be recommended. Maybe a Rixie clip or a band alteration is in order?

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    1. That's a really good point about the scaling and there not being a direct sister-sizing continuum in this brand. I'm curious to try a 38G just to observe the differences in wire height and cup depth.

      I'm not sure exactly what you're seeing in the lower cup...? That part actually feels just right: with the wires sitting nicely at the base of my boobs. The part that isn't following my natural is the upper-inner cup, where I have a little more fullness/projection than most bras allow for.

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  2. My old eyes could be deceiving me... but (?) I feel like the lace is actually crinkling a wee bit under the boobs meaning there's a bit of depth that you aren't using, probably due to that 1/2 inch of gore floatage. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you used a Rixie Clip or other device to pull the band 1-2 inches shorter, and scooped and swooped, you would fill out the bottom of the cups without those wrinkles AND you'd get a soft (but not floating) tack.

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    1. Interesting! Perhaps that's what K.Line is referring to above. I'm definitely swooped & scooped here. For me, this *is* really settled into the cup; I often have a good 1/2" of space. Partly, because I have less tissue on the bottom, and partly because I am quite high-set. So if I try to pull up the wires, they will come up against that very definite crease (quite visible in profile views), that demarcation line of shoulder muscle & chub. It is present regardless of what size I'm at, & is just an anatomical feature I'm used to. But in a battle with wire height or shape, that ridge of muscle 'n fluff will always prevail.

      I will try Grace on the tightest hooks and see what we get. I'm also pondering the Rixie. That metal bar looked torturous, but Erica at Sophisticated Pair indicates it is covered in a rubberized coating and not irritating against the skin. Thanks for both your input. It's really helpful to have folks so familiar with a particular brand provide insight!

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