Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Nicolette Mason at a Bras + Blowouts event, co-hosted by Panache Lingerie at DreamDry, a glamorous hair salon in Columbus Circle. I arrived with Caro and Miss Underpinnings to find a collection of stunning fashion bloggers in amazing outfits getting incredible hairdos and wrapping up the evening with bra fittings! So it was pretty much all things I like in one place. We helped ourselves to bubbly and macarons and browsed racks stuffed full of Fall/Winter 2013 styles from Panache and Sculptresse. I then got a fabulous, Veronica Lake-inspired blowout and curl, and it made my hair so SHINY and AWESOME and all of a sudden I realized “Oh, blowouts. I get it now.”
When I first saw Panache’s collection back in February at Curve, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Jewel tones are usually the first to catch my eye, and I tend to expect dark and dramatic colors for Fall and Winter, so I was surprised to see such a soft, luminous collection. I remember feeling kind of put out that there were so many pastels, but now that Fall is actually here and I’ve seen the collection in person, I’ve done a complete about-face.
I notice more richness and depth in the collection: the shimmering satin of Sienna and Clara, the warmth of Andorra, the dark, vibrant floral print of Fern, and the subtle, grown-up elegance of Envy and Dahlia. There are several sub-groups within the collection, arranged according to color or shape (and roughly from left to right in the image above): Scarlet (Andorra, Floris, Sienna), Tango (in White, Tea Rose, Accenti, and Black), Ornate (Fern and Clara), Porcelain (Idina, Viva, and Marni), Core (Envy and Dahlia), and Sorbet (Jasmine, Ariza, Elsa). The Sorbet group, with Ariza in Mint, Jasmine in Champagne, and Elsa in Soft Damson, happened to go particularly well with the trays of macaros at Bras + Blowouts. Very smart move, Panache people.
As a super-duper-incredibly pale person with very, very dark hair and eyes, pastels are not my friends, but every single bra I’ve tried from this collection has felt beautiful and flattering once I actually try it on. I recently used a birthday voucher to try out Clara, and while the bra didn’t work for me personally, I SO WANTED IT TO. It’s unbelievably beautiful:
even more so in person than in photos. The blue underlayer has a luxurious shine to it, tempered by the soft, dusky gray lace overlayer. The neckline is incredibly flattering, since the lace details continue quite a ways up the straps, and the color was absolutely gorgeous. I want to wear it all the time. Scratch that, I want to be an Edwardian lady at a ball in the manner of the picture below, wearing a gown made out of these fabrics.
It’s lush, is what I’m saying. I was so sad to return it, but we just didn’t get along. It’s very, very similar to Andorra, so if you’re an Andorra fan, I envy you. The cup is very rigid, though there’s stretch lace along the neckline for a good fit with no digging, and there’s an interior side sling that is VERY bossy. I think there were three issues going on: for one thing, my boobs are really full and pretty firm, and I think my shape and the super strong cups of the bra were fighting each other a bit. Secondly, I find the center gore on both Andorra and Clara to be a bit tall, and neither bra tacks very well on me. Finally, I don’t seem to do well with a particular Panache shape, like Tango, Elsa, or Ariza, where the bottom of the cup doesn’t connect directly to the strap. Each of these bras features a horizontal seam across the full width of the cups, and only the top section of the cup connects to the strap. In bras like Jasmine or Bravissimo’s Cherry Fling, there’s a side panel that covers the full height of the cup from the underwire to beginning of the strap, and that particular style seems to shape and lift my particular boobs so much better. So adieu, beautiful blue bra, and I hope you find a happy home.
Fortunately, I got to try on the new colorway for one of my absolute favorite bras at the Bras + Blowouts Event, and I liked it so much it came home with me! [Note: Panache generously provided this bra for review. All opinions are my own.] I’ve mentioned Jasmine before, but to recap: this bra rules.
It’s a four-part balconette bra with a side panel and vertical seams, giving a gorgeously round, uplifted shape. There’s a soft, fuzzy lining on the underside of the narrow straps, so they don’t chafe and rub at your shoulders. The stretch lace across the top of the cup gives perfectly smooth coverage, no matter the time of the month, and the seams lie incredibly flat, even under jersey. This bra is my t-shirt bra. I wear it under practically everything.
I wasn’t sure about the champagne pink (I recently tried Parfait’s Charlotte in Dusty Rose, and GOODNESS it wasn’t my color), but much to my surprise, I rather like it. It’s too dark to function as a true “nude” for my skin tone, but since I rarely wear pale colors anyway, it’s close enough for me. There’s a subtle, rich shimmer to the fabric that makes the bra feel a bit more special than your average “everyday” bra, and I’ve already worn it A LOT.
After I had such good luck with the navy floral version from this Spring, I tracked down last winter’s black print on sale. Now that I’ve tried the champagne pink I can confirm that the fit is remarkably consistent across all three seasons. I wish the straps had maybe an inch more length on them, because I have to wear them extended as far as they’ll go, but that’s a tall girl quibble. I have to say that I find the matching briefs insanely uncomfortable (the rise is too low and the gusset too narrow) so I didn’t order them this time around. I’m thrilled to see that Panache has the same faith in this bra as I do: this season’s Envy style, available as a basic in black and beige, is based on Jasmine’s incredible shape and fit. I’ve returned Clara and ordered a black Envy in exchange. I can’t wait to see it in person!
More Jasmine reviews: