Friday, November 1, 2013

In Which I Make It Pretty Clear That You Shouldn't Believe Me...

Look, I know I said I wasn't going to buy any more bras this season. Thing is, Panache came out with a new bra based on the very popular Jasmine. And it's beige.

Would it not be short-sighted to ignore this fact when one reads good review after good review and then finds it online for a reasonable price, no shipping fee??

Here's what it looks like:

Panache Envy Photo from Claire's great guest post on Already Pretty...
And now for the long story:


This bra is based on the Jasmine and the Andorra - two very popular Panache bras which are known for being extremely fit-friendly, especially for women with full-on-top breasts. The upper cup is made of very stretchy lace and the construction is 4-piece with vertical seams and a side-sling for more projection and support.

I've never tried the Andorra because I find it ugly. The Jasmine is much less ugly (and less full coverage, even though it too is touted as a full cup bra). I feel it's a bit too open in the upper cup (which is where my breasts could use a bit of containment from movement) even though it does fit well.

The Envy is considered to be a full-cup bra too - and I suspect it's less full seeming than the Andorra but more full seeming than the Jasmine. I'd categorize it as a full-balconette. It's not low, but it's got the curved upper cup shape of a balconette and it would be fine under most v-necks.


This bra fits large in the cup and true to size in the back so I suggest you consider going down a cup size when you try it - esp. if you are more balanced in bust shape that FOT or if you are between sizes. I ordered my regular size and it fits in the back but is probably too big on all but the puffiest of days. I'm not going to return it. Too much trouble and I'm not nuts about a bunch of features (read on) but it won't be in regular rotation.

It's rather comfortable. I'll give it that. And even though it's very fussy-looking with the lace and florid centre gore - far too fussy for me - it's fairly invisible under a shirt. Probably not a white t shirt though.

One of the more disappointing features, from my perspective, is the shape. It does not - despite the side sling - push one's boobs as front and centre as I prefer. Cleo, this thing ain't. Nor Empreinte. But I've come to realize that I can't really buy anything anymore, other than Empreinte, because everything else pales excessively. The centre gore of the Envy is wider in this bra than in either of those 2 brands (and wider than that of the Jasmine, it seems). The extra width is predominantly at the base of the gore. If I took a vertical seam at the base of the gore, subtracting half an inch or so of fabric, it would realign the bra such that my breasts would come closer together and lift slightly.

I think this is its nod to the Andorra (the gore of which totally put me off from the get-go) but which may actually be helpful for women with breasts of a certain shape.

I do not feel that it provides much lift - it's kind of like the Fantasie Helena in that way and inasmuch as it seems to widen breasts - even as it's quite supportive from the base of the bra and from the wires. Alas, the top gives relatively little support (in light of the stretchy lace to accommodate FOT shapes) so the overall supportiveness is compromised, IMO. 

If you are a narrow, small(ish) person with narrow breast roots, I don't think this bra is optimal. The wires are fairly wide (though not a deal-breaker) and the whole bra just seems to be catering to width, not depth, even as the cups are quite deep and large for size. One other thing to note: The wires are very strong, so if you struggle with flimsy wires, this bra really has that element covered.

How it Looks

Sorry, but this doesn't get my vote. The jaquard fabric makes it difficult to match effectively with non-brand, beige undies. The gore, which widens towards its base, is ugly and it seems to revel in it. The lace competes with the jaqard pattern in a way that doesn't seem eclectic so much as mismatched.

The splayed shape (which I suspect has something to do with the shape of my breasts in conjunction with the shape of the bra) is not so attractive. Partly this could be a preference thing, but when I wear Cleo and Empreinte bras my breasts are a) very supported from all sides b) lifted and c) pushed forward - not together since the gore is tacking.

Having said all of this, here's what I think the Envy has going for it:
  • The price is right. I got mine on eBay for 50 bucks, no shipping. That's a good price for a bra made well which, if it suits your taste and fits your chest, could be in regular rotation in your wardrobe.
  • It's a neutral, and there are too few seamed beige bras out there, IMO.
  • The wires are very strong.
  • It will work very well for women with different sized breasts and FOT shape. Even on the small side, the soft and stretchy lace is not likely to wrinkle unless the discrepancy is more than a cup size.
  • It goes up to a UK J cup.
  • It's a continuation line, so if you like it, it'll be there for you.
  • You can find it reasonably easy in boutiques and online. Butterfly Collection carries it (shipping is free) as do vendors on eBay.
And so that you can get a balanced perspective, Bras I Hate and Love does a very good, very positive review of this style.

So, what do you think? Have you tried this bra? Do you agree with my assessment? Intriguingly, while writing, I had just decided to return this bra when my husband swooped into the recycling by the front door and threw the tag in the bin. The wet-from-rain, gross bin. So I guess this bra is mine...

PS: I'm really not buying any more bras.


  1. I'm sorry to hear the Envy didn't work out for you. I was thinking the color and construction might be just what you'd been seeking. I hope you enter this bra into bratabase. Do the wires fill the channels completely? I'm having trouble with bruising in the center gore area. My breasts are closeset. Some bras, like Cleo Marcie, have underwires that are much shorter than the channels. I can push the wires all the way to the side, and my center gore area is pain free! I wish Cleo would release the Marcie in a pretty beige. Not the godawful beige Fantasie keeps using.

    1. I know! Sucks! I will enter the info into Bratabase. I just haven't been so motivated on that platform lately. I have to recheck the wires to see where they end with respect to the channels. I have to say the beige of this bra isn't very appealing. And the gore is high, in the scheme of things. It may not be the bra for you either...

  2. Thanks for the review. I may try it since my search for the perfect bra continues

    1. Can't hurt - let us know if it works for you!

  3. I would like to upgrade my bras as a thank you present to my boobs after they've fed my sprogs for (cumulatively) five years. (I miss breastfeeding only for the fact that my infants were the only people who have ever literally applauded enthusiastically when I unclipped my bra, that was very heartening!)
    But I have a bad habit of inflicting Death By Washing machine on my undies. (Am English so lack a tumble dryer and only line dry. It's the machine wash that kills 'em.) Does these marvels of bras require hand washing? I don't know why that prospect should make my heart sink, surely it can't be that onerous a chore?

    I am with you on hunting for decent nude/beige coloured bras. Why is such a staple so hard to find?


    1. I love this! Bras are a thank you present and you sure do deserve it after 3 kids! This comment is hilarious, Debs. And, if your washer has a delicate setting and you put the bra in a laundry bag (with the hooks done up) I suspect your bras will be fine. That's what I do!

  4. that is a lovely piece, and surely they make undies to match, so that you can get a matching set!

    1. I don't know if the undies are in the cards...

  5. From afar this looks like a pretty beige, although I know photos don't tell the whole story. I can see just from looking at it that the base of the gore is wider than your favorites. The gore shape has everything to do with the shape/curve of the wire, so this may be a specific wire shape that they've repeated for certain styles. I hope you're able to find good excuses to wear/keep it because it looks so well made!

    1. I know - it's actually crazy wide and I learned a really good lesson here - though I wish Scott hadn't thrown out the tag on the counter 5 minutes after trying this thing on and discovering I don't like it. Oh well, I'm sure it will make its way to my next bra sale...