Why do the best brassieres come from Poland? Explore the history of bras
Let’s start with a look at a narrow slice of Poland history. After World War II, the corsetry cooperative Wzorcowa was established in Bialystok to serve the needs of citizens. It was dissolved in 1993, shortly after the Soviet Union and the Polish People’s Republic were dissolved.
During the following years in Poland history, the areas around Lodz & Bialystok emerged as the lingerie capital of Europe, and some would say the entire world. There were hundreds of trained seamstresses needing work, and with access to luxurious fabrics, laces, and trims from Italy, Spain, and elsewhere, it was a match made in heaven!
Polish bra fitting
Polish bra-makers are dedicated to the practice of bra fitting, which is an almost architectural system of measuring that takes into consideration the amount of “projection” a bra-wearer has. Projection is the amount of breast tissue relative to the breast root, where the breast meets the chest.
For people new to European bras, perhaps the most shocking revelation is the sheer number of sizes they have available. Most of the well-established bra-makers produce bras in the European equivalent of bands 28 to 42 with cups from D through L; some bands go as low as 26 or even 24 as custom orders and up to 50, and at least one brand can make cups accommodating up to a U.S. V.
Most American bra-makers manufacture 32 through 38, A through DD, which is roughly 20 sizes. With the average bra size in the U.S. currently being 34DD, Allena Rissa from The Better Fit shares that it’s a little surprising that American bra makers generally stop at DD. Polish bra-makers produce at least 90 sizes, and some of them much more than that. Does Poland history show that Polish breasts are vastly different than American breasts? Of course not. But Polish bras are.
Empirical & anecdotal evidence from bra manufacturers & retailers around the world suggests that the “average” bra size would be a 32 or 34 inch underbust with a bust measurement 7 or 8 inches larger than the underbust. In traditional American sizing, this would be between 32F & 34G.
Polish bra manufacturing
Didn’t we say above that American bra makers top out at a DD? We sure did. This means that more than half the people buying American-sized bras can’t even find the cup size that works best for them. This also means that they have to buy larger band sizes than they need in order to make up for the cups being much too small.
As a result, most American bras have wires & cups that are much too wide for the wearer’s breast roots, and bands that are too loose to provide any real support. The straps do most of the work, and that leads to back & neck pain by the end of the day. Because most people who wear bras prefer a lifted look, bra-makers usually pad the cups heavily so that breast tissue sits on top of the pads.
Polish bras feature firm bands as a foundation, short and narrow wires, and multi-part seamed cups allowing for plenty of outward projection. This results in a high, rounded shape without the need for push-up padding. The unlined cups, often made with stretch lace, mold to the shape of the breast instead of trying to force the breast tissue to mold to the shape of the cup.
Thanks to the Internet, bra wearers around the world can now benefit from the decades of Poland history in bra fitting and bra manufacturing. We recommend not ordering your regular (and likely poorly fitted) American size. Reddit users have developed a calculator that takes six measurements and approximates Polish bra fitting techniques.
Polish bra brands
Some of the biggest and best-known bra names in the history of Poland include Ewa Michalak, Comexim, Kinga, Samanta, Gorsenia, Nessa, and Kris Line.
Ewa Michalak has the widest range of sizes with bands from 24 through 58 and cups from D through V (American equivalents). The bras are hand-architected and hand-sewn. They can be ordered directly from Ewa Michalak in Poland or through Levana Bratique in Pennsylvania.
Comexim bras can also be purchased in the U.S. through Breakout Bras or the Breakout Bras store on Amazon. When ordered directly from Comexim in Poland, the bras can be customized as desired.
Zulily occasionally features Polish brands including Kris Line, Nessa, and Gorsenia. Sign up for alerts so that you can be notified when they are listed for sale. Brastop.com also carries some Polish brands; they are based in the UK, so shipping is still international, but at least the site is in English.