Even though it took me a while to try Panache’s “Jasmine” style, when I fell for it I fell hard. That single bra converted me back to being a Panache customer after some of their other long-standing shapes just didn’t seem to suit my boobs, and its generous size range, great rounded shape, low-profile seams, and flexible stretch lace seem like natural fits for a new core/basic style. I confess that even though I found the past two season’s colorways for Jasmine more flattering than I expected, they’re both still a bit “off” from what I think of as my true lingerie aesthetic, so to have the same fantastic shape and fit in classic black and beige gives me much more opportunities to mix and match the bra with some of my other lingerie pieces.
I LOVE that Panache chose a houndstooth pattern instead of all-over lace, mesh, or embroidery. Not that there’s anything wrong with lace and embroidery, but it’s SO nice to have a more unusual option in a full bust basic bra. The floral stretch lace on the top of the cup and adorning the cradle keeps the pattern from taking over, and overall the set looks sleek, sophisticated, and elegant without being fussy. The bra features the same four-part cup found on Jasmine (two panels in the bottom section, a stretch lace top panel, and a shaping side panel connected directly to the fully-adjustable straps, for forward projection). The bra closes with three rows of three columns of hooks-and-eyes.
The shaping brief features a powerful shaping mesh tummy panel lining the houndstooth, while the side panels are unlined houndstooth (and therefore stretchier and more forgiving). The waistband is lined with a strip of silicon, to keep it from flipping over and rolling down. The rear of the briefs is unlined black powermesh with a ruched backseam for a close fit.
Right off the bat I noticed a new quality: silkiness. Panache has taken some heat in the past for a slightly scratchy, stiff feel to their new mesh bras. It usually goes away with wash and wear, but for some women with very sensitive skin it can be a dealbreaker. Envy, by contrast, feels wonderful: the fabric feels softer and smoother, with a slight sheen that makes it look and feel luxurious. I love that instead of just cranking out “Jasmine” in solid colors, Panache has taken some feedback on board to offer improvements on an already-loved style.
I ordered what seems to be my “standard” size right now, meaning the size that’s been suiting me well in Panache, the Eveden brands (Freya, Fantasie, Elomi), and most Bravissimo bras. I very rarely have to size up or down across different brands, for whatever reason, so take my advice with a grain of salt. In terms of band length, cup volume, etc., the fit is spot on compared to Jasmine. I again wish there were an inch or two more length in the straps (which feel softer than Jasmine’s, but no less supportive), but as I’ve said before, that’s a Tall Girl Quibble and I can let it go.
Now, I have to confess that I feel like my shape has been fluctuating a bit over the last few weeks. I had to take a break from pole dancing for a bit (and yes it’s been UNFUN), and I’ve been extra-focused on eating lots of veggies and heart-healthy foods (heart disease runs in my family, and now that I’m looking at 30 heading my way I’m trying to adopt some health-positive choices), and I have noticed that my boobs feel a bit less full than normal. It was therefore not totally surprising to notice that Envy does feel a bit different compared to my completely broken-in and well-loved Jasmines. The wires feel a touch wider, the gore a touch wider, and the bottom of the cups ever so slightly shallower. I’m not really filling the bottom of the cups the way I hoped to, although it’s a pretty common fit issue for me, as I’m pretty full all over. I also was surprised to notice that the gore doesn’t tack quite as securely as Jasmine’s, which I attribute to its being wider.
I hoped a bit that the shaping brief would be super high-waisted on me, like the Deco Shape was, but instead it’s a much more modest height. The waistband sits comfortably around my natural waist, about 2-3 inches above my navel.
Bless this stretch lace, for lo, it is magical. Part of what makes this bra style so user-friendly is the fact that there’s no stiff upper cup to dig into fuller breasts or gape on shallower breasts (after all, women who wear the same bra size may come in different shapes). It flexes to fit the wearer’s body, without sacrificing shape or support. That being said, I do notice the slightly wider wires: I feel like I have to readjust my bra periodically throughout the day, something that never happened with a new Jasmine. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means: the fact that there is a basic bra out in the world that offers this fantastic rounded shape and great support while looking great is a cause for my personal rejoicing. It feels a bit churlish to say “I wish the wires and gore were a hair narrower,” but in the interest of full disclosure, there you have it.
The shaping brief is quite comfy, as shapewear goes! I wore it to work under my pencil skirt, which, as I discovered with the Dirty Dolls Pin-Up Panty, is my new personal shapewear litmus test. I’ve got a squishy midsection, but the waistband stayed put: it lay perfectly flat without curling over on itself or flipping down, and the silicon grippy strip meant I never once had to pull the brief back up over my stomach. I will note that the brief features a traditional, not seamless, legline, and the waistband is firm, so it does dig a bit. If you’re looking for a smoother, completely seam-free look, this may not be the set for you. I was very pleased with the effect, however, and even though I can’t really go for longer than 10 hours or so in shapewear, I rate this piece very highly.
Overall, Envy is a very, very welcome addition to the world of full-bust basic bras. Stylish, unusual, and comfortable, offering a lovely round shape in D-K cups, this is a bra I’d love to see catch on as a fit bra in lingerie boutiques. In particular, I’d love to see it replace Tango as a boutique’s full-bust basic, since Tango is not as near-universally fit-friendly. I have a few requests for Panache: please offer a fuller coverage brief that isn’t as intense as shapewear, please expand the band sizes to cover your full customer range of 28-40, and please offer a similar bra for your Sculptresse customer. Some of the most underserved sizes in the lingerie market right now are the 40+ bands and G+ cups, and I’d love to see a bra like this available for as many women as possible.
For another review, check out Bras I Hate & Love.