Thursday 24 January 2013

A Love Letter To Empreinte, The Brand That Changed My Life (Guest Post)

(This post is written by a very special guest writer, my sister! I hope you enjoy it.)

I'm picky about bras. Back before I knew about proper bra sizing, I refused to wear anything besides intense pushup bras in black or hot pink. So when I first got properly fitted, I tried on all the bras in my size and I hated them all passionately. Don't even get me STARTED on 582 variations I tried of the Tango, a bra that looks utterly horrendous on me. 

I hated all the bras, that is, except for one. The only problem was that the one I liked? It cost $279. It was an Empreinte.

Empreinte is a brand that I haven't seen talked about much on bra blogs. The heart attack-inducing price tag is probably the reason for that. (Believe me, I could not afford it either; I split the price with my mom and didn't buy another bra for almost two years.) The other reason is that in the US, Empreinte can only be sold by a handful of "certified retailers," so they're hard to find and nearly impossible to get for cheaper than retail. While some websites (like Figleaves) sell them, once you enter a US shipping address, it won't let you buy them. I've found a few on Ebay (around $40, much more reasonable), but I felt slightly guilty when doing so because it's not entirely "legit."

But despite the difficulty of getting ahold of them and the absurd prices, I love Empreinte bras. In fact, they're really the only bras I wear regularly. For me, Empreinte is just that good.

My boobs are full on the bottom and not at all on on the top, and they're pretty wide set. With my shape, I'm most comfortable in an unpadded, molded cup. I'm a 30E, and because I'm lazy (or live an exciting life? ha), I also prefer a versatile bra that can fit situations from everyday workwear to sexy scenarios. I've owned three Empreinte styles, which all fit the description above. From Ebay I know Empreinte also makes non-molded bras, but I've never owned or seen them in a store, so this is by no means a comprehensive brand overview; it's more like a love letter to the bra brand that changed my life. 

Since Empreinte is shrouded in mystery, I'm not sure about their size range. The bras I've seen on Ebay generally start around a C cup and go up as high as an F or FF, and range from a 30 back to a 38 or so. That's not definitive, though. I also don't know, because none of the bras I own have appeared on their bizarrely un-navigable website, what the model/style names for any of my bras are. I own (and occasionally wear!) a couple of Freya Decos, which is a fairly well-known style, so I will use the Deco as a point of comparison to my molded Empreinte bras.

The main reason I like Empreintes as an everyday bra is they give a well-supported shape that is at the same time very natural. Compared to a Deco, my Empreinte molded bras are made of a thinner foam and lack push-up properties. In a Deco, my boobs are held in close to my chest, and they're pushed up and together, giving me a TON of cleavage from the front, but making my boobs appear smaller from the side--the "purple shape".

By contrast, my cleavage in the Empreinte is subtle, and from the side my boobs look more like the size they actually are, but still have a rounded shape. Overall, it closely matches the natural state of my boobs while providing support--more like the "green shape", which I prefer. In the following photo, the left shows an Empreinte bra, while the right shows a Deco, both in a 30E. You can see the Deco gives much less projection.

I wear the same size in the Empreinte as I do in the Deco, and I don't quite fill out the top of the Empreinte cups, which means there is room for people with fuller-on-top boobs. But if you're between band sizes in the Deco and wear the tighter of two possible bands, I would go up one band size (and down one cup size) in the Empreinte.

I also think Empreinte bras are really beautiful and sexy. I've had three different designs: one that was black with a subtle pattern of black glitter; a second that was white with a pattern of black pansies:

... and a third, which I own in both black and white, is a solid colored bra with a flower detail attached to the left strap and the center gore:

I love the subtle design details that keep all three of these styles interesting and beautiful even though they are overall basic. I particularly like the straps on the third model; they are thinner than the Deco's and look delicate, but they aren't too delicate to provide support.

The place where Empreinte bras really stand out, though, is their incredibly high quality and long-lasting construction. Remember the bra I bought for $279 and couldn't afford another for two years? I wore that bra every single day for that almost-two-year period. Not only did it hold up for 600+ wears but it continued to support me surprisingly well even when I shrank a band size. What that means is the band is high enough quality to not stretch out over a period of many wears. That, or the Empreinte manufacturers made a deal with the devil to produce magical always-supportive bras.

I cringe to recommend to others a bra that costs $279 retail. That's just plain expensive, and I was incredibly lucky to be able to afford it. But if you are able to put together the cash upfront, I do think the Empreinte comes out to be a solidly cost-effective purchase, given how long it lasts. It's also versatile, going from office wear to lounging at home to a date to even low-impact exercise (yoga or low-impact dance), so it allowed me to get away with owning only one bra. Then there are the hidden costs, like back pain and low self esteem, that for me still come with other bras that aren't as well constructed. So while I've had flirtations with other bras (Freya, Panache, an ill-considered fling with a Masquerade), I always come back to the Empreinte. If you see one on Ebay in your size or if you have some cash to spare at one of the "certified retailers," definitely consider giving it a try.


  1. Truly inspiring post!

    I've checked Empreinte on Bratabase right away and it looks like they go up to US H cup and 46 band in some models, but for other models they stop at F. No luck getting measurements for my size, though.

    I have a question about wires: compared to Deco wires are they more narrow or more wide and how big is the difference?

  2. Empreinte bras seem to run rather large in the cup.
    Two friends of mine who usually wear 30H fit into a 32G.

    And, considering your "bad consciouness" when purchasing bras over ebay: I think 279$ is a rather outrageous price! Sure, they are expensive in Europe too, costing between 70 and 100€ (Freya and Panache usually are around 50 to 60€ in Germany), but that would be around 93 to 133$. Of course there are also shipping costs and taxes and stuff, but 279$?!! WTF!

    However, I'm really glad you're so happy with this bra. It's always a great thing to find a bra that fits like a glove. I just keep my fingers crossed, there is sth around that's a little cheaper. ;-)

  3. I've tried on a few (nonmoulded) Empreinte bras before and LOVED them. I'd love to own one someday. Sadly, since I wear a small 28-band, I would definitely have to have it altered.

    I did recently try the Melody bra, I believe, and it seemed to fit well in the cups in a 30F (it was at Jenette's Bras, and she told me that that bra has narrow and very deep cups), so I'm guessing a 28FF or 28G would be a good fit if it existed (I usually wear a 28H).

  4. Damn, I had no idea that Empreinte bras were THAT expensive in the US. I wore them (non moulded) in my late teens because it was the only "large bust" brand that my local store carried and I could only afford one or maybe two bras every year on a student budget, so they had to last a while!

  5. Please tell your sister thank you for guest posting! I'd only read one thing about Empreinte, and it was marketing from them, so I didn't trust it. I was all excited about this brand after reading her post and wanted to try the brand. I'm trying to buy fewer items of higher quality.

    I'm boycotting HerRoom because of their despicable behavior toward this very blog, but I did find the brand at BUT first I checked this fabulous wire width chart some people on (subreddit abrathatfits) made:

    Do you see how Empreinte is the brand with the next to most narrow wires of all the brands ranked? As someone who adores Bravissimo's half cups' wires, I will never get to benefit from Empreinte's quality and durability. :( At least I didn't waste any money ordering and then returning.

    By the way, is having a 20% off sale, and Empreinte's bras are NOT exempt from the sale. And the starting prices for Empreinte there are in the $150 range. If you're someone who can never find wires narrow enough, Empreinte seems like a good bet!

    B-I-H, you may want to ask your sister to do individual reviews for each of her bras and help her with the photography. I think your readers are all very curious about this brand now. And see if she wants to enter them into bratabase!

    1. Hi,
      I just received an Empreinte bra. I hesitated, because of the narrow wire stories. I have wide set breasts and always wear Prima Donna's balcony bra's (size 38E). I have some Fantasie bras too. Wires are often a problem with me. But I liked the design of the Empreinte Ophelia so much, that I decided to give it a shot (it's an unmoulded bra). And guess what: the wires fit perfectly. I compared them with the wires of my Prima Donna Madison balcony and they have exactly the same size. The Empreinte wires aren't too high in my armpits either. Note that the Empreinte cups run rather large, larger than e.g. Prima Donna. The band runs slightly large as well. And the unmoulded balcony styles have rather full cups. My Empreinte bra gives my breasts a round shape, natural in a good way. It doesn't give me a killer cleavage, but it's extremely comfortable, sexy in a subtle way and very suitable for office.

  6. I'm a 28FF and have quite a few credits at Bare Necessities (thanks to their lackluster selection in my band size). Do you think I could get away with a 30F in Empriente? I can wear that size in other brands if I put it on the tightest hook.

  7. I just did a quick Google search, and US shoppers can also buy them from Amazon! That's fantastic, especially if you have Prime and get super-fast delivery. :)

    I'm a little nervous about trying this brand only because of the narrower wires. Being just a smidge wider than Kris Line... I tried two Kris Line bras from Brastop, and they are absolutely lovely. However, both bras ended up causing me so much pain that I *had* to take them off. I'm not sure if the wires were simply too narrow, or if the cups were too small. I was quadboobing a little bit, but I usually don't have such intense pain from the underwires as a result of a little quadboob. I didn't have the pain nearly as much with Ewa Michalak, despite that they typically have narrower wires than Kris Line.

    Long story short, I'm not sure if such narrow wires are good for me or not. What I can say is that you look great in yours, and I'm officially jealous! :)

  8. I'm so glad to see this post! I stumbled onto this blog about a month ago and it's been so refreshing to read other bra exploits. For what it's worth, Empreinte is the only other bra company I've had enduring positive experiences with besides Panache (and Cleo, Masquerade). I've never tried their moulded styles, but I have the Melody and the Kaela, and they are quite possibly the most comfortable bras I own, tied with perhaps the Cleo Lucy and Panache Sienna.

    The Melody and the Kaela are made from non-stretch seamless lace (which blew my mind at first) but they hold their shape and give surprisingly good support/lift. It's not any cleavage to write home about, but I never worry about quadra-boob, either. I get something between a "purple" and "green" shape with these bras, closer to purple. And when they say seamless, they mean it - the Kaela is my go-to bra if I'm wearing a thin fabric and don't want my bra to show through, something I can't always say about the Cleo Lucy. Overall, I'd say the Kaela is a more flattering bra and more versatile - the cups start a little lower so you can get away with lower-cut shirts. But both give a great shape.

    I find Empreinte runs a little large - I generally wear a 30H in Panache, but I need a 30GG in Empreinte, and I might try a 28 next time. The band is pretty generous and stretchy -- 3 hooks, so fewer dramatic lines in the back. If you're not sure whether to size up or down in the back, I'd recommend down.

    The biggest downside for me about these Empreinte styles is that the straps are rather wide. It makes for really comfy shoulders at the end of a long day (no red lines. Really!), but it's not great for wearing tank tops.

    The other big downside is of course the price tag. I've been lusting after the Lola low-neck (balconette) for years - it's one of the few Empreinte styles I've seen in lovely seasonal fashion colors, and it gives amazing uplift and cleavage for a non-moulded cup - but the price is just too much for me right now. (That said, I've had the Melody for at least 3 years I think, and it's still going strong. It's not my favorite anymore, as my band/cup have dropped a little bit and the alterations haven't totally done the trick, but it's still in quite wearable shape. When it was my correct size, I wore the Melody constantly, and I wear the Kaela a ton now. If you find an Empreinte you love that works for you, it's probably a worthy long-term investment.)

    I can see how Empreinte would be great for those who are full-on-bottom. Both the Melody and the Kaela have some unfilled fabric at the bottom of the cups, which used to bug me a little, but not anymore. There's definitely enough space for those who are fuller on top. Also, the center gore on these bras are narrower than in Panache, which is a perk. I wish the Kaela came in other colors - it seems so plain in pictures, but when I wear it, I feel like I'm in an 18th century romance novel. And these bras are comfortable right away - there was almost no breaking-in phase.

    I'm always looking for more information on Empreinte styles, so thank you for this post! I'll be sure to give their moulded styles a try if I ever get a chance.

  9. So great to read from someone whose go-to bra is Empreinte. Last September I shared that they are now going up to an H cup in some styles:

    Also, when I was looking to buy the Kaela, I found the Town Shop to be dramatically less expensive than La Petite Coquette. It's worth looking into them for other styles:

  10. Empreinte is my personal favourite for full bust bras. The construction and materials of the bras are incredibly high quality and durable, and the lift and forward projection they provide are like no other. Their cups are cut rather deep, so that while I need a 32GG in most Freya styles, I can wear a 32G in Empreinte.
    However, their size range is limited as they only cut a very easy 30 band, their balconettes only go up to a G cup and only full cups are available in the H cups (and no 30 bands available in H cups, save for one style). Furthermore, Empreiente seems content to rest on their laurels rather than pushing forward and expanding their size range, despite demands. I hope in the future they consider making 28 bands, make their balconette syles up to an H and provide small bands in the H cup!

  11. Hi Ladies,

    I come across Empreinte about 4 years ago.I paid in Toronto about 300$ for a set. I have fallen in love with this brand and today I owe about 30 of them. They all are very comfortable, beautiful and sexy not to mention about the colors. I bought most of them in Europe where they run half of the price we pay here in North America. Last year Empreinte open up own store in Paris where I hope would be possible to see/buy the whole line. Being European I am surprise how low demand is for color lingerie in North America, almost none in Canada and that woman do not pay much of attention what they wear underneath .....
    There is beautiful Thalia in sapphire color that just come out as well Irina in turquoise. All collection can be seen at It is a wonderful brand worth spending the money.....

  12. I sell luxury bras and can attest that Empeinte is the bomb! It is a very reliable fit on most everyone, and incredibly comfortable, which is certainly not true of many brands. Don't be afraid to try them even if you think they might be narrow...they seem to magically mold to most figures. We tend to drop most customers either a full cup or band size to get a perfect fit. We call them our problem solvers. When someone likes Empreinte, they scrap all their other bras and buy them exclusively. The other brand that is a great fuller bust bra is Prima Donna (Madison is the favorite).

    1. do you still sell them?
      I wanna try one but need help with sizing....

    2. do you still them?
      I want one but need help with sizing...third time postin

  13. I, too, am a HUGE empreinte fan. I bought my first one in Calgary Alberta Canada at a boutique called "SHE lingerie". I tried it on and knew that it was perfect. I'm lucky enough to own a non molded one actually. (Ohkay, I own two now) It's of this amazing laser cut lace - I usually avoid lace as I find it itchy and uncomfortable. The lace bras I had in the past all lost shape. I never wanted an unmolded bra, living in cold climates I worry about nippleitus a lot. These were the first bras I've ever owned that aren't padded or molded and they are my favourites. As for hiding diamond nipples: they do! It's really shocking and I don't understand how, but they do.
    I, also, had a heart attack about the price tag. The ones that I purchased were each $300 (with tax, etc.) But like you said: they last! Both of them still look brand new. The unmolded ones fit perfectly for me. I didn't have to go up or down in size at all. Plus the lace makes you feel just that little bit more sexy. Like a hidden secret.
    All I can say is that I agree: they are worth every single penny!

  14. Yay! I can log in.

    Other than the Tango line that just seem to always fit, this line is next.

    I can't say it's a favorite due to the cost, plus I have to alter the center gore always. My Tango collection need the center gore fix, but those are cheap.

    But for days when no bra will look right or fit - a 30D here works perfectly. I really figured I'd be in a 30DD or DDD/E as is my usual, but even DD cups had way too much extra room.

  15. I am a big Empreinte fan. I live in Europe and they are half the price here. They have a great fit en they last forever. The only other bras that I like very much are Marlies Dekkers. I've tried more than 15 brands and the ones, that are comfortable for me are Empreinte and Marlies Dekkers, both quite expensive but worth every penny. They give a perfect shape.
    I just bought the Empreinte Irina in chantilly color and again it's a perfect fit.
    The new fall/winter collection 2013/2014 can be seen on

  16. I am actually a bra fitter at a lingerie store that is well known, empreinte is one of our top in sales I have actually met the owner and they are very true to what they stand by and what they sale! if you are local come to Livi Rae Lingerie for some more empreinte!

    1. do you know where I can help with fitting in the US? I'm boston =*(

  17. I am actually a bra fitter at a lingerie store that is well known, empreinte is one of our top in sales I have actually met the owner and they are very true to what they stand by and what they sale! if you are local come to Livi Rae Lingerie for some more empreinte!

  18. I love, love, love the Empreinte Diva Plunge Bra in style #14111, but unfortunately they stopped making it about a year after they introduced it. This is the best bra I have ever found and it is totally worth the $250 that I paid for it about 3 years ago. I wear this one every day as I can not afford to buy more than one of them. It is incredibly supportive, seamless, and sexy, great for every day and nights out. The sad thing is that they no longer make and sell this particular style. I have found them still available in my size on I am currently saving up so that I can buy another one before it is too late to get any more. I just wish that they would continue this bra style because it is the best one of all the collections that Empreinte makes.

  19. I also LOVE Empreinte! And am super lucky to own about ten. A friend of mine in Canada had told me years ago that the high-end manufacturers made lingerie in ALL sizes. At that time, findig a DDD (or F) size in the U.S. (that did not look utilitarian) was virtually impossible. So if your favorite retailer doesn't have it in the size you need, ask them to special order. That has worked perfectly for me.

  20. I live in Toronto and just came home from purchasing my first Empreinte bra. I FINALLY went for a professional "bra fitting" and believe me, it was well worth the time. After trying on about 4, she put me in the Empreinte Kaela. First of all, I was a size way bigger than I thought I was, and was wearing, and that freaked me out but hey...that's what menopause and turning 61 will do to you. Anyway, the Empreinte fit like a dream, I suddenly looked like I'd lost 10 pounds (if only!) and I just felt I was being supported properly. I was so happy, I didn't even ask the price (something I always do) and when I got to the cash, I almost fainted. With tax, it was $180!!! I have NEVER paid anything close to that for a bloody bra but after reading your story, and the other comments, it sounds like it will prove to be a purchase worth this heart-stopping amount. Oh yeah...and I also called Visa as soon as I got home to find out when my statement date is and I'm happy to say, I do have a wee bit of wiggle room to pay it off.

  21. I'm narrow around the back with very large natural breasts... so bra shopping is hellish for me. At least it was... until I found the Empreinte Melody bra. It is a perfect fit in a 32F. Yes they are expensive... but they do last a very long time if taken care of properly. You won't regret the splurge. It will be the most comfortable and flattering bra you've ever had on. The French know their stuff when it comes to undergarments!

  22. I was first introduced to the Empeinte line several years ago, when after breast feeding and weight gain I lost significant amount of breast tissue on top and had no idea what size I actually was. Most bras I tried on gaped at the top. I was shocked when I was fitted to learn I was now (and still am a 32G). The Empeinte Maude fit like a dream and have since purchased several others such as the Lily Rose and Irina in an array of colours. The Maud is still my favourite and it still looks good after 4 years. Yes, expensive, but they wash well and have stood the test of time. Plus, you can't put a price on how I feel when I put it on compared with my Prima Donna's where I gap in the top. I found the store Lina Intima in Toronto to be wonderful for finding the perfect bra for me! The employees know their stuff and would recommend it to anyone...I just wish they were in Eastern Ontario as I've moved out this way now, and the similar stores in Kingston and Belleville do not compare with knowledge or product!