(First things first, I apologise for the awful quality pictures – we’re working on some better indoor lighting now but these are pre-that so are super grainy, sorry!)
When Tights Please got in contact with me offering some tights, shapewear or underwear to review, I just couldn’t say no. Though the review was originally intended for my style blog, Rebel Angel, when I introduced them to this blog, they were really interested in us doing a review for them over here too – so you’ll be seeing tights in an outfit post over at Rebel Angel soon, but my review of the Panache Masquerade Hestia Basque* here now!
I’ve been a fan of Panache’s Cleo range for a while now – the Meg was one of the first well fitting bras I got (see my review here) – but I’ve recently started to shy away from its bright colours and fun patterns, despite probably being the exact demographic they’re trying to reach. Instead I’ve been more drawn towards Panache’s Masquerade line which have a more sultry and grown up feel about them. Strangely enough, I’m also being drawn to balconette styles at the moment even though plunges suit my shape much better as high gores tend to have problems with my ribcage. So I decided to go for something different than just a plain old plunge bra again and picked a balconette style basque! I’d been wanting to try the bra version for a while, but I just loved the basque version, even if it is super wedding-y – I just need to get married to have an opportunity to wear it now!
I’m wearing the Freya Deco Shape Shorts in ivory which I won as part of their Deco 365 competition last year (huuuge post to come on that!). I don’t own any matching briefs for the basque and these seemed to be the closest fit!
As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of balconettes in general due to the higher gores which play havoc with my ribcage, but the shape of this is exactly what drew me in to it. The cleavage I’ve always been able to (easily) obtain is with plunges, so a squashed together in the middle type one (is there a name for that?!), but I’ve never had the ‘cakes on a plate’ look before, aside from my Curvy Kate Tease Me, so I decided it was high time to get that sorted!
Thinking about the actual ‘bra’ part to start with – the cups are fairly deep. This is probably not a conventional way to describe them, but I feel like they have a ‘bucket’ type look (if that makes sense?! And that’s a good thing in my eyes too!). They have vertical seams which give a great uplift. The cups and straps also have a bit of frilly lace on them – it’s not enough to give it an over the top feel, but adds a bit of pretty to it as a whole.
The bodice part is boned and is the same shimmery satiny material all over – fortunately this doesn’t look or feel cheap like some can do. The back is so so pretty with a corset-style lacing, albeit in ribbon! There are rows of hooks to fasten underneath the ribbons. It also has suspender straps to hold up stockings – I only had black hold ups at the time of photo taking and we agreed it would look silly with those, so straps loose it was:
Sizing, fit and comfort
I ordered this in a 30FF – generally I wear around a 28FF/G but it only came in a 30 band on the site. After looking at a few reviews for the bra, I decided to go for my ‘bigger’ size in a 30 band as the cups can occasionally run a bit small. I’m glad I did as I find this only just contains everything properly, and could maybe be a tiny bit on the small side in the cup still! I still have not figured out my shape properly yet – whether I’m full on top, bottom or even – I seem to decide a different thing everyday, and it depends what I’m wearing (if anyone can help it would be much appreciated!), but I think this gives me a pretty full on top cleavage which is why I’m close to getting spillage over the top with it.
Bandwise, I could probably have done with a 28, but it’s no big issue. I’ve worn this a couple of times (only for a little while at a time though) – the first time Ben helped me into it and only did it up quickly on the loosest set of hooks, which felt fine. The second time, Charley strapped me in on the tightest hooks and that also felt fine! It was much more secure, and she also tightened the ribbons appropriately.
There is just one issue I have with this, and that’s that it takes foreverrr to fasten up! Ben made such a fuss about helping me into it the first time that I daren’t ask him again. And when Charley helped me, it took a good 10 minutes with lots of tugging and pulling – definitely not one that I’d be able to get myself into. As Charley put it, it’s kind of weird because when you think of situations you’d be wearing a basque, you don’t really want to have to ask the significant other to lace you in! As I said before, it really is the type of thing you’d wear for your wedding so you can be laced in and stay in!
All in all though, it’s very pretty, feels lovely to wear, fits me well and gives a great cleavage – maybe I’ll just wear it under my clothes for the fun of it.
The Hestia basque is available from TightsPlease in various different sizes in ivory and black, both for £32.99. It is not available in Panache Masquerade’s current season, but is still available at several websites in a range of sizes including Figleaves, Amazon and eBay (you need to search!). I believe the size range for it is 28-38 D-G, but I’m not certain!
If you’re unable to find your size, Masquerade also have a similar basque coming up in their current season, the Serenity, which is in sizes 28-38 D-H.