I have been SO excited to try this piece ever since I first saw it back in February. This season is one of Panache’s strongest in my recent memory, their lookbook was gorgeous, and even with so many great designs to choose from, this bodysuit jumped out at me right away. The Envy bra is a very popular new basic from Panache (I reviewed the black version here), and this bodysuit is a really smart expansion of the collection. Full-body pieces have been trending over the last few seasons, and no other full-bust brand has offered a bodysuit up to a J-cup, certainly not one that’s free of embroidery and frills.
Note: Panache generously sent me this item for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Envy is based on Panache’s super-popular “Jasmine” frame, which features a four-part cup: a lower section with one center vertical seam for lift, a side panel connected to the strap for forward projection, and a stretch lace upper cup for a smooth, flexible fit. The straps are fully adjustable, and in my size the band fastens with three rows of three columns of hooks and eyes. The mesh on the lower parts of the cup feature a houndstooth pattern, which provides an appealing contrast to the large floral pattern in the stretch lace.
The houndstooth pattern continues down the center front, with side and back panels of plain black mesh. The floral stretch lace reappears in the hip panels, which provides some pleasing aesthetic balance as well as a seam-free legline.
Y’all, I don’t even know what the hell size I wear right now. I’m between band sizes AND between cup sizes, every new brand and shape I try runs differently, and one day it’s one thing and another day it’s another thing, so take all of my fit notes with a tremendous grain of salt. I went with my larger band size and larger cup size in this, reasoning that since my waist is a little bigger than my underbust, I’d want to make sure the bodysuit fit my belly comfortably, and I went for the bigger cup size since black items tend to run a little smaller, and if it was slightly too big the stretch lace would keep it from being noticeable.
The bra part fits like the classic Envy bra: a gently rounded shape, soft stretch lace, and up-front and centered lift. There were a few fit issues I noticed with my first Envy bra from a few sizes ago that I didn’t notice here: the gore doesn’t seem especially wide, and while the wires are the traditionally-Panache-wide-and-tall ones, I don’t find them too uncomfortable or intrusive.
I was surprised to discover that the bodysuit part had much less stretch in it than I’d imagined. My waist/hip difference is only about eight inches, which makes me wonder how women with more pronounced hourglass figures will fare. I have to really shimmy and wriggle to get into it, but once it’s on, it’s quite comfortable. I sometimes notice a little bit of a line where the plain mesh at the hips meets the stretch lace, but generally it’s not too noticeable under clothes.
Of course, one of the major difficulties with bodysuits is torso length. We come in so many shapes and sizes that it’s impossible for one pattern to fit all of us well. Panache offers three rows of snap fasteners in the crotch to provide a little flexibility, but I’m sure there are some tall people, petite people, or people with longer or shorter torsos who might have trouble. Even though I’m tall, I’m also short-waisted, so I found the bodysuit fit well when fastened on the middle row of snaps. You may find that with movement, the bodysuit pulls the underwires down your ribcage a bit, which will create some empty shallow space in the bottom of the cups (another reason I’m happy I went with my slightly larger cup size– I still get a pretty good fit even if the bodysuit moves around a little more than a bra would).
I sometimes have trouble wearing shapewear for long stretches of time (it seems to upset my stomach?), but since this piece isn’t technically shapewear, I found it pretty comfortable to wear all day. I like to wear it under a wrap blouse that usually fastens weirdly because my belly pooches a little under my bra, but since the bodysuit gently streamlines everything, the blouse hangs nice and straight.
One important comfort thing: that snap crotch, right? It will be a dealbreaker for some. Yes, the gusset is lined. Yes, the mesh is soft. But there is still hardware there that isn’t there when you’re just wearing a pair of cotton panties. While I’ve worn this for full work days and for the occasional evening out, I will probably not choose to wear this on a day when I’m feeling sensitive or sore (and certainly not when I’m menstruating– granny panties or Dear Kates all the way). Know thyself– if you’ve never worn a bodysuit before, this may take some getting used to. I should also note that on my particular bodysuit, one (just one) snap likes to pop open when I cross my legs at my desk, which, as you can imagine, isn’t ideal. I’d be interested to try a bodysuit that uses hooks and eyes instead of snaps in the crotch. They might be a little more fiddly, but there’s less risk of unexpected unsnapping.
This is a really, really special piece. It’s been a great foundation layer for me under some of my work clothes, and it’s equally nice to wear just hanging out in my apartment. I get why Panache has introduced it as a fashion style rather than a continuity one: it’s a new shape and tricky fit, so it’s a good idea to get feedback before committing to further production. I’d personally like to see them use a different mesh for the body, one which will provide a little more stretch, both vertically and horizontally. I recently tried Figleaves’ “Carmen” bodysuit, and while the fit wasn’t great (big in the cups and hilariously too long shoulder straps), the sheer stretch mesh provides a much more flexible fit than the fabric Panache has used for Envy. I’d also, of course, like to see them take it up to a K-cup like the Envy bra.
Envy Bodysuit is available in sizes 30-38 D-J. Panache is a UK brand, so the cup size progression is D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J.
There are a few select sizes available at Nordstrom, but otherwise I’ve had a very hard time finding retailers. Anyone else had better luck? UPDATE: Kaylin spotted the full size range at Bare Necessities! Happy shopping!