Industry innovator, Anna Pardal recently revamped her website to debut her latest collection complete with stunning prints and new styles engineered from the extensive feedback provided by customers and retailers. Most traditional manufacturers will use a particular fabric to create one or two styles, but Anna Pardal instead chose to offer four different bra frames in addition to a host of other custom features ranging from adding nursing clasps or asymmetry pockets for free, extending the band of any bra into a longline style, or allowing specific alteration requests at the modest fee of $10. Because of the higher quality materials and the improved designs, prices have increased, which will impact our shop in the coming weeks, but I have a much longer post about this and other store changes planned for September.
Sizing & Fit: Because I have written extensively on the fit of Anna Pardal bras, I’m am going to spare my regular readers and not rehash everything here. However, if you’re interested in learning more, you need only type “Anna Pardal” into the search box of the blog and pour over the copious reviews and alterations information I have posted. When I ordered the Hibiscus longline, I opted for a 34H instead of my usual 32HH because I was concerned about the tightness around my sometimes sensitive stomach, and I knew I wanted this piece for wearing to the shop. Everything fits perfectly! The cup does not have any gaping or overflow, and the band is comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks.
Moving in the straps and reducing the cup improved the fit by eliminating gaping near the top of the cup and by securing the straps on my shoulders better, and I chose the original gore height for moderate coverage. Sometimes I experience a soft tack, more so with Comexim than Anna Pardal, but the Hibiscus presses comfortably into my sternum for an overall wonderful fit. When I looked in the mirror wearing the Hibiscus, I exclaimed to no one other than my pervy dogs: Damn, my boobs look awesome in this bra!
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not compliment the fantastic longine design. When we opened in 2011, we carried the Freya Nieve longine (remember that one with the chintzy liberty print?), and it sold extremely well. However, I always like to ask our customers for later feedback, and while some people loved the design, others had problems with the entire band rolling up to the underwires as they move or sat. Almost everyone reserved the bra for special occasions instead of as an everyday piece, and I wavered on carrying more longline options.
Later on, Parfait debuted their Danielle longline which we offered on special order. Parfait utilized boning on the front and sides to prevent rolling, but anything less than balance-a-book-on-your-head posture allowed the bra to dig into the tissue. Sometimes even perfect posture was not enough. The viability of a longline bra was not looking good! Then, along came Curvy Kate with their gorgeous Carmen that forwent boning in the front for more flexible pieces on the side. I loved the bra and found the band did not roll and had only minimal issues with poking/digging on the sides. I thought Carmen was the pinnacle of longline design . . . until Anna Pardal.
What makes the Anna Pardal longline successful is the use of a heavier, elasticized piece at the bottom which feels tighter than the rest of the band and anchors to the ribs for stability. The elastic strip occasionally flips on me if I have been bending frequently, but the band itself never rolls up. Every bra I have owned from Fantasie to Freya to Panache to Anna Pardal often flips a little at the underwire because of how much I move, and I have to fix it about twice a day. It’s not a big deal unless I am busy which can then give it time to rub, but the longline completely eradicated this problem as well as the usual red marks from the added fabric putting pressure on my skin.
Furthermore, the band removed so much pressure from my shoulders and back that I was practically dancing around the store the first time I wore it, and I am currently exercising considerable willpower to keep from wearing it everyday. The extra wide band disperses the weight of the bust wonderfully while providing incredible side smoothing and back support. I have a bit of squishy tissue by my band which can sometimes create a small lump under tops, but the longline offers one vertical line from underarm to waist for a flattering silhouette. I plan on having at least three longlines at any time in my wardrobe . . . and that’s saying something because it’s pretty hot and muggy today.
Materials & Design: One of the reasons this longline feels so great is the fabrics are comfortable but also breathable. The lovely print extends only partially toward the side before transitioning to a firm fitting but lighter-weight mesh, and the elastic strip at the bottom does not feel hard or rough. Because of the brand’s commitment to quality, the rest of the bra more than matches the price too. Lightly padded cups are thick enough to provide nipple coverage but flexible for an improved fit, and the fully-adjustable reduced-stretch straps prevent digging.
My dark bra obsession continues because I find Hibiscus to sport a stunning floral print alternative. Instead of petals and blooming flowers, Hibiscus presents leafy ferns on a complex abstract background similar to stained glass. The beige background is close enough to my skin to allow the black threading to seem like a tattoo directly on the skin. Darker skin tone would rock this design too, and I think the use of a classic neutral pattern allows the unique choice of print to flourish. No Anna Pardal bra would be complete without thoughtful finishing touches, and Hibiscus offers bra aficionados embellished straps, an over-sized center bow, and a chic minimalist strip of embroidery at the top of the cup. Anna Pardal Hibiscus perfectly embodies sophistication, luxury, comfort, and support. Did I mention this is my new favorite?
The Brief: In the past, I have only tried the thongs and the tap pants from Anna Pardal, and while I love the bras, I hate thongs and found the tap pants quickly, shall we say, relocated north after a couple minutes. The briefs, on the other hand, are perfect. They stay put all day, feel incredibly comfortable, and do not dig into my hips. I have yet to find a panty I love as much as the Natori Bliss series, but these are one of my favorites for a matching set.
Overall Grade A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++