Before recently, I’d never bothered keeping up to date with the seasons in lingerie – I’d just buy the things I liked the look of when I saw them. Well, all that’s changed in the past year – I’m now constantly on the lookout for new brand releases as I so often scour the web for new favourites that I often feel like I’ve seen them all! So my plan nowadays is to check out all the major brands’ seasonal releases in advance, pick out the pieces I’d really like to try, then wait (pretty impatiently) for them to be released.
From Panache’s Cleo range for SS16, there were a few pieces that caught my eye including the Mimi, the Breeze (and I’m a big fan of Cleo’s longlines) and the Riley; oddly enough, the most popular pieces for this season including the Della and Skye weren’t the ones that immediately caught my attention, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t love to see and try them in person! Nevertheless, it was the Blake that really caught my eye – not one that had a lot of attention in the pre-collection shows, and still doesn’t seem to have that much now.
We’ve been talking to Lazeme a lot recently and when I mentioned I’d been looking everywhere for this bra, they told me they might be able to get hold of it for me to review, and I was super pleased that they managed to! The Blake bra is £29 and the briefs are £14. They also have an awesome offer of 20% off when you buy 3 bras, plus several at discounted rates too, so take a look!
Shape & Appearance
The Cleo Blake bra is described by Panache as based off the same great fit of their popular Marcie bra. I’ve only ever tried the Marcie babydoll that was several sizes off, but I’ve been told the shape of the Marcie would be an excellent fit for me with my more full on top shape and taller roots, so I thought the Blake would be fun to try as a new take on that. You can definitely see how the shape is similar to the Marcie, with a three part cup, the bottom parts acting as a sling that attaches to the strap, pulling tissue inwards and upwards. This creates a lovely rounded shape with an ever so slight peak at the apex.
When Charley saw this set, she immediately described it as a Bond Girl bra and I have to agree! We think it’s the geometric “speckled” fabric that gives this impression, though we can’t quite put our fingers on why – any ideas?!
The colour is a lovely cerise – slightly brighter than your average pink, but not so bright that it shows through clothing too much. It’s also decorated with a tiny leopard print bow on the gore and briefs which, surprisingly, not being a fan of animal print in general, I really like. The cups and briefs are also edged with a beige binding – I really like this contrast between cup and elastic.
It is a balconette bra, so has a slightly higher gore and cuts horizontally across the cups. It fastens with three sets of two hooks and eyes and has fully adjustable straps.
Size, fit & comfort
I took the Cleo Blake bra in a 28GG and the briefs in a size 10. With Cleo and Panache bras, I vary between 28GG, 28H, 30G and 30GG – confusing, I know! I decided to go for my more “true” size in this one as it’s supposed to be a good shape for me, and I think it’s probably the right size out of those for me to pick.
I find that the band on this runs a little big. Despite taking a 28 band (the smallest size), I immediately hooked it straight onto the tightest hooks. I don’t need to wear it on the tighter hooks, as you can see in the photos I’ve got it on the loosest ones, but I get the most support and comfort when they’re tighter. My underbust when relaxed is usually around 27.5″, so if you generally need a tighter 28 band, this may not be one for you. If you’re in between a 28 and a 30, I’d say to size down in this one.
The cups are adequately deep enough for me, which is nice to see. I do find that if I scoop and swoop a little too aggressively, the top edge of the cup can dig in just a little, but it settles back very quickly, so I’m going to say that with overscooping, if that’s a thing?! Generally my shape is between even and full on top, so shapes similar to mine will probably find this a good fit, although very full on top shapes may find the top edge digs for them as it has no stretch. I’m wondering if it might also work for full on bottom shapes too – would be interesting to know if anyone tries it.
The wires are a pretty good width for a UK brand – they’re not hugely wide and are only slightly off for me. About 6 months ago, they would have been spot on, but I’ve discovered I need narrower wires more recently.
I find this really comfortable to wear and it’s become a new regular in the bra drawer – I’ve had a few of these recently so some of my older “regulars” are getting pushed aside, sad! The only small issue I get with it is that the wires at the gore are a little firmer than some of my bras. It’s not noticeable while wear, but is one of those things where you realise when you take it off that they’ve been sitting a little more firmly against your breastbone.
The briefs are a lovely match to this bra and it’s one set that I really love wearing as the full thing – definitely gives that Bond Girl vibe as the full thing, and they’re really comfortable and a good fit in a size 10 for me.