The lovely new Olivia collection from Panache made it onto my list of My 10 Favorite Bras, so let’s talk about why!
[I purchased this set from Bare Necessities under my real name with my own money. Neither Panache nor Bare Necessities is affiliated with this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Introduced for Spring/Summer 2015, Olivia is a classic three-part balconette bra (vertical seam in the bottom of the cup, diagonal seam running from the strap to the center gore) crafted from a lovely pale peach (“Apricot”) dot-patterned fabric topped with very fine, sheer floral embroidery. The band in my size fastens with three rows of three columns of hooks and eyes, and the straps are fully adjustable (in GG+ sizes, they also feature a fuzzy lining for additional comfort). The center gore is fairly tall, and the bridge curves up at the center to accommodate those of us with fuller tummies.
Instead of a traditional bikini brief, thong, or boyshort, Olivia features a coordinating high-waist brief with interconnected panels of the dot-pattern fabric, the floral embroidery, and sheer stretch mesh. The legline is flat for a smooth, no-show line under clothes.
I’m wearing what was, at the time these pictures were taken, my “usual” Panache sizes of 32H (UK) for the bra and 14/L for the brief, and I found the fit absolutely spot on, and comparable to other non-padded Panache bras like Jasmine or Envy.
This particular three-part cup shape reminds me a lot of the now-discontinued Colette style (which was unlike Tango, Idina, or Eclipse, all of which feature a horizontal seam that cuts straight across the cup from side to side, rather than a diagonal seam that runs all the way up to the strap). I found Colette a bit scratchy, with super-tall underwires that poked my underarm and a slightly loose band. Olivia is a vast improvement: rather than rigid mesh, the fabric is soft and the top of the cup offers stretch to accommodate different breast shapes and monthly fluctuations. The band feels comfortably firm on the loosest set of hooks, and while the underwires are taller than, say, my Comexim or Bravissimo bras, they don’t poke or dig, and they don’t leave red sore marks under my arms. The cups offer enough depth and projection for my shape, and the vertical seam in the bottom of the cup provides great lift.
The brief fits comfortably and feels true-to-size. For comparison, this is the same size I wear in the Eveden brands as well as the main Panache brand, but not Cleo by Panache: I find Cleo’s knickers to run quite small and usually size up there. The rise is great on me: the waistband hits right under my belly button and comfortably covers my lower belly without digging.
I usually think of my Panache bras as my workhorses: all about shape and lift and support, but not always about softness or delicacy. This set though?
This set gives me the shape and the centered profile I love while feeling AMAZING to wear. I can’t get over how much softer it is than some of the Panache bras I’ve worn in the past. I don’t have to fiddle or fuss with it at all during the day, and I find the band much more comfortable than Jasmine or Envy. I love those bras, but bottom elastic edge can dig in painfully over the course of the day.
I love the higher rise of the brief, which means the waistband never rolls down or digs into my lower belly. The seat can be a little “cheeky”; it’s not super full coverage and it doesn’t have an elasticized legline, and so it does occasionally ride up a bit in the back. So far it hasn’t been uncomfortable, but my preference is for briefs with a bit more rear coverage. That’s a tiny little nitpick though; in general I’m always delighted when this set is sitting clean at the top of my lingerie drawer.
I’m so, SO glad to learn that Olivia is coming back for Fall/Winter 2015 and by the looks of things for Spring/Summer 2016. I already feel like this is a set I’ll want to buy again and again. It fits well, feels great, and looks so pretty: this one’s a winner!
* * * * *
Bra and Brief: Olivia by Panache ($65, $30). 30-38 D-K, XS-XXL. Olivia is available at Breakout Bras, Nordstrom, Bare Necessities, SimplyBe, and HerRoom. Panache is a UK brand, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K. Olivia will be available in Teal for Fall/Winter 2015 and in Raspberry for Spring/Summer 2016.
Photos: Studio Rezin