Empreinte Lingerie Spring/Summer 2014
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Empreinte Lingerie Spring/Summer 2014

GRACE_Lazuli_BD

Empreinte is a classic brand I've known about for years, but I only really became interested in them in perhaps the last six months. I think of them as a full bust specialist, but they make bras in cup sizes 32C thru 46G. One of the reasons I wasn't really into Empreinte as a younger woman is because it just seemed like so much bra, but as I've gotten older, I've become more drawn to both European-style laces and cut-and-sewn bras. Mostly though, I'm just glad there's a pretty, reliable option for women in the plus size and full bust size ranges. Empreinte bras retail for $100 and up, knickers start around $40.

What are your favorite looks from next season's collection?



GRACE_Noir_BODY_BD

GRACE_Noir_SG_BD

JASMINE_Primevere_BD

LILLYROSE_Paquerette_BD

THALIA_Grenadine_BD

IRINA_Shadow_BD

IRINA_Violette_BD

JASMINE_Naturel_BD

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Cora
Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

11 Comments on this post

  1. Amanda says:

    They aren’t quite the same size base as the UK bras really. I’m in a 32G/GG or 30GG/H usually, but with Empreinte, a 34 is far more comfortable and DD in cup size is perfect. I think I wind up in the G/GG/H range because the UK cups run shallow and the Empreinte cups are not at all shallow.

    So, it’s just the normal for wearing any bra really. You’ve got to try them on. Polish lines do not fit me, the cursed narrow wires. I’m a curvy mesomorph, but I prefer a tight band. Cleo fits perfectly and has some of the flattest gores on me, but Panache so far is always a 110% failure.

  2. L says:

    It’s disappointing that it begins at a 32 band since I need a 28. They are such lovely bras!

    The models they’re using appear to need 28 or 26 inch bands as well.

  3. maria says:

    Hey Cora, I want to respond to the comment above about Empreinte as a “full bust line.”

    Empreinte bras have cups that have more depth than other popular European bras like Chantelle. I find that their bras are really cut for a full shape. I think it’s a misconception that a higher letter equates a full cup. Someone can wear a 32G bra but have a shallow shape. “Full bust” refers to the shape not necessarily the cup size. Someone can have a full C cup and need a bra that accommodates the full shape.

    • Cora Cora says:

      I think the term “full-busted” can refer to a shape, but I’ve most often seen it used to refer to a cup size, usually DD and above, regardless of breast shape. What term do you use for women who wear a cup size beyond D?

      • maria says:

        Hi Cora,
        I don’t really have a term to categorize women who wear a cup size beyond D. Part of that is because “D” doesn’t really mean much. Someone who measures out to be a true 32DD can have a shallow shape and may not have heavy breasts that need a lot of bra construction and depth. It’s the same with someone who can measure out to be a 34D etc.
        I just think that there’s so much variety with shape beyond just size.
        I also have seen lots of brands market themselves as “full bust lines” and only carry sizes “D and cup” but I think it refers to shape (with the assumption that women who measure out D and up have a “full shape” which isn’t always true). Many times, these brands primarily make 3-part cups and more full coverage cups with a lot of depth, construction and side boning.
        One thing about the industry that I think is wrong is that many brands make assumptions about women, size and body types. Brands that are marketed as “small bust” always have a lot of padding, narrow underwires and only make A-C. Brands marketed as “full bust” always have 3-part cups, non-padded constructions and maybe even “minimizer” bras. Well, who is to say that someone who measures out to be a 34F with a teardrop shape doesn’t want a push-up? Who is to say that someone who measures out as a 36B with a lot of fullness above the apex wants a bra with padding and push up pads?
        Is there a subliminal message for us to strive towards a certain size, shape and look?

        • Cora Cora says:

          I don’t think there’s a subliminal message. It’s a pretty overt message! There’s an ideal breast shape (though it varies slightly across cultures), and bra companies are making garments to fit that ideal. In the early 1900’s, the ideal was a “monoboob.” In the 1920’s, it was a flat chest. In the 1950’s, it was “bullet-shaped” breasts. Now, in America at least, it’s a high, rounded shape with no visible nipple (in contrast to the pointer shape of French bras which are often made sans padding). I also think that overt message is reinforced again and again in the way we talk about bras: as garments that “fix” your breasts (because sag/a non-teardrop shape is supposedly unattractive), as garments that enable you to appear like you’ve lost weight (because being fat is supposedly unattractive), and as garments that prevent your nipples from showing (because nipples are supposedly always sexual).

          That said, I sincerely believe having terminology to discuss bras meant for specific demographic categories is useful. The bra making of the lingerie industry falls along four major groups: small bust, mid size, full bust, and plus size…with very little overlap between the names in these categories (i.e. Full bust bra brands don’t make A cups. Plus size bra bands don’t make 30 bands.). While I do understand what you’re saying, I don’t believe that eschewing bra categories “because D doesn’t mean much” would be very helpful to the average customer or help her find the brands and companies making bras in her size (This is particularly true for online shoppers). And being able to find bras is really the whole point. As an aside, I’d also disagree with the assertion that bra brands making A-C cups “always” have a lot of padding. That may be true in a place like the mall, but as someone who dislikes padded bras, I’ve had no issues finding unpadded cups in the size I prefer to wear (34C).

          At any rate, yes, I agree with you that the lingerie industry, like most aspects of the clothing and garment industries, makes certain assumptions about their customers bodies and what they’d like to wear (assumptions which are reflected in the language we use to discuss bras). While I don’t agree with all those assumptions (for example, the dearth of plus size lingerie, particularly beyond 4X, is a serious issue), I also can’t blame a bra company for not investing the R&D into a product no one’s vocally requesting (like full bust push up bras) in the hopes that maybe, possibly it will sell. Even if there is a customer out there who wants it (and I have no doubt there are at least a few because that’s just probability), the question from the company’s side always has to be, “Will we sell enough to make it profitable?” There are as many potential bras and potential preferences as there are people, but it’s not feasible for any company to make every possibility.

  4. That’s funny, I consider Wacoal to be more of a “small bust” brand, as I don’t find their larger styles to be up to snuff, construction-wise. That being said, most of the retailers I know with have definitely lumped Empreinte in with the mid to fuller sizes. I’ve worked with Empreinte quite a bit, and it’s rarely my go to for C cups and under. Their bras do fit deep in the cup, almost across the board, and they cut up to a 46 back in some styles. Factor in the French sizing, and you’ve got a brand that does right by the larger and bustier woman, though the wire doesn’t always work on some body types. Also, Empreinte cut their panties very, very, VERY….generously! I’m loving some of the new looks, especially the first bra in blue…although I’m not thrilled with the mustard/white combo on the Lily Rose. Mustard is not one of my “go to” shades for lingerie, though it would probably pop nicely on a redhead, or someone with a darker skin tone. It’s one of my favorite bras of theirs, I have three of them! My favorite colourways being the original black, and reverse black on white. It is a shame not seeing Lola in the bunch, it’s such a great cut and pretty lace…ah well, maybe next season! Empreinte is definitely for ladies who like a “perky” shape, especially the Thalia (in red). That being said, it’s a great minimizing feature. I hope they are continuing with the “Daisy” line (not pictured), there’s a lovely balconnet and great full cup option that is priced a little lower than some of their other bras at about $130 in boutiques.
    Regarding price, I do have to say that at the boutiques I’ve worked at…Empreinte bras go for $160-$190. That being said, the quality of these bras is really, really phenomenal, and the lace and workmanship are beautiful. I’ve had mine for years in regular rotation and they still look and feel great. Worth every penny.

    • Cora Cora says:

      I agree with what you’re saying about the depth of the cups. I prefer to wear 34C and I have “teardrop” shaped breasts; I don’t feel my silhouette quite does the cups justice. This whole conversation happening in the comments about size ranges and people’s perception of full bust/small bust/etc. is really interesting to me though. Anyway, if I were to get another Empreinte,I think it’d be the Lola. I love the dots.

  5. Cat Marie says:

    I love all of these! Thanks for sharing x

  6. AE says:

    I like that one with the button on the back by the neck.

    Interesting how our perceptions are based on our own experience. I wouldn’t consider any bra that stops before a UK H to be a true full-bust brand, especially if they start before DD. I think of Empreinte as being a standard-sized range, as that G cup is really a European G and therefore closer to a UK F or a US DDDD. In other words, precisely in the standard range that you can find in pretty much any shop.

    • Cora Cora says:

      It is really interesting how people have different ideas of what “counts” as full bust or plus size or small bust. I think you have a good point here that since Empreinte starts before a DD, it may be mislabeling to call them a full bust brand. After all, I wouldn’t call Wacoal a full bust company, even though they make full bust bras, because they also make A cup bras. Thanks for commenting.

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