Earlier this year Panache offered to send me Masquerade’s brand-new “Serenity” bridal range for review and for inclusion in the bridal boudoir editorial published last week on Burnett’s Boards. Masquerade always creates incredibly special bridal collections; past season styles like Tiffany, Hestia, and Deity offered the D+ bride luxurious lingerie in a variety of shapes and styles that were every bit as supportive as they were beautiful. I was especially pleased to see that the Serenity range includes two strapless styles, a basque and a strapless bra, that are both available up to an H-cup, as there aren’t very many strapless options past a G or GG-cup. Panache generously sent me the strapless bra, convertible basque, brief, and suspender belt for review. While I received these items free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Serenity collection is, quite simply, stunning. In cool, bright ivory satin with large white-on-white floral embroidery and silver-toned charm accents at the center front and waist, this is a classic bridal collection that looks and feels like an heirloom.
As part of Panache’s more luxurious Masquerade line, the price points for these pieces are higher than Panache or Cleo prices, but I have to say the price is justified, just on looks alone. With fine materials and rich, elegant embroidery, this collection goes above and beyond aesthetically. Check out the beautiful lace on the removable straps—I felt like a princess when I was wearing them. Just to be a total cliché.
Both the strapless bra and basque use the same cup structure: a padded three-piece cup with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup and one horizontal seam across the center, with an embroidered upper cup. The bra closes with three columns of three rows of hooks and eyes, and the basque closes with three columns of thirteen rows of hooks and eyes. The basque features four flexible bones in the front and two in the back (one on each side), more embroidery along the sheer mesh hip panels, and four detachable suspenders.
The brief features a smooth satin waistband, embroidered hip panels, a double-layer mesh rear and a center backseam. The suspender belt closes in the back with two rows of three columns of hooks and eyes, and it features all-over embroidery and a sheer center panel, with four suspenders. Each piece includes a small blue bow on the garment tags, just in case you still need a “something blue” for your bridal ensemble.
Oh Masquerade, you adorable bunny rabbit, your sizing is all over the place. I often have to try multiple sizes to get the right fit with this brand, and Serenity is, in my (larger) end of the size range, no exception. I usually find Masquerade basques quite tight, as I have a thicker waist, and I sometimes have fit issues with padded bras, so I asked for one band size larger, keeping the same cup letter, which gives me a size that is technically one band AND one cup size larger than I normally wear. This was a good call, y’all. I found both band and cup on the smaller side, in both the bra and the basque, so I’d recommend experimenting with sizing up, especially if you wear a larger size like I do. I found it more comfortable to wear an extender on the strapless bra during the photo shoot, even though the band was a size larger than I normally wear, so that sucker is firm. The briefs and the suspender, on the other hand, ran quite large on me. I should have asked for my “Freya” size, which is one size down from what I normally wear in other brands. I was able to exchange the suspender for a smaller size so that it would sit on my waist instead of sliding down towards my hips, and I should have done the same with the brief. By the end of the photo shoot the briefs had stretched a bit and didn’t fit as smoothly and firmly as I’d have liked.
So, my take: consider sizing up in the band (and cups, if your breasts are fuller) and sizing down in the briefs and suspender, especially if your hips and rear aren’t as full.
When worn with the straps, both the bra and basque give romantic, rounded lift and cleavage. The straps are placed quite wide, which helps to pull the breast tissue forward and center, as well as helping the center gore to tack. The cups are not especially deep (as I find is typical with padded bras), another reason to experiment with a few different sizes to find the one you like the best.
Now, full disclosure: I get the best shape in a strapless bra from molded cups, even though I prefer non-molded for my regular bras. They seem to hold their shape more aggressively, and I feel more confident wearing them under looser, more flowing strapless garments.
With seamed strapless bras, like Serenity, I personally feel like there’s not as much help from the bra when it comes to defying gravity. Although the padding helps provide structure and support, when I take the straps off the Serenity strapless bra, the band stays put (again, mine was super small and firm), but my breast tissue wants to spread out to the sides, a common occurrence in strapless bras for full-bust sizes. The basque definitely felt more secure and supportive, because there’s more structure holding the breasts in place from below. I’d probably recommend the strapless bra under a gown that’s already got some form and structure to it, rather than under a flowing, bias-cut silk or chiffon, for example.
Look, let’s not kid ourselves: I’ve never met someone whose favorite, most comfortable bra ever was their strapless bra. That being said, this collection is really, really special. The materials are soft and feel good against the skin, the extra row of hooks in the strapless bra (Masquerade normally only uses two rows, but I prefer the three rows they use here) helps distribute the weight of the breasts more smoothly and comfortably, and the bones in the basque are firm enough that they don’t bend or buckle, yet flexible enough to allow for movement.
The suspender belt is not the sturdiest around, I will say. The suspenders themselves are quite thin, and the materials of the belt have some stretch to them. I strongly recommend sizing down if you can: you want a suspender belt to fit firmly around your waist, so that it doesn’t have room to slide down your hips. The last thing you want to be worrying about during a special occasion is hiking your bra up or adjusting your stockings.
The full-bust market has grown astronomically over the last decade, and brands like All Undone, Harlow & Fox, and Mimi Holliday have created some incredibly beautiful, luxurious lingerie for full busts and smaller back sizes in particular. Even in an increasingly vibrant market, the Serenity collection is a standout. I think Masquerade were smart to offer a basque instead of a bodysuit like Deity’s (even though it was so very pretty), as they can be a much trickier fit. The shapes they chose feel smart, and I can see them appealing to lots of different brides for wearing under a range of dress or gown styles. With each piece available in back sizes from 28 to 38, the collection covers one of the widest size ranges out there in the full-bust bridal market.
Photography: Kate Ignatowski (originally published on Burnett’s Boards)
Flowers: Mimosa Floral Design Studio
Lingerie: Panache Lingerie (c/o). Available in sizes 28-38 D-H (UK cup sizes) and XS-XXL.
Robes: Harlow & Fox “Eleanor” Robe and “Sophia” Kimono (borrowed)
Stockings: Dollhouse Bettie “Juliet” Silk Flapper Stockings (c/o); Charnos
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Anny Chow