Off the Rack ~ Busty & The Beach: Panache Cleo’s Leena Bikini Reviewed

Continuing Hourglassy’s June swimsuit series, this week Darlene and I both tried the Cleo (by Panache) Leena bikini. Darlene went with the bandeau tankini, while I went with the balconet bikini top and side-tie pant. Disclosure: This bikini was received as a review sample. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

Don’t forget to start with Darlene’s post about proper swimwear fit!

These days, I’m wearing bra size UK 28G or GG (sometimes 30FF/G depending on brand). In Cleo bras, I’m most often a 30G, but I have a few in 28GG as well. I find that Cleo (and Panache in general) runs slightly tighter in the band and slightly smaller in the cup compared to other British brands such as Freya, Fantasie, and Bravissimo (because they run smaller? Stretch less? Could be multiple factors). So I went with a 30G in the top and large in the bottoms. With a 29-inch waist and 41-inch hips, I’m also in between medium and large on most size charts (well, really, my waist is medium and my hips large or XL).

Darlene and I spent a day at Rockaway Beach in Queens, where we photographed the new suits. It was great to see how far the Rockaways have come from the major damage of Hurricane Sandy three years ago!

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Leena features a navy blue base with little heart-shaped polka dots (yes, those white “dots” are actually hearts!) and bright, sunny yellow accents. I really love this color combination, and even have a pair of high-waisted bottoms in these exact colors that needed a matching top. The straps are a standard adjustable bra style, and the band closes with a non-adjustable plastic clip.

As for fit, I have no complaints about the top at all. The wires are not too wide and the cups are not too shallow. The band is just loose enough to avoid back pinch (well there is a little, but I think that’s unavoidable in a properly-fitting bra), but tight enough to remain parallel to the ground with no riding up. Additionally, the straps are an appropriate length—they’re fully adjustable, and on me they are adjusted so that the doohickey you move up and down is halfway between the top of my shoulder and the band. Finally, the gore tacked well, but not so hard that it dug in to my sternum; I didn’t even notice it was there.

I felt well supported and comfortable hopping around the beach and playing in the not unsubstantial waves, though I can’t say I’d want to go running or play serious volleyball in it. Additionally, it provided a nice round shape with plenty of lift, but had enough coverage that I didn’t feel over-exposed. I would definitely be comfortable wearing this around children or the in-laws, for example. Yet the husband also noted that he thought it looked really good and was quite flattering.

Let’s get to some more photos, shall we??

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Now let’s discuss the bottoms. As regular readers may have gleaned from previous swimwear reviews of mine (Freya Bondi, retro one-pieces), it really drives me crazy when the edges of swimwear dig into my buttcheeks or don’t cover enough of my posterior. Since I’m between sizes, this usually means sizing up despite the fact that I end up with a looser waist.

I tried the Cleo Lucille bikini in a past season, and got the “classic pant” bottoms in a large (UK 14). It seemed good, so I went with the same this time, especially since I figured I could use the ties to make the waist tighter if needed. I definitely think the large is appropriate to fit my butt in this case, but it does feel a little loose in the waistband. At Rockaway, big waves that hit just above my waist would pull the butt down in back.

However, I think this may have more to do with the fact that the bottoms are so low-rise, considering that I tied the sides nearly as tight as they could go.

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If you like the Leena (or any of this season’s Panache bikinis for that matter), I’d highly suggest buying it as soon as possible. Leena was actually my third choice, after Panache regretfully told me they were out of my size in both the Cleo Cassie longline and high-waisted bottoms and the Panache Britt halter and high-waisted bottoms. Apparently retailers snatched them all up, so odds are they’re going to sell out fast!

Finally, I leave you with a photo of Darlene and me in our matching suits:

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Comments

  1. Love the matching suit pics! Looks like you had a lot of fun!

  2. Ooh, I love this! It’s so cute, and it even comes in my size! I may have to try it out…