[Disclosure: Panache generously provided this set for review. I was not compensated for this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I’ve been on the hunt for a new plunge bra for a while now. I really liked wearing my Comexim Arizona plunge bra, but it’s not the best fit for me at the moment, and sometimes I want a plunge bra with a little less cleavage and projection, particularly for work outfits where I don’t want my bra on show, but nor do I want a lot of oomph or va-va-voom. I’ve had good luck with the Panache Tango plunge bra in the past, so when Panache introduced this year’s new Fontaine style, I mentally wishlisted it. I’m delighted to have had an opportunity to try out the new Fall “Rose” colorway!
Fontaine is a three-part non-padded plunge bra with a vertical seam in the bottom of the cup and a horizontal seam that cuts diagonally across the cup. Both cups and band have an outer layer of sheer stretch tulle embroidered with a modern geometric print, and the cups are lined with a layer of non-embroidered sheer stretch tulle, while the band is lined with stretch mesh. Fontaine debuted for Spring/Summer 2015 in a cheerful coral color, and it returns for Fall/Winter 2015 in a Rose color that’s a deep, vibrant pink. The band closes with three columns and two rows of hooks and eyes, and the straps are fully adjustable. In my size (and I suspect GG and H cups only) there’s a layer of fuzzy, very lightly padded lining under the straps for comfort. There’s a nice flat tuxedo bow at the center gore of the bra and at the waistband of the briefs, and the top of the cups and front of the brief are trimmed with simple, streamlined stretch lace ribbon. The bikini-style briefs are fully sheer with a ruched backseam and elasticated waistband and legline for a close fit. I really appreciate how sleek this set is: no overblown floral laces, no rosettes or ribbons or froof– this is exactly what I was looking for to fill a gap in my bra wardrobe!
I requested my current most-commonly-worn sizes, 32GG and 14/L. The band fits quite firmly on the loosest hooks, almost a little tight, but it loosened to a comfortable point after a single day’s wear (I find bands with two rows of hooks do tend to stretch a little faster than bras with three rows of hooks). As with some other Panache bras, I have to wear the straps loosened as far as they’ll go, so if you’re more petite than I am (I’m 5’10”) I shouldn’t think you’d have to worry about too-long straps! The cup volume feels spot on compared to my other UK bras, but unfortunately the shape is not the best one for me.
I’m realizing that there’s a particular shape from Panache that is a challenge for me, and it’s one where the strap connects only to the top section of the cup, rather than to the bottom section of the cup. In other words, I need a cup shape and seam pattern that really help to draw breast tissue in from the sides of the body and forward, like the three-part cup on Panache’s Olivia style or Freya’s Minx style. Fontaine pulls my breast tissue out to the sides of my body, and the bottom of the cups comes up shallow on me– I get a lot of extra space where I can’t fully settle into the cups, and as the day goes on the top of the cup can cut in a little bit.
As far as the knickers go, Panache has been introducing new patterns for their briefs lately, and I think they’re a BIG step up, both in terms of fit and in terms of comfort. Some of the meshes they used in past seasons were a little stiff and rough, and a lot of them featured a folded-edge legline, which meant the briefs slid around on my body throughout the day– not super great. I love an elasticated legline and a ruched backseam for that very reason: they help the knickers stay put! I found this brief true to size compared to other Panache knickers. It’s a true bikini-style cut: the rise is pretty low, which is a shape I would have found pretty uncomfortable last year, so depending on your personal shape and comfort preference, your mileage may vary.
Because this cup shape is fighting my natural shape, I find I have to adjust the cups throughout the day, which is always a bit of a bummer. I should also note that when the band is fastened, and therefore fully stretched, there isn’t enough fabric at the end of the band to keep the hooks covered, so they rest directly against my skin– ouch! It isn’t a problem if I’m just wearing it for a work day or a short event, but for 12+ hour wear it definitely gets uncomfortable. I recently tried a bra that had a little extra length in the band past the hooks, and it was such a nice fit detail! I wish the cup shape and the hook issue weren’t there, though, because otherwise this would be such a workhorse set for me– it’s really light, minimalist (for a full-bust bra) and easy to wear.
While this bra isn’t the best shape for my body, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad bra! If you have a shallower or wider-set profile, Fontaine may be a great choice for you. I will probably still get a lot of wear out of it, because it’s so nice to have a non-padded plunge bra, particularly in a G+ size. Since Fontaine isn’t 100% perfect for me though, I will probably look into adding the Tango Plunge in black back into my bra wardrobe when my budget allows.
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Bra and Brief: Fontaine in Rose by Panache (c/o), 30-38 D-H and 8-20/XS-XXXL. Fontaine is available for purchase at Figleaves and Bare Necessities. Panache is a UK brand, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H.
Photos: Lydia Hudgens