I told you I’d be back soon with more Panache reviews! I did buy 4 bras at their factory sale after all, and even though some of them are past season now, I know there are still people out there looking for reviews on how they fit, so I wanted to help out a bit. This (along with another I bought on the day) is my first actual Panache bra (as opposed to Cleo and Masquerade). I haven’t really been taken in the normal Panache line in the past, thinking them just a bit too “sensible” and occasionally too old woman-ish for my tastes, but then again, I’d never actually tried one before, so I shouldn’t have tried to pass judgement! On the actual day at Panache, we ended up trying so many bras (probably about 50 between us, in a huge variety of sizes) that inevitably I found a few Panache ones that I actually liked. This is the Panache Melody in a 28H in Ruby Red which I don’t think is available to buy any more, but you may find it on eBay or r/BraSwap. I also purchased the Panache Porcelain Viva briefs to go with the bra – they’re not an exact match, but they’re definitely close enough for my liking! I’ll be reviewing them alongside the bra too 🙂
Appearance & Shape
Both the bra and the briefs are very pretty looking, if you like that sort of thing. Generally this style isn’t to my taste – I’m pretty certain I have the balconette version of the Panache Melody, although there is a full cup available too. In the balconette though, the cups come up high on me and provide full coverage, so much so that the lace edges stick up above some lower cut tops I have! Speaking of the lace section – yes, it is quite pretty and has some lovely detail, but I’ve never been a big fan of bras with a laminated lower section and lace upper section in terms of looks. I just feel they look a bit strange sometimes, particularly in bigger sizes. However, this one doesn’t come across that way to me when I look at it in pictures or in the mirror, and actually the lace section on top is better for since I act as full on top in bras usually, so it tends to give me a bit of leeway with fit.
The gore is very tall (especially compared to bras I usually wear) and continues the lace decor from the cups as well as having a small rosebud in the middle. I find the shape on to be fairly minimising actually, and quite uplifting for me, although I’ve heard it doesn’t give much uplift for full on bottom shapes. It isn’t hugely rounding, but neither is it a very natural shape – it’s somewhere in the middle.
The Panache Porcelain Viva briefs are a similar (but not the exact) shade to the bra and I felt like the little lace detailing on the side matched the lace on the cups fairly well. They’re very soft material with a nice amount of stretch, with vertical lining in the fabric.
Sizing, Fit & Comfort
So, while this bra might actually look quite nice and fit fairly (note the fairly, will touch on this in a minute) well in my shape and size, the comfort is another factor altogether…
In my last post, I talked about how I’d up until recently identified as a 28G, and it was immediately apparent when trying that size on at Panache that I was mostly certainly no longer a 28G in their sizing. This bra is a 28H, two cup sizes up from my “usual” size, and 3 sizes up from the bras I used to wear from their Cleo line. And actually, it fits pretty well. The band is spot on for a 28 – I can fasten it on the loosest hooks (3 rows of 3 hooks, yay!) comfortably. The cups fit pretty well with no gaping or digging at the top, although I do have 2 issues with them:
1. The obvious – wires are too wide. As I mentioned before, H+ wires on smaller bands are frequently known as being too wide. I usually need medium/regular wires, and 28G ones were usually perfect for me, but the 28H territory has thrown a few wider wires into the mix.
2. On my smaller side (left), there is a small amount of wrinkling at the bottom of the cup (apparent in the middle photo above). This isn’t a huge issue though as I don’t experience any gaping or lack of support due to this, and it’s always recommended to fit to your larger side – the right cup of this fits bang on perfectly, so I’m not complaining.
The big issue that I do have with this bra is impossible to get across via photos though. The gore – the dreaded gore of doom. When we were at Panache, we were obviously only trying bras on for a matter of minutes each, to see whether they fit or not, not to see how comfortable they were. I was pleased with the fit and appearance of this, so added it to my to-buy pile. It wasn’t until a few days later when I wore the bra to work that I noticed an issue. After around an hour, I could “feel” the gore constantly – usually with my well fitting bras, I don’t notice that I’m wearing them, but this one was definitely noticeable. Within a couple more hours, it was starting to become sore at the top of the gore. By the end of the day, it was really painful – I kept having to pull the gore away from my body for a second of relief, and by the time I got in the car to go home, I’d had to unfasten the hooks. I’ve never been one of those people who has to immediately take off her bra as soon as I enter the house, but this one was off my body in seconds, and it became apparent that I wasn’t just being fussy – the gore had indeed left a huge mark in between my cleavage, and had actually drawn blood at one point! It left a pretty noticeable bruise for 2 weeks on my sternum, and I still have marks on my chest now, nearly 2 months after the incident! I couldn’t wear a bra that went anywhere near the marks for a couple of weeks either since it was still painful. I’ve since worn this bra again, only for a short period of time, and it wasn’t as bad, but was still digging. I’ve heard of people bending wires away from the body to stop this happening, but haven’t yet tried it, do any of you have any experience in that? Even if it can be “sorted” by doing that, it seems strange that it’s angled in at such an extreme to hurt me that much! I do suffer from painful ribs and costochondritis, so I don’t generally wear higher gores anyway, but this was more than the normal soreness from a high gore. So a word of warning – make sure to try this bra for at least a few minutes before deciding whether the gore is your friend or not!
And a quick note on the briefs – they’re a size 10 and fit my approximately 35/36″ hips very well. Not much more I can say on them to be honest!
The Panache Melody is available to buy at Figleaves in beige in balconette (28-40 D-K) and full cup (only a few sizes left) for £25 and £19.60 respectively. The same size range is also available at Amazon in white, beige and black from £12.99 to £19.99 (depending on size and colour).
The Panache Porcelain Viva briefs are available at Figleaves in limited sizes and at Amazon in varying colours and sizes.
EDIT 13/01/15: I spoke to u/t_maia on r/ABraThatFits (can’t recommend that community enough if you have any bra related questions or queries!) who helped me out with a few shape issues I seem to be having with this bra. She suggested that the bra might be a cup size too large for me based on the apex of the cup – while I feel that it fits in the cup as well as it can do, she explained that it has a shallow and short shape to the cup, which clashes with my more projected and tall rooted breast shape. It also has a closed cup on the top, while I tend to act more full on top, so that’s why I’m getting a mismatch with it – in reality, I’m probably still more of a 28GG, but had to move up to a 28H in this bra so that I didn’t get quadboobing. According to u/t_maia, the shape of the Melody is more like this: > whereas the Harmony (which this bra is an “update” of) is shaped like this: ) It seems I might get a better fit in the Melody – that’s something to bear in mind!