Panache, and more specifically Cleo by Panache, is a brand that we’re always returning to at BCLC. Panache in general are a pretty awesome fuller busted company in my eyes – they cater for a range of shapes and sizes, with a good selection of styles too – Panache is their more “generic” line, Cleo is the younger and more fun sister, Panache Black (which replaced Masquerade, an old favourite of mine) is more sultry and sophisticated, and Sculptresse is the plus size specific line. Personally I like the fact that they not only have a good range of basics, they also follow seasonal trends too and try to come up with new ideas every so often so that’s there’s usually some new eye candy every season.
Of the mainstream brands, it was Panache that caught our attention when we went to Moda, and it was Panache’s styles that I was waiting for the launch of throughout AW16. I’ve already shown off my gorgeous Piper lace longline, but I also made another purchase at the same time from Large Cup Lingerie: the Mimi bra. I actually put in the order for the Cleo Mimi bra and briefs in rose print on grey, but I was actually accidentally sent last season’s Mimi in animal print! I spoke to the lovely Cha at LCL and she replied quickly that she was really sorry about the mix up and had already got my original order in the post for me as we spoke, telling me to keep the animal print as an apology – wow!
I’ve never really been an animal print fan – I think I’ve only ever owned a pair of cheetah print leggings when I was a teenager and a leopard print faux fur coat – but I tried on the animal print Mimi to check on sizing and actually immediately fell in love with the print, oops!
Since I now own both Mimis, it seemed a shame to only show off one on the blog. The shape and fit of both is exactly the same, nothing at all has changed between seasons aside from the print, so the only comparison here is how they look on the outside, but I thought it would be worth including both in the post anyway, so here we go!
Shape & Appearance
In general, I prefer to wear bras with some form of lining or foam padding – it’s just a personal preference – so the Mimi caught my eye immediately for this reason. I chose not to purchase earlier due to the animal print that I previously didn’t particularly like, and it was the soft grey and romantic rose print that drew me in. The print on both bras continues onto the bridge of the bra and the front of the straps, but the band is made from powernet in a complimentary shade on both.
Under the binding around the top edge of the cup is a light lime coloured scallop thread design (in the rose print, orange in the animal print) which is echoed along the bottom edge of the band of the bra too – this is a really pretty feature that adds to the fun and unique design of the bra. I also love the fact that the hooks & eyes as well as the rings & sliders on the straps all match the coral (in the rose, orange in the black) bow on the gore of the bra. Again, small details that Cleo excels at.
The cup is split into 3 parts with 2 vertical seams, which we don’t see a lot of in British brands but is, nevertheless, a popular shape, especially in Polish brands. The shape it gives is pretty rounded because of this, with quite a pushed up effect, even in a cup size that is a little larger than my usual.
The straps are half way adjustable and the band fastens with 3 sets of 2 hooks & eyes.
Size, fit & comfort
My “usual” size is a 28GG, but the nearest one to this at the time of purchase was a 28FF or 28H. When in doubt, especially in Panache, I size up, so I went for the 28H. To be honest, the cup is a little on the big side, especially around the top edge which is a surprise to me, as Nadia at My Fashion Insider mentioned that she gets a little bit of spillage at the top of the cup, so I expected with my more full on top shape, I might too – different bras just work differently for different people, I guess! I’ve ended up tightening the straps a little more than I normally would to compensate for this to pull the cups slightly closer to my body at the top, which as a result occasionally pulls the band up a little in the back.
Speaking of which, I find that the band has quite a bit of stretch to it, especially for a Cleo/Panache as I sometimes find these a bit on the tighter side, and I often wear these two on the tighter hooks.
The cups are a nice width actually, fairly narrow compared to many British brands and not as shallow as I expected them to be. There is enough projection for me and I tend to need bras with an average to high amount of projection.
Overall, I find these two bras really comfortable. You might notice in some pictures that the front of the band is actually flipping up a little which is odd – I can’t quite figure out why aside from my flared ribcage, but it doesn’t actually seem to affect the fit and comfort at all.
In fact, I’ve noticed something very interesting in these two bras: I have a pretty permanent mark where the centre of bra bridges lie against my chest at the bottom – it’s sometimes visible in my photos, but isn’t a result of too tight bras. I’ve figured out over time that it’s a mixture of my easily markable skin (I try to remove/undo my clothes a long time before taking photos for the blog as otherwise I’m covered in marks from jeans, creases on my tops etc.) and pressure from the bottom of my bras where the weight of my chest simply pushes where the fabric is pulled tighter between my breasts. BUT, these bras aren’t leaving me with a mark there at all. I noticed this one time while wearing it so embarked on a bit of an experiment to see what would happen if I exclusively wore these bras for a while, so I’ve been alternating the two with no others and discovered that the near-permanent mark is slowly but surely fading! So not only are they comfortable, but they’ve eased the pressure that other bras put on a certain part of my chest, which is really interesting.
And basically, these two bras have become my staples right now. The shape they give under clothes makes them perfect for everyday wear, they’re comfortable and they’re pretty – that’s ticks all round in my book!
And the briefs for the rose print I bought in my usual size 10 – not a lot else to say except that they’re comfortable, fit well, are a nice shape and match the bra perfectly.
I bought the bras and briefs from Large Cup Lingerie (and was provided with one free of charge for the mix up!) – they’re £29 for the rose print, £17.40 for the animal print, and £14 for the briefs.
You can also buy the animal print Mimi at Brastop, the rose print at Figleaves (for only £21.75 right now!) & the rose print briefs at Figleaves (for only £10.60 right now!).
The sizing available for both bras is as below:
You can also buy the bras from the following retailers – not all will have the same sizes available, so check around to find yours if you’re looking!