Product Review: Samanta Desert A170 Bra

Hello Everyone,

To be blogging again feels amazing! Writing fulfills my soul, even if I am just chatting about bras, lingerie, and walking pneumonia. Today is all about the Samanta Desert A170 bra and how it relates to the ways European companies curtail their offerings for the North American market. Several months ago, Marzena of Samanta sent me the A170 to examine the fit because the bra specifically targets consumers wanting a minimizer. In the US, the term minimizer is fairly well known, and as the name implies these bras redistribute breast tissue to make the overall shape of the bust anywhere from 1″ to 3″ smaller than it is. Most accomplish this through the use of structured 2-ply fabric which helps compress while simultaneously shifting the bust vertically and horizontally across the chest.

Did I mention I am pretty ambivalent about them? Far too often fitters, other people, manufacturers, and style gurus encourage if not outright recommend them for bigger boobs. On more than one occasion I was either told directly or read advice that my large chest should be “minimized,” a statement I find as offensive as telling people in smaller cup sizes to wear inserts or push-up bras. Nevertheless, some people absolutely love and prefer minimizers, whether because they do not like being fuller-busted, work in a male-dominated environment, or find the shape more conducive to shopping for clothes. For every reason to hate a minimzer, there is one to love them.

Interestingly, many European lingerie manufacturers to do not use the term minimizer unless they are specifically tarketing American markets, and in some cases, they won’t make anything remotely close to them either. *cough* Comexim and Ewa Michalak *cough* If the manufacturer does offer a minimizing style, the brand may call it something like Simone Perele’s “Rigid Molded” style or may choose to eschew specific labels altogether. With Samanta, Marzena mentioned the A170 model was one they hoped to showcase to American consumers, and even though I’m not a minimizer fan, I was curious to see how it compared to existing powerhouses.

Simone Perele Andora Rigid Molded Bra

My weight has been on a steady incline for the last two years (something I plan to discuss in a future post), and I find myself firmly in the 34 (sometimes even 36) band territory now. At the time of the video and pictures, I was straddling 32 to 34 depending on tightness, and the 75J (UK 34GG) fit well in the band on the loosest set of hooks. The wings were soft and comfortable yet firmly anchored to my body; however, the cup was a size small. In 34 bands, I wore between a GG and H cup, and in the A170, I needed the UK H (Samanta K) cup. Compared to other frames like the A925 or the A111, the A170 model does run a full cup size small. When fully scooped, my breast tissue overflowed the top and created significant tacking issues.

In the past, I mentioned how Samanta does not deem tacking as essential as other companies, and I think the blogosphere and a lot of fit advice (mine included) swings hard toward tacking because that’s how we’ve been taught the bra should fit both by other fitters and by the brands. Sometimes it’s good to remember that not every culture or manufacturer approaches bra fitting the same way we do! That said, I think the A170 would actually tack well on customers with softer tissue or those with less center projection. I have a lot of dense tissue in the center, and under the best circumstances it will fight an underwire without enough immediate depth. When the wire is softer and the cup is shallower at the center gore, it ain’t gonna happen. Speaking of a softer wire, this can be a wonderful element for anyone with rib tenderness or who sometimes faces issues with underwires pressing too hard. Wacoal, for example, offers several excellent minimzers, but some customers find the heavier gauge wire too inflexible and rigid against the body. The A170 would give them the subdued profile without the pain.

The shape on the A170 is also quite shocking. It definitely minimizes the bust but manages to do so in a flattering way. I personally find most minimizers spread tissue across the chest away from the front and into the side of the arm (the tissue has to go somewhere, after all) for an overall mashed appearance. While the A170 does redistribute the tissue, the profile is wonderfully lifted and rounded too. It’s like they made some of my boobage disappear without sacrificing a natural rounded shape either. It certainly helped some of my tighter fitting dresses and tops close or sit better across the bust.

Like most Polish bras, the wires on the A170 are narrower although not incredibly so, and the overall height is lower to ensure better comfort on the side. Inset straps prevent slippage, especially on narrow or sloped shoulders, and are fully-adjustable with a cushioned thickness and smooth fabric. Lightweight two-ply mesh on the cups remains breathable and soft while slick fabric on the wings never rubs or chafes. Per usual, Samanta only uses the best materials with high quality craftsmanship.

For the bulk of the review, I’ve referred the bra primarily as the A170 due to Samanta’s brand structure (read more about that here). This A170 is from the Desert Collection, a soft neutral assortment in a sandy color with a unique flat-laying print reminiscent of sand dunes. One of my oft-repeated expressions is “You can only do so much with beige” usually when a client wants a smooth bra in a neutral color but laments the plainness. European manufacturers, to their credit, seem cognizant of the complaint and include thoughtful touches on some designs. In this case, the bra sports a lovely print on the cup, adorable square shaped bows, a lace applique on the center cradle, and a fancy S pendant dangling in the middle. All these details do not interfere with the bra’s ability to disappear underneath thinner tops but keep the aesthetic more interesting. The rich gold undertones to the sand color flatter a range of skin tones, and I prefer this to the standard yellow-beige a certain company uses *cough* Eveden *cough*. Overall, Samanta created a wonderful entry into the minimzer category—a practical, comfortable, well-fitted basic for anyone wanting less projection!

Erica

Product Review: Samanta Desert A170 Bra
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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19 thoughts on “Product Review: Samanta Desert A170 Bra

  • April 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm
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    This seems to use vertical redistribution for minimizing similar to Tutti Rouge Liliana or Change full shapers rather than horizontal redistribution like with most brands. It’s quite effective. I sometimes see a similar effect with Cleo Marcie, for some people it can give a very compact profile and vertically high shape.

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    • Erica
      April 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm
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      Yes! I meant to write how this reminded me of Liliana in profile because it definitely has a more flattering, rounded shape but still creates a smaller projection. Totally agree! 🙂

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  • April 18, 2017 at 9:35 pm
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    I, like you, have strong feelings about minimizers. I started wearing an “over the shoulder boulder holder” in sixth or seventh grade. The minimizer was the biggest bra I could find for years (40 DDD US) and I thought it horribly ugly and increasingly ill-fitting. So there is not love lost for me regarding minimizers.

    This one does actually look rather nice and not medicinal. Not sure I could be convinced to buy one, but after taking my mom to look for bras this weekend I know there are a lot of people who would love to buy one.

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    • Erica
      April 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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      Oh yes, those wonderful US minimizers. Just shove it all in there, smoosh it together, and mash it down. *shakes head* I will say that Wacoal, when properly fitted, does have some good ones, but I feel like the shape on this is nicer for that client looking for minimized projection but a rounder overall shape. I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I want a minimizer” until they see all the boobage displaced under the arm, and then they grab the sides of the boobs and push them inward and ask: “Well, I want them more in.” Finally, I may have a solution! LOL!

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      • April 19, 2017 at 8:41 pm
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        Lol! I do hope you have found the answer! Of course I am over here hoping I can cheerlead everyone to just wear fun flirty bras and not just beige minimizers but I haven’t been able to convince my own mother yet so its probably not a winning strategy.

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        • Erica
          April 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm
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          Convincing moms is a WHOLE other battle. The first time my mom let me fit her, she was wearing these 42C bras her mother gave her, and I got her into a 38DDD which fit perfectly. She was not convinced, lol. I bought her one, and the day she wore it to work, everyone kept asking if she lost weight. Suddenly, we had to go back and buy more. 😉

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          • April 20, 2017 at 9:53 pm
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            I did manage to her out of the 40DD and into a 38G. (I really wanted a 36H but they didn’t have it and she felt like the 36 was too tight which that I can respect) I hope to get her to you one of these days but her work schedule isn’t very conducive for that currently. She had also been having some trouble with her shoulder and while I don’t think this was the only factor I am sure a better fitting bra can only help matters.

          • Erica
            April 21, 2017 at 10:17 am
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            Hey, progress is progress. 😀 Shoulder issues can really cause problems with bras because it’s hard to find ones that stay put but also don’t hit sensitive spots. It’s a bit of a trial and error process!

  • April 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm
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    As someone who glumly weathered a series of deeply unattractive Lilyette minimizers (back in the plus-4 days, when my mom and countless fitters and I all believed that I wore a 38C), I’m stunned by how much I like the Samanta Desert A170! Judging from your shape and profile in this bra, it’s attractive enough to merit wearing 2 to 3 times a week — and it doesn’t look like an apology for having big breasts.

    PS Speaking of appealing basic bras: I’ve ordered the Sculptresse Chi-Chi in 34F from a small local shop. Can’t wait! I need a bra in a neutral-to-me (I’m getting the deep taupe colorway), and when I heard from you and K-Line that the Chi-Chi fit similarly to Empreinte — at a lower price point — well, that ticked all the boxes for me!

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    • Erica
      April 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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      Hi Sarah! I love this “it doesn’t look like an apology for having big breasts.” This perfectly encapsulates how I felt about being forced into minimizers or to wear higher necklines. Beautifully said! And, I can’t wait to hear how Chi Chi works for you. That bra is so popular and gives incredible shape. <3 Plus, they do some wonderful colorways too.

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      • April 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm
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        I will definitely keep you posted! My anticipation has been building ever since I reread your review. Which, by the way, gave me some much-needed laughs with your description of Panache’s, um, eye-catching colorways: “The Good, The Bad, & The Leopard,” with a Lisa Frank leopard for comparison. 🙂

        (That said, if I like the Chi-Chi as much as I expect to, I’m going to invest in another one, in that swank graphic lace pattern that’s available now.)

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        • Erica
          April 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm
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          Panache’s print in general are sometimes questionable, BUT they have gotten better. Ashley can tell you how many of them looked like someone cut up grandma’s curtains for several seasons, but yeah, that leopard fascination was so strange, especially given how polarizing animal prints are anyway! Oh, and the lace print is super cute in person. We carried it, and it went fast for us!

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    • April 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm
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      Hey Sarah, just wanted to say the Chi Chi is probably my fav bra (Neck and neck with the Jasmine)! I hope you love it as much as I do!

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      • April 19, 2017 at 9:08 pm
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        Thanks, Ashley! 🙂

        I am so psyched for this bra! I haven’t bought a bra for at least six months — this is a combination birthday-to-myself/tax return present — AND the Chi-Chi has been getting a lot of love from folks who post and/or comment frequently on the bra blogs that are my go-tos for reliable recommendations. Win-win!

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      • June 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm
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        I know this is an old post, but I wanted to check back in and let y’all know how much I love the Chi-Chi! In 34F, it’s become my go-to bra. The deep-taupe colorway disappears under even my lightest shirts, and the sturdy-yet-comfy construction gives my dense breasts the lift that I didn’t realize I needed.

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        • June 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm
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          I am so glad you love it!! I don’t know if you get Ericas newsletter but the Spring 2018 ChiChi print is gorgeous, best one yet!

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          • June 25, 2017 at 8:29 pm
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            Cool — I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

  • April 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm
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    WOW, that is a gorgeous shape! When I saw your review was for a Samanta bra, I was very excited – first because I love your writing and was delighted to see a new post, and second because I’ve just discovered this brand and I like their aesthetic (seems similar to that of Ewa Bien, another brand I’d like to learn more about). Then when I saw the descriptor of this bra as a minimizer, I was kinda “eh”, but your posts are always great reading and I learn so much from you, so of course I read on.

    Imagine my huge scroll-down shock when I saw that beautiful, lifted and rounded shape, especially in your profile and 3/4 angles! I’m not a “minimizer” fan at all, but in my opinion this bra gives a better shape than seemingly 90% of all other non-minimizer bras. The Samanta is giving a shape I prefer, just a bit more compacted, yet without flattening everything under the arms for that dreaded east-west look. To make it even more amazing, you note that it has comfortable straps, is narrow but not overly so, and has softer wires which may make this more tolerable for people who are sensitive to the more rigid wires.

    I like how you say, “There’s only so much you can do with beige,” and yet this bra adds little details to make it less boring. I appreciate that the beige is more on the golden side, and less on the death-warmed-over side! I never thought I’d be interested in buying a bra that could be described as a minimizer, but a bra that would disappear under white shirts (I think it would for my skin tone), allow me to wear certain button down styles without gaping, and STILL give a nice shape that isn’t flattened out making me look bigger and blockier? Sign me up! I wonder how this would work for my FOT shape. I’m still figuring out my own shape and size, but once I have the money to place an order in a few sizes, Samanta is one brand I would love to try. Thank you for this excellent review, and for that matter, thanks for all your posts! I’ve always been a lurker, but now I’ve decided to quit being shy and start commenting. 😉

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm
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      Hi Laurie! I am glad you decided to join the fun. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy the reviews and the writing. They take me for forever because I tend to write slowly, and to know they are appreciated gives me the strength carry on sometimes! When Marzena first sent me pictures of this, I had the same kind of feeling, but I was really impressed when I had a chance to try it. I think on others, especially those with less center heavy tissue, the wires will tack beautifully but not overly so. This is one of the most flattering profiles I have seen in any kind of preformed cup. And you’re absolutely right about the details. I find this is true more with European companies, especially those designing and targeting other European people too. I think it could work for FOT. I’m more balanced but do have firmer upper tissue, and I think the cup fabric has a little give for contouring. You may also consider trying the Tutti Rouge Liliana. Bras I Hate & Love reviewed it (she is definitely FOT), and the shapes are similar between this style and the Liliana. 🙂

      Reply

What are your thoughts?