Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Bra Adventures: Panache Jasmine

In the spirit of adventurism, this is my latest purchase:

Panache Jasmine, photo from Figleaves.com
I have a lot to say about the Jasmine - which I've been dithering over, but finally bought (online) on the advice from Veronica (it's no longer available at her shop).

But let me suggest that you watch this video, which discusses it in just about as much depth as I'm going to write about it - only you get to see a real person wearing it. I'd like to point out that Erica, the vlogger, has a 30HH or 30J bust and, I'm sure you'll agree, her breasts are in perfect proportion to her body shape. I mention this because we often have preconceptions about bra size based on letters - and they're just as often unfounded. Let me beat this drum one more time: Cup size is irrelevant in the absence of back size. A 28D is 2 cup sizes smaller than a 36B...

Moving on, let me tell you my purchase rationale:
  • I've read zillions of positive, glowing, fantastic reviews of this bra from every possible source. I've never read a bad review.
And why I dithered:
  • I don't think the pattern (or the bra) looks like much in the photos.
  • It seems kind of full-cup for a balconette - even by my standards.
  • The wires on Panache bras tend to be wide and, though this bra doesn't follow that mold, I was a bit concerned...
  • Like I need another bra?!
I found the set - though I did need to go to two separate vendors - for about 50 bucks (including shipping). That's pretty good given that I paid for shipping twice. Since then, I've ordered another pair of the undies. This thing is still under 70 bucks for a bra and two matching bottoms.

When it arrived I was in the throes of a migraine, so I didn't try it on for a couple of days. I didn't think I could handle disappointment with a headache (and really, who can be bothered with bras when you feel like you're going to vomit).

I needn't have worried. On Veronica's advice, I "sized up" in the cup and back. Really, I sized up in the back cuz I'm at the point where - with UK sizes - I've determined I'm a cup size larger than I was for many years, at least most of the time.

Let's talk about fit:
  • The band is very firm so choose the larger, if you're between sizes.
  • The bra gives nice forward projection, but not as forward as my Empreintes or the latest Cleos (Meg and Melissa) I've tried.
  • It does provide excellent lift and support, but the upper cup is made from very stretchy lace. This lace is what makes the bra optimal for women with lots of upper-cup fullness, those who vary from size-to-size during their cycles, or those who have two breasts of different sizes.
  • This bra all but obviates "quad-boob" when worn in the correct size. It's one of those miracle bras that can fit two differently sized breasts (of up to a cup size, I suspect) without one side pillowing and the other shrinking away from the cup.
  • The straps are fully extendable and delicate.
Let's talk about fit on me:
  • I find the straps to be a bit slender in my size, for my liking. They are very firm so they can get a bit hurty after a few hours (no big deal, though). It makes the bra that much more attractive, in truth.
  • The cups fit perfectly (I think it's actually a 4-piece construction given the side support) and provide a really nice shape, but I prefer the front-and-centredness of the Empreintes or Cleo Melissa. Having said this, the centre gore is as high as I'd ever choose to wear. My Panache SuperBra is like this too. It looks good but it's a lot of bra - by contrast, for example, to a somewhat fuller-cup bra with a lower gore (like some plunges). It's certainly not too wide in the wires and the lace does restore the illusion of delicacy.
  • The pattern is actually very delicate, unique and sexy in person. I like it much more than I thought I would. Even in that vlog, I don't think the pattern comes across as well as it does IRL.
  • There's too much stretchy lace, for my taste. I prefer a firmer upper cup - or at least I'd prefer a bit less of the lace and a bit more of the firm under-cup. While the lace is great for shape, I think I'd rather a bit more upper-cup support as my breasts are not as firm as they used to be.
  • I've read a number of reviews about how Panache starched the shit out of the firm cup fabric, so one should wash this bra before wearing and it will soften quite a lot. I guess I'm pretty insensitive, cuz I didn't feel that my unwashed bra was starched or scratchy in any way. I found it kind of soft - especially in comparison with every other Panache bra I've tried (SuperBra, I'm looking at you.)
  • The thing I love most about Panache (and Cleo, another Panache brand) is the fit of the band. On my body, the proportions are perfect. The top of the back band fits right under my scapulae (those wing bones) and the firmness is like a gentle grip. There's NO movement (which is my mandate, in truth). But the tightness is in no way excessive.
From my review, you might sense that I like this bra, though it's not true love.

However, the more I wear it, the more I love it - herein lies the mystery of the Jasmine (which Panache had decided to stock as a continuity bra, happily). Is it the sexiest? The liftiest? The most supportive ever? The most luxe? Can't say yes to any of these. But it is a really great bra across a wide spectrum, good for so many shapes and sizes from 30D - 38K (that's about as broad a size-span as you'll ever find and the bra is just lovely). It's also REALLY affordable for a bra with so much functionality and fit-potential. And the undies (which have a lot of give) are super comfortable and look delightful.

A girl cannot live on Empreinte alone.

So, today's questions: Have you tried this bra? If yes, what do you think? If no, does this review make it sound appealing? Let's talk!


  1. I actually sent this one back recently. The cups fit perfect, the band was perfect, but the straps were too far apart in the front. :-( Combine that with rough and scratchy fabric and you have a very painful situation. And like you, I definitely would have preferred a lower center gore, but I maybe could have bent the wires and lived with it if the straps wouldn't have rubbed me raw.

    As for your review, I think you shared your experience as a real person. If I didn't already know this bra wasn't for me I'd buy it based on your review. :-)

    1. Did I know that and forget it? So you found the fabric rough and scratchy - interesting! I really did not. Maybe I got one from a different batch? I'm sorry it didn't work for you. I know you've had a bitch of a time finding the right bra. Remind me, have you tried Empreinte?

  2. interesting video - her hair obscures the straps though since it is as dark as the bra - a bit of a detraction.

    1. I didn't notice that. I'll have to look at it again... Since I know what the straps look like, I wasn't attuned to it. There are still pics of her wearing the bra on her blog (she reviewed the bra there too). Not sure if you can see the straps in those pics.

  3. Interestingly, it was the print that drew me to this bra, before there was any review of it. I saw a pic in a preview and I knew I had to have it! It's really hard finding pretty print in JJ+ cup, outside of Freya, which just doesn't fit me right.
    That being said, I agree with you on a number of accounts:
    - I didn't find the bra scratchy, but I'm not that sensitive.
    - I love that the stretch lace avoid quadboob, but I'd like a bit more support up there.
    - I could do with a slightly lower gore.

    One more thing; the narrow centre gore is a godsend for those with very close-set breasts. On me, the wires actually sit on one another!

    1. That IS interesting. I found it too muddled-seeming in pics. IRL, it really is very elegant. I also find that my wires sit atop one another at the centre gore, on occasions. So I do appreciate the narrowness on this bra.

  4. I tried the Jasmine recently and had to send it back. I'm surprised to hear so many reviews say it runs tight, because to me it felt like a true-to-size 30. I'd have had to wear it on the tightest hook, and I dithered over whether to alter the band. Perhaps they'll make a 28.

    1. Oooh, that's very interesting. I wonder if different batches have different band stretch - like maybe the first batch was tight and then they adjusted? You're the first person I've heard say this. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

  5. I have had my share of problems with Jasmine, but after a week or so of wear I finally decided it was the ultimate everyday bra. And I for one couldn't be happier with the new aw 2013 design ^^ it's like it came out of my head :)
    I think with wear, you will find the lace a godsent. Because I al a cleo fan myself but let me tell you, I jiggle 2x less in jasmine and I get no quadboob or gapping no matter which way I put my shoulders.
    So for me, a perfect cup would have Cleo construction with a lace upper panel <3

  6. I have the Jasmine in a different colour/way pattern. I bought it on the recommendation of Claire at Butterfly Collection and I love it because it provides really great side support and doesn't give that boob-widening effect that many bras do. Unfortunatley, it's not a great t-shirt bra because it's not completely smooth. I'm still on the hunt for a really great t-shirt bra that will give me the same awesome side support... Helen

    1. Oh, yes. I know that other colourway. I think, next season, they're coming out with yet another one. The T shirt bras are SUCH a challenge. You might like the Fantasie Smoothing Balconette (NOT the full cup). It works or it doesn't. But if it works, it's great.

    2. Thanks for the recommendation! Helen

  7. Thank you so much for linking to my video! Your review was excellent, and like you, I feel like this is just a great everyday bra. You're right that the Cleo bras have more lit and lower gores too, but I still love this bra. I will say that I bought the Cleo Zia about two months ago, and it's now my favorite. But, I still think the Jasmine is a fantastic option for women in need of an everyday bra. Oh, and they're making a basic version called the Envy for September. That should help out the people not wowed by the choice of prints available! :)

    1. Thanks to you for that awesome video. I started watching all of your other videos too! I saw your recent post on the options coming out soon and I cannot wait. That geometric one is particularly excellent.

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