Also to be known as the bra that didn’t fit, then did.
Back in the dark winter days of 2014 (this sounds like a poem or fairytale!), when lingerie bloggers were publishing their posts all about the upcoming collections for SS15, I spotted the Panache Rhapsody in mint. It was probably the first time I’d really paid attention to upcoming collections in anything, let alone lingerie. I made a list in my Google Drive of all the pieces I loved and wanted to try for myself that season including the Fortnight Mira (in mint…as were many things on the list), the Panache Envy bodysuit, and the Freya Eden chemise. In fact, of the whole list of 11 pieces, I only managed to try two – the Cleo Minnie, which I adored and reviewed, and the Panache Rhapsody, both of which I bought on the same order from Figleaves in June (a little late for Spring, I have to admit!).
That Figleaves order was generally a success and yielded a couple more excellently fitting and beautiful bras and bikinis. However, the Panache Rhapsody was the black sheep of the bunch. It wasn’t as pretty as I had imagined nor did it fit. I housed the others into their respective lingerie drawers and put the Rhapsody back in the box to be returned, then promptly forgot about it.
Over the next couple of months, I would sporadically remember that I needed to return or sell it as I wouldn’t wear it – but these occasions would inevitably be as I was driving to work or in the middle of the night as I was falling asleep, and I would have forgotten again soon enough. Then I did remember about it, and it had disappeared.
It wasn’t until Ben and I were putting the Christmas decorations away that it was discovered – the box in which I had planned to send it back had been accidentally used for other storage and packed away in the attic, woops! (Mystery solved at least!). I pulled it out and set it aside to sell or otherwise get rid of. Then I decided I should maybe try it on, just in case, because it was actually quite pretty in a frosty mint with a swirled pattern, and to my surprise, it fit. And it fit really quite well. Yep, I’m baffled too. But nevertheless, it has now entered my basic bra rotation, hence why it is getting a review today.
Shape & Appearance
The Panache Rhapsody is described as a balconette bra, however I would describe it as anything but. To me, this is a full cup bra to its best definition – it almost completely covers and encapsulates all my breast tissue, shows up above low (and even medium!) cut tops and provides no cleavage whatsoever. There’s nothing wrong with this, but just be aware if you’re buying it that it may not provide the lower cut look that you tend to find in balcony and balconette bras. Apparently it’s based on Panache’s popular and bestelling Tango bra – I haven’t personally tried it, but it does look similar in style, shape and design.
This Rhapsody is a pale mint green, almost frosted and close to duck egg blue. It has a 3 part cup, one vertical seam separating the lower cup and a horizontal seam, with a laminated lining and sturdy overlay of swirling delicate floral embroidery. It provides plenty of support for larger cup sizes due to the fabric used and seaming. I would say the shape is a little more uplifted than natural and will likely give a different shape for different breast shapes – on me, it’s fairly rounded with a very slight point. The embroidery is fairly light so doesn’t tend to show up too badly underneath clothing, but I wouldn’t class this as a smooth T shirt bra.
As I said, I’d class this as a full cup bra meaning that the cups go up high on me as does the gore. In fact, this is probably one of the highest gores I own, and it’s definitely very apparent from looking at it!
The bra is decorated with a tiny ribbon bow at the centre of the gore and has picot elastic on the edges to give it a slightly frilled look.
In larger sizes, this fastens with 3 rows of 3 hooks, however it appears to be 3 rows of 2 hooks in smaller sizes. The straps are fully adjustable.
Size, fit & comfort
I chose the Panache Rhapsody in a 28GG which is currently my best fit in most UK brands. As I mentioned above, when I first bought it, it didn’t fit at all. The top edge felt far too closed and it was just too small in general. However, nearly a year later and it fits perfectly – why and how?! To be honest, I’m not entirely sure – I haven’t lost weight or had any notable changes. I’ve wondered a couple of times whether my breast size has got smaller recently, so I’m guessing this must be true! Whereas around a year ago, I was consistently wearing 28GGs that were just a teeny bit too small and moving up to 28H in a few styles and brands (such as this Panache Melody), it seems like 28Hs are now a little on the large side and I’m back to comfortably wearing 28GGs happily. I mean, it’s barely a noticeable difference to the eye (I can’t tell!), but the way that my bras are currently fitting seems to indicate this. I’ve also noticed a change in root width, but more on that another day.
So right now, the 28GG is a pretty good for me in the Panache Rhapsody. I find the band to be very comfortable, just the right size for me. And the cups are properly filled out everywhere with no wrinkling at the bottom or apex (as you can experience if you have a lot of immediate projection – I have a moderate amount) and minimal spillage at the top of the cup. Originally, the bra was unwearable as it created a bumpy look under clothing and was slightly uncomfortable due to the amount of digging in I was getting at the top of the cup, but now I only experience a small amount of this – look closely in the side view and you can see it, which I mostly put down to my shape being slightly more full on the top than this bra allows, as I think a larger cup size would be too big.
Generally, it’s a pretty comfortable bra aside from one thing – the gore is, as many Panache wires as, quite firm and very high. I don’t tend to notice that it’s uncomfortable when I’m wearing it, but I do notice the relief around the gore when I take it off. So not ideal, but it’s not too bad. The wires are slightly too wide, but most 28GG wearers experience this in a lot of their bras, and I don’t find this one to be uncomfortably so.