It’s no secret here. Anna Pardal and Comexim design and manufacturer my favorite bras, but more than that, they are a vendor I can proudly support and recommend because of their commitment to quality and service. Both brands cater to people needing narrow, lower underwires with deep, projected cups, and as a woman with close set breasts and little side tissue, their designs offer me comfort, support, and an array of beautiful patterns and prints to accommodate my ever-changing lingerie cravings. Furthermore, to better cater to the unique fit problems experienced by their customers, both brands also offer copious alterations at the nominal fee of $5—an unheard of service in the fuller-bust market. At the time of writing, both companies offer two lightly padded cup shapes: a classic three-section plunge and a vertically seamed half-cup. All of my reviews so far have focused on the original classic plunge, which works well for my shape even with the occasional fit quibble. In a couple weeks, I will review the new half-cup longline shape too. Given how well the classic shape worked, I was excited and skeptical when Anna Pardal offered to send me two bras each with a requested combination of alterations. I already reviewed the Felicity which sported a reduced cup, reduced gore, and the straps moved inward by 2cm, and today I am discussing the new Beatrix with a raised gore and arm alteration performed.
Sizing & Fit: All of my Anna Pardal and Comexim bras are size 32HH (70L in their original sizing), which is one cup size and one band size up from what I usually take in UK brands. Even with alterations, the sizing was consistent for me. Given the raised gore and arm area, this version of Beatrix offers more coverage than what I have come to expect from Comexim. When I tested Felicity, I fell in love with both the reduced cup and the inward straps so much I will only order bras in the future with those alterations as part of the design. Two simple tweaks improved an already fantastic design and transformed it into a bra bordering on true perfection for me. As a result, since Beatrix lacks those alterations, I knew some of the fit quibbles from the classic design would resurface, including gaping near the straps.
However, the raised gore was a pleasant surprise for me. Apparently, I am a lucky person who can wear any of the Comexim and Anna Pardal gore heights comfortably without any significant issues, and in the future, I would love to have another bra with a raised gore and reduced cup. On days when I am running around the shop, bending over constantly, and generally frazzled to the point of forgetting people’s names, a higher gore would mean one less thing on my mind. The center tissue is better contained after significant movement than the classic or reduced gore heights. Keep in mind that I sometimes prepare for busy days by wearing my Panache sports bra, so if you have a sedentary job, the original or reduced gore height should not be a problem.
However, the bra does soft tack at the top. The bottom of the underwire tacks firmly but comfortably, which is not unexpected given how Felicity with its lowered gore offered the best tack of any Anna Pardal or Comexim, but the top of the gore is softer. Soft tacking is by no means a deal-breaker for me. My breasts are close enough together that there is some tissue on my sternum, making the area more sensitive. A soft tack is far more comfortable than one pressing hard into the area. Having explained my preferences, I do think if Comexim and Anna Pardal want to explore a raised gore in higher cup sizes, a heavier underwire may be needed. In fact, the tacking issues combined with a tall cup height seem to be the biggest obstacles in the higher sizes, and I hope they examine the feedback here and from customers for future designs.
In addition to the raised gore, my version of Beatrix has a raised arm which adds extra material to the side of the cup for more tissue. Anna Pardal suggested incorporating this into the classic shape for 38+ bands, and the responses were mixed. On the one hand, the raised arm is not incredibly high, and it does provide extra coverage to the side, making the design more accessible to customers with more side tissue than the average Anna Pardal/Comexim customer or who have looser tissue or skin on the side. We heard complaints from both customers about the height of the arm region even if the rest of the design fit well. For me, the bra still feels comfortable, but I did encounter an adjustment period because the height is higher than I have grown accustom to over the last year. For women who are petite, short-waisted, or have very high set breasts, the change could be a problem, even in the 38+ bands though.
Materials & Design: Another design from Anna Pardal’s 2015 Collection, Beatrix sports a light beige base cup with a sheer black fabric overlaid to create depth and texture. With polka dots strung along pinstripes like pearls and an over-sized black and beige contrasting bow at the center, Beatrix proves to be another lovely entry into the neutral palette. What impresses me more is how Beatrix channels a more minimalistic design without any overly feminine details like floral blooms or embroidered lace, and the polka dots with pinstripes combine two traditional prints in a fresh, modernized way. Quality is as you would expect from Anna Pardal by now with top notch laces, soft padding, heavy fully-adjustable straps, and three hook-and-eye closures in the back. The wings are firmer to prevent stretching over time, and the bra upholds the same level of craftsmanship as any of the others I tried. Beatrix is my second favorite design after FiFi, but I am excited to try Hibiscus next. Also, the name reminds me of Beatrix Kiddo, which should entitle it to bonus points . . . and a Hatori Hanso sword.
Overall Grade: A