Back in January I shared my thoughts on the super-popular Panache sports bra, and you might recall that they were pretty glowing. I seriously have four different colors of this bra in my lingerie drawer right now, and I kind of want to buy four more because my size is changing and some of mine are worn out. After a few successful seasons built around the bra and matching workout shorts, I was really interested to see what I thought of a new addition to the sports range: a new sports top, which features a built-in Panache Sport bra.
The debut colorway is a bold, saturated coral with contrasting neon multicolor accents. It’s… I won’t lie, it’s a lot brighter than I normally go for in my workout wear—I prefer black and neutrals. That said, it’s definitely cheerful and summery, and if I’m trying to drag myself to the gym in the morning before work, it’ll wake me up!
Neon yellow contrast piping lines the neckline and continues onto the straps and J-hook, and swooping panels of the multicolor accent sweep down the front and create a long, streamlined look. Well, that might be the idea—in my size I felt like the panels just emphasized the width and curve of my bust, which again isn’t usually something I’m dying for in my workout clothes.
The top contains a built-in Panache Sports Bra (original flavor) with partially adjustable straps, a J-hook, and three columns of three rows of hooks and eyes.
The bra part? Business as usual, which, as I mentioned in my review in January, is very good business indeed. This is an underwired encapsulation style sports bra (as opposed to a compression style sports bra), meaning that the cups and underwires fully contain (encapsulate) each breast to minimize movement from all sides. I’ve found that this is the style I prefer—I stay cooler and drier during a workout, I can breathe more deeply and easily, and I have a full range of movement without worrying about shifting, digging, squeezing, or poking. I found the bra part fit very similarly to my regular Panache sport bras: the cups are round and full (some women prefer to size down in the cups, and indeed I think it’s time for me to do so with all my sports bras, as I’ve started to get some chafing where the center gore lies because there’s a little too much room in the cups). The band is quite firm (though I find they stretch fairly quickly).
The top part itself is where I got into a little trouble. I was worried it might be short, as I’m 5’10” and sometimes find clothes made in the UK are short all over for me, but the length is good. Well, at first. The top is cut very slim, which is great as it means that there’s no bagging or drooping or bulk to get in your way while you’re moving. The drawback is if your waist/hips are wider than your underbust (as mine are), the top immediately begins climbing skyward, as you can see in the picture above. By the time I finish a run the hem is usually higher than my navel, if I haven’t been yanking it back down to my hips every minute or so. You also have to really wriggle into that sucker, and then fasten the bra underneath the skin-tight top, so if you have joint pain or any issues with joint rotation and flexibility, be warned that it’s definitely trickier to get into than the standard sports bra (I tend to step into it and pull it up, FWIW). In an ideal world I’d love to see the top have a little more room through the body, with a hem that accommodates the curve of the hips, but then again, that’s just me: many athletes have leaner, more streamlined torsos, so this top might be perfect for them.
The bra part? A+! I feel supported and stable, and I feel comfortable running, using an elliptical, dancing, and doing all sorts of other cardio-based activities that made me uncomfortable before I had a good sports bra.
That being said, the top itself isn’t my first pick, unless it’s a really hot day and I’m going to be exercising outside. For one thing, I’m more self-conscious than I realized about my back (so here’s a picture of it! woo!). Because the top is so snug on me and I have a fairly squishy torso, you can see a clear line where the bottom of the bra band digs into my fluffy bits. It also clings to my belly (before it begins traveling upwards), so when I’m not busily yanking it back down I’m busily sucking in my stomach, which—ugh, why do I even care about doing that at the gym? I’m at the GYM, not The Club, and yet here we are. So I usually wind up wearing this on days when I know the gym is going to be underpopulated, like early mornings during the weekends. It’s dumb that I feel self-conscious about how I look at the gym, but there you have it. I’d prefer the top to be looser, so that it hangs better, otherwise I’d just as soon wear a regular sports bra and tank top.
My personal fit and flattery issues aside, this top is a brilliant addition to the Panache Sports lineup. If my budget allowed I’d love to track down the coordinating running leggings. I really, REALLY like the look of the Fall/Winter 2014 styles, and I’m excited to test out the wire-free version of the sports bra that will debut later in the Fall. I’m not sure if it’s an increased activity level or just a sign that I need to invest in some smaller sizes, but after several years of wearing the underwired style with no problem, I’m suddenly developing some sore, chafed patches of skin where the underwires meet between my breasts. It will be nice to have a wire-free version of my favorite sports bra, so that I don’t have to stop exercising while my skin heals.
Panache Sports Bra is available in sizes 28 DD-H, 30 D-H, 32 C-H, 34-38 B-H, and 40 D-GG. All cup sizes are UK cup sizes, so the cup size progression goes B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H.
The Panache Sports Top is available in sizes 28 DD-H, 30-38 D-H, and 40 DD-GG. While this colorway is discontinued, the new colorway (black with multi-print, below) should begin showing up in stores at the end of this month and into August.