Well, this is a treat – you get a review of the same bra in different sizes from both of us, woop! We were both provided with the beautiful Panache Sport Underwired sports bras by the ever lovely Large Cup Lingerie, Charley in a 30D and Sian in a 28G. We thought doing a joint review would be a great way to demonstrate how well the bra works at two places on the scale – obviously we can’t tell you about larger band sizes, but we can tell you about how well it works for the small band, small cup range and small band, large cup. The sizes it is available in run from 28DD-H, 30D-H, 32C-J, 34B-J, 36B-H, 38B-H and 40D-GG.
You can buy this bra in a number of places, including Amazon, Bravissimo, Brastop and Figleaves. It’s available in various colour options including plain white and black and more jazzy bright blue and pink, and prices range from around £14.99 at the lower end of the scale (usually in the less popular colour options) and up to around £40, so make sure you search around to find a good value option for you.
My wonderful 30D sports bra has had quite the road testing over the past year. At the time of ordering, I was still on the unsure side of my band size; 28 or 30. Luckily I opted for the 30 band, and that was definitely the right decision in this case. The band fits pretty snugly, and even with the HUGE amount of use it had had over the subsequent months, it hasn’t stretched out much at all! It still fits comfortably on the loosest hook, and sits at a comfortable place on my ribcage—slightly lower than an ordinary bra, but certainly not a longline. The fit on the cups is also pretty perfect for me; keeps everything under control when running. I also really like the ability to turn this into a racerback. Although I don’t particularly care overly much about bra straps showing when I’m exercising, it’s nice to have the option, and I actually think the overall effect is quite pretty! It’s a nice look, but I don’t often use that function as it can get a little uncomfortable. It does feel like the straps are straining across the back, and can result in some rubbing. I have tried running a 5k like this, and it did give me quite a sore back.
That leads me onto what I would describe as the main downside of this sports bra; for me, it’s the straps. They have their strength and their weaknesses. On the plus side, they’re thick and padded; sitting comfortably on the shoulders with no digging in. But for me, they’re slightly too thick lower down, at the point at which they connect to the bra itself. This may just be my body shape, or it may be the fact that I swing my arms when running, but I do find that after a while the straps begin to rub on my armpits—after a long sesh, can get a bit painful! For me, it could also do with being a little lower on the top—the opposite to Sian’s ‘full on top’ problem, but the same desires! With the fullness of the enclosure, it can get a little gapey for me after muchos jiggling around.
But the colour and style of this has full marks for me. I love the blue/grey combo, and I think it offers enough coverage to be reasonable to strip down to in public (depending on how brave you’re feeing. Or hot.)
I’d recommend this sports bra mainly for running; in that respect, its been an absolute winner (even if I haven’t.) Same goes for cycling and general cardio work in the gym. I prefer to something a little less bulky for weight-lifting, Pilates and yoga; as I mentioned with regards to the straps, exercises with repetitive motions mean that the straps start to rub near my armpits. But this really has become an old reliable for me. And I shouldn’t forget to mention—the matching pants! They’re as great as their partner-in-crime, and you should definitely invest in a good pair of sports knickers if you’re going to get the bra. As a lady who is slightly bottom heavy, I’m a *firm* believer that the bottoms are as important as the top.
I received the Panache Sports bra in a 28G this time. I was very uncertain about sizing in this one as my Shock Absorber fits pretty snugly in the band in a 30F and my Freya Soft Cup Sports bra in a 28FF (how unflattering is that picture!!) is definitely more on the tight side than comfortable (although nowadays it’s more likely because the cup is a good couple of sizes too small too!). So you can imagine I was hesitant to go for the 28 band as when you’re exercising, ideally it needs to be comfortable.
But of course, I turned to the trusty Cha at Large Cup Lingerie for advice and she was awesome – fortunately, we’re pretty similar in bust size, so she’s able to give me good recommendations based on what fit both me and her! So between us, we made the decision to go for a 28G for me in this style. So how does that do fit-wise?
I have to admit that we’ve been sitting on these reviews for a little while, so the fit has changed slightly for me – oops! We had grand ideas of doing this outdoor shoot with the beautiful view in the background, and while it was a bit chilly and Charley’s family wondered about what we were doing, it did pay off to wait until summer to get it done! So when the bra first arrived, it was a pretty much perfect fit, maybe even had a tiny bit of extra room in the apex of the cup. Nowadays, it’s definitely a more snug fit and I’d say I’d be better at this stage sizing up to a 28GG. Nevertheless, it still functions absolutely perfectly in this size for me, I just have the occasional bit of spillage (shall we say cleavage?! Nah, it’s gym wear…just spillage it is) over the top, possibly because the top of the bra is slightly more enclosed than my full on top shape would like though.
And the band I had such worries over? It’s perfect! It’s got just the right amount of tightness to hold everything in place when exercising without being in any way uncomfortable. I currently still fasten it on the loosest hooks, and you have the option of fastening the straps together racerback style with the J hook (although I’m hesitant to use these as they make my shoulders ache).
There are two main styles of sports bra: compression and encapsulation. The Panache Underwired Sports bra is the latter, using encased underwire to keep your boobage in place while moving around. It does perform very well for me, although controversially I’d say not quite as well as my old Shock Absorber (I know, everyone disagrees with me!). I do prefer to wear this one though, mostly because the size is better, but also because of a couple of other reasons: 1. It’s prettier (I love anything grey at the moment…except 50 shades, boom!) 2. It’s slightly more comfortable due to the padded straps and soft material.
So in my books, the Panache Underwired Sports bra in a 28G is a winner for me, but ideally I’d like (one day!) to size up to 28GG and see if that fares slightly better for me now.